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For his credibility, Marape needs to gaol O’Neill

O'Neill and Marape in happier times
O'Neill and Marape in happier times - Phil Fitzpatrick writes that now Marape needs to act against O'Neill to preserve the credibility of his own leadership


TUMBY BAY - When politicians make a commitment to the public, whether at an election or in the course of governing, they are essentially laying their credibility on the line.

Even if the commitment is something they know will be hard to deliver, it still reflects on their credibility if they fail.

And, if this happens, a shrewd politician will admit to the failure and ask the public to understand that they tried.

Peter O’Neill did none of these things. He made promises that he knew were impossible to deliver and then conveniently ignored that he had made them.

He made promises, like ‘fee free education’, that he knew would be hard to deliver but didn’t bother to consider the ramifications.

One of the most obvious consequences of this was an increase in student numbers requiring more teachers and infrastructure.

But he continued to cut the school funding rather than increasing it, while still boasting that education in Papua New Guinea was free.

He promised an independent commission against corruption but, when it looked like it was going to bite him on the backside, he dropped it like a hot potato.

He promised to stop the activities of illegal loggers and end the farcical SABL illegal land grabs but ignored the advice he was given and ‘forgot’ about it.

All that he delivered on these and many other promises was fancy rhetoric and shattered dreams, while busily lining the pockets of himself and his cronies.

He essentially bankrupted and broke the nation for his own personal gain.

His successor, James Marape, has also made promises to the people of Papua New Guinea. These have been couched in terms of his own personal aspirations for his nation but he and everyone else know they are essentially promises.

Chief among these is the promise to make PNG a rich black Christian nation. To do this he has promised fiscal responsibility and an end to corruption.

These are laudable aims and quite deliverable but it must be remembered that O’Neill promised many of the same things.

O’Neill’s credibility eventually went down the gurgler when the long-suffering public finally decided he was a liar and a fraud.

In the end O’Neill became the face of what was wrong with governance in PNG. He became the face of incompetence and he became the face of corruption.

If James Marape doesn’t want to suffer the same fate, he will have to deliver on his promises.

So far his promises are mere words. He has a long way to go to prove himself.

In this sense he needs to quickly get points on the board if he is to take the Papua New Guinean people with him.

They have indicated they are willing to give him and his ministers a go but, after the O’Neill experience, are still sceptical.

If James Marape wants to convince an understandably wary Papua New Guinean public that he is the man for the job and means what he says there is one very obvious thing he should do.

He should move as quickly as possible to bring Peter O’Neill and his cronies to account.

The symbolism of such an action, not to mention the moral imperative, is the one thing that will convince the public that he means business.

O’Neill has already begun his old trick of tying up any actions against him in the courts for as long as possible.

Marape needs to quickly cut through this legal bullshit and make the prosecution of O’Neill a top priority.

O’Neill is public enemy number one. If he is not successfully prosecuted, Marape’s credibility will suffer in a big way, perhaps in a way that is terminal.

O’Neill and his legal squirming still has the ability to bring Papua New Guinea down. It would be stupid to let him get away with it.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

The Christian, rich, black bullshit should have been a warning of what to expect David.

Marape needs some serious mentoring before he goes too much further I suspect. Sharing around the Bentleys and Maseratis is one really dumb move.

David Kitchnoge

If news on this link is true, then this will be the beginning of the end of Marape.

Sell all the Bentleys and Maseratis which have no useful value in PNG and use the sale proceeds to pay long suffering public servants who are asked to accept part payment of their salaries or partial payment every fortnight.

Stop fucking insulting people!

These luxury cars have a market outside of PNG. All we need to do is to ship them to a place like Australia, Asia, Europe or somewhere like that and dispose them by auction. What's so hard about this?

Stop preaching Christian, rich, black bullshit and do the right thing.

Paul Oates

There are at least three major priorities that any new government needs to effectively manage, especially after taking over a mess from the previous government.

The first essential is to establish a benchmark for what is ethically acceptable and what is not. This then gives supporters and would be supporters a clear message of what the rules are and the intention to enforce them.

The second priority is to ensure your supporters are rock solid in their support and won’t stab you in the back when the times get tough and others offer implied rewards to be disloyal.

The last and best priority is to state an achievable national goal and lead everyone towards it.
Working backwards, Mr Marape has indeed stated the last principle first. How that objective can be achieved is yet to be fully revealed.

The second priority is to make sure your support base is resolute in its intent. Given the nation’s huge number of ethnicities and tribal loyalties, a unified national spirit has remained very elusive in the past. Traditionally, this is achieved in PNG politics by only one way. Many nations have resorted unifying the nation against a common foe. That can work provided that you don’t end up pulling the tiger’s tail and then have the tiger turn around and eat you.

The first and foremost priority still remains. How to effectively proclaim a achievable benchmark and then be able to stick to it.

Today’s political structures usually require a PM to be a spokesperson on everything and then take the rap when things don’t go according to plan. This then promotes the PM being adept at hyperbole and waffle so that his/her backside is always covered but the corollary is unfortunately, nothing much ever actually gets done.

The real answer to that dilemma is to have ministers actually allowed to run their departments and then be held responsible if they stuff things up. That requires there being a group of competent potential ministers who can be relied upon to run their departments responsibly and to be held accountable if they can’t manage their departmental heads and staff.

Therein lies the real problem. Those that have supported Marape were some of those who supported the previous regime. Marape has made excellent progress in some ministerial appointments by selecting some of those who weren’t necessarily tainted with the previous leadership.

Whether the new team will now be able to resist the pressures that enveloped their predecessors is yet to be effectively demonstrated.

David Kitchnoge

Shout again for the whole world to hear!

William Dunlop

Philip, The echo of my sentiments. Slantie

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