APEC Minister on outstanding allowance issue

The APEC Minister has distanced himself from the outstanding Joint Security Task Force allowance issue, saying they have already given the necessary funds.

His statement follows reports of PNG Defence Force soldiers and police officers gathering yesterday at the Sir Manasupe Haus for their outstanding payment.

“The responsibility to pay the allowances for these joint security forces is a job of the commissioner of police,” Minister Justin Tkatchenko said.

“He has been given the funding, as of last year, and this year, to pay all the allowances necessary to those that worked during APEC for security.

“For the APEC Authority, under Chris Hawkins, and me as the Minister, we facilitated to ensure that the Joint Security Task Force got their funding for their operations and their allowances.

“It’s for the police commissioner and his staff to get their act together and pay the allowances according to the work that was done.

“So for me, we’ve done our part. Finance (Department) has done its part.”

Tkatchenko further said his conscience is clear, adding the disciplined forces have a chain of command.

“Instead of standing outside of a government building causing problems, there is a chain of command where they can go to their superiors and find out the answers that they’re looking for.

“I see it as a big problem, when it comes to these sort of activities, going around our city with the destruction and rampage through our national parliament, and now these blockages of roads and buildings by so-called disgruntled soldiers and police.

“I just hope that the police commissioner can resolve the issues with the allowances. That is his responsibility to ensure that those soldiers, police and Correctional Services, and others under his command get paid.”

The Minister said if there are any issues, the JSTF Commander and Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, should meet with them and they will rectify it together.

“But, as far as I’m concerned, no one’s come to me and asked me for any extra allowances,” added Tkatchenko.

Meantime, Commissioner Baki had said that he had done his part by paying all allowances, where every individual engaged to assist the Joint Security Task Force was aware of the K200 per day allowance over a period of 18 days. The outstanding one is the commitment made by political leaders when they increased the rate to K500 per day.

“That’s the commitment that was made by our political leaders when they spoke to our men and women at the stadium. That’s what is being outstanding,” Baki said in a January 22nd press briefing, referring to the meeting at the Sir John Guise stadium after the November 20th Parliament rampage.

Carmella Gware