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Official enforcement group to crack down on 'threats'


THE hard men of Papua New Guinean politics have established their own gang of enforcers to intimidate people they assess as posing a threat to their authority.

They have appointed controversial police commissioner Gari Baki to command what they call the National Joint Security Taskforce (NJST) which joins NIO and NASC in the alphabet soup that is PNG's response to perceived threats from its citizens.

The nominated role of NJST is to investigate and prosecute people seen as a threat to the country's internal security.

But its brief is broad and seems aimed at coercing citizens, including politicians, whose activities are perceived to be a threat to the O’Neill government.

In an extraordinary move, elements of the PNG Defence Force will participate in the taskforce in the rank of special constables.

PNGDF Commander Gilbert Toropo said the army would give full support to maintain the country's national security.

NJST will also be supported by the Correctional Services agency, Department of Justice, National Intelligence Organisation and the National Advisory Security Council.

"The main aim of this taskforce will be to investigate threats to our national security," said chief secretary Isaac Lupari (pictured), who seems to be prime minister Peter O’Neill’s point man for keeping thumbs on PNG’s democracy.

And in a warning that strikes at the heart of parliamentary democracy and the right to protest, Lupari said "politicians, landowners, the public, students and any members of the community who issue threats will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted."

Political commentator Martyn Namorong tweeted in response: “We need a change of government to end this madness by rogue men.”


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Lindsay F Bond

Unexpected is, expected maybe, is not. So for good order, by all provinces and strata of governance in PNG, let there be cognizance and counter measures, such as that shown by Oro Province in its on-time presentation of report for its handling of 'disaster management'.

On-time reporting ought to be celebrated, yet sadly for PNG, what crowds the newsprint and TV coverage, is preventing the good and exemplary from making best impact with PNG people.

Instead arms of current PNG government are brandishing a word threat.

No caring thoughtful person will want to find threats in PNG as it seeks esteem (and tourists) from among nations in 2016.

None will want to plan nor act out any sorry business (cultural clashes and cruelty notwithstanding). So it is well that PNG government has both planning and capability for handling if any might occur.

(By the way, how much training in police procedures has been undertaken by defense force personnel who might be called upon to become special constabulary? After all, is that training not part of the plan?)

That said, something in the air has an odour. Apart from that by police weaponry engaged upon students at their peaceful gathering in June, now in July is a distinct lacking of 'oxygen' in newsprint and TV coverage.

For celebrating the actual achievements of PNG governance, such as timely, truthful reports, can vagaries of word threat be incorporated into document to deal with dissolution of vague issuance of words and more skillful use of modern varied media.

Hanns Wetzel

Lupari - "politicians, landowners, the public, students and any members of the community who issue threats will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted. "Who decides "what are threats", and is there no longer freedom of speech? Are the corruption allegations against the prime minister and others and the duty of police to investigate them "threats", obviously some in the police force thought so when they tried to shut down their own "anti corruption" section. Is this the thin end of the wedge towards the formation of a PNG KGB?

Francis Nii

I like that one, Lindsay. I wish any of O'Neill's puppets could respond to it.

Lindsay F Bond

Any "who issue threats": long list of perception, may yet extend to state schools, kindergartens, councils of church-folk, but not to the present political processes of cash handouts to people elected to be actually seems, threats to PNG national security are 'all talk',, never, unexplained disappearance of PNG State money.

Anonymous | Edited & accepted by Editor

The Chief Secretary is the PM's point man? No, he is not - he is the de facto PM.

O'Neill has lost control of things and is a glove puppet for the dangerous combination of Ipatas and Lupari.

Notice how the latter is the face and voice of the government now?

Philip Fitzpatrick

Wow! A PNG Stasi (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS).

I wonder where O'Neill will put his concentration camps?

There's one on Manus already, so I guess that might do for the time being.

Francis Nii

Is setting up of National Joint Security Task Force a parliamentary, cabinet or ad hoc decision by some desperate henchmen and puppets of O'Neill?

This kind of nonsense from people who have lost their sound mind is only aggravating the weakening of democracy and suppression of freedom of speech and the rights of citizens to strike and is fast moving towards tyranny... a very dangerous development.

If the rest of the members of parliament have any sense in them, they must save our democracy and rescue our country from dictatorship by voting O'Neill out come next Friday.

Robin Lillicrapp

It seems to be a global trend: the militarising of police forces.
Perhaps it is seen as a better way of control, by the state, of forces otherwise unavailable to party political purpose.

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