PNG Police Told To Remain Politically Neutral
Security measures in capital beefed up
By Jacklyn Sirias
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 22, 2016) – Police in the National Capital District have been warned not to take sides with political parties when parliament resumes today.
NCD and Central Commander Sylvester Kalaut (pictured) issued the warning yesterday as police beefed up security measures for today’s vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
“I’d like to warn the members of the constabulary not to take sides with any politicians or any political parties when the vote of no confidence is exercised on the floor of parliament,” Kalaut said.
“We respect the members of the constabulary as individuals who have right to associate themselves with others.
“But by wearing the blue uniform, there is restriction on us from engaging or affiliating ourselves with political parties or with political interests.”
Kalaut said police personnel who disobeyed orders would be dealt with. Kalaut said the first and foremost role of the police was to keep peace and good order in the city during the parliament proceeding.
“From command, we are committed and we must be neutral to ensure that peace and harmony is maintained in the community.
“We should ensure that the vote of no confidence is carried out peacefully and without any interference,” Kalaut said.
“There will be no disruptions to the parliamentary proceedings or disruptions to other services in the city. Police will be there to deal with anybody who violates the law or who tries to disrupt services.”
Kalaut appealed to non-governmental organisations, other interested parties and the general public to respect the rule of law and allow proceedings peacefully as police would be out in full force.
“Our leaders are mandated to represent our interests on the floor of parliament, of which they will exercise their judgement.
“We are not politicians, so we should let them (leaders) instead to do what they are supposed to do as per their own concerns.
“For it is a parliamentary process, it is guided by the constitution and the rules of the national parliament as to how it will be conducted.
“The process has been ordered by the court so let the process take its course.” He added that business operations in the city would be normal during the day.
NCD Met Supt Benjamin Turi said police would not tolerate people congregating in public places to take sides in the current political issue. He urged people to watch the sitting, which should be telecast on EMTV and NBC TV.
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