|Group Captain Peter Aimos - Lae Area Commander|
The Lae Area Commander of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force, Group Captain Peter Aimos, says the Lae based engineering battalion can solve some of PNG’s transport problems if the battalion is adequately funded.
Aimos said the Defense Force has the expertise to build high quality roads at lower cost.
Aimos is an aviator and an engineer who has built roads in the Eastern Highlands and was also responsible for transporting coffee from Karamui in the Simbu province when the Somare government announced the so called “green Revolution” that was meant to help farmers without road access get their cash crops to markets.
The Green revolution became nothing more than another political gimmick. The program failed to continue because of the lack of funds. But the Group Captain Peter Aimos says the engineering battalion can still solve some of PNG’s transport problems if adequate funding is given to the PNGDF.
“The potential is here. We have the expertise, although minimal. We have it,” Aimos said. “If that can be expanded, we can easily change the face of this nation.”
Although the PNGDEF’s capacity has declined over the years, the engineering battalion still demonstrates the highest level of workmanship. The roads inside Lae’s Igam Barracks are a demonstration of the skill of Papua New Guinea’s army engineers. Built over 20 years ago, they show very little evidence of deterioration.
Aimos argues that engineering battalion can build better roads at a much cheaper price than the average contractor.
“The government has its labor force intact in the military. But they have not utilized the potential of the defense force.”
The Papua New Guinea defense force is currently undergoing reforms. It is expected that by 2050, the strength of the PNGDF will reach about 20,000 men and women.
The engineering battalion remains in desperate need of new equipment and additional manpower.