Are we now seeing changes at last?


WE’VE often raised the point about Papua New Guineans being lazy in thought or whether it was a cultural issue because of our diversity. There are two examples of mindsets that we’d like to highlight for open discussion to see just what is going on. The quick action of the Censorship Board to protect a traumatised woman compared to the Wanzing family case which is 12 months old without any end in sight. The family have been given excuse after excuse they’re exhausted and feel totally helpless.

The Wanzing case which is about the death of 14-year-old Rex Wanzing is a form of imprisonment and deprivation of liberty caused by the Government system or the people who run the Government system. What is alarming is that the Government people are utterly insensitive to the problems they are causing with their relentless excuses to bring about an end to the matter. It is just not good enough. Some of the excuses we’ve seen are ridiculous.

On the other side of the same coin is the case of Kimbe National Court ordering the PNGPL manager and the oil supplier to appear in court and explain the rolling power blackouts. Strange things have happened where the family is sitting down to eat dinner and as the grace ends, there’s power blackout. There are numerous other cynical incidents like the Television going blank when important news is coming on, or water being cut when people are getting ready to go to work. The ridiculousness of these cases, coincidental as they might be, point to attitudes and mindsets where responsibility and accountability clash uncontrollably. It is easy to come up with excuses but the insensitivity is a much deeper concern.

PNG is a diverse country of 1000 tribes and as many villages and the social glue is unity; we have to treat our people well and in a fair way so they don’t feel left out. Government employees; whatever their rank or role, must understand that the Public Service is the fifth tier of government and its responsibility is to be the vehicle to drive service delivery. If this is not being done properly, it simply means the government is not functioning well. You cannot have some tiers of government working and others are not and say you have efficiency. That’s the bottom line. Insolent, lazy employees with bad attitudes have to be made to tow the line and it is the job of managers to do this. The time is coming when someone will seek reprieve for losing stock because of continuous power outages or that people take to the streets to demand the sacking of their MP for non-performance.

The Ombudsman Commissioner has now taken the City government to task and he can use the Kimbe case as a precedent to press his case. He wouldn’t be doing this without checking his powers under the Organic Law which sets up the Commissions. In this day and age of communication and technology or fast and furious living, things are about today, not tomorrow. It’s a fast world and Government as the service provider must, respond to this reality.

The Ombudsman Commissioner’s intervention may lead to rural PNG getting its share of the national wealth in building better roads to improve quality of life. People want to move quickly and go to places with their goods and that is the soul of independence. They have been let down for so long and now, slowly by slowly, some giants are stirring. That is a sure sign of change and we’d like to see more.

Article is taken from: Yu Tok Column “Are we now seeing changes at last?.” Post- Courier, 23 Jun. 2023, p.10.

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