Rampage ‘politically motivated’: PNG Police chief

PORT MORESBY,23 NOVEMBER 2018 (LOOP PNG) – Papua New Guinea Police and Commander of the Joint Security Task Force (JSTF)Gari Baki claims the Parliament rampage was politically motivated.

He says an investigation will soon commence to find out the cause of the unrest and individuals who instigated it, though members of the JSTF said they were frustrated over the non-payment of APEC allowance.

A very disappointed Commissioner said it was clearly outlined to members of the JSTF that they would be paid K200 (US$61) per day for over 18 days of operations. However, an incident started on November 18th at Games Village, UPNG, where members of the task force demanded to be paid K500 (US$51) a day as APEC was an international event.

“So somebody has misled people,” Baki stated. “We were able to contain that.

“On Monday the 19th, there was an incident involving a small, small group of Defence Force officers. There was damage done to Oakley Haus. I was here when they opened this door, but they had respect for the Commissioner. When they saw me standing over there, they just shut the door and off they went.”

While the PNGDF dealt with those officers internally and debunked the K500 allowance misinformation, Baki said he was caught off-guard the next day when he met to farewell and commend his staff on a job well done, only to be faced with a large group of disgruntled security forces.

He said one should read between the lines and work out why, after the delivery of a successful APEC operation, the issue of allowance suddenly emerged.

“It is disappointing that politics had to choose the very weak fabric of command structure in both organisations (Correctional Services and police) that they come inside and destroy both organisations. It is shameful,” stated Baki.

Baki said his investigations will unearth the reason why on November 20th, police and Correctional Services personnel chose to convoy to the Parliament where, coincidentally, the Opposition was present.

However, in a non-related press conference, member of the Opposition and East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, said they were in Parliament that day because they were working on the Shadow Treasurer’s budget response.

“As any good Opposition would do. That’s what we were doing,” said Bird. “We had no part in it, whatsoever. But this is the trick of the Government, this is how they try to trick the public.

“We don’t control the police minister, we don’t control the defence minister, we don’t control the secretary for finance or treasury. All of these people report to the Government.”

Bird’s counterpart, Madang MP Bryan Kramer, also cautioned Baki to refrain from making accusations that he cannot prove, given the sensitivity of the public concerning corruption and the issue of the misuse of public funds.

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