PAPUA New Guinea-Solomon Islands Community held their Christmas celebrations on December 18 at Harmock Beach, west of Honiara.
Family, friends and PNG nationals gathered at the venue to mark Christmas along with the PNG soldiers currently serving here.
High Commissioner Moses Kaul welcomed the contingents of special forces.
“I have this special pride to say today is not just an ordinary day, but our PNG Day. We welcome the presence of the PNG contingent for coming here to the Solomon Islands,” Kaul said.
“This occasion is part of our recognition of you. Although you’re under busy schedule, yet you take this time to come and be part of this program, it’s very special,” he added.
“Evident fact here is because it’s Christmas season, and this occasion is to mark Christmas, it’s time to share, exchange, reflect and unite as one big happy family, so you (PNG Special Forces) you too are family here today.
“You are here because your small brother had call on you, that’s why you are here to give a hand.
“You are already here during the time of RAMSI; you are here to reinforce that same duty.
“And to help support stabilize the unrest situation that we have been experiencing for the past following weeks here in Honiara. People and the Government of Solomon Islands are happy to have you here.
“Our deployment here has demanded our colour, representation in the process of engagement that we continue to demonstrate and this has led for us to continue to polish these Melanesian conceptions.
“It’s not that we will interfere with the line of your duty, but it’s that we will support you in any other ways as Papua New Guineans for a good and better outcome.”
Kaul also highlighted the achievements of PNG-SI Association.
He said he has taken a personal pride on the association since his tenure at the beginning of this year, witnessing cooperation and dedication.
“Let me take this opportunity to acknowledge whoever who commits your time and effort, it’s your sacrifice, I must acknowledge these things.
“We are Papua New Guineans, it shows our colour, our pride and our way of doing things. We owe these to our hearts.”
Contingent commander Perou N. Dranou in response said their being at the Christmas event feels like they were just in Papua New Guinea.
“I don’t see any difference between PNG and Solomon Islands.
“We faced similar problems just recently in Enga, Southern Islands of PNG.
“And I believe through that experience we can bring that understanding to help our Solomon Islands police to stand up strong to face these kinds of issues.
“How you (PNG Community here in Honiara) received us, we feel privilege that we will miss our Christmas away from home, but still we feel as if we are having our Christmas in Port Moresby.
“To whatever reasons that we are here for, we will try our best.
“We assure the PNG-SI Association and the High Commission, we will work enough in our good ways, and we will try our best, together with the other fellow Pacific contingents to help achieve peace, since Solomon Islands wants us to be here a little bit longer to help the RSIPF.
‘Our purpose is to give confidence back to the police and the Government of Solomon Islands.”
Fiona B. Kovingre, the only female in the contingent added:
“It’s the first time for me on an overseas mission, but I’m very comfortable among my male counterparts.
“It’s quite challenging for me, working with some of the new people that I don’t work with, but I’m very comfortable now.
“I don’t feel different from them. It’s not a new thing for me. I’ve been in many Police operations out in the highlands and in-country.
“The only thing is that we will be missing our families this Christmas and New Year, but being part of this Christmas program, we already feel at home.”
Francis Peter of the PNG-SI Association acknowledge the presence of everyone present at the event.
More than 500 people attended the event. – Lynissha Runa of PNG High Commission