Funding problems stall PNG race riot inquiry
11 July 2009
It looks like a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as concerns grow that the PNG Parliament’s bipartisan committee investigating recent anti-Asian riots is going nowhere.
Committee chairman Jamie Maxtone-Graham told Parliament the committee formed in May to investigate and report on the causes of the riots had stalled due to lack of funds.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said the committee would need K3 million to conduct hearings in the four regions of the country and K1 million for the inquiry.
“We are crippled by lack of funds because we have to listen to our people,” Mr Maxtone-Graham said. “If we don’t, we will be seen to be losing touch. It is a time-bomb. How do we solve the problem? We have to go out and defuse the situation. The last thing we want is more destruction, burning and looting.”
Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta blamed the Government for allowing Asians to come in. “I do not think we need K1 million to solve the problem. The Prime Minister [and other Ministers] have to make statements of loopholes in the net that allowed Asians to swim through,” he said.
PNG Attitude believes this is one of those important issues on which the Australian Government, appreciating the critical nature of the inquiry, could help out our neighbour by offering logistical and financial assistance.
Our politicians and bureaucrats should see that getting to the root causes of the race riots will potentially provide an important policy input into the thinking of the PNG Government about issues of social harmony and stability.
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