New Gun Control Report Co-funded By Australia And NZ: PNG Leading Pacific Illegal Gun Use By Staggering Margin

Retired army commander: challenges PNG government to elliminate illegal firearms before 2017 general election

By Rosalyn Albaniel

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 10, 2016) – The National Government has been challenged to revisit the Guns Control report of 2005 and rid the country of illegal firearms before the 2017 general election.

Retired army commander Jerry Singirok renewed the call yesterday.

Mr Singirok headed the team which was responsible for compiling this report which was co-funded by the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

It has been 11 years since the report was completed and tabled in Parliament and Mr Singirok is gravely disappointed that the political will is absent in acting on the 244 recommendations of the report.

"Guns remain the single largest threat to society and the need for its total elimination is now heightened with the 2017 General Election just around the corner.

"The challenge on the Government is to start a debate. I know it has other priorities, but I am urging that this be given some attention in light of the security threat that it poses, especially on the lives of citizens who will be taking to the polls in the coming election," Mr Singirok said.

"PNG leads in its (illegal guns) use compared to all the Pacific Island countries put together. It is terrifying and is not good for tourism, for business and investment."

According to Mr Singirok, the Guns Control report took eight months to complete. It was done with the assistance of partners including the Australian and New Zealand governments and New York.

Some of the key recommendations were:

Establishment of a Gun violence Council;
Surveillance along the international borders of the country be stepped up; and
Amendments made to the existing firearms legislation.
Former Post-Courier Editor Oseah Philemon also raised similar concerns during an official company function for journalists last weekend.

Mr Philemon said the campaign against the threat of illegal guns was launched in 2004 and had received overwhelming support nationwide.

He said it was the campaign launched by the newspaper that led to the appointment of the committee that toured the provinces and spoke to people from all walks of life, resulting in the report subsequently tabled in Parliament for debate.

"Sadly, I say that the attitude of some of our leaders towards the report and its recommendations had left a lot to be desired. "It seemed that there was no real urgency or desire to deal with the threat of gun violence in Papua New Guinea and for highlighting a serious issue that still confronts PNG today.

"As we approach the General Election in 2017, the threat of illegal guns to the smooth running of the General Election remains a serious threat indeed."

PNG Post-Courier
Copyright © 2016 PNG Post-Courier. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment