20 Jun 2012

PNG commentator favours decentralisation of govt powers

7:09 am on 20 June 2012

A prominent Papua New Guinea commentator says most people in his country would benefit from decentralisation of government powers.

Martyn Namorong says the country's leaders in Waigani are repeatedly alienating the rights of ordinary Papua New Guineans to their land and resources.

Mr Namorong says the recent inquiry into the Special Agricultural Business Lease system found the leases were routinely misapplied and not based on any investigations into who owned the land involved.

He says while provincial voices may raise issues over SABLS, they are ignored by political interests in central government.

"The problem in the country is not really with the laws, it's just keeping order. And those who are supposed to keep order are the public service - by that I mean Waigani because a lot of power is vested in Waigani - and it just isn't happening. I think if, say, the Lands officers in Madang, the ones who did a very good job, and they did write to Waigani highlighting their concern, if they had the power to actually stop it (the SABL arrangement) down in Madang, I reckon they would have done."

Martyn Namorong.