Archive for the ‘National Goals and Directive Principles’ Category

We must look after our natural resources and environment. In the past people used resources to meet their own immediate needs. Nowadays people need cash income and practices have changed.

Mismanagement practices can bring short-term benefit and long-term losses. Forests have been cleared for large-scale plantations, logging, agriculture and minerals exploitation. When pollution takes place it destroys the natural resources and environment.

Therefore we must look after our resources and environment for the future generations.

– Grade 6, Holy Spirit Primary School

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Equality and Participation

Equality and Participation is the second National Goal and Directive Principle that is discussed here. This Goal and Directive Principle say: “We declare our second goal to be for every citizen to have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the development of our country”. That is, all PNG citizens – male, female, children and others have an equal right to take part in the political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of the country.

Today, are the ordinary citizens of this nation given the equal opportunity to take part and benefit from any activity? Do Papua New Guinean citizens truly enjoy equality in government services, equal participation by women, participation in every aspect of development, the means provided for them to exercise creativity, the achievement of universal literacy, the right to a stable family life?

Our economic system in PNG is not equally distributed. Despite our natural resources, we still face an economic crisis, because certain people are enjoying the wealth and resources while others are suffering. For example, the benefit in terms of money and employment from PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) go to the landowners and its employees alone, not all citizens of this nation. Yet the second goal calls for every effort to be made to achieve an equitable distribution of incomes and other benefits of development among individuals and throughout the various parts of the country.

The second National Goal also calls for the creation of political structures that enable effective, meaningful participation by our people in that life, and in view of the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of our people for those structures to provide for substantial decentralization of all forms of government activity.

However, since independence, politics has become synonymous with corrupt practices like stealing public funds, accepting bribery and playing nepotism in the higher offices. Such practices prevent meaningful participation by our people. Meanwhile, it has become common that men with a high income and a lot of cargo are able to take part in elections while more women and men with little money are being deprived of their right to participation.

The Second Goal further calls for equality of services in all parts of the country, and for every citizen to have equal access to legal processes and all services, governmental and otherwise, that are required for the fulfillment of his or her real needs and aspirations.

Yet the majority of the people are unaware of any government services. Many people do not have access to adequate road, health and education services. Where is the decentralization of all forms of government activity? Obviously, there is no evidence to suggest that any government since Independence has created political structures for the equal benefit of the entire population.

Successive governments since independence have forgotten about the many Papua New Guineans marginalised and isolated largely by vast geographically terrains and the lack of a road link with the outside world. This is the case in my home in Nipa Kutubu electorate in the Southern Highlands Province, where there is no road. Many parts of the country are still in darkness in terms of basic services, meaning that there is no equal distribution of government services. There is no effort made to achieve an equitable distribution of incomes and other benefits of development.

The second goal further calls for equal participation by women citizens in all political, economic, social and religious activities. Politically, women are far behind men despite the three female elected members in the parliament in the current election (2012). Men and women would have been equally represented in politics if there had been more than 40 or 50 female members voted into Parliament. At present there are only three female members out of the 111 Members.

Nor do women have equal participation in all economic, social and religious activities. However, according to Papua New Guinea population statistics the number of women is greater than men. Does the government maximize the opportunities for women to participate in the development of the nation? Evidently, there is no equal participation by women.

Moreover, the second goal calls for means to be provided to ensure that any citizen can exercise his personal creativity and enterprise in pursuit of fulfillment that is consistent with the common good, and for no citizen to be deprived of this opportunity because of the predominant position of another. It is obvious everywhere that jealousy is one of the main factors depriving the rights of individual or group from partaking in activities that would sustain their lives. At the same time, people fear that if they start up a business, they would end up losing their lives by thugs. For instance, the Post Courier (‘Pregnant woman pack raped, dies’, August 21, 2012), reported that a pregnant woman was raped and killed on her way to Bogia to sell their garden produce at the local market. These threats mean that women are indirectly deprived of their right to pursue income generation safely, without fear of their lives. What is the government’s stance on the safety of our market women, who work to feed our families and communities?

It is absolutely clear there is no participation either directly or indirectly by many societies in the decision-making process in this country, despite the fact those decisions affect all individuals. The majority of people are not aware of what the government is doing. This is due to the lack of development in education, road, health and other basic services. Evidently, high illiteracy is the main factor that prevents participation. The National (‘Stocking Literacy Statistics’,August 16, 2012), stated that 43.8% of Papua New Guineans are illiterate. Thus decisions in many societies are made by the educated people – the majority follows them without knowing the outcome of the decision.

At the national level the government makes the decision for every citizen of this nation. However, the consequences will be faced by everybody. Therefore, the government needs to ensure any government activity reaches the community level. Thus, every citizen will not only take part and benefit from the government activities but will have the chance to air their views on matters that will affect them. Otherwise, few people will continue to participate and the majority of the nation’s citizens will remain blind and deaf.

Finally, the second goal calls for recognition of the principles of the equality of rights and duties of married partners, and for responsible parenthood to be based on that equality. As observed in many societies, marriages today are not stable. There is no trust, cooperation and enjoyment in many of the families. Many families are divorcing, and in the process innocent children are displaced, some dying of hunger and others deprived of their right to an education – resulting in them roaming the streets and preying on other people. This is a total indication that there is no equality and rights practiced in the family. Family is the backbone of any development. Thus government has to stabilize family first before any other development takes place. Otherwise, PNG will remain stagnant in terms of development.

It is clear the government has done very little since Independence to achieve Equality and Participation in PNG. The government has to start at the family level, to provide the basic services that enable all people to participate in and contribute to development. Then and only then will the development of Papua New Guinea go forward in a way that benefits all citizens.

 

 

 

The aim of the first National Goal is ‘for every person to be allowed to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that every woman and man will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others’.

What then do we mean by ‘Integral Human Development? We can say that Integral Human Development is all about the holistic approach to dealing with the affairs of Papua New Guineans. By holistic, we are talking about the economic, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of human beings as an approach to addressing some of our national issues.

How can people be dynamically involved in the process of freeing themselves from every form of dominance or oppression?

Forms of dominance or oppression that are stopping individuals to develop freely as a whole person in relationship with others include: lack of education, unemployment, gender bias, discrimination/stigma (HIV/AIDS victims), crime, poverty, child abuse/neglect, disability, violence etc. Those vulnerable to domination by others include: people with disability, old age, women, children, unemployed, less educated, and men and women of lower status.

Economic

The economic approach to integral human development is to do with empowering Papua New Guineans to participate meaningfully in economic activities to sustain a living. Those who are unemployed must seek ways to help themselves. It is amazing how women in business have expanded. These are women with integrity and power. They have realised that they have potential and cannot be dependent on their spouse. They work in order to earn that respect.

Economic wise, people should not rely heavily on government handouts but must be innovative in their economic activities so that they can manage their own living. Our country must be self-reliant.

Social

Social aspects of integral human development might encompass literacy, education, unemployment, poverty, and crime, for example.

One of the factors that contributed to lower literacy rate is a lack of education. People have their reasons as to why their education was not completed. In most cases, people could not complete their schooling because of the cost of education. Some others aren’t given a choice: think of those young women who had to leave school to marry so they could take care of their families. These are individuals who have dreams and potential to do greater things. Some of them may have been forced into these things with or without the awareness of their human rights. They have had their right to Integral Human Development stolen.

Women in Papua New Guinea have always been looked down on in a male dominated society despite their achievements. How can Papua New Guinea achieve Integral Human Development without humanity and respect for fellow citizens? We have to change the mindset we have towards each other. No matter the ethnicity or sex we carry, we must begin to realize that we are equal and can depend on each other as we work together towards the common good of Papua New Guinea. Women and men, we need each other. No one should be deprived of their human rights.

Cultural

Papua New Guinea is going through a transition from traditional culture to modernization. The impact of modernization is evident in the world today. And as Papua New Guinea is part of the global community, people and cultures must adapt to these changes.

Although our cultures identify who we are, some of the beliefs are unfair and ridiculous. For example, in traditional times and according to our cultures, a man who had wealth, status and role was an important person that must be respected and people had to be submissive to. Oftentimes, justice and fairness could not prevail. Men were seen as more important than women. Women were totally submissive to men and they could not express their views or opinions.

Today, most women remain afraid of letting their voices be heard. They are afraid to talk about rape, domestic violence and other issues because of fear and cultural constraints. This has affected many of them socially and psychologically. Man has labelled woman as inferior: this is a mentality that we must encourage all women to brush aside. We must support them in their pursuit of life without dominance and oppression.

Conclusion

Just how can one achieve a life without dominance and oppression by others? As individuals, we have our own dreams and passions and we cannot rely on others to support us all the way. We should not be dependent on others for our own happy endings.

At the same time, as much as possible, we must encourage and promote unity in our land. Women and children must be encouraged and given the opportunity to participate meaningfully in their communities.

We need respect and we must be respected. The preamble law of Papua New Guinea says that all of us, regardless of whether we are men or women, rich or poor, superior or inferior, we all have human rights which should be respected.

Integral human development is the way forward and provides the way towards sustainable development. With this national goal, Papua New Guineans must understand that they have basic human rights. Regardless of whether we are men or women, integral human development as a national goal emphasises our rights to education, literacy, employment, health care, security and safe relationships. With integral human development, we have the freedom of speech, choice, and expression. Achieving this one goal means Papua New Guinea can achieve all the other four national goals as these goals are part of Integral Human Development. Achieving the first one paves the way for the rest.

On 16 September 1975, the Australian government granted PNG its political independence. But financially we are still looking up to Australia, for grants and aids. Because of the large sum of aid money injected into the country, the government has been trying its best to pay back the money by reaping the country’s mineral resources, without considering what the five National Goals and Directive Principles spell out. We’ve been having our very own indigenous people in the parliament who haven’t been considering the five goals fully in their decision-making arenas. So, since 1975 these goals seemed to be in the preamble only to add flavour to the Constitution.

Actually, these principles should serve as guidelines for our decision-makers in the leadership poles. The negligence of these five simple Goals and Directive Principles are bringing disorder into our homes, communities and the whole nation.
On that note, let’s look at the 4th National Goal and Directive Principle, regarding Natural Resources and Environment: “We declare our fourth goal to be for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all, and be replenished for the benefit of future generations.”

Sadly, the fourth National Goal has not been considered by our governments. The history of mining, logging and other extractive industries in PNG shows this clearly. The initial part of the process includes the clearing of the forest which destroys the home of the wildlife; these species go into extinction since they cannot adapt to the environment they are left with. Within the time span of the mining operation, so many issues and or problems arise especially socially, economically, politically and psychologically.

That is, the relationship of the people with the nature is cut-off when the trees are all cut down, leaving nothing for future generations. Economically, the landowners get a very small portion from the production by the company which causes political chaos between the government and the people, while losing their land and resources which would provide for them and future generations for all time. Psychologically, the environmental victims are left traumatised when their cries are ignored by the leaders.

Why would a mother leave her own child to starve to death? This clearly shows that the fourth National Goal has not been serving its purpose and just collecting dust on those papers. Now the question is: were the National Goals written for the sake of intellectuals putting their knowledge on paper? No. Their relevance lies to guide decision makers to make better decisions which will not serve the interest of the rich class only but all Papua New Guineans, despite language and cultural differences. Generally, we can say that we Papua New Guineans have been blindfolded by money and tend to forget our national guidelines in international arenas or discussion tables.

Decision Makers must use the fourth National Goal to weigh the benefits, consequences and follow up tests before signing contracts to allow the operation of such activities that reap off our land. But individuals must also take ownership of these goals, too. Change starts with individuals first. I strongly believe that PNG has a brighter future in the years to come if the mindset of individual Papua New Guineans is set right by taking the National Goals and Directive Principles as our footstools.

– Eleanor Maineke, Divine Word University, Madang

 Goal 3: National Sovereignty and Self Reliance

 “The third goal clearly emphasises for PNG to be politically and economically independent and the economy to be basically self-reliant. Our leaders, the government bodies, and the citizens should be completely free from foreign control and free to make decisions and plan for social, political and economic development. However, ever since independence events have shown that in the name of ‘development’, Papua New Guinea has sacrificed its national sovereignty.”

Introduction

The National Directive Goals and Principles which was integrated in the Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea can be described as a road map to guide the action of the new and young nation after the departure of the Australian colonial rulers. They were made to compel governments post-independence to deliver social, economic and political development taking into consideration equality and participation, economic self-reliance, national sovereignty and protection of the natural environment. In the process of formulating those National Goals and Directive Principles, people as well as leaders were consulted for their views on how this new and self-governing nation should go about. Upon getting their views they finally came up with these five National Goals and Directive Principles. These goals are a source of help to steer the country forward. The focus of this essay will be mainly on the third goal which is “National Sovereignty and Self-Reliance”.

National Sovereignty and Self Reliance

I understand National Sovereignty as the power a nation has in order to do everything necessary, such as making, executing and applying laws; imposing and collecting taxes; making war and bringing peace; forming treaties and engaging foreign relations with other countries to govern itself. Nations do not possess the power of other countries external to their boundaries but they have power of internal sovereignty. Self-Reliance simply means you rely on yourself for survival. To put the two together we can say National Sovereignty and Self-Reliance obviously mean a nation has the supreme power to govern and rely on itself for survival within its internal boundaries instead of depending on external forces.

This goal was put forward to change the foreign-imposed system of government which is considered inappropriate to the needs of the people. As an independent country we have to take care of our own needs because someone who is self-reliant will not have to depend on others and will be proud of the things they can do for themselves. Furthermore, the third goal clearly emphasises for PNG to be politically and economically independent and the economy to be basically self-reliant. Our leaders, the government bodies, and the citizens should be completely free from foreign control and free to make decisions and plan for social, political and economic development. However, ever since independence events have shown that in the name of ‘development’, Papua New Guinea has sacrificed its national sovereignty. The influx of foreign companies have been very rapid convincing the public that their interests were being taken care of, but in reality the developer or investor’s interests superseded the development plans of the host country.

Now can we say that a country can entirely depend on itself for survival? The international system greatly influences the way in which a state acts, because a state makes its foreign policy according to what is happening  in the international arena. There is no central power in the world to rule the entire world but some powerful states are taking advantage of their power to try and rule the world: we refer to these countries as the developed world.

These so-called developed countries, such as America and Australia, have been dependent very much on the developing world for natural resources to build their own countries. The dependency theory clearly spells out that developed countries have used ‘third world’ countries as their puppets to reap their resources and leave nothing behind. The resources have been flowing from a “periphery” of poor and underdeveloped states to a “core” of wealthy states; the latter is enriched at the expense of the former. The ‘undeveloped’ states are impoverished and the ‘developed’ states are enriched by the way undeveloped states are integrated into the global system. The rich nations become richer, the poor nations becomes poorer. That is the model of development we see in the world.

It’s almost 38 years now since PNG gained its independence and can we proudly say we have been independent since the day we removed the Australian flag and raised our own? If I was there during the first years after PNG got its independence, I think I would have some comments to make on whether or not we have been self-reliant for the first years after independence. I see PNG not as independent but yet dependent. Obviously, the aid dependency is a common scenario in the country. Foreign aid is coming from other countries such as Australia, US, China, Japan, etc as well as from churches and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) such as the UN, VSO, EU, and so on.

Almost every citizen of this country wants national sovereignty and self-reliance: meaning they want their state’s sovereignty to be fully respected and stand on their own feet to govern their country. Personally I can say that so far we have not achieved this goal because of the ‘model of development’ which I have explained earlier with the dependency theory. In other words we can say because of the “dependency model of development”.

This dependency model of development is making us perceive ourselves as inferior. It makes us believe we cannot solve our own problems or do things on our own but depend on outsiders to come and do it for us. The dependence on foreign aid agencies and foreign investment seems to be a very big problem in the country ever since our so-called Independence. This has undermined our national sovereignty and self reliance by making sure that foreigners are at the forefront of any development activity in the country. Once communities accept foreign companies and aid agencies to deliver goods and services and build basic infrastructures such as roads, bridges, health centres and schools, they are no longer in control of their land, resources and even their future.

Practically speaking, most communities in PNG have already developed this dependency mentality. Instead of them working together to solve problems that faced their communities, they sit back and wait for the government. The government also feels helpless and that’s where it invites the foreigners to come in. If the communities, over the last 37 years, had organised themselves in working together to provide for their own needs like building classrooms, aid posts, roads, bridges and so on, we wouldn’t have any problem achieving this goal now. It would have already been achieved 10 or 20 years ago. The kind of mentality that people developed has passed on and this has become evident in today’s situation where people have moved from being self-reliant to being more dependent.


In the coming weeks, OPWs will be publishing the work of the winners and finalists of our PNG National Goals and Directive Principles essay competition.

These are the voices of our youth. They seethat PNG has not fulfilled the promise of the National Goals, created in 1974 after a team of men and women travelled the length and breadth of PNG to find out what values and aspirations would best guide the newly independent country.

Our ancestors, following the wisdom of their ancestors, told them PNG’s future history should always be based on the following five goals:1. Integral human development
We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others.

2. Equality and participation
We declare our second goal to be for all citizens to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the development of our country.

3. National sovereignty and self-reliance
We declare our third goal to be for Papua New Guinea to be politically and economically independent, and our economy basically self-reliant.

4. Natural resources and environment
We declare our fourth goal to be for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all, and be replenished for the benefit of future generations.

5. Papua New Guinean ways
We declare our fifth goal to be to achieve development primarily through the use of Papua New Guinean forms of social, political and economic organization.

The students who entered our essay competition see that our National Goals are just as important now as they were in 1975. Maybe even more important, with PNG under increasing pressure from outside influences and powers trying to make our nation dependent.

Dependent on foreign countries for bank loans, for aid. Dependent on foreign companies for wealth generation, in the form of mining, logging, fishing, oil palm and other projects that destroy our natural resources, and rob people of their customary land and the ability to make money for themselves. Dependent on foreign, processed food and soft drink, rather than enjoying our own healthy organic food.

These students, the voices of our future, believe our five goals still provide the roadmap for a TRULY independent Papua New Guinea. The goals tell us we already have the answers to our problems – we don’t need to be holding out our hands, asking for someone else to save us. The answer is believing in our strengths. We don’t need to be saved, the goals tell us, because we are already rich and strong. Perhaps we have lost sight of our strengths as a people.

As individuals, it is up to us to try to enact these goals by living them through our actions, in our own communities, and by pressuring our government and elected representatives to do more to realise them. Start today.

(This is an edited extract taken from the Masalai Blog. The full post can be read here. )

“O’Neill has the challenge to define our separate path as a people and as a nation, not to allow us to disintegrate into a dependant economic basket case. He has to ensure we do not become an enclave of resource extraction, leaving behind polluted oceans and scarred landscapes, of an equally scarred and soul-less people, helpless, confused and poverty stricken, devoid of any real idea of who we are and where we are headed.”

IN AN Olympic year, we are once again contemplating playing host to the next South Pacific Games and the government (especially the previous O’Neill-Namah government) has not been serious about what is and what ought to have been a matter of priority and pride to prepare necessary infrastructure for the event. The nation is about to face its moment of truth on the regional and international stage but we are way behind in our preparations, and so far treated this event as a political afterthought.

Our lack of preparations must necessarily be viewed as a measure of our own awareness and pride in ourselves. It is a measure of the way we have gone off-course in terms of focussing our people and our leaders on matters other than that of national interest and national importance. It is a measure of the way we have lost our way as a nation, preoccupied with politics, the demands of enclave type developments like the LNG, and forgotten about being a country, about nationhood, and about what the national interest requires of us. It is a measure of the way we have lost our own sovereignty in favour of serving others’ interests, including personal interests.

Who would have predicted how we would turn out as a nation and a people in 1973 when we were granted self-government so hurriedly by the Gorton/Whitlam Governments of Canberra? In the early 70s on the occasion of a South Pacific Commission Meeting held in the capital of one of our Polynesian countries, the Paramount Chief of the Chimbu people, Chief Kondom Agaunduo stood up and spoke. Whenever he spoke in his native setting, multitudes of tribes men far and near came and drank of his words in utter silence, words that echoed like a thousand waterfalls and flowed seamlessly like the Waghi, giving life to a deeply farrowed land.

But this time, his solemn maiden Chiefly address to the South Pacific Commission in Tok Pisin was openly mocked. Perhaps it was because he didn’t understand a word of English and could not speak any. Perhaps it was because they couldn’t understand him at all with his typical highlands big-manly animations. Chief Kondom felt the mocking laughter deeply, like the bitter stings of a thousand wasps buzzing around his head. He couldn’t speak English. Realizing, from the laughter and the polite nods that he had just become the laughing stock of the Pacific, and realizing he carried with him not only the pride of the Narengu tribe of Chimbu, but also the pride of history of his fathers and that of the then Territories of Papua and New Guinea he represented, Kondom Agaunduo slowly raised his hand as if to brush the wafting wasps away, allowed the laughter to subside, and spoke in slow deliberate Pisin and uttered those famous lines: “Yupela harim ah! Nau mi kam long hia na toktok na yupela lap long mi. Em I orait. Tomoro bai mi salim ol pikinini bilong mi i kam. Taim ol I kam, bai yupela ino nap lap long ol! “ With that he sat down, and never spoke again.

Chief Kondom was a man before his time. He was a Chief and Luluai, a cultural hero who brought progress to Chimbu in the early colonial period. He was the first Simbu coffee grower, father of the Chimbu Coffee Cooperative, Member of the District Advisory Council, Observer to the First Legislative Council in Port Moresby. Before his premature death from a car accident, he was truly a pioneer who craved education and progress for his people so that they could meet or match the whiteman, a man without pigs, on his own terms, and triumph. He was resolute and uncompromising in this cause. His leadership, punctuated by long eloquent speeches, was impeccable. There was no ounce of self interest in his cause. His cause was that of every Chimbu to advance.

In the 2012 elections, more so than ever before, the Australian Defence and intelligence played a very heavy hand, and made no secret about the fact of who Canberra wants installed as the new Prime Minister. On the 2nd of August 2011, Australia engineered the disposal of Somare while he was in Hospital.  Then when the courts were called upon to intervene by a Supreme Court Reference, Julia Gillard used a political bulldozer to smash down the gates of our Judicial system and our Constitution, by openly recognizing Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister. She pre-empted the Supreme Court, the sole arbiter under the Constitution to deal with the then pending question of legitimacy of Peter ONeill as Prime Minister.

Australia has always advocated the importance of the rule of law, and the importance of having an independent judiciary as the backstop of our democracy in Papua New Guinea. Except on this occasion Australia threw all that out the window. When it suited Australia’s strategic economic and political purposes, even the ideals of rule of law, governance, transparency, accountability and principles of democratic government were readily flushed down the toilet by Australia. Prior to and during the elections, Australia moved its people into key positions within the Electoral Commission, and even brought in its military and SAS veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to run a separate communications and operations capability parallel to the PNG security forces. All this was done to ensure one result- Peter ONeill to form the next government. They made sure O’Neill knew he was under the Australian army protection, and that he owed his rather “unusual landslide election win” to them.

The charms of money, wealth, fame and more fortune now whisper incessantly like cicadas in Peter O’Neill’s ears. The real question is, does he have what it takes, and can he stand up for the red gold and black? Or will he be just another good native?

The signs are already fairly ominous of a sell-out job done by Peter O’Neill. He needs these next 18 months to prove to the rest of us that he is a true nationalist, and better at negotiating competing interests and triumphing over those who want to turn him and his office into their own Post Office Box. He has 18 months to show us that he is the Prime Minister of PNG and not Julia Gillard’s rubber stamp of Australian cross-interests in this country.

He will have to do better than he has done so far to show us that our lives and our resources are safe from the marauding corporate raiders who are crowding his social calendar even now. He has to demonstrate that the mothers of Bougainville who lost their sons fighting for their land and resources have not died in vain. He has to show us that the blood of the innocent spilled on Bougainville was for a cause of equal worth, and that indeed he will use this term of Prime Minister-ship to initiate a ministry of healing of the nation, to reconcile us as brother to brother, that our blood can flow through our veins once again from one heartbeat. He has to, like Jerry Singirok did, honour the oath he took before God and man under our Constitution to protect our people and the national interest.

Peter O’Neill must know what the national interest calls for in every case, and must summon the courage like Singirok did, and honour the national interest in everything confronting the nation today, not just in respect of Bougainville (although Bougainville ought to be high priority on our nation’s list of “unfinished business”). O’Neill has the challenge to define our separate path as a people and as a nation, not to allow us to disintegrate into a dependant economic basket case. He has to ensure we do not become an enclave of resource extraction, leaving behind polluted oceans and scarred landscapes, of an equally scarred and soul-less people, helpless, confused and poverty stricken, devoid of any real idea of who we are and where we are headed.

Does Peter O’Neill have the smarts to really serve the national interest, or will be just another drunken politician, pandering to his mates, and the sharks and vultures already circling around and above the nation looking to extract our resources and leave us bare? Does he have what it takes to not only give us cause to celebrate and showcase our nation in the coming games, but show those sharks and vultures that circle him; that he is a nationalist, that this is the land of an ancient and free people, a people of pride, strength and culture and he will serve the national interest above all else? That we will not be bought or sold for political or economic convenience? That the birth place of the Melanesian nations- the heart and soul of Melanesia is not for sale?

This is Peter O’Neill’s greatest challenge as Prime Minister today, as the wolves are no longer at the gates huffing and puffing, they are in his living room, in and under his bed, and at his table. It is therefore incumbent on other leaders to also stand up for this nation, just as the former Governor for Morobe did, to rule a line in the sand, and tell the hordes that prey on our people and their Leaders, to stay outside the line, and clarify their wish lists. Australia has proven that it cannot be trusted to secure our Constitution, our Judiciary and our democracy according to principles of rule of law. Australia has proven its ability to openly manipulate our politics and our institutions to serve its own interests. Australia is only here to serve its economic and strategic interests, and we cannot blame it for that, as long as our leaders wake up from their deep slumber and protect our own National Interests.

If he fails and sells us cheap to the Australian and other interests (and there are many signs already that he will), then that will be his legacy. If he becomes the convenient conduit to allow Australians to crush our heart and soul as a people, future generations will not forgive him, and all the labour of our forefathers and the fathers of our Constitution have laboured in vain.  Our Laws, our Constitution and our Parliamentary system were adopted from England. We must not lose sight of our own origins both as a people and as a modern nation State.

Those with wish lists in bed with O’Neill must be made to define and measure them against clearly stated interests of the nation. If these interests are not defined, and made subservient to the national interests by our elected leaders, then the wolves will definitely eat us. Before we realize what is going on, ONeill will have successfully sold our people and the national interest down the river, and he will have sailed into the sunset with his gains, and we will be left to ponder what really went wrong as we struggle as a soul-less nation to live with the manacles of economic slavery, control and poverty he placed us under. God forbid that this should happen!

Benny Kapior:

We did not want the oil palm to come and take our land for oil palm. We want to do things our own way on our own land. We also want to take care of our land, the environment.

West New Britain has become an oil palm province. Now the landowners of West New Britain aren’t in a good position, they are being marginalised. The landowners lose their land and people from outside the province come in to get jobs with New Britain Palm Oil. And they are not in control of big companies. If we let the government or a foreign company come in and use our land, we have no control over our land, they can throw us off our land.

The company came here and told us they had lots of development plans for us, they told us they would help change our lives for the better, that sort of thing. They raised people’s expectations by promising development. But we are planting cocoa.

We plant cocoa and dry the beans here, and we sell it at the market in Madang. So we keep control of our land and of our lives. The social life of Urigina is much better than other communities who have given up their land and resources to big companies.

We plant other crops for our own consumption and we plant the cocoa as a cash-crop, to make an income. How much we make depends on the world market: if the price is good we can make around 400 kina per bag (each bag is around 60kg), or as low as 200 kina when prices are down, as they are currently.

We hope to use the income to improve the living standard of our community, but we’re limited by the low world market prices at the moment.  But we’re very happy with our decision because it allows us to develop our community on our terms.

Plenty of other communities are being tempted by these promises of development from big companies, and our message to them is: we must hold onto our land and resources, so that we can continue to control our future, and develop in a way that best fits us.

Grace Bernard:

The women of this community have been very strong about standing against oil palm. We’ve been part of the decision-making process. We know when they come inside they will stop us from working in our gardens and we won’t be able to make a living using our own resources. How will we survive if they destroy our rivers and our forest? So the mothers have strongly said no to oil palm.

We didn’t want to let oil palm into our community, so we stand against it and generate income through planting crops – apart from cocoa, we’re planting peanuts, and they’re a big money-maker. So in this way we can care for our land and keep control over it, and use it to sustain our families. We don’t want an outsider to come and destroy our land.

By giving this example to our children, showing them that by caring for our environment it takes care of us, we are teaching them to value the land. We also practice sustainable agriculture: we don’t use pesticides or chemicals, and we practice shifting cultivation, leaving areas of soil to become fertile again.

We are thinking of our children and our children’s children. They will need this land, and we are entitled to pass it on to them. They have the right to continue to own this land. So we don’t want a company to come and destroy their future.

Via The National, August 15, 2012

By Pisai Gumar

 

SMALL scale agricultural activities remain the cornerstone of the livelihood of rural people but not enough is being done to improve the capability to produce quality crops and increase production, a farmer says.
Poro Co-operative Society chairman Solomon Dumuk said provincial, district and local council agricultural agencies lacked proper mechanisms to realign their programmes with local cash crop growers.
Dumuk, from Bang village, Astrolabe Bay, Madang, said the lack of technical know-how to help farmers improve and increase production had been the main problem over the years.
“The issue is manifold involving agricultural agencies, political will of local MPs to lead and drive the improvement of rural economy through transportation projects by enhancing provincial works division to improve roads, bridges and wharves,” he said.
Dumuk voiced concern after 136 cocoa growers contributed K125 each to start a cocoa export company after receiving no help from local MP, James Gau.
He said most of the cocoa, copra, coffee and tea were accessed by provincial roads.
But, he said, neither the provincial nor local level governments seemed to be taking care of maintenance of the roads and bridges. Cooperative secretary Nason Tu-um said they had the land and the crops.
“But how can we turn them into money is an issue.
“Importantly, we need agricultural technical knowledge and skills to enrich growers on ways of how to nurture and produce quality crops while government has to improve roads, bridges and wharves for us to move the products,” Tu-um said.

By Timothy Gaio Jnr

Black Man Town must say no to the World Trade Organization (WTO). There are so many examples of self-reliance here. Blackman Town is a role model our nation needs to learn from in order to build up the national economy.

The question is: how we can as a nation build our economy so that even the grassroots also can benefit from it?

Speaking from a Man Tanna point of view, Tanna as an island and a society is now experiencing economic growth. I am not a statistician or an economist to weigh and measure the island’s economic growth rate. However speaking from my personal observation and experience, I can say that money making is quick down there. There is a massive inflow of millions of dollars into the money making machine in Tanna and Tafea.

Let us look at a simple equation of economy. A farmer plants his island cabbage and when he harvests it, he wishes to earn some money from it. He therefore sells some along the main high way. He in turn makes some money. He goes home and wants to eat rice. Brother Tom operates a small store where he goes and buys 1 kilo of rice for 200vt. This is the beginning of economic growth, owned by the people and benefitting the people.

Our President Iolu Abbil is a former manager and former inspector of cooperatives in the islands which were set up prior to independence to form the foundation of our national economy. An article in Daily post February 1, 2012 reads, “Wai cooperative in Lolowai Ambae shoots up to Vt59 Million, a profit of 8 Million and shares of Vt2 Million.” Does that not reflect an economic boom for the island and country? The article says Wai Cooperative comes second to Lakatoro Consumers. However, how much more could this figure compare to Black Man Town local economic producers?

The problem is not about money, but how we can make it. We have the product, which we call our natural resources, plus our quality human resources. Long term plans to earn money out of our own resources should be the focus of the planners of our economic development.

The problem is that we want fast food, short cuts and money under the table to implement fast decisions which may lead our country to poverty. Our leaders must think constructively and not only to reflect other people’s thoughts and motives.

Compare Bon Marche to the reality now that we have passed the bill ratifying the WTO Accession. Today I walk to Bon Marche and buy a bundle of Island cabbage for 150vt while sometimes in the Market a bundle is sold for 200vt. World Trade Organization is an economic system that allows big companies to reduce the prices of their products. But selling at very low prices automatically kills our little businesses that we have operated for years to put food on the table every day. 200vt cash may sound a lot, but this is the standard of our economy.

Economic outcome is an end product, which begins with the producer and ends with the consumer. We build our infrastructure and keep the bulk of our money. World Trade Organization and its system builds its infrastructure and takes our money away. It leaves us with nothing: therefore we borrow and borrow again.

To conclude, Black Man Town – you have already set the platform for economic growth. Let us be challenged to protect our economic development – firstly to achieve our individual Provincial Goals, then our National Government Goals.