THREE INTERESTING ITEMS in PNG Attitude are worthy of further comment. All were indicative of the reach and quality of the comment and writing appearing on the blog.
Indeed, PNG Attitude is more and more becoming a source of quality Papua New Guinea writing.
The first item came via a tweet from Derrick Takendu, who remarked at the strangeness of large funds from the National Fisheries Authority going to the highlands region (he didn’t say scandalous, he said ‘strange’).
The second was Gary Juffa’s excellent two-part article summarising the politics of greed and self-interest in Papua New Guinea.
The third was a link to an article by Stan Starygin about the power struggles and pseudo-political gangs of Bougainville.
The purported central theme in all three items was self-interest and greed as a motivating force in Papua New Guinean politics.
The idea of money designed for the development of fisheries in the highlands could be regarded as something that sums up the absurdity of corruption until one realises that the pond culture of carp, tilapia and rainbow trout, introduced in the 1950s as a means to alleviate high malnutrition levels in inland areas, continues to this day.
More than 10 thousand farmers throughout the region combine to provide a total production valued at an estimated K10 million.
Derrick Takendu’s comment was an inadvertent but open invitation to precipitously conclude that here was a case of corruption at work again; highlanders in Mount Hagen getting grants to buy fishing trawlers to run up and down the Okuk Highway!
After a quick web search the explanation became apparent. The lesson being that tarring everything that hints at the misuse of public money as corruption is fraught logic.
On the other hand, contrasting Gary’s article to the one by Stan Starygin, one wonders whether it is possible to see what has happened on Bougainville as a portending microcosm of the anarchy that might overtake the whole of Papua New Guinea one day.
The absurdity of tin pot and criminal warlords in Bougainville jockeying for position in the queue waiting to feed off the proceeds of a re-opened mine seems to be very real.
What isn’t so funny is the fact that they are jostling over the shattered bones of their departed people.
How Bougainville Copper Limited can seriously contemplate stepping back into that horrendous miasma is beyond belief. Such is the power of greed and the promises that it parades for the gullible.
It demonstrates that Bougainvilleans are no different to other Papua New Guineans and makes clear the hypocrisy of their demands for independence.
Why do some Bougainvilleans want to be independent? So they can keep all the wealth from the mine to themselves. It seems to be as simple as that. Greed and self-interest, as Gary points out, always seem to triumph over common sense and regard for others.
There seems to be no solution to Bougainville just as there is no solution to corruption in Papua New Guinea. At best both can only be tamed.
In retrospect it is tempting to think that the solution proposed by Julius Chan might have been the right one after all.
Forget the dysfunctional PNGDF and bring in a bunch of hard-nosed mercenaries and wipe out the gangs and the warlords once and for all.
Perhaps Jerry Singirok and his henchman, Belden Namah, didn’t do Bougainville a favour after all.