MEMBERS of the Police Response Team (PRT) have threatened to stand down over the $50 daily allowance they were being paid for manning our border with Papua New Guinea.
That’s according to sources close to the PRT.
One source said PRT members argued manning the border to protect the country from the COVID-19 pandemic is not easy.
“Why should we be given this lousy daily allowance of $50 compared to our doctors and nurses who receive $300 a day?” the source asked.
He said PRT officers are currently receiving $150 a day – $100 for food and $50 in allowance.
Asked if the Permanent Secretary for Police can take up the matter with the Government, the source said that the PS is well aware of their concern but she mentioned that she is bound by certain regulations.
“But the fact is that regulations can be amended once the PS recommends for amendment of relevant clauses by Cabinet,” the source said.
He further explained that ideally, the ministry should give $150 or $300 for their allowances and pays their food separately because PRTs are sacrificing their lives and worst still, they don’t sleep in motels or rest houses when doing their operations.
“They sleep in makeshift tents in the course of their duties and spend time away from their families unlike our respected health workers who can visit their families any time,” the source said.
Last Friday Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced that the country’s international borders are to remain closed.
The situation at the border has been a concern for most people because of the possibility of importation of COVID-19 on to our shores should it not been properly policed.
According to the source, the PRT officers who are manning the border remain vigilant.
“The only thing is they want to see their allowances increase from $50 to an amount that is more reasonable,” the source said.
Asked if the responsible authorities are aware of their grievances, the source said that the team from the Police and National Security are aware of their situation.
When contacted yesterday, the police media unit said they are not aware of the claim but will check with the bosses.
By ANDREW FANASIA