Monday, August 23, 2010

Arms build-up frightening

Acquisition targets 2012 elections




THE government has been called on to wake up to reality and address the unrestricted build-up of illegal firearms in the country, The National reports.

Law and order sectoral committee chairman Graham Ainui said to do so, the government must look at the recommendations of the guns committee and start implementing them including the placements of moratoriums.

“The unrestricted build-up of illegal firearms towards the 2012 national elections in Papua New Guinea could trigger a civil war,” Ainui told participants of a three-day national development forum in Port Moresby last Friday.

He said illegal possession of firearms was high, starting with politicians right down to the grassroots and youths on the street.

“We have allowed a huge build-up of firearms to the point where, if anything goes wrong, it could trigger a civil war because of the amount of guns floating around,” he said.

Former police commissioner and anti-fraud consultant John Toguata said PNG was leading the Pacific nations as the worst in the possession of illegal firearms or weapons and, yet, it had failed to make any statements on the issue at the United Nations assembly in New York last month.

He said it was embarrassing that PNG did not make any statement to the international committee in relation to guns.

“On the ground, we do not have a report on the guns issue.

“At the international scene, PNG ranks badly in the possession of firearms.

“Based on the current assessment on the build-up of firearms, what we have in the country is most frightening,” he said.

The committee came up with specific recommendations after the government had petitioned them. The report, containing 244 recommendations, was submitted to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare who accepted it and tabled it in parliament. However, it was never discussed.

Out of that came 16 recommendations to be implemented by the police force with the help of the law and justice sector but nothing happened due to funding constrains.

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