Call to repair, reopen prison


A spokesperson from one of the villages surrounding the Hawa prison in Hela is appealing to authorities to repair, upgrade and reopen the prison so the province has its own facilities to house its many criminals.
The prison suffered much damage during last year’s big earthquake in the area.
Paul Panda Ngibe, a prominent resident in the area, said lawlessness in the province was widespread and suggested it needed its own prison.
“The Tari police station becomes crowded with all sorts of offenders and it’s a long journey to transport people to facilities in Mendi in Southern Highlands or Baisu in Western Highlands,” he said.
It is understood that some maintenance work was done in 2015 and 2016 but the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in February devastated what remained on the ground.
Correctional Service acting commissioner Stephen Pokanis yesterday said: “Hawa is one of the priority institutions in the country we would like to operate.
“Currently, CS has 12 officers on the ground under the command of Sergeant Simon Kitingi. The institution has been closed for some years now.
“The last officer who was there and tried to help in reopening it was Inspector Ned Gong back in early 2000.”
Pokanis said apart from maintenance needs to infrastructure there, services such as water, communications, electricity and sewerage were lacking.
“In 2018, our current Governor Phillip Undialu, provincial administrator William Bando, senior ministers from the national government, provincial government and our local people had been working overtime to support the technical work and the reopening of the Institution,” he said.
“My minister and I will work with them, and knowing the sensitive and delicate political, social and economic situation on the ground, we will work with our leaders and every one to have the institution re-opened.”