Govt system needs strengthening


PAPUA New Guinea is a thriving democracy, one of the few among developing countries.
This year, citizens of this country celebrated 45 years of political independence that was achieved without any blood, sweat and tears.
In the ensuing years, PNG has faced many challenges of nation-building and survived several major political crises that have threatened its democratic system of government.
In the eyes of the world, we have had a pretty good run without the kind of political, social and economic upheavals that have beset and ruined many nations in recently and in the past.
PNG may be the envy of many developing countries, whose citizen’s dream of democratic rights such as freedom of speech, but the country faces other serious issues that threaten to dismantle its democratic processes and institutions.
These include corruption and other law and order issues that have the potential to cause collateral damage to our system of government and the economy.
Law and order issues have been a thorn in the side of successive governments since independence and the current government has moved quickly to address them, including enacting tougher laws and penalties for serious crime.
Despite these commendable initiatives, law and order issues continue to seriously affect government processes, business operations and community activities throughout the country.
After 45 years of independence, problems of law and order remain the single most important issue on the agenda of public debate in the country.
Not a week goes by that we do not hear of youths getting into trouble with the police over alcohol and drug-related offences.
Occasionally, we get reports of tragedies that result from illicit drug and alcohol abuse.
Unplanned settlements are increasing at an alarming rate and if not contained will pose a serious law and order challenge for the police.
The youths in settlements and some suburbs dwell in an environment that is conducive to crime and lawlessness.
Crime is intoxicating for many of them and like a drug, it becomes an escape route for their miserable existence.
The idea that maintaining order and peace, and a balanced state, in society is somehow the public service’s responsibility is not only regressive but detrimental to progress.
Many people will agree that Papua New Guineans are becoming their own worst enemies.
Beneath the political speechmaking of “unity in diversity”, this so-called “land of the unexpected” is likely to remain fragmented and chaotic unless our citizens change their mind-sets.
When it comes to development, one size doesn’t fit all.
It is about transforming the mindset to see and do things differently.
We should develop great minds of people who can challenge the wrongs and create a solution path.
It is an uphill battle but it is not a dilemma experienced in PNG only.
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.
Amicable and long term preventive measures are needed to fully eliminate a repeat of Tuesday.
Strengthening the system is the means to this end while the question remains can the people at the top stay the course.