PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Nov. 7) – Once again we have to state that people in responsible positions are setting the wrong example for the rest of their people. This time, it goes further than us pointing the finger of blame at political leaders.

On this occasion, the blame goes to the "line officers’’ who are supposed to carry out their duties to the people and their employers, the Government.

The policemen in the mobile squads that virtually went on strike last week in pursuit of their special allowances fall straight into this category.

They have the onerous duty of enforcing the rule of law in Papua New Guinea. By refusing to obey orders, they were in blatant breach of their terms of employment.

To make matters worse, much worse, they then took charge of the Bomana Police College premises and reportedly prevented some of their most senior commanders from entering or leaving the property.

Dire threats were reportedly made to top officers of the Royal PNG Constabulary of what would happen if the sought after money was not produced quickly.

It was hinted that mobile squad police would leave the college and take strong measures in the civilian society in Port Moresby. This, from policemen sworn to uphold the rule of law!

The matter of their allowances may well be a just one. After all, the top police and figures in government certainly jumped into action when the barricades went up at the college.

The money was found and handed over to the mobile squad members late on Friday. They were then flown out of the capital, back to their normal bases, on the Government’s own aircraft.

This leaves a very sour taste in the mouths of ordinary citizens who do not have macho uniforms and death-dealing weapons to back up their demands for allowances.

While the Government keeps a tight lid on wage claims and industrial demands and urges unionists to go through the right channels, one privileged group of its employees take up their "working tools’’…guns…. and use their implied intentions to get what they want.

So will every government behave in the same way when future police or soldiers get impatient about their job conditions?

Whatever happened to the Police Association, their mouthpiece for dealings on industrial matters?

If the association is not doing the job, it is up to the members to do something about it at properly conducted meetings.

The way in which these allowances were plucked from the Government, virtually at gunpoint, does not give the rest of Papua New Guineans a good feeling.

November 8, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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