"We must stop getting drunk in public. We must stop playing pokies all night. We must stop cutting deals & compromising the public interest. Our public servants must turn up to work on time"
GOVERNOR ALLAN BIRD
WEWAK -Independence is not free, it comes with Responsibility.
In my address to the Sepik people on the occasion of Papua New Guinea’s 47th independence anniversary, I stressed that it is important we understand independence as meaning that the people have the right to do everything themselves.
Independence Day is a time for all of us to reflect on our contribution to the Independence idea. What are we contributing? Or are we just here to take and not give?
Israel 3,000 years ago was in bondage to Egypt. The Egyptians gave them three meals a day, free housing, free education, free health care and all they had to do was work from 6am to 6pm with one day off.
When they left Egypt, they almost killed Moses on the first day because the free meals Egypt used to give them were no longer available.
They preferred free food to independence or being free to choose their own future.
Israel took over a desert land and turned it into what it is today.
In Israel, they are still working on their independence. They are still fighting for it. After 3,000 years they are still building on their Independence.
In PNG, we have become tired of Independence after 47 years. We own the land, we own the forest, we own the seas and we place every burden on the government that owns 3% of the land.
If every citizen in Israel continues to build their country after 3,000 years why can’t we?
If their students can study diligently, not be drunk and try to be the best in the world, why can't we?
If they continue to pull forward, why can’t we?
Australia is still building after 120 years. The USA is 240 years old and they are still building their country.
Every elected official in Sepik must change their attitude.
We must stop getting drunk in public. We must stop playing pokies all night. We must stop cutting deals and compromising the public interest.
Our public servants must turn up to work on time, work for eight hours and go home.
Not work for four hours during the day and expect an allowance to work late nights and on weekends.
Our Police and others in the justice sector must dispense justice fairly and equally. We must not favour our wantoks.
We must continue to build from where our founding fathers left off.
The work must continue. It’s our work now, tomorrow the work will be handed to our children. They must continue the work.
Independence gives us a licence to work hard for ourselves.
To build our county the way we want to.
If we continue to perpetuate laziness, cargo cultism, violence, injustice, disrespect, corruption and unequal opportunity, then that's what we are building for the future.
If we want a fair, safe, happy, just and equitable country with equal opportunity for every man, woman and child, then we must build it.
Change is up to us. We have been independent for 47 years, we have been given the right to build our country the way we want to. Let’s build it the right way.
Let’s start in our communities and in our province. Let’s make our home a place where good behaviour, respect, tolerance and decency is embraced and practiced by all.
Let’s use this occasion to remind ourselves to do something positive for ourselves, our community and our country.
Maulu and God bless everyone.
With thanks to Barbara Short