CRIME "NUMBER ONE THREAT" IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA: KARANI

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 16, 1999 – Post-Courier)---Police and Correctional Service officers have been urged to deliver the nation from the threat of crime.

New Police and CIS Minister Mathias Karani, at a parade ceremony by both services to welcome him, listed crime as a serious threat to democracy and peace.

The former policeman, now minister, said the threats to democracy and peace were coming mainly from corruption (at all levels), including armed hold-ups, rape, murder and "white collar'' crime.

"Crime remains our biggest impediment to progress and development. Breakdown in law and order and the threat to the fabric of our society is like a cancer eating into the soul and it stinks of a moral decay,'' he said.

He said clamping down on corruption and crimes of all levels was not the means to an end, but helped to develop a peaceful and crime free society.

However, Karani warned that both discipline forces could not achieve their objectives and goals through rough-handed tactics, through violation of human rights or by delivering instant justice on a person.

"You are law enforcing agents, not a judge or a juror. I want our police force and the CIS to be people-oriented institutions,'' he said.

"When our police effectively restore order and when the CIS can be made to rehabilitate and reform criminals into good citizens, only then can we aspire to be a country which is truly peaceful.’’

Addressing about 1.000 civilians and 500 police and CIS workers, Karani said fighting crime was also for the public, not just police and warders.

"Every person who wishes to live in a more crime-free society must contribute toward fighting crime. I plead for partnership in the fight against crime,'' he said.

The minister said the restoration of peace and order would ultimately encourage investors.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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