The Governor of Manus, Charlie Benjamin has committed K1.2 million from his development grant to fix housing for the police in Manus province after the Ombudsman Commission met with him to address the deteriorating state of the police housing in the province.
The Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen led a team to Manus province to determine the extent of deterioration of the police facilities at the Wamundu Police Barracks after a complaint was made.
This is a new approach the Ombudsman Commission is taking to resolve some issues within the provinces focussing on amicably discussing the issues with local MPs and garnering their support to address the issues and allocate appropriate funding to ensure services are delivered to the districts.
Mr Pagen personally visited the Barracks and found out that most of the houses had been condemned but because of the shortage of housing in the province officers continued living in them some to the extent of families sharing the same house.
The houses contained fallen verandahs, broken floors, collapsed bathroom and leaking roofs.
Mr Pagen said that the Ombudsman Commission is concerned with the lack of maintenance of and police housing in the province in general as law and order was an important issue and the policeman and women deserved to be housed properly so they can do their job.
The Chief Ombudsman then met with the Manus Provincial Administrator Oka Nungu, Governor Benjamin and Provincial Police Commander David Yapu to garner their commitment to addressing the issue.
The Manus Governor has pledged K1.2 million towards the rehabilitation of the houses and has started with the inspection and re-scoping to determine the costs.
He also added that the PPC and the provincial station commander now have brand new houses.
Another related issue that was resolved during the trip is the incomplete male and female single barracks which was brought to the attention of the Ombudsman Commission.
The Governor explained that they had stopped work on the project because they found that the rooms were too small and did not meet up to requirements. In order to make the rooms bigger they are working on getting to the ablution blocks out of the barracks and have them outside. He said there was no issue at all with the project as it will be completed by February and handed over to the police to use.
The Ombudsman Commission made a commitment to talk to other government agencies such as the Defence Force for logistical support in shipping building materials from Lae, Morobe province to Manus for the rehabilitation of the police houses.