By Dr KEVIN PAMBA
THE natural beauty of Papua New Guinea and its rich endowment of resources was again a talking point at another public forum recently.
This time it was at the 37th graduation ceremony of Divine Word University’s main campus in Madang on March 10, 2019.
The acknowledgement of our country’s natural beauty and resources came from the Acting Secretary of the Department of Justice and Attorney General Dr Eric Kwa.
Dr Kwa, a former University of PNG law academic, is no stranger to the subject. His Masters and doctor of philosophy (PhD) studies in law respectively are around sustainable use of our natural resources.
“I tell you there is no other place like Papua New Guinea.
“Papua New Guinea is so beautiful,” Dr Kwa told the graduating class of DWU.
He made the above observation from the context of the need for equitable leadership by educated Papua New Guineans for responsible stewardship of PNG and its resources.
Dr Kwa said the present generation of professionals in the public and private sectors have done their bit to run the affairs of the country.
Therefore, he said it was time for the younger generation of graduates coming out of institutions like DWU to takeover and manage “this beautiful, wonderful country”.
“Can we be confident to pass on the baton to you because of the values and things you learnt from this university?
“That you will be the transformer; that you will be the change-agent for this beautiful, beautiful, wonderful country,” Dr Kwa told the graduating class. Part of Dr Kwa’s graduation speech is available on video on Youtube at this address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHC38SiInak
You often hear the sentiments shared by Dr Kwa from many other educated Papua New Guineans, especially those who have travelled to other parts of the world and spent time there.
Papua New Guineans, either as students or professionals, who have spent time abroad and return home speak highly of their own country. They make those observations from what they have seen and witnessed elsewhere in the world. When Papua New Guineans are overseas you hear them long for the organically grown food from the gardens back in the villages, extended family and friends and so on.
I can attest to that as well having travelled to different countries of the world and spent time there.
One of my own pastimes is enjoying the natural scenery and spectacular views out there in the vast expanse of our country when I am travelling by road.
I enjoy my many drives out of Madang to Lae and up into the Highlands provinces to as far as Hela Province and back.
However repetitive the road trips are, I do not tire from appreciating what Mother Nature has endowed us with and is here for us to enjoy and be responsible stewards for it.
Yes, the roads are bad in many places. There is the ever-present danger of being in arms way of a man-made or nature-induced “road block”.
The bad roads and “road blocks” are symptoms of the absence of Dr Kwa’s point about the need for equitable stewardship by those in positions of responsibility at different levels – from the villages and council wards up to the national level. They are the effects of us as a nation not doing the right things at all times to ensure the roads are maintained and free for motorists and the travelling public to use.
I have long accepted that the bad roads and “road blocks” are some of the realities that I have got to live with in a struggling developing country like ours.
None of the disturbances on the roads though, have dented my appreciation of what is out there in the open country for us to appreciate – the natural scenery, breath of fresh air, clear blue skies and the rains and the associated mist and clouds.
The sense of freshness and rejuvenation that the rains bring to me on the road trips is unbeatable, barring the dangers posed by the large volumes of rainfall these days due to global warming.
By and large, this beautiful and bountiful country of ours, is there for us the eight (8) million citizens to make or break it with our actions and inactions.
- Dr Kevin Pamba is based at Divine Word University. His research work is around communication and engagement matters involving landowners and other the stakeholders in the petroleum resource project areas in Hela.