Scott Waide: Our country, Papua New Guinea, is being taken away from us

Prime shop spaces in Papua New Guinea towns and cities are owned by foreigners ... Shop space rentals are unaffordable. Image: Scott Waide/My Land, My Country

Papua New Guinea’s opposition – bolstered by its government defectors – moved its camp to West Sepik provincial capital Vanimo at the weekened to consolidate its numbers in a move to oust Prime Minister James Marape next month, reports the PNG Post-Courier. The 13 ministers who defected to the opposition will be decommissioned this week, says the Prime Minister. The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has deferred a planned trip to Papua New Guinea after it emerged his PNG counterpart could be facing a leadership challenge, reports RNZ Pacific. Morrison had been scheduled to visit PNG this week.

COMMENT: By Scott Waide

How much of the Papua New Guinean economy do we own?

All the prime shop spaces in your towns and cities are owned by foreigners. Can you easily get financing for a business? No. If you do get it, are the terms PNG customer friendly? No. Shop space rentals are unaffordable.

Governments past have had no will to reduce costs for PNG entrepreneurs and to create havens for PNG-owned business to grow.

There is a lot of rhetoric and it will intensify next year as people prepare for the silly season. Rental costs are among the highest in the region.

Cartels are paying off government workers, buying off properties and evicting our own people. Our justice system even favours the cartels and their lawyers.

We refuse to believe that organised crime and their masters have become bolder because our systems and its custodians have allowed themselves to be bought off.

The educated “elites” and “intellects” graduating from a a failed education system seek opportunities to profit from the the system and those less educated.

Praises for sweet-talking leaders
We sing praises to sweet-talking leaders and reporters repeat word for word without understanding the corrosive impact of that cheap narrative.

We criticise the media for not taking on the corruption, but when they do, nobody takes custody of the information and uses it for community action.

We are led to believe that unions, protests, and free speech are all illegal and should be discouraged.

Truth is founding father Sir Michael Somare and the independence generation wrote it into our laws. How did we come to forget our rights?

Because our education system made us more stupid that our grandparents’ generation. It taught us not to think for ourselves. A dumb generation raises dumb kids and dumb kids grow up to be dumb adults who vote dumb politicians.

That’s the truth.

They’re the ones who despise intelligence and free speech. They are offended by the expression of rights. Wake up Papua New Guinea!

Wake up! You need to get up and fight for what is yours.

Scott Waide is a leading Papua New Guinean journalist and a senior editor with a national television network. He writes a personal blog, My Land, My Country. The Pacific Media Centre republishes his articles with permission.

Pacific Media Watch reports: The 13 ministers who have defected are: Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil, Foreign Affairs Minister Patrick Pruaitch, Commerce and Industry Minister William Duma, Higher Education Minister Nick Kuman, Education Minister Joseph Yopyyopy, Public Enterprise Minister Sasindran Muthuvel, Mining Minister Johnson Tuke, Immigration and Border Security Minister Westly Nukundj, Health Minister Sir Puka Temu, Justin Tkatchenko, Labour Minister Lekwa Gure, CS Minister Chris Nangoi and Justice Minister and Attorney-General Steven Davis.

The opposition camp is also boasting four former prime ministers in Sir Julius Chan, Paias Wingti, Sir Mekere Morauta, Peter O’Neill and six former deputy prime ministers in Basil, Steven, Pundari, Chris Haiveta, Sir Puka and Allan Marat.

PNG opposition MPs
PNG opposition members in consultation at the weekend. Image: PNG Facts
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