PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 20, 2009) – Something has to be done to stop the current wave of looting spreading through our urban centres after shows of anti-Asian sentiment by street mobs.

The outbreaks of mob mentality and looting in our major centres have gone too far.

This is a time to find out about the leadership of our provinces and the nation.

Parliament is in the middle of a sitting and we should be hearing of firm actions and decisions being taken to crack down on the civil strife that has beset our major centres.

Apart from the initial statement by Acting Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu, there has been virtually nothing heard of use from the national leaders.

All we notice really is the Internal Security Minister blaming "illegal immigrants’’ into the urban centres and condemning the "informal sector’’. Who has allowed the unchecked flow of villagers into the towns and cities over the last three decades? Politicians, of course, because it is their weakness that has prevented any control of vagrancy.

We suspect Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu would argue strongly with Minister Rambi about his criticism of "informal sector’’ workers.

Our government leaders are in Japan or Kokopo, performing their leadership roles in worthwhile tasks, cementing major projects and agreements.

But these flag-waving efforts and signing of agreements will be thrown in the gutters along with our reputation if our leaders do not stand up now and ensure the looting stops and that a respect for law is reimposed.

The vast Ramu nickel-cobalt project’s foundations were shaken by the attack on its Chinese workers. Now this rash of street violence against Asian businesses is sure to be taken badly overseas, especially in Asia.

If the Government cannot provide a stiffening of the police action in our towns and centres, all the rosey words in Tokyo,

Beijing and Djakarta will be of little good.

Politicians and diplomats from foreign countries will be looking at our antics and dredging up recent memories of what happened in the Solomon Islands.

Rightly or wrongly, we will be tarred with the same brush, unless our leaders show right now that they are capable of stamping out such lawlessness!

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