By ISAAC NICHOLAS
PAPUA New Guinea and Queensland have signed an historic agreement formalising the Australian state correctional service to assist PNG Correctional Services in training programmes and establishment of the prison authority service.
The memorandum of understanding was signed between PNG CS commissioner Richard Sikani and Queensland commissioner of corrections Kelvin Anderson in Brisbane last Friday.
The MoU was signed after discussions between CS Minister Tony Aimo and his Queensland counterpart Neil Roberts during a visit to Queensland correctional centres and the training academy last Wednesday and Thursday.
Aimo was accompanied by Sikani and CS deputy commissioner operations Henry Wavik visit was to view
the Queensland prison industries structure with the intention of establishing a prison industries authority along the same lines in PNG.
The second part of the visit was to establish whether the Queensland CS was in a position to assist in the provision of delivering middle and senior management training to PNG CS staff.
The training programme would start as early as next May with a first batch of CS middle level and senior management officers to undertake three-six month training course in Queensland.
Aimo said this was a twinning agreement that would also see Queensland corrections conducting training in PNG.
He and his team returned to Port Moresby on Saturday satisfied that they had accomplished the purpose with the signing of the MoU.
“I am pleased to say that we have formalised an agreement and signed an MoU for Queensland CS to assist with the training of our staff.”
He said the agreement would enable PNG corrections to gain training from Queensland, which had the expertise and experience not only in training but also the development of the prison authority service.
“I will put a submission to the National Executive Council for the establishment of the prison authority
service that will be the vehicle to drive the prison rehabilitation programme.”
Aimo said the first phase would be to rehabilitate the agriculture industries where CS had vast amount of land to grow food to back the government’s food security policy.
He said in the 1960s up to the early 70s, Bomana prison was like the Pacific Adventist University where city residents rushed to get their fresh produce from the prisons.
He said the second phase was to invite the private sector to establish themselves within the prison system under the government’s public-private-partnership initiative using prison labour.
Aimo said metal fabrication was good example training be could imparted to prisoners who were
then paid fortnightly allowances that would be kept in their accounts and given back when they
were released to start a new life in their communities.
“When a prisoner finishes his term, he is a certified tradesman, walking out of jail with skills.”
Aimo said the Queensland system was very advanced and he hoped to draw some of that expertise in his endeavour to improve the prison system and rehabilitation in Papua New Guinea prison system.