Security personnel ‘must vote’

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GOVERNMENT security personnel who were tasked to provide security at polling sites throughout the country should be given a chance to vote, an official says.
Lae Metropolitan police commander Chief Supt Chris Kunyanban said in past elections, personnel from police, PNG Defence Force and Correctional Services on deployment to provide security did not get the opportunity to vote which was a constitutional right of all Papua New Guineans.
He added that this was also true for polling officials, some of whom did not have the chance to vote due to their work.
“The next government should seriously consider this and make room for such people providing security during the polling to vote as well,” he said.
“This is their constitutional right that they have been deprived off.”
Kunyanban said the issue had been brought up with the PNG Electoral Commission but, so far, this agency had not responded favourably.
“To be honest, I have not been voting for the last few election periods while working as a policeman and this year was my first ever to vote at the Bumbu Police Barracks,” he said.
“During those past elections, I was fully engaged to provide security and couldn’t vote.”
Kunyanban said most police, PNG Defence Force and Correctional Services personnel providing security at polls around the country could not vote.
“Some of them are deployed on duty at sites where they do not have names on common rolls and they are automatically out and cannot vote,” he said.

Mendi prepares for counting

Have your say … Opposition Leader and Vanimo Green MP Belden Namah casting his vote in his village of Somboi in Bewani, West Sepik, yesterday. He urged people to vote in this General Election 2022. He said changes will only come when people vote at the polls. – Picture supplied

POLICE in Southern Highlands supported by business houses and youths did a clean-a-thon at Mendi town yesterday in preparation
for counting to be held at Momei Oval next week after polling on Monday.
Acting police commander Chief Supt Daniel Yangen led police in visits to every corner of the town advising people to stop street vending and relocate to sites away from town or return to their wards and prepare for counting.
“Mendi town is not like a town, people are selling betel nuts, cigarettes, store goods, fried kaukau and lamp flaps and rubbish piled up everywhere,” he said.
“Street vending is attracting dozens of lazy people who could trigger problems during the counting.
“That is why we have stopped all street sales in town and will start to set up roadblocks at entry points and will monitor the movement of people.”
Yangen said people who wanted to do genuine businesses could travel to town but he did not want opportunists to roam around town.
He said police had issued warning to illegal liquor vendors to stop their businesses during the counting period.