By ANDREW ALPHONSE
POLICE, students, market vendors and the public in Hela conducted a major clean-up of Tari town in the Southern Highlands province on Easter Saturday.
About 100 policemen which included Mobile Squad 11 members (MS11) from Wabag in Enga, MS01 unit from McGregor Barracks in Port Moresby, National Capital District and Tari’s own MS09 unit sacrificed their Easter break to stage the clean-up.
MS11 was deployed to Tari on Feb 10 to help MS09 to maintain law and order, including providing security for the multi-billion-kina PNG LNG project’s early works.
MS01 is currently providing the security for LNG project developer ExxonMobil and is based in the Hides gas project site in the Nogoli camp.
More than 300 students and teachers from St Joseph’s Tari Secondary School and Dauli Teachers College also joined the police in the clean-up.
They divided themselves into groups and worked in various parts of the town, covering the Tari Hospital compound, main market, bus-stops, shopping areas, the ceremonial Andaija oval, airport and along the roads.
The group collected rubbish strewn all over the place that had been uncollected and left in filthy piles for many years.
Some policemen and students also cut tall grasses and shrubs by the road sides and on the sides of the fenceless Tari aerodrome.
The public and market vendors, who were taken by surprise, then voluntarily joined to help in the clean-up which started at 7am and ended at about 2pm with light refreshments at the Tari police station.
The idea to stage the public and voluntary clean-up of the town was jointly initiated by MS09 squad commander Chief Sgt Peter Buka and his MS11 counterpart Insp Timothy Mataro.
Sgt Buka and Insp Mataro said police saw that, despite the decrease in lawlessness and crime in the area with their presence and operations, the town was littered with garbage while the Tari town authority continued to turn a blind eye.
They said the cleanathon was part of their “community policing” drive and sought the help of students and local business houses.
Among the public who joined the students and policemen to clean the town included members of the Hela Sharks rugby league team that would be representing Tari in the off-season Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup competition and local public servants.
Even children on their Easter break had great fun joining the policemen in the community work parade.
Sgt Buka and Insp Mataro expressed their gratitude to everyone especially the staff and students of Tari secondary and Dauli for taking part in the clean-up.
They also thanked local business houses like GMT Enterprises Ltd, Huli Opena Investments Ltd, Menduli Trading, Malaysian-owned One Hill Supermarket, Amek Trading, international contractor Curtain Brothers (PNG) Ltd, Barrick (PNG) Ltd, Porgera Joint Venture’s (PJV) Tari office, Toa Trading, Alipu Guest House and other individuals who assisted in providing refreshments for the cleanathon despite the short notice.