PNG’s Former Police Commissioner Apologies To PM O’Neill
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 10, 2012) – Former deputy police commissioner Fred Yakasa embraced Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Wabag last Friday and apologised for his actions during the impasse period.
"Whatever I did, whether they were right or wrong, I would like to apologise to Prime Minister O’Neill for my actions," Yakasa told hundreds of people who gathered in Irelya village outside Wabag town to welcome the prime minister, who was visiting the province.
After the Supreme Court declared the election of O’Neill as prime minister on Aug 2 last year illegal, parliament proceeded to re-elect O’Neill again as prime minister.
But as he proceeded down to Government House to be sworn-in, Yakasa and his armed men blocked access to the governor-general.
Yakasa was then taking orders from the Somare camp, who had appointed him as police commissioner.
The standoff created tension, and days later, Yakasa’s men were disarmed by policemen loyal to Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga.
O’Neill remained prime minister while Yakasa kept a low profile.
Last Friday, he stood in line among his tribesmen to embrace and shake O’Neill’s hands.
He later took the stage and apologised, a gesture roundly welcomed by the people.
Yakasa said he was simply a professional policeman carrying out orders, as he always dIDin his years of service to the constabulary.
The prime minister said he harboured no ill-feelings against Yakasa and his men.
He said he respected Yakasa as a professional policeman.
He revealed that it was him, as public service minister, who took the submission to the cabinet to promote Yakasa to deputy commissioner.
He said Yakasa still had a lot to contribute to the force, to the upkeep of law and order in the country.
In keeping with the Enga tradition, Yakasa gave some pigs to the prime minister as a symbol of forgiveness and reconciliation, and to thank him for visiting the province.
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