I HAVE been a keen an observer of the PNGDF engagements over the past few years.
Apart from responding to natural disasters, boarder patrols and maritime protection, the PNGDF has also been prominently used as a security service for large corporation in our resource areas.
The prime minister, in his inauguration speech on the floor of Parliament, stated that as a resource owner, he wants the best for his people.
I would like to appeal to him to consider removing military personnel from being part of the manpower that is deployed into the Highlands.
We all know, without being told, that the real reason why soldiers are up there, is to protect large corporations that are up there to extract our resources.
The defence force is not a security for multinational corporations and it must never be brought down to that level.
Let me put things into perspective.
The rival power to PNG, among the Pacific island nations, is Fiji.
Fijian soldiers, upon successful completion of their military training, have been sent to do tours in Afghanistan and Iraq alongside their UN allies.
In the PNGDF, only one very senior officer is sent every two years in conflict areas under the UN observation programme.
I read in a military article NZ Defence Force commander, upon congratulating NZ troops who returned from their tours overseas, said: “It is because of what you do that New Zealand can stand up proudly in international forums and be respected when she speaks.
“Because our allies know that New Zealand can be counted on to fight alongside them whenever a circumstance requires.
“For we have done so in the past and will keep doing so.”
I appeal to Prime Minister James Marape to seriously consider initiating military reforms that take soldiers away from domestic duties that sees them being used as guard dogs for multinational corporations, and give more emphasis on boarder protection, maritime surveillance and foreign deployments.
Only by increased foreign deployments can PNG truly become a respectable voice in large global arenas.