With apologies to those in far places to whom much of this will make little sense, I’d like to take advantage of my inability to upload images at the moment to present this item of intense local interest.
The following appeared in yesterday’s The National (27 January 2009). Please hold your judgment about my reasons for presenting it here until you’ve read it. I’ll have comments at the end.
WE HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THE LAW
Papua New Guineans have no respect for their fellow countrymen and women, and the law.
Otherwise, people like Sir George Constantinou, pilot Timothy Houji and many others would still be alive today.
Police Commissioner Gari Baki recently refuted claims of Port Moresby being listed among the top five murder capitals.
Mr Baki’s response was weak when the statistics are there for everyone to see.
Lae, Mt. Hagen, Goroka and the two oil palm towns of Popondetta and Kimbe also have their fair share of killings, which I am sure our overall nationwide murder statistics must be very frightening.
Apart from murders, armed robberies are also getting more sophisticated and on the rise, making our policemen look outdated and slow.
As a former police detective myself, I have dealt with some of these violent crimes being conspired and committed in collaboration with professionals in different fields.
Whilst such violent crimes continued unabated, corruption and white-collar crimes committed by high office holders and even our hypocritical politicians are also on the rise.
Investigations or commissions of inquiries into high profile scandals, corruption or embezzlement of millions of Kina were never ever completed.
Even if the current Commission of Inquiry into Finance is completed, PNG will live up to its traditional norm that those implicated will never be prosecuted.
Even if such cases were prosecuted, they would soon be swept under the carpet and forgotten.
Who can ever forget the Julian Moti CoI? What has happened to it?
Just an hour prior to me writing this letter, a young boy from Lufa district was caught stealing a can of Ox & Palm corned beef and a Wopa biscuit.
The boy was beaten up by security guards before being handed over to police.
The poor boy could be convicted and sentenced to serve a jail term because he belongs to the “unfortunate system class”, unlike our politicians.
I will not be surprised if the Taiwanese scandal will be swept under the carpet.
What PNG needs is to take a drastic and radical approach to rid itself of this sickening moral decay.
One possible option for PNG to fully adapt and embrace the ideology of former Goroka MP Hire Kimisopa to bring back the Australians so that they fill all the key Government positions.
Apart from Australia, we can also bring in expatriates from UK, New Zealand, Canada and the US to head our Government institutions and agencies.
Not only should expatriates head these institutions, they will have to be placed in key positions where they are able to thwart any potential corruption practices.
I’m sure the expatriates can instill confidence, discipline and eradicate the current negative trend.
Mister Supa, I’m right with you on everything that you say about our problems. Where I begin to think more critically is where you write, “One possible option . . .” I agree that it would be a possible option, if we lived in a more tolerant universe. However, in the real world of 21st century PNG, I can’t see how it could possibly be culturally acceptable.
I’ve been here since 1981. I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve heard sentiments such as, “Everything would be better if Australia would come back and run things.” Frankly, this makes me very sad. I am not a Citizen of PNG; I’m a Permanent Resident. If it were practical for me to become a Citizen, I would. Unfortunately, it appears that it would take more years to become a Citizen than I likely have left to live.
Regardless of the issue of citizenship, this is my adopted homeland. I love PNG and I will live here the rest of my life. Therefore, I refuse to believe that we are unable to solve our own problems – WITH HELP. We are a strong and resourceful people. We have a will to make a better life. However, we need help because we do not have a civil servant class with complete training, integrity of character, and a sense of purpose. I’m guessing, from observation of the way things work these days (or don’t work), that most people would agree with that statement.
As expatriate officers and managers drifted off to greener, quieter pastures, many of the citizens left behind were ill prepared to take the reins of power. I place no blame on them for that unfortunate circumstance, but the previous colonial administration has a lot to answer for concerning the issue.
I fully agree that we need expatriate help. I believe that we need competent, dedicated, honest advisors in all government institutions. I would call them Advisors With Teeth. I can’t help feeling that installing expatriates as “bosses” in high positions would not be the right move. It feels to me like a return to colonialism – a step backwards.
However, if advisors were well chosen and have an above-reproach power to report to when bad outcomes result from advice ignored, then I believe that we could profit greatly. The world is full of highly talented and respected retired professionals who are sometimes willing to work free or for nominal fees. We could tap into that talent and give them the power to report poor results to an ultimate authority, which could then make the appropriate corrections. I suppose that it’s fair to ask exactly what that ultimate authority might be, considering that trust is a rare commodity these days – and rightfully so!
I sympathize with your frustrations and anxiety over the state of our society, Mr. Supa. I feel these same emotions daily. I differ with you only in degree on the issue of expatriate assistance. I think that if we are clever enough, we could reap the benefits of expatriate assistance to help us to solve extremely difficult social issues without resorting to what some would see, with some justification, as “foreign interference”.
Let’s see how clever we are.