Fears in Choiseul after boat sighted, increased Covid 19 cases next door
BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
PEOPLE living on the Choiseul end of the border with Papua New Guinea are raising alarms after the sighting of a boat crossing into the country from Bougainville over the weekend.
The alarm was raised by Member of the Provincial Assembly for Ward 12 on Choiseul, Nerio Ulemiki with repeated calls for relevant agencies including the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to properly guard the western border to ensure no trespassing and illegal entry by foreigners.
Mr Ulemiki said they have spotted the boat from Bougainville on Northwest Choiseul and they are concerned as the cases of Covid-19 across the border has increased to 26 over the weekend.
“Some of these Bougainvilleans have continued to illegally enter the Solomon Islands-border.
“Our RSIPF needs to seriously monitor illegal entry at the border between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
“We expect our police officers to pay serious attention to the border and ensure they are monitoring those boats coming in and out,” Ulemiki said.
Ulemiki said the lack of tight and wider controls along the lborder of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Western region are a major Covid-19 pandemic concern.
He is calling on the good people of Choiseul and Bougainville to respect the border restriction measures and those who continue to travel illegally must comply with the Law of Solomon Islands and not to illegally trespass at the border.
He said that people of Northwest Choiseul are worried over the covid-19 virus spreading into their communities if the border is not properly monitored.
Ulemiki meanwhile thanked front liners at the border for continuing to do their duty and encouraged them to continue monitoring.
He appeals to the National government and responsible authorities to re-equip and put more resources, logistics and capacity at the border to control illegal entrance.