ENB Governor, Michael Marum, Gazelle MP and Minister for Fisheries & Marine Resources Jelta Wong, Pomio MP Elias Kapavore and Kokopo MP Eremas ToBaining Jr held the first awareness last Saturday January 28, 2023 in Kokopo with a 3 kilometer walk for peace.
Rabaul MP Graham Rumet did not participate due to another prior commitment and was represented by LLG presidents.
“The increase in law-and-order problems in Kokopo and other parts of the province is alarming. We have come out to the community to show that we ‘care’ about our place,” Governor Marum told a huge gathering at Kokopo market.
“I want you all, especially the youths to follow and adhere to what your leaders are saying and doing.”
He said armed hold- ups, break and enters, home brew, drugs, village fights and so on were on the rise.
“I appeal to everyone in the province whether you reside in Rabaul, Kokopo, Kerevat, Pomio or wherever that if the situation does not improve and if you are not from that place, if you are not working, if you are not doing anything constructive. I will personally come and ask you to go back to wherever you came from,” Governor Marum said.
“If you are not from East New Britain and cause trouble, you will be removing yourself from our society.”
“We have provided our Police personnel with new vehicles in Kokopo, Rabaul and Kerevat, upgraded prison cells and engaged security companies at the main towns to curb the law and order situation and carry out this exercise if the need arises,” Marum said.
He said a call has been made to close the New Britain Highway until a proper Police border post is established, including a Water Police base in Kokopo as well as additional Police posts and personnel at the crime hotspots.
“I will use all options available to fight against criminal activities and elements in our province,” Marum said.
Meantime, Mr Tobaining said the ‘unity’ shown by the MPs is to hear the people’s desire in controlling law and order for a better ENB and called on every individual residing in Kokopo city to take part in addressing the situation.
“Regardless of which side of Parliament we are in, we are standing together and I call upon business houses, churches, leaders, parents, elders, youths and the media for your undivided support in this cause,” he said.
MP Wong said: “It was important to understand life and its values. Before one decides to cause trouble or involve in illegal activities, ask yourself if this is adding any value to your life.”
He said law and order was an issue for everybody to address. Wong urged the people to educate and correct those who do wrong in their homes and communities.
MP Kapavore added: “We must restore peace and harmony in our province. Nobody from outside will come and solve this for us.”