BSP Closes Padipadi Sub-Branch

BSP CEO, Robin Fleming said no staff were seriously injured despite being assaulted during the course of the incident that occurred around lunchtime. 

“This is the second such attack on BSP at Padipadi with the previous robbery in 2016, then in May of 2018 where an ATM was stolen at Hagita Estate and never recovered. The criminals also ransacked a BSP ATM at the Alotau International Hotel in 2019.

Alotau Hosts Meet On Alcohol-Related Violence

Elias Kapavore, Member for Pomio and Deputy Chairman for the SPCARV, called for a collective effort in quelling issues surrounding alcohol-related violence.

The sub-committee led by the Deputy Chairman initiated consultations with the Milne Bay Provincial Government and the Provincial Liquor Licensing Unit, the police, Correctional Services, Provincial Health Authority, schools, community leaders and church representatives.

School Receives Desks

BSP Alotau Branch has supported the school with a new multi-sport court, sporting equipment, 46 new double-seater desks and renovated its double classroom that houses two grade six (6) classes. The assistance is part of its 2021 Community Project initiative.

School Headmaster Eugene Awilo in expressing his gratitude towards BSP Alotau Branch said, “Goilanai Primary School is the only level seven (7) primary school in Milne Bay which is being prepared to be converted to a junior high school to cater for the 1-6-6 education structure.”

Virgin Coconut Oil Production

Since 2019, the biannual WCD has only been celebrated in Alotau. This year's WCD theme was ‘Invest in Coconut to Save the World.’

The WCD celebrations attracted coconut growers from the four provincial districts like Alotau, Samarai Murua, Esa'ala and Kiriwina Good Enough.

According to one organizer, Milne Bay Division of Agriculture Livestock, Principal Advisor, Jonathan Kapoila, since the inaugural event, WCD celebrations in 2019 at Bubuletta, the coconut growers had improved their range of coconut products.

Gov’t blamed for closing projects

He said the closure of major projects in the country is affecting the country’s economy.  

“We had a lot of these projects that were ready to go but it’s been two years now and a lot of money could have helped the economy if Porgera didn’t shut down.

“Porgera could have been renegotiated easily. They offered us 60 per cent of the take and an additional 15 per cent equity and they also offered us additional royalty.

Alotau needs more policemen

Alotau MP, Charles Abel said the district is in of more police presence.

“Twenty-five new recruits were to be posted to Alotau, but were sent elsewhere at the last minute. That continues to leave us undermanned. The PPC is doing his best under difficult circumstances and it is a huge maritime province and the police are trying to guard the waterway and highways and this holds up other issues that go on and also protect the town,” Mr Abel said.

Alotau Market Completed

The facility falls under the Redevelopment of Town Markets Projects funded by the Governments of PNG and Japan.

Recently a joint team comprising of National Fisheries Authority (NFA), Milne Bay Provincial Management Team, and Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) recently visited Alotau to assess the full construction of the Facility.

The Project began in 2017 with Japan Government allocated K33 Million.

The Japan Government component has been completed while the PNG Government component will continue to next year, and anticipated to be completed in May 2020.

Alotau suspects to be charged

The other five suspects will be charged with one count of accessory after the fact for each of the 22 charges and one count of harbouring, for a total of 23 charges each.

The 11 suspects were transferred to Port Moresby from Alotau on Wednesday, February 20th, and are now in police custody. The youngest among the group is 19 years old while the oldest is a 48-year-old man.

Something needs to be done: Alotau PA

“We go back to 2013, ’14, ’15 and up until today, this situation continues to persist,” says Milne Bay Provincial Administrator, Michael Kape.

“I as the administrator of this province, I appeal to community and leaders at all levels to stand together and address this issue.

“Government has been spending a lot of resources, in particular finances. We bring in the task force to attend to this situation but this law and order situation is still persisting. And something has got to be done about it.

No joint investigations of Alotau incident: Baki

He said police will carry out its own internal investigation into the reported actions of its officers in Alotau over the last few months.

Commissioner Baki said he is responsible for the management of the Constabulary and will ensure that policemen respect the rights of the public whilst carrying out their constitutionally mandated duties.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Justice and Attorney General Davis Steven has made it clear that the Public Solicitor has been tasked to attend to any grievances the public may have about police actions over the last two weeks in Alotau.