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Parkops call for use of army misguided and foolish

I find the proposition by the NCD Governor to call out the army to police the streets of Port Moresby very amusing, misguided, and at worse, foolish, from a supposedly learned politician. Though the idea seems politically correct, it strikes dumb, and is totally misplaced.

Why does the Governor think using the armed force could deliver a positive result in combating crime in the City? Or could this idea be just another of his egotistic and attention grabbing stunts in the media just to square off with some of the initiatives of the Government recently announced by newly appointed ministers?
But if he does mean that, Is not unemployment and lack of job incentives by the Government over the years, one of the single most causes of the level of crime we experience today, that this issue should be addressed by NCDC and through such an intervention? I wonder where this idea has come from. Could there be another motive? However in considering the Governor's  proposition on its own merit, the idea appears politically correct, but seriously lacks political smartness.

 You may ask why all this has to do with being politically correct and politically smart? But a lot has got to do with it and a lot can be at stake from a misguided political move. Political correctness does not spare anyone from been politically ignorant. Here’s why I think the Governor’s proposition is starved of any logical and sensible reasoning. Firstly, the role of combating crime in NCD is not a core function of NCDC, neither is it the direct responsibility of the Governor.

Whilst NCDC could help, it does not make any sense that it could lead such a campaign. Secondly, the Governor does not mention the possible tradeoffs or costs related to his idea of using the army nor does he discusses how his proposed policy would interact with other policies and issues in the event it usurps this role.

The fact is that, the use of the army to police the streets of Port Moresby will be a futile attempt to correct the state of crime in the city, as would all other short term, unrelialistic, and quick fix solutions to deal with long term issues would confront. The use of the army just would not curb unemployment issues which is the root cause of crime. At best the involvement and participation of the army to address crime would contribute, is an added burden and an absolute strain on NCDC budget, as the Defense Department will not be responsible for  any logistical costs, allowances, and other incentives for its personnel to participate in duties outside of their normal function.

The involvement of army is therefore just not an effective and viable solution to curb crime. Obviously the Governor simply does not get it. The Governor seems only focused on vivid issues which would amplify his standing widely in the City and the country through endless publicity, yet he ignores one of the most important issues, which is the issue of appropriating valuable and limited resources towards programs.

Valuable resources are often misused, squandered and ignored in unrealistic and untenable programs. Could this initiative by the Governor be just that? For NCDC to take on this policy which is also outside of its core function, will mean redirecting resources away from other important programs which address the much needed services for rate payers in the City.

The impacts will definitely be felt down the line. How could the Governor be so concerned about the welfare of the people of NCD by confronting crime with such an idea, yet be so ignorant and careless about getting the other core essential services right for the interest of the same residences of the City? Are the dangers of crime anymore serious and concerning than the concerns of ill-health of residents from the dirt and filth Port Moresby is presently riddle with.

Or are the concerns of the free movement of people without been hassled and harmed by criminals anymore critical than a couple of children dying in the hospital as a result of a very dirty and filthy City environment? Some of the issues which the City now confronts, are the result of the Governors foolish decisions to over-commit NCDC budget on unrealistic and counter-productive programs.

For example, the decision by the Governor to build water fountains in the city two years ago for scenic pleasure, mind you a single water fountain coasted the Commission in access of K250,000, had been at the detriment of various vital services which the Commission could have addressed, the consequence of which are felt today. The build up of dirt and filth in the city today which is compromising the health of residents, the lack of proper traffic signage on the roads in the

City which is compromising the safety of road users, the collapse of compulsory services such as effective garbage collection, regulatory and monitoring function of the Council which is endangering lives, are a result of past bad decisions by the Governor. In recent times, the Governor announced taking on the Government in the Courts over the Manus asylum centre issue, which would have undoubtedly led to unnecessary costs to the Commission if pursued and a denial of another vital service to residents of the City.

The Governor thinks NCDC resources are vast and diverse and infinite, that he could squander them on programs of his preference and choice. The best the Governor could do is to get NCDC to contribute where it could to strengthen the capacity of an established State institution (the Police Department) responsible to combat crime in PNG and in the City and not take on the campaign.

For now it does seem the Governor has his priority all set wrong as his preferences on issues appear a mismatch to NCDC’s charter, let alone, its capacity to take on. The Governor’s poor decisions appear to be only stifling life out of NCDC from addressing its key functions and responsibilities, thus denying residents of vital services.

Keslin Hami