POLICE Commissioner Baki has stated that the "Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary is currently engaged in discussions with an American based security company, Laurence Aviation & Security Group, to train an elite rapid response team for APEC 2018 and for ongoing policing into the future."
He explained that he “was approached by the president of the company, Mr Peter Halliman, around July last year. He was offering his company’s services to the RPNGC. Mr Halliman is an American citizen but he was born in Bulolo in 1961 and grew up in the Lake Kopiago/Koroba area of the Hela Province. His parents were Baptist missionaries.
“I invited Laurence Aviation and Security Group to come to PNG in February this year to do a presentation for the senior police hierarchy on what they can offer to the RPNGC in terms of training,” Baki said.
“Following the presentation I decided that the company had the necessary credentials, skills, experience and expertise to train an elite rapid response team for PNG which I intend to set up especially for APEC 2018.”
A team of 15 instructors from Laurence Aviation and Security Group were subsequently appointed Special Constables.
“Two of the members of LASG have been in the country since February,” Baki revealed, “and I authorised them to go on day and night patrols with teams from the NCD Command, especially the NCD Task Force to assess and appreciate their operational capabilities and shortfalls. If they are going to be training our men they need to know what our response capabilities are.”
The two people behind it are to Americans Peter Halliman and Stephen Blovat. Who are they?
Halliman is a Baptist missionary who has absolutely no background in aviation or security. His Linked-In profile states he currently manages Sovereign Grace Baptist Mission of Malawi (Africa) and Papua New Guinea.
His accomplishments include being citified to wield 2 to 36 inch carbon, stainless chrome-molly pipes. His skills are operation of sawmill, cutting of timber and construction of buildings.
Blovat is ex US army aviation safety officer and medevac pilot. In September 2015 he retired from the army to setup his small business in Tennessee consulting in safety training. He lists his skills as flight safety, military training and operations.
So sometime between September 2015 and May 2016 Blovat, residing in the US, with Halliman, who was based in PNG, realised there was real money to made in the PNG oil and gas industry - specifically in aviation and security.
So in May 2016 Blovat registered Laurence Aviation and Security Group in Tennessee in partnership with Halliman.
Blovat recruited two employees, his daughter Heather-Ann Marie as human resource officer and Lori Darlin, ex US Army helicopter pilot, as director of marketing.
In August 2016 company setup a Facebook page and started advertising to recruit qualified commercial helicopter pilots, including aircraft maintainers, flight medics and flight ops personnel.
On 24 August 2016 Halliman registered Laurence Aviation and Security Group as an overseas company with the PNG Investment Promotion Authority.
It stated the company had three directors: Peter Halliman; Charles Dawson; and Steve Blovat.
Resident agent in PNG is Johnson Limbya, former agronomist at National Agriculture Research Institute and currently managing director of Hela Human Resource Ltd that claims to lease light vehicles to the PNG LNG gas project.
In summary, I believe this company was set up with one primary objective secure contracts in the PNG oil and gas industry, its problem being without any real track record or capability no major oil and gas company would award it a contract. But if it came through the back door by establishing strong working relationships with PNG police and military, it would have a strategic advantage.
What I am interested to know is who introduced the company to our Commissioner of Police? What if any relationship exists between them? What is the contract value?
One last point. I note a comment made by Mr Blovat on the PNG elections in which he remarked, "Never a dull moment if I can have any influence on it."
Growing up in PNG I recall the saying there are three types of expatriates that come here - missionaries, mercenaries and misfits. In this instance, it seems the missionaries have gone into business with the mercenaries.