NCDC must tame its rangers

Editorial

TWO former enforcers of National Capital District Commission (NCDC) anti-littering laws have been found guilty of manslaughter by the National Court this week.
The court ruled that a man died from injuries he sustained in a fight with the two rangers at the Gordon market in June 2013.
While employed as casuals in the market clean up exercise, the men allegedly assaulted the deceased after an argument over some vending space.
The court heard that the man died three days after the assault.
Although there was no direct medical evidence linking the death to the assault, the court based its guilty ruling basically on a witness statement, pointing out that “a healthy, fit man, who was assaulted, died from the injuries he sustained”.
While two have been found guilty of causing a man’s death, the court should have gone further to hold those who hired these rangers responsible too.
The ultimate responsibility lies with the authority which picked the two and many others who go around the city assaulting people at will.
In engaging these ill-disciplined roughnecks, the NCDC essentially gave a licence to them to do as they please.
Despite the many complaints and media reports, the NCDC failed to make a real effort to ensure that these “enforcers” carry out their duties in a responsible and sensible manner.
The NCDC has to be responsible for the conduct of its casual employees. The public requires answers from the city authority.
Questions like, how did they screen these lot?
What training was provided for them to deal with members of the public?
In the specific case that went before the court who supervised the two men and others engaged in the supposed clean up exercise?
Or did the NCDC just leave it to these men to do what they think is the right thing?
The uneducated men (in the sense of proper conduct and civility) picked up for the job may have been or have relatives and wantoks
who are involved in the informal market.
Some aspects of this informal economy involves breaching rules and regulations of the city authority and competition for vending space.
It is not far-fetched therefore to believe that some city rangers may use their jobs to target their competitors or those they do not like.
In a city where ethnic rivalry and violence has been rife, the NCDC would do well to be wary of its selection of law enforcers, lest it legitimises and encourages this menace further.
There should be better training for city rangers if we are serious about not only keeping the city clean but also provide some gainful employment for some.
Training should involve public relations, inter-personal skills plain common sense and respect all, even for those who breaching laws.
We commend the NCDC management for its wonderful attempts at fighting violence especially in making markets and other public spaces and transport safe and hygienic for women especially.
Governor Powes Parkop is doing a marvellous job in trying to build a more responsibility community. Through programmes such as the Sanap Wantaim, Safe City, Yoga and Walk for life, the governor has been able to raise a lot of support and interest among city residents – and some achieve positive results.
But the behaviour of the city rangers run smack against his goal of uniting people and creating a harmonious society.
The uncouth behaviour of some of the enforcers only invites retaliation and resistance.
A more stringent selection process should be used.
Those who do not have the temperament and personality but would be quick to use aggression to clean up the city should never be employed.
Most of the city’s residents stand ready to cooperate with the municipal government to minimise or eradicate filth and violence and promote cleanliness, health and safety.
However, at the same time we must be honest enough to appreciate that there are those who think the need to earn a day’s meal by violating rules legitimises what they do.
Sad to say, but it will take time for them to understand that it does not.
The current modus operandi of the city rangers – brute force and verbal assault – can only achieve short term cleanliness at best and unintended injury, even death, at worst.

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