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22 March 2011

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As a direct result of what an errant General's irresponsible actions in 1997, there is now a very strong case why the PNG government must critically review the Defence Act.

This must also include other related civil law provisions.

The PNGDF General in 1997 had a very experienced command team to give him the best advice, and guidance.

But what happened unfortunately was a command failure to not use the commander’s most senior staff to best effect in providing suitable options to government.

Here is the real deal for those who came in late and may not fully be aware of the whole story.

In 1997, PNG's political leadership made a tough judgement call.

This was to use limited external military support to augment PNGDF’s operations on Bougainville in response to a protracted defence emergency.

Planned joint operations in support of ongoing counter-insurgency contingencies would normally be subjected to specific rules of engagement. This is standard operations procedure.

Moreso, the PNGDF higher command and leadership also knew well the strategic objectives to achieve a negotiated political settlement with relevant parties concerned.

So General Singirok was all alone part and parcel of the higher government decision-making team, but never really raised his personal reservations with the PM and the inner circle of cabinet what he planned to do.

Unfortunately the commander’s personal intention was kept a secret from his senior officers. This meant his own command team played little or no part in engaging Sandline at the time.

After 14 years, it is now a good time as any to reveal the real truth why the General failed to personally consult his senior staff to provide uncompromising and professional advice to government, through the defense council.

In short, Jerry Singirok failed to fully use his experienced command team. In my view, the PNGDF commander badly failed his own command.

Singirok seriously compromised the function of the Office of the Commander in not protecting the State of PNG against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

In other countries, generals who act like Singirok are punished by the State.

This former General needs to not beat his chest in the media every year.

No, the full story of a planned military mutiny and the Sandline incident has not been fully told to the public yet.

It's 14 years now and the authorities in PNG are just pretending all is well.

But it could happen again.

So PNG must now review its current Defence Act to deter against the possibilities of military mutinies and coups in future.

Mr Singirok, has raised a key strategy about how the government is able to stay in power and subject PNGeans to less than what is rightfully theirs. They 'suppress and distort public opinion'.

It is a bit far fetched, in my opinion, for this farce to be created by complete bumbling incompetence, so there must be public servants who are deliberately misleading the people.

A recent example is argued at http://actnowpng.org/content/who-hudson-ramatlap-protecting.

Good governance and upholding the Constitution are not happening. Our leaders abuse their positions and thwart the course of justice.

If many of them are 'using all legal avenues available' to avoid tribunals etc (which, thanks to the taxpayers, they can afford) then it is understandable that there is frustration and anger simmering at the grassroots.

It could be said that an informed uprising is preferable to an ignorant revolt.

But our people need to be well informed of the issues and the options to address them, and to be provided with action plans for improvement. I'm not an expert on policy but I thought that was the gist of making and governing by them.

One voice has called for a Charter agreement to be signed with our political leaders (but more than just a good behaviour bond). Is it proper that such an agreement should be tied to a referendum?

This sounds like the agenda of a "new" arrangement of political parties.

Keith – If this is not the correct forum for discussion of this kind of questioning then point me in the right direction.
______________________

It's the right place, Icarus. By the way, other readers should know that Icarus is the nom de guerre of a public servant whose real name is known to PNG Attitude - KJ

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