In light of the recent riots in the Solomon Islands, former Prime Minister and current Governor of New Ireland Province Sir Julius Chan has reminded the country of Papua New Guinea’s leadership to set up the South Pacific Peace Keeping Force (SPPKF) long before the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands ( RAMSI ) was established.
The idea was a brain child of Sir J after his government successfully executed the granting of Independence for Vanuatu in 1980.
Recalling back, he said the proposal was put forward to the Pacific Island’s Forum in 1981. “ We proposed for the formation of the South Pacific Peace Keeping force to help prevent any disorder in countries in the Pacific, if invited by heads of the troubled countries to assist.”
However Sir J said, Australia and New Zealand were not keen to support it at the time. “They said it doesn’t sound right to have a South Pacific Peace Keeping force because it means there is disorder. But I think they deliberately interpreted it that way because they were not involved in Vanuatu and wanted to stop all kinds of initiatives by us,” said Sir J.
He said, later on down the line, Australia and New Zealand agreed to form RAMSI which was the exact same Philosophy as SPPKF.
“And that’s exactly what they are doing now. What would have been legitimate for the South Pacific Peace Keeping force to enter into the Solomon Islands at the request of their Prime Minister.”
Papua New Guinea created the policy and subsequently deployed the first SPPKF force to Arawa in 1994 during the Bougainville crises. It was led by a Tongan, but Commanded locally by former Commander of the PNG Force Tony Huai.