Discussions are afoot between officials from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands (SI) regarding the provision of assistance by PNG police in Solomon Islands’ upcoming elections.

Commissioner of Police David Manning confirmed that talks had been held with his counterpart in Solomon Islands, Mostyn Mangau, with both parties exploring how the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) and the Papua New Guinea Government (GoPNG) could support the National General Elections (NGE) in Solomon Islands.

General elections will be held in the Solomon Islands on 17 April 2024, to determine the composition of the 12th Parliament.

Initially planned for 2023, parliament voted in 2022 to delay the elections. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare claimed the country could not afford to have an election in the same year the Solomon Islands was hosting the Pacific Games.

“I have held talks with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Commissioner, and we have discussed how the RPNGC and GoPNG can assist in their NGE,” Commissioner Manning said.

This comes at a time the Malaita 4 Democracy former members are reaching out to the PNG media raising concerns about a planned riot rejected by the team for the upcoming Solomon Island’s general elections in Honiara.

Malaita 4 Democracy, former member told the Post-Courier Monday that the alleged mastermind leader of the 2021 Honiara riots who planned and incited people to protest, broke into the parliament, destroyed Chinese owned shops and set fire to police stations and even Prime Minister’s private property, has returned to the community asking the members of the M4D to join forces for this planned riot during the upcoming elections.

But Solomon Islands Police hierarchy told the Post-Courier this was the least of their concerns as they were well prepared for the elections and could not comment further.

While the talks have been positive, the formal request for assistance from the Solomon Islands government (GoSI) is still being awaited.

“We anticipate a formal request from the GoSI to be forthcoming in the coming days through formal diplomatic channels,” Manning said.

The potential deployment of PNG police personnel to assist with elections security in SI highlights the commitment of both nations to support each other in times of need and reinforces their co-operation.

The RPNGC is well-known for its professionalism and expertise, making their involvement crucial in maintaining law and order during the electoral process.

This ongoing dialogue between PNG and SI demonstrates their shared commitment to regional security and cooperation.

The collaboration between the two police forces is expected to strengthen mutual recognition and trust, ensuring a smooth electoral process and assuring the citizens of Solomon Islands of their safety and stability during this critical period.