PETER O’Neill’s re-election as prime minister on Wednesday was received with a mixture of emotions by many Papua New Guineans.
For some, it was with a sigh of relief as they wanted stability and continuity of policies and initiatives from the previous government.
For many others, it was a bitter defeat as the Alliance carried their hopes to resuscitate the economy and weed out corruption.
Like everyone else, public servants had their own perceptions about who they felt was the best person to hold the top post.
I am not interested in judging their opinions but remind fellow public servants that we’ve sworn an oath to serve the government of the day whether we like it or not.
The new government has a new agenda (Alotau Accord II) which it will move forward to implement.
There has already been, and will continue to be, much discussion and debate about the agenda, how it fits into national development plans and what choices will need to be made along the way. This will require focus and effort from us.
In the next weeks and months, as Alotau Accord II is clarified and the direction set, we need to look sideways and outside for help but equally we need to look to our provinces and districts. This balance requires good leadership.
A government is sustained only through the hard work and extraordinary efforts and sacrifice of the people who serve the country they love. We salute the police and polling officials who lost their lives during this year’s election.
Public servants should be focused on the delivery of public services – providing health care, educating our children, collecting tax or providing security. We want a public service that will deliver on time and on budget.
At the end of the day, it’s about putting a smile on someone’s face or saving a life or educating a child or simply knowing that our work helps make someone’s life a little bit better.
It’s central to our role as public servants. When a new government is elected, we stand impartial and ready to implement their decisions. We may not like the person but we have to respect the office. Prime ministers come and go but we will remain as the agents of change.
Let’s do the best we can in whatever we’re good at. Let’s keep shining!