Political leaders must address Hela situation: Baki

Police Commissioner Gari Baki is calling on relevant political leaders and agencies to immediately address the situation at the PNG LNG plant site at Hides, Hela Province.

Baki says this issue has blown out of proportion and it needs to be addressed before another state of emergency, or call out, is required.  

He said collective effort is needed at this point. It is not an issue concerning security or police anymore, and unless there is a matter of law and order, police can only do so much.

Baki said security can be provided. Personnel have already been deployed however, the police hierarchy cannot afford to constantly deploy a large number of personnel every time issues of this nature arise.

In an earlier report, shadow Minister for Democratic Institutions and the Rule of Law, Kerenga Kua, said PNG is on the brink of lawlessness and unless immediate measures are taken to address this problem, ordinary citizens cannot be guaranteed any protection by the leadership of this country.

This statement was directed at Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, whom the shadow minister blamed for the lawlessness in Hela Province.

The Prime Minister had responded to this newsroom on the 21st of November that the security personnel, under directives from the government, were on ground to keep order at the site and in the province.

He added that the problem is ongoing due to landowner issues not properly being addressed during the signing of LNG agreements by previous governments.

Prime Minister O’Neill said security forces are on the ground maintaining law and order, with the number of manpower to increase in the next few days.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Baki said this is a government issue which will need to be addressed by the relevant political leaders, particularly leaders from Hela and the relevant agencies involved.

The commissioner added that these landowners are only raising concerns over what is owed to them. It will only become a security matter if they break the rule of law.

(Police Commissioner Gari Baki)

Imelda Wavik