PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 26) - Critics of the Australian-funded Enhanced Co-operation Program have had their say about the program.

They must now take note of what Minister for Internal Security Bire Kimisopa has to say in response.

"The PNG Police force is incapacitated left right and center and has been plagued by inadequate funding with very little attention paid to any structural reform in order to meet the needs of all stakeholders of our community. Our police force is infested with corruption, collusion and incompetence within middle management and continues to see moonlighting and the indiscriminate sale of ammunition to the public at considerable cost to society. Its inability to maintain an honorable record on prosecutions has rendered the operations of the PNG police totally inoperable and dysfunctional."

That is the thrust of why Papua New Guinea needs Australian help through the ECP. There are so many complex issues related to this program that the Government — through the Minister for Internal Security — wants to address. Police pay, housing and general welfare issues need to be addressed and resolved to restore morale and discipline into the force.

Law and order is the most serious issue hindering the progress of this country. Unless and until it is tackled and minimized, PNG will never see its way into the future.

Many policemen and women do a commendable job fighting crime. However, the behavior and performance of some has led to public distrust and suspicion of the police force. Police have a constitutional duty to protect the public and performing that role requires police to maintain self-discipline and ethical standards of a high standard.

Sadly, this has been lacking in some elements of the force and we all hope that they will soon fade into history once the ECP is implemented.

PNG deserves a highly disciplined, professional police force and Mr Kimisopa is leading the way in making that happen for the nation. He needs everyone’s support. Critics of the program have failed to offer constructive alternatives to save PNG from crime and to turn the police force into what it should be.

July 26, 2004

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