Little Benito’s discovery
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PNG should not be hosting the 15th Pacific Games

Pacific Games logoPAUL DAVID

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

EVERY four years the Pacific Games is hosted by a country in our part of the world.

Papua New Guinea has hosted the Games at least twice before and is preparing to host the 15th Games next month in Port Moresby.

Participating nations spend a lot of money preparing their athletes in countries like Australia and China and the host nation in particular is called upon to spend big. National pride is always a major factor.

Should PNG be hosting these Games?

I think the answer is ‘no’.

They are expensive and consume a lot of resources especially money.

Minister for sports Justin Thatchenko is telling Papua New Guineans that preparations for the games are progressing well.

PNG’s leaders tell us all is fine yet some of the venues are not completed and certified.

Neighbouring countries are watching to see how successful we will be.

Funds meant for developing our country have been diverted affecting basic services. The government seems to be focusing more on delivering the Games than delivering services to the people.

Money meant for medicines, school materials and roads and bridges has been diverted to the Games.

Mt Wilhelm Secondary was promised K250,000 by the government in its 2015 budget, a commitment which has not been honoured. The Governor says the national finance office has not released the money.

Most local members of parliament are not seen in their electorates because they fear that people will demand an explanation of why services have been halted.

This is about national pride at the expense of national development. I’ve read that sports minister Thatchenko and prime minister O’Neill are more worried about national pride than the struggles faced by people across the country.

The Games will happen in Port Moresby where only a fraction of the population live. The majority of the people will miss out. How can we call it ‘national’ when the majority has nothing to do with it?

Papua New Guinea should not be hosting these Games.


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Baka Bina

Yeah, maybe so, but if they didn't spend it in PNG, my apologies, POM, the money gets to be spent in PNG.

Otherwise, it will be more shady investment in Australia and do I hear a whiff of - Singapore.

I hear there is a budget shortfall but the concrete jungle is here for us a public keepsake.

I agree with Mr Dom that it is a crying shame for rural infrastructure. Whilst that is so, let us not forget that the use of Tuition Free Funding is left to the headmasters of schools and most of it is being abused.

I call for laws that give 15% of the budget to buying books by PNG authors and the other 15% to buying chairs and desks every year.

What the headmasters do with the balance of the 70% should be according to budget.

In this way even the remotest of school gets the two basic things each year, a built up of library and an increasing number of chairs and desks.

Michael Dom

Cushioning the economic down turn?

No doubt. For whom?

In other words, Clement, you agree - the games have nothing to do with national pride, by your own terms, they are saving us from national disaster.

But if the economy went to hell tomorrow the folks in the villages would probably keep going on with their daily business as usual.

Maybe they just skip the tinned fish for dinner, eh laka...

Only 15% of the population would truly suffer.

Good odds I reckon.

But a desk and a good classroom are on your wish list items?

Now that is an interesting concept.

Big business benefits - rural schools get zero.

Mind you that could be the future Prime Minister sitting on the dirt floor out the back of Ialibu - de ja vu?

Dr Clement Waine

We came out of the major construction boom that accompanied the PNG LNG project. We needed the construction of the Games venues to cushion the decline in the industry and the economic activity.

I wish we could also build good classrooms and desks and health centres and roads and bridges endless wish list.

The classical emerging economy syndrome but we must prioritise our needs and for now the Games take precedence. At least we can cushion the fall for now.

Michael Dom

A desk in a good classroom and a teacher who knows what he/she is doing.

A teacher who does not need to worry about receiving pay and tickets while serving in a rural community.

A community where there is an aid post with an orderly and simple life saving medication.

A community that is able to access urban centers for necessities of modern life and participate in the cash economy through relevant agricultural, tourism, employment and small business operations.

A people who are able to help themselves, to make the best of their natural endowments.

A nation that ensures its future children will be blessed with the heritage we have enjoyed and reap the benefits of investments from the current generation.

This is only part of where our pride belongs.

The rest you must think about yourself.

Ben Wamil

This is development where you should be proud of, national government will concentrate on national development, you ask your governor and open mps for service delivery in your electorate. For once I am seeing major developments and very proud unlike leaders in the past which had nothing to show for and squandered money for their own benefits

Michael Dom

Peter and Justin want us to believe that hosting the Games is about national pride, but it is really about their own pride because they are in charge, for their own financial benefit and to disguise the deplorable level of basic services and development in the rest of the country.

The sacrifice of national development for national pride is an outcome from their successful promotion of the games - how well they fooled the fools they rule.

It's too late for us to complain now.

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