Change in attitude way forward

Editorial

THE National Capital District Commission this week announced the ban on chewing, selling, buying and spitting of betel nut in public places.
Offenders are facing a fine up to K10,000 or a three-year jail term.
This comes under the amended Summary Offences Act 2018 that prohibits the selling, buying, chewing and spitting of betel nut in public places in the city.
We agree with acting city manager Ravu Frank that during the state of emergency (SOE) lockdown, the city gained its former glory.
The streets looked cleaner
And then when parts of the SOE restrictions were lifted, the ugly head of uncleanliness resurfaced with large quantity of betel nut being sold.
Overtime it has become a general mentality among the public that keeping the streets of our cities, towns and villages clean and in order is a job for the authorities.
Taking care of the public walkways, roads and areas used by people of all walks of life use on a daily basis is not entirely the state’s responsibility.
The powers that govern at every level of society, whether it be at the ward, local level government, district or provincial, are there as regulators.
The people themselves should bear the weight of care.
But it takes two sides to make it a success.
PNG’s major towns and cities are experiencing an unprecedented level of growth in terms of the expansion of the economy and the size of the population.
With these rapid changes comes the need to instil in the people a sense of pride and unity.
These are intangible concepts but they are key to keeping order and ensuring that people contribute in a positive way to the communities they live in.
Port Moresby is far and away the leader in growth and development and what the capital city’s political leadership under Governor Powes Parkop has been trying to do to bring about change in attitudes is commendable but by no means a solvable problem for the short term.
Bans, restrictions, messaging and controls have been tried since he entered office and by now the governor should realise that regulating the people’s attitudes is not something that can be done in a term of office or even two.
It is a generational change that will take place over time provided there is constant positive reinforcement of the right behaviour.
Those in authority find no joy in constantly appealing to people to be responsible.
But unless the city residents do not take ownership of whatever programme initiated, it will not work. NCDC does not want to revert to the heavy-handed tactics that created a plenty of problems and was a public relations nightmare for the City Hall some time back.
Therefore as residents who call Port Moresby home, everybody has a responsibility to do the right thing.
We can start by refusing to buy from vendors who are plying their trade at the wrong places, disposing the spittle and the rubbish in the right places.
Every city and town on the globe has its own issues to deal with including those in PNG.
In many instances, the societies that have made headway in achieving peaceful, progressive and harmonious existence are those that have strong and effective policing and a sound, fair justice system.

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