My Story: A half century of service among the fine people of PNG
Drug-resistant tuberculosis at crisis levels in PNG

More of the buzz from a fly on the wall….

Fly-on-the-wallPAUL OATES

AN open window beckoned and the smell of something fishy attracted the profound attention of our mythical fly.

A convenient spot on an office wall provided a good resting place, disturbed only by the heated telephone call taking place at a desk below.

“I don’t care what you say,” yelled a big man behind a large desk. “The price is a million up front, deposited in an overseas bank account of my choosing or you can get lost!”

The telephone was slammed down, sending reverberations around the office and causing our fly who took the opportunity to change walls.

The door of the office opened and another human entered. “That bloke, wanting to cheat us out of our money!” spluttered the big man to the newcomer.

“What’s up boss?” said the newly arrived, slumping into the chair in front of his boss’s desk.

“You know how we licensed these foreign fishing boats to catch tuna and sea cucumbers and the rest? Now they want me to cut the cost just because the fish are becoming scarce and getting hard to catch.

“Look, they’ll just have to fish harder, use bigger nets or something. Anyway, we’ve no idea how many fish are being caught, The reported numbers are just a drop in the ocean.” He smirked at his own joke.

“Yeah boss,” said the other, “but we could just authorise ten more canneries to make up the shortfall in fees. That way we can still benefit from this foreign money before the fish stocks disappear. We can make a quick killing now before those fishers and canners really start complaining.”

“Speaking about complaining,” the big man interrupted, “I’ve had two delegations of local fishermen this morning saying there are large numbers of foreign boats ruining their catches. They claim they’re being chased off their traditional fishing grounds.”

“Ah, boss,” said his colleague. “You know how touchy the locals are. They probably just want some compensation to keep them quiet.”

“Well they can just get off their backsides and catch their fish rather than waiting for the government to pay them. They can buy tin fish at the store anyway”

“Yeah, boss, but they say the tin fish isn’t anywhere near as good as the fresh.”

“Just goes to show you can’t please everyone doesn’t it, eh!”

The fly decided he’d heard enough - and flew through the open office window into the fresh air.

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Andy McNabb

A big black car is driving through the crowds at Boroko. A rich fat man sits in the back, smoking a cigar, looking pleased with himself.

The PNG citizen stops at traffic lights, and a scruffy man offers to wash the windscreen. The fat man says “Hey, come here!”. Scruffy approaches.

"I'll give you a million kina," says the fat man, "for your foot."

"Eh?"

"I'm offering to buy your foot for K1,000,000."

"My foot ?"

"It'll look good on my coffee table. Here's my business card. Think about it."

The lights change and the fat man drives off.

Scruffy thinks about it. Much as I enjoy having two feet, he thinks, my life isn't great, and I could really do things with K1,000,000. A second foot, he decides, is a luxury he can no longer afford.

Scruffy goes to the railway track, and lies with one foot across it. As the train approaches he leaps up; he cannot bear to go through with it.

He tries to find a doctor willing to amputate a perfectly healthy foot. None is, because of their professional code.

Eventually a friend of Scruffy's removes the foot with a saw, while Scruffy is asleep on tranquillisers. Scruffy goes on crutches to see fat man, clutching a box containing his severed foot.

The receptionist is reluctant to let him into the building. She speaks to the fat man on the telephone. "A man is here," she says, "about a foot." The fat man doesn't have time to talk, and the receptionist tells Scruffy to wait.

He shows her the foot. "How perfectly foul," she says, and runs gagging to the bathroom. When she emerges she phones Security and Scruffy is removed from the premises.

Scruffy waits outside the building. When the fat man emerges, Scruffy hobbles towards him. "I've got that foot you ordered" says Scruffy, showing inside the box.

"I don't want your foot, lunatic," says the fat man, and gets into his car.

Scruffy plots the murder of the fat man. Scruffy not having much money means it is hard to get a gun, and only people like fat man have the good ones.

So he gets a knife, and waits for the fat man the next day. When the fat man emerges from the building, Scruffy tries to stab him, but falls flat on his arse, since he is now on crutches.

The fat man laughs at him, and drives off.

Scruffy lies in the dust, crying.

Is the severed foot a metaphor for the people of Papua New Guinea ?

Who is the fat man?

Paul Oates

Francis, the answer to your rhetorical question is one of logic.

Why would any group that is benefiting from corruption introduce an anti corruption measure? They'd just be shooting themselves in the foot wouldn't they?

Corruption is a word that encompasses far more than just illegal actions by government. It extends to other problems like disease.

A disease is one that starts out infecting one person and then, if nothing is done to stamp it out, it becomes infectious and starts spreading to other people.

This disease began many decades ago. When Judge Barnett nearly lost his life after revealing what was happening in the timber industry, did anyone follow that up?

When the Ombudsman tried to do something he was shot and his Office ransacked.

When the Commission of Finance report was presented, was the report made public? No! Even when a brave soul tabled it in the house he was declared out of order by those the report revealed as corrupt. Yet the report was common knowledge and was available on line for those who took the trouble to access and read it. So was anyone investigated and charged by the police?

When Task Force Sweep wanted to charge those who it is claimed were corrupt, what happened? It's funding was removed and it was disbanded.

When an Deputy Commissioner of Police publically states that half the government's budget is disappearing due to corruption, what happens?

When a legally constituted Tender Board decision is illegally overturned by the Minister and his Departmental head and a far more expensive not tendered offer substituted to distribute (unsuccessfully as it turns out), pharmaceuticals, nothing happens.

When certain police officers wanted to press charges against a claimed instance of corruption, they have so far been stymied by legal debate and obfuscation.

What examples does that give those who are in a position of power and considering undertaking a corrupt and illegal action.

What example is provided by withholding funding from those entitled to receive a fair share of District Funding and only those who toe the line are given a fair share of government funding?

This disease that started decades ago has been not only allowed to fester and spread. It has actively been encouraged to do so.

You ask when an independent and effective ICAC will be set up and properly funded? Under the present circumstances, that will only happen when hell freezes over.

Francis Nii

This is what has been going on behind closed doors not only in fishing but logging, mining and so forth and they are getting away with it.

When will the Independent Commission Against Corruption legislation come into operation for the likes of the good eavesdropping fly to blow the whistle is a mind wrecking question.

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