MP needs to set priorities

Editorial

THE festive season is upon us and so is the wet season.
The rains started tumbling down this month and will continue into the New Year, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
While most people in the National Capital District welcome the rain and the instant greenery around the capital city, there are others who see that too much of it can be a real nuisance.
In particular, motorists in the NCD are starting to have headaches from manoeuvring their vehicles around potholes that are growing as fast as the grass.
The main city roads were built to withstand heavy downpours but not the back streets of suburbs like Gerehu, Wagani, Tokarara and Hohola, which are littered with potholes and even craters.
Gerehu, the city’s largest suburb, has not seen the pothole brigade since the last wet season.
The same can be said of the other suburbs.
While a major upgrading of
the Gerehu Drive was completed some months ago, the back streets remain in their usual shocking conditions.
The deteriorating roads and streets continue to pose risks and dangers for motorists who can become easy targets for criminals when they slow down their vehicles to avoid potholes and illegal humps made by residents.
Just recently in Gerehu, a man lost his vehicle to an armed gang as he was driving into his residence.
As the driver stopped at the gate, he was sprung on by the criminals lurking in the shadows.
It was wise of him not to try and run down the gunman as he could have lost his life as well as his car.
More armed holdups of motorists and pedestrians can be expected in Gerehu and other crime infested parts of the city during this festive season.
Nonetheless, the deteriorating road conditions in Gerehu and other parts of the Moresby North West electorate has been a burning issue among the constituents for quite a while.
In particular, many residents are convinced their local Member of Parliament has abandoned them and neglected his electoral duties.
In fact, most residents of Gerehu have not seen him since he entered Parliament after the general elections in 2012.
They are hoping their MP will pay them a visit during this festive season but that’s just wishful thinking and would be like waiting till the cows come home in the New Year.
The previous MP, who served three terms, was also hardly visible to his constituents.
Just ask any long-time Gerehu resident whether he or she had seen the former politician during his 15 years in Parliament and the answer would be a definite “no”.
While other MPs, especially those from the rural areas, have prioritised roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects for their electorates, the current Moresby North West MP, like his predecessor, seems to be more preoccupied with his ministerial duties and national affairs.
Seemingly, the MP thinks that
his duties to the nation are more important and should take preference over his duties to most of the electorate.
In other words, he thinks he has bigger and better things to do than worry about the small people in the back streets of Gerehu, Waigani, Morata, Tokarara and Hohola.
Unlike his rural counterparts, the Moresby North West MP does not need to fund new roads or bridges. But he can ensure the existing roads and back streets in his electorate are properly maintained and upgraded.
The leader has no excuses not to maintain the existing infrastructure because he has been given appropriate funding by the National Government.
In fact, all MPs have been allocated their equal share of funds this year, which will continue next year under the District Services Improvement Programme (DSIP).
If the MP is too busy with
his ministerial duties then he should ensure that the electorate’s development programme and projects are handled by a budget planning and implementation committee.
Hopefully, he will wake up sooner than later and attend to his electoral duties, including the maintenance and upgrading of roads and streets.
The elections are only six months away and tomorrow may be too late for him to make amends.
Otherwise, the people of Gerehu and the rest of Moresby North West should start thinking about electing a new MP who can deliver the services they need.

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