PNG OFFICIAL PULLS GUN ON ROWDY CROWD

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 22) – A PROVINCIAL leader yesterday admitted waving a gun at a rowdy crowd of teachers and others in Port Moresby.

Central Provincial Administrator Raphael Yibmaramba said he pulled out his registered automatic 9mm pistol and cocked it with the intention to ward off a crowd of Central Province teachers approaching him.

Badili police officers confirmed they received a report from a group of "disgruntled" teachers that Mr Yibmaramba allegedly took out his pistol and cocked it.

"They were charging at me. They threw stones to the office and were rowdy. I pulled out the pistol, not to shoot them or point at them, but to keep them from approaching me," Mr Yibmaramba said, adding he was waiting for the police to contact him.

Police officers Elsie Emiabo and First Constable Augerea Sina attended to the complaint at Konedobu and collected statements from eye witnesses.

The teachers had been gathering at the office awaiting their holiday and leave entitlements to travel to their home provinces for the festive season.

These teachers have three weeks left before they return to their schools for the start of the new school year.

The dissatisfied teachers told the Post-Courier that officers at the provincial government office never gave an exact date when they would be given their entitlements, but advised them to come the following day — which has become "every day".

Spokesman Patrick Dimsok from New Ireland Province, who is the headmaster for Iobuna Kouba Primary School at 14-Mile, said some teachers had been waiting for entitlements for several years.

But Mr Yibmaramba said there were no outstanding entitlements to be paid to teachers. "All outstanding entitlements have been paid," he said.

"And those waiting are only for the teachers’ entitlements for 2006," he said, adding the funds for the 2006 entitlements were received from the Treasury Department at about 5.30pm last Friday.

This money was now with the provincial treasury and being processed.

The teachers complained that it was not the first time that they had been denied going home for recreation leave.

Mr Yibmaramba said in the past in Central Province there were no updated records of the teachers and some "non-genuine" teachers took advantage of this and received leave fares and other entitlements.

Since becoming administrator he said he ordered the records updated and entitlements of previous years paid.

The only backlog, he said, was this year’s.

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

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