Government unveils soft SOE measures, plans to Work with Businesses to Rebuild After Unrest

12 January, 2023

In the wake of violent riots that rocked the capital city this past week, Prime Minister James Marape and National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop today addressed the nation, outlining measures of the State of Emergency (SOE) and plans for restoring normalcy and rebuilding trust.

Prime Minister James Marape unveiled several ‘soft’ measures of the State of Emergency in the National Capital District during the press conference this afternoon.

He explained there will not be a harsh and strict lock-down, but to maintain order in the city.

Mr Marape added there will be no curfew, no crowd movements , stating, there will be limitations to people’s movements except in funerals and church gatherings.

Part of the soft measures also include limitations to alcohol, and search by police on people and premises.

“Our city needs to heal,” Governor Parkop declared. “These attacks on businesses like Brian Bell, City Pharmacy, and others were an attack on ourselves.” He emphasized the crucial role these corporations play in the economy and livelihoods of Papua New Guineans.

The SOE, declared in response to the January 10th riots, aims to stabilize the city and facilitate recovery. “There will be no harsh curfew,” clarified Prime Minister Marape, “but movement will be monitored

He assured citizens that details of the SOE measures will be revealed by Acting Police Commissioner Donald Yamasombi.

Both leaders expressed outrage at the role some police played in inciting the looting. “Minister Tkatchenko and Governor Parkop witnessed police officers encouraging theft at Badili,” revealed Mr Marape, highlighting the need to clean up the force. “This SOE provides the chance to ensure public safety,” he said.

Governor Parkop echoed this sentiment, stating, “Our confidence in the police force was shattered. We need to rebuild a security system we can trust.”

He urged the government to offer immediate incentives to the affected businesses, focusing on employee retention, security upgrades, and access to foreign exchange.

“These companies are owned by our own people,” Parkop argued. “Despite their losses, they want to recover.” He praised their resilience and emphasized the collective responsibility to rebuild trust and stability.

Prime Minister Marape emphasized the importance of national unity and respect for individual freedoms. “Democracy grants movement, but it also respects the freedom of others,” he stated.

He announced a review of the National ICT Act to enhance online security, demonstrating a commitment to tackling both physical and digital threats.

With the SOE in place and leaders pledging restoration, Port Moresby now steps into a crucial phase of healing and rebuilding.

The commitment to clean up the police force, support businesses, and strengthen security offers a ray of hope for a city scarred by unrest. However, only time will tell if these promises translate into lasting change and ensure a brighter future for the capital and its people.

Prime Minister sincerely apologised to the business community and the law abiding people in the community and non-citizens for the unnecessary stress placed upon everyone.

He admitted the issue of tax increase was blown out of proportion.

Prime Minister assured Governor Parkop and his team of his government’s support in dealing with people coming into the city, adding people must have IDs to come into the city.

He further added the government will utilise the 2024 census to have head count in the city and throughout the country as well.

Detailed SOE Measures will be announced by Controller Donald Yamasombi and Minister Tsiamalili in due course.