Monday, January 12, 2009

Port Moresby not a murder capital

Police Commissioner Gari Bari on Friday, January 9, 2009, wrote to The National newspaper defending himself from criticisms leveled at him by David Williams (see earlier posting)

By GARI BAKI, Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner

A LETTER to the editor (Jan 8) by David Williams of Port Moresby challenged me to get my facts right in response to my comments over an international report by Foreign Policy magazine listing Port Moresby as the fifth murder capital of the world.

I stand by my statement that Port Moresby has not at any one time, be it day, month or year, over the last 10 years, recorded 54 murders.

Port Moresby, with an estimated population of 500,000, cannot be compared with other capital cities which have anything from three to 10 million people.

The writer had put forward statistics arguing otherwise.

Murder is the intentional and unlawful killing of one person by another and is not the same as deaths or killings, which could be from a number of causes.

I hope the writer and Foreign Policy magazine are not getting these three confused.

As Police Commissioner, I will not allow such misleading reports to go unchallenged because, over time, it will be accepted as fact.

It is these kinds of reports that contributed to our poor world credit ratings and will have serious negative implications on our development aspirations.

We do have a serious law and order problem but to rank us alongside major world cities was totally unfair.

That was the point of my argument.

I would like to ask the writer – what is your point and what have you done to address this growing concern?

Law and order is not a police problem.

It is a societal problem.

It is everybody’s problem.

People like the writer conveniently shy away from what should be a collective responsibility to fight crime.

You do not have to join the police service or take up arms to fight crime.

Your involvement can be subtle and, yet, still send a powerful message.

Here are three ways you can help in the fight against crime:

* Refuse to be in the company of or entertain relatives/friends you know who are involved in a life of crime;

* Refuse money, food or other gifts which are proceeds of crime; and

* Report to police if you know of a crime that had been committed, is being committed or will be committed in the near future.

Many so-called law-abiding citizens are doing none of the above and are just as guilty as the man who pulled the trigger or robbed the bank.

I totally concur with the view that there are no innocent bystanders.

I would like to ask not only the writer, but also readers, when was the last time you saw something wrong and did something constructive about it?

I consider myself a strong nationalist and have dedicated my entire life to protecting and serving the people of Papua New Guinea.

Policing in PNG is very difficult, given the various constraints such as having access to appropriate or adequate resources, equipment and funding, but we are doing the best we can.

As Police Commissioner, I have initiated programmes which will see the creation of a highly trained and professional police service committed to serving the six million-plus people of Papua New Guinea.

Finally, to the writer, if you are a Papua New Guinean you should hang your head in shame.

If you are an expatriate, then you are being well fed, so either shut up or leave PNG because you cannot contribute meaningfully to our development.


Gari Baki

Commissioner of Police

Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary



  1. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Commissioner Baki does make a number of important points.

    With a name like David Williams, I don't think you will find many people living in PNG who will agree with Mr. Williams suggestion that Mr. Baki should resigns...


  2. Is that the sane David "Snakeman" Williams?