There’s more to Baker issue


THE coverage of Tommy Baker by the media presents various shades of meaning to the narrative which can be approached from different perspectives premised on the democratic principles of fair play.
Given that the crime scene is in Alotau, the inference to a church immediately suggests the Kwato church of PNG prompts this response.
Given that there are various perspectives to the narrative, facts and/or suggestions tendered will only raise further discussion.
Concerns raised by the series of articles point to a major social unrest, arson, loss of life and property, much grief, trauma as well as an erosion of confidence in civil authority.
The suggestion that individuals and/or descendants of missionaries have remained since independence and have manipulated or coerced locals who remain docile and subservient is a slur on the dignity and integrity of the members as well as the leaders of the Kwato church of PNG.
The exit from the London Missionary Society in 1917 to venture out as the Kwato Extension Association and more recently, exiting from the United Church in 1977 to become the Kwato church of PNG could be regarded as traumatic.
The original Rev Charles William Abel, fearless as he was for defending local natives’ rights, would be surrounded by native body guards from Kwato Mission on numerous occasions when he ventured the streets of colonial Samarai to present cases at the Samarai Court House in the 1920s.
Accused of being more of a businessman than an evangelist, he was preparing the natives to take ownership of their government as set up by Crown Declaration through the British Settlements Act (1887) and the British New Guinea Annexation (1888), making British New Guinea British soil, an integral part of the United Kingdom.
Fast forward to last year, the third and fourth generation, Abels may have caught that notoriety.
Perhaps the real story is that the locals themselves have allowed the situation of fighting or not trusting one another and more willing to respect the whites, thus, perpetuating the dilemma.
Ask a local to venture out into a business and there is an immediate agenda to shoot him/her down, intimidate or destroy that venture.
Churches have a very crucial and responsible role.

Lilly Israel,
General Secretary
Kwato Church of PNG,