40 years of PNG independence – ‘why are our women still dying?’

Gulf Regional candidate, Ruben Giusu (right) refuses to sit on the chair made for him by the people but instead carries a young boy on it. The PNG elections begin tomorrow. Image: Loop PNG

By Julianna Waeda in Kerema, Papua New Guinea

Although linked by road to Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby and Waigani, Gulf province continues to be the least developed in the country and something has to be done about it.

Gulf Regional candidate Ruben Giusu in the PNG general election starting today says Gulf province out of all the provinces in the country should be well developed by now.

But, he says, successive governors have continued to neglect the province because of the mismanagement of funds.

Running under the Pangu Pati ticket, Giusu told the people of Kikori and Baimuru where he spent eight days living among the people and hearing their stories.

“We’ve had over 40 years of independence, so why are our women still dying in these rural areas because of lack of better health services?” he asked.

“The stories I heard are heart wrenching. And this is a province that is linked to the nation’s capital and Waigani by road.”

Police officer Giusu has served as the former provincial police commander in Gulf province.

Greater benefits promised
He also said that the landowners in resource areas had been promised greater benefits over the years but still nothing had been done to make that a reality.

Giusu said that if elected he would ensure that proper land vetting was done for resource landowners, schools were built to keep its human resource in the province, local SMEs were supported, rural health clinics and airstrips were back up and running, local farmers had access to markets and women in the province were supported and given a voice.

“I want to go in and clean up the system and ensure that the people benefit, especially the landowners and the people living in the rural areas of Gulf. We can’t talk about big things when the basics are not there.

“We can’t keep making the same promises every five years, these are people’s livelihood we are talking about. The province and its people need to feel and see the change in their lives,” he said.

Voting begins in PNG’s 2017 national election today and closes on July 8 with 165 women among a total of 3332 candidates contesting the 111 seats in the National Parliament.

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