Truth always the first casualty in politics

Letters, Normal

The National, Tuesday October 8th, 2013

 WHILE it is almost impossible to identify the world’s worst politicians as there have been so many of them, Pontius Pilate would certainly make the “top 10” for his infamous rhetorical question, “What is truth?”. 

He refused to recognise truth, not because he could not, but because he would not. 

Like Pilate, the truth about the Ok Tedi mine, BHP and the government is standing before us. Yet our politicians cannot see it, do not want to see it. 

Our prime minister accuses BHP of ruining the environment in Ok Tedi and Fly River systems and wants to hold them and  them alone responsible. 

The truth is that the government of PNG was a sizable shareholder in OTML from the beginning. 

This should also make the government responsible for any environmental damage.

A further reflection on the truth also indicates that the government’s own environmental agency approved of the so called “riverine” system of tailings disposal.

It sounds better than “dumping waste” into the rivers, I suppose. Ever since the tailings dam collapsed and spilled its burden into the rivers, successive PNG governments have given their approval for the continued disposal of tailings into the rivers. 

BHP could not have continued to dump tailings if it did not have the approval of the governments.

For the prime minister to blame only one partner in the environmental disaster that is the Ok Tedi and Fly River systems is not only unfair, it is also untrue. 

Not one current member of parliament had the fortitude to vote against the Ok Tedi mine expropriation Bill which tells something of their own commitment to the truth. 

How many of them actually read the bill prior to voting? How many actually understood the Bill and its implications? 

The billions of kina saved for the people of the Western will no doubt finish up in a few  pockets.

The government has promised “an independent board” to run the mine. 

Just like the “independent boards” which run, PNG Telikom, PNG Power, Air Niugini, PNG Water and so on. 

Not to mention the defence force, police force, CIS and every other state- run or owned enterprise, which are either corrupt, inept or dysfunctional.

Partial truths are not the truth. 

All we ask, as Papua New Guineans, is for O’Neill to tell us the whole truth. Many of our poorest and disadvantaged people will suffer as a result of  information withheld.