NOOSA – The Catholic bishops of Papua New Guinea have had enough of the O’Neill government, blasting it for failing to take action on corruption and for what they have referred to as its “general incompetence”.
In a public statement, the bishops asked why an Independent Commission Against Corruption had not yet been established, despite many promises over many years, and why nothing has been done to end the Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) which are said to have led to many illegal land grabs.
They condemned SABLs for continuing to destroy the environment and the livelihoods of thousands of Papua New Guineans.
The statement also attacked the practice of politicians directly distributing government funds to the people themselves.
The bishops called this “notoriously corrupt” and said it was an impractical and failed system.
The church is one of the key providers of education in PNG but the bishops said their services were increasingly interfered with by politicians and the government.
They criticised the government's so-called Fee Free Tuition as not effectively implemented and not providing funds and materials to schools.
The O’Neill government is also not adequately supporting Catholic health centres where staff are not receiving wages and medicines and equipment are not reaching the clinics.
Saying they were talking on behalf of the people of PNG, the bishops called for answers from the government and said they are expecting change.