Caption: Maprik MP and Deputy Parliament Speaker, Hon. John Simon casting his vote in Maprik, East Sepik during election 2017. Picture by BRADLEY SIMON.
UNTIL we remove election, it is mandatory to hold one every one five years. We held our first legislative election in 1964 and this – 2017 National election (Natel) – will be our tenth.
Doomsayers are damned. This election did not fail as they would like to see. Some 20 declarations were already made and more are expected in the course of time. It seems time – July 24 designated time for the Return of Writs – will lapse which will compel the PNG Chief Electoral Commissioner, Patalias Gamato to ask Governor General for extension. A new government should be in place by August following Return of Writs. In all, election 2017 is successful and NOT a failure.
Our democratic process provides for the doomsayers and the disgruntled – the Court of Disputed Returns among other avenues – to seek redress. For now, let the process take its course unhindered. Instead, some could not even wait for the election process to complete but are already in Court to try stop counting and declarations.
I did not vote in this election because of name-absentia in the common roll. I am among some two million (of the four million plus eligible voters) who missed out. But I am satisfied that other fellow country men and women did on my and our behalf. Thanks! I did not make a big fuss out of it because I equally respect the process and for our national-common interest.
Doomsayers including certain members of the mainstream media have been writing anti-election news and editorials and hosting TV shows and bringing in like thinkers of their misbegotten agenda to talk. They be damned.
Of all people, journalists must remain patriotic and maintain impartiality at all times. Even if PNG Kumuls went down to Australian Kangaroos in a rugby league clash or for that matter any international matches involving a national team, our local media MUST maintain patriotism and optimism. The leading ‘intro’ (start of a news story) must begin with pride and patriotism – ‘PNG went down fighting’ but maybe ‘not good enough this time around’. Offer hope and promote unity. Integrate the country at all cost. Identify the weaknesses and make room for amendments that ‘together we can fix it’. The Biblical story of Jonah speaks volumes about Admittance, Acceptance and Sacrifice if we are to find solutions in chaos and crisis situations instead of mud-slinging and finger-pointing.
News in Third World is about NATION BUILDING compared to First world (Objectivity), Second world (Collective Agitator), and the Fourth world (Self Determination). At the UPNG journalism school we were taught “developmental journalism” where news is development and progress, social responsibility, and national integration not disintegration and hopelessness.
Sadly this is eroding. Our front pages and important news pages and airtime today give prominence to lop-sided PR political stories for the politician that had done favors to scribes, blood and crime, public liability predator multi-national corporations and foreign businesses, and irrelevant and insignificant ‘cut and paste’ overseas junks that impose Western culture and white ‘superiority’ in our mindsets. In doing so, proximity and significance – which are key aspects in news judgements and values are comprised.
Such abuse of media power has impact on psychology of PNG, wrongfully persuaded our thinking socially, economically, and politically and is threatening to exert a degree of revolution on our culture in one form or another. Australia’s NRL matches and State of Origin games in PNG are cases in point.
We will go through this election unhindered. After it precipitates, we will look back and say ‘together we did it, together we can fix it’. There will be comments now or later but we must remain open and optimistic. Those who are disgruntled have the Courts to seek redress. Others like myself have no choice but to accept the new Government and continue to give undivided support towards nation building. It is not a choice but a duty, a patriotic duty. It is an important act of appraisal we must undertake while here or be cursed by our children for our inaction today. And the media plays an important and significant role in this aspect, not promoting disintegration.
With the new government, we have work to do:
- Design better development models in the fight against poverty and rescue PNG from ‘debt traps’ and ‘vicious cycles’ of poverty. Harness the STARS responsible sustainable development strategy with resource funding and roll it out in rural fronts. Re-visit the National Goals and Directive Principles and create ‘self-reliance’ activities such as growing our own rice, farming our own fish and animals instead of tinned fish and lamb flaps. Harness the SME policy and promote local indigenous businesses. Introduce the “Reserved List” policy. Impose control on foreign businesses singly expanding at free will into all other areas of business and become dominant over others. Impugn and invoke the Customary Law provisions (Schedules) in the Constitution with the view to ‘enforce’ sacrosanctity of customary land rights to traditional landowners over the metamorphosis being – the ‘State’, State can ONLY be ‘custodian’ of customary land and peoples’ resources but in nowhere should be ‘owner’ as is the case now. What happens when the ‘State’ becomes ‘owner’ of land? It takes the land and give to an alien. One alien company now owns whole of Gerehu shopping complex while another is dominating Waigani which once was reserved only for government office spaces. Travelling up Hiritano highway in Central province and you find Asian supermarkets operating in the heart of Inauabui village, Mekeo and even at Bereina station. Travelling up North Coast in Madang and you find the same in Riwo and Kumbukam where dinghies leave for Karkar island. Bougainvilleans are fighting them out and soon more will happen across PNG where Asian businesses are unscrupulously operating. Not to mention, our till operator wives and daughters are sexually harassed or abused at an Asian shop as you read without being reported because of fear of repercussions. Why should a landless Asian man come here and become a land lord overnight and own a business at the expense of our ill-fated lax laws? Would it be the same if I was in their own countries? Our fathers founded this country for us to become master of our land, not an Asian? The new Government must re-instate the ‘Operesin Rausim Alien’ Task Force immediately within 100 days into office for cleanup. Other laws such as the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy must be reviewed with the view to stop ‘con’ and ‘speculative’ investors or developers who come in with nothing, make millions out of our ignorance and lax laws and siphon millions out of PNG. In 42 years we have created nothing but a safe haven for ‘free willies’ who suck to the last blood of our wealth and riches.
- Introduce an Industrialization policy and plan. As to when should we become a manufacturing nation instead of over 40 years of “end user”. Our cocoa, coffee and copra must end being exported as “raw materials” and “primary products. We must get into secondary and tertiary production now rather than later. We have abundance of natural plants and herbs that can be processed to meet the growing world demand for medicinal, perfumery and food flavor products. Why and when will we diversify our stringent economy streams to attain this? We can’t even design a simple PNG made gas lighter or supply Tonga with fresh organic taro yet we accept a desert Israel to teach us fresh food agriculture techniques? We practiced agriculture in pre-history some 60,000 years ago, why now should a desert nation teach us agriculture? Look up the barren hillsides of Waigani and nearby surroundings of Port Moresby city, fresh green aibika, corn, peanuts, and other vegetables are visible, it is evidence of great Chimbu, Engans and Goilala agriculture men and women at work. They were not university or college graduates or trained by Israel or Taiwan? Our widely publicized STARS strategy on sustainable agriculture ‘to feed the world’ is limited to and remain only as a piece-meal political rhetoric if the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) is less involved and properly resourced to achieve the STARS more than the misbelief that outsiders would do it better for us.
- Review the National Identification Card (NID) and Integrate Government Information System (IGIS) projects and make it functional. Tie it with PNG Electoral System to fix the Common Roll issues currently affecting the 2017 election. NID and IGIS were likened only as ‘white elephants’ that have sucked hundreds of millions of our development money for nothing. NID and IGIS programs could have been of great help to the 2017 elections today had it not been used as ‘white elephants’. We must not blame international partners like the Washington-based IFES (International Federation of Election Systems), Australian Electoral Commission, New Zealand Electoral Commission and Australian Civil Corps plus the Australian Defense Force for the problems we faced in the 2017 election. Their involvements with PNG Electoral Commission in the preparatory stage of the 2017 election were fully funded by their respective Government for which we owe it to them unreservedly. It was the duty of our Government to have provided adequate funding for election awareness and better the common roll well ahead of time. We have only ourselves to blame now that almost half of the four million eligible voters – including myself – did not vote.
- Increase our stakes in WTO and regional trade bodies for a fairer and equal trade opportunities such as in dialogue to eliminate ‘unfair pricing’, high tariffs and introduce free-trade zones;
- Review all major resource laws in PNG such as the Mining Act, Environment Act, and the Oil & Gas Act with the view to maximize landowner equity and participation and to compel developers to greater corporate social responsibilities (CSR) in environment sustainability, transparency and accountability. What is extracted must be fairly compensated for. How do we know that every seep of oil loaded on ship is recorded correctly and at agreed price? When do gold bullions leave our shores, who is there to monitor to make sure the amount taken out corresponds correctly with volume and price? We need SERIOUS work on resource surveillance at sea, land and air or we will continue to be cheated. Where is the water police, coast guard or navy patrolling and guarding the Kumul terminal outside the Gulf of Papua or where are they when logs, gold, copper and precious minerals, oil and gas are shipped out of PNG? There are leakages somewhere in the system. No wonder PNG is always broke despite volumes of export of our natural resources 42 years on. There is work to tighten up the system. The EITI initiative (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) is a good start. Until we see results, we hold it with contempt. For 42 years our resources went but with little returns and less to show for in terms of tangible development. Less money against growing population means a deficit and the tendency to borrow and continuously borrow again and again to meet budget financing. National debt is around K22 billion or more. Our new Government has priority task to create and manage an effective debt servicing framework to bail us out.
- Remove right to stand in public office – to become a Member of Parliament – from naturalized citizens. Naturalized citizens can have all other privileges but not right to stand in public office. This right must be reserved only to indigenous Melanesian black-a-moor citizens. Why? Because when the ‘Covenant of Man’ was first sealed to born this nation, it was only indigenous tribes that were involved – no naturalized persons! The philosophy of Government and nationhood was in Right Order (as in Catholic’s Pastoral Constitution). A Government of, for and by Melanesian Papua New Guineans. The Preamble of our Constitution is also explicitly clear about this. Everything was in Right Order. A conflict is a result of things not in right order. This country, this Parliament, this Government must be for Melanesian black-a-moor Papua New Guineans only. Naturalized citizens are welcome but limited to privileges only. They must not assume the Right to represent me in Parliament as a MP. Science supports this. DNA of a black colored skin pigment cannot be changed into a white or Caucasian colored skin pigment. DO NOT CHANGE THE ‘RIGHT ORDER’! God created and gave land and resources equally to everyone, every country, every people who inhabit this planet. It is not ‘right order’ when you try to change things to suit your own selfishness and greed by infringing on other territories and grabbing someone else’s property. Conflicts in the world today and in the past were all results of human actions trying to change things out of the Right Order.
- Also change laws to remove the paradox of rights between a Corporate Person and that of a Natural Person. Corporations use laws to protect their self-profiteering and wealth accumulation interest and cunningly shrugging off public liabilities and social, environment and economic responsibilities – greatly to the detriment of human good. Corporate owners and their executives form and create a charade of dominating force across the globe and wielding unprecedented power to corrupt democratic governments resulting in the limited remaining earth’s resources into fewer and fewer hands of the rich and powerful. The Trump administration in the US is a case in point where ‘public’ interest has been comprised for ‘private – corporate’ interest where almost all senior executives in the Trump administration come from multi-national corporations and conglomerates like ExxonMobil and Coco Cola. Even Trump’s son and daughter –who are not trained public servants – are making in-roads in representing US in public meetings and bodies. Not the least, this trend is growing roots in PNG. Almost 90 per cent of all politicians in PNG Parliament come from business background. Business interest therefore is taking over public (people’s) interest in PNG. Corruption therefore is the result where things are not in the Right Order. A business is usually a private entity whilst a government is usually a people’s entity. On this premise, it is not right order if business interest dominates people’s public interest. It begins in election where businessman and women dominate electoral process because of power of money.
- It is therefore time to review Election in PNG and adopt a new tribe-based appointment system of political representation. Election is a UN ‘white man’ ploy to disintegrate tribal heterogeneous societies like PNG. Election is similar to cargo cult, it has traits similar to cargo cult movements in pre Independence PNG. It allows for private interest over public interest.
These among others are our patriotic duties, we have work to do!