Archive for the ‘Political reform’ Category

 

As a young man, how do you feel about your future going forward in PNG?

I’m pretty sure that the PNG’s current trend will have major impact on me as well as this current generation. As Papua New Guineans, you know what I mean by current trends: the problems of service delivery by the government and the issues you see daily in media. Unless we, this upcoming lot of intellectuals take a different proactive approach towards the way things are done in Papua New Guinea, and get a larger portion of our population educated, we will be of no difference than those who existed before us. The environment is just a reflection of the kind of people living in it. Therefore, let us all be the advocate for change and create a better PNG for our future generations.

Coming back to my own future, I feel I have a responsibility to educate my fellow villagers and help them realise their potential and many things they are missing out on. I’d like to give back something to my people, who in one way or the other, invested greatly in me and brought me this far.

 

What part of PNG do you come from? When you think about your community, how would you describe the presence or absence of the national goals in their lives?

I hail from Mekeo in Kairuku-Hiri District in Central Province, PNG. Frankly speaking National Goals are not having any impact on the villages or simply, it’s not present in the lives of the people at all. They need people like us to impart these ideas to them and I think the translated Tok Pisin version can help. As there is high rate of illiteracy in the community, an average villager does not have any idea what the National Goals are all about. Others might have a different perception towards this but as for myself, I see that most uneducated or semi-educated people do not really care about whatever is happening in the Parliament or where our country is heading to. Like they say, you’ll only have a say when you understand something and can respond.

One thing that I noticed is that the government has created a mind-sets in people like: ‘em wok blo Gavaman, em bai kam wokim’ (‘it’s the government’s responsibility, they’ll come and do it’). People concentrate on their daily endeavours without thinking of helping themselves. They only rely on hand-outs by the government. Another problem is that when some educated villagers attempt to do something worthwhile, the lengthy and complicated processes and unresponsiveness of the public servants just compel them to abandon it again.

 

What can the government, bureaucrats and local people do to improve the future in Papua New Guinea?

PNG’s development policy contradicts the proper role of the government as facilitator and regulator of the economy. The state disempowers people from realising their potential and so people depend heavily on ‘hand-outs’ and expect the government to do everything. In other words, it makes people become lazy. Thus, the government’s role in the economy should be merely to help the people to help themselves. For example, it should be helping parents engage in agriculture, by building better road networks and infrastructure and marketing channels to help the parents generate income by themselves.

Rather than concentrating too much on foreign investment to run the economy, the government should recognise the potentials of our local entrepreneurs and support them. The best that any government can do to promote broad-based growth and development is to promote equal opportunities for its citizens to engage in income generation.

In relation to the role of people, we should have in us a sense of responsibility. I believe that the reason behind PNG not progressing is our attitude. I’m sure everybody is talking about this. The kind of attitude that we have hinders the nation from moving forward. People blaming the government, government blaming people and we won’t even go anywhere. We can say poverty is the cause but we are not in a desert country in Africa.  We are in PNG, the country renowned for its abundant resources. Let us not allow laziness to make us poor. Let us help ourselves to develop our country. I therefore appeal to every citizen to be responsible and do whatever it takes at your own level to improve the future in Papua New Guinea.

By Joel G. Waramboi

This year PNG celebrated 37 years of nationhood. One thing that has not stopped growing ever since is our population, and in the last 10 years, our population has been growing rapidly at about 2.4% per annum, reaching 7 million people in 2012. During the same period, although there is no concrete data, our per capita gross domestic product (GDP) could have declined dramatically due to several factors like lower outputs from agricultural crops and commodities. On the other hand, the inflation rate has risen, which now sits at around 10%.

This is an alarming trend, and by 2016, the population is expected to be around 12 to 15 million. This will place huge demands on increasing food production and assuring food security for our people. Reports from the Asian Development Bank shows that the natural resources sector (agriculture, forestry, fisheries) contributes almost 70% of total cash income for people in PNG. These industries will continue to be prime movers of the local economy.

From 2014 onwards, revenue inflows are expected from the LNG project. In September last year, the then Agriculture and Livestock minister Sir Puka Temu called on the government to put some of this money into food and agriculture industries. His calling is timely, and must be supported at the political level. In 2005, the PNG Government adopted the Green Revolution and Export-Driven Economic Recovery Strategy. For the sector, this strategy was aimed at improving production and creating market demands for our crops to meet growing domestic demand, and also to seek export market opportunities.

In recent years, we have seen several vehicles that could have taken the sector forward, like the Public Investment Programme and the National Agriculture Development Plan, go by. Last year, a forum aimed at setting a roadmap for policy intervention to develop the food and agriculture sector was held in Madang. We hope this translates into tangible outcomes that can spur growth and development in PNG.

Several projects and programmes have been tried out before on tree crops, livestock, fisheries and other natural resources industries. But as far as food crops are concerned, no investments have been made. One potential food crop that requires minimal capital injection is the sweet potato (kaukau). Since being introduced nearly 300 years ago, it is now the most important food crop in terms of both production and consumption. Total annual production for PNG has been estimated at 2.9 million tonnes, with the Southern (620,000) Eastern (470,000) and Western (425,000) highlands provinces being the main producers, followed by Enga (340,000) and Chimbu (294,000).

It is a staple food, and provides 64% of the energy needs for people. Five years ago, per capita consumption was 2.2 kg/person/year, and this year, increased to 2.8 kg/person/year. One reason to explain this is that, in the last 10 years, sweet potato has been traded in increasing volumes as a cash crop in urban centres of Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo and other centres.

There are many constraints that affect production and marketing of the crop, including soil fertility, rats (which can destroy up to 10% of the crop), poor access to roads, lack of farmer extension services, and poor post-harvest handling practices that lead to rotting, broken roots and subsequent loss in monetary value. Currently, a few ‘commercial’ sweetpotato farmers are located in the Asaro and Waghi valleys, who grow mainly for coastal urban markets.

Currently, utilisation and consumption of sweetpotato in PNG has primarily been in the form of boiled or roasted roots. There is no processing of the crop. In the past, some research and product development work was done at the PNG Unitech into products like flour, chips, crisps and composite bread. Recently, NARI successfully released sweetpotato based feeds (silage) for pigs. Experiences from Vietnam and China have shown that the crop could be highly utilized for livestock production, where it constitutes 70% of pig feeds.

Past and current R&D work on sweetpotato suggest that it can be a potential commercial crop for PNG. On-farm processing of sweetpotato could form an additional income-generating activity where a constant supply of the fresh roots and demand for processed products is secured. With government assistance, this industry can be transformed from its currently under-utilised status to a commercially viable industry.

Sweetpotato processing is increasingly being commercialized in many countries in Africa, Asia and the United States. In Australia, the sweetpotato industry is worth A$40 million annually.

There is low-cost extrusion equipment available, costing as low as $10,000 (K24,000) with production capacity of 30 kg/hour. These have successfully been used in rural communities in Vietnam, China, Peru, Kenya and other countries to make noodles, pasta, vermicelli, flakes, crackers, puffs and other products. Besides extruded foods, these communities have also used sweet potato flour for substituted biscuits, bread and scones, while fresh roots have been processed into chips and crisps.

Currently, fresh kaukau roots are sold at around K2-5 per kg in the open markets in PNG. Although there are no statistics, some rough calculations show that, if processed, the dry flour could cost as low as K0.80 per kg, providing a cheaper product compared to wheat flour. This means that, retail margins can be relatively good for entrepreneurs. Processing not only increases the utilisation and consumption, but also fetches premium prices if sold, increases cash income opportunities for people, and avoids bulkiness during handling. Sweetpotato processing technologies are relatively simple, and can be adopted easily through farmer co-operatives and women’s groups.

Generally, there appears to be a strong and all-year round demand for processed products. Changing food habits, increasing urbanisation, demographic changes and population growth are all positive factors that can make food processing a viable option in PNG.

The PNG government and all line agencies must now take a complete policy shift and focus, and realign both macro-economic and sectoral policies, and allocate funding and resources to develop the agriculture and food processing industries in the country. Alongside this, it should also invest in rural infrastructure programmes to create enabling environment that will support industry development and growth in rural communities.

We should also take a stock of what and why the industry has not developed over the many years. If past investment options (if any) have not worked, what other models and options can we try? How about setting up an organisation specifically mandated to drive development in this sector? It is about time that the food and agriculture sector takes this course to revolutionise and harness its potential to the fullest. Until and unless this is done, crops like sweetpotato will continue to be treated as poor man’s crop.

Downstream processing and value addition has the potential to benefit en masse, raise the economic value, and create market demand for local crops. It will also improve food security and cash income levels, increase trade and replace/substitute imports, thereby contributing to broad-based economic growth and improvement in the living standards of the people.

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.

 

 

 

(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!

“Maru appears to recognise that the productivity on rural people on their own land is the most important driver of development in PNG.”

AS THE election dust clears, there are signs some leaders are putting their minds to supporting PNG’s most productive sector: its people.

The new Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru plans to revitalise the Co-operative Societies Unit by slashing millions of kina of waste and corruption.

Maru said these funds should be being used to enable rural communities to generate income for themselves and the national economy.

In a full page press release in The National (30/08), the Minister made no bones about his plans to “downsize” the “heavily bloated bureaucratic structure within the CSU” and said millions of kina directed to fraud and non-CSU operations – including to a casino and an Australian bank – would be investigated under his watch.

“Co-operative  societies are the vehicles for rural people to be involved in establishing and operating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). If the societies are functioning properly with the support that is given to them, they would play a significant role in addressing issues such as poverty, education, law and order etc, as well as contribute to wealth creation,” Maru said.

As the former head of the National Development Bank, Maru appears to recognise that the productivity on rural people on their own land is the most important driver of development in PNG.

Other Governments are also making gestures reflecting this. According to the Post-Courier (30/08), some governments including New Ireland and Milne Bay are using their funds to support farmers to continue providing for the nation in hard times.

Sumkar MP Ken Fairweather has called on new Madang Governor Jim Kas to follow the example of New Ireland and Milne Bay’s leaders and subsidise copra and cocoa farmers in that province, as the world market price for these commodities has dropped drastically in recent times.

Fairweather believes the future of PNG lies in our existing strengths – our rural industries – not in big-ticket development projects that have little benefits to the nation’s citizens. Thus the MP is also challenging the exploitative and destructive Ramu Nickel and proposed PMIZ projects in Madang province.

Meanwhile, Boka Kondra, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, has also criticised the Government’s unjustified love affair with neocolonial business such as mining and logging, describing it as an “unsustainable” model of development.

Kondra said in the long term, maintaining  our ways was more likely to bring about development than extractive industries.

He said PNG must strive to protect and preserve its cultural heritage and make it attractive in ways that would make the tourism industry feed and grow on it.

“Most of our natural resources are finite and will one day disappear, but I believe that if we sustain our culture and tourism, that can and will continue to sustain us in the future,” Kondra said.

By Martyn Namarong

 “Economic independence of a nation produces true political independence of a nation state. Political independence is only a facade if the nation is not economically independent. Economic independence is the control of the wealth of a nation by a majority of its citizens. Thus, in any context, Economic Independence means local ownership of resources and the means of production for the utilization of natural wealth (aka our natural resources)”

One of the fundamental ideas behind the creation of nation states is the right of a people to self determination. It is about a people being in charge of their destiny. The idea of a People being FULLY in charge of their own affairs is expressed in the word SOVEREIGNTY.

Sovereignty of a People expresses itself as:

– Political Independence

– Economic Independence

– Cultural and Societal Independence

What do each of these mean?

Political independence in its fullness finds itself in the way Political Power is exercised by the Citizens of a Nation State. In order for Citizens to exercise these powers, they must have greater political capital than any organization, institution or foreign influence. A nation State in which its Citizens have less Political Capital than other third parties, is not a politically independent state.

I have decided to use political capital as a marker of true political independence as it expresses who has greater influence on the agenda of a nation’s highest legislative entity – Parliament.

Declarations of Independence and the creation of Parliaments are mere symbols of the desire of a People to have full power and authority to execute decisions about the destiny of their nation.

Parliaments and Constitutions are symbols of Authority. Ultimately, though, the exercise of Authority or the execution of powers is determinant on whether the Authority has the resource capacity. If the Authority has its own resources, it exercises its own Powers. If the Authority has its resource needs supplied by a third party (e.g mining companies), its Powers are exercised merely as the will of the third party.

If the Authority has its needs supplied by its people, then it expresses the will of the people.

If one looks at the relationship between resource ownership or wealth and the exercise of political power, one understands that Political Power is based upon the ownership of wealth. In other words, economic independence of a nation produces true political independence of a nation state. Political independence is only a facade if the nation is not economically independent.

In any context, Economic Independence, means local ownership of resources and the means of production for the utilization of natural wealth (aka natural resources). Local ownership is crucial to having the General Will of the People being expressed through a Political Authority.

If resources within a political boundary are owned and exploited by foreigners or a few elite, the Political Authority or Government reflects the will of these parties. In instances where the “state” owns the resource, the Government’s decisions reflect the will of those who create the enabling mechanism for exploiting the resources. Therefore, whoever controls the wealth of a nation controls the state.

If the exploiters are state apparatuses then the government decisions reflect the will of those in power. If the exploiters are private individuals or companies, then the power relationship is relative to how much private investment went into the exploitation. The greater, the private investment, the greater the power the private investor has in the relationship.

All Governments need resources to exercise their power. It is therefore in the interest of Governments to ensure that they have a sustainable and reliable supply of resources. If the state owns and supplies its own resource needs, then the state promotes its own interests. If citizens supply the resource needs of the state, the state protects the interests of its citizens. If corporations supply the resource needs of the state, the state protects the interests of corporations.

In today’s context, governments also have resources supplied in the form of loans and foreign aid. The state would obviously listen to the suggestions of these parties as well. Even Churches and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who indirectly supply resources by playing the role of the State, undermine political independence.

As a stated earlier, political independence is the exercise of the general will of the citizens by their government. As soon as the government diverges from this paradigm, the people lose political independence. Political independence however, is founded upon economic independence. Economic independence is the control of the wealth of a nation by a majority of its citizens.

Economic independence is a necessary precursor for the creation of a politically independent nation. A nation for the people and by the people is only possible where the people are in charge of the economy of the nation.

By Catherine Wilson

Part Two

Painting by PNG artist Jeffrey Feeger (photo by Claire Kouro)

 

In 2011 the National Informal Economy Policy was launched to promote “the informal economy as the ‘grassroots expression’ of the private sector and a partner in the formal economic system of Papua New Guinea.”

The policy advocates growth of, and greater civil participation in, the informal economy, regardless of gender, urban or rural location, and ultimately socio-economic inclusion for all involved.

Strategies to empower workers include an enabling regulatory environment, financial inclusion through microfinance and provision of improved infrastructure, facilities, education and training, social protection and political representation. Thus, it is hoped to link “the economies of rural and urban areas and to reduce inter-regional, as well as inter-personal, income inequalities.”

At Gordons Market, where there is currently no power, public water supply, inadequate sanitation and refuse management, vendors would like to see changes.

“I would like to see improvements, especially more benches for vendors and power supply,” said Miriam, from Babiko village, who works at the market with her mother and two sisters.

“We would also like to see good services for road transport, as sometimes when public transport is not available, we are not able to get to market in time to sell enough.”

The size and resilience of the our agricultural economy is testament to the initiative and creativity of people and communities at the grassroots, but putting in place promised state reforms is vital to its development and long term future.

“The informal economy in the agricultural sector is a booming industry,” Maria Linibi, president of PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation, claims.

“Women in PNG are entrepreneurs and make do with what resources they have, such as markets, transport, even if it means walking long distances with heavy loads on their backs to the nearest available means to earn some cash,” Linibi said.

“But there is,” she added, “no proper marketing infrastructure and other facilities in place to facilitate and support the informal sector to boost and sustain its effectiveness.”

Market vendor, Nikil, took pride in saying: “We do everything ourselves.”

NRI’s Nalau Bingeding said that substantial PNG-based agricultural research and its effective application, addressing restricted and expensive transport options and developing appropriate technology to prolong the life of perishables, would bring prosperity to smallholders and food gardeners.

Wanem skelim blong yu long ol Bikpela Stia Tingting i stap insait long Mama Lo blong PNG?

What do Papua New Guinea’s National Goals and Directive Principles mean to you?

Faivpela Bikpela Stia Tingting i stap long Mama Lo blong PNG. Long  1974, wanpela Komiti ol kolim Komstitusenol Plening Komiti i raun insait long olgeta hap kona blong PNG long kisim tingting blong ol manmeri long wanem samting ol laikim long nupela kantri PNG.

The five goals and directive principles are inscribed in the preamble of PNG’s Constitution. In 1974, a Constitutional Planning Committee travelled right throughout PNG in an unprecedented attempt to articulate the people’s hopes and needs for the new country.

Ol i bin askim, ‘wanem kain kantri yumi laik lukim?”

They asked, ‘what kind of society do we want?’

Ol skelim ol tingting  blong ol manmeri na kirapim dispel ol Stia Tingting

These goals and directive principles are the result.

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.
 
 
Tasol, Tripela Ten–Seven krismas bihain long indipendens, dispel ol Bikpela Stia Tingting i no karim kaikai long laip blong ol man-meri-pinkini  insait long PNG.

However,  37 years since Independence, the universal rights belonging to every Papua New Guinean man, woman and child expressed in the goals are yet to be realised.

Man i bin go pas long raitim Mama Lo, John Momis i tok PNG i stap nau long bikpela hevi. Maski i gat bikpela divelopmen i kamap insait long kantri planti lain i wok long bungim hevi yet – graun i lus taim ol bikpela wok bisnis i kamap na dispel wok long daunim sindaun blong yumi aninit long ol Bikpela Stia Tingting long Mama Lo.

As former Constitutional Planning Committee member John Momis said recently, PNG is at an important crossroads in its history. While it has great opportunities, it also faces extremely grave challenges – customary land is being lost as commercial development increases in PNG, and this threatens our potential to secure the rights expressed in these goals.

Long dispela as nau, mipela askim yu long wanem ting blong yu long ol Faivpela Stia Tinting.

So we are asking you to describe what these goals mean to you.

Yumi stil nidim ol Faivpela Stia Tingting o nogat? Na sapos yumi nidim, yumi inap kirapim ol long stretim future bilong yumi o nogat?

Are the five goals still relevant in PNG today? And if they are, can they be resurrected and used as the basis for a new discussion about ‘which way for PNG’?

To read the Constitution, click here. To read the CPC’s 1974 report, click here.

To listen to Our Pacific Ways being interviewed on Radio Australia about the essay competition, click here.

To watch short films featuring John Momis  discussing writing the Constitution, click here and here.

To watch a video about the National Goals and Directive Principles, click here.


“We must not be afraid to make a detour from wayward ways and go back to the past that the National Goals and Directive Principles of our Constitution prescribe for us”

“The constitutional fathers dreamt that one day we would be free. We worked very hard to look at the needs and the aspirations of the totality of the highly diversified – culturally, linguistically, even religiously – people of Papua New Guinea. And we tried to come up with something that would form them to become a great people with a great vision and motivate them to take the necessary steps to become activators of change and development, not mere passive recipients of goods and services.

It is sad that we have leaders of this country who are, for their own political and selfish ends, prepared to sacrifice the collective good of the people of Papua New Guinea. Using political parties … as vehicles of convenience to get into power, to manipulate and exploit the people of this country.

We have been marginalised.  And we are marginalised because a number of our leaders have been bribed.

And that is why young people today must unite and be educated with those universal, perennial values that are very important for any nation. We must not be afraid to make a detour from wayward ways and go back to the past that the National Goals and Directive Principles of our Constitution prescribe for us.

We have some hope of reversing the situation that is fast developing this country with detrimental consequences of making Papua New Guineans totally dependent on government hand-outs and so on. PNG I believe now stands at the threshold of a new order. But we have a great mission to liberate and empower our people not only objects of development, but subjects of development as well. We must be the agents of change. We must not be prepared to be told ‘yu no can askim plenti question.’

But we have many problems, because when you try to redirect a warship that is set on a course, it is not easy. But it does not give us the excuse not to try.

I think that the National Goals and Directive Principles are still very relevant. And if all of us tried to implement (the vision) enshrined in the National Goals and Directive Principles, Papua New Guinea would be a better place.

National sovereignty and self-reliance are very, very important. National sovereignty calls on leaders not to sell their people’s rights. Not to allow this country to be ripped up and raped by foreign investors. National sovereignty calls on leaders to reject bribery. National sovereignty calls on leaders not to use public funding to make investments overseas while their constituents are barely making enough money to buy medicine, school fees, and so on.

Self-reliance means embarking on a massive program of empowering people to get involved in small scale socio-economic activities. Activities that would take into full account the Melanesian way.

We are communal peoples. Social relationships, interdependence, to us is very, very important. We don’t want to marginalise people. We don’t want to compete and destroy one another. We want to collaborate, we want to form interdependence. Interdependence: we are all leaders. We depend on one another.

Good leaders must be servants. Good leaders must be educated enough to appreciate the values of human dignity, the right of each citizen to participate, the right of each citizen to have a say, the right to have a voice. We are all equals. Good leaders should not have the license because of their position to make policies and decisions that are detrimental to the common good.

In my view, every province in Papua New Guinea should be given greater autonomy. Giving autonomy to Madang, for example, doesn’t mean Madang would want to secede – nogat. Giving autonomy means you are now structurally forcing this highly centralised and bureaucratised government in Port Moresby to give the people of Madang their due. The sources of revenue, sources of employment, sources of information should be decentralised. The national government should not usurp the role of the provincial governments.

If you look at the natural resources that are being destroyed and are being developed today, what are the tangible results of the exploitation of the people’s resources? In 1974, PNG leadership was talking about a need for sustainable development. For ecological balance. Preserving our rainforests and only using what we need, and not destroying the beautiful rainforest and the seas we have.

As active agents of change, we can create an educated, intelligent, just society for PNG. Out of the many combinations of tribes and languages we can create a very good country with all its differences, and create an independent spirit right throughout the nation.”

To watch short films featuring John Momis  discussing writing the Constitution, click here and here.

To watch a video about the National Goals and Directive Principles, click here.

In light of the current political climate in Papua New Guinea we thought we’d share with you this article by  GARY JUFA  which he posted originally on facebook last Saturday.

I spent an hour at Gorden’s Market today, a burning hot April Saturday, in Port Moresby, National Capital District. I parked right opposite the Gorden’s Police Stations and waited for a friend, around midday. As is usual with appointments in Papua New Guinea, one must be prepared to wait anywhere between 10 minutes and an entire hour. It was an hour I spent fascinated.

The population of people walking, talking and carrying on in the humid, steaming, muddy and filthy so called market were captivating. Teeming with energy and abuzz with all manner of activity, there were traders and vendors, hawkers and street sellers, betel nut connoisseurs and buyers. Scam artists and con artists and petty criminals also were active and everyone was a potential victim. A boom box belts out loud noise. There was no sign of authority of any sort. The order was disorder.

Across the road, a Chinese store thrived with people streaming in and out like ants to and from a nest walking in empty handed and carrying out all manner of goods or, more correctly, junk for resale. Business is booming for the Chinese traders thanks to increased liberalization of trade, relaxing of regulatory laws to protect consumers and the introduction of an unregulated, unpoliced informal sector. The sector was supposedly intended to benefit Papua New Guineans involved in the cottage industry, selling their handicraft, arts and incubating their small entrepreneurial efforts. But the real winners are the mainland Chinese traders who import container loads of cheap household products from numerous factories proliferating throughout mainland China to resale in developing nations such as Papua New Guinea.

In Papua New Guinea, the Chinese traders target settlements and rural townships stretching their tentacles throughout the length and breadth of this Pacific island economy like a giant octopus leech sucking everything and anything out and transmitting the profits offshore to fund investments in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Other octopi are busy throughout the region and indeed the world as China shifts into gear in its drive for world dominance. They are taking advantage of a weakening West which is in pivotal transition, changing from a defined set of geographic nations to becoming a globalized Corporatedom, the new Manor of the rich, overseeing a global population of serfs.

Back in Gordon’s Market, raw sewerage and waste stream through the market in drains carrying dirty used plastic bags, and writhing naked playing children happily splashing under the baking Port Moresby sun as parents wearily gamble, play cards and turn their heads occasionally to scream at their offspring or to spit streaming betelnut juice anywhere, everywhere. A drunkard stumbles through the market, miraculously weaving his way through the human traffic, a beer bottle lovingly cradled against his bare bony chest, inch long globules of mucous and blood trailing off his moustache, humming Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road. Swarms of flies and other insects form small clouds around a dead dog recently run over by a Public Motor Vehicle in the middle of the main street, its putrid juices running off towards the drain. A man lies, in a drunken stupor, snoring under a rain tree, devoid of his shoes, belt, all clothes accept his dirty, ragged jeans. Bored betelnut vendors play games on their mobile phones and bicker with each other.

My appointment arrives. He is sweating and is sucking on an iceblock. I open they car door and he climbs in. “Yesterday I was here buying some stuff. I went to the phone booth at the Police Station and called you to make today’s appointment. After that I went into the Police Station to see an uncle of mine. He was not there. There was no one at the station. Not a single person was there when I went in, except some small guy reporting a crime apparently an armed robbery of his tucker box at Erima. I was bored so I decided to watch what was happening. He was furious this small guy. Swearing and sweating. Finally someone came. I had to look carefully to realize it was a Policeman, he was so scruffy. The complainant approached him but he said he was busy and said he had to drop off his wife and told him to wait. He waited. I waited. The small guy told me that this morning when he opened his tucker box, a man pointed a shotgun at him and took all his money. Money he had been saving up to send his son attending University of Technology in Lae for his ticket to come home for holidays. He said he didn’t want to give the money but another man punched him in the face and placed a knife under his chin and he thought of his children and wife and gave in and gave his money. Finally a police car came in. The man approached the Policeman and told him about his problem. The Policeman said the car had no fuel. Was he prepared to buy fuel? He said to the Policeman “It’s your job!” The Policeman warned him not to tell him what to do, that the government does not give the station enough to buy fuel or even paper to record complaints and went in with some of his wantoks following him into the Station. The man was so upset and said he knew who did it and would find him and kill him himself and walked out. No one heard him from the Police Station. No one cared.”

We drove out of Gordon’s Market into the main road to turn towards the Stadium. The road was crawling with cars of all types, mainly dilapidated PMV buses and taxis and used cars from Japan. It seems everyone from betelnut seller to babysitters have cars in Port Moresby. The city, built to cater for a population of less than 100,000 but accommodating somewhere in the vicinity of 600,000, is reeling from population growth caused by urban drift and growing squatter settlements, lack of family planning and people flowing into the capital searching for better services or just curious about the bright lights and what it has to offer.

After almost an hour in traffic and several near death accidents thanks to the city’s infamous taxi drivers, we made it to Koke Market towards town. At the main crossing, a CRV Honda, the carjackers preferred vehicle, was being held up and three youths with knives and a screwdriver had somehow stopped the female driver and her passenger and were attempting a carjacking, menacing the driver and trying to open the doors. I stopped my car behind her and my friend and I prepared to help, other vehicles too stopped and the youths saw us and suddenly stopped and casually walked off. Too hard, car was locked, too many motorists, some of them armed. People outside n the market watched but no one did anything. The youths merely walked over to a betelnut stand, grabbed some nuts and turned around to observe. The distraught woman drove off hurriedly. Fortunately she had her car doors locked, but her courtesy to give way at a pedestrian crossing almost ending badly for her.

I came to see Gordon’s market as symbolic of PNG politics – the filth, the chaos, the lack of order, the dirty and the erratic manner in which the actors behave reflects the nation’s state of politics. Gordon’s market is merely another example of what is happening throughout the entire nation where entire townships, urban and rural, villages and communities, are crumbling and decaying rapidly. The Gordon’s Police Station is symbolic of the public service which no longer cares and which is indifferent and poorly equipped or resourced to serve the people.
While politicians purchase properties offshore and invest the nation’s wealth in foreign economies, Papua New Guinea crumbles into a state of anarchy, its people making do with what little they can, their values and morals diminishing with each regressive step, their ability to care and act for one another reduced to crude tactics for survival with the ever increasing lawlessness.

Gordon’s Market offers a snapshot of Papua New Guinea in motion. Take a trip to Gordon’s Market, park in front of the Police Station for an hour and take a look into our bleak future.