We, as part of the Global community are going through some of the most challenging times we have ever experienced with the Covid 19 Pandemic spreading all of the world.
Our Government has imposed a State Of Emergency in the bid to stop the virus from spreading. From the media reports we hear our Health system has also been stretched to the limit due to the scarcity of manpower, equipment, facilities and so forth to cater for a large scale outbreak. We must all individually and collectively play our part in preventing the spread of the virus.
I am not a a Health specialist or Doctor to make any assumptions on the virus however based on the information from the WHO and relevant health authorities it is a new virus that has no cure.
Under the SoE, our Controller, who is also the Commissioner of police has issued certain Orders. The Orders were made in consultation with the advice from the Health Sector and other relevant authorities.
As a country, we must collectively abide by these Orders for our own good. We should all comply with the orders not only for us individually, but for our families and for everyone around us.
Police with the assistance of the PNGDF have a duty to enforce the Orders with regards to public order.
This is not easy task and I ask for your cooperation in this difficult time. We Papua New Guineans are family oriented and outgoing people and we love to gather in big groups in occasions like weddings, party, church, funerals and everyday settings . Alot of our rights have been infringed during this time but these sacrifices and deprivation are for the greater good.
Our PM in one of his speech said, as we go into the State Of Emergency, we would have to make sacrifice. This is what we are experiencing now.
I have travelled to Bereina and Kupiano to see for myself how the rural people of Central province are coping and I am aware of the hardship they are facing.
I also understand that people from Central province who live in the City are generally well connected to the village. They take every opportunity to go home when they can. The SOE had affected them also.
Our people in NCD, especially those in the settlements and indigenous Motuan villages whose hunting and fishing areas have been taken up by the City, depend highly on the informal sector have been also been hit hard.
Businesses have had to scale down, in the process laying off non essential staff and some were terminated as the companies were no longer able to operate.
This is not easy.
But SOE Orders must be followed. We have to follow the orders and not to take the risk and regret later as we only have one life to live.
Recently there have been a barrage of complaints of Police brutality, extortion and others.
In some instances, it is the “Cause of Effect.” Meaning, something happened first for the end result to occur.
Non Compliance of SOE Orders. Everyone must tighten their belts during the SOE. Orders are meant to be followed.
It is unfortunate that we receive complaints of unethical behavior from officers whose actions went overboard.
This is subject to an independent investigation by the Internal Affairs Directorate. The Internal Affairs Directorate operates independently away from the NCD and Central Command of which I am Divisional Commander.
The incidents which happened are very unfortunate.
It can be avoided if people cooperate and comply with take the SoE Orders.
Since taking command of NCD and Central we have gradually seen some improvement in Policing. However the SOE has brought to light some unethical behavior by some of my personel. This will not be brushed aside as I have tasked the Metropolitan Superintendent and PPC Central to look into these complaints and to deal with them appropriately on their own merits.
I also want to state, that the majority of the rank and file are focused on getting the job done. Despite manpower shortage they have had to work long hours with hardly any days off since the commencement of SOE. The personal sacrifes many of them have given with very less complaints, I have so much praise for them. They know they are doing this for everyone.
I appeal to members of the public not to generalise all Police personnel as being rogue and corrupt. That is not the case. We have very dedicated hard working women and men in uniform who go out of their own way to protect lives and properties and some of them get hurt and killed in the process.
Metsupt NCD, PPC Central, my police woman and men have a long and hard road ahead to win back public confidence.
I appeal to you, my personnel, take it upon yourselves to bring back that respect and trust. Don’t be downhearted by negative publicity, but take it as a challenge. We can do better. Many good deeds go unnoticed. People will only talk about the bad and easily forget the positive.
Make sure we exercise common sense, restraint and respect. I have been telling you this everytime.
To avoid anymore confrontations, I have as of yesterday changed a couple of strategies in implementing the SOE Orders. We will step back a little and allow the community to take more ownership. We have done what we can. It’s up to the community to be responsible.
On the streets we will take control. I have a duty to protect my rank and file as well as the integrity of my command and the Constabulary.
We will police where we are accepted.
For the criticisms, as a senior Police Officer, I accept it. I am one who take it and adjust on how we go about doing things. Criticisms will not stop me and my personnel from performing our duties, we will strive to perform better to serve our country.
My officers and I are focused in leading our men and women in Blue to serve.
God Bless all of us and keep our country safe.