Former unionist claims democracy is lacking in PNG

National, Normal


DEMOCRACY is important but is lacking in Papua New Guinea, a retired Australian trade unionist has claimed.
Howard Guille, who has been heavily involved in the trade unions in PNG and Australia, told a meeting of unions in Port Moresby yesterday that Papua New Guineans were not only unaware of the implications of economic decisions taken by the Government, they also had a “very vague” idea of the workings of financial institutions.
“A lot of discussion about governance is about doing things in society.
“Some of the major things that happen in society come from the economy; they come from where money is invested, how interest rates are set and from what banks are doing.
“Those are things that are not being included in the discussions on governance.”
Mr Guille said people were being asked to participate in what was happening in their villages, or in urban areas, but they were not asked to participate in areas where money was invested, or how much money chief executives of companies get.
“The best example of that is the global financial crisis. The main cause of the global financial crisis, which has increased poverty in many parts of the world, was the lack of control and regulation over banks in the United States and Europe,” he said.
Asked what lessons PNG could take away from the global financial crisis, Mr Guille said PNG had been forced to liberalise its economy, to take it out of the control of Government and its people and it was a problem when the issues of good governance were involved.
“For example, on how the people of Papua New Guinea, organisations like the trade unions should be involved in discussion.”
Participants from more than 15 trade union movements are meeting at the Hideaway Hotel in Port Moresby to discuss how they could be involved in governance as well as making sure their governance structures are efficient, transparent and accountable.