PNG FIREARMS REPORT KEPT OUT OF PARLIAMENT

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Recommendations to control gun violence made in 2005

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 2, 2009) – The guns committee report was never meant to see the light of day, former internal security minister Bire Kimisopa said yesterday.

Mr. Kimisopa said despite the hard fact that 90 percent of the violent crimes committed in Papua New Guinea involved the use of guns, his efforts as minister responsible for police to table the guns committee report in Parliament, did not get any support from his cabinet colleagues.

"I tried to table the report in Parliament but was never given any opportunity," Mr Kimisopa said.

The report was commissioned by the Government and prepared by the National Guns Control Committee headed by former defence force commander Major Gen (retired) Jerry Singirok.

Kimisopa questioned why the Somare Government had still not seen fit to table the report despite the fact that it had a bipartisan report.

He said police statistics clearly stated that violent crimes such rape, armed robbery, break and enter and murder all involved the use of guns, yet this was not enough to convince the Government to take action on the guns committee report which was sanctioned by both the Government and the Opposition and funded by the United Nations Development Programme and AusAID.

"What amazes me is that politicians have no guts to table the report and its recommendations in Parliament," Kimisopa said.

"I tried to table the report but I was not given any opportunity to do so.

"I knew then that the report would be thrown out and that it was not going to see the light of day," Kimisopa said, adding that the copies "disappeared" and he was unable to take them to Parliament.

It was then that he said he knew the report was never meant to be tabled in Parliament and become a public document.

The guns committee report made 200 recommendations on how to control the escalation of gun violence and was presented to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare in late 2005 and to date, it remains outside of Parliament.

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