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16 May 2017


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All the more reason to cancel the 2018 APEC summit in Port Moresby. This act alone is serious enough to question our preparedness. Why did he not look for such assistance from Australia or New Zealand, most likely at even lower cost?

The South Pacific Games in Port Moresby was one of the most expensive yet. All contractors were paid but some of the infrastructures appear temporary still.

And yeah Paul. The Australian police who were here in PNG could have addressed and worked with local police on such matters.

Why now again with a cost of almost K7 million?

Baki needs to be sacked for starters

Peter Hallman – was he a pastor or was he a soldier?

In September 1991, I refused to meet Pastor Peter Hallman in Cleveland Ohio after a damaging article appeared in a major American newspaper.

With Ekere Embago, an illiterate pastor from Koroba in the Southern Highlands, he was appearing before church congregations in the US appealing for funds to convert Papua New Guinea's so-called "cannibal tribes".

I am now beginning to wonder if Hallman left missionary work to establish Lawrence Aviation and Security Group, now subject of the latest PNG mercenary controversy.

The full story will appear in PNG Attitude tomorrow.

Judging by the photographs the RPNGC is bringing in a bunch of heavies with gun mentalities.

They look even worse than the people Australia sends to Manus for security purposes.

In short, they look intimidating, and I suspect that will be their main role.

It is simply astounding that Gary Baki has hired a private, US based provider of security services to train the RPNGC on how to provide adequate security for the forth coming APEC meeting.

Literally every state in Australia, plus the AFP, have Special Tasks and Resources Squads or their equivalent who could do this at least as competently and probably at a lower cost.

Alternatively, Baki could have contacted Britain's Metropolitan Police, who have huge resources and much direct experience in counter terrorism, crowd control, VIP security and so on.

Basically, a decision to hire any private firm to provide this training raises many questions about the process involved and the judgement of those instrumental in making the decision.

What is even more amazing is that PNG currently lacks a high skill, rapid response capacity. What on earth have the RPNGC been doing for the last 40 years?

It seems that Commissioner Baki chose the Lawrence Aviation and Security Group because its principal grew up in PNG and so knew something about PNG. It is doubtful, however, that any of the group's employees have similar knowledge.

On the upside, the contractors evidently have already identified serious and obvious deficiencies in the RPNGC that need correction.

The problem is that such deficiencies reflect an entrenched culture of poor training, incompetence, bad tactical judgement and heavy handedness.

I would therefore be surprised if the 140 days of training apparently being allocated is going to be remotely close to enough to produce an efficient, well resourced and well led Rapid Response and Anti-Terrorism capacity in the RPNGC.

Whatever the outcome of all this, it is painfully apparent that the decision to hire Lawrence Aviation and Security, even if soundly based, has the appearance of being an example of patronage and failure to follow due process, combined with a significant lack of insight.

In this context I have been unable to find any information (beyond marketing blurb) as to the background, experience and bona fides of the contractors. This material may exist, but it does not appear to be in the public domain.

Even being charitable, this remarkable decision suggests that the RPNGC leadership still don't get how to be a properly organised and functioning police force.

Given the apparent lack of any official press release, the clear indication is that the PNG government doesn't want to be held responsible and accountable for what has been decided, just before a General Election.

Well guess what? The cat's out of the bag.

On a closely related matter, can someone tell us what the Australian police deployed in PNG for the last 3 years have actually been doing except build police 'messes'?

It was understood that Australian PM Turnbull had agreed for them to stay on to assist with the APEC meeting. Clearly that rationale is now no longer of any use.

Now exactly what are the roles and responsibilities of these new 'Security' personnel? Who are they responsible to and what functions will they be allowed to have or have already been given?

Clearly it will be something more than the Australian police are allowed or approved to do since they are unarmed, do not have any policing functions and have a 'training' role only.

It was also reported that there would be a third Deputy Commissioner responsible for the APEC Meeting. Are these new 'Security' personnel responsible to him directly?

The only thing that is clear is that everything is unclear?

If the RPNGC and PNG military are not able or efficient enough to provide security for the APEC Forum the country is in a parlous state. Surely if the government has no the confidence in the local security forces they might have called on Australia whose Army has much experience in training Iraqui and other forces in urban security. On the other hand they might have called on their Chinese friends for help.

Sandline anyone?

The admission by the Police Commissioner of the engagement of the private security firm raises so many questions and issues.

The security bill alone for the General Elections is said to be around K121 million. Now is this amount inadequate or does the police force not have the capacity and plans in place to provide security for the

Where is the money coming from? The K400 million allocated for the elections or somewhere else?

It is sinister. The arrangement really undermines the PNG Police and Defence forces to carry out their state mandated roles.

The silence among the opposition party leaders and politicians, in general, is deafening!!

Interesting set of intelligent questions, Will. On the eve of elections we may never know...these and other questions that people have will never be answered.

It now rests on the shoulders of the political party leaders to raise the alarm, ask questions and demand answers and educate the masses of what is really happening.

This was not made public until social media went viral with their pictures displaying powerful weapons in public.

The announcement by Commissioner Baki is only in response to public speculation and questioning.

That's how things are done in PNG. If you are in power, just go ahead and make any arrangements, including the arrangements possibly to compromise the national intelligence and sovereignty of this country. Then simply and curtly provide an intelligent explanation to justify.

Know also that the Commissioner was not clear whether or not this was endorsed by cabinet because here you are talking about a private security firm working with a state agency.

No details of the arrangement, and what capacity the firm will be used.

There are many speculations on social media but let's give the benefit of the doubt to the Police Department to provide further details.

What was the cost and did the CSTB approve it? Are these individuals some form of Auxiliary Police or Special Constable? What tenders were called and did the NEC approve this - and where is the money coming from?

Loop PNG now reports "Police Commissioner Gari Baki revealed that the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary is currently engaged in discussions with Laurence Aviation & Security Group" and that he "wrote to the United States Embassy informing the embassy of the RPNGC’s intentions".

Worthy of that Australian saying, come on...

So, if the "men are police officers of different US states and are not mercenaries" (says Loop PNG) what announcement of PNG Government policy preceded their arrival, and what since arrival, other than as reported by Loop PNG?

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