Do not attack the helper


ONLY the most heartless coward would attack those who go out of their way to save lives.
Over the 24 hours of New Year, there were five cases of cowardice against St John Ambulance staff.
People were throwing objects at the ambulances.
In the worst such case, a large rock smashed through the window of an ambulance causing K30,000 worth of damage and injury to an ambulance officer.
Such incidents should be met with public outrage and those responsible made to account for their actions and regret that so much as to not want to repeat them again.
For going out in the night to help people in life-threatening situations, the ambulance staff get stoned and could have possibly lost a life at the hands of some callous drunks. Because of the actions of those few, a very critical service may be denied to those parts of the city or places outside the urban boundaries.
Unfortunately, the metropolitan police chief has even suggested that St John should not venture into certain communities where the attacks on their vehicles have occurred on New Year.
Those drunks may feel they don’t need and appreciate the work of the ambulance officers, but they have absolutely no right to hinder or harass them in any way.
Those responsible constitute a negligible percentage of the community but their actions can affect a critical social service to their neighbourhood.
In any case, those who turned violent against the ambulance service are most likely to fall victims to violence.
Ironically, it would be the ambulance or police who would be the first respondents to ensure that they are taken in for appropriate medical attention.
Some acts of stupidity we can understand and tolerate even, but certainly not this.
Those in the capital should understand how privileged they are to have a fully operational ambulance service whereas many provinces still do not have such a privilege.
Port Moresby residents have the benefit of the service not because they are special people but perhaps because the capital’s population is much larger and more diverse in character than all other centres and chances of emergencies are therefore much higher.
Despite its valuable work, St John Ambulance still does not get the kind of public support they deserve, especially from the Government.
Although they have been promised funding, such assistance does not usually reach them on time when they need it.
This is the uncertain financial situation the ambulance service has been operating under for some time now.
To their credit, they have managed to provide their services to Port Moresby and Central quite well so far, something which we all should commend and appreciate. The St John Ambulance commissioner says these “abhorrent” attacks on their vehicles and personnel were quite rare in the past and have been increasing lately. This is truly concerning.
Almost daily, ambulance officers attend to dangerous situations but have been protected by members of the communities who appreciate their services.
Such assistance from the public should be better coordinated in order to minimise or prevent any future incidents.
People should be encouraged to look out for the safety and welfare of ambulance officers and protect them from cowardly acts by the few.
Please respect the ambulance service.