PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Oct. 25, 2011) - It was bound to happen in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Businesses and vital public service providers withdrawing their services to protest the unseemingly lack of control and lawlessness in Popondetta, the capital of Oro Province.

Vital public services such as health and business operations are likely to ground to a halt tomorrow if provincial authorities do not come good on demands by the community to make their town safer and guarantee their safety.

The threat to close the hospital and other businesses is to drive home the townsfolk concern about safety in this town. It is the result of continuous attack on hospital employees by criminal elements.

Recently a hospital employee was knifed to death. This is not the first time such an attack has occurred on a member of the hospital. This comes on top of a litany of similar violent attacks on nurses, doctors and other hospital staff members over the years.

Hospital workers provide a vital service to the community. They are there to look after the sick and the weak.

They should be protected by the community but instead they have become targets of ruthless and cowardly attacks. There have been reports of nurses being raped, and doctors being threatened. Popondetta by all accounts sounds like a town out of control where criminals roam free and do what they want.

Well the community has given up and is about to take a stand. We need the leaders of Oro to take up the cause for their capital town and spell out how they intend to make the town safer.

We have seen the consequences of crime in many parts of the country. Vital services such as banking and health have been withdrawn because people do not want to work where there is no law and order and businesses will not risk their assets in such an environment. No new business will come to replace those leaving and often businesses stay away for a long time.

The result is basically the collapse of the economy in that township.

Sadly many towns in PNG are in the same category.

In Popondetta we urge the provincial authorities to tackle the problem and address the concerns of the townsfolk. It is real and there need to be some answers quickly.

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