By KELVIN JOE
H ENRY Sape left his job with the Justice Department 28 years ago but it has not weakened his desire to see law and order maintained in the community where he lives.
He has been working as a village court magistrate in the Eight-Mile settlement in Port Moresby for more than 20 years determined to keep the community safe.
“I am now working as the Eight-Mile village court chairman to ensure settlers who come from other provinces abide by the law.
“We deal with family disputes, land issues, rows in the community and other minor crimes in the settlement.
“Our work as a court official is to ensure that there is peace and safety in the area allowing everyone to live peacefully and attend to their daily activities.”
Henry, 69, is a widower with six children – five sons and a daughter. He is from Samberigi village in Kagua-Erave, Southern Highlands. His late wife Kay Gunai Sape was from Rigo in Central.
Born on May 25, 1952, Henry was the third eldest of three brothers and a sister.
Henry completed Standard Six education at the Mt Murray Community School (now Don Mosley Primary) in 1969. He attended the Awaba High School (now secondary school) in Western from Form One to Form Four.
In 1976, he enrolled at the University of PNG and went on to study law for two years.
“But I left my studies prematurely to take up a job with the Justice Department through the State Solicitor’s Office.
“ I am now working as the Eight-Mile village court chairman to keep settlers who come from other provinces to abide by the law.”
“I was working as a senior professional officer in the State Solicitor’s Office for 13 years before I left in 1993 to live in the settlement with my family.”
His background in law came in handy at the settlement in Moresby North East.
“I have a keen interest in maintaining law and order here because this is where we live with our family. Law and order in settlements in urban areas is a major issue which the Government and everyone else must address.
“Sometimes, we find it difficult to address alcohol-related issues and conflicts between settlers because they avoid coming for mediation. It can lead to major conflicts such as tribal fights, loss of lives and destruction of properties.
“We need manpower to address law and order in the community and settlement. The Government should also engage youths to work with us to maintain law and order in an effective and timely manner.”
He has been working with other settlers to develop the settlement and make government services easily accessible.
“I am still waiting for the Government to give us land titles. Some of us are living here for more than 30 years but do not have the titles to develop our area.
“Water and other government services have not improved.
“We need the Government to give us land titles and have good policies to develop the settlement in urban areas to improve the lives of ordinary people.
“Most of us are living in the urban settlements because we could not afford to rent and buy a house in town and cities.”
For now, Henry is focused on maintaining law and order and improving living conditions at the settlement – for the good of everyone living there.