MPNSCS AND HALO TRUST SIGN AN MOU TO MAP UXO ACROSS THE SOLOMON ISLANDS THROUGH UNITED STATES SUPPORT
The Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Police, National Security, and Correctional Services (MPNSCS), Karen Galokale, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with The HALO Trust (HALO), a British and American charity, to map and record the location of unexploded ordnance (UXO) across the Solomon Islands.
During the signing on Friday, PS Galokale said: “We are pleased to see the HALO Trust getting to work. Mapping UXO is a vital first step in ridding the Solomon Islands of deadly explosives.”
HALO’s project is made possible through a US $1 million (SBD 8.3 million) grant by the U.S. State Department.
Russell Comeau, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy, said: “The U.S. Government is committed to advancing the safety and prosperity of all Solomon Islanders.” “The work of the HALO trust is an important complement to our ongoing support of the explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) efforts of the Royal Solomon Islands Police.”
It was revealed that the HALO’s Solomon Islands staff began their training in March and spent much of the past two months in Cambodia and Laos learning cutting-edge UXO mapping techniques, including using the latest GPS tools.
Chris Whatley, Executive Director, the HALO Trust (USA), said: “Solomon Islanders are impressive professionals.
“Our team is ready to hit the ground on Monday, mapping UXO with technology and approaches that HALO has developed through our operations in 28 countries around the world.
“We are deeply grateful to the government of the Solomon Islands and the US State Department for their support.
“After the mapping is complete, the Solomon Islands Government will work with development partners to create a national plan for the clearance of high-priority areas, including housing, agriculture, community resources, and infrastructure, so that Solomon Islanders can live and prosper free of the threat of unexploded ordnance.”
The United States-supported partnership with the HALO Trust, the MPNSCS, and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force is part of President Biden’s announcement at the United States-Pacific Island Country Summit, where UXO priorities were one of nine U.S. commitments to implement the Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership.
– MPNSCS Press release