Sir J lauds police recall

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday 12th December 2011

NEW Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan has commended the recall of police personnel from logging camps.
He said the police force had overstepped its primary responsibility of protecting the rights of people and enforcing peace and good order in communities.
Sir Julius said it had become a common practice for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary to provide security for multi-national corporations, including logging and mining companies, who then subjected local people to heavy-handed treatment.
“It is not the role of our police force paid for by the people of PNG to protect the interests of profit-oriented foreign investors ahead of its prime constitutional charter,” Sir Julius said.
“Time and again, we witness the police force assuming the tasks of private security firms and drafted to logging camps and mining sites and subjecting our ordinary people to kamikaze-type tactics and suppress their rights, even to presidents and elected LLG councillors and chiefs.”
Sir Julius said one clear example was in a recent incident at New Hanover where some people suffered serious injuries and were hospitalised after police, providing security at a logging pond, fired at a bunch of local people who confronted company officials over their rights to timber harvests.
“The police and the companies concerned totally ignore the administration and provincial governments and execute their plans that later require the involvement of these authorities to tidy the mess,” he said.
He commended new police commissioner Tom Kulunga for the corrective measure he had taken to protect and preserve the professional integrity of the force.
Sir Julius said police must respect the authority of provincial governments and consult them on all issues of peace and good order and not act out of their jurisdiction.
“Provincial commanders must not behave like Gestapo chiefs who had no regard for the mandated governments in the provinces,” he said.
“They must always approach issues with greater understanding and accord the provincial governments due protocol and courtesy.
“They can’t serve two masters,” Sir Julius said.