Mixed emotions took over the floor in Parliament with MPs over the Gun debate. How, When and what solutions where the centre of the gun debate today during Papers without notice.
Prime Minister James Marape leading the debate calling on for discussions from members of parliament to find a solution to Gun Violence and Crimes committed with harmful objects like Bush knives and Knives.
“What started out as a drunken brawl spilled into suburbs and settlements in the city as a result of uncontrolled liquor sales, uncontrolled population migration into our cities and two neighbouring people, people from southern highlands and people from Hela exchange the unessecery use of weapons that killed three youth from Southern Highlands.”
“So the use of gun and the use of weapons in our community is becoming prevalent in our communities so I stand up to rally the conscious of this parliament address that we have to maybe increase penalties for those who use guns in this society to kill someone else.”
His statement igniting opposition leader Beldan Namah to call for enough talks in Parliament, but enforcement of existing penalties to do with gun violence.While the opposition leader was happy the government wanted to debate the issues surrounding Gun Violence, he pointed the finger to the lack of police presence and enforcement of laws.
“Mr Speaker, you know we can sit here, stand here all day and debate such issue like the gun issues. Mr Prime Minister needs to understand there are already laws in place, there is already a guns report that was published by a committee that was headed by Retired Major General Jerry Singarok for this parliament to debate and deliberate on it and implement on it.”
“We are wasting our time Mr Deputy Speaker, debating on issues that are already known to us, the issue lies with the member of parliament sitting on this floor of parliament. Most of us are buying guns for our tribes, most of us leader sitting on this floor, to buy guns for our tribes to win our elections, time for elections and come to this parliament”
“What measures have we done? If we have laws how can we enforce them that the issue what we should be talking about. if laws aren’t strong, how can we amend it to make it stronger.”
That was then followed by statements and more debate from the Police Minister, Bryan Kramer, East Sepik Governor Allan Bird and lands Minister and Lae MP John Rosso.
Minister Rosso debating with in-depth knowledge because of his 15 years’ experience with the RPNGC as a reservist, he stated that most fire arms seen in the highlands are firearms from RPNGC and PNGDF armoury and there were officers within the disciplinary forces selling Firearms and ammunition. Rosso calling of the disciplinary forces to relook how firearms and ammunition are recorded and accounted for.
”A lot of people talk about guns but we must realise that people with bush knives cause problems, people under the influence of alcohol causes problems. Enforcement is a key, you go to Boroko, you go to Lae market all the men are carry bush knives, the police need to stop and search and make sure these people are prosecuted.”
”I speak from experience serving as a reserved chief Sargent for 15 years, I speak from experience of why Lae has dropped 80% of its major crime rate now, when we talked about guns, where are the guns coming from? So many times we blame licensed gun holder. But license gun holder don’t hold onto m-16,Self Loading Rifle, K1 Assault Rifle, K2, Galilee Automatic Rifle, they don’t have it. The Military carry’s that sought of weapon, the police carries those weapons, when you look up tribal fights in Hela, Southern Highlands or Simbu look at the type of weapons in the photo graphs, what sort of weapons are there, Galilee automatic rifles where do the riles come from, from our police armoury, where does an SLR comes from, from our military armoury.”
It’s been an unresolved issue, since 2004 when former member for Goroka Bire Kimisopa introduced in parliament a Gun committee led by Major General Jerry Singarok to look at Guns issues in PNG. The committee finally had the report tabled in Parliament in 2018 during the O’Neill-Able Government.
Speaking via mobile phone this afternoon retired Major General, Jerry Singarok said that the report was tabled in parliament but the recommendations were never taken up.
“The Guns report was submitted in 2005 to then Prime Minister Sir Michale Somare, the opposition leader by the time was Peter O’Neill. And between 2005-2019 there has been not one single ownership of the report, so regardless of whatever the debate is and views of member of parliaments are the Guns support basically captured all the systemetic areas”
“All the issue is lacking is the Political Will”
While debate continues with parliamentarians, the issue of gun related violence in Cities, Towns and villages across PNG continue to take place every day.
By Adelaide Sirox Kari, EMTV News, Port Moresby