Sunday, September 13, 2009

Papua New Guinea is a state in crisis


Papua New Guinea is a state in crisis.

It is evident enough to sum that all events that have occurred signal a country sinking into itself.

This is the grim reality that faces PNG today.

It also is uncertain now, whether the PNG we know of today will be existing, as provinces seek autonomy, peoples seek realisations of new provinces, plus infrastructure and service delivery mechanisms are broken down, and the cause-factor of all these is an incompetent bureaucracy, a very-corrupt government and a Prime Minister who doesn’t want to let go of his grip on power.

The Government is facing a vote of no-confidence and some of its members have moved over to the Opposition, claiming the Government is so corrupt that it suppresses their rights (other Government MPs) and is not delivering services.

The Government has adjourned Parliament to November, but in doing so has breached section 124 of the Papua New Guinea constitution.

As a result of that, the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, his Treasurer Paul Tiensten and Parliament Speaker Jeffery Nape have been referred to the Ombudsman Commission, which says there is a possibility of prosecuting them.

The Government, not so long ago, announced a K500 million deficit, and defended it as an insignificant deficit.

However, it shows that the Government has over spent; hence it has mismanaged the country’s budget, as argued by Bart Philemon, respected former treasurer and Lae MP.

It is also questionable, however, with so many mines in Papua New Guinea, yet there is no tangible development, a never-ending tale of lack of funds and after 34 years of independence the people still live like they did hundreds of years before independence.

Government policies nowadays do not tend to be of or in the people’s interest anymore, thus due to this there are many explosive issues waiting to blow up.

Some Government policies need to be amended, for example, the Mining Act of PNG needs to be amended, or the landowners of Ramu Nickel Mine, Pogera Gold Mine, Harmony Gold Mine or any other mining areas for that matter will keep causing trouble (by strikes, compensation claims, etc) for the developer-company because the Mining Act gives 70% of the stake to the developer and leaves the land owners with less.

This is a definite daylight robbery to the people of Papua New Guinea.

Over the years, up till recently, there has been a breakdown in service delivery.

The education system is failing thousands of Papua New Guineans.

Every year thousands of students from primary schools, high schools and secondary schools throughout the country fail.

It may seem entirely their own fault, but it is partly the government’s fault too because the government fails to provide adequate stationeries and text books (some rural schools do not have text books on all the subjects they teach), libraries, and teacher-transport logistics (many schools that are far out manage to scrape through the year with only one or two teachers manning the school).

In some places school buildings are rundown, thus schools are closing, as such is the case for the Kerevat National High School, one of the country’s pioneer high schools.

While schools in Morobe, Oro and Miline Bay Provinces were also facing closure due to delay in the release of Government subsidy.

However, countless other schools in rural areas, where education is direly needed, have closed over the years without mention in the media.

The health system of Papua New Guinea is slowly crumbling from within.

This year the Health Minister, Sasa Zibe, described the health system as “bloody useless”.

While the HIV epidemic sweeps PNG, the health services are in a slow constant decline.

This will be a tragedy in the years ahead, as HIV/AIDs is reaching into villages and many (villages) do not have aid-posts or the aid-posts were shut down and the next town is always kilometers away.

It is scary, considering the fact that whole villages could be wiped out.

Whilst there is an ever-growing shortage of drugs and a never ending story of warehouses dumping away undistributed stocks, there seems to be no funds to distribute them.

It is saddening that PNG holds the highest mortality death rate in the world.

Many of these cases come from rural aid posts, usually due to lack of medicine or equipment. Port Moresby General Hospital, PNG’s biggest hospital, is ill-equipped, overcrowded and the building itself, including the materials used, are old and rotting, while other hospitals throughout the country are far worse.

The Police Force of PNG or the Papua New Guinea Royal Constabulary is at the brink of collapse, as claimed by the Police Commissioner Gari Baki, that the police force needed about K2 billion to fully function, be operational and purchase much-needed equipment, as criminals are becoming more sophisticated and better equipped with weapons the police don’t have.

Lately the police have turned to “shoot to kill” tactics, whether approved by the Government or not, to quell any violence or uprising.

The Police Force is now cornered because due to the Government’s policies the people (e.g the unemployed) are now turning to crime as a means of survival.

For example, many men and even women are selling marijuana to make a living.

However, on the other end, police are ordered to kill anyone, even in a protest, as demonstrated in the recent Asian lootings, when four people were shot by police.

There is doubt about the justification of using such lethal force in that given situation.

Deep down in the social saucepan of PNG, in the dark hearts of the settlements (squatter/shanty towns), there is growing frustration and anger towards the Government.

The rich and greedy life style of politicians has created a divide between the rich and the poor, it has created classes among Papua New Guineans, and the divide is getting wider and wider.

The divide between the rich and poor, corrupt politicians, two sets of laws issue and the lack of development and delivery of services all contribute to a hot brewing social saucepan waiting to blow off its lid.

As such, PNG is a state in crisis.

Only because of the cooperate sector, the businesses and by the grace of God, PNG seems to be ticking, otherwise we’re gone past dead.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy Sullivan9:06 PM

    Malum you are brilliant. Thanks for giving us the real scoop in plain terms. Love your blog.--Nancy Sullivan