I AM very concerned that for the first time in our history, ordinary Papua New Guineans are unleashing anger and resentment towards senior State ministers and elected leaders in public gatherings and meetings.
The stone throwing attack of senior State ministers and local MPs from Southern Highlands, including SHP Governor Anderson Agiru at Tari last week by the people was something new.
A similar attack on senior State ministers and MPs in Mt Hagen earlier this month by the people at a public rally in the presence of police was also unheard of in the past.
Only this week, we read about pipeline landowners shouting down a senior State minister at Murray Barracks in the presence of police and soldiers during the launch of the PNG LNG licence-based BSA forum.
I fear this is the tip of the iceberg and it shows the degree of frustration and deep-rooted resentment over the Government’s lack of empathy and genuineness towards the ordinary people in terms of honest and tangible development.
I see trouble when I read of senior State ministers playing the role of a bureaucrat in handing out millions of kina in MoA projects or engaged themselves deeply in commercial matters of large national resource projects.
When deals are done abruptly and avariciously by people in positions of authority, even the most law abiding citizens would not hold down the lid anymore – the lid will blow off.
In other words, people will cease to respect leaders and authority.
There is a limit for patience and I think this is what we are witnessing now.
Understanding the numbers, size and value of the PNG LNG project, I can say that the benefits are going to be massive for PNG considering the multiplier effects in the economy.
It is going to be an exciting new chapter in PNG’s history.
However, I do see PNG struggling to convert these benefits into tangible wealth creation for the benefit of all citizens if strong and mature political leadership is absent.