Scott Waide – Lae Bereau Chief
The Lae Area Commander ofthe Papua New GuineaDefense Force, Group Captain Peter Aimos, saysthe Lae based engineering battalion can solve some oPNG’s transport problems ifthe battalion is adequately funded.
Aimos saidthe Defense Force hasthe expertise to build high quality roads at lower costs.
Aimos is an aviator and an engineer who has built roads inthe Eastern Highlands and was also responsible for transporting coffee from Karamui inthe Simbu province whenthe Somare government announcedthe so called “green Revolution” that was meant to help farmers without road access gettheir cash crops to markets.
The Green revolution became nothing more than anther political gimmick. The program failed to continue because ofthe lack of funds. Betthe Group Captain Peter Aimos saysthe engineering battalion can still solve some oPNG’s transport problems if adequate funding is given tothPNGDF.
“The potential is here. We havethe expertise, although minimal. We have it,” Aimos said. “If that can be expanded, we can easily changethe face of this nation.”
AlthoughthPNGDEF’s capacity has declined overthe years,the engineering battalion still demonstratesthe highest level of workmanship. The roads inside Lae’s Igam Barracks are a demonstration ofthe skill of Papua New Guinearsquo;s army engineers. Beilt over 20 years ago, they show very little evidence of deterioration.
Aimos argues that engineering battalion can build better roads at a much cheaper price thanthe average contractor.
“The government has its labor force intact inthe military. Betthey have not utilizedthe potential ofthe defense force.”
The Papua New Guineadefense force is currently undergoing reforms. It is expected that by 2050,the strength ofthPNGDF will reach about 20,000 men and women.
The engineering battalion remains in desperate need of new equipment and additional manpower.
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