I was watching a digested documentary on the Sandline Crisis that happened in 1997 and I had this nostalgic sense of déjà vu.

I was in high school then and I remember clearly because a number of events had occurred that year. Firstly, the crisis had triggered massive support from the general public and the eventual resignation of Sir Julius Chan as Prime Minister – it was the first time this sort of action had occurred. It was also the first (and last) time Manus would host the National Athletics Championships, sponsored by Milo, and I was lucky enough to be a track umpire. To top that Azzimbah band had just released their first album and Smel Tinpis became a hit with locals in the province.

The documentary, although digested into 15 minutes, showed how a small third world army outmanoeuvred highly trained mercenaries and the reasons why such an action had to be taken. However, the most disturbing aspect of the film came at the end of the film when the narrator stated that the actions of Singirok, although in the interest of the country, created an air of uncertainty for successive governments. Could they count on the unconditional support of the military in future?

Unfortunately, members of the disciplined forces could have to take sides once more as the Police hierarchy fight for control. The current tussle between Fred Yakasa and Tom Kulunga will undoubtable create uncertainty in the support of the police. Although, the factions claim the force is united, the movement of their personnel is saying otherwise.

I cannot foresee the future but I am certain that the longer the struggle continues, the larger the rift among police ranks becomes. The same can be said about the power struggle between the governments. It’s only a matter of time before the country explodes into chaos.

View the report on Youtube