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Inspired a little by the Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol, I would like to share with you a true story of a past occasion when circumstances were not as bright as today for a policeman stationed in Naha.
I should first say that when I became the police commissioner in the Solomon Islands in July 1997, I visited the then officer in charge of the Naha Police Station in the National Referral Hospital and encouraged him to quickly get better and resume his duties.
I am glad to say that he did soon recover and I was able to visit him and the policemen stationed at Naha on my first inspection of all police buildings and facilities.
At that time the building being occupied as a police station was no more than the relic of an old builder’s hut that had been vacated and given to the police by the retiring expatriate building contractor.
It said much for the station commander and his team to undertake their duties professionally and proficiently in such inadequate housing.
On Christmas morning in 1998 I donned my uniform and set out to do the rounds of wishing a happy Christmas to the policemen and policewomen then on duty, a routine I did each Christmas.
When I reached the Naha police station, the charge room staff was attentive and holding three prisoners in custody, who were sitting on a wooden bench near the front entrance. There was no custodial area to hold those who the police had arrested and the possibility of those three prisoners escaping was very much on my mind.
To my surprise, the three miscreants took my hand in turn and said they hoped I would enjoy Christmas.
Even amongst prisoners there existed a sense of goodwill that Christmas Day.
Reminiscing on this tale was also promoted by seeing photograph of the new Naha Police Station and what a transformation I saw after supervising the old decrepit wooden structure.
My thoughts also go back to how my old friend the now deceased station commander would have been proud to see the $9 million transformation of his former police station.