By Dr GAE GOWAE
The recent ethnic clash in Lae is a spill over problem of lack of development in the other provincial centres of PNG, particularly the Highlands and the Momase provinces.
Very often the outsiders living in Lae and Port Moresby claimed that they develop these two cities and not the locals from which these two cities are located.
The question is, ‘then why couldn’t they develop their own centres the same as Lae and Port Moresby?’
The fact of the matter is that Lae and Port Moresby are the centres of opportunities and that’s why these people migrate to these two centres to look for opportunities to make their livings, thus creating social issues.
After 36 years of independence, the townships of other provinces are both stagnant or deteriorating while Lae and Port Moresby are expanding.
However, these two so-called cities in PNG are slowly turning into traditional village-style living environments.
People left their villages and come to live in these two cities in the settlements and convert the overall living environments of these two cities into traditional village-style living environments.
The high rise buildings and modern office complexes are overshadowed by these village life-style living environments with the ugly beetle nut spittle and the filth lying around the place.
A very degrading environment compared to the small cities of the neighboring Pacific Island countries, which are of very high living standard environments.
One wonders, what are the aspirations of the so-called political leaders in terms of the developments in their own electorates and provinces?
Every politician should have the aspiration to develop their electorate and province to provide equal opportunities to their people.
The recent PNG Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reports showed that the NGI region is ranked number one in terms of the overall development indices, followed by the Southern region, Momase and the Highlands region the last.
Relating these indices to urban migration showed that the majority of settlement dwellers are from the Highlands region, followed by Momase, Southern and NGI region the least, which clearly reflected the developments on the ground.
Every province and its leaders should compete for equal development opportunities for their people.
Urban settlement and law and order problems can be resolved if equal attention is given to the development of each province.
More importantly, regional governance should be encouraged with the revitalisation of Regional Secretariats with clear functions and funding to create regional developments.
Highlands region with so much natural resources by now should have the third or if not the second biggest city in the country.
It is totally unfair that the revenues generated from the region are used elsewhere while the provincial centres from the region remained stagnant.
The onus is on the leaders from the Highlands region to make it happen reflecting the level of revenues generated from the region, not to mention the billion dollar LNG project in the new Hela Province.
A concerned citizen
Dr Gae Gowae
P.O. Box 74
National Capital District
Tel: 326 7227
Fax: 326 0369