THE image of Papua New Guinea’s third city needs to be polished as it is losing its identity as a business centre in the Highlands region.
Mt Hagen’s provincial parks have suddenly ceased to serve as sacred icons because of criminal elements.
Several of these parks have been reduced from their original prestige to become havens of crime or meaningless activities.
In particular, the Pope and Queen Elizabeth parks, once used for sporting and other meaningful social gatherings, are now ground zero for drug deals and criminals.
Is it any wonder to see groups of young men hanging around behaving suspiciously and aimlessly there?
From their bloodshot eyes and insane laughter, we can draw our own conclusion about what is taking place there.
I witnessed one awful incident recently.
A youth snatched an elderly woman’s bag and dashed towards Pope Park.
In a bid to reclaim the bag, onlookers gave chase but to my horror, they were outnumbered by mobs that suddenly emerged from nowhere.
This allowed the thief to escape.
It is no longer safe to walk around these areas after 5pm unless you want to be mugged.
Basketball courts and children’s facilities, once enjoyed by residents and outsiders, have been stripped to skeleton at the Queen Elizabeth Park.
The totem of a brass eagle that served as an emblem for Western Highlands province has ceased to proclaim the message of strength and power after it was stolen from the popular Hagen Park.
It is sad to see such unpatriotic and uncivilised actions.
I call on every citizen of Mt Hagen to be mindful and help look after our parks.
We need someone tough to return our pride and recreational parks to the law abiding citizens.