Direct questions from a persistent citizen
Venerable history of the Melanesian church

Fought by the young; regretted by the old


WHILE PNG's SITUATION may not justify 'bloody' warfare, we are at war. We are at war against corruption in government and throughout the public service system, the very architechs and mechanisms that should make our state function.

But it is the State versus the People every day. And clearly the other side have no rules of engagement.

Moreover, the people have been divided for far too long into warring factions; tribal politics under the rhetoric of 'unity in diversity'.

This is only aggravated by our own over-insistence with maintaining tribal customs that are not conducive to life in a modern Melanesia.

Wake up! PNG tribal politics is simply not working for us as a united country! Is it not obvious in the breaking up of provinces, the drive for autonomy, the continued ethnic violence, cronyism, the wantok system?

Where is the development at the grassroots? How can we all be compensated when we have 800+ tribes to satisfy?

There is a rising tide of resentment stirring among working class people; the commonfolk.

We see our youth, our villagers, our struggling farmers, lay workers and street kids being fooled time and time again to support bogus political candidates with faulty party lines.

To be sure, even the so called educated elite of the universities and professionals fall prey to the insidious tactics of some of these 'bigmen'.

We received our independence while the greater majority of our country was still 'living in the stone age'. That is not so today. Let's turn that first mistake on it's head.

People, need to start talking to each other. In our work places, in our schools, our homes, churches and communities. With colleagues, neighbours, friends and family.

Start talking about it now. Decide what our communities need. What we aspire to, what we believe in.

In my opinion, we need a revolution. A Melanesian revolution. One of thought and conscience. A revolution that enables our pasin [culture] to shine like a beacon into the darkness that overshadows our development.

A revolution that enables us to transcend the lingering bondage of archaic customs that limits our becoming. A revolution that enables us to transpose our Melanesian principals to be more relevant for the times we live in; to write a new song we all can sing with one voice.

Surely our forefathers would be proud of that. They did not have the education, information and technology nor the lifestyles and freedoms that we have today. We are better off, we should try to be better.

We need leaders with the ability and willpower to take up this revolution. More men like Sam Basil. Let them step up to the mark in 2012. If you want to know them, PNG needs to ask - what do we really value?

Or perhaps I'm too much of an idealist.


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Barbara Short

Trevor - Let's start with finding the good men. Then with their help we will find the good women.

I can't find my copy of "Sana". Has Sam Basil got a Bully Beef Club?


Self-interested politicians, sycophants and opportunists about covers them all. Mr Oates, I think I understand what you mean.

It is true we have undermined the foundations of our laws. I suggest we need to think seriously about what those precepts really mean to us now.

Do they hold true - right and just - in the light of what we may argue is the Melanesian way?

Take for instance conflict resolution - a classic.

In our tradition a simple dispute can take years to resolve and involve almost the whole village, let alone the council of elders, perhaps even the neighbouring villages too, pigs, money, the works.

Delaying tactics and undue influence of players in the legal system is part and parcel of this. Then ask ourselves is it working for our benefit in the present?

Another example: the chief never steps down.

I like the idea of a Charter. All we need now is the brave people to raise it, and leaders of integrity to abide by it.

When and where do we see a show of hands?

Paul Oates

Icarus - Your excellent article has raised a few thoughts.

In order to determine an effective solution, one has first to define the problem. Is the problem you are highlighting due to an action by a single group of self interested politicians and sycophants or are they just representing those who were there at the right time and in the right place and grabbed the power?

The dilemma of changing a government is that unless the circumstances change, you may get different people performing in the same way again and again. You may even get a worse lot evolving like a new strain of mutant bacteria.

The focus of any initiative for rescuing PNG from the abyss must be directed at not only removing those who are corrupt but also ensuring the circumstances that allowed them to achieve power in the first place are not repeated.

Corruption has reportedly spread through the very fabric of PNG’s government institutions. The precepts of the PNG Constitution have been breached and PNG laws have been treated with contempt for far too long. What has been allowed to happen can always happen again.

Those who would now seek to motivate their fellow citizens to effect some drastically needed changes could, for example, promulgate a simple, non negotiable Charter that adherents must agree to.

Failure to stick to the signed Charter could then automatically terminate endorsement of or support for a prospective candidate. Transparency International PNG could no doubt come up with some effective ideas for the proposed Charter.

Here are a few suggestions to consider in preparing a ‘Charter for Change’:
-- Respect PNG’s Constitution and PNG law
-- Transparency of all government decisions and the effective separation of powers to be non negotiable. -- Change the method of selecting and appointing PNG’s Governor General and ensure the independence of the Parliamentary Speaker
-- No publically funded legal defence of any politician’s actions or initiatives
-- Proven corruption automatically providing grounds for dismissal from a government position

If that is initially too hard to swallow, insert a ‘sunrise’ clause in the Charter whereby everything agreed comes into operation to after a stated date.


Mr Fitzpatrick, please do use the words. They are our best ammunition. Thank you all.

Phil Fitzpatrick

A very succinct summary of just about everything everyone have been saying on this blog for a very long time.

I think the piece needs wider circulation. Perhaps Big Pat Levo can pick it up for the Post-Courier.

It's an anthem of sorts and I'm going to copy it and use it where I can, if that's okay.


Trevor Freestone.

Barbara - I know you also included women in the search for more honest people.

Robin Lillicrapp

Icarus - Musing over your excellent reflections, I tend to agree with your call for a revolution.

I suspect, though, that for it to succeed, there must be a move away from the paradigm of globalism that now entwines the fate and fortune of PNG with other nations and economies.

The 'bigmen' who are the objects of corruption enquiry are victims themselves of the system of economic co-dependence by which progress and prosperity are measured in a 21st century world.

It only follows that the clan allegiances surrounding the factions are also gulled into compliance by these same monetary means of subduing and overpowering socio-political will.

An examination of the origins of money per se yields a harvest of understanding to reveal a very narrowly defined aspect of issuance and control; especially in this present era. This control seems resident in the reserve banking institutions established in most trading nations.

What is not always apparent is the identity of the controllers or proprietorship of those institutions. People in the street assume they are nationally owned institutions. Wrong!

So to the revolution. Most first tier nations are way past the point of no return in respect of socio-political enmeshing with the worldwide banking system. Swift and forceful remedys are applied by powerful nation-states themslves heavily and irrevocably vested in the pursuit of power and control to forestall deviation from the theme by rogue states pondering revolution.

Modern examples of this may be seen in the power plays between Anglo-American, and Euro states versus the various mid-east players like Iran, and the other "renegade" state, Venezuela.

Presently, the Middle East is aflame with revolution. There is little likelihood however that the status quo will change concerning the economic outcomes to the man in the street.

While ever the modus operandi of statehood revolves about involvement with the global banking cartels there is little relief from the stranglehold of interest payments and conditions attached to development loans and the like emanating from the IMF and the World Bank.

Corney Alone made observations upon this theme in past months concerning the strictures placed upon PNG by accepting loans for restructure.

The UN is largely a toothless tiger often being seen to be an impediment to progress. It seems to preside over world chaos more so than peace.

A google search on the term "ordo ab chaos" might interest you. It is a phrase drawn from "Illuminist and Enlightenment" philosophy that speaks to deriving conflict resolution and pacification through the very revolutions aspired to by demoralised states.

The Melanesian way might, on the other hand, if it's minutely examined, offer a more equitable means of deliverance but at a cost of loss of involvement with the global community.

As to what is best for PNG as a nation, only God knows.

Appeal to that source might be more profitable than to AusAID.

With the current geo-physical upheavals affecting Australia and New Zealand, PNG affairs are likely to take a back seat while those distractions are in play.

Barbara Short

Thank you Icarus for your passion, and your righteous indignation.

I will continue to pray that more PNGeans will start to show this passion, both the educated town people and the relatively uneducated, less sophisticated village people, who we know have many God-given capacities to seek out the Truth.

We need more people who will stop and think and start to see the Right and the Wrong, and the Truth and the Lie.

The love of money is the root of so much of the evil in the world today - simple selfishness, self-centeredness.

It causes people to stop worrying about the people who are less well-off, the old, the sick and the dying; the people without clean water dying of cholera; the mothers trying to give birth to the new generation of PNGeans without any help; the children, with no school teachers; the people with produce to get to markets who have no road; the people whose water supply has been spoilt by mining or forestry companies.

They think only about themselves and their personal needs.

I've written about it before. People of passion and courage must speak out where they see lies and corruption and injustice taking place.

It may mean that the men who have led PNG over many years must not be re-elected. But other good and honest men have to be found to take their place.

I will pray for that!

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