Monday 18 September 2023
“On a daily basis, there is tribal and ethnic violence, once only heard of in rural PNG, is now a common occurrence in our cities”.
In his address to the nation during the Flag Lowering ceremony to commemorate the country’s 48th Independence Anniversary on Saturday, 16 September 2023, the Governor – General Grand Chief Sir Bob Bofeng Dadae, reminded Papua New Guineans of the stark and grim reality of the everyday challenges facing the country.
“I can tell you plainly, and as a challenge to us all, that we are not a Christian country anymore because the very fabric of our society is infested with social ills and disrespect for one another and their properties,” Sir Bob said.
Sir Bob made a nationwide appeal in his address calling on all criminals and ethnic groupings to lay down their high-powered weapons.
He strongly condemned the cowardly act of torture in the Highlands, and the infiltration of our cities with tribal warfare.
“We must not use culture as an excuse to involve in violence and torture fellow countrymen.
“I call on all leaders, politicians, businessmen, village elders and chiefs to intervene and restore peace and reconciliation and bring to justice those responsible for carrying our such horrific acts of violence.
“Without values and high moral stance, including integrity, we are not a worthy society and cannot realize our full potential as a destination for investment and business to flourish.
“Resorting to crime and criminal activities for financial gain is, at the least cowardly, short-lived, and, at the most, leads to more personal and social problems and death.
‘Painting a negative picture of our country to the rest of the world and international community
“I hereby call on all citizens, uphold and instill in ourselves, and especially our children, the core values of Christian principles and ethics as they are fundamental in nation building.
“The basic Christian principles of generosity, courage, love, respect, honesty, obedience and volunteerism are enshrined in our National Constitution.
“These are the pillars which will allow us to stand tall as citizens of this country, take pride in what we are, and incite in us a desire to do more for our fellow citizens,” Sir Bob said.
In the next two years, PNG will be celebrating its 50th Independence Anniversary, yet ordinary Papua New Guineans are not physically seeing and benefiting from service delivery especially in the unreached corners of the country.
“The challenges they face have one critical common denominator, that is good governance management to ensure effective delivery and implementation of government services.
“The immediate focus must be to address high costs of living brought about as a result of increased world prices on oil and gas.
“Another important area of focus is the health sector, in particular, the Government’s plans to build 21 provincial hospitals.
“Equally important, are specialist hospitals for diseases such as cancer, kidney and heart disease that must be established in the country.
“Health services must be accessible to all and that means ensuring that every village has a health facility and every district has a hospital.
“Our people are our greatest assets, and we must ensure they are provided with the best healthcare services for a better and healthy PNG.
“Affordable housing, water, education, reliable electricity and information communication must be accessible for all our citizens.
“Rehabilitation of economic infrastructure in rural areas is a must, if we are to increase economic opportunities and discourage rural-urban drift.
“The rural-urban drift by our people in search of economic opportunities has not turned out right for our communities.
“Instead, it has contributed to high employment rate in urban towns and cities, loitering, social ills in our communities and increased law and order problems”.
Sir Bob urged all citizens, men, women, boys and girls to develop individual conscience, in order to create a new Papua New Guinea character based on good values, peace and respect to enable us to coexist in harmony, from this day onwards.
He said he was delighted to acknowledge the celebratory mood observed throughout the country and commemorating PNG’s 48th Independence Anniversary Flag Lowering ceremony.
“I wish to pay homage and tribute to the past and present national leaders for their unwavering leadership, dedication and commitment in ensuring that we deliver on our development aspirations.
Sir Bob said that it is through our country’s founding fathers legacy, leadership and hard work which set the pillars in creating our national Constitution and supreme law enabling the country becoming a single state of PNG and unifying all our different tribes.
“It is my strong conviction that we can build a strong, peaceful and prosperous nation through an abiding commitment to Christian principles and values across all levels of our society.
“I appeal for unity, peace and harmony throughout our country, and I want to pose a challenge to each and every one of us to prove through our personal conduct and mindset that we can build a better society from here onwards.”
“Happy 48th Independence Papua New Guinea!”