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STOP THE BLAME GAME MINISTER ZIBE

OP.ED

The blame game is not new in PNG. If we like, it is part and partial of the PNG attitude. So it is interesting to note that Health Minister Sasa Zibe does not want to be held responsible for the national doctors’ strike.
As the strike rolls into its fifth day, Minister Zibe blames the strike squarely on senior public servants in the National Department of Health and the Personal Management Department. Just how are the senior management teams of the two departments feeling now that they are bluntly told by a senior state minister that they are incompetent?


The log of claims has been outstanding for three years. We find it hard to swallow Zibe’s defence. As a leader, the minister must take full responsibility for the strike. The buck, we say, must stop with him. That is not to say that the bureaucrats are blameless. They too must share the blame with Zibe.
The strike rolls into the fifth day. We are sure that the hospitals throughout the country are starting to feel the impact of the stop work by the doctors.

Papua New Guineans are waiting to see how long the strike will go on but we agree with DPM Secretary John Kali that this industrial action is illegal. We are informed that the doctors concerns were not registered as an industrial dispute by the Industrial registrar. Is this true? Perhaps the registrar should care to explain.
Another issue has come up in this stand off between the doctors and the NDOH and DPM. We know that the State Solicitor took out a court injunction to stop the doctors from going on strike on Friday.

The doctors, by virtue of that order, should put a hold to their strike action until the substantive matter returns to the National Court and a decision is made. But that is not the case. The learned men and women of the medical profession have decided to ignore Judge Davani’s order and proceeded with their strike action.
Are we to assume that the doctors are deliberately ignoring the court order because they think they are an elite group of professionals who are not easily replaceable that they can hold the national court in contempt?

We fear that the doctors have set a very bad precedent in this whole episode. And sadly the PNG Trade Union Congress has decided to go with the doctors and have threatened mass protests by its members. Are the union leaders thinking straight? We fail to understand how they could possibly support a bunch of people who are holding the country at ransom. Yes, that is what they are doing.

Holding this country and in particular the hundreds of patients in hospitals around PNG at ransom.
Going on from here, we are surprised that the Industrial Registrar and the Police are standing by and allowing the doctors to get away with the strike. They are clearly in contempt of the National Court and that is a crime. Their leaders should be arrested forthwith and locked up and contempt proceedings should start.
In cases like this, the Government must establish its authority. It must show the people that it is in control. Minister Zibe should be in control now rather than passing the buck. And he is not.