Thailand considers energy investment in PNG
Tougher criminal laws in PNG are long overdue

Will the death penalty stop violent crime in PNG?


VIOLENT CRIMES FLOURISH unabated in our societies today. This is not recent practice but a continuation of violence of similar nature over a prolonged period.

People don't just wake-up one morning and decide to rape or murder someone. They've developed a perspective over a period of time that shaped their world view and regulates their behaviour.

People's attitudes are shaped by their socio-cultural environment, their education and their genetic heredity.

However there are other mechanisms that ensure that these three elements function in shaping individual behaviour, such as economic and social services.

The absence of these supporting mechanisms will directly or indirectly weaken the role of the three elements (there is much literature on this in behavioural science).

Bishop Young correctly posits programs that support young men's meaningful engagement in the economy including job creation and improving policing capacity to prevent crime.

We know that youth unemployment is high in Papua New Guinea (ADB 2012 and UNDP 2012). Drug abuse is rampant among unemployed youth including secondary school students.

Last year there were about 17,000 Grade 12 students graduating; only 4,000 gained admission to the tertiary institutions. Where are the majority, the 13,000 graduates, now?

Transport infrastructure has deteriorated from bad to worse in many rural areas (and in some urban centres) limiting access to markets and better health services.

The ratio of certified medical doctors to patients in PNG is 1:10,000 (Global Health Foundation 2010) and nurses to patients 0.5:1,000 (OECD, 2012).

In 2004 the Police Commission reported there are only 5,250 regular police officers, a police to population ration of 1:1,121.

The structure, size and deployment of regular police have remained unchanged since independence - completely oblivious to the growing population. These statistics and many more point to the reasons why our law and order problems are perpetuated with such ferocity.

I doubt the death penalty will deter violent crime in this country if these underlying issues are not addressed effectively by the respective responsible authorities and institutions.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

William Dunlop

Hi, Peter - My late niece, Mrs Martha Mae Mulligan (a good staunch Ulster Covanter late of Moree NSW) and
I were always of the opinion that George Bush could
not look you in the eye on TV appearances.

A man of straw we figured.

Now what would your opinion be of the utterences coming
forth from the Gillard Swannie ilk in that Great El'Bull'Shitta Castle in Canberra.

Not forgeting the El'Bull'Shitta Castle in Waigani.

Steve Muhammad Gallagher

We cannot just blame the politicans, corruption is in every level, the lack of service delivery is because of self serving attitude for PNGans. Public officials need to step up their performance with honesty, integrity and dedication.

All citizens need to contribute to develop our country. If we do away with death penalty, we expect more death and rape in the long run coz our public officals are corrupt, lack of discipline and self serving. Also we have not enough money to get everyone in the same standard within a short period of time. I would say that in economic terms- Expensive ideas are not easy to implement. The more time it takes, the more good people who sacrifice their time to earn their living will be robbed, killed and raped by lazi and selfmade poor crooks.

Chinese have sacrificed for their future, Europeans onec have such laws and PNG is a developing country and we need to sacrifice, all of us need to serve the nation by simply respecting the freedom of others.

I came from a simple family background village based and it is my duty to earn my living by farming and its normal to me, I love it. Why other people in my same class have to do this and blaming government for our stupid, inhumane act.

Sedrick Moka

Death penalty! What is the main intention behind it that the leaders are trying to carry out?

Well if their intention is to stop crime, then there is this next question that they should answer. What is crime and how is it caused?

Now if they’ve defined the cause of the problem, they need to find the solution to it. However since 38 years have passed since the independence. What has these so called honorable leaders have been doing.

Have they been tired lessly working on delivering services and creating employment for the country or have they been investing and buying large properties in Australia.

If they haven’t done anything much better for the country then why are they just sitting there in the parliament with their big bumps and falling bellies, bringing up nonsense solutions for crimes in the country.

There is no need for this penelty to be enforced. Only a fool who dosen’t think well will bring about such inhuman ideas.

Leaders if you are honourable then show the people that you are worth it.

Tony Flynn

A simple survey of the readers of this blog may be of assistance. It would show the government which way the wind is blowing.

Two boxes with a percent result would be suitable. This is a subject that has more people showing interest than is usual.

I'll see what I can do, Tony. Even this might be beyond my slender resouces as I move around, but I'll investigate the possibility - KJ

Tony Flynn

The best deterrent is the sure knowledge that you will be caught.

The death penalty is an illusion to fool the masses if there is little possibility of conviction. Can anyone out there assure me that the police never fabricate evidence or that there are enough police to mount a thorough investigation of crimes that deserve the ultimate punishment?

Many correspondents here have never been at the mercy of our understaffed, underresourced police and justice system as I have.

The burden of proof for a death sentence would be too much for our system.

I was informed by the CID in POM some years ago that they were doing me a great personal favour by taking on a clearly documented case of my being defrauded of K70,000 by a weasly little bun natin clerk.

I never was reimbursed and, although found guilty, the clerk never went to jail. I generally find the courts indecisive and frustrating.

The courts appear similar to British Courts of a few hundred years ago where the sons of both plaintiff and lawyer took over the attempt to get satisfaction.

At my age of 75, I am likely to bequeath a case to my daughter. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Steve Gallagher

If someone wants to kill you, will you keep on holding the Bible and offer the prayer to God while letting someone torture you till you die? I don't think a true Christian will do it.

I think people today don't worry about religion but they are afraid of being murdered and raped by others. The rapid increase in rape and murder in PNG is a result of softer laws coordinated and facilited by ideologies of Christianity.

If there is God, then why do most good people suffer while most bad people prosper in life? Why does the Good Lord have to let his people suffer and die in the arms of the other humans?.

Colleen Ambrose

In my opinion, the death penalty will not put an end to violent crimes. These things are bound to happen and will continue.

As the bible states, such troubles occur to show that we are approaching the end times.The only way to protect yourself from it is to be in Christ, to connect spiritually with him and to faithful and true fellowship with him.

In this way you can be safe, the Lord is your only refuge and strength. In additon, as a Christian, it is morally wrong for me to take another person's life.

Though he may take another's, still it does not make it right for me to take his.

If I agree to the death penalty its like I'm indirectly killing someone. Therefore I disagree for it to be practiced in PNG.

Harry Topham

A rather morbid subject and I would have thought, beyond the capabilities of most of us mere mortals ability to intellectualise objectively?

I recently watched a very interesting TV reality show the other day with the somewhat benign title of “America’s Hardest Prisons”.

Whilst most of the show concerned itself with the constant battle of wills between the inmates and their captors each trying not to concede an inch with the inevitable conflicts arising until the Warden then held meetings with both parties convincing each that neither could win and for peace and quiet detente must prevail.

Of more interest and germane to the topic raised was the segment of that show that related to the fate of a middle aged inmate who had spent 20 years on death row after being convicted of the murder of a shop attendant.

When asked about why he committed such a heinous attack the inmate stated that to the date he had no idea why he just suddenly snapped.

Before that tragic event he had been a model citizen with no previous criminal record.

With all avenues of appeals exhausted the inmate was now to face the finale of the long drawn out event.

As he was transferred to the cell adjacent to the execution chamber he recounted how he felt a sense of peace descend upon him and how the past 20 years of remorse and regret would finally be over.

Some 4 hours before he was due to be executed he was removed from the cells and taken back to his original cell with the advice that the Parole Board has commuted his death sentence to that of life imprisonment.

So traumatic was this event that he broke down completely.
The inmate’s next challenge was to face the reality of having to reintegrate into the wider community as he was to then be transferred to the general prison community.

This snap shot of the human condition was very moving and showed that most human beings when they fall are capable of redemption and rehabilitation.

Peter Kranz

Bernard - George Bush wasn't a realist, he was an intellectually-challenged war monger who confected reports on Iraq's weapons, conned the UK and Australia into joining him in a war that killed upwards of 100,000 people, and approved torture, 'extraordinary rendition' and Gitmo.

That's what you get when you justify inhuman actions in the pursuit of your interests.

Where do we draw the line?

Bernard Singu Yegiora

There are, as we speak, according to the minister 10 people on death row. However, due to technical reasons the state cannot execute the sentences.

By killing prisoners each and every citizen will think twice before committing a crime punishable by death.

Tougher penalties will scare citizens and ensure order in society, I believe this is the rationale behind the Minister's move.

In every society we have different leaders with different world views, some are idealist like the Ghandi's, Mandela's, and Martin Luther King's. While others like George Bush are realists.

Regardless of whatever world views, humanity has progressed because we have learnt from the mistakes of those leaders and their views.

As a young nation we must at this crossroad in our history remain optimistic because young people like us can learn from the mistakes done by the Kerenga Kua's of today and reshape our society in a different way.

Bernard Singu Yegiora

Also he said laws can be amended, they are not written on stone.

He said once there is order in society we can amend the law but for now we need capital punishment.

His pragmatic line of thinking is similar to the Chinese, who believe that for now the government needs to restrict the rights and freedom of its citizens in order to create a harmonious and wealthy society. Once they have address poverty and develop China to the level they want it to be then the party will start the democratization process by giving the citizens their necessary rights and freedom.

Bernard Singu Yegiora

Kerenga Kua's argument on EMTV's Rok Piksa is really interesting.

Rather then idealizing the possibility of improving the police force, having programs in place to improve the law and order problem or being better parents, he has gone for a practical or pragmatic approach according to his closing remarks.

Judging from his comments he is a realist thinker.

So its idealism versus realism.

Again good to have a national debate and see how many people think like the Member for Sinasina Yongomugl.

David Kitchnoge

I can't help but laugh at the hypocrisy of some of the arguments here.

That's right we must respect the lives of cold blooded murderers as the best form of reciprocation. That’s right they are the best examples of people who respect the sanctity of life.

Forget Christian this, Christian that, tired old arguments. Let Gold Almighty have the pleasure of passing judgement on us when the time comes. Let us not usurp that role now and allow animals to hide behind our twisted version of compassion and continue their mindless activities.

Even if it has little deterrence value, the punishment must fit the crime.

Robin Lillicrapp

Perhaps invoking the death penalty is politically expedient: a reactive response to a rapidly growing dysfunction in society.

I wonder if the same society is culturally ept to be able to accommodate the outflows socially of haus lains seeing their "murderous" wantoks killed by the state?

Is it a less controversial pathway to first discuss the underlying roots; moral and social, to the present dilemma? It is widely acknowledged that the jobs drought is a causal factor in much of the social unrest.

It has also been recorded concerning the abysmal failure of the educational sector in recent times to produce a product, worthy at the coal face, for employment and interface with society.

We have similar problems in Australia.

There seems to be a vacuum of silence in respect of both info and understanding of the rapid and evolving economic climate that promises much but delivers little to the satisfaction of PNGeans. Major projects herald endless benefits but seem to largely deprive locals of participation via the importation of "skilled" labour.

Wouldn't it be more in the interests of PNGeans to slow these projects down to the extent labour requirements are able to be "home-grown?" After all, when, in some cases, billions of Kina are to be spent, strategies for the maximum retention of education and training of local labour is of paramount importance.

Surely, if this can be seen as a "no- brainer," then more public discourse ought to be the theme on this topic lest the debate on "death-penalties" becomes a mere knee-jerk response to symptoms of a much deeper malaise.

Marcus Mapen

No, we will not be at war against our own people but with crime. Crime is the enemy and (believe it or not) we have always been at war with it.

Our current plans of attack are ineffective and we are being defeated, so we have to come with new attack strategies (like capital punishment) in order to defeat our enemy (crime).

Christian teachings say that guilty sinners will burn in hell, right? Well, what we are trying to do here is not much different from that, except that our methods will be much quicker and less painful.

Richard Ponja

That will never do. The death penalty will never solve the problem of rape and murder in Papua New Guinea but would worsen it.

Enforcing that law is like going for a war with an enemy. Our countrymen are not our enemies. Let us not think about our own good but the good of the majority.

In the Christian perspective it is totally unethical to kill another person because we all have the congenital right to life - the right that we are born with. And that is universal.

Steve Gallagher

I don't think it's is right to kill or rape someone because you were not happy with the government.

We must also understand that Christianity is not the only religion in the world, also we must realise that religions are ideologies and theologies of people.

We should understand that religion is not the all part of our life, in this world religious ideologies no longer dictate our brains. We make judgement from our conscience, the brain that people have developed from realities.

Remember the four Gs - God, Gold, Glory and Globalization. Religious idealogies have dictated the brains of our forefathers and they have been robbed by the others.

All we need is to execute the death law, we cannot expect the goverment to provide jobs, foods and everythings to us overnight. Let us be realist thinkers.

Peter Kranz

"True courage is not about knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one".

I know it's corny, but who said this?

Kaludia Pirit

I don't think death penalty will stop violent crime in PNG. Why?

Because in the Bible it states that in the last days people will turn to do more evil thing like crimes etc, so when we see this things happening we know that the end is near and Jesus is coming very soon.

So I think our Parliamentary leaders need to look into this matter and take into consideration by humbly going down to the people's level and help them in some ways to stop these crimes going on.

Marcus Mapen

Do these deficiencies in our society give someone the right (or excuse) to brutally murder or violently rape someone else?

Do I just murder someone in cold blood because I don’t have a job?

Just implement the death penalty for the next 10 – 20 years and then we’ll know whether it has or has not stopped violent crimes in PNG.

Jerome Aiake

I do not think the death penalty would solve the problem. People are now living with frustration against the government for not providing enough basic services.Yet the government is proposing death penalty. This would make criminals more frustrated and they may apply new criminal techniques.

For example, if rapists are to be given the death penalty then a rapist would say if I am caught I will die so I might as well kill the victim.

Now only a few victims are murdered; if the death penalty is imposed I think rape victims will end up dead.

I propose the government inceease the number of police personnel to 100,000 so they may enforce the law effectively.

Beatrice Yokondo

The death penalty will certainly not stop the violent crimes happening in PNG.

There seems to be hatred in the communities all around the country. The leaders are the very people whom many have lost their trust in. There is a lot of corruption and little is done to help the people.

There is a barrier in the communication. No one is listening, and many innocent people fall victims to violent crimes.
The death penalty might only trigger and spark more violent crimes to happen.

This is a very serious issue and leaders need to think carefully and hard.

Steven Gimbo

A new law supporting a severe penalty will not stop crime. What we need is a change from the top, from our national leaders down to the grassroots leaders and into the family unit.

We need new and honest leadership, free from corruption and untainted by past scandals; and this leadership must address these issues from the top down, and not impose from the bottom up.

Leaders need to lead, and thats what is lacking. Our youth need leaders, who can lead them in the right direction.

And these leaders need to invest money from our mineral wealth, into programs that enrich the youth and provides incentives for self-improvement and to better one's family and community life.

Ian Fraser

Agree. Young men need to make a name, in any society in any conditions. If there isn't a way clear to do this productively, they'll take whatever way is clear.

Educating kids for office jobs/uni careers when very few places are open in those areas must produce youth with no way to achieve anything but by acting tough and making it in a gang. We've known this since at least the 80s...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)