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01 February 2014


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I always envied statesmanship rather than hard talking firebrand politicians - they find immunity to to rule and invite the media on projects they are doing - which is all they sought for - to be in the limelight.

Celebrity seeking leaders seeking favouritism, playing nepotism, Opposition vs Government, criticisms of each other....

Untasteful leaders in their time who when their time as MPs suddenly expire don't mind about their political propaganda of development and policies - they forget all that when people choose another - who is that 'once a statesman, always a statesman' - one reason why I always respect MPs and leaders of old - Michael Somare, Julias Chan, Paias Wingti, Rabbie Namaliu and others including former GGs like Sir Paulias Matane - stable man for the country who respect each other no matter which side they are on for they know they are for one cause - to lead the country forward and not to row backwards while others are rowing forward.

I always remember the last of that 'Great Papua New Guinea Era' that came to its final leg in 2002 when Julius Chan lost to Michael Somare the PM (for the last time) and he Julius Chan, himself became the Opposition Leader. Julius Chan's speech in congratulating Somare was showed the last of the 'act of statesmanhip', not only his words but his tone of voice, his tenure, his stance, his reaction, his words, I always respected you as a leader even when in the opposite side, although I've back from a 5 year boat ride around New Ireland while you continued on undefeated on the ESP seat ever since, I know that all you and I said was thinking back of all those millions of people.

PNG today is a lot different from when we first created. And I hope you and I both finish this final leg with a good note. I envy the respect of each other and their statesmanship always.

"New Guinea Journeys" by Jack McCarthy. Published 1970

Jack McCarthy who was a Post Courier journalist who broke to the world papers in 1964 that there were West Irian refugee camps on the PNG side of the Indonesian border.

He travelled by canoe at night from Vanimo to meet up with the OPM just near the boarder at Wutung & walked from the beach 5 km into the jungle to their hide out.

He was Public Enemy No 1 and hounded by the Australian government forever after. But he did get the Walkley Award in 1969 for this bit of investigative journalism.

Re McCarthy's assessment & admiration of the progressive Siau Council Aitape & how much it helped each village.

Chapter 2 "Journey into Hope " Page 70 -

"The Council is a crucible wherein the expressions of the ordinary people,meet with equal importance-the policies of the Central Government & the village people.

"I would like to give an example & quote the work & development of a small,rather isolated council whose birth in 1961 demonstrates it's ability to govern by the people & for the people,and to pursue this course with a minimum of outside aid.

"When I first went to Aitape i had been captured by the innate spirit of comradeship & hospitality in all sections of the community & by the old-time air of contentment which radiated through the settlement.The council concerned the Siau Local Government Council in which I have been interested in for years.

"I have watched it's steady development from a small insignificent unit into an organisationof considerable economic substance."

Rob Parer's comment -

When a third tier of government that is Provincial Government was introduced, Councils were considered a threat & the Provincial Government denied them any funds & they all withered away & ended up a joke.

So sad for the ones that were going well like the Siau Council of Aitape led by the amazing Brere Awol MBE from Malol Village.

Interesting article. As a teacher 1971-1983 I experienced a well-run PNG. Today, I see all the problems.

If hope the review of the OLPGLLG will be carried out and that the provinces and the LLGs will be once again be given more power to have a say in how they are run so they can be run well.

I hear of how people like Sir Julius Chan and Garry Juffa are running their areas and improving them, but there are obviously many MPs who stick with the bright lights of Moresby and spend their time making their fortune so they can buy a property in Cairns and move their family there.

The reason why service delivery was so much better in the past than today is most basically due to one factor: population.

Our population is going out of control. Anyone who thinks that increased population does not in most instances create increased poverty is crazy.

Those who point to Singapore as an example of dense overpopulation and wealth not only ignore the poor people of Singapore but most importantly, ignore the fact that Singapore's culture has evolved in an environment of no natural resources.

That kind of stress produces competitive, tough people of the kind that our resource rich land will never create. We'll only become like Singaporeans when we have lost our resources and even our land. Should we consider that a measure of progress?

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