Funding problems stall PNG race riot inquiry
I am afraid for the 'land of the unexpected'

An infectious disease poisoning the people of PNG

Gelab Piak

What the Opposition leader has said is true. It is time for the Somare-Temu Government to go. Sir Mekere Morauta has made a correct judgment and his call to every right thinking Papua New Guinean must not go unheard. He believes we are at the crossroads.

This country is on the brink of falling apart. The Somare-Temu Government, in power for the past seven years, has turned a blind eye to the deterioration of Works and Supplies, Health, Education, a proper welfare system. Fisheries, Foreign Affairs and Migration, and Forestry have been plagued by corrupt deals over the years.

The Defence Force has been neglected and the security of PNG is at stake. Our greatest concern in the near future is to have a large and well equipped force. The Police are falling apart. While it’s true, as claimed by the government, that millions are being pumped into the RPNGC, the funds are for operational purposes and not for housing, allowances or equipment.

The PNG police use brutal tactics such as shoot-to-kill to illustrate that if you want trouble you’ll get a bullet. The way they’re shooting criminals is disgusting. The whole Police Force is controlled by one man, the Commissioner, and he’s controlled by the Government. This poses serious questions. Are the Mobile Squads being used as a private army of the Government? If so then, whose army is it, and why? Is it used to protect special interests and corrupt deals?

A growing trend is that major conflicts are related to land owner issues. The Porgera call-out was not only about law and order and illegal mining. There were threats to the Government by landowners, with certain factions threatening to create another Bougainville. The fight in Wau was a land owner issue. And the Ramu nickel mine controversy is a land owner issue. The emerging Watut matter is a land owner issue.

Why is the Government going against the people? This Somare-Temu government needs to investigate corruption, which must run into the billions now. It was made known in the media last week that Somare and his MPs have bought mansions in Australia and have access to the best health facilities. Back home people are dying in Port Moresby General Hospital. What is wrong with the Government? Or is there something wrong with the country itself?

These are the questions that many people are asking. With a Government like this and a society riddled by poverty, is there really a bright future for us? A big nationwide protest should be organised in support of the Opposition and to show the Government that the people are fed up with this corrupt, incompetent, uncaring style of rule.

The people of PNG must stand up now or it will be too late. I ask the Opposition to call for protests. It is time, people like Sir Mekere and Bart Philemon displayed true characteristics as leaders by mobilising people and leading them in democratic protests.

Without doubt we need to get rid off this Government. It is like an infectious disease that shall poison us until it kills us.


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Laurie Meintjes

I'm not privy to the background to this issue, but gather from the comments and the subject line that it relates to yet another scandal or piece of corruption in the long and sad litany of PNG's political woes.

I, too, agree with much of what Colin says about criticism needing to be balanced and constructive, but I also feel, and quite strongly so, that there is no practical solution to the whole sorry mess, certainly not in the short term.

You will recall how John Howard's attempt to intervene was challenged in the courts by a premier with vested interests and fizzled out like a sputtering candle. And if JH could not succeed with all the dollars and manpower at his disposal, then what can a few disaffected individuals do? Not very much.

Particular individuals might be able to make a temporary difference at a local level if they have sufficient clout, but this will be effective only as long as they can maintain that clout. Corruption is too widespread and endemic to be effectively countered by a disparate group of well-meaning individuals.

Perhaps I, too, am sounding a little defeatist. However, I do believe that there is a solution, but it will work only if it embraces the whole electorate and effects a change in their collective mindset. And here we are talking your game: education. Corruption grows and spreads best in a climate of relative ignorance. As the old saying goes, You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all of the time.

Unfortunately the capacity to fool many of the people in PNG is a little more robust than in some other countries because of the relatively poor education of a great proportion of her people. When the people are better educated and can see through the schemes and scams of the politicians, then they won't put up with all the crap that many (mos??) politicians serve up, and will run them out of town.

Education is the seedbed for all kinds of reform, whether political, institutional, social, economic, or in any other area of endeavour. Granted, the educational foundation in PNG is perhaps better than that in some other developing countries (such as those in much of Africa), but it seems to me that it is only a narrow band of the relatively elite who benefit most. Whether that benefit reaches into the heartland and hinterland of PNG, into the villages and valleys and beyond the tar-sealed (and now pot-holed) roads, is quite another matter.

When I was a kiap pounding through the bush of the Nomad Sub-district, education at the village level was a priority, and those remote schools, whether run by the Admin or the Missions, fared reasonably well and were well supported. With independence the major focus soon shifted from the bush to the towns and cities, and those remote schools withered on the vine. Quite literally.

An indigenous friend of mine, who became a patrol officer in post-independent PNG, conducted an election-patrol in the Nomad area some years ago, and when he went to sign the village books at each village he visited he discovered that my name was the last name recorded there. And that had been well over 10 years earlier. Extrapolate that lack of interest in the rural sector over the whole country, and you will understand why the towns and cities are bursting at the seams because of massive internal migration from the poorly resourced hinterland.

Major cities like Moresby and Lae have become fast-growing clutters of run-down older suburbs and cancerous squatter camps, with a few gated and manicured communities here and there where the privileged, White and Black, live in isolated comfort.

Colin Huggins

I have read all your writings re the PNG situation. Interesting and depressive re Somare and his cohorts. What are your people's policies to correct the injustice? So far nothing!

Critism and screaming bloody blue murder will get you nowhere. Do you have an alternative idea? What is it? Who will administer it? What are the ideas and aspirations of the people who you canvas to take over the Government? What changes will occur? Will it be a new elite to carry on in the same way with favours to their ‘favourites’?

Sorry Gelab for being so blunt. Fantasies are Disneyland, practical ideas are another thing.

So to use the great adverbs - how, when, where and why? These have to be explained in full. How and why are the key words.

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