Capital city back at its cruel best

Editorial, Normal

The National, Thursday July 30th, 2015

 THE festive, orderly atmosphere and clean environment spurred by the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby earlier this month has come to an abrupt end.

It seems the most successful sporting event ever staged in Papua New Guinea is now but a dream as residents again confront the reality of living in a harsh and cruel city.

And it took a blink of an eye for the worms to crawl out of the woodwork.

A day after the Games closing ceremony, the street vendors resumed their activities at traffic light intersections and roundabouts.

Betel nut sellers and chewers resurfaced at their usual spots to continue their messy habits, including spitting the reddish muck from vehicles onto the main roads that have been in spic-and-span condition during the period of the Games.

Not to be outdone, the reckless drivers are back in action, turning the main streets into racing tracks and running the red lights at traffic light intersections.

To make matters worse, the pick-pocket thieves are back in the hunt for whatever they can lay their dirty fingers on.

We are expecting police reports soon that will confirm an increase in petty crimes in the nation’s capital since the end of the Games.

While all that is going on, a high school student is in critical condition at the Port Moresby General Hospital after a fight with a group of Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers at a school cultural show last Saturday.

Kila Kila High School student Jeremiah Yuni was reportedly hit on the head with a club as he was climbing the school fence to safety. 

He fell off the fence and was further assaulted by the soldiers, who were reportedly intoxicated.

We are heartened by De­fence Force command­er Brig-Gen Gilbert Toropo’s condemnation of the attack and his call for their immediate arrests.

National Capital District Metropolitan Superintendent Andy Bawa should not wait for the parents to lodge a complaint but have the soldiers arrested without delay.

They are not above the law and should not take refuge in the army barracks.

For a while, brutality by unruly soldiers seemed like a thing of the past. 

It has reared its ugly head again and must be nipped in the bud to prevent further occurrences.

Our disciplinary forces did a wonderful job to provide security and orderliness during the Games and it would be a real shame to allow a few rogue elements to bring them into disrepute again.

The NCD police commander should be reminded of his plan to keep the city streets out of bounds to these louts after the Pacific Games. 

Bawa announced that before the start of the Games but his policemen and women seem to be on an extended break after the closing ceremony. On the other hand, City Hall is pursuing its impressive efforts to keep the Games fire alive. 

City Manager Leslie Alu promised residents that the “Christmas in July” mood will continue to the 40th Independence anniversary celebrations in September and thereafter.

That’s commendable as long as residents can move safely around the city without being hassled by street vendors, betel nut sellers and petty criminals.

On a humorous yet serious note, the head of a government agency has been projected into the limelight for the wrong reason.

The official is being ridiculed after a picture he took of himself naked in front of a mirror surfaced on social media.  What was he trying to prove with this “mirror, mirror on the wall” act?

In fact, the naked “selfie” has gone viral and prompted West Sepik Governor Belden Namah to call on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to immediately sack the official for bringing the public service into disrepute.

As James Lunge said in his letter-to-the-editor yesterday about our political leaders and government officials, “They work for the people of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and they must conduct themselves in the eyes of the public with honour and dignity and must never bring into question the integrity of the offices they hold”.

Indeed, high-ranking government officials who behave in such undignified and dishonourable ways should be thrown out of office.