Your Excellency, Sir Frank Kabui, Governor General of Solomon Islands
The Honourable, Sir Albert Palmer, Chief Justice of Solomon Islands
The Honourable Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands
Your Excellency, Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia
Your Excellency, Peter M. Christian, President of the Federated States of Micronesia
and the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum
Your Excellency, Taneti Maamau, President of the Republic of Kiribati
Your Excellency, Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of the Republic of Nauru
Your Excellency, Tom Masters, the Queen’s Representative of the Cook Islands
Your Excellency, Iakoba Italeli, Governor General of Tuvalu
The Honourable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa
Your Excellency, Antonia Bells, Vice President of the Republic Palau
The Honourable Paula Bennett, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Honourable Joe Natuman, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu
The Honourable Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Former President of the Republic of Fiji
Honourable Ministers & Special Envoys
The RAMSI Special Coordinator and the men and women of RAMSI
The people of Solomon Islands
Members of the clergy
Ladies & gentlemen
Ladies and gentlemen, this monument is dedicated to RAMSI. A successful and enduring regional partnership. Therefore this monument is for both the people of Solomon Islands, and more widely for the people of the Pacific Islands Forum. It is a monument to Pacific Regionalism.
Next door is the National Museum. One of the stories it tells is of a paramount chief on the island of Taumako, who was asked to reveal the first step in building the long-distance voyaging canoe, called a Tepuke.
The Chief answered that the first step is to plant a garden.
The Chief recognised that long before taking to the ocean, a great deal of preparation is required. It takes time.
There is growing, harvesting, fishing, and cooking to be done while the vessel is being built.
Before embarking on any great voyage the whole community must come together and work side by side.
Reflecting today on the success of RAMSI, which has worked tirelessly to bring the people of Solomon Islands together, I think of that garden.
In many ways RAMSI is that garden. The first important step toward a safe and prosperous journey into the future. The garden has spread to the United Nations mission in Darfur where the RSIPF has been deployed in the extension of Helpem Fren.
This monument is a marker in that journey. It also pays tribute to the men and women of the Participating Police Force who have died during their service in RAMSI.
God bless the beloved Solomon Islands.