Most PNGans including myself are genuinely sick and tired to their bone marrow to read, discuss and talk about corruption especially in the government and rightfully so because its like repeating the same story over and over again. Some say we should never tire of discussing it because they argue the more we talk about it someone somewhere might get off their back to do something. This might be true because as a nation, we have a very short memory span (to the benefit of those implicated) and many incidents have been forgotten without any actions being taken. Many of us have just accepted it as a fact of life in PNG and there are those of us who will make jokes at drastic suggestions of mutiny, military coup, assasinations, etc because we know these are just words which perhaps will never be transformed into reality (am not suggesting here that these cannot be done). On the same token, there are freedoms which we PNGans take for granted like the freedom of media, free speech and opinion, equality, right to belong to a labour union, etc maybe because we were fortunate in our history that these freedoms were handed to us without any blood being shed. The media to its readers chagrin has been continuously reporting corruptive practices by the current and previous governments and it does seem that it is fighting a loosing battle.
At the same time it is to the corrupt individuals or groups advantage that about 80 % of PNG population are uneducated and survive on rural subsistence living. The story of corruption would be different if these statistics were reversed. But the question is what can the educated 20 % do about corruption rather than the usual discussing and reading about it in the media that is already becoming a bore to most of us?
If the whole bunch of the freedoms that we enjoy in our democracy is analysed properly, it would seem that we have been dealing with corruption predominantly with just one core freedom: that is the right to free speech and media(which as we are speaking is being eroded quickly because one can face the parliamentary privelleges committee if making an unpopular statement). What of the other freedoms we have? What about the labour unions of PNG? They are the very group that can bring the government to its very knees and this has happened many times in our short history. When the teachers or nurses or even police or PNG Pawa engineers goes on strike, it takes the government of the day the minimum time possible to respond and 9 times out of 10 the response has been favourable. But we go on these strikes because of what we will gain individually in our respective employment conditions. This is the very mentality that drives and sustains corruption - to gain individual benefits. This mentality has to change. Labour unions of PNG should not be playing politics because they are not a registered political party. The mentality of going to strike for individual gain must change. PNGans and their unions must unite and bring the government (or the powers that be) to its knees not for personal gain but for Papua new Guinea's national gain. This freedom is ours by right and even the government cannot take it away. This is what the educated 20 % of PNG can do on behalf of the silent majority and the nation. I am sick and tired of reading and discussing corruption in the media. Give Freedom of speech and media a rest. Let PNGans use the other freedoms at their disposal to combat this disease. Of course if PNGans and their labour unions do not take up this challenge but sometime down the line later I read that some union has taken industrial action for its members renumerations,etc, then I will have one conclusion of what we PNGans are: we are a greedy, selfish and self centered lot and that these being the very attributes that leads one to corruption, each and every one of us is not different to the corrupted hierarchy or individual and that corruption is part of who we are as PNGans.
(NB* refined format of the above is submitted to our 2 dailies but it is up to the editor's choice to be printed or not).
Em tasol and you are KINDLY welcomed to comment or add suggestions. God Bless PNG.