BSP reopens Kainantu unit

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday 26 January 2012

BANK of South Pacific has re-opened its Kainantu branch in Eastern province after its closure due to violence last October.
However, BSP chief executive Ian B Clyne warned in a statement yesterday that the bank would not hesitate to shut down any branch should serious breaches of law and order occur where they were situated.
 “The safety of our staff and branches is a fundamental requirement for BSP to provide and continue to provide banking services in any town or city in Papua New Guinea,” Clyne said in a statement.
BSP, like the community at large, saw law and order breaches as unacceptable, and a serious impediment to the economic development of the area in which it operated and the nation as a whole, Clyne said.
“BSP Kainantu is a loss-making branch (similar to many other small branches in other towns around PNG).
“As such, for the branch to be maintained in Kainantu, businesses must be allowed to operate in a law-abiding, peaceful environment that facilitates economic development and ultimately enhances the financial performance of these businesses and therefore of BSP Kainantu.
 “The provision of banking services is a community service and only possible if the local leaders and their communities take full responsibility for law and order in Kainantu and ensure that BSP’s branch and staff can be properly protected.
 “Simply put, if BSP cannot be protected against violent criminal acts or civil unrest, then there will be no BSP in that community.
“The community as whole will suffer a significant negative economic impact.
“This applies to all BSP branches nationwide.
“If there is any instance where BSP staff and branches are threatened or become victims of law and order breaches, or violent bank robberies, BSP will close its operations”.
Life in Kainantu was disrupted last October by a tribal dispute that left 15 people dead and a settlement burned to the ground.
More than 100 police had to be sent to the small market town after a running battle erupted between the Agarabi and Kamano tribes.
A settlement, known as Banana Block, was also burned to the ground in the dawn attack.
About 170km from PNG’s second largest city, Lae, Kainantu is located along PNG’s main arterial road, which is the Highlands Highway and is home to a military airstrip used during World War II.