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Old 12-02-2003, 11:56 AM
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Port Moresby's crime solution

Have a Read! it is in the Australian Today!!

Port Moresby's crime solution

February 10, 2003

THESE are the thugs holding Port Moresby to ransom. They are the reason for the city's razor-wire compounds, the reason tourists stay away and expats live with security guards, the reason why anyone with any money tries not to pause while making their way from one fortress to the next.

In the high-security wing of Bomana Jail, Moresby's main prison, The
Australian is given rare access to see how these feared criminals
experience for themselves what it means to live behind bars and razor

Asked if any of them are raskols ? criminals from the city's shantytowns ? they laugh. "We're all raskols," says convicted armed
robber Verave Papari, 32. "That's why we're here." Papari tells of his

"A pharmacy, on November 3rd, 2002, at 9.30 on Sunday morning. I
didn't enter the place, but some of my boys did. I was the driver. We
got 2065 kina (about $1000). Not much. We left a big amount behind."
Papari says his gang used two 9mm magnum pistols, but no one was shot in the heist. Besides leaving money behind, he leaves two children, Bernie, 4, and Onli, aged 18 months, living with their mother in one of Moresby's poverty-stricken settlements.

These illegal townships have sprung up all across the PNG capital.
Unemployment runs at 80 per cent, the settlements have no electricity and water is stolen by plugging in to the main pipelines.

"There's not enough jobs for grassroots people like us," says Papari.
"That's why we're involved in these crimes." Moresby is crippled by criminals ? but not for much longer, says Geoffrey Vaki, assistant police commissioner and the city's self-proclaimed saviour.

And many agree the capital's redemption depends on him.
"I'm on a save-our-souls exercise," says Vaki. "Nobody want to do anything about the settlements. The politicians won't deal with them head-on because they fear their vote."

Police commissioners don't normally talk like this in Australia ? they
fear for their jobs. But Vaki is fearless in reminding the PNG politicians of
their responsibilities, and leading an almost evangelical crusade to empty
out the settlements and force people to return to the villages they came

"Every man and his dog is here," says Vaki. "They represent 800 languages, and everyone in PNG has a relative to stay with in Port Moresby.

You've got 26 authorised settlements and up to 100 illegal settlements ? that's 800 people per square kilometre. There are 80,000 unemployed youths here with a lot of energy.

"These people threaten the stability of PNG. If they were turned around to go home, they wouldn't do what they're doing. They are lost sheep, they need a shepherd.

They need somebody like Geoffrey Vaki."

Vaki's plan is to use the law to grind down the settlers. The strategy
involves first getting the building authority to establish whether the
settlers' houses meet building regulations. None will.

Then the health department will determine if they are fit for habitation.
None are.

Then authorities will establish whether or not they have title
to the land they occupy. None do.

"God bless this nation, we own 90 per cent of our land," says Vaki. "I'm
telling these people: 'Your salvation is to go home. Get your politician
to put his money where his mouth is, get you to grow coffee, cocoa, vanilla, cattle, sheep and goats so you have a cash income'.

"Mr Vaki is saying, 'I'm Moses and I'm telling you guys the Promised Land is your 19 provinces'. That's what I'm saying, and I'm doing it in a human and realistic way.

Everywhere I go, people are saying, 'You're doing an
excellent job, Geoffrey'.

"I've had no politician ring or write to me and say, 'Mr Vaki, I find you
to be very arrogant and I don't like the way you talk to people'. I'm
quite confident the silence is a silence of approval. It's going to happen.

I'm trying to save this nation."

Vaki believes if he can push 70,000 people out of Moresby, the city will
become manageable once again. As it is, he says, policing the settlements is impossible. They have no streets, addresses or lot numbers ? people build where they can find the space.

"How can you chase someone down alleys, across barbed wire, over the
traditional stakes in the ground?" (These are designed as deadly traps.)

Vaki says he doesn't hate the settlement people ? instead, he hates what
is happening to them.

"People are living in ****, they're living in holes in the ground. It's

"We're sending them back to the rivers and bush where their ancestors were once proud people, so they can be proud again."

Vaki condemns ? "with the greatest respect" ? PNG's politicians for
allowing the settlements to flourish.

He says Moresby's problems will not be corrected until the politicians
stop pocketing money for themselves and invest in the rural provinces.

"Unfortunately, many of our politicians have never even worked as public servants. They come up with policies that are absolutely ridiculous.

They're getting Bill Gates salaries.

"They should sell their dark-glass-tinted turbo-charged vehicles and turn
the money into medicines.

"And once the settlement people see the village they left now has a
double-brick school, once they see a post office, once they see the
infrastructure, we're going to turn the tables."

Vaki picks up a letter he has received from the tourist commission, part
of a program to encourage locals and foreigners to take holidays in PNG.

"Why have holidays here when you'll be pack-raped and shot?" he asks, throwing the document down.

"First, we need to get the taxi driver to cut his hair and brush his

"We need to bring in national service, have the youth saying, 'Yes sir,
three bags full sir'. When you get on the bus, it should be, 'Yes madam,
please have a seat'."

Vaki believes there will come a time when the razor wire will come down
and people will once again walk the streets of Moresby without fear.

"That's what I'm looking at.

Most people I meet in the streets say Moresby needs suburbs, not settlements. Roads, ovals, police stations, street lights, so people from every tribe live together, not ethnic groups living together.

"The settlement people have told me themselves I am right.

"They're feeling very guilty over what their sons are doing here. They want to go home."
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Old 15-02-2003, 08:40 AM
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Having read this article I can relate to all that has been said by Geoffrey Vaki and I salute him for trying to rectify a situation that has got completely out of hand.

I work in an office where there are people living in settlements and one of the things they skite about - is that Electricity workers and Eda Ranu (water) workers are too afraid to read their metres so they have NEVER been billed !!!

No wonder Elcom is running out of money and Eda Ranu makes the rest of us pay more for water !

Three cheers to Geoffrey if he can even begin to start returning these settlers to their provinces.

One of our security guards the other day said to me he was a Kerema. I asked how long since he went home for a visit....his reply....I have never been there coz I was born in Port Moresby.

So what is happening here is that families have settled in Port Moresby over the past 20 + years, continued having children and have never been able to afford to return to their provinces.

The costs of airfares is really high even for income earners, so how could a family of five without jobs return to their province.

Perhaps we (PNG) should be asking for AUSAID to return all the out of work settlement people back to their provinces by providing army personnel for the job.

I agree with Geoffrey, how can we encourage tourism when we cant control the raskols in our city !

Get rid of the raskols and out of work settlers back to their provinces and the tourists WILL COME !!!!!

Photograph : A traditional home in the Arona Valley, Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea :
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Old 17-02-2003, 03:19 PM
johnpiel johnpiel is offline
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I commend Mr Vaki for his vision and action so far. If PNG was to have one dictator to get the country back on track..Vaki would get my vote.

In today's PNG, we need men of Mr Vaki's carliber to stand up for what they have been trained for, profess to do and what they actually do. It is unfortunate that we have only few like minded person of Mr Vaki.

The police rank should commend this man and give him the highest honour he deserves at his rank and file, if not should be promoted to the next rank.

I could have a good nights sleep, take my wife and children for a night's walk, go shopping in the night, visit a friend without fear of attack only if I had leaders with vision and who acted like Mr Vaki.

Finally every good Papua New Guinean should commend this good man and support him in every way possible. Three cheers for Mr Vaki..You certainly have my support.

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Old 16-08-2003, 01:38 PM
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Vaki is the saviour

We need hebrew prohets like Vaki to saave us. We have to be realistic and practical and stop hiding behind laws to protect the settlements. We must deal with reality and everyone knows the truth. The settlements must go. We do not need Greek philosophers who talk and talk. We need hebrew prophets who will call down fire from heaven even if it defies logic.
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Old 16-08-2003, 02:46 PM
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Totally Agree ! Last night I dropped off our Journalist at her home who intended to drop off her stuff and head back to the car to go out on an assignment last night.

Before you know it in two minutes flat, I had some moron at my window making the sign of a gun and trying to hold me up.I planted the foot and took off.

Our poor journalist came up minutes later to find me long GONE because of one stupid idiot who took the opportunity to scare the living daylights out of me !

I dont care who it is, BUT SOMEONE HAS TO DO SOMETHING to put these people who give PNG a bad name back in their villages and off the streets of our cities so normal peace loving people can go about their lives.
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Old 16-08-2003, 06:48 PM
lapunman lapunman is offline
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Wishful thinking

May have to re-evaluate what is important in life, seeing things are this bad.

You may also want to read a bit of advice from long term residents of PNG and realise that you should not put yourself into these situations.

Got to be smart when living in the wild.

Last edited by lapunman; 17-08-2003 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:03 PM
bradcapo2 bradcapo2 is offline
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Thanks for the feedback. That is very useful

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Old 24-08-2009, 06:11 PM
bradcapo112 bradcapo112 is offline
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Great work .. really informative .. and thanks a lot for sharing

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Old 26-08-2009, 07:30 PM
karoty karoty is offline
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Got to be smart when living in the wild.
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