What has become obvious in Alotau and the Milne bay province is a general break
down in law and order.
You don’t have to go to a police station to see the occurrences being reported. They are being posted onFacebook regularly. Over the last three years, the provincial capital has seen a steady increase in criminal activities. Shops are being robbed in broad daylight. Many of the criminals are getting away without being caught.
Police Commissioner, Gary Baki, issued orders for investigations. Alotau police followed up with arrests. But the criminal activity continued.
In a statement, Bank South Pacific said: “We would also like to express our disappointment at yet another violent robbery in the Province and advise that we will not replace the ATM until security in the area improves.”
The incident followed another armed robbery outside BSP’s Alotau branch in December2017 during which two people died.
A month later, criminals robbed tourists at the Tawali Resort. They took wallets, cash and other valuables from the Asian and North American tourists. Eyewitnesses reported that the gang of 16 men were armed with assault weapons.
As the number of robberies, shootings and armed assaults rose, public confidence in Police was on a steady decline.
In November, a drunk policeman drove a vehicle into a group instantly killing a woman and two children. Relatives of the woman and children blocked off roads and demanded that the offenders be arrested.
In just one month, there has been another crisis.
Overnight, police burned 17 houses at the Kitava compound leaving 27 families homeless. Eyewitnesses said police were searching for criminals who had robbed a Chinese restaurant in town and escaped through the settlement.
Alotau resident and former judge, Brian Brunton, has since called on the Police Commissioner to remove the Provincial Police Commander. He has also called for the Governor, Sir Luke Cretin, to resign.
“There is absolutely no leadership here,” Brunton said. “There are serious piracy concerns in the area where the Justice Minister comes from. Nothing is being done about it.