Prime Ministers Media Releases

National Security Council endorses National Security Policy Advice on National Security Matters

The National Security Council was convened by the Prime Minister on 06 May 2021 to address National Security Matters including COVID-19 Operational matters, prevalence of law and order problems in the country, and the 2022 National General Elections preparations. 

Chairman of the National Security Council, Prime Minister James Marape said the NSC took note of the COVID-19 impact, associated challenges, and government responses to that challenge at different levels, and determined that the COVID-19 response must continue to be handled as a whole of government approach. It was also necessary that government agencies and entities take leadership in promoting the “niupela pasin”. 

The NSC also considered the current increase in law and order issues in the country as the most pressing concern for businesses and citizens and must be at the forefront of government focus before the national general elections. 

He said the criminal activities and law and order situation is a direct result of lack of institutional capacity and capability, absence of political leadership at all levels of government and ineffective governance. He acknowledged the murder case at Koki in the National Capital District and subsequent ethnic tribal revenge; the drunken brawl and drug consumption amongst youths, leading to violence in East New Britain province, armed criminal gang activities in Alotau, and tribal killings in Porgera, Enga, Hela and Eastern Highlands respectively, as key security challenges affecting lives, livelihoods and business activities. 

“Corporate and business houses are concerned that law and order problems are affecting business. The law enforcement agencies are absolutely committed to address public safety issues and security of government and private sector assets” Prime Minister Marape said. 

He further stressed that the Security Council has directed the disciplinary security forces and intelligence community to take a unified approach and address the prevalence and increase in criminal activities in the country. 

“Government approaches to address the increase in law and order issues are through existing community policing mechanisms, community mediation, deployment of mobile squads, and PNG Defense Force Call-Out deployment. 

“While the response to mitigate the impact and effect of COVID-19 was through policy interventions of the National Pandemic Act, ‘Niupla Pasin’ Guidelines to strengthen protective measures at the workplace, educational institutions and communities and development of Economic Stimulus package to resuscitate the economy.” 

Prime Minister Marape said despite all these responses, all security protocols currently in place do not take into account the risks and threats that will come with the 2022 National General Elections. 

“Papua New Guinea is now behind its pre-2022 National General Election security assessment to assist plan and prepare for the actual election process,” he said. 

“The National Government is fully aware of the enormous task ahead but the existence of COVID-19 is a concern that will continue to hinder progress. 

“However, the National Government considers this as a priority area as per the constitution and demands that the key committee on the 2022 National General Election security to activate immediately. 

“Therefore, the NSC has agreed to seek approval from Cabinet on the National Security Advisory Committee’s (NSAC) Resolution pertinent to COVID-19 response efforts and the NSAC Resolution about criminal activities and general law and order situation in the country.” 

The Prime Minister said the NSC has also agreed to seek approval from Cabinet to direct the NSAC to coordinate, plan and lead the security operations for the 2022 National General Elections. 

He added that the NSC is also open for any other directions from Cabinet. 

PM Marape launches nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, officially launched the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign ‘Sleeves Up’ today at APEC Haus, Port Moresby.

He said the launching of the campaign was timely in the Government’s response to curtail the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 and to protect the people.

PM Marape said the first batch of 100,000 vaccines had already been brought into the country and would be distributed throughout the country for the campaign.

He encouraged frontline and essential workers to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated, or they could exercise their right under the National Constitution by deciding not to get vaccinated.

However, PM Marape warned that those who decided not to get vaccinated must also be prepared to accept the consequences, including getting infected and spreading COVID-19 to their families and communities.

He said vaccination had always been a part of the Government’s strategy to curb and stop the worst impacts of COVID-19, and now that the vaccine was available, the Government would be using it to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent casualties.

“Our focus last year before the first index case was always about defence to prevent COVID-19 from coming into our country, " PM Marape said.

“Since then, we had our first index case reported in March last year, and we went into an effective three-month hard lockdown strategy trying to curtail and minimise a blowout of the transmission of the virus.

“When the second case was reported in Kokopo last year and there was no epidemiology link between the two cases, I knew the virus was already in our communities.

“We also knew from reliable information available that vaccinations may take up to a year to be made available, therefore, the immediate action plan was to prevent the virus from spreading quickly, minimising the transmission rate.

“We remember the 121 lives we lost and we want to reduce and prevent deaths of our people.

“The 'niupla pasin' must now be a part of every Papua New Guinean lifestyle.

“It simply means that if you have no need to go to public place outside of your home or workplace, stay put where ever you are.

"COVID-19 spreads from person to person, so when your do not come into contact with an infected person, you reduce your risks of getting the virus.

“If you a moving in a bus or in an aeroplane, wear a mask at all time and keep appropriate distance ( 1.5 meters or 2 meters) from others.

“Your health and safety individually means that your family is safe, your community is safe and your nation is safe.

“I want to thank all our development partners including the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and all the United Nations organisations, the people and Government of China, and especially the people and Government of Australia, through their Prime Minister Scott Morrison, for assisting in putting Papua New Guinea in a position to receive the first batch of Astra-Zeneca Vaccine through the COVAX Facility .”

PM Marape said over three million people had already died of COVID-19 worldwide.

He said PNG was doing relatively well in managing the pandemic as a result of the Government’s Isolation Strategy, through whichthe country was able to reduce the predicted transmission rate of one person infecting three other persons to a manageable rate for the country.

SECRETARY POMALEU SIGNS ABG POST-REFERENDUM CONSULTATION PROJECT AGREEMENT

The Government of Papua New Guinea and the UN through its United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have co-signed an agreement to support the economic development work as part of the post-referendum activities to support lasting peace and long term political settlement process on the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ABG). 

Secretary to the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council, Ivan Pomaleu and UNDP’s PNG Representative, Dirk Wagener signed the project; Sustaining Peace through Economic Empowerment this week in Port Moresby. 

The project is an extension of the work the UN has played in the implementation process of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) leading up to the referendum and will continue to the post-referendum consultations between the two governments. 

Secretary Pomaleu said the project is designed to support the ongoing Bougainville peace building process and is funded by the Government of Japan worth $US 2, 842 181, which is equivalent to PGK 9, 788 850 and will be implemented by the UNDP. 

“It frames the support that the UN through UNDP can provide for the immediate post-referendum process, including provision of technical and logistical support to the two governments on capacity building, support on the ratification process, continued awareness to the people of Bougainville and PNG on the progress and inclusive opportunities that support meaningful participation. 

“The latter being a key part of ensuring that the agreed outcome of the consultations is accepted by the people of Bougainville and PNG alike,’’ he said. 

Secretary Pomaleu whilst signing the project framework agreement acknowledged the UNDP and said it has played an important role in the BPA process in the earliest days. 

“And this Sustaining Peace through Economic Empowerment’ project is a natural extension of the work and support the UNDP has provided the two governments in the preparation and the conduct of the 2019 Bougainville Referendum. 

“Considering the early stages of the preparation of the post-referendum preparations, the proposed approach maintains high flexibility to deploy resources where they will have maximum impact in moving the process forward and ensure activities are coordinated with other actors,’’ said Secretary Pomaleu. 

He further stated that as per the Bougainville Peace Agreement the outcomes of the referendum on Bougainville is non-binding, meaning the two governments will consult each other and the agreed outcome to be ratified by the National Parliament. 

“To ensure that the two governments were prepared for the post referendum period, the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB); the body that oversees the implementation of the BPA, established a Post Referendum Planning Task Force in June 2018 and it has held planning preparation meetings for the post-referendum process and has met on eight occasions in 2019 with representation from the two governments. 

“The meetings were supported by the UN through UNDP and the London based international Non-Governmental Organization Conciliation Resources. Therefore, the UN now continues this support through the project,’’ he said. 

Secretary Pomaleu said that amongst other things the Task Force has been able to provide guidance to the two governments on the immediate post-referendum processes. Part of that work includes supporting the commencement of the consultation process, which the Prime Minister and the President has announced to commence on the week beginning 17 May 2021, as well as supporting the chairmanship arrangement and the input of a moderator. It also includes planning and executing an Economic Summit for ABG, which was announced at the end of the JSB meeting in Arawa on 05 February 2021 in Arawa. 

The Secretary said that the Minister for Bougainville Affairs and Minister for Post-Referendum Dialogue and Consultation have indicated that the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government welcome the international community to extend its current support for the referendum into the post-referendum period. It allows work to be done at the economic empowerment level to address co-business and investments for the people in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. 

Secretary Pomaleu said these post-referendum consultation preparations give momentum to the Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape’s statement when the results of the referendum were presented to the Governor-General that National Government heard the voice of Bougainvilleans, and the two governments must now develop a roadmap that leads to lasting political settlement. 

PM MARAPE: I HAVE HOPE THAT EDUCATION WILL UNLOCK OUR FUTURE

Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, MP, says he has so much hope in our future generation, and this can be realized by unlocking our future through proper education.

He made this remark while addressing the students of Hope Institute in Tari, Hela Province this morning.

“I thank the management of this institution for their efforts in successfully running this learning hub and encourage each student to strive for excellence.

“Last year, this institution held its first grade 12 graduation, with 12 graduates. Out of these 12 graduates, eight students continued on to tertiary institutions.

“Today, the Hope Institute has enrolled 120 grade 12 students and we look forward to having more year 12 students next year on,” PM Marape said.

He urged those enrolled in Hope Institutes today, not to give up, but give it their utmost best.

“We look forward to an expansion of this institution to TVET and polytech facilities, in the near future,” PM Marape said.

He said six years ago we invested in this institution and today we have over 500 students.

“My children, you can do it. Respect your teachers both local and international.

“Education is the greatest gift I can give to you - my people.

“If I give you money now, it would be used to buy material things that would perish.

“However, giving education to you children is my greatest investment in our future,” PM Marape said.

He said last year most of our grade 12 graduates averaged with scores of As and Bs, compared to other secondary and high schools in the province and this was worth it all.

“While studying here, make life interesting but also contribute to the upkeep of this school by helping to clean and maintain it,” PM Marape urged the students.

The Hope Institute in the Tari-Pori District provides free education with standard curriculum courses, which enable students to continue their education into tertiary institutions and universities.

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