The National

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Aug. 31) – The removal of Sir Mekere Morauta from City Hall is yet another sorry chapter in the administration of the National Capital District (NCD), Papua New Guinea’s capital.

Sir Mekere joins a long list of others who had been ousted from the chairmanship of the nation’s biggest metropolis.

We regret his removal from the post, the more particularly because it is not done in the interests of the more than a quarter of a million people who live in Port Moresby. It is simply a stark piece of political convenience.

Sir Mekere, when prime minister, ushered in legislation to abolish all 20 regional seats by 2007. The Somare Government seems undecided about the future of these seats, and by extension, the survival of the governors that occupy them.

If the Government wishes to rescind the Morauta legislation, it needs a two-thirds absolute majority to do so.

When the attempt was made in Parliament’s last sitting, there were deemed to be insufficient numbers present to vote on the matter.

The incoming replacement for Sir William Skate, Mr Wari Vele, has made no secret of his determination to become governor of the NCD, rather than chairman of the NCDC, and this leaves the Government with something of a dilemma to solve.

As far as The National is concerned, the chief issue is none of the above.

It is the long standing and increasingly desperate need of the citizens of this city to get a better deal for themselves and for their community.

What goes on in Port Moresby is, or should be, the daily concern of City Hall.

One glance at this dirty, criminal-controlled town should be enough to convince anyone that the NCDC in its present form simply cannot cope with the size and complexity of Port Moresby.

City Hall should be controlled by an elected lord mayor, with an assembly of aldermen and women. And above all, City Hall must be free of all political appointments.

The last requirement this capital needs is another political hierachy, with another governor’s position open to the same corruption as the other 19 had proven to be.

This city is so beset by problems that time wasted on playing political games over governorships and party numbers is nothing but an insult to the residents.

Is anybody out there listening?

The residents of Port Moresby have long since ceased to care who is to blame for what shortfall.

We want to be able to live peacefully in our homes without having a heart attack every time there’s an unexpected knock at the door.

We’re fed up with rape and street assaults.

Our wives and daughters are becoming too frightened to even leave our houses.

Our roads are appalling, our power and water supplies are a disgrace, our telecommunication system a joke.

Public transport is a farce. Squatters pour in, more and more, day after day.

There are no acceptable excuses, not any more.

The residents of the nation’a capital should overwhelmingly support any group of honest and experienced concerned citizens that is prepared to take over running this city.

Thirty years of blatant political manipulation has seen Port Moresby turn from a pleasant and peaceful town into the living nightmare it is today.

And let’s be honest here – Port Moresby is no ordinary small provincial capital.

The money generated in taxes by the NCDC is huge, by far the biggest amount from this type of source generated in PNG.

In other words, those who control City Hall and the capital have access to millions of taxpayers kina.

There is no reason, under skilled and experienced management, why this city should not become a capital of which we could all be proud.

But in our opinion, that means that politicians need to remove all vestiges of political control and influence from City Hall.

We need a team of honest and highly qualified citizens who can administer the complex affairs of a fast growing Third World city, and do so, not on behalf of some faceless politicians, but on behalf of the people of this capital and this nation.

Only a revolutionary view of this city and its place in PNG has any chance of changing the present intolerable scenario.

September 1, 2006

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