Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Time for folks in #PNG to strike the matches

Time for folks in #PNG to strike the matches

September 18, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Martyn Namorong

The Black Cat Track tragedy highlights for us Papua New Guineans, what is the prevailing norm – many of our people are being exploited. I like the term vulture capitalism because it is well reflected in the bodies of these porters.

Father Gorgio Licini of the Catholic Church asked why the Government had not flown the porters from Lae to Port Moresby to receive adequate medical assistance.

Father Licini’s question also adds to the growing public perception that the Tracking Company involved essentially failed in its duty of care towards these men who risked their lives for the tourists.

The Black Cat tract disaster isn’t about giving a bad name to middle class or posh Papua New Guineans enjoying their lives in towns and cities here and abroad. Our own politicians and corrupt elite have already given us a bad name. The tragedy is that of the little men and women forced to squabble amongst each other over the morsels thrown at them by those at the top.

A recent media report indicates that the motive of the attack may be an economic one related to the sharing of benefits of the tracking adventure. Land in Papua New Guinea is owned by complex customary arrangements and each land owning group jealously guards the benefits derived over their land. It is not unusual for fights and deaths to happen over land and the resources within. It is believed that some landowners of the track were upset over the lack of benefits.

The fantastic trickery of the modern state is that it claims to own resources on customary land and then it efficiently transfers the wealth from customary land to the hands of PNG’s predatory elite in Waigani.

The fallacy that the sympathizers of this morally bankrupt system say is that the systems will work if governance is improved. After 38 years of independence, any sane and scientifically minded person who believes in empirical evidence would call the current experiment in government a failure of epic proportions. This system of government has failed miserably to translate natural resource wealth into socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable development.

At the recent SharpTalk seminar that was poorly attended by Sharp Talk’s keyboard warriors, someone asked, “What will it take to make Papua New Guineans angry?”

Perhaps the question was posed to the wrong crowd. Of course Sharpies are too comfortable to be angry. The best they can do is diffuse their anger on Facebook.

But the folks who are struggling to eke out an existence are angry. Does anyone recall the Lae riots? Those riots were over economic opportunities? Oh and in case you Papua New Guineans still cannot believe you’re capable of this – word on the streets is that the reason the entire Chinese family at Koki were decapitated was that they were exploitative, rude and disrespectful to the local community.

Our people are angry and about time too. The next step is to light Molotov cocktails and end the exploitation before all our resources get stolen by PNG’s own predatory elite. And for this, we don’t need to train our people on how to strike the matches. I’d rather see buildings and machines burning then poor people fighting and killing each other over scraps.

  1. Kanex Kanarepa
    September 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

    That is truly correct! The poor people of this country has been continuously marginalised by our own people on top and foreigners in collaboration with our well off. We are definitely sitting on a time bomb…its a matter of time. Only a week ago, I came across a two youths at Erima “Block” shopping centre were chased out by a chinese trader at his shop, I don’t know what happened inside but the two ran out and one pulled out a sword type long knife out of his back pushed down a six pocket trousers and shouted back to the Chinese ” Yu lukim, mi karim kaekae blo yu, yu kam ronim mi arasait na bae yu kisim! Em ples blo yu yah!! The two youths were angry and while walking out of the main gate, they kept on creaming back at the Chinese, “Nex taem mi lukim yu” My body shivered and I didn’t wanted to do any shopping there and drove off with my family because everybody there were stearing just waiting for something to happen! God bless this Country and its suffering people!!

  2. ToPam
    September 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I concur with the comments. I just dont understand why the elites and politicians of the resourceful nation are squandering millions and millions of kina out of the coffers, while the simple people are suffering and trying their best, day in day out to make ends meet by the end of the day. These elite predators collaborate with their Chinese or whatever nationality they are, to do business under a suspicious arrangement to make big money for themselves. And truly to the word, the simple people are fed up with all these garbage and as you rightfully said, it only takes one to strike the match, and everything will go up in flames.

  3. Tony Flynn
    September 30, 2013 at 6:50 am

    With no support, I have been fighting IPA since the days of NIDA in 1991 to try to get that useless body to take action against the influx of Asians into what were, in those days, illegal activities. The IPA staffs, some of them decent people, were drifting with no direction from their politically appointed directors. Promotion and Regulation under one roof! What a joke – on the people of PNG!! Our esteemed Minister for SME would be well advised to start the separation of Regulation from Promotion ASAP. Even under the present unsatisfactory arrangements something could be done about the two Asians operating stores in Bulolo without Licenses in stores built on Customary Land. There are plenty of regulations at hand; there is a drive to maus wara and no drive to action. I advised Mau Morobe to take action against Asians in illegal stores, nating, they would have been first in line to take over the vacated stores. It must never be forgotten that it was a Morobean Council and staff who issued the licences against the provisions of the Investment Promotion Act and Regulations of those days. The Directors of IPA are still a lot of useless time servers whose main requirement is to partake of cocktails with influential investors; bugger the struggling PNG entrepreneurs.
    Strike a match, warm your body and feelings for a little while; the future will be exactly the same. Just a blip in the exploitation of PNG. Asians don’t care they; have plenty more. How many less Asians are there in LAE after the riots; there are many more. The Black Cat – tourism should be a small part, an important part, but nevertheless should be a small part of the economic life of PNG. It should not be an occupation that could be a life threatening competition for the tourist dollar, the only dollar available to those youths. Quite often some tourists treat PNG as a visit to the zoo; there are the performers; there is the scenery. The effect on the locals is to drive some deeper into despair at the gulf between what the tourist represents and the village life/ existence. Our future lies with the economic betterment of our millions of subsistence farmers.
    Tony Flynn

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