Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > War on Corruption or Crime

War on Corruption or Crime

By LUCAS KIAP on PNG Blogs

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill needs to make sure he is tough on corruption

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill needs to make sure he is tough on corruption

The rest of the country has joined the bandwagon of the government and the opposition to declare war on crime in Papua New Guinea – in response to the recent surge in violent crimes across the country. Sadly, we have waited too long only to react after so many innocent and precious lives have been taken away prematurely by those who have no regard for human life nor understand their own existence in our human society. Nothing we say or do now will ever replace nor return those lives. Only time will tell if our (as usual) reactive measures by legislating and imposing tougher penalties will deter future offenders or not – the most server being the death penalty.

Before jumping on the bandwagon, there are critical and fundamental questions still remain and need to be asked and answered if we are to find a lasting solution but in reality that will be impossible. In countries such as the USA where the death penalty is applied, it never prevents offenders from committing such crimes. If such crimes can still be committed in a very powerful, rich, everyone literate, have access to information and have severe penalties, PNG must be prepared to take a extra step and dig deep to find a lasting solution. PNG is therefore having its share of a global problem that cannot be simply eradicated by imposing the most severe penalty – the death sentence. Instead, being the most responsible people, we all must be proactive in our approach to address the problem – that is to find and address the root causes first before being reactive to solve a very deep and complicated problem.

To find the root causes, one must prepared to ask the question – PNG is relatively a rich country in terms of natural resources with a small population and a large land mass but why it is poor struggling to address its escalating law and order problems? It is because of corruption, which, for the last 37 years, we have been letting it to grow systematic and systemic. It is now making our lives difficult, limiting our opportunities, making our systems malfunction, setting back our progresses, creating loopholes for our systems to be manipulated, distorting of our democratic values, depriving and denying us of our basic human rights and trapping millions of our citizens in poverty. Now we are starting to sow the seed we or our leaders have planted 37 years ago.

Remember that eighty-five percept of the population lives in rural areas and in settlements, where poverty is prevalent. Poverty is an ingredient of worst crimes. If we continue to fail to provide or neglect them the opportunities they need to live a better and meaningful life in our society, we are in fact widening the gap between the richer and the poorer. When that happens, what do we expect from the poor whom we have denied them equal opportunities – struggling to survive while we on the other hand enjoy what we have taken from them? Unfortunately, the victims are also the victims of corruption.

To conclude, to address the root cause of crime in the country, corruption must be equally treated as a worst crime against the State and her people. It has been and is still responsible for most of the social problems in the country which eventually leads to worst crimes. Therefore, whatever penalties applied to murders, rapists, drug edicts, and alcoholics, state criminals or white collar criminals whoever they are must also be treated in the same manner.

If we fail to address corruption now, it will return to haunt us when we least expect – in our cars, at our homes, at our work places or wherever we are, it will find us one day. To avoid what is eminent, let’s act now before we start jumping up and down again only to tear our country apart.

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  1. Paul Amatio
    May 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I find it ironic that Peter O’Neil and government have increased the penalties for crimes against the person. This is my uneducated view is just a band aid / stop gap solution. I espouse and support the view of the Editorial in yesterday’s National Newspaper. That is let us start first with the root causes of lawlessness – corruption for one. When will we see mandatory 50 years imprisonment for those holding high office and found guilty of corruption? When will it be a life imprisonment offence to be found guilty of misappropriation in office? When will those who have been found guilty of corruption in public offices be permanently barred from holding any similar office again? When will it become compulsory by an automatic operation of the law that any minister, MP or departmental head who is accused of any offence or crime, irrespective of the severity or seriousness of the allegation, be subject to a mandatory stand down from such office until they are cleared (or otherwise)? When will any such standing down be on a WITHOUT PAY basis (no work- no pay). Until then, why should we continue to see these fat cats get away with everything while they continuously enact laws the protect their privileged positions at the expense of us grass roots. These laws are designed to cocoon them so they and their cronies can continue to plunder us with impunity. Everybody can jump up and down and praise Peter O’Neil as if his shit don’t stink…I don’t believe that this recent laws benefit anybody except those already living privileged lives.

    Make real laws that punish the true thieves and rapists of our country, then I’ll celebrate for 1 week. Make laws that increase the police manpower ceiling to 20, 000 and give them the money and resources to efficiently and effectively fulfill their constitutional duties. Get rid of those criminals in blue who run around extorting money from all and sundry to fund their alcoholic appetites and recruit a better class of professional career police personnel. Get rid of the localised training system as it has bred corruption and recruitment of the wrong type of policemen/women and get an independent body, even if you have to bring in Australians or New Zealanders to conduct all recruit and officer training for the RPNGC. Some of these so called officers cannot even read and write decent English.

    Maybe then, the country and breathe easier. Fix all the laws, from the Summary Offences up. These are the basics. Get them right. Increase penalties for street offences and traffic offences. That is where changes have to be made. The big things will take care of themselves if we get the basics back in place.

  2. Kur Kient
    May 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    The inability of the people of Papua New Guinea to scrutinize their government has been a grave concern as well as the actions of the politicians or in general the government. In every government, the level of corruption is a measure of the ignorance of the people to hold their government accountable for every little action they do or decisions they make. It is therefore, the government should be afraid of the people not the people afraid of the government.

    Here in PNG corruption is rampant because the leaders have taken advantage or exploit our ignorance/inaction to further their own agendas – that is to graduate as business entrepreneurs or millionaires without assets after serving their five year term. All they have been thinking of is to enrich them, while occupying public offices. They don’t care how they run this country.

    But who will suffer? It’s you and me. Therefore, we have to make our stand now. Let’s all denounce the actions of the government in tolerating corruption for 37 years. If they cannot do it, why not we do it ourselves?

    Let’s get strategize and network with all the likeminded around the country who have the heart, desire and vision for the country. Let’s develop our own visions, development strategies backed up by long-term development plans. Once we have the numbers and pool every resource and people together, we can do awareness on corruption. We can mobilise youths and grassroots in the anti-corruption campaign. We have all information about corruption and we know what has been going on in the country for the last 37 years. If the message can be taken across to the rural 85 precent population – they will have hope again and will eventually realise that corruption was making their lives difficult and deprive them the equal opportunity to success in life.

    If our party win the majority we can form the government and all that we want to do we will do for the love of our country and for the sake of the rural 85 precent population. All those that you have mentioned above we can do it. It’s not that hard.

  3. Sam
    May 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    True

  4. Gauss Weber
    May 14, 2013 at 9:14 am

    How can PO fight corruption when he has his own crime to answer for in the NPF Tower deal? Why is he not prosecuted?

  5. Rata Palisah
    May 15, 2013 at 10:25 am

    At least we can do something quickly either be band aid treatment or not, the escalating crime problem is really getting out of hand. If can give more power and money to SK to go after all those white collar criminals stealing from the people of PNG and bring them to justice the better me the majority grassroots should get some relief. Hasser penalties like, death, chopping hands (like in the middle east) isn’t bad idea also. The hasser penalties should be handed out to drunckards, home brewers, drug traffickers, consumers and growers alike, rapists, murderers and white collar criminals.

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