PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Sept. 17) - SIR Michael Somare returned to Independence Hill 28 years after taking Papua New Guinea to independence and vowed to free the country of dependence on foreign aid.

He wants all Papua New Guineans to work harder to make PNG become economically independent in the coming years. The address is not so different to those delivered by former prime ministers on the anniversary of PNG independence. It is another of those speeches charged with patriotism and nationalism — similar to many he had delivered in the past.

But this time, the Chief told the nation he is nearing the end of his political career, which has spanned over 34 years.

In his own words, he wants to leave behind a legacy of an economically independent country. 

He wants to transform PNG from a country dependent on aid into a country whose economy is reflective of the abundant resources that she has. We mean no offence to the Chief but the people of PNG have had an earful of political rhetoric from politicians- and prime ministers. 

They want to see real changes that will raise their standard of living, create more jobs, better educational opportunities for their children, better health services with hospitals and health centers that do not run short of medical drugs let alone doctors and nurses. They also want peace in their communities.

Papua New Guineans want a corruption-free country where leaders are honest and live God-fearing lives. Leaders who put their country first and their own pockets last. 

The Somare/Marat Government has policies that have the potential to bring real changes to the lives of every Papua New Guinean. But they must deliver on those policies.

PNG faces many big challenges ahead and its ability to break away from dependency on foreign aid and become economically independent — as Sir Michael wants it to be — will depend on the young leaders who are now in government and in parliament.

They are the people the nation is looking for leadership, guidance and wisdom.

September 17, 2003

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