By Paul Amatio
I have seen many very well educated and articulate countrymen come forward on social media and even in the daily papers talking about the one thing that we all agree on. And that is that this country can do much, much better than it is doing now. Many including me have put our thoughts and suggestion forward on how this can be achieved and I agree with many of them while disagreeing with others. However what we all agree on is that unless there is come critical change at the political level, we will never see these direly needed changes.

I have always maintained that the only way forward is by enhancing the rule of law and strengthening our capacity to enforce the law in a country governed by universally founded and respected laws. Obviously this needs to start with our legislators who must respect and uphold the rule of law in all they do. In PNG many of our law makers are more interested in how to circumvent the laws, bend the laws to suit themselves and even try to undermine the judiciary. Indeed in recent times, many of the rulings of the judiciary have raised eyebrows and left some of us gasping for breath.

The so-called social contract which underpins the formation of communities and societies is solidly based on the rule of law since all societies must agree to abide by a set of agreed, established and accepted norms of behavior and conduct before they can live together in harmony. Without that agreement and understanding, there can be no contract, implied or not. Therefore if we are to live and progress, we need to uphold, respect and enforce those laws that brought us together initially. Strengthen instead of weakening laws as some of our lawmakers are now doing.

This country desperately needs recognise our roots where our communities lived by and honored all the laws, rules, norms and customs that were established for the protection of all and respected those of other nearby groupings enabling a peaceful and harmonious co-existence. Let no one tell you we were a primitive people without laws. We had a very democratic system of government in the highlands, a fully-fledged and working tribal chieftain system in the coastal areas and these all worked to maintain social hegemony.

For the country to progress, we must re-establish the systems, processes and procedures that enabled all people to work within and respect the rule of law. The rule of law is a critical requirement for development and it forms the foundation upon which all other enablers of development are based.
If we were to really look into this, we will find that our people lived and worked and survived under a system of democracy that was much more closely related to a “guided democracy” than any other kind of system. This system has aspects of democracy, socialism, communism, totalitarianism and is very strictly guided by the principles of law. It demands adherence to law and is very inflexible when it comes to penalties and adherence and compliance. I believe that is the same system that Singapore used to propel itself to where it is now.

Lee Kwan Yeu of Singapore realized this way back and adjusted the process to suit the needs of his people. We need to do the same here. We have to adjust the system to suit the needs of our people and our country. If it means modifying the current systems, then so be it because what we have is not working for us. We do not need to fulfill the definition of stupidity by doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome. It will not happen. We have to start by doing things differently. Think outside the box.

As we head into the polls, we will be having a whole crop of new leaders putting their hands up to represent us. Voting along tribal and house line feelings, which has been the norm in PNG must now exit. We have to educate our people to look outside and vote for the person who will enable a solid foundation for development where everyone benefits and not just tribal and house line. Indeed we must look to candidate and leaders who are nationalistic in outlook and locally oriented in approach. Indeed the majority of the 111 must go – they have not performed as lawmakers.

My belief is that a leader rooted in the foundations of law enforcement and a disciplined background will make the best leaders going forward. It is true that among these, not all are the same and not all are good and upright men. But many who have come through the old school and made their hard way through the ranks still have that solid core of nationalistic loyalty that they are guided by. They still honor their oaths to the constitution even if they no longer wear a uniform. They still abhor and despise corruption and unethical practices. They still care more for the country than themselves. They are the types of leaders we need for PNG now. So by simple extrapolation, anyone who now puts himself or herself forward as a leader must have an unblemished record as far as the law is concerned. And this includes moral and ethical conduct.

I have noticed that there is now a new political party that is in the making called the PNG Guided Democracy Party. I hope this party comes through as it may be the future of this nation. It is time for a change in this nation. So let us look to new leaders, new political parties and new visions and ideas and systems and processes and procedures and laws to make this country go forward instead of backward.
And that is what Taking Back PNG really and truly means.


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