Blame ourselves for corruption

Editorial

PAPUA New Guinea is easily by way of size, resources, population and potential the largest of the Pacific Island nations.
That is an undeniable and undisputed fact and yet, we lag behind our Pacific neighbours.
In our own Melanesian sub-region we are, in terms of development and attitude, behind Fiji.
One cannot argue that despite not having suffered a coup or being under the yoke of a dictatorship, we are still worse in many ways compared to Fiji.
The difference here is our attitude and perception of corruption and corrupt behaviour.
It is a morally sensitive issue and one where we Papua New Guineans differ in our approach.
From explicit buying of favours and the use of cash or kind to bring about a certain response, people in this country take a distinctly different view than others such as Fijians and Australians.
Unfortunately, in this country, fittingly-titled in many tourist brochures as the ‘land of the unexpected’, the giving of gifts and tokens of appreciation for services rendered or promised is looked on as a normal every day, ordinary occurrence.
It is practically accepted standard operating procedure for transactions in many government departments and business.
Many individuals in business and government operate this way.
It is hard to say when and why this method of doing things became so ingrained in the lives of many Papua New Guineans, but one can state categorically that it is one of the principal reasons why this country has not advanced in an appreciable level given its abundance in natural resources in its 44 years of independence as a sovereign and free state.
Corruption in all its forms has single-handedly held back PNG from reaching its full potential as a nation.
Sadly, everyone from the tea boy up to the members of parliament are guilty of corruption in one form or another.
Anyone who denies this is part of the problem.
We cannot continuously blame foreign businesses and political interests as being the sole cause of our current state.
Worryingly, some of our most prominent politicians frequently fall back on this as their default argument when their inadequacies are laid bare for all to see.
The other famous argument to explain our weaknesses is that is in our culture to consent to the ‘big man’ syndrome which is supposedly used to excuse morally reprehensible behavior as culturally acceptable.
The blame should surely lie with us, Papua New Guineans.
Despite the constant awareness campaigns in the media about avoiding unethical and illegal conduct, citizens still want to commit the very sins which they read about, hear or see preached in the media or public notices.
Why is this?
Because in this country, saying the right things is a world away from actually doing them.
If a rapist or a wife basher can pay the relatives of the victim an amount in compensation then all is well and good, never mind the person who has been abused; if the victims also accept this as a resolution then this only enforces what is an abhorrent means to an end.
We should change our attitudes if we are to reap the benefits of a diverse, resource-rich nation.
It starts with the individual and what he or she is willing to do.

One thought on “Blame ourselves for corruption

  • Totally agree with this article! Corruption is costing so much in so many ways, both seen and unseen. It is coming to a point that only corruption will bring this country to a grinding halt. So much of our resources are channeled through this mechanism-corruption.
    We are becoming a cursed generation! Invasion is on the rise because of this WEAKNESS!

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