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Old 14-09-2004, 12:54 PM
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PNG Gearing up for the 29th Independence Celebration

This Thursday, September 16th is the day Papua New Guinea will celebrate it's 29th year in Independence since 1975. All over PNG and in the nation's capital preparations are currently underway for the big celebration. While this is happening - the day has again inspired messages from Church leaders, Politicians and law enforcers.
I take this time to share with you Independence messages from Archbishop of Port Moresby Brian Barnes, MP John Momis and Education Minister Michael Laimo.


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Independence Day Message: 2004

We have come a long way, but we haven’t travelled very well. Perhaps this could sum up our journey together over the past twenty-nine years since Independence Day, 1975. This was a journey begun with enthusiasm, some confidence that we could make a go of it, but also a degree of trepidation because of untested ability and obvious lack of experience.

I reflect on some long walks or patrols which I made years back in my early years in PNG, sometimes beginning before daylight in order to make a good start, constantly pushing on so as not to waste good daylight hours, aiming to reach the objective at least by nightfall. Items to be carried were carefully chosen, leaving behind anything unnecessary. Planning covered local knowledge of what was possible, with allowance for potential problems such as storms and flooded rivers. Basic physical fitness was the constant factor in the equation. Such trips were both a challenge and a source of some satisfaction. But they were not easy, in fact, often it was hard going and required a good deal of determination.

PNG is on the road. The journey is not finished. Often it has been hard going. We have had to weather some severe storms, but have been able to come though with democracy intact. We are carrying some heavy baggage such as corruption, which we find hard to shed and which is holding us back. We struggle with instability in government and in politics, which distracts us from focusing on critical issues, and affects our forward progress. Apart from corruption, widespread serious crime is crippling our economy and damaging our morale. It is like walking with an injury – feeling it all the way. We talk of unity in PNG, but, for many, regionalism seems to be more important. All these things are weighing us down, making it hard to walk normally.

And so, as we draw breath and reflect, we may well breathe a short prayer for guidance and strength:

“I remember the days that are past …..
Make me know the way I should walk,
To you I lift up my soul.” (Ps. 143:5,8,6.)
We remember that Jesus said:
“I am the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn. 14:6.)
Let us not leave Jesus out of our efforts to progress:
“Lead me to do your will, make your way plain to me
to follow.” (Ps. 5:8.)


What of our problems?

1. Crime:
High on the list of our serious problems is crime. It is what deters many investors and tourists alike from coming to PNG. Because of increasing violent crime, numbers of residents of our cities and towns feel continually at risk and spend a great deal on security measures. Our police, who are struggling with many problems of their own, have been in danger of being overwhelmed by our volume of crime. For these reasons the Enhanced Co-operation Program (E.C.P.), worth K2 billion over a five year period to support the work of Australian police personnel and some senior public servants, should be an effective boost to our efforts to deal with crime and corruption. The plan has widespread public support.

Another measure to deal with crime could be the introduction of a National Service Scheme. The ranks of our rascal gangs are forever being supplemented by frustrated, unemployed, educated (?) youths, who pass through our education system annually in their thousands. Were they to be taught practical skills, with time spent on character development and acceptance of discipline, we could be making use of our considerable labour force to serve on community projects, which should include roads. The costs and benefits of such a program would be worth looking at. This is a period which would be a time for maturing for our young people.

Related to crime is the problem of proliferation of guns in our communities. There is a need to take strong measures to establish control over ownership and use of guns. Some Members of Parliament seem to feel the need to carry guns, even to Parliament! That’s not a good sign. And because drugs are related to guns and crime, the mess in the Narcotics Bureau should be cleaned up, so that this body can again become effective. While on the subject of crime and effective bodies, it would make a lot of sense for the Ombudsman Commission, which investigates corruption, to also have the power of prosecution.

2. Instability in Government
Many people in PNG feel strongly about the performance of Members of Parliament over a number of months, both in and out of Parliament, occasioned by the question of a vote of no confidence in the Government. Surveys conducted by the media have shown that the majority of those surveyed felt that raising a vote of no confidence at this time is not justified, This is not to say that the Government be given full marks for their record so far.

We have witnessed a replay of the old, familiar numbers game, with suspicion and allegations of bribery, and with frequent appointments and cancellations to ministerial and other positions. Almost every day’s news told of changes in the situation, and of tactics being employed by both Opposition and Government. Now Parliament has been adjourned for a lengthy period, possibly contravening the Constitutional regulation regarding the minimum number of parliamentary sittings required per year. This is for the Supreme Court to decide. Questions are therefore being asked as to the real motives of Members for all this carry-on.

In the meantime, the work of governing seems to have taken a back seat. There is instability in Government, and in the whole political scene. Members risk losing the confidence of their people. People want stability, not confusion and uncertainty. They want the Government to govern and provide important services which include health, education, good roads and the combating of crime, which will affect the quality of their lives.

3. Agriculture/Roads
The Government has stressed the prime importance of agriculture for our economy. The land has the potential to produce various crops of good quality in quantity. This industry is by nature sustainable, and the majority of our population, being owners of their own land, can be involved. One difficulty can be in locating markets, another in getting the crops to market. Good roads are essential to support any agricultural program, and some efforts are being made to repair roads. But the reality is that funds are totally inadequate for roads countrywide. Those who wait for Government assistance will be waiting for a long time. Communities who are willing to help themselves and repair their roads will reap the rewards.





4. Health
If health is a high priority, then the Government should ensure that health facilities are not closed for want of payment of bills for water and power, as happened recently in Port Moresby. Government should perhaps provide water and power free of charge to Town Clinics, etc., as a service to the community, or at lest subsidize these basic needs.

The rapid spread of the HIV/AIDS virus throughout PNG has become our number one health problem, and the need for more serious awareness programs are becoming apparent, as well as the need for care for patients and families. However, the wisdom of a recent initiative sponsored by the National Aids Council must surely be wondered at, where an African Gospel band will be performing at Night Clubs in Port Moresby and Lae to carry the “Beware AIDS” message. Night Clubs (and it is said that there are more than 40 in Port Moresby), would be contributing substantially to the rapid spread of AIDS here. Patrons will hear the music, but probably not the message, especially if delivered in an African tok ples, through an alcoholic filter, with the usual distractions. We must be short on ideas for awareness.

Finally

Although we have come a good distance after 29 years of independence, when we weigh up the pluses and minuses, the achievements and disappointments, we would most likely acknowledge that there are many things that need eradicating, correcting or improving.

We pray again that the Lord would help us to know the way we should walk, and that he would guide our steps as we go on. As we reflect, let us give thanks for our many blessings, and pray for peace in our hearts, in our families and communities and throughout our nation.

God bless you all. Happy Independence Day!




+ BRIAN J. BARNES, OFM, KBE, DD
Archbishop of Port Moresby
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Last edited by ***aCe***; 14-09-2004 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 14-09-2004, 12:58 PM
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Governor Momis Speech On The Eve Of Png’s Independence

When we celebrate Independence this year it is good to remember, the motives, the aspirations, the vision that the constitutional fathers, the leaders and the people of Papua New Guinea had 29 years ago when they chose to server the political umbilical cord between the government or the Nation of Australia and the Territory of Papua New Guinea.

It was a time when despite the many shortcomings and problems we were encountering the leadership decided to take a bold stand and venture into the unknown. Even though we realized that we did not have all the professionally qualified technocrats and professionally qualified people, experienced businessmen and so on we opted to move forward and become independent. We were looking for freedom, equality and justice, we wanted to become active agents of change and development, we were looking for peace, we wanted our own people to be actively involved in their own liberation in their own development and in their own process of Government.

Even though we knew for certain that perhaps the efficiency and the effectiveness of our own system in the beginning would not measure up to our expectations but we had to make a beginning.

We had to make a beginning in faith, with faith and hope in our own future which ultimately for us Christians demonstrated our faith in our God and we believed that as believers and as people called to build a new society if we worked hard and had sincerity and commitment we would in the end succeed.

We wanted to create something new, we wanted to be innovative and in the process of doing that we did not want to be discouraged by the many problems we would inevitably meet rather we wanted to celebrate the golden opportunity that unique opportunity we had to fulfil our aspirations and to create a society in accordance with our vision.

So this year as we remember the past, as we remember the ideals we had at the time we should be encouraged and motivated to take the necessary steps to fulfil that dream. The dream to be free, the dream to be democratic, the dream to be educated and be informed and to uphold equality, freedom, justice and respect for human life and so on and so forth.

I call upon the people of this nation not to be discouraged but to make or to have the commitment and the courage to take necessary steps to combat lawlessness, corruption, greed, hatred, division and promote cooperation between the different people that we have and to make that special commitment to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. To create a society where all Papua New Guineans irrespective of their language, tribe, religion and other factors should feel that they are accepted, that they are stakeholders in this nation and that they must accept the responsibility to fight injustice, to fight the symptoms of evil which are very much present in our system and in the behaviour of many of our people.

Basically I think our people are very good, basically we have a great potential but this potentiality that is inherent in us will not be translated into real benefits that we can feel and enjoy unless we are prepared to accept one another as equals and if we are prepared to use the resources present in our society to build something that our future generation will be proud off.

One of the ideals that motivated the leaders of Papua New Guinea at that time was to create a system of Government which would respond to the diversity in the country, a system of government that would not impose uniformity and impose too much control that would lead to stuffy ling of people’s creativity and initiative. That is the Provincial Government System, the system of Decentralization. I know that the system is now facing a lot of problems and it is time the leadership should look at what needs to be done perhaps give more resources to the people in the Provinces, better qualified public servants, the leadership should accept the responsibility to become more responsible and to become more creative and more committed to become true servants rather than working for themselves.

Papua New Guinea is so rich culturally, in terms of natural resources, in terms of its beauty and so on but we need to develop policies and we need to educate our people, we need to create awareness to enable us to be truly subjects of development and not mere recipients of goods and services.

So as we celebrate the 29th anniversary of Political Independence of our country, we should take courage and take pleasure in knowing that we have a bright future and we should not be reluctant to be a little more creative and unite in our common goal to build a better society in which there should be no poverty and there should be no lawlessness, rather we should be working together as proud citizens of this nation.
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Old 14-09-2004, 01:00 PM
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Independence Message from Education Minister - Michael Laimo

INTRODUCTION
Greetings to you all on Papua New Guinea’s 29th Independence Anniversary. As we prepare to celebrate our country’s achievements, I will talk about the significant contribution that education has made to the development of Papua New Guinea and its human resource.

Education and literacy are very important for integral human development as well as community and national development. They are also the ingredients for a peaceful, prosperous, productive and self-reliant society.

THE WAY FORWARD FOR EDUCATION IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS

We can be proud of the achievements made since independence in 1975 however; we should also acknowledge that there are difficulties and challenges that need more work.

As the minister responsible for education, I am looking forward to presenting the next National Education Plan to the National Executive Council in October this year to seek their endorsement for its implementation from 2005.

This next Plan builds on the progress of the last 29 years and especially the achievements of the last ten years of education reform. It identifies strategies to target improvements that still need to be made which includes addressing problems such as the large number of children who still leave school before the end of grade eight, and how to help young people learn relevant practical skills to be self-reliant and make a living.

This Plan will prioritize basic education, followed by vocational and technical education, literacy, flexible, open and distance education, secondary and tertiary education as the way forward for Papua New Guinea towards a better future through education.

Our children are our future. It is very important that we provide the opportunity for all our children to go to school and stay in school for the first nine years of basic education so that they learn to read and write and learn life skills that provide the foundation they need to become self-reliant and productive in their lives.

SELF RELIANCE
The education theme for 2004 is ‘Prosperity through Self Reliance’. We chose this theme because it supports the government’s Policy on Recovery and Development as well as the Policy for Self Reliance in Schools.

The Department of Education has been encouraging institutions throughout the country to carry out self-reliance projects so as to reduce the burden of fees for parents, and supplement school requirements. This also discourages the handout mentality and helps students develop positive values and useful life long skills.

It is very pleasing to note that many of our institutions are implementing projects that are helping to supplement students’ meals or have helped to purchase learning materials.

We must encourage our people, especially the young generation, to recognize the significance of self reliance. We need to encourage our children and communities to understand that their survival depends on being self-supporting.

Many of our institutions are run down and need a lot of money to maintain or rebuild. Schools need to look outside the normal fees and subsidies collected to support their budget.

CONCLUSION
Our National Constitution calls for Integral Human Development and for Papua New Guinea to become economically and politically self-reliant through the use of skills and resources available in our homes, schools, communities and our country.

We must be proud of ourselves and our nation. Papua New Guinea is richly blessed with natural and human resources, cultures, people and beauty. We must respect one and another and continue to work together to develop our communities and our country.

I take this opportunity to encourage all Papua New Guineans to revisit the National Constitution and rekindle the spirit of self reliance and national unity

We can prosper if we become self-reliant and work together. When there is prosperity, people enjoy increased income opportunities, good health, better living standards, and autonomy in decision-making and political independence.

I wish you all happy and safe celebrations this Independence Day


HONOURABLE MICHAEL LAIMO CBE MP
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
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