Monday, September 08, 2008

Thoughts on 33 years of independence



Below, is my two cents on the above topic you posted on your blog.

Have a wonderful Sunday evening.

A very good night from this end of the planet.

 After 33 years of independence, I ponder and ask, why have we done so poorly after all these years?

I see the name 'independence' as a window curtain and inside the house is empty because there isn't any tangible developments throughout all corners of PNG especially when you look at rural areas in terms of infrastructure and service delivery.

The motive is clear. I think there are three impediments which I think that undermine the foundation of development for PNG to prosper. 

1. Politics - It has advantages and disadvantages at all levels of government. With more than 20 political parties, it is difficult to work collectively with like-minded leaders to ensure good governance when their policies are not transparent and implemented, while their agendas and motives are diverse. Cheap political point scoring and power hungry politics is one thing and vivacious, candid and unprejudiced politics is another. For the past 32 years, it seems to us that the former was ubiquitous. We can make little progress if the number of political parties is minimised with few parties with sound policies to lead the country with less politics. No matter what political party an MP is affiliated to, all who form the government must be loyal to each other to work collaboratively to fully implement the Government’s policies;

2. Corruption - Is a result, it is not a cause. To deal effectively with corruption, one must not look at treating the symptoms of corruption but must deal with the cause. Effective prosecution and punishment is not dealing with the cause but the symptom. In the public eye, the outcomes of some of these high profile cases are dubious. The judiciary system needs to have more teeth. The Government’s Medium Term Development Strategy will bear fruit when the law has its course. If prosecutions were done accordingly, perhaps it should send a chilling message to daylight robbers who habitually embezzle from the public coffers. The most important tool to minimise corruption is being honest to yourself, your fellow country man/woman and the nation at large; and

3. Mismanagement - For all variety of reasons, honesty and integrity are becoming noble words in this day and age. No matter how much honesty it takes, greed and shrewdness in dealings are common symptoms that need to be eliminated by a vibrant law and justice sector. Mismanagement and corruption may go hand in hand and they both are here to stay for the reason that leaders and people in positions of trust cannot be trusted. The current scenario in the Finance Department and countless similar cases yet to be solved and those implicated needs to be prosecuted are classic examples. What the situation requires is for all of us to work together. Ultimately, as Papua New Guineans, we must stop pushing members for handouts because they will manipulate their RDF and non-discretionary electoral funds to give what the people want and that will distort development plans for the each province and PNG at large. Unless the above factors are confronted head-on, PNG will not prosper maybe for another 33 years or who knows; maybe decades.


 David Ketepa Ulg


Michigan, USA


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