The People are Frustrated

Yesterday, members of the Joint Security Task Force (JSTF) mainly comprising of Correctional and Police personnel stormed the parliament house in Waigani and caused damaged to the building. 

Damage caused by disgruntled members of the JSTF. Image via Post Courier.

Their actions were supposedly out of frustration for not being paid their allowances for the APEC Summit. They were even backed by their association leaders who went on air saying that they deserved to be treated on par with their international counterparts. 

They have the right to air their frustrations but they went beyond by destroying state property and attacking the symbol of the nation – the iconic parliament house. They also failed to realize that their actions also triggered opportunists to loot shops around the city.  

I could hear gunshots from my rental unit at Helai Avenue, Tokarara, coming from the market area and found out later on social media that opportunists had broken into Bismillah Trading storage area and looted their supply containers. 

Looting at Tokarara. Some of the looters are students. Image via Loop PNG.

The same thing happened all throughout the city where Asian operated stores were located. Gordon, Erima, Boroko and Gerehu had people trying to do the same. Thankfully, police were on hand to prevent more damage. However, it is clearly and indicator of the huge disparity between the haves and the have not. 

The frustration shown by the security personnel is also something shared by the general public. 

People are frustrated about the seemingly lack of concern that politicians are showing for the nation. The shortage in foreign exchange has pushed prices of imported good up, the influx of foreign workers coming in to do menial work and the lack of basic medical drugs in health centers is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Then you have a small group of people encouraging violence as a means to push their political agendas. Yesterday was a clear example with someone using a fake profile calling for the Maseratis to be destroyed by the grieving parties.

The public’s heightened frustration is also being fueled by social media – the electronic gospel of this generation – and a lot of educated people know this and are using it to control the population. 

Now, the main reason why public is easily swayed by social media is because of the lack of transparency the government has shown and the abuse and manipulation of the system by politicians. 

A number of serious allegations against politicians have gone unanswered. These include million kina deals that make no sense like the Manumanu acquisition for a naval base. That one has key ministers in the current government implicated. 

Unfortunately, there are more uncleared allegations against other politicians that goes back years. 

I am going to stop here but you can obviously see that there is a lot that the people are frustrated about and the government has to do something to restore public confidence. If they continue to brush aside these allegations then there could be something more violent than looting next time.           

Port Moresby, Crazy Town

Port Moresby has become a crazy town, at least for today as members of the Joint Security Task Force (JSTF) stormed into parliament house demanding their outstanding allowances for the APEC Summit be settled immediately. 

This resulted in working ending early with public servants, students and most businesses closing. A timely act too considering the attempted looting that happened soon after – in several parts of the city. 

It might sound crazy but it seemed like it was coordinated. 

Tensions have eased now and it is understood that the damages done to parliament house was by a small faction. 

Also from what I gathered on Facebook, the perpetrators are registered with the APEC Secretariat and they could be arrested soon.

What is a foreign God?

This morning I had to turn off the radio after listening to a guest speaker – a supposed prayer warrior – talking about praying for the the APEC Leaders Summit against the invasion of ‘foreign Gods’.

The use of this term had me so riled up that I had to switch off the radio. I literally felt offended that someone would use such a term to describe other religions when the very one that he practices is foreign.

If you are a Christian calling other religions foreign then you don’t know how your religion came to be. In fact, if we are brutally honest, as Papua New Guineans it is a religion that was literally forced on us.

Did our ancestors have a choice? To accept Christ or not? They did not and although missionaries did not force it on the older folks, they did with the children – even to the extent of taking them away from their parents.

Now I do not know which foreign God this speaker was referring to but such blind fanaticism is not good – for any faith – and history has a multitude of examples.

Anyway, that is the rant for today. Let me know what you think in the comments section.