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What independence means to our people


PNG’S INDEPENDENCE is tantamount to the right of every citizen to govern their own house in village, town or city.

Independence gives our beautiful country the right to govern itself and to own its destiny.

Independence empowers me as a PNG citizen to interact freely with everyone in my own country and in the world. It also mean that, as a citizen of PNG, I can say what I feel and see happening in my country and I can say it without fear or favour.

A lack of independence means that the most important decisions of our country are able to be taken by foreign interests.

This is already present in our country, with parliament and government proving their inability to safeguard the people’s well-being and welfare for many years now.

Independence is the right of Papua New Guineans to be properly governed under a home-grown constitution which sets the framework for our democracy.

Our constitution protects our human rights, language, culture and traditions; and our nationality. Independence means an enjoyment of all things PNG; including fully benefiting from our economic development.

Sovereignty provides our people with power to stimulate national development: agriculture, commerce, industry, immigration, the negotiation of international treaties, expanding markets and promoting foreign relations and investment.

To me, independence means self-government, our own government, ruling ourselves, freedom from all forms of political subjugation, direct control. Not being influenced by any other country.

People agree to be governed so that their rights (life, freedom, happiness) will be safe-guarded. The job of government is to protect the rights of the people. A government is good when it does this.

The government must do what the people say, because the people made it. When the government does what the people say, it is democracy.

In PNG, this does not always happen - making the people suffer, despite many changes of government since Independence in 1975.

Sometimes the government we have acts badly and not in the national interest. On many occasions it has not protected the rights of the people.

When this happens, the people start to think of a new government, a good government, one that will protect their rights.

Sometimes the people of this country are alienated by the many problems the government has not addressed. Sometimes these people want to make their land into a new country.

Many Papua New Guineans have felt this way for many years.

It is easy to see why they do not want to be part of the old, bad PNG.

Papua New Guineans must be free to say what they want of their government, and they must be listened to.

All people in PNG are equal. God wants every person to have rights. Sometimes bad people in our government try to take away these rights (life, freedom, happiness).

It is smart to change things with much caution. People should not cast off an old government for a silly reason. They should do this only when the government does something very bad.

The people should cast off the government when it tries to take away the rights of the people. There has been a betrayal of PNG for many years by politicians and bureaucrats for apparent personal gain.

These same betrayers were earlier defenders of workers and fighters for the poor. But they have since governed for apparent personal gain and promoted corruption and made our people suffer.

These acts of betrayal will eventually destroy PNG.

For the ordinary citizen, Independence and its related annual celebrations has little meaning.

After 35 years they are not impressed in any way with a badly governed PNG.

Independence celebrations have been reduced to a mere show off for government.

A brief excursion from the inability of the political leadership to suppress crime and violence and improve the quality of life for every man, woman and child in our country.

Many, perhaps most, parts of PNG are in abject poverty and cannot change for the better until the country has fresh, new, visionary leadership and a progressive and transformational government.

We seem not to have the political will today. But we pray for the coming of a new dawn with a new crop of young political leaders who our people hope will save our beloved country for tomorrow’s generation. May God bless my country and its people.

Happy 35th birthday, PNG!

Papua New Guinea marks the 35th anniversary of its emergence as an independent nation next Thursday 16 September.


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Nokondi Silip

Spot on Reginald! I feel so sorry for our poor people still suffering since Independence. Somare will not see a better PNG, and we are in a terrible mess under his stewardship.

Lets get rid of him and put in a quality leader like Sir Puka Temu. He will no doubt lead PNG in an honest way and take the country to a new level than under the current leadership.

Nokondi Silip

Every year Independence celebrations mean very little to the poor people as their lives have not and will not ever improve while Somare and his crook New Asian (NA) Party is in power.

PNG is already serious compromised by PM Somare and his silly government. These bad people are in broad daylight selling the country's resources to foreigners.

The PNG people will in future be very poor while the PM and his cohorts keep filling their pockets up from their funny business of taking from the very people who put them in office.

The so-called Vision 2050 plan is a white elephant to keep fleecing the people's natural resources. Can someone or a country like Australia please save PNG before we have a civil war.

Somare has totally failed to put PNG on a path of prosperity and he will retire to the Gold Coast or die tomorrow and it has all been a total waste for us since 1975.

Motumero Hanua

Reginald is absolutely right here, PNG has been taken over by politicians, big businesses and other foreign interests.

PM Somare is a very weak leader and must be removed now to have some stronger and more proactive leader getting rid of corruption and fighting crime!

Barbara Short

To Reg and George - Above all, PNG needs good leadership, and the common belief that "politics is only for crooked people" is going to be the ruin of PNG. The "good men" need to get into parliament now.

We know about the present lot of politicians. They are always "looking after their mates". Someone needs to start up a new "Honesty in Politics Party".

There may not have been a traditional basis for the two party system in PNG in the past, but there is now.

Susan James

Agree with Reginald and Arthur. John Fowke's usual style is always disagreeing with what others say just to be different.

John needs to talk to many Papua New Guineans to find out exactly what they think about PNG being an Independent country today - and it's not all plain sailing for the ordinary people.

The PM and the politicians will again be telling the people a lot of BS during their independence celebration speeches.

They have all failed since 1975 to really improve the lives of ordinary Papua New Guineans, and have truly wasted a lot of the people's money for their own personal gains.

'PNG Attitude' believes that 'Susan James' is a pseudonym - KJ

Reginald Renagi

Thanks, Arthur, for seeing the salient points in my independence commentary which my friend John 'Moses' Fowke may have overlooked for reasons best known to himself.

Many PNGeans share similar sentiments to me and I guess other long time residents may want to differ, but that's OK too as this forum is a free discussion and they can say what they feel may be part of a future solution (and there will be many solutions) to a good outcome.

Thanks, Robin, I will check it out later and let you know what I think. I always enjoy reading your comments and value them as I am always learning from what I read on KJ's 'PNG Attitude' forum discussions.

Barbara, as a parliamentarian I will be too advanced for them. These MPs will just see me as a maverick to be not trifled with (and a big threat) to the would-be crooks. Because they will get so sick of me telling them to do the right thing by our people.

I will be like Sam Basil but unrelenting by getting many like-minded young and assertive MPs to form a clean act syndicate in parliament to ensure there is good governance and accountability by the pollies.

I will do it with style, substance with lot of good research backing what I say to the simpletons and in PNG. That's not good stuff for obvious reasons.

George, may be right here about me. Yes, who would want a strong ex-military guy telling the PM and his key MPs to keep doing the right thing by our people.

They would not want me in their group for fear of being exposed by one of their own party members and it would be with people like Powes Parkop that I may be able to fit in.

The Ministers for Defence, Police, Corrective Services, Foreign Affairs and other key policy portfolios would also see me as a threat as I am very familiar with these areas that their present departmental heads are not telling them about.

Finally, Barbara, it now takes a lot of money to run for public office in PNG today and in the future it will be the guy with the money having the edge over the ones who are too honest and may not have the required capital to stand for parliament.

There are ways to go around this but for now will leave that discussion for another separate comment later on.

Arthur Williams

I think JF appears to have arisen jaundiced from his bed when he criticises Reg for his I-Day essay.

John abhorring Reg’s "falsely nationalistic nonsense" instead asks “that the PNG elite push for a fair go in PNG with truth and idealism.”

John’s demand for truth is coupled with idealism, which is normally felt to be unrealistic or impracticable. Hardly a recipe for the improvement in the lives of the mass of PNG citizenry.

I suggest John re-read Reg’s post and he will see that it castigates the bad governing of PNG and the need for “a new dawn with a new crop of young political leaders who our people hope will save our beloved country for tomorrow’s generation.”

Surely the only internal recipe for success.

Robin Lillicrapp

Reg - I loved your essay on Independence. I guess one of the outcomes of the existence of KJ’s blog is that an ever increasing number of residents and “visitors” read those expressions of regard for the future and welfare of PNG.

In part, you said: “Papua New Guineans must be free to say what they want of their government, and they must be listened to.

"All people in PNG are equal. God wants every person to have rights. Sometimes bad people in our government try to take away these rights (life, freedom, happiness).”

I know I rant a bit about global issues but they really do detract from the realisation of the noble outcomes of which you write.

In my opinion, it is those “outside” influences seeping into everyday life in PNG governance and affairs that destroys the patriotic expectations of the genuine constitutionalists.

If you are interested, I’ve posted the link to the latest gab fest of the UN crowd that reveals the notions they hold about the very subversion of “national sovereignty” you value so highly.

Barbara Short

Reg - Have you ever thought of standing for Parliament?

John Fowke

Reg - You say "sovereignty provides our people with power to stimulate national development, agriculture, commerce, industry, immigration..."

Get real, mate. It is this sort of wishful dream-like conviction, defying reality, which as you and all non-political PNGeans know within yourselves is nonsense.

It is holding the ordinary citizen back from achieving even a reasonable level of fairness and equity in national resources, services and justice.

Putting out views like this, whilst it is your right, is harmful to the mass of PNG citizens who have not and do not enjoy the standard of living and conditions which are yours and of the educated elite.

The elite should be leading the push for a fair go in PNG with truth and idealism, not falsely-nationalistic nonsense.

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