DEAR EDITOR, I find it quite disturbing in the news this week two reported incidents of illegal firearms being moved around the country.
The first news involved the use of firearms to rob a logging camp in the Shortland Island groups on September 15 and the latest being the arrest of a man allegedly in possession of a firearm and live rounds on Guadalcanal three days after the incident in the Shortland Islands.
While there is no reason to believe that both incidents are related, the worrying factor is the alleged intention of the Bougainvillean to sell the weapon to a client on Guadalcanal which resulted in his arrest and the free flow of weapons across the border as we have seen so many times.
With the lack of mechanisms in place to monitor cross border trade in the Western Solomons, how do we know that this incident is only a one off?
The issue of cross border crime in Western Solomon Islands is not a new issue and it is only a matter of time before communities within the area face a similar scenario. I know there are ongoing work by the Government to addressing this, however, it should be a matter of national urgency and resource allocation.
More government budget should be allocated for security and in this sense, the protection of our border with PNG
The country will soon go to the polls early next year and such news does not help in the already tense period we had with the voters’ registration period over the few weeks.
The Government should be proactive in ensuring that its people are provided with security as we go into the first elections for years without the presence of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
We have seen the negative impacts of cross border movements in Western and Choiseul Province in recent years, therefore it is time the Government puts a stop to criminal elements from Bougainville from entering the Solomon Islands.