Monday, August 8, 2011

[pima.nius] PNG TI warns of social unrest

11:48 AM |

PNG TI warns of social unrest

Updated August 8, 2011 17:15:20

Transparency International PNG says it fears there'll be social unrest in the country if some highly anticipated legislation is not passed before next year's general elections.

They include the creation of 22 reserved seats for women in parliament and the creation of two additional constituencies of Hela and Jiwaka in the highlands.

President of Transparency PNG, Lawrence Stephen said this while commenting on the sudden change of government in PNG.

Presenter: Pius Bonjui
Speaker: Lawrence Stephen, President of Transparency PNG

STEPHEN: Everybody was taken aback. On the one side, people are in need of a change. There was a sense in the country that things are not just working properly, not just to do with the prime minister being ill, but to do with a whole attitude that seemed to be developing where the leadership was not this apparently responding well. On the other side of it, it seemed to be very sad and possibly illegal for this sort of move to take place in the way it did and when we watch as the speaker simply refused to listen to anybody other than the people here who now support him, that became even more disturbing.

BONJUI: Parliament had a lot to do before the next election. I mean, they've ousted a government which likes the election of female politicians to the parliament and as well as the two new provinces. This is a problem for the new government to get this all done before the next election?

STEPHEN: Yes, a problem for the government, a problem for the parliament and an issue facing the people. One wonders whether they're actually going to be able to deliver on these things. Clearly the women's groups are hoping to see this law go through the parliament, but in past experience, when people are deciding the priorities of the parliament, they tend to put something's last and that seems to have been one of the things that drops off the agenda each time things come up. The new electorate are extremely important, in particular, the new electorate of Hela, because many people who are looking at this as an opportunity for decisions to be brought closer to the people, power to be distributed in other ways and we can expect all sorts of social unrest if things are not handled quickly and carefully. The Jiwaka province is also a potential worry. So these things are all hanging over us. But unfortunately, the reality for Papua New Guinea is that we have many things hanging over us and tend to postpone the important decisions and important actions until things break apart in front of us. We've seen this in the past. We had it, for example, with Bougainville many things that needed to be done, that should have been done, that could have been done and simply people didn't get around to doing their job or parliament was to busy looking at other issues. This has been repeated and it's a shame, it will be a huge shame if it gets repeated now, but we have very little time.

BONJUI: In your view, the business community in PNG, what are the responses by them or the man on the street in his situation now?

STEPHEN: Difficult to say, people were looking for change, the business community is clearly concerned. It hasn't escaped peoples notice that many of the people who suddenly voting with the new government were sitting on the other side, voting with the old government. There is concern around that. At the same time, people look at the team of talent including the skills of the new prime minister, including the capacities of individual people now holding these interim portfolios and there is a sense that there are sufficient people with integrity and capacity to continue to guide the ship of state. There's also an underlying concern for legitimacy for respecting laws. If you simply ignore laws in parliament, then what other laws will you ignore. These are underlying concerns.

The business community watches what's going on in the outside world, but so far, this also hasn't apparently impacted here. People are watching and in the meantime are very busy, business as usual and there's much to be done. There's a huge liquid natural gas project underway and there are people busy in many parts of the country. So time is yet to tell how the things happening abroad are going to impact on what's happening here. Meanwhile locally, everyone's busy, yes there is some concern, yes there is reasonable confidence, that there is a good team, even though questions as to how that team became the team leading the country and people are waiting now to see what the referee says when it comes to the courts looking into how all this is happening.


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pacific islands media association
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aotearoa, new zealand
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pacific islands media association
pima.nius@gmail.com
aotearoa, new zealand
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The pima.nius googlegroup is a facility for discussion and distributing information. Content sent by this googlegroup are forwarded from various networks and media publications.
 
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