Barney Orere, columnist, in Papua New Guinea Post-Courier (July 6, 2021)
Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Department of Prime Minister and NEC)
The government has survived the odds to last two years in power. The first challenge that the regime of Prime Minister James Marape met was Covid-19. Just like a child is not terrified by the broomstick in mum’s hand but by the look on her face, it was the enormous fear that made everything seem bleak. But the government moved swiftly before the outbreak was declared a pandemic. The measures it took were criticized but the end story is what we see today – matters could have been far worse.
The PM faced other extraordinary challenges – court battles to remove the government and the economic crisis due to Covid-19. The major risk was the economy – that the entire system could break down. Law and order was another concern. There is no “thank you” in politics. What counts is the whole-of-government approach the ruling coalition adopted as its key strategy. What Marape did was try and put Papua New Guinea (PNG) back on track. Marape became the first PM to give money directly to the people – for promoting small and medium-sized enterprises.
The contest is now between those who want to change PNG and those who want to continue with the old normal. Covid-19 is here to stay. People who say all the right things to impress the country, observers, and friendly nations and organizations belong to the old normal. The people are more aware of what goes on today. They want better times and to do away with the old normal.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.