OPINION: By Peter S. Kinjap in Port Moresby
Development or modernisation is no magic potion. There is still unfairness and injustice.
Wealth is still limited to a small handful of people. Most continue to be left behind.
This is a global phenomenon. We see it in Papua New Guinea. Those who felt disempowered in the United States just elected Donald Trump president last month. The disempowered also took Britain out of Europe.
The struggle to find a better life extends from one community to another around the globe. It seems that now, in democracies, people may be exercising the power of numbers.
In Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill thinks developing flyovers, arenas and palatial buildings in Port Moresby will somehow solve the suffering of the majority in every part of our country.
Billions of kina spent on sports and political fame and glory while the majority of communities scattered across the country despair about whether they will ever get even basic services.
Who told Peter O’Neill that it is time to boost PNG as a celebrity nation? Who advised him that massive spending on sports will help economic growth? PNG is not ready to become a celebrity at the expense of a suffering majority.
A huge proportion of taxpayers’ money has been spent in Port Moresby which has less than 10 percent of the total Papua New Guinean population of almost eight million.
There is shortage of medical supplies in public hospitals, a shocking deficiency of good roads and bridges in the provinces and millions of people in rural communities suffer silently because of a lack of required government services.
The O’Neill-Dion government is creating a lot of debt, constraining the future growth of the economy. O’Neill has never expressed sorrow or even understanding about how much pain he is inflicting on the country’s economy.
The suffering has been going on way too long.
We read in the media of a petition from landowners from the land that gave birth to the liquefied natural gas project. They want their payments but the government does not have money.
How can this be possible? And next year is the election on which the government will spend many millions of kina.
The problems are too big for this limited government budget. Yet our leaders want to tell the rest of the world that we are fine and OK to host world events that cost a lot of money.
Something is wrong somewhere. Never believe in development. It brings injustice. Expect the worst.
Columnist Peter S. Kinjap writes a Travel Diary blog on social issues.