THE Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services (MPNSCS) Anthony Veke has dismissed rumors that the Australian-funded Border and Patrol Boat Outpost at Lofung in the Shortland islands is an Australian Naval base.
Speaking at last week’s historic groundbreaking ceremony at Lofung, Minister Veke said the border and patrol boat outpost must not be perceived as an Australian Naval Base BUT a renowned Solomon Islands Border Security Outpost, with the aim to enhance security procedure, increasing monitoring and regulate border security management capability.
“It is the sole intent of this border outpost, to ensure that we all enjoy our border relations in a safe, regulated and peaceful manner,” he said.
Veke added that when the outpost is operational, its functional duties would be to ensure; legal and safe cross border activities, deterrence to illegal activities, monitor transnational crime, and monitor unregulated & unreported fishing in our waters.
The minister conveyed appreciation to the Australian Government for funding this national project.
“This is not an easy undertaking, and to have the support of a development partner is greatly appreciated,” he said.
Minister Veke joined Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, the Australian High Commissioner, Member of Parliament of Shortlands, Chris Laore, Western Premier David Gina and Chairman of the FAMOA Council of Chiefs and Trust Board Lawrence Hotomo to turn the soil to mark the start of the project Wednesday last week.
Veke also extended his respect and appreciation to the Chiefs, Elders and people of the Shortlands for their vision to provide their land for the project.
“I wish to sincerely pay my deepest respect and thank you to the Chiefs, Leaders, Elders and People of the beautiful Shortland Islands on whose ancestral land we stand on today,” he said.