Country in a corruption cycle


IN an election year, this may sound like a negative and harsh view of the current state of affairs in Papua New Guinea but sometimes we all need a collective wakeup call.
Many, if not all, of the nation’s problems are blamed largely on the decisions our leaders make – after all they are the ones who are steering the ship.
But the responsibility is not entirely theirs because the people are the ones who put them there.
No doubt for some, this maybe a tough spoonful of medicine to swallow but PNG is considered one of the most corrupt nations in the world today and sadly this is a fact we cannot escape from.
We do not need a report or an international classification to tell use all is not well in PNG.
We see it every day and most of us, whether we know it or not, participate, enable and encourage corruption, graft and theft and all manner of activities that contribute to the mismanagement, misuse and breakdown of services, goods and ultimately the society we like to call among other things, Christian and peace-loving.
The proof that PNG is a corrupt nation with regards to development and the standard of living is laid out in our papers almost daily.
If there is not a political leader facing questions on his conduct and use of tax payers’ money, there is a furore over the way the government is being run, particularly in parliament.
Government departments are no better.
The instances of abuse of power by public servants are rife and continue unabated even though the country has courts and a police force to investigate and punish guilty individuals.
But here is the reason why the country is mired in such a self-defeating cycle of stalled progress and “what ifs” and “what could have beens”.
We as a people have a culture and an attitude that perpetuates corruption.
The conditions are practically optimal for white collar crime.
We have a police force that has proven inadequate, compounded by a correctional service that is in need of refitting – both in personnel and administrative capability, a court system which struggles to cope with a never ending procession of cases, but most importantly we have a government that cannot fund these institutions to the level required to act as a real deterrent to lawbreakers.
And then we have the cultural aspect that enables corruption or morally questionable acts.
Papua New Guineans tend to take care of their own.
This is good, and this bad.
It’s good because we have a sense of identity and belonging and it gives us pride in who we are but it is bad because more often than not this comes at the expense of the greater good – a concept which many in the country have yet to grasp.
Whenever you are the beneficiary of money or good works do you ask yourself where the money actually came from or how was it that the giver could afford to dole out goodwill in the form of funding or projects.
For the majority whose daily existence is a struggle it is better not to bite the hand the feeds or in this case question it.
Some might say that we are no different from any other country when it comes to the issue but where does it say we have to accept the situation and not do anything about it?
The checks and balances are there however, they are rendered impotent because of a lack of will to follow through on the part of agencies.
The question is who do we blame and what do we do about it?
Are we satisfied with how our leaders perform or should we hold them more accountable?
We will get to answer that question ourselves next month.
And for good or for bad, we will get the leaders we deserve so choose wisely.