The National, Monday July 29th, 2013
I WRITE to express my disagreement over the Regional Resettlement Arrangement (RRA) signed by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd which sees PNG taking in asylum-seekers headed Down Under.
The decision is premature and solely for individual interest in the name of development for education and health programmes.
We have all the natural resources that we can mine or extract to sustainably generate income to fund areas that need improvement. We also have everything we need to prosper.
We are not yet developed and it is a sensitive issue for such a young, growing country like PNG to permanently detain refugees.
Having the asylum seekers permanently residing in PNG is a threat to a harmonious living environment.
We have not addressed or rectified our in-house problems, which include squatter settlements in towns and cities resulting in many beggars on the streets, roads and infrastructure developments in rural and urban settings, deteriorating schools and hospitals that are yet to be developed, etc.
We also have not fairly addressed the issue of our closest neighbour where the West Papuans have found refuge in PNG for quite a long time.
We share a common border, culture and other similarities.
Unless we properly address these obvious in-house affairs, our government cannot blindly participate in global and regional issues as such.
When our in-house issues are in order, we can then help carry burdens at a larger scale, especially when dealing with humanitarian issues.
In fact, we are obligating ourselves with more and more burdens and expecting support from other countries, which is ridiculous.
Therefore, I suggest that first, we genuinely clean up our backyard and put things in order.
I understand that the prime minister has the absolute right over legislation formulations and various issues for the betterment of this nation and its people.
However, such sensitive issues need to be debated in Parliament and go through careful deliberation before recommendations or decisions are made.
This makes me say that the government of today is setting the wrong precedent and such reckless behaviour and approach may be a threat to the country’s future.
SD, via email