‘Soldiers not part of group’ soldiers say

National, Normal


A GROUP of soldiers who were retrenched between 2002 and 2006 are disassociating themselves from the ex-soldiers who are petitioning the government for the K187 million in outstanding ex-servicemen entitlements.
These ex-soldiers say they are in the group that was forced out of the Defence Force when the Australian government-sponsored downsizing exercise occurred. 
Early last month, the government was in the process of paying all outstanding entitlements for ex-soldiers totalling K23 million.
Following a reported circular regarding this,  some leaders of different groups of the ex-soldiers rejected the amount and demanded the government pay them a massive K187 million.
However, this particular 2002-06 retrenched soldiers want the payments to go ahead according to a submission that they have prepared.
“We have already made a submission based on a legal framework as requested by the Finance Minister Peter O’Neill,” Andy Billy Koldop, a spokesman of more than 10 ex-soldiers told The National last week in Port Moresby.
Koldop said there was a rumour of a possible strike from disgruntled ex-servicemen if their petition of K187 million was not accepted was also not true.
“We give the assurance to the government and to the people of PNG that there will not be any strike or protests of any nature,” Koldop said .
The group said that their legally bound submission would now be forwarded to the responsible government authorities.
“We are only asking the government to approve our legally backed submission and process our entitlement payments as soon as possible,” Koldop said .
He and his group, which is part of the  2002-06 retrenchment exercise  retrenched soldiers,  participated in a peaceful sit-in at Morauta House last Friday at which they handed over their submission.