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Seeking a greater voice for the people of Moresby

The people of Port Moresby have no participation in their own city says JAMES MacPHERSON, who proposes ways of improving representation

Port-moresby ‘Representative democracy for the National Capital District: an analysis of public issues’ by James Macpherson

IN PORT MORESBY, international businessmen inhabit apartments on hilltops open to sea breezes, hidden behind high fences bristling with razor wire and gates watched by security guards.

For many ordinary citizens, life may not seem tough for these expats, who speed in high set four-wheel drives between their apartments and the Yacht Club and down the freeway to the international airport.

The gap between elite lives and others’ lives is illustrated by a view from Hanuabada to Town.

In between is Konedobu, a largely commercial and office suburb, but home of the elite Yacht club, and new elite apartment blocks. It looks up to Touaguba Hill, home of more elite.

At 5 o’clock in the afternoon, NCD Commissioners, if they stopped their cars to enquire, would find a confusion of workers in Town trying to get home to Boroko, Hanuabada and Gerehu.

Workers trying to walk to where they reside, find inadequate footpaths - – but the prevalent threat from menacing ‘raskols’ including bag snatchers, after women’s bilums.

The old premises of the Yacht Club institutionalise supremacy of car over pedestrian and elite over worker by extending its car park across the footpath.

Workers find it difficult to travel by bus. A crowd – and pickpockets – rush many buses. It takes an hour or more of waiting – and rushing – before workers find a bus to take them home.

Bus services are limited and deteriorating. An example is links between Town and Gerehu. The old direct route between Gerehu and Town has closed, largely because of poor road maintenance. Buses are not permitted to use the freeway, but must take the long circuit, via Koki, Boroko and North Waigani

The NCD Governor recognises the problem. On election in 2007, he said: “we can see poverty creeping into the city and marginalization of the people in the economy. You can see big businesses, very rich people and very poor people”. He promised to “lessen that gap between the rich and the poor”.

Download 'MacPherson on NCD democracy' here

Spotter: Terry Shelley


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