Police Commissioner issues directive against taking sides

The Police Commissioner has issued a directive to all members of the Constabulary throughout the country to refrain from engaging in or taking sides with either the Government or the Opposition during this difficult period.

“Our constitutional duty is to protect life and property and to enforce the law fairly, without fear or favour. And I am now appealing to all members of the Constabulary to remain neutral. We are the people’s police force and therefore our people’s interest will be our main focus and priority,” stated David Manning.

“Following my appeal and direction, I will not hesitate to discipline members who continue to ‘play politics’.”

Manning said the next couple of weeks will be a very challenging and critical period for Papua New Guinea as a nation.

“As we move towards the end of another year which has been a very difficult year for this young nation of ours, matters before the Court and actions thereafter are set to determine the future of our country.

“On Friday the 13th of November, a number of Government Ministers and members crossed the floor and joined the Opposition. They were reported to have adjourned parliament to December 1st, 2020, and have since gone into camp in Vanimo, West Sepik Province.

Parliament was later convened and the Marape Government then passed the 2021 National Budget.

“All of this, I’d like to remind us all, is now before the courts for interpretation. Regardless of the claims by both sides, the Opposition and the Government, these as I said are matters for the courts to interpret.”

Manning said as the Commissioner of Police, he is concerned about the law and order implications this situation may have on the country.

“I am equally concerned as to the actions opportunists may take that may be detrimental to good order and the safety of the general public at large.

“On my part as Commissioner of Police, and as a precaution, I have flown in additional policemen from the other provinces who will be providing security for key government installations within the National Capital District, including the precincts of the National Parliament and the National and Supreme Courts. This is done more so as a deterrence to opportunists who may wish to take advantage of the situation and throw the country into chaos.

“I have had discussions with the Speaker of the National Parliament, Job Pomat. I’ve also discussed with the Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea, Chief Sir Gibbs Salika, through the Registrar of the National and Supreme Court. Both are aware of the police presence around these premises and support our efforts in remaining neutral.

“Under my watch we will provide the condition whereby these two separate and distinct arms of government remain free from any undue influence.”

Manning said Divisional Commander NCD/Central Assistant Commissioner, Anthony Wagambie Junior, who is represented by the Metropolitan Superintendent Perou N’Dranou and Assistant Commissioner Operations Samson Kua, will be coordinating security operations over the coming weeks to ensure that there is nil or minimal disruption to government services, business and public transportation.

“They’ll be reporting directly to the Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations, Donald Yamasombi.

“Again I am encouraging the people to stand with your police force during this time and together let us allow common sense, justice and the rule of law to prevail.

“Thank you and it is my fervent prayer that God will continue to bless and protect Papua New Guinea. God Bless you all.”

Press release