PNG Considers Declaring State Of Emergency To Address Threats To Public Order

Threats made to disrupt vital services in Port Moresby until PM steps down

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 12, 2016) – The National Security Advisory Council will meet today to discuss a threat by a group of concerned citizens and professionals to disrupt vital services in Port Moresby, including air services, water and electricity, to force Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to resign.

The council may consider asking the National Executive Council to declare a state of emergency by invoking the Internal Security Act and Essential Services Act, Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said yesterday.

Under these emergency powers, police and soldiers will be called out to help maintain law and order in Port Moresby. Businessman and lawyer Moses Murray and pilot Captain John Mapok said on Sunday that concerned and professional Papua New Guineans want Mr O’Neill to resign within 48 hours because he has turned a blind eye to the current crisis, but also on a number of serious allegations levelled against him which were still outstanding.

"The Office of the Prime Minister belongs to the people of Papua New Guinea. That office is not any prime minister’s personal office nor is it his birthright," they said.

"It is with grave concern that the professional working class and the ordinary citizens want to express the brunt of this country’s failing economy being felt by all as a result of the consequences of Peter O’Neil’s tyrant style leadership.

"In the best interest of all citizens concerned uphold and safeguard the Constitution, we therefore demand Peter O’Neill to resign from the Office of the Prime Minister and subject himself to the process of the rule of law."

[PIR editor's note: On July 12, 2016 RNZI reported that 'Papua New Guinea's two most recent former prime ministers have issued a call for the current prime minister, Peter O'Neill, to step down. ... Sir Michael Somare and Sir Mekere Morauta said the country is heading down an uncertain, slippery road, led by a man behaving increasingly like a dictator, showing total disregard for the law.']

Yesterday, Mr Lupari said the invocation of the Internal Security Act and Essential Services Act will give police the ultimate power to arrest anyone including union or any groups inciting violence and threatening public and State properties.

He said that there will be no disruptions to government services because this is a criminal offence and anyone doing this will be arrested and charged.

He said all services will be operating normal and no services will be disrupted.

"NSAC will be meeting tomorrow. This is the committee that advises the Government on security matters, invoking the Internal Security Act, which means that police will have the ultimate power or full powers to arrest anyone who incites public violence and disrupt government services or threaten public property," Mr Lupari said.

He said that what the "concerned and professional group" was doing was unlawful and they could not hold people to ransom.

"These are criminal acts so that is why the National Security Advisory Council will revoke the Internal Security Act and Essential Services Act. Police are also looking into the matter," he added.

The police and military will be used where and when necessary to exercise their duties under the emergency law.

The Industrial Registrar’s Office said yesterday it has not received any formal request for a protest from the trade unions or anyone.

PNG Post-Courier
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