250 Days of PNG Decline Under Marape
It is eight months since James Marape was given the position of Prime Minister by his Parliamentary colleagues following a tumultuous few months of politics.
Now only 250 days later we are in a position whereby there is outward revolt in the Cabinet, NEC meetings are being cancelled because there is no quorum, Ministers are refusing to be seen at public events with the Prime Minister and members of the public can see the general malaise of a Government in crisis.
𝗟𝗔𝗖𝗞 𝗢𝗙 𝗟𝗘𝗔𝗗𝗘𝗥𝗦𝗛𝗜𝗣 𝗘𝗫𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗖𝗘
His situation has come about due to a lack of capability as a Leader, having never had any executive management experience. This is made worse by more than 20 billion dollars in foreign investment having been lost as the Marape Government has been unable to reach agreement with investors.
The most recent failure being the P’Nyang project that after years of negotiations has now been cancelled. This has happened soon after the Papua LNG project debacle when Marape said he would negotiate new terms to the O’Neill Government agreement, only for Marape to agree to the original terms after a six-month delay. Now the major project partner, Total from France, has placed the project on indefinite hold. He claimed to have been wanting to get a better deal for landowners, but the real sticking point in these project failures are known to be attempts by certain characters to subvert sub-contracts.
The end of these projects means that jobs are disappearing in Papua New Guinea as the trickle-down effect of major projects to SMEs and other businesses fails to eventuate.
This increases law and order problems as some people become desperate to feed their families and crime becomes a disturbing last resort.
We have seen the economy lose momentum and reach crisis point. This is after the government had been managing through the global economic downturn and low commodity prices. Economic growth had not been high, but it had been positive. Then in the months after the change of government, economic growth fell as confidence from investors and the business community dropped.
The IMF is now projecting economic growth of 2.6 per cent this year, but only if resources projects get back on track, and it is now apparent that growth will not be achieved.
This will be made even worse as the global economy suffers from the economic impact brought about by the Coronavirus.
Debt has now ballooned out of control increasing by 10 billion Kina in one year, the highest ever. This was after the Prime Minister tried to get China to loan 27 billion Kina to refinance existing loans, and was turned down. Scott Morrison personally agreed to a 1 billion Kina one year loan that was used to pay for DSIPs and PSIPs for Members who support the government to pork-barrel in their electorates.
We have seen the ego of the Prime Minister go out of control with things like his so-called Manifesto “Inside the mind of the Prime Minister.” This was absolute nonsense and was just a collection of random thoughts that had no serious plans for action. We have seen slogan after slogan such as becoming the richest black Christian nation. This overt racism offended a lot of people in our country and around the world.
We keep hearing about Take back PNG, but in his rambling and repetitive speeches, he never articulated what this was supposed to mean. Take back what? In the period of this Government we have not seen a single piece of new legislation passed by the Parliament, just a continuation of most of the policies of the past government.
So the question is why did we change government?
His only major policy decision has been to end free education and kick out up to one million children from school. How on earth are rural families, subsistence farmers or newly unemployed parents supposed to find the money for school fees?
In the last eight months we have seen the return of electricity failures that had been a thing of the past. At the same time the massive electrification deal that had been agreed during APEC with Australia, Japan, New Zealand that had been on track to deliver power to 70% of our people is now in a mess. Our partner countries are just undertaking their own activities to deliver on their promises, but there is no co-ordination with the government.
𝗣𝗨𝗕𝗟𝗜𝗖 𝗦𝗘𝗥𝗩𝗜𝗖𝗘 𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗞𝗗𝗢𝗪𝗡
The public service has disintegrated and now our people face massive delays and wait in lines of over one hundred people when they visit many government offices. He has a Chief Secretary in Isaac Lupari, who had been Somare and O’Neill’s Chief Secretary, who has no control over the public service machinery. It is well known that he has the leverage over Marape that will keep him in the job for another year in an acting capacity.
𝗠𝗜𝗦𝗨𝗦𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗖𝗛𝗥𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗔𝗡𝗜𝗧𝗬 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗣𝗢𝗟𝗜𝗧𝗜𝗖𝗦
Something else that is very troubling is that never before in the history of our Nation have we had a Prime Minister who has misused and exploited the devotion of our people to Christianity for politics as we have seen with this man. This Prime Minister constantly uses the name of our Lord to justify his positions and is expecting our people to blindly follow him. He uses his position in the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists, a very good and wholesome Church with a proud history in our Nation and around the world, to claim he has some kind of divine calling. But what the people do not know is that he has been sanctioned by the SDA Church in the past because of his personal conduct, and now with his new indiscretion he is at risk of excommunication.
We are all Christians, we observe our faith and respect our Lord, but we as Leaders should never use the name of our Lord or our Christian faith for political gain.
𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗧𝗢 𝗕𝗘 𝗧𝗥𝗨𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗗
Looking back not so far, Members were realising their mistakes in their earlier support for him. He did not have the number in the Laguna Camp to win the Prime Ministership, he had double-crossed Belden Namah, Patrick Pruiatch and William Duma and walked away from the agreed deals that he had signed, often after praying over these deals with the Leaders he double-crossed. He lied to each one of the Laguna Camp Leaders and they worked him out to be a liar and a fake man, so he left in the middle of the night. He went to Peter O’Neill on his hands and knees and begged for O’Neill’s support to have the number to form Government. Then when he had the number it was only a week before he double-crossed O’Neill.
𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘 𝗧𝗢 𝗟𝗘𝗔𝗩𝗘 𝗚𝗢𝗩𝗘𝗥𝗡𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧
As more and more Members of our Parliament wake up to the inability of this Prime Minister to lead, and the all talk and no action nature of his office, I implore them to make a decision and move to the Opposition or at least to the middle benches.
Don’t think of your DSIP or PSIP that Marape will probably hold back as a penalty, because Australia is not likely to pay this for a second time in any case.
Think of your country, think of your districts and provinces, and put our people’s interests first.
Enough of Marape’s slogans of taking back, right now our country needs our Leaders to do what they were elected to do, and that is to take PNG forward.