The National, Thursday 18th April 2013
THE MP for Ijivitari, David Arore, threatened to close off sections of the Kokoda Track on the Northern side (April 10).
He blamed the Australian government for the lack of development of the WWII iconic trial.
But Arore is not the first member to bring up this issue.
The first to do so was former Northern governor Sylvanius Siembo in 2000.
At that time, Sydney was to
host the Olympic Games and plans were made to bring the Olympic Torch along the Kokoda Track.
But as a result of Siembo’s threat to disrupt the passage of the torch, an alternate route had to be arranged.
Siembo’s actions brought disrepute to the country as the world’s media was following
the progress of the torch.
As we know, Siembo closed off sections of the track on the Northern side.
In view of the Kokoda campaign, much of the province
was under Japanese control as their expeditionary forces first landed at Buna and Gona from their base in Rabaul.
They established control in the area before venturing up the Owen Stanley Range.
At that time, the Australian forces were stationed in Port Moresby.
At the end of WWII, historians will tell us the Australian war administration paid local indentured labourers as well as compensated locals who have suffered through any shape and form as a result of the war; whether at the hands of the Japanese or the allies forces.
Based on this, I do not think there is any basis for politicians to deliver a cheap blow on the Australian government for the mess created by PNG’s own failed political system unless they can come up with a well-researched argument backed by credible and convincing evidence which resonate with official WWII history in PNG.