No APEC ‘lockdown’ in PNG

PORT MORESBY, 17 AUGUST 2018 (POST COURIER) – No lockdown during APEC summit in Papua New Guinea in November.

That is the official word from Minister for APEC Justin Tkatchenko and Police Commissioner Gari Baki.

They said the continuous rumours of a “lockdown” in Port Moresby, spurned by social media, was “absolute rubbish”.

There will be no five-day lockdown during the all-important APEC Leaders’ Summit on November 12-18.

“There will be no area blocked for public usage except areas where the meetings will be held, businesses and offices will not be affected by the week-long meeting,” Tkatchenko said.

This is because the two main days of the World leaders meeting are Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18, when many day-to-day business operations, jobs and schools are off.

On top of that, November 15 and 16 have been declared public holidays when most of the world leaders would arrive.

APEC Leaders’ Summit runs from November 12 to 18.

Police Commissioner Baki said although the APEC Safety and Security Act was in place for amendment, there would be no shoot-to-kill orders, no immunity for foreign troops, no jail terms, no detentions without bail and no agreement to avoid prosecution.

“All the unfounded statements appearing on social media are just that…rubbish.”

Baki added that the continuous rumors of a lockdown had caused widespread panic and hindered police work “when people continue to say rubbish about APEC”.

Tkatchenko said that the recent passing of the APEC Safety and Security Bill was to allow leaders to bring in close protection officers (CPO) who would be armed to protect their leaders.

“The Papua New Guinea laws still apply, the Government will never ever jeopardise the safety of the people, with safety priority being number one.

“Under the law, close protection officers are a must for security of their world leaders and they need clearance to come into our country, the Act allows for CPOs to come in with their weapons.”

Tkatchenko said that a “sunset clause” in the Act allows the armed CPO to move around with their leader during the APEC meetings.

“The sunset clause will cease when the meeting ends.”

Baki further said they have the APEC Safety and Security Act to provide the guidance. “Members of the public will be informed properly about any activities to be carried out.

“And anyone who threatens a world leader will be arrested immediately as has been applied to any other countries in the world,” Baki added.

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