Papua New Guinean film maker Scott Waide’s recent video featuring the squalid living conditions of police in the Madang Province, highlighted the humanity and fragileness of these men in blue in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
No doubt there are shit cops who in many ways have defined the way the public sees the police force. But when one is presented with shit living conditions yet chooses to continue to serve the public, surely such service is beyond “just doing one’s job”.
Many Policemen are leaving the force for greener pastures in the security industry largely related to the Liquefied Natural Gas Project in the Southern Highlands. These are men whom our taxes paid for to be trained as cops to ensure that the general tax-payers can live in safe communities. These are men whom we the tax paying public trained for securing our communities, yet they are now securing private assets of a private company that got a huge tax holiday.
We’ve lost their services because successive governments have neglected their needs just as those governments have failed to deliver to the rural majority.
There is are saying that goes, “if you pay bananas you get monkeys.” Basically what it means is that you will never be able to keep the best and brightest if you cannot pay them well and what you end up with are monkeys. Former PNG Defence Force Commander, Jerry Singirok once highlighted this concern in the military as some of its brightest joined the ranks of private security firms associated with the lucrative LNG Project. The same concern can be expressed about the Police as well.
How do we keep the best and brightest in both disciplinary forces so that we do not have to be harassed by thugs in Police uniformed or face the risk of further military coups or mutinies? Scott’s video highlights one aspect the government could deal with – HOUSING.
But one thing that pisses me off is that the very people –the 1%- whom the Police and Military are used by, have failed to address welfare issues not just amongst the disciplinary forces but amongst the rest of us – we the 99%.
Politicians who did not give a rat’s ass about the conditions of soldiers at Taurama Barracks used those soldiers in a mutiny. Politicians who haven’t addressed the run down state of Moem Barracks now want to use those soldiers against their own people.
Loggers who practice transfer pricing and hoodwink the State’s coffers use the Police to brutalize ordinary citizens. Miners and Petroleum companies that get huge tax holidays, use the police to intimidate landowners and suppress dissent. These Vampire Capitalists suck out our resources and give little back to society. The Government therefore does not have the money to fix the Barracks and provide necessary support.
For example, Ramu Nickel Mine pays for fuel used by Madang’s Police. Their Public Relations people would say they’re helping the community fight crime. But Ramu Nickel has got a 10 year Tax Holiday, so basically it keeps the money it would otherwise pay as tax and uses that in so called community projects.
How come the Vampire Capitalists have money to sponsor this and that, while the Government says ‘no money’? Is it because the Government is not taxing the 1% such that it would meet its needs? It seems that when a Policeman or Soldier starts working, their first pay gets taxed but when a foreign corporation that make a lot of money from our resources, get a tax holiday.