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Put Enga first, Speaker Pomat tells MPs

| Academia Nomad

UNDPEngans desperately try to dig for victims of the landslide (UNDP)

PORT MORESBY - I’ve never been a fan of Job Pomat (and for good reason), but what he said today in parliament is that what every national leader should say and do in times of disaster.

After the prime minister and opposition leader had belatedly spoken about the Enga landslide and offered condolences, Pomat, speaking in Pidgin, said something along the lines of the following:

“The vote of no confidence will not go anywhere and, leaders, you have all the time in the world.

“We should all agree to put this vote of no confidence issue aside and respond to the disaster first.

“We represent the people, they should remain our priority. We can always come back to deal with the vote of no confidence.”

On the lack of funds, Pomat said something like this.

“We have all received our Constitutency Development Funds. In this time of need, we should all chip in from to assist our people in Enga.”

Both remarks were wise counsel, and both deserving of a leader. A Melanesian leader that is.

Pomat could have spoken those words yesterday, when parliament just met for just 30 minutes and adjourned.

At times of disaster, someone has to speak sense. When the leaders are driven by self-interest for political survival, someone has to speak wisdom – a fitting role for a Speaker of the House.

We hope our leaders take his advice, put the vote of no confidence on hold and respond to the disaster.

We have about 2,000 people buried under boulders and dirt; people the leaders are elected to represent.

A vote of no confidence is pointless when the people the leaders represent are dead or injured or without property.

We’ll pick up the political fight later, but for now, Pomat, you have our respect.

If any of my readers have access to Pomat, they should pass on our thanks.


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