Research conducted by Ishmael Palipal at the Divine Word University in Madang has revealed that law and order issues continue to affect the lives of people in Koromira.
Factors contributing to the lack of community development in Koromira area, Central Bougainville examines the factors affecting development in the village assembly located within Kododa constituency and Palipal interviewed 40 local people.
Palipal found that the presence of armed ‘warlords’ is a major issue which subverts normal community operations.
“Warlords once in the war period save and protect us from the invading PNG Defence Force, but now they are like bullies to us” a local fisherman said.
“[This is] not really directly, but indirectly such as claiming government properties and using them for their personal gain.
“We have no power to go against them because most of them are still powerful and armed with high-powered guns,” said another participant in the research.
“Not all are like that, just a few. Those are destroying this unique reputation they once had and were very much admired and respected by the people.”
Outside of this influential group, the lack of law and order is still a major problem which is especially noticeable with high levels of alcohol consumption and anti-social behaviour.
“As a result of no proper law and order in the community, drugs and alcohol consumption, especially ‘homebrew’ has been increasing gradually,” a clan leader told Palipal.
“Though recently, with some ex-combatants, we removed some of the gas bottles that are used to brew alcohol in some villages.
“But since there is no proper enforcement of law, youngsters continue to brew alcohol.”
The research suggested that by addressing law and order at a village level, it can prevent the snowball-effect of crime and lawlessness in to the towns.
“With the drug and alcohol influence other unwanted activities, like stealing, have been going on,” a government official said.
“It is like one problem leads to another. Thus, law and order should be established well in the village level because that is the base of the people.”