Sort out force, PM told

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday October 30th, 2013


THE Government needs to urgently address the problems facing the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, former Commander Brig-Gen Jerry Singirok said yesterday.

Singirok told Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on the FM 100 Talkback Show that while defence cooperation between Israel and PNG was welcomed, the defence force had many in-house problems that had to be resolved first.

“The defence force is now riddled with in-house issues,” he told O’Neill.

“Married quarters, in particular, have not been freed up so that former soldiers can be paid off and sent home, to support the government’s medium to long-term security issues that are highlighted in the Defence White Paper,” he said.

“All the statements that you are making can’t work until we clean the defence force.

“In 1999, a particular government reduced the force from 5,000 to 2,000.

“That alone has really crippled the force to where it is now.

“It’s a quagmire we can’t get out of so I urge you and your government to take ownership of the defence force so that it’s ready to support the government, particularly the 2015 Pacific Games and APEC in 2018.”