Mr Manning said the ethnic clash currently occurring in the city, has caused fear and anxiety among city residents, over the last three days.
Manning said, “Whilst Police is out on the streets of Port Moresby to prevent further blood-shed and keep the peace, real and lasting peace can be restored with the assistance of the leadership of both groups at the family, clan, tribal, ward, district, provincial and national levels.”
“These ethnic clashes have been going on for some time now between various ethnic groups within the NCD and also in other parts of the country. We need to seriously look into these clashes and identify the underlying causes. Whilst drugs and alcohol may be contributing factors, there could be other reasons as well.
“Law and order is not an exclusive police responsibility but is everyone’s business. So leaders at all levels of society must step up and take responsibility,” Manning said.
Manning, who is also the Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response said the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of 115 people and infected over 10,000.
He made a reminder that health facilities around the country are overwhelmed; the last thing they need is more patients with injuries from these ethnic clashes.
“These ongoing ethnic clashes are symptoms of serious underlying problems within our country and we all need to address them instead of expecting them to go away. Police are currently playing a fireman’s role and we are under resourced and do not have the numbers to keep up this role. Society at large need to step up and accept that they have a shared responsibility to law and order as well,” Manning said.
In the meantime, the Police Commissioner has offered a short-term solution, which is currently being discussed, and that is a State of Emergency for NCD.
For the long-term Manning suggested revisiting other proposals such as the reintroduction of the Vagrancy Act, but this time as a provision under a proposed Internal Protection and Security Act.
“What is happening around the country should serve as a warning to all of us that things are not right and we need to start planning now and put in place better laws, systems and structures for a better future,” he said.