Story and picture by ELIZABETH MIAE
ACTING police commissioner Tony Wagambie has assured the PNG LNG project developer ExxonMobil that there is no threat to the security of the operations at the project sites.
Wagambie gave the assurance yesterday after ExxonMobil expressed concerns that recent changes made by the government to the police hierarchy would see the withdrawal of the current police officers deployed at the project sites in the Gulf and Southern Highlands areas.
He reiterated an assurance to the government and investors that the police force was intact and that they were loyal to the government.
He also brushed aside talks of dissatisfaction within the police force, adding that any reports of officer revolt would be dealt with accordingly.
Wagambie was speaking during a media briefing at the Airlines PNG airport terminal building after returning from the LNG project site in the Southern Highlands yesterday.
He and senior executives from ExxonMobil, including the developer’s regional director for security operations, flew into the province on Saturday and visited Moro, Gobe, Kopi, Mendi and Nogoli.
Wagambie told reporters that the executives from ExxonMobil were happy with the current security arrangement up there.
Upon his arrival in the province, he was welcomed to a reception by his men and women on the ground.
He reminded them of their constitutional duties of being in the police force and told them that if anyone of them had differences and wanted to leave, they were free to go.
“There are 150 police officers currently deployed there and I told them if anybody wants to go, they can go. I can replace them.”
He also appealed to the media to be more accurate in their reporting.
Wagambie said recent reports of police officers threatening to leave the site was all propaganda and asked journalists to get information from official sources.