TO THE THIEVES ROBBING PNG
And before your time too.
And when you do, your relatives and friends will be fighting over your stolen wealth even before the worms have had a chance at your flesh.
Your last fleeting thoughts will not be of the wealth you have amassed or of lovers and good times, but the relatives whose love you have spurned.
You will yearn, not for the warm flesh of a lover, but to hold the hand of a child who has long ago forgotten you are the parent.
That is the tragedy you do not seem to realise awaits you.
You have this mistaken thought that you will live far longer than you actually will or even that more money will improve or increase your lifespan.
The opposite is true.
I talk about you, daylight thieves, those who are bleeding this country dry, hell-bent on filling your own pockets while mothers and children go to bed hungry and fathers struggle from dawn to dusk every day of their lives and never see K100 in any one year.
I talk about you who sit in comfortable boardrooms or hotel rooms plotting just how much you can get from a certain project and never once thinking about how many jobs you are sacrificing or how many children’s futures you are selling short on.
The thieves must look to history and learn from it.
When a politician or businessman who has stolen too much dies, relatives are already squabbling over how to split up the person’s wealth before their flesh has grown cold in the grave.
That is what awaits you thieves out there.
Do you not know that those closest to you despise you the most?
They are the ones who talk because they know what you are doing.
They know you are stealing.
They know you are running off with another innocent man’s wife because you can afford to and wonder if you might be doing that to their own if you had the chance.
They know what they are given is pocket change to that which you retain.
And because they have friends and relatives, particularly children, whose futures you are robbing, they hate you.
You do realise, don’t you, that you are the loneliest person alive, even in a crowd of 10,000 people.
It is because you have painted yourself into a corner with your dishonesty and stealing that even your own wife and children do not know.
See, you have to present yourself as a decent, upright, principled, law-abiding father and husband so you hide your crimes from those closest to you.
You pretend to be somebody to your family which you are not.
You pretend to be good when you are actually a criminal.
You cannot share your innermost worries – your guilt – with your loved ones so you share them with your fellow criminals who despise you all the more and who talk nonstop behind your back.
Believe me, I know. I have heard enough over two decades to be able to make this statement with absolute conviction.
In the innocent is the truth and you stand condemned by it.
Your own family. They do not know what you do.
Worse, they are not interested. They do not wish to know.
So you see, you are alone also because those nearest you have distanced themselves.
They loathe you because you chose to hide them from the rest of the community which they like to be a part of.
They do not want to be shunned by the people, to share in your stolen wealth.
In a recent conversation, a friend said: “See, I can understand if they stole because they need it. But they do not need it. They have more than enough. And yet they continue to steal.” Neither can I.
And then there are those of you who think that Australia or Singapore or some other overseas destination is for you.
You hide your families from the rest of PNG society and you go off with your loot to those countries.
The world is small. When next time you are at dinner in one of these places, look around you.
You will see people casting glances at you and nudging each other and speaking in low tones.
What they are saying is: “This family is here at the expense of the poor starving people in their own country. They pretend to live it up here because they have stolen so much and are afraid of their own people in their own country.”
No, sir. You do not belong there and you know it.
You have just unwittingly begun a journey, if you are not already there, which will see you and your kind become stateless individuals who are accepted neither at home nor in the other places their ill-gotten wealth takes them to.
It is not a healthy lifestyle you are leading, this career of stealing.
You are constantly harried and harassed.
You lead a life of worry.
People call you all sorts of good names in front of you for what you can give them.
They are not your friends.
Behind your back, they would not give two hoots if you died today.
Finally, you will leave no legacy behind but that which every thief leaves behind.
We know because we did not see you set one brick in place to build the kind of wealth Sir Brian Bell has built or that Mathias Merimba has built.
You have not struggled like Jerry Kapka who built up Congo Coffee so that hundreds of coffee growers can sell their produce to or Allan Bird who has built up a network where hundreds of vanilla farmers and crocodile farmers can sell their produce to.
These are the true salt of the earth, hard working and truly wealthy people.
There are many hundreds of them who strive quietly to improve the socio-economic conditions of their own lives and as they do, they also improve our lot as a nation.
Their wealth consists not only of money in the bank but loving families and relatives, the blessings and prayers of hundreds of thousands of appreciative people.
These rich people do not need to escape anywhere except for true rest and recreation. They are safe. Their families are treasured and protected by the people.
To the thieves: The curse of the criminal is upon you. You will be running forever – a fugitive until the grave.
The law might not catch up with you but you can neither escape the fury of your own conscience nor the curse of the people.
And to those individuals who have arrived at this line with increasing consternation and anger and think I should not have written this – this message is for them.