We need PNG specific data on COVID19

By Allen Bird | 02 JUNE, 2020.


Some people criticized me for speaking up in Parliament on COVID19 Response. Well if women who market food are beaten up by Police and money collected from them and they have to report to me, then I have serious issues with SOE and the way it is being implemented.

I asked Dr Malau to commission a study to determine if Sepik people had COVID19 and recovered before testing started. A team comprising 4 IMR staff and 3 PHA medical doctors sampled 1,153 people over 10 days in 6 locations. 50 people were detected IgG and IgM Positive. A total 4.3% showed COVID19 antibodies.

When we tested for COVID19 during the SOE all our tests came back negative. This is a clear indication that COVID19 passed through our population long before we started testing for it.

This means our people had COVID19 and recovered. Nobody got sick and nobody died from it. This is important data which at the very least deserves to factor into our decision making process.

I expected senior ministers to commission similar studies and inform Parliament. That is their duty. Members of Parliament have to make very important decisions for you, on important matters like this, we can’t rely simply on government numbers.

And we can’t be using US, China or Australian infections as a justification for our response. We are not Americans, Chinese or Australian, we are PNG. We must expect and demand PNG data.

These are decisions that will take away your Constitutional freedoms. These are decisions that will stop you working to earn money to feed your family.

I get emotional when a single mother of 3 is beaten by Police for selling market goods to feed her children. If anyone is not moved by something like that, then they don’t have a mother and you are not a human being.

I have reports of Police collecting fines at road blocks. My people report these things to me through their councilors and LLG Presidents. And when the Police Minister defends that, it’s simply unacceptable.

The Police are fast becoming the enemy of the people. When Police take away our peoples right to liberty who do you report to? The Police station? Their minister? Who?

Many Police men and women work tirelessly for our safety and security and we are indebted to them. A few do not and they continue to hide in the uniform. PNG can’t afford a prolonged SOE where civil liberties are curtailed and abused.

We have rioting in America against Police brutality. How long will our people remain silent here? These are relevant and pertinent questions. I had no desire to speak in Parliament today, I had not planned to. I only did so because I heard a proposal to extend the SOE for another 2 months. That is unacceptable based on what is happening on the ground.

For those of you who criticize me, remember taxes of Sepiks paid for allowances for soldiers at the border to protect you and your family. ESPG and WSPG paid for the helicopters and hire cars used by soldiers and medical personnel to protect the nation.

We did so without complaining in full support of PMJM and we would do that again tomorrow. We only received National Government funding last week Friday.

I am grateful that PMJM proposed a 14 day extension rather than the 2 months being mooted. PMJM justified that this period is necessary to comply with legal requirements of passing an emergency bill.

This new bill will be heavily scrutinized because that is the job you elected us to do. We are not sheep, we have a brain, we hear and we feel and we must do our best for you.


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