PNG a mess, says Patience

PNG a mess, says Patience

anon
anon

June 2nd, 2006, 1:37 am #1



PAPUA New Guinea is a vast administrative and political mess, according to departing University of PNG vice-chancellor and political science professor, Allan Patience.
In an article in a leading Australian newspaper yesterday, Prof Patience gave a dire assessment of the state of PNG’s national affairs, saying there is “incontrovertible evidence” that the situation is worsening by the day.
The controversial university academic, who raised the ire of his colleagues at UPNG and others around the country with his criticisms of the university’s administration and PNG’s governance in general, this week announced he would cut short his three-year contract and leave the country at the end of the month.
In yesterday’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Prof Patience said that PNG represented a serious problem right on Australia’s doorstep.
“The simple fact is that all of the South Pacific states are struggling with increasingly intractable and dangerous problems of misgovernment. Nowhere is this more ominous than in Papua New Guinea,” Prof Patience wrote.
“The systemic corruption that poisons the political system from top to bottom is well known. Transparency International continues to downgrade PNG each year on its international corruption index. Late last year, the PNG police force was strongly criticised by Human Rights Watch International for routinely imprisoning, bashing, torturing and raping children.
“Crimes of violence are escalating, including bashings, murder and the rape of very young children, teenage girls and women. HIV/AIDS is out of control, as are malaria and tuberculosis. Health services are collapsing.
“The education system has all but disintegrated. Literacy rates are plummeting as schools close. Teachers are not being paid properly, or are not being paid at all. The higher education sector is fragmented and grotesquely under-resourced. It long ago ceased being the main builder of human capacity for PNG.”
Prof Patience said that over the past two years, the United Nations Development Programme had placed PNG successively lower on its human development index because essential services were failing and governance was stalling.
Prof Patience also criticised Australia’s response to the “looming crisis” in PNG; calling it “befuddled” and “ham fisted”.

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Lapun
Lapun

June 2nd, 2006, 3:19 am #2

Dooms day preachers have come and gone, but, still the country survives through all this. It is really a miracle. Go to hell if you dont want to live in our country.

I dont mean to say that, we are okay, but such people like Patience is releasing his frustrations though the media because he has hidden motives. When they dont get what they want, they simply despise the plate that fed them and walk out with a bang. I simply, say, go to hell with his learned brain, i believe they need more of such pathetic fools like him in Australia where the Aborigines are struggling to make ends meet with never ending social problems. Go clean ur own back-yard and come, tell PNG what to do.

Lapun
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Anonymous
Anonymous

June 2nd, 2006, 6:09 am #3

He can not compare PNG with Australia. PNG is a developing country. The problems we face are expected. There is no other way. A. Patience should expect that.

He wanted to make a name for himself. Media organisations in Australia will be quoting him as one of the experts on PNG. And he will be spoiling PNG in Australia.
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SMH
SMH

June 2nd, 2006, 8:06 am #4


PAPUA New Guinea is a vast administrative and political mess, according to departing University of PNG vice-chancellor and political science professor, Allan Patience.
In an article in a leading Australian newspaper yesterday, Prof Patience gave a dire assessment of the state of PNG’s national affairs, saying there is “incontrovertible evidence” that the situation is worsening by the day.
The controversial university academic, who raised the ire of his colleagues at UPNG and others around the country with his criticisms of the university’s administration and PNG’s governance in general, this week announced he would cut short his three-year contract and leave the country at the end of the month.
In yesterday’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Prof Patience said that PNG represented a serious problem right on Australia’s doorstep.
“The simple fact is that all of the South Pacific states are struggling with increasingly intractable and dangerous problems of misgovernment. Nowhere is this more ominous than in Papua New Guinea,” Prof Patience wrote.
“The systemic corruption that poisons the political system from top to bottom is well known. Transparency International continues to downgrade PNG each year on its international corruption index. Late last year, the PNG police force was strongly criticised by Human Rights Watch International for routinely imprisoning, bashing, torturing and raping children.
“Crimes of violence are escalating, including bashings, murder and the rape of very young children, teenage girls and women. HIV/AIDS is out of control, as are malaria and tuberculosis. Health services are collapsing.
“The education system has all but disintegrated. Literacy rates are plummeting as schools close. Teachers are not being paid properly, or are not being paid at all. The higher education sector is fragmented and grotesquely under-resourced. It long ago ceased being the main builder of human capacity for PNG.”
Prof Patience said that over the past two years, the United Nations Development Programme had placed PNG successively lower on its human development index because essential services were failing and governance was stalling.
Prof Patience also criticised Australia’s response to the “looming crisis” in PNG; calling it “befuddled” and “ham fisted”.
Papua New Guinea is a vast administrative and political mess, writes Allan Patience.

THE dreadful events that erupted in Dili last week followed hard on the heels of the burning of Honiara. Together, they constitute a dire warning for Australia. In both cases Canberra reacted to events. It seems not to have anticipated them.

The simple fact is that all of the South Pacific states are struggling with increasingly intractable and dangerous problems of misgovernment. Nowhere is this more ominous than in Papua New Guinea. Australia has a serious Pacific problem, right on its doorstep.

There is incontrovertible evidence that the situation in PNG is worsening by the day. The systemic corruption that poisons the political system from top to bottom is well known. Transparency International continues to downgrade PNG each year on its international corruption index. Late last year the PNG police force was strongly criticised by Human Rights Watch International for routinely imprisoning, bashing, torturing and raping children.

Crimes of violence are escalating, including bashings, murder and the rape of very young children, teenage girls and women. HIV/AIDS is out of control, as are malaria and tuberculosis. Health services are collapsing.

The education system has all but disintegrated. Literacy rates are plummeting as schools close. Teachers are not being paid properly, or are not being paid at all. The higher education sector is fragmented and grotesquely under-resourced. It long ago ceased being the main builder of human capacity for PNG.

Over the past two years the United Nations Development Program has placed PNG successively lower on its Human Development Index because essential services are failing and governance is stalling. Now the UN has warned that PNG may be downgraded from being a "developing state" to a "least developed state", ranking it among the poorest nations in the world.

Canberra's befuddled responses to the looming crisis in PNG have been as reactive as its responses to the Honiara and Dili catastrophes. Its aid programs over the three decades of PNG's independence have, at best, held a shaky line between basic incompetence and total disaster.

It was stirred into renewed action in the wake of the intensifying US-led war against terrorism. It has stepped up aid to PNG and sought to intervene more directly to improve public administration. Yet the results are not promising.

The failed Enhanced Co-operation Program was a calamity waiting to happen. Even though many Papua New Guineans supported Australian police and bureaucrats coming to help deal with mounting law and order and governance problems, the scheme was ham-fisted from the outset. It placed well-paid, well-fed, well-uniformed, well-housed, well-equipped Australian police on duty alongside woefully paid, hungry, shabbily dressed, disastrously accommodated, hopelessly equipped PNG counterparts.

The contrasts could not have been sharper. The inevitable resentments erupted swiftly.

For a program such as this to succeed, a significant injection of resources into the PNG police force is needed, to improve pay rates (which are absurdly inadequate), to upgrade police bases, to increase mobility (outrunning decrepit police cars in Port Moresby is a popular entertainment), to upgrade accommodation (most police officers and their families live in hovels), and to radically upgrade education programs.

Many middle-level and senior officers need to be sent to Australia for training and to gain experience, which would radically improve capacity and morale.

There are many other issues that reflect the inadequacy of Australia's myopic and paternalistic diplomacy with PNG. These include the short-term working visa proposal at the Pacific Islands Forum summit late last year. John Howard bluntly turned the proposal down, promising instead to fund a major regional TAFE college somewhere in the region. Yet firm plans for this have yet to materialise.

The non-attendance of Australian ministers at the recent Australia-PNG Business Council meeting in Cairns is an unfortunate indicator that PNG ranks low in Canberra's esteem.

There are very serious problems on the PNG side of the equation, too. Governments in PNG have long been managed by ministers who overestimate their leadership and administrative capacities.

Since independence, most politicians have regarded the national Parliament as a means to amass personal fortunes. Pitifully few have articulated a vision for nation-building and governance improvement. Most play the system for what they can get out of it personally. A few have been prosecuted. Even fewer have been imprisoned. Most are basically venal and many are seriously corrupt.

Good government has been swamped by the bad politics of political survival. This is especially true of the latest Somare Government. Although it has been in power for four years, it has achieved little in terms of policy reform for national development. Its main claim to fame is its handling of the economy. While this has hardly been a stellar achievement, some stability and discipline has been realised under the cautious supervision of the Treasurer, Bart Philemon.

But Philemon is now a partial victim of the bad politics of political survival. In a recent mini-reshuffle of cabinet, he lost the finance portfolio, which was given to a minister who is unlikely to demonstrate Philemon's caution and discipline.

It is widely anticipated that Philemon will lose Treasury as well in another reshuffle heralded by Somare.

Given that the next general election is a year away, what small successes the Somare Government has achieved will be unwound in the pork-barrelling for which PNG is infamous.

That PNG is a vast administrative and political mess is patently obvious. It will soon be a major social disaster.

Does Australia have the resources or the foreign policy acumen to handle the problems that will flow as a result? On present indications, the answer would have to be "no". Nothing short of a major international intervention can save PNG. The real test for Australia will be whether it can assemble and co-ordinate a multilateral approach to PNG - and to all of the South Pacific.

Allan Patience is professor of political science at the University of Papua New Guinea.
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Objective PNGean
Objective PNGean

June 2nd, 2006, 2:19 pm #5


Dr Allan Patience didn't paint a one-sided bad picture of PNG only. He also did highlight challenges that face both Australia and PNG, which needs to be worked on.

PNG's problem of police brutality and under resourced capacity is lamentable that cannot be dismissed. The issue is real as day is from the night. We need changes for the better in the entire Police Force in general. The under resourced, underpaid, largely undisciplined liability force needs bulldozer makeup.


Social problems like AIDs and merciless rape is all there for everyone to see. Who has just descended from Pluto to argue the obvious?

Maladministration and beurocratic in efficiency is outrageously laughable. We all know this, don't we? Ranging from basic up to date record keeping to blunders in Foreign Affairs Dept's handing of Passports, Visa and labor law exploitations are all glaring at us.

The unceremonial dumping of Hon Bart Philemon with the controversial Malaysian puppet Minister are not laughing matters. These and many others are all serious matters.

Sometimes we need to eat humble pie and prove people wrong rather and lashing at commentators will do no one any justice.

I would still support someone like Dr Patience if he were still here at UPNG who really tells things like they really are rather than sidetracking
and belittling them and not speaking out against such maladies.








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Anonymous
Anonymous

June 2nd, 2006, 9:44 pm #6

Dooms day preachers have come and gone, but, still the country survives through all this. It is really a miracle. Go to hell if you dont want to live in our country.

I dont mean to say that, we are okay, but such people like Patience is releasing his frustrations though the media because he has hidden motives. When they dont get what they want, they simply despise the plate that fed them and walk out with a bang. I simply, say, go to hell with his learned brain, i believe they need more of such pathetic fools like him in Australia where the Aborigines are struggling to make ends meet with never ending social problems. Go clean ur own back-yard and come, tell PNG what to do.

Lapun
If our goal is simply to "survive", then we've got a hell of a lot more resources to give the kongkongs at rock bottom prices, and a hell of a lot more oil and gas to give the Aussies to assist their economic development!
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Peaceful Heart
Peaceful Heart

June 3rd, 2006, 1:36 am #7


PAPUA New Guinea is a vast administrative and political mess, according to departing University of PNG vice-chancellor and political science professor, Allan Patience.
In an article in a leading Australian newspaper yesterday, Prof Patience gave a dire assessment of the state of PNG’s national affairs, saying there is “incontrovertible evidence” that the situation is worsening by the day.
The controversial university academic, who raised the ire of his colleagues at UPNG and others around the country with his criticisms of the university’s administration and PNG’s governance in general, this week announced he would cut short his three-year contract and leave the country at the end of the month.
In yesterday’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Prof Patience said that PNG represented a serious problem right on Australia’s doorstep.
“The simple fact is that all of the South Pacific states are struggling with increasingly intractable and dangerous problems of misgovernment. Nowhere is this more ominous than in Papua New Guinea,” Prof Patience wrote.
“The systemic corruption that poisons the political system from top to bottom is well known. Transparency International continues to downgrade PNG each year on its international corruption index. Late last year, the PNG police force was strongly criticised by Human Rights Watch International for routinely imprisoning, bashing, torturing and raping children.
“Crimes of violence are escalating, including bashings, murder and the rape of very young children, teenage girls and women. HIV/AIDS is out of control, as are malaria and tuberculosis. Health services are collapsing.
“The education system has all but disintegrated. Literacy rates are plummeting as schools close. Teachers are not being paid properly, or are not being paid at all. The higher education sector is fragmented and grotesquely under-resourced. It long ago ceased being the main builder of human capacity for PNG.”
Prof Patience said that over the past two years, the United Nations Development Programme had placed PNG successively lower on its human development index because essential services were failing and governance was stalling.
Prof Patience also criticised Australia’s response to the “looming crisis” in PNG; calling it “befuddled” and “ham fisted”.
Yes, I agree he highlighted the bad things in governance and social order, BUT....we still have the chance to make a difference.

Let us each work to educate or influence people around us for the better. Each wantoks contributing here in PNGscape have the power to influence families, friends, tribes, workmates & even his leaders for better PNG.

Take such reports or comments with a positive mind, be determined and lets work to affect this country for the good of it.

It's you & me, that can put a STOP to such negativity. When you first began influencing your families, friends & people with transparent way of living, upholding order and Godly fear, these traits of life can cause a change in our society for the better. (Sampla pasin blo mi na mi tok).

EG:

1. Taim yu lukim olsem brother involve lo corrupt deals na baim car or house, beer, etc, ...you MUST STOPPIM displa pasin and explain the situation in a good way ...DON'T accomodate such behaviour, however your RESPECT for him as a person must stap.

2. When you educate your clans men or tribes etc, avoid that mentality of 'becoming a politician' just because people trust you or see that you are such an inspirational person. PLEASE sampla taim, lusim displa kain mentality.

Use such a trust instead to continue affecting constructively & influencing the whole district/electrate for change in proper development, clear concience and mentality of people.....not being a pollie tasol you can change or develop your small area. Anyone can do it ...as an educated person, you'll have a better chance.

3. etc, etc, etc, ...

Brothers, we must remember that many genuine PNGeans such as nurses, teachers, HEOs, etc, have sacrificed a lot their time and efforts (many with all their God given lives) for this country for a long time with no honour and recognition. When we, the elites of this country be like these people, we surely can change PNG despite criticism from foreigners.

Educating, influencing, and changing the behaviour of people in all walks of life for this country is in our hands. What I am encouraging is a slow, but the best way to go with SURE positive results, because we are dealing with people and how they interact, share ideas, behaviours, etc. 80% will want to choose a trait of character that is good.

Let's do it now and creat a PNG that we will always be proud of tomorrow.

Noken worry lo ol lain mekim noise nabaut.

Be hopeful...GOD em stap.

Peaceful Heart




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Anonymous
Anonymous

June 3rd, 2006, 1:41 am #8

"Brothers, we must remember that many genuine PNGeans such as nurses, teachers, HEOs, etc, have sacrificed a lot their time and efforts (many with all their God given lives) for this country for a long time with no honour and recognition."

I was so happy to read your statement above, Peaceful Heart. In fact you are right. There are so many PNGeans out there who aren't trying to get money or recognition for their good deeds but just doing them. They're the ones who really deserve our respect because they are doing what they are doing foremost because of a conscience and spirituality for doing what's right and helping others.

Peaceful Heart, let us also remember, however, that so many of those good people have not been able to stop the current situation where the halls of power are controlled by people who are greedy and think only of themselves.

In other words, it is not enough just to do good. It is also not enough to pray that things will get better as witnessed by the failed brukim skru campaign participated in by thousands but nevertheless a failure.

We must have a strategy that actually pushes away the greedy people. We must be more strategic than our enemey, more persistent than the greedy, harder working than the conmen who now dominate our country.
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mountainman
mountainman

June 3rd, 2006, 9:41 pm #9

Professor Patience is telling the blatant truth. He is one of those rare foreigners and Australian who are genuinely concerned about the plight of our nation. YES, it is very true that PNG is currently in a MESS! We cannot deny it and give excuses. The onus is on each one of us to do the little things right to get PNG back to order. Generally as you guys said, it is the little people (HEO's, Nurses, Teachers, and others) who are honestly working hard just to earn that meagre salary and put food on the table. It is the MANAGERS (politicians, department heads etc) of the country who are leading us away from the right path. We have to do something about it. Either vote them out or if they get elected again PNG to go on a nationwide strike to get rid of this corrupt politicians like we did during SANDLINE CRISIS.

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Anonymous
Anonymous

June 4th, 2006, 9:16 am #10

Were you one of those heroes who were on strike during the sandline crisis?
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