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26 March 2018


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Max Phin

This is stunning! The regulatory machinery of the Government and the Provincial Government has failed the people of Enga?

By the look of things, all these stolen monies are being invested in and indirectly developing other centres outside of Enga which is very sad indeed.

Daniel Kumbon

Fr Roche, Mr Homingu is indeed a good college administrator. He came when Enga Teacher's College started and he's been here since.

But it's the students who are to blame. They should be honest if they are to become good teachers in the field. They can't cheat the system and expect to promote quality education in the country.

183 students, that's half the student population, were terminated outright when they enrolled themselves with stamped BSP bank deposit slips showing their full K2,500 tuition fees fully paid.

A fish starts to stink from its head. The students are at the tail end.

Garry Roche

Daniel, sorry to hear about the trouble at Enga Teachers College. The Principal there, Mr. Michael Homingu, I remember as a good and dedicated staff and acting principal at HTTC (Hagen) teachers college years ago. We hope there were no serious injuries.

Daniel Kumbon

A 'Good News Week' is a good idea. My cuttings file is thick with negative stories. I don't like it.

But I can't write a positive story. Right now there is turmoil at the new Enga Teachers College. Police had to be rushed over to stop a fight between staff and students.

College property was destroyed and some staff and students were injured. How serious, I am not sure. Its raining now and I can't go there to find out.

The Provincial Education Board terminated many students after they had cheated the system to enrol themselves by providing fake deposit slips. The principal found out when there was an imbalance in the accounts in relation to the number of students enrolled.

Some were final year students. This practice may have been going on for the last couple of years. Police were called in last week to investigate. The fight started today when the termination notices were given.

So there you have it Paul, how do you think I can write a positive story when I seem to be operating in hell? Maybe there are positive stories in other parts of this beautiful nation or region.

Philip Fitzpatrick

The massive scale of wastage by failed politicians in Enga, as reported by friend and trusted veteran journalist, Daniel Kumbon, is simply stunning.

If similar wastage has occurred in the other province, and there’s no reason to believe it hasn’t, just imagine how catastrophic this has been for Papua New Guinea.

And yet, as Daniel reports, nobody seems to care, least of all the successive governments that provided the funds in the first place.

Shaking my head at these unbelievable revelations I then watched a theatrical press conference held by lawyer Paul Paraka, to announce his plan to sue his way through a slew of politicians and public servants for an incredible amount of money ostensibly for the loss of reputation and income caused by questionable government legal practises.

While my opinion of lawyers and politicians has plumbed new depths I couldn’t help but feel for the ordinary people of Papua New Guinea.

Those ordinary people taught me a lot when I was a kiap and in the years afterwards. One of those things was the abhorrence of greed and unnecessary wastage.

As a young kiap conducting patrols into remote areas I often saw people carrying away the bottles, jars and tin cans that we discarded. To them these were still valuable and useful items too good to waste.

Since then I’ve had extreme difficulty throwing away such things. I religiously clean glass jars to use for other purposes, storing screws and nails in my shed or off to the local craft shop for the ladies to use for their jams, pickles and relishes.

I even wash out tin cans before I put them in the recycling bin along with the newspapers and cardboard I have collected.

From my experience as a child in the 1950s, but more so after seeing life in the squatter settlements and on the streets of Port Moresby and other Papua New Guinean towns, I also abhor the wastage of food.

When I take my grandchildren out to eat I find myself either finishing off their casually abandoned meals or carrying them away for the dogs and chooks to eat. I religiously eat everything on my own plate and if I can’t I take that away with me too.

Despite the looks I get from waiters and other diners I don’t think I’m mean or miserly, it’s just that life has taught me the value of certain things, how lucky I am and how unlucky are so many other people.

It is ironic, I think, that I learned these valuable lessons largely in Papua New Guinea, a place where greed and wastage on a grand scale now seems to go unnoticed.

Paul Oates

Francis, I recently heard of a quote by Margaret Thatcher.

'Why is it people in public life these days don't want to do something but only want to be someone?'

Einstein is famously quoted as saying that continuing to do what has been effectively demonstrated as not working is the definition of stupidity.

Until PNG evolves a true leader that can lead the nation out of these depths of despair, nothing will change.

Keith and readers: Perhaps we need some really good examples of where PNG has succeeded and some reports and articles of good leadership as examples for others to follow?

How about a 'Good News Week?'

Francis Nii

The problem Daniel has reported is not only happening in Enga but many parts of PNG and highlands region.

It appears to be worse here because of the fanatical highlands' bigman rivalry and jealousy.

Philip Fitzpatrick

What a ghastly mess Mr O'Neill.

Paul Oates

Excellent piece Daniel, you have effectively described the problem.

The next step is to define the solution.

The nub of the problem is easy to understand if one takes a helicopter look at the process of government.

The missing link is the process of government. Politicians and the political process were never designed to actually run the process of governing a nation. Their role is to decide what is to be done but not to be in charge of actually doing it.

A politician's role is to be responsible to the people who elected them and to ensure the Public Service, who are supposed to be the ongoing authority not disrupted by having to be elected, to be held accountable for completing within budget what the government has decided to do. The the project has to be maintained by ongoing budgetary allocations.

Therein lies the rub. It ain't much fun not being able to be directly responsible for what you initially boast about doing.

To hold the public service responsible for what they are supposed to do isn't much fun either when you may have promoted your sycophants and wantoks into responsible positions they are not either qualified to do or interested in being held accountable for doing it.

So what's the answer?

It's not a new problem. The ancient Roman's 2,000 years ago effectively enunciated it.

"Who will watch the watchers?"

Is there sufficient education and awareness within the PNG community at large to understand what is lacking and what is needed to be done to fix the problem?

If not as it currently seems, then what has to be done first to set up an effective methodology to rectify where the current process is not working?

That's the real question.

Public Auditors and non government groups like Transparency International seem to be completely ignored when they point out the real problem.

Is there anyone prepared to act to fix this deficiency?

That's another poignant question that apparently is still waiting to be answered.

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