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15 February 2014


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Thank you all for the insightful comments.

Mostly, the covey of contributors from the era of the Kiap, are imbued with a notion of sensibility drawn from the veins of Common Law attachment applied to governance and jurisprudence.

The decades following that era have seen the top tier nations promote the UN and its many arms as desirable means to an end that includes the resetting (DAVOS) of the world as we know it.

This isn't something new.

Examine the Cecil Rhodes legacy and discover the One-World aspirations that speak to establishing a mantle of control and management over world affairs.
As we see our Aussie pollies unabashedly promote the dismantling of traditional economic structures - selling off the farm as it were - what hope has little PNG to ward off similar challenges to national sovereignty and integrity when the big players, Banks and Business, offer no respite toward the easy maintenance of what PNGeans deem a desirable goal for social, economic, and political independence?

Well said, Paul and Chris.

Since I started getting involved in the renovation of high schools in PNG I have been involved in trying to work out why, in PNG, often money just disappears!

That is the rot! That is why the present Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Miss Julie Bishop, says that Australia won't be giving money to PNG anymore if it is just going to disappear and schools and hospitals and roads etc etc etc are just left to rot.

Come on wantoks, we didn't train you to want to come down and live with us in Cairns. We trained you so you could live like us up in PNG!

Thank you, Bernard. You are so right. You have to learn how to stop the corruption. You have to learn how to say "no" to gifts or else put them into the National Museum, like Somare used to!

I've just discovered one of my old students, who rose to the top in PNG, and who shall remain nameless, even got upset when he was bribed with a lovely vase of flowers.

It has to be in the blood, in the brain, ... you are not in the Public Service to get rich... you are in the Public Service to Serve the Public.

Prior to independence, PNG was effectively "ruled" by a very small group of Australian Patrol Officers (Kiaps).

The Kiaps represented the colonial administration (the Gavman) to the vast majority of the population, who mostly did not see, hear about or have any experience of the rest of the infrastructure that underpinned the colonial system.

Kiaps did not simply preside over a designated patrol post area. Very often, they fought hard to secure much needed services and infrastructure for "their" area, as part of their role in trying to foster social, economic and political development.

They were supported in this role by others, including Agricultural Officers (Didiman), Surveyors (Mastamark) and Teachers (Tisa).

These people were not wantoks and thus not susceptible to the pressures that go with being a wantok. Their decisions, whether good or bad, were essentially taken on a disinterested basis, where no personal benefit accrued to them or their relatives.

The distinct advantages of a system of mutual obligation and reciprocity in traditional Melanesian society were recognised as being fundamentally incompatible with a modern, liberal democratic, capitalist system where the rights of individuals were given primacy above everything else.

In the lead up to independence, many Kiaps and others with first hand experience of traditional cultures in PNG, expressed repeated concerns that the introduction of a Westminster style system of governance, while highly desirable, carried with it the grave risk of being seriously if not fatally undermined by the impact of the traditional system of mutual obligation and reciprocity.

Put bluntly, the moral pressure and incentives for legislative representatives to pursue the interests of both the legislator and his or her wantoks were so great that they seemed likely to prevail over the common good.

Nearly 40 years later, as Bernard relates, a version of the Westminster system remains in place but it has indeed been seriously compromised by the inability and unwillingness of the PNG political and bureaucratic elite to overcome the problems inherent in the traditional Melanesian wantok system.

The present "winner takes all" approach to politics represents an abject betrayal of the vast majority of Papua New Guineans. The tragedy is that this seems to be accepted as the way it is and will be into the future.

There is no chance at all that PNG can or will achieve its significant potential unless and until it can devise and implement a new "Melanesian Way", whereby the worst excesses of the wantok system are rooted out of the body politic and replaced with a very strong focus on "the greater good".

This is the great task confronting task of modern, educated Papua New Guineans.

Hi Bernard, an excellent treat'ise of how the current PNG political system evolved.

The challenge is now as you rightly point out for PNG to come up with a new set of leadership codes that a new set of leaders can and will abide by the agreed code of ethics.

There is lies the problem. There have been and now are some very good potential leaders who do have not only the ability but also the personal qualities to lead PNG along the right road. That they are currently being stymied by those who want to use the system for their own benefit and those who allow this situation to happen due to fear of retribution or the hope of getting some crumbs from the table of those who now feast on their country's ill informed misfortune.

The structure is already there for PNG to advance into a modern, vibrant and wealthy nation. Those who are currently setting up stumbling blocks and trashing their own heritage need to be weeded out and replaced.

The Ombudsman, Police Commissioner, Public Prosecutor, are now being challenged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Transparency International and many others. The question must surely be asked by all PNG people: Why is this so?

That is the crux of the real issue.

Ol Wantok. Husat inap lo stanap na halivim ol pipol abrisim displa traipla ston istap long rot bilo ol kantri? Motaka iredi lo walkabaut pinis ya!

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