by Vasinatta Yama – EM TV, Port Moresby
Four families of ex-servicemen at Goldie Barracks were removed from their houses yesterday at around 6pm to 7pm.
The ex-servicemen had been waiting for their entitlements for more than 10 years and this was not the first time they have been evicted. In September, some families were evicted from their homes at Taurama Barracks. The Taurama Barracks eviction caused countrywide sympathy and prompted a response in parliament from the Prime Minister who mentioned talks of a pension for ex-servicemen. Nothing further has been mentioned on the issue since.
This morning, all the families of ex-soldiers from Taurama, Murray and Goldie Barracks gathered at Murray Barracks to discuss the issue. Their spokesperson, James Lovika said they are happy to go home but are still waiting for their service entitlements.
Some of them served for more than 40 years. He said the servicemen were the ones who brought PNG into independence and they need to be honoured and administered properly before being discharged. Mr Lovika said they are not against the defence force and they do not want to occupy and use public property. He said the matter is still before the courts; however, the eviction took place early.
A widow, Veronica Ko from East Sepik Province formerly married to an ex-soldier who died in 2007, was evicted from her home yesterday night. She is now living under a small tent with her three younger sons.
The eviction notice was issued three weeks ago but the families say it is too short a time for them to move out.