PAPUA New Guinea High Commissioner Moses Kaul has rallied behind his countrymen serving as security forces in Honiara refuting recent allegations of police brutality, ill-discipline and breaching covid-19 regulations.
In a media statement yesterday, Kaul reiterated that relations between Solomons and PNG remain strong.
“I wish to assure our good people of PNG and Solomon Islands that regardless the discordant backdrop of challenges including the security, lawlessness and Covid19 pandemic, bilateral relations between PNG and Solomon Islands remains Vibrant and fortified in the spirit of mutual friendship and cooperation,” he said.
“PNG earned a prominent place within MSG and resonates a strong influence over the geopolitics of Melanesian sphere and greater Pacific since the formative years of nation building,” Kaul added.
“PNG Provides strong leadership on development aspirations of the peoples and democracy in the region and will always keep its role as a big brother in the face of adversity.
“The swift deployment of PNG security contingent to Honiara on 26 November 2021 ahead of other participating security forces of the Solomon Islands Assistance Forces (SIAF) attests to the close relationship between our two countries.
“The presence of PNG security force on the ground unequivocally deterred rioters from further destructions of properties and looting.
“PNG security team was sanctioned by Commissioner Mangau to enforce security operations between Alegator Creek and Kukum Roundabout.
“Those are high-stakes areas that demands exceptional capabilities of PNG security forces to deliver desired outcomes.
“Notwithstanding the impact contribution from PNG Security force together with the Solomon Islands Assistance Force (SIAF), I am concern about certain allegations against the PNG security contingent of brutality, prostitution, alcoholism and even worse for spreading coronavirus to Solomon Islands.
“Those allegations made a few keyboard warriors using social media flatforms are very serious in nature and tantamount to damaging the reputation of PNG security force.
“I condemned those allegations under no uncertain terms because they are baseless, derogatory and also provoked inflammatory public comments.
“I challenge those critics to register your complaints or grievances through proper channels principally with SI Police and PNG High Commission in Honiara to amicably seek justice and establish a pathway forward for common good.
“I must at this juncture commend the manner in which all parties involved in those two incidents in Henderson’s areas for their goodwill gestures and reconciliation initiative that appeased the cases between PNG security officers and community members there.”
Kaul said PNG government does not condone any such actions of its discipline forces but requires that all security personnel on deployment overseas upholds highest level of discipline with respect for the jurisdictions of the host country as ambassadors.
“I call on everyone to be responsible about making public criticisms. Their narratives must be supported with facts and evidence not to overall embitter the relationship between the two countries.
“We need to look at the bigger picture and see the immense level of contribution PNG and other SIAF members has made towards not only quelling civil unrest and restoring lawlessness in the country but building capacity and confidence of the SI national security apparatus for the long term.
“These interventions to enhance security cooperation reflects the current vibrantly fortified state of bilateral cooperation between PNG and SI.
“Also, from the multilateral perspective for all participating countries, this is a monumental achievement in the context of regional security cooperation since RAMSI in 2003.
“PNG government is committed to keeping its security forces on the ground for as long as their peace keeping mission is required.
“I must be clear here that PNG security force is here on invitation of the SI Executive Government hence the virtue of that bilateral request supersedes any specific framework arrangements to foster security cooperation like the security pact between SI and Australia.
“In terms of the long- term security interests, PNG and SI governments are in consultations dialogue to agree on a legal framework on security cooperation between our two countries.
“PNG has submitted draft of the bilateral Security Agreement to SI government through the Ministry of Foreign Ministry and External Trade to counter propose.
“This ambitious agreement is now a priority bilateral agenda.
“Administering the PNG and SI maritime borders remains a daunting task in terms of monitoring and provide surveillance capacity covering waters of the common border.
“Despite resource constraints, both PNG and SI governments through bilateral common Border Arrangements. Relevant authorities administer strategic posts along the border in enforcing and regulating movements of people and their activities.
“Thanks to the Australian government for providing capacity assistance notably patrol boats that deter illegal border crossings or fishing.”
Meanwhile, Kaul said the case of the PNG doctor, Maine Asapo, who entered Pelau, Ontong Java on January 9, 2022 from Tasman Islands PNG is another isolated case.
He said although Mr Asapo and his family have been subsequently cleared by government as the “Index Case”, the legality of his entry status remains to be cleared by SI authorities.
Kaul added since the incident is being dealt with by police, PNG will respect that process and wait for outcome of the formal investigations.
He said the preparations to host the 2023 Pacific Games presents yet another real test for SI government to overcome.
“PNG government rallied behind its close knitted friend and neighbour to ensure the Games are successfully delivered by providing twenty million kina in grant assistance.
“This funding has been committed towards building the SI Football Academy facilities.
“PNG is expected to feature prominently in this important regional event alongside our Solomon Islands brothers.”