The National, Mondy 14th November 2011
THE decision-makers in the national and provincial governments must learn to listen to the cries of their people. They must learn to come down from their castles in the sky to talk to the people and take action. It is dangerous when people cry from being abused continually but their MPs and ministers continue to ignore them, especially if the lives of their daughters, sisters, sons and wives are threatened.
Such was the incident at Lae; it was deeply regrettable and completely unnecessary. It was avoidable had the authorities acted firmly and sooner. The loss of lives was unnecessary.
The Bougainville conflict occurred because the men saw their daughters and women crying continually from heavy-handed tactics and – in some cases – wanton abuse. The norm today seems to be that those in power only act when lives are lost. Can you remember anything that occurred recently where a minister shelved his plans when lives were lost? Should that be the norm?
In the 2001 student protest against the government’s policies, lives were lost. After the election, the government was kicked out. I urge Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to be careful how he deals with the ex-servicemen’s plea for their payments, and that includes the group 1360. These men are not unruly kids.
They served PNG and have legal documents to show why they are putting forward their requests. When the country was in a mess, they went out and tried to remedy the problem. Waigani did not go out. Waigani only gave direction but the soldiers and their families sacrificed to implement what politicians would not dare to do.
We learn in the Bible that the country of Israel broke into two because young King Rehoboam failed to give his ears to the cries of the people. Please MPs, listen to the cries of your people and act. It does not show you are weak – it only shows you are their leader.