A handshake and a mumu will do

Editorial, Main Stories

THIS is a message to William Nanua Kapris: “If you possibly can, please organise another major jail break. It does not matter whether you join the group or not, but it would help. Just make it big.
“Since you are going to take all the risk, you have a right to know. This next jail break is actually for a good cause. It will return common sense and unite the police force – particularly at the top hierarchy to push together for a common purpose.”
And this is how we, the people, feel about that current high profile war between ranking officers at the top end of the police ladder.
When Kapris was out and about, the police force pulled together in a rare and coordinated show of force.
The force had a common purpose and what a stellar job it did in recapturing nearly all the the escapees within two months.
This was a rare glimpse of what the force could do when it is under pressure, when it has a common purpose and when it is adequately funded.
The Government had released K3 million for the purpose of recapturing the jailbirds.
As the escapees were captured, the focus seemed to shift elsewhere, to matters of jobs and terms and conditions and the jostling for position at the command level.
Within the short time that the hunt for the escapees lasted, PNG had a good hard look at what its police force is capable of.
That is the subject of another discourse in this space but we must turn to the big fight between Commissioner Gari Baki and his deputy Tony Wagambie.
Why is there a fight and why must this fight be made public and sustained?
Police, being officers of the law, have a greater sense of justice than do the rest of us.
They will push for justice and, of course, justice must take its natural course. But sometimes, just sometimes, justice can be better done out of court than inside.
The justice performed with a handshake is far better, for it involves true forgiveness and a compromise. We urge this course of justice to be pursued in the current public fight by the Queen’s officers.
Justice obtained through the courts might well be good if a criminal must be made to pay for his crime but, in a civil case, there will always be a winner and a loser. The scales of justice are rarely balanced in that sense. They are balanced when settlement is arrived at out of court.
This is what we are calling upon Mr Baki and Mr Wagambie to do: Settle this bitter feud out of court as gentlemen and officers.
More than their own reputation, this feud is taking the good name of the constabulary along with it.
To our knowledge, this feud has its origins since before election 2007 when the force was clearly divided in its allegiance to certain commanders.
Policemen coming off the Southern Highlands state of emergency seemed to form one group and those in Port Moresby the other.
In the crossfire, senior officers Thomas Eluh and Raphael Huafolo were physically assaulted by policemen.
This divide reached all the way up to the commissioner level and seemed to have remained.
Whether this is the case or the current situation is just a matter of two senior personalities who have a difference of opinion or just do not like each other, the force must not be made to suffer through this much longer.
While the top brass have been fighting, young constables have risked their lives and used their own resources to capture William Kapris.
When the fight has been on, a senior judge has taken it upon himself to wash out a condemned police cell.
While the fight is on, ill-equipped and under-strength members are being deployed in trouble zones in Southern Highlands and the Hela region where they are outgunned and outnumbered.
The PNG LNG project requires the full support of the constabulary and, of course, crime is forever present.
We suggest that a handshake over a mumu will do the gentlemen concerned and the police force a world of good.
It is called “pasin Papua Niugini” and we can withdraw our call to William Kapris to help out.