Mr Gari Baki, OBE, O.St.J, DPS
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
First Constable Martha Taian
PNG National Woman's Day
Hideaway Hotel, National Capital District
23 March 2007
· Ladies and gentlemen.
May I take this opportunity to thank you for giving me the opportunity to address you all on this important day for women throughout Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea National Woman's Day is a time set aside for everyone to reflect upon the role women play as equal partners in the development of our great and beautiful country.
It is also fitting that you have chosen "Family and Sexual Violence" as the topic for the PNG National Women's Day, Law and Justice Sector Agencies Forum, to commemorate this day.
Family, is a subject close to my heart, for I draw my strength from within my family.
Who makes up the family?
A family in the nuclear sense is the father, mother, and children, how ever many there are. In the Papua New Guinea sense it includes brothers, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunties, bubus and even in-laws.
For a good number of Papua New Guineans where polygamy was and is practiced, a family includes wives and half siblings.
In our great grandfathers' times in areas where polygamy was practiced there was relative peace and harmony within the familybecause the women were respected and treated fairly as an important member of the family and clan.
I am not from the Highlands, where polygamy is commonly practiced, but I served a good part of my career as a young police officer in the rugged highlands provinces.
My observations, for instance, of the Enga province was that only the "Kamong" or "big man" married more than one wife. That was so that the women will bear him many children, tend the gardens and look after the pigs. These big men married later in life, after they had accomplished much and made a name for themselves as warriors or as hunters.
Wives were then given an equal plot of land and pigs to tend to. In times of moka, or compensation or other ceremonies, each of the wives came with their own quota of pigs, and garden produce to support their husband.
The men then respected the women because they knew that their name and reputation and status within the clan and tribe were built with the assistance of the women.
Today men are getting married much younger. The marriage to more than one wife is becoming more for self gratification or pleasure than for the reasons our great grand parents did it then.
I am surprised that some constables have more than one wife. How can they afford to take care of more than one family?
Not surprisingly, one family will suffer as there will not be enough to go around. Domestic violence will increase and in most instances wives become victims of physical abuse.
Or in other instances the constable will be forced to do illegal and unethical things to support the two or three families that he has.
I believe a family, not families, is the foundation, the platform, the support upon which great leaders can go on to build great nations.
My family provides me with security. My wife, is my support and my strength. My children are the source of my pride and joy.
It is not my intention to preach to you all today, but I find great comfort in the teaching of God through the Holy Bible. Even for non-Christian you will find that the teachings simply make sense and are applicable to everyday life.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and unite with his wife, and the two will become one." Ephesians 5: 31.
I am talking about getting the fundamentals right. If we get this right then we can go out and do great things.
One man, one wife, equals less headaches and heartaches. Domestic violence can and will be drastically reduced.
But we are living in a sinful world. That is why we have the police force to enforce God's law on earth.
It is a crime to assault your partner.
I, as Commissioner of Police, will strictly ensure that members of the Constabulary undertake the following actions to help end family and sexual violence:
- Police are expected to respond to and record all complaints of family and sexual violence;
- Police are to thoroughly investigate complaints of family and sexual violence.
- Police are now expected to treat these complaints as criminal offences and not civil or family matters; and
- Following proper investigations and upon availability of evidence police are expected to charge people regardless of their status in society.
The nstabulary stands committed to outlawing domestic or family and sexual violence. I will do everything within my power to reduce the number of domestic or sexual violence, especially within the Constabulary.
The Constabulary, sadly, has a very high number of family or sexual violence cases. These are due to a number of reasons. Three that come immediately to mind are:
1. Members not properly controlling their finances by excessive alcohol consumption and addiction to various forms of gambling such as horse races or poker machines;
2. Members living in a polygamous relationship; and
3. Members having extra-marital affairs.
Problems at home can and will affect performance in the work place. I have a vision to make the Constabulary an effective and efficient organization committed to protecting and serving the people of this country. That can only happen if each and every member of the Constabulary finds love, peace, comfort and stability in their own homes.
I am looking at ways in which the three problems and others, as highlighted above are eradicated. I am in favour of strengthening and further empowering the Police Welfare Section to do more than they are allowed to do now.
I am pleased that positive advances have been made and I am confident that together we can make our Constabulary effective and efficient and in turn make our country really and truly safe for everyone.
Once again, on your special day I thank you, the women especially, and ask for your continued support in creating a dynamic happy country.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
Mr Gari L. Baki, OBE, DPS, O.St.J
Commissioner of Police
March 22, 2007