Ex Serviceman calls on Government to pay their dues

by Paul Maima

AN EX Serviceman and Senior Statesman Larry Dick has called on the Government to help them receive their outstanding payments. WHILE waiting for their final remuneration from the National Government 36 ex Serviceman have died. What a disgrace at the ignorance of our authorities, it only happens in the land of unexpected Papua New Guinea. The remaining 44 from the 80 who were unlawfully discharged from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) in 2001 have called on the Marape-Davies Government to help them repatriate back to their villages and pay their due finances. Larry Dick is from Iokea East Kerema in Gulf Province. He has been in the Military for 40 years since the colonial era under the Australian Administration. Larry Dickson has contributed so much in sports particularly the boxing code in the country. As a boxer in the Commonwealth Games in 70's then as a coach ever since. He is the longest-serving administrator in amateur boxing. He has traveled to 30 countries in 5 Continents around the Globe. A truly senior Statesman but was forcefully removed from Murray Barracks in 2019. He wants to retire back to his village in Ikea, East Kerema. " I have served both the Australian and PNG Military since 1968. I am worried that they have not recognized my contributions to the Nation-building in terms of Military duties as well as my contributions to amateur boxing in PNG and Oceania." He has served the Australian Military before independence. And the PNG Defence Force after Independence for close to 40 years. He was unlawfully discharged from the force in 2001. In his opinion, he did not apply for discharge from the Defence Force. The Medical Board did not recommend his retirement. He was removed from the payroll in 2001. In 2006 after raising the complaint, he was reinstated to payroll but below Sergeants pay. But then he was removed again from the payroll. Now he is surviving on a pension of K207 per fortnight. With his 7 children, and 5 adopted with many grandchildren, he finds it difficult to sustain them, who are dependent on him. Two decades have gone passed now and four successive Governments in the Independent State of Papua New Guinea have not given a golden handshake to dedicated veterans Papua New Guinea Defense Force(PNGDF) Soldiers who serve their country and its people well with pride. They were forcefully removed from PNGDF during the Mekere Morauta Government in 2001. They were indiscriminately repatriated from the Defence Force repatriation exercise code name “ Lukim Peles”. Warren Officer Dick Larry from Iokea in Gulf Province is amongst the 80 servicemen who are affected by this exercise. They have taken the state and the Defense Force Department to court. After years of battling the National court rule in favor of them. On Wednesday 26th November 2008, the Supreme Court of PNG entertained a concession by Counsel representing the Tali/Coomer Ex-Serviceman and allowed the appeal by Peter Ilau against the finding of guilt in relation to a contemptuous proceeding brought against Peter Ilau by the Tali/Coomer group. The Supreme court rules that therefore the Judgment of Justice Kandakasi remain undisturbed. The PNGDF is now obliged to expeditiously administer the proper discharge processes and procedures for the concerned ex-servicemen, in close consultation with all concerned parties. They are the Department of Personnel Management, the Treasury Department, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Defence. To date, the National Government is yet to pay them and while waiting 36 of these former soldiers have died. Officer Larry Dick continues to live in Murray Barracks waiting for his final entitlement findings until he was forcefully removed from their home in 2019. He has now moved with his wife Henao Dairi Larry and his family to his in-law's village in Porebada, Central Province. During the interview, he is appealing to the new Marape/ Basil Government to seriously look into the ex-servicemen case. And allocated some funding this year or in the next year's budget to remunerate and discharge them in a fit and proper manner. " We have served the State and the people of Papua New Guinea. Please Government helps us." He said with tears in his frailing eyes. THE END Photo caption: Senior Statesman and veteran soldier and Commonwealth boxer Larry Dick displaying the medals he received from Australian and PNG Government.

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