Arnavon rangers undergo legal training
LAST week, the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area (ACMCA) rangers undergo Compliance, Monitoring & Enforcement Training for Rangers of the Arnavons Community Marine Park. Upon being adequately trained, the Rangers will be eligible for appointment by the Minister of Environment as Inspectors & Prosecutors under the Protected Areas Act 2010.
The training includes courtroom mock trials on prosecution of offenders or poachers.
The training was part of the activities under a project title; training for ACMCA to ratify Protected Areas Act 2010 in Arnavons.
It was funded by IUCN CEPF small grant with the aim to equip the local rangers with legal component prior to registering of conservation area under the Act which is administered under MECDM.
The training was facilitated by Mr David Lidimani, a legal consultant of Rano & Company Legal Firm. At the training were 10 ACMCA rangers, 1 x ACMCA project coordinator, 1 x Isabel Province The Nature Conservancy Programme Manager and three Police Officers.
The training took place at Kerehikapa research station, Arnavon Islands from April 18-19, 2017.
The topics covered during the training were as follows; legal powers and jurisdiction, prescribed offences and penalties, offences subject to infringement notices, prosecution of offenders in court.
And the objectives of this training was to raise awareness of prescribed powers under the PA Act 2010 and PA regulation 2012, Raise knowledge base of rangers for appointment as inspectors under the Act, and to ensure rangers/participants are adequately qualified to assume prosecution roles in court.
To achieve this objective the organisation has taken a new directive to address conservation challenges by enforcing the national law at the community level.
Furthermore, the approach is more feasible in a sense that the rangers that are on the ground will be leading the enforcement component.
At the end of each topics, there were exercises undertaken by the participants which also gives them the scenario of the actual setting and to have the know-how capability for that matter.
Also, a mock trial was made and this exercise was based on the facts in Act 2, and was done in a Court room setting.
Selected rangers and Police Officers were selected to play the roles of prosecutor, defendant, witness and Magistrate.
The facilitator appreciate the three RSIPF officers who assisted in playing the respective roles of Magistrate, Prosecutor & Defendant during the practical session of the training.
According to Nelson Kalea, a Royal Solomon Island Police Officer stated that this training has given him the opportunity to understand other Law besides Criminal Law.
He add by saying that it would be good to have future collaborate with Isabel Police officers based in Buala as Arnavons is under the Jurisdiction of Isabel Province.
Joseph Mataki mentioned that it is high time for the Arnavon rangers to utilize the Law and to exercise the powers under the Act to effectively protect the unique environment in this region.
It would be ideal if that such power to enforce national laws are shared throughout the community as Royal Police may not often have their presence in remote communities across the country.
In an interview with Dickson Motui, senior rangers from Arnavons that this legal training has set another historical mile stone for the rangers and organisation at large.
It is a beginning of the new direction on how this conservation area will be managed and enforced in regards to Protected Area Act and its regulation.
It was supported by the rangers that this training has empowered them a lot in terms of capacity building and they now have a fair knowledge about the power they have under this law.
A police officer from Kia district, Isabel mentioned that there is a need for more community awareness on this topics at a later stage post to the declaration of the protected area next month.
Arnavon Community Marine Park would be the first conservation area in the country to be declared under a national law (Protected Area Act 2010) and to be legally recognised under the Act.
Hence, this site will serve as a lesson learn for other conservation areas that wishes to follow the foot step of ACMP in the future.
By Henry Kaniki
Project Coordinator (ACMCA)