By GABRIEL LAHOC
SERVICEMEN of the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) have always been given accolades for their achievements, while the very people who support them in their public and private lives have been ignored.
This is about to change.
New head of the PNGDF Brig-Gen Francis Agwi said that being the wife of a serving member was a very important role and that it came with a 24-hour responsibility.
On his first official visit to Igam Barracks in Lae, he met with the wives of servicemen.
“Thank you for your support and contribution to the career of your husbands,” he said.
“A good relationship at home is carried forward by the husbands into the workplace.”
Gen Agwi acknowledged the prevalence of wife-bashing in the force for the last 34 years.
The PNGDF has a zero tolerance policy on wife bashing and other forms of abuse, he said.
“I don’t like abuse in the family, only sick people do that,” he said.
He warned that if problems within families failed to be sorted out, the PNGDF would be powerless to interfere with the course of justice if the matter was handed over and dealt with by the police.
He warned those that abused their wife that jail time could be given for such an offence.
“We can only assist police.
“They take control to investigate all reported incidents of wife-bashings,” he said.
The soldiers’ wives asked him to also address extra marital relationships entered into by soldiers when on operations away from home.
They also spoke with him about the to improve the state of their accommodation.
Gen Agwi said only the first wife and children, who are registered with the PNGDF, would be recognised.