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« PNG's constitution: far reaching consequences | Main | In defence of the noble buai sellers »

13 January 2012


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Good point, Icarus. The most potent Melanesian custom I know of after traditional sorcery is shame.

If a person is shamed in front of another, they suffer a big loss of face and this affects their social standing.

The crux of the problem is available information. When someone was shamed in the village, everyone knew about it.

However, when a PNG politician these days makes a decision to commit a shameful act, almost no one knows about it. Why? Well I suggest there are primarily three factors:

1. The system of checks and balances in today’s PNG democracy has been ameliorated over the years since Independence was declared.

2. Communications are not sufficient to spread the news across the nation effectively.

3. Regional and clan loyalty is put before loyalty to the PNG people and the nation as a whole.

Look at some examples that have occurred since Independence.

The timber industry must feature in terms of massive corruption. Many years ago, Judge Barnett attempted to highlight the cause and problems with the timber industry and nearly lost his life doing so. What was achieved with his report? Apparently nothing. The situation has just continued to get worse.

When the Chief Ombudsman attempted to do something he was nearly murdered. No culprits have apparently been discovered. Olsem wanem? ‘Nogat petrol?’

Many politicians have been previously identified as being involved in what appears to have been illegal and corrupt practices. Yet when complaints are made, nothing seems to happen. Another example of ‘Nogat petrol?’

If these people are eventually referred to a court, they then use public funds or ‘other’ funding to defer or fight any determination.

Why is this allowed to happen? Well it appears that the funding for the investigation process and the legal system is all controlled by the same people who were reported in the first place. ‘Nogat moni? Las momo kani. ’

Half PNG ‘s print media is owned by the same corporation that has been implicated in the timber industry concerns. No conflict of interest there of course.

PNG’s fledgling public affairs reporting is still not instantly available to every citizen. Why? Well as an example, Emmanuel Narokobi has tried to get a public forum going to debate political issue (Tanim Graun). ‘Sori tumas. Bisnis inogat moni.’

The Morobe Governor sees a possible improvement in his country’s law and order that is funded by Australia yet challenges this initiative in court by apparently using his region’s scare public funds.

Look at the recent splendid example of regional loyalty of Sepik Solidarity. Irrespective of the legality of the matter or the fact that numerous illegalities were apparently committed by the Somare faction, Sepik solidarity demanded the matter go to court and to fund this court challenge with public funds.

When has the public’s view being canvassed before those who are in charge of public funds use the people’s money for their own intentions?

So until the PNG people publically shame their leaders for putting personal ambitions ahead of the public who voted for them, nothing will change.

I ask you Icarus, when is someone going to stand up and shame those who turn their back on their own people?

One critical factor in the lead up to this constitutional crisis is the government interference with the system of checks and balances that allows a democracy to function more credibly.

Paul has written earlier about political leaders signing a new charter with the people, which may be a kind of social contract that also becomes legally binding. That seems akin to our 'Melanesian Way'.

But the next government must make a bold resolution to strengthen legislation concerning misconduct in office.

What Melanesian customs dictate how we handle this issue?

Great observation, Paul.

The article I sent to my list this morning reflecting on the hope engendered in the hearts of young voters by the "non-conformist" policies of US Presidential contender, Dr Ron Paul, speak to the fact that when a country is brought to the end of itself; when faith in customary and traditional pathways is seen to be unproductive, the revitalisation of belief in core constitutional precepts and principles becomes important to disempowered voters and future leaders.

As in Australia, the globalist mantras of centralised control over production and supply sound hollow in the eyes of those who see no future locally to which they may connect; surely, a recipe for tumult and disorder.

Many comments lately on the blog point to the need to reinvigorate a process of governance respecting of the "Melanesian way." That is a process that must begin in PNG. The nations acting as role models for development are otherwise bewitched by vague and illusory promises held out by the world banking crowd who pledge their support to nation destroying economic fantasies.

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