Re-align priorities to save people
IT’S that time of the year when reviews and assessments are done by Government and its agencies of the year that has been. That’s okay but to this scribe the approach would be different and the verdict is straightforward, especially in the face of natural calamities that have hit the nation: Stuff the reviews, put them on the back burner, lower them in the pecking order or at least re-align the priorities. The main resolve should be about securing life and limb of thousands upon thousands of ordinary and not so ordinary Papua New Guineans made homeless and dispossessed by natural calamities beyond their control in the preceding two weeks. On this occasion the Government must save the people first. Everything else can wait. There is a time and place for everything. Those governmental reviews and revisits to find facts, faults and failures are bound to be obscured by events that have unfolded without notice in the last two weeks and are continuing still unabated. The whole nation will feel their impact in the aftermath. Despite all the reviews, assessments, stock takes and whatever is forever, one conclusion will keep rearing its head insofar as PNG’s present and future prospects are concerned. That conclusion is simple enough. We, as a nation, are never prepared enough to face off the unforeseeable situations and circumstances that intrude into our national life or to scramble at short notice in response to neutralizing the threats or to hit the ground running when emergencies and disasters strike us. There is a glaring absence of a state of preparedness in our national life. Shamefully pathetic. We are always responding – and often times incompetently, inefficiently and disastrously -- to emergency and disaster situations. Quit the complacency and do something to become more prepared to confront unforeseen nation threatening events. The Government has to stop politicking with people’s lives, stop procrastinating, and stop exclusively placing all executive attention on pursuing big multi-billion foreign investments to the great detriment of the people. The Government has to get serious about the welfare of the multitude of rural and urban settlement–dwelling Papua New Guineans who are marginalised and live below the poverty line in a modern monetary economy. Government has to – by authority of the National Constitution of PNG -- create participatory basic life support opportunities to lift the living standards of the ordinary man, woman and child and the executive must start being decisive and assertive about the seven main priorities under the Medium Term Development Strategy 2005-2010. These priorities are Primary and Preventative Health Care, HIV/AIDS Prevention, Basic Education, Development-oriented Adult Education, Transport Rehabilitation and Maintenance, Promotion of Income Earning Opportunities and Law and Justice and they have been prioritised as such to build the foundation for creating a higher – if not perpetual -- level of happy, healthy and wealthy PNG society. When the people are happy, healthy and wealthy and are constructively and gainfully participating in and adding value to the overall state of happiness, healthiness and wealthiness of the people at large, then we, as a nation can rejoice and shout for the entire world to hear. That’s right.
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