Tribute to Kevin Trueman – a real islands entrepreneur
I know when I’ll celebrate, but now isn’t the time…

Reflections on Independence Day, Port Moresby 2013

MARTYN NAMORONG | The Namorong Report

Boys waving national flag at 4 MileTHERE IS A CERTAIN INNATE CAMARADERIE that lies dormant for much of the year and emerges during the Independence Day celebrations in in Papua New Guinea.

One can be sceptical about it and shy away from the festivities or join other fellow Papua New Guineans who are increasingly finding their identity in the nation state and not in their indigenous tribal groupings.

On Monday I saw typical highlander-looking kids wearing PNG shirts, carrying Radaaz bags and waving Madang flags.

These children do not have the sectarian prejudices and many adult Papua New Guineans have and they hold the hopes of a nation in defining its destiny based on commonality of identity and purpose in nation building.

The question though remains – will they grow up with this tolerance and fraternity or ill the adults pollute their minds with sectarian prejudices.

Note here that I am referring to sectarian prejudices as opposed to tribal identity. I appreciate the need for many of us Papua New Guineans to be grounded in our tribes and our customary land. I am referring though to the prejudices that lead to a general mistrust in our society.

Economists have found that nations with low levels of trust amongst home populations are generally trouble by strive and lack of peace and progress.

On Independence Day many city residents came out beyond their barbed-wire fences and iron-clad homes to celebrate our unity as a nation.

I walked through the crowds of red, black and gold and never did I feel intimidated.

I took pictures on my iPad and no one bothered to harass me. For once, the city of Port Moresby emerged as a tribe, as one people under one flag.

At least for a day, we all trusted each other in our pursuit of happiness, to celebrate nationhood and celebrate our sense of being one people.

I hope the spirit of Independence Day 2013 continues and everyone acts synergistically to enrich and enhance the lives of fellow citizens.

Thirty-eight years on we still have a long way to go in terms of nation building and equitable and sustainable development.

Let’s not beat ourselves down and instead inspire each other to strive for higher ideals based on our human potential for goodness as demonstrated by today’s events.


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Mrs Barbara Short

Steven sounds like he would be a prospective member for the PNG Taxpayers Association.

I can see the start of a new PNG Labour/Labor Party in the not too distant future who will support the PNG taxpayers.

Steven Gimbo

Martyn, I did not celebrate Independence Day here in Tabubil. I started work at 7.00, and finished at 11.00, after nightshift.

The reason being that I felt there was nothing much I could celebrate about! Im still paying very high taxes (between K700 and K1,000 every payday depending on OT/benefits) My employers contribution to superannuation will also be heavily taxed, leaving me with almost nothing.

The real estate industry in PNG goes unregulated, and thus Im paying K500 every fortnight for low cost accomodation (it could be in a settlement in POM or a house in a village in the outskirts of Madang town).

The public education system in PNG is not what it used to be when I attended school in my rural Bundi; it has gone to decay in rural areas. That has prompted me to put my kids into private schools which is costing me K22,000 a year.

While on break, I get sick and go to the nearest health centre only to be told the medicine I would need for my ailment is unavailable.

I missed the plane back from my last break because the road condition was so bad, the 10 seater Landcruiser I hired broke down!

Just four weeks ago, criminals held up a colleague in Lae and stole everything from him and a couple of others in broad daylight in a shop.

Just three weeks ago, a colleague's dad was knifed in cold blood in Gerehu in Port Moresby. He was a former top cop and a very likeable fellow, and a stranger to no one. The list goes on!

There is nothing to celebrate about. I will start to celebrate when the level of corruption drops. I will start to celebrate when an implicated politician or bureaucrat resigns or steps aside. When the PM and the MPs take a paycut. When the government lowers taxes, plane fares, accomodation, and improves rural health and education!

I will start to celebrate when those implicated in numerous COIs are being prosecuted for their corrupt dealings.I will start to celebrate when urban hospitals are brought up to date with latest equipment and stocked with medicines. I will celebrate when corrupt public officials are made to account for their actions. The list goes on here too.

Yes I will start to celebrate when these happen! I am not a pessimist. Martyn you know me, Im hardly that! But these are the realities I face everyday, and to the point where I have lost total confidence in the country's leadership and bureaucracy.

Mrs Barbara Short

Unity in diversity, Yes! That's Australia too. It's OK to have multiculturalism/tribalism as long as you have nationalism at the same time.

Sydney is becoming a microcosm of the world. Post Moresby sounds like a microcosm of Papua New Guinea.

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