Enga’s annual show highlights people, tradition & identity
The 30-year struggle of journalism education at USP

PNG bishops attack government over corruption, incompetence

CorruptionKEITH JACKSON | Sources

NOOSA – The Catholic bishops of Papua New Guinea have had enough of the O’Neill government, blasting it for failing to take action on corruption and for what they have referred to as its “general incompetence”.

In a public statement, the bishops asked why an Independent Commission Against Corruption had not yet been established, despite many promises over many years, and why nothing has been done to end the Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) which are said to have led to many illegal land grabs.

They condemned SABLs for continuing to destroy the environment and the livelihoods of thousands of Papua New Guineans.

The statement also attacked the practice of politicians directly distributing government funds to the people themselves.

The bishops called this “notoriously corrupt” and said it was an impractical and failed system.

The church is one of the key providers of education in PNG but the bishops said their services were increasingly interfered with by politicians and the government.

They criticised the government's so-called Fee Free Tuition as not effectively implemented and not providing funds and materials to schools.

The O’Neill government is also not adequately supporting Catholic health centres where staff are not receiving wages and medicines and equipment are not reaching the clinics.

Saying they were talking on behalf of the people of PNG, the bishops called for answers from the government and said they are expecting change.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Lindsay F Bond

Addressing the ‘House’ was a key lesson for newly elected Members of the TP&NG 1964 House of Assembly.

Readers can access salient aspects from no less than Les Johnson. See draft version at webpage:

“...purchase of clothing suitable to the new status of members. Some wore shoes for the first time and many had never previously owned a pair of long trousers.”

Les laments “The inauguration of the House of Assembly in 1964 could have provided a new departure point based on the knowledge and experience of the largely unlettered indigenous majority, rather than attempting to introduce them to the arcane procedures of Westminster.”

Les says “members were pleased and proud to be participating in these time-honoured customs and manipulating apparently complex procedures”.

Yet, it seems Members of Parliament now have been tardy in relaying the message, so teaching has stalled, and the people of PNG await (as if it were) a clearer vision of standard, of expectation, and of bounds of infringement, listed in a notice at the office of at least one MP.

Rolling on the floor laughing, may not infringe, but might soil the occasion.

Readers will see Les mention “...purchase of clothing suitable to the new status of members.” Just perhaps, the “new status of members” is a lesson not yet onboard some broad Members.

As Les states the Speaker "Guise...bedizened with wig, tapa cloth cloak and plumes..." which all seems a bit of kumul sense.

Hope is for resolution of not only 'a dressing' issue, more salient than sartorial.

Hope is for retracing and reviving servanthood in ideal and ministry outcomes.

Philip Kai Morre

The church has the moral obligation to fight for social justice and against corruption in this country. The government has to listen prudently to the advice given by the church especially the Catholic Bishops Conference which represents the bulk of the silent population.

In countries where corruption is everywhere, churches play important roles to bring back good governance. Countries like the Philippines or South American countries where liberation theology and social justice work is best are now back to normal.

The bringing together of East/West Germany, the end of the Cold War and the breakdown of Russian communism are all areas where the church played an important role for the good of humanity.

PNG is heading towards a failed state with massive misuse of government funds, political manipulation, nepotism and abuses of the wantok system and keeps implementing policies that do not work like the free education policy where half the money has been consumed by government bureaucrats and politicians.

Government tuition fees are not properly managed and do not come in time to run schools. Some schools are affected with massive cuts. Hospitals and health centres in remote areas are run down with no drugs and logistics and infrastructure support.

The church and government partnership is important and its serves a purpose but the government is not honouring its commitment and promises. We hope the next government will do something better.

Mathias Kin

Lindsay, I am living "clean and neatly and clients' day is Tuesday and Thursday" in Chimbu. So, as you mentioned, it must be the general rule of administration across PNG.

Lindsay F Bond

The bishops might gain an audience as they are likely to be (shall we assume?) following the local MP's instruction to “properly attire yourselves – clean and neatly dressed” but only if they visit on a Tuesday or a Thursday.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)