The 2022 National Election Security Committee had their first meeting on last week to discuss their preparation for the election which is about ten (10) months away.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner for Operation, Donald Yamasombi said that they met after Police Minister William Onglo launched the committee on April, 28th 2021 at the Police Headquarters in Port Moresby.
“Since the launching we (Police) have progressed on drafting operation plan which will be presented to the Police Commissioner David Manning as the Chief Security Commander in the National General Election.
The Draft Operation Plan will also be presented to the other State Holder Agencies.
So last Thursday (03/06/2021) we met with other State Holders of the Committee which only the representatives from the PNG Correctional Services attended at the Police Operations Centre at Konedobu, in Port Moresby.
I’m hoping that our Stake Holders (PNG Defence Force and PNG Electoral Commission) will attend the next meeting this Thursday (10/06/2021).
And for the first time since 1975, due to the presences of Covid-19, now in our Election Security Planning Committee, we will need Health experts to be part of the Committee. Probably the St. John Ambulances Services.”
Yamasombi said that, due to limited time which the issuing of Writs is usually on the 2nd of April every Election year, time is really not on our side to really prepare for the 2022 election.
Nevertheless, we have already come up with a draft of our security operation plan.
We had spent the last few months reviewing 2012 and 2017 elections to identify and assess what done correctly), what went wrong and areas we could improve on.
From these experiences from the last two elections had taught us to be well-prepared.
But for 2022 election, we are seeing new security challenges like the Covid-19 Pandemic that would add to the difficulty of managing the elections from a health and safety perspective.
Also we are concern of traditionally peaceful Provinces like Milne Bay and Madang which are experiencing extreme violence criminal activities.
We are concern of Highlands region which traditionally is always the hotspot areas for our security planning. And so we need to plan now to collect intelligence to properly plan our operations.
We (police) critically need to collect and analyze security threats and resources in all the Provinces and funding is priority to install appropriate personnel in all the Provinces to gather this information And time is of essences
Yamasombi said that,
“since that we already have the draft of our 2022 National Election Security Plan, we just want the dates from the PNG Electoral Commission.
When we have the dates, then we can factor it into our draft so that we can come up with our budget proposal to submit to the National Government for funding.
So we are hoping that in our next meeting on Thursday, we can come up with the dates”