The National, Friday November 1st, 2013
PLEASE allow me to express my concern on behalf of my comrades on the long delay on payments of outstanding hardship and housing entitlements for retrenched servicemen of the PNGDF under the downsize programme in 2002.
It has been almost 11 years and they are truly overdue.
These dedicated men, at the prime of their lives, gave everything they had to answer the call of duty.
We have served our country with pride, dignity and dedication, and yet the very system we served and protected turns a blind eye on us, using delay tactics.
As time passes, most of these distinguished servicemen will continue to suffer the perils of life in villages and settlements.
Out of the 2,500 men retrenched, 700 or more have already passed on, gone with their hopes.
The remaining diggers, as we speak are medically unfit, physically weak and mentally stressed to attend to commitments.
We are supposed to be enjoying our retirement, but instead we go through stress, anxiety and discomfort.
This is outrageous and humiliating and is condemned in the strongest terms.
Serving members should take note as sooner or later, you will be ex-servicemen too.
Ex-servicemen in other countries are legends and living memories of significant events.
They are a valued, proud group of special people and highly respected members of their communities.
The Kumul Force put an end to the uprising led by Jimmy Stevens on the island of Esprinto-Santo in Vanuatu in the 1980s and carried out the evacuation programme during the 1984 eruption of Mt Tuvavur in Rabaul as well as Operation Bumwantaim in 1990 in Bougainville.
We have been there, seen it and done it so that people can live in peace and harmony.
Prime minster and defence minister, the question is how long will we have to wait receive those entitlements before more comrades join their brethren in graves?