Charles Abel needs to hit corruption where it counts – at the top
Where exactly does the buck stop in Papua New Guinea?

Enough of this nonsense: some frustrated words from an old friend


I NEED to say something to a few of my Papua New Guinean friends and colleagues who seem to have become distracted following the formation of Peter O’Neill’s new and hopefully temporary government.

And that is that they ought to be working to protect and enhance what are emerging as some good, strong trends in Papua New Guinea and saving their angst and contempt for the corrupt, the venal and the incompetent.

I’m compelled to write these words after sitting through day after day of intemperate criticism, mocking and trolling of newly-elected MP Bryan Kramer after his decision to forego a new member’s allowance of, I think, K5,000 and donate it to some useful project.

For this Mr Kramer has been characterised as over-privileged, self-serving, a cheap publicist, a phony philanthropist and even narcissistic (how that computes I don’t know).

And then there’s been the excoriation, by some of my friends, of Papua New Guinean voters for re-electing the O’Neill government – a criticism I find both unfair and misleading.

Blaming grass roots people in the wake of what seems to be the criminal manipulation of an election seems to represent the worst kind of contempt of an already predated upon Papua New Guinean people.

I mean, if PNG is to become the kind of country my PNG friends want it to be then it will require people of goodwill, honesty, courage and reason to collaborate in ridding it of the corrupt, the fraudulent and the self-serving. Social media mockers and trollers are quite frankly a downright waste of space in this context.

For the first time in a long time, perhaps ever, PNG now has an opposition Alliance that looks like a genuine alternative government and which – with 46 MPs, perhaps more – has the numbers to apply consistent pressure on a failing government and has good prospects for securing the treasury benches for itself.

But what the Alliance requires more than anything is the vocal support and reinforcing action of motivated people with the experience and knowledge to bring about the profound changes required.

This will require cohesion, energy and constructive action instead of what I’ve been witnessing, which is a protracted bout of internecine warfare, name-calling and trolling on social media. When you think of what the people of PNG need, it's absolutely bloody self-indulgent.

Instead of targeting the well-meaning Mr Kramer, I would expect people of worth to be calling on other politicians to do something like he’s done.

Instead of blaming their fellow Papua New Guineans for voting for the wrong mob, I’d expect there to be a persistent effort to continue the awareness raising and political education that recently seems to have secured some traction in PNG and led to a significant shift in this recent election towards better candidates and more informed voters.

This post-election sniping and carping and whinging from people who have so much to offer is depressing – it gets nowhere, pushes positive action out of the way and makes me think that it isn’t just corrupt and self-aggrandising politicians who are PNG’s problem.

Perhaps another giant hurdle for PNG is a disillusioned and hapless class of intellectuals who have given up on profound social change and taken to using social media huffing as their only trick instead of regarding SM in its correct role of assisting to disseminate clarity of thought, a vision for a better PNG and an understanding of the practical action required to achieve it.


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Lindsay F Bond

See a second 'Alotau Accord:

As to "priorities over the course of the next five (5) years", there is intention of "infrastructure development including classrooms". More classrooms were needed before rollout of "Free Education Policy", though it will be welcomed by constituents/citizens across PNG, to see that new classrooms can be expected still.

Not so perhaps of infrastructure for health related service delivery where infrastructure is not as apparently a priority and then only to "rehabilitate all provincial hospitals"... no new hospital, no health centre, no rehabilitation of health centres, or the words seem to say.

Of each 'sip' of cashflow, there is set to be "Redefinition of the formulae for allocation for PSIP, DSIP & LLGSIP, WSIP". Readers will luk-long-link to de-rig those more salient flaws, or to steps de rigueur hinting enforcement of due acquittals.

Somewhat suggesting that ALL citizens are in the focus of its aim (yes, 'Equality and Participation' is a phrase in the Preamble), yet its goal has 'commitment' as a retrospective view, and as an advance to 'individuals' by way of 'opportunities'.

So, should PNG-folk 'be grateful for what it is', a document enjoining a lead?

Stanley Amben

A Biblical adage is that all deeds good or bad done in secret will be openly rewarded.

FB is not accessed widely, and due to trolling and raw unmoderated discussions may have lost its credibility with thinking PNGNs who at times find it a blunt tool in developing constructive dialogue and more of a tedious excercise to instill etiquettes.

The reality is that the majority of PNGns want an accountable government. Even PM PO is intelligent enough to realise this with recent attempts to make this government worthy of its own people.

There may be less of a need for a mass public outrage on FB to instigate this.

I believe that there are strong under currents swaying public opinion. Death and destruction is one extreme while a calm and clear approach to political developments is the other.

Social media despite being a rich source of information needs to be mature in its discussions to hold sway.

Paul Flanagan

Agree - PNG social media should play the ball and not the person.

Currently this means that the focus should be on Alotau 2 Accord (details now on PM site).

This indicates new government priorities.

Frankly, it includes a good feature, as first priority on PNG's very high population growth rate (probably driven by Abel).

However, otherwise this is a very poor document (women empowerment number 89 of 90 objectives - and listed under "Immigration and Customs Services"!). What a great indication that the new O'Neill government will care about women - number 89 of 90 and no women members of a 111 man parliament.

An interesting contrast with a "gold bullion bank to deal with foreign exchange shortages" being priority 6. Very scary for an international investment community to see such loony stuff.

Personally, I have a lot of time for Charles Abel, although he was frequently given bad advice. Hope he can do something worthwhile with the 100 day plan.

And I look forward to Kramer's usually excellent analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the 100 day plan. The Alliance has the people to form an excellent opposition (and potentially the transformative future government that PNG needs).

Social media is very diverse and also prone to manipulation - I just hope it stimulates open discussion of the big challenges facing PNG.

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