1912 10,600 personnel for 2017 election security operations

A total of 10,600 personnel from the Royal PNG Constabulary, PNG Defence Force and Correctional Services will be deployed for election security operations in 2017. This was announced by Police Commissioner Gari Baki in a joint media conference after the final Inter-Departmental Election Committee (IDEC) on December 14 at the Electoral Commission headquarters in Port Moresby.

Commissioner Baki said the nationwide pre-deployment of security force personnel will commence next year on March 18 and end in August 2017 after the elections.

He said election security for the 2017 elections has been decentralized to regions unlike in previous elections and regional commanders will take charge of security operations in their respective regions.

The Police Commissioner pointed out that there will be no movement of security personnel from the coastal regions and provinces to the Highlands and vice versa.

"Responsibility now goes back to our people. If we want to fail elections and then it's all up to you the people," he said.

He said the Highlands region will be divided into two commands - the Eastern End which comprises of Hela, Southern Highlands and Enga while the Western End comprises of Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands provinces.

Commissioner Baki said police have already identified trouble hot spots ​throughout the country and will move in to stabilize any possible trouble before the conduct of polling in June 2017.

He added that with reports of movement of illegal firearms, particularly​ along the PNG-Indonesian border, police will ​place a moratorium on all firearms and those in possession of illegal firearms will be given the opportunity to surrender them to the state for destruction.

In the meantime, Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato expressed satisfaction about the progress in preparations so far.

He said 50 percent of the provinces have completed their enrolment field work and are now doing data entry.

Chief Secretary to Government Ambassador Isaac Lupari told journalists that the 2017 elections and future elections must firstly be managed in a way to ensure the outcomes meet the expectations of everyone.

He said elections including the 2017 elections must also be run in a cost effective manner as all past elections have been very costly for PNG.

Meanwhile, Registrar of Political Parties Dr. Alphonse Gelu said there are currently about 35 registered political parties and in office is expecting at least four more parties to register which will bring the total to 39 political parties for 2017 elections.

"Political parties are important actors in elections and it is important that they play their part," he said.

Media Consultant

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