Letters & Opinions

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Engans die as Ipatas meddles in public service

IT HAS   been very interesting for me as a former Enga Assembly member, who has served the very people of Enga from 1990 to 1995, to read about our Honorable Governor, Mr. Peter Ipatas complaining about small administrative issues in the media.

This to me is a childish statement and deliberate intention of tarnishing and diminishing a reputable and simple public servant who has performed to his ability in delivering most needed health services to the very people who have voted Mr Ipatas.

Mr. Salan Ere, (who was my former colleage) is a professional health extension officer (HEO) and a career public servant who was clocked 26 years in the public sector, and 4 years in politics as Member of the Enga Provincial Assembly from 1990 to 1995 and held senior portfolios like Finance and Planning for three consecutive years, under the premiership of Danly Tinduwi.

Furthermore, during the time of Mr. Salan Ere, as a provincial minister responsible for financial meters, planning and budgeting only K12, 000,000 and thus handling of political issues as the Deputy Premier of Enga under Tinduwi's political regime, he has never been once questioned by the Auditor General's office or referred to the Ombudsman Commission like Mr. Ipatas who was found guilty and fined K1, 000 each for 16 counts and paid K16, 000.00 in total as fine.

Since Ipatas took over from Danly Tinduwi in 1996, as Governor of Enga, politics has crept into very important education and health institutions.  As a result, Sopas District Hospital in Wabag District, then provincial hospital entirely owned and operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Mission (SDA) has closed due to continuous  political influence and interference in 1998. Thus also resulting in a very important institution; the only Nursing College being transferred to Pacific Adventist University in Port Moresby by the SDA Church.

Also Mambsianda district hospital located in Wapendamenda district, owned and operated by the Gutnius Lutheran Church which has also been recognized as a provincial hospital for several years has been crippled by continuous political interference by Mr Ipatas and his political cronies.

We are talking about 300,000 plus Enga people's lives being at stake at this crucial moment.  Where  does Ipatas stands: to save lives of people who are dying of curable disease daily or continue to politicize health institutions and decrease the Enga population?

I think, Mr. Ipatas should prioritize and accommodate law and order in his provincial budget, (which has not been the case in his 13 years administration) and address all tribal warfare taking tens of thousands of lives and destroying property worth millions. The Enga Police facilities like vehicles, operational costs, allowances, cell block, police residence etc, have deteriorated over the past 13 years and who is responsible!

Finally, honorable Governor,  we call you the action man, you should immediately stop the two tribal fights in Surunki, Laiagam district and Suyane in Kandep District which has claimed more than 15 lives within a month. Your immediate priority is to concentrate on your backyard rather than sponsoring rugby league for political gain and sticking your nose into administrative matters. You have never been a public servant yourself and whilst you are talking about petty issues,  your own people are dying, starving for basic health and education services, homeless and scattered all over PNG in hope  of experiencing peace, harmony and fair distribution of resources and business opportunities.

Nathan Piari (Mr.)
Former Enga Assembly Member and
Minister for Finance and Planning

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