Dame Carol is absolutely spot-on

Letters, Normal

I support the comments made by Dame Carol Kidu in the report “Minister raps Govt over human development” (The National, March 15).
It is indeed not surprising for me to read about Dame Carol’s laments regarding the ever-sliding human development indices in all fronts.
The minister is spot-on to say the Government’s focus is on economic development, and nothing else.
The questions I would like to ask are: 
* How come PNG has not done well in human development given the windfall gained from the mining and petroleum sectors in the last decade?
* How comes our human development indices are worse than other island nations in the region? 
* Where have all the revenue from minerals, oil and gas, State-owned entities, taxes from IRC, gains from fisheries, etc, gone? 
* Why do we have billions of kina sitting idly in trust accounts to be used at the whim of the executive government?
Dame Carol is right to say the whole Government system is “fundamentally flawed”.
Huge revenues generated each year from both renewable and non-renewable resources have not trickled down to the rural areas.
I believe the entire public service machinery should be overhauled and reformed to reduce “bureaucratic red tape” and “weed out” unproductive public servants.
I have observed politicians making decisions to protect their self-interests and cement power in office.
Why is the Somare Government attempting to amend the Constitution to increase the number of ministers and diminish the powers of the Ombudsman Commission?
Given widespread corruption and tribal-based political culture, would amending the Constitution better serve the interest of the people?
Sometimes I wonder whether our politicians have lost their minds.
In matured democracies where rule of law thrives and government remains accountable to the people, human development indices slide up progressively.
PNG is at the wrong end and is sliding even further.
It will continue to do so until there is some drastic change in the entire system of governance.
Since 1975, successive governments have not had the vision and audacity to “trim down” the size of the public service machinery so that goods and services could reach the people without much bureaucratic red tapes.
The government’s attempt to amend the Constitution and increase number of ministers does not help the cause either.
What is happening now is that Waigani is making political decisions based on impulse to suit vested interests and political cronies.
So more often than not, politicians behave like public servants themselves.
Instead of being the machinery to implement Government policies, the public service behaves like mutants infected by the contagious disease called corruption.
Waigani has not taken concrete steps to eradicate corruption and find practical measures to improve efficiency and productivity.
How will the people benefit from the LNG projects when the whole public service is such that only a handful of cronies would become rich overnight?
Until Waigani improves the public service machinery, ends red-tape, strengthens the Ombudsman Commission, prioritises Government spending on key sustainable economic activities, etc, I cannot foresee our human development indices going up.
Is this the kind of legacy our Prime Minister prefers to leave behind upon his retirement?
I let you be the judge and jury.


Puria Igini
Canberra, ACT