Minister Tsiamalili refutes claims by Member for Vanimo Green

Thursday 18 January 2024

Minister for internal Security, Hon. Peter Tsiamalili Jr expressing disappointment over insensitive comments.

Minister for internal Security, Hon. Peter Tsiamalili Jr, has refuted claims by  Member for Vanimo Green,  Belden Namah, as being not based on fact or properly thought through.

In a statement, Mr Namah condemned efforts to recover goods stolen during looting on 10 January 2024.

Minister Tsiamalili said the main effort for security forces during the State of Emergency (SOE) is the maintenance of calm, and where possible stolen goods are being recovered and returned to rightful owners.

“The Member for Vanimo Green is misleading the people with his statement in relation to the  recovery of items looted in Port Moresby on 10 January 2024,” Minister Tsiamalili said.

“As a former military officer, I would expect, Mr Namah can appreciate that in any security operation there is a ‘main effort’ where resources are focused. Beyond the main effort are secondary objectives that are sought to be attained as part of the overall operation.

“The main effort of law-and-order operations under the SOE is to maintain calm and prevent further civil unrest.

“Beyond this are other activities are underway that include investigations into people who incited looting and property destruction, ongoing community engagement, communications and awareness, and where possible, the return of stolen items.

“When stolen items are identified they are returned to their rightful owner who will decide what to do with the item. Obviously there are some stolen items that are beyond salvage, and that is a decision for the owner of the property.

“The SOE security measures being implemented are appropriate to the current threat environment, which is relatively low, though we must be able to respond if there is an upsurge in tension.”

The Minister said there is a further point that needs to be made that is in relation to Mr Namah’s comments referring to Bougainville.

“I do not know what would possess the Vanimo-Green Member to use an odd example of Bougainville to make his political point.

“This is not only insensitive and made no sense, but in the current time it is very irresponsible.”

Minister Tsiamalili said in relation to providing support to business owners that suffered from the looting and destruction, the Government is working with them to develop channels of support.

He emphasised,  the Law-and-order operations are ongoing for the Marape-Rosso Government to get businesses back on their feet and to restore confidence.

“I encourage Mr Namah to make a constructive contribution to policy discussion in relation to this and any other national issue he wishes to raise, but to do so in a sensible manner.

“As a government we will always listen to and discuss the views of all stakeholders, but this discussion has to be rational and based on fact instead of ideas that have not been properly thought through.”