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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Big man syndrome obstructs the rule of law: Corruption at the highest peak in PNG


There is an urgent need to re-order our value system in upholding the democracy and the rule of law. We have a constitution that applies to every single citizen in this country. But unfortunately this constitution is now divided; one for the “no profile” populace and another for the “high profile” populace. It is a sad case for democracy where we live to witness how individuals try to influence the State Institutions to corrupt and manipulate the system. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s refusal to go for questioning over allegations against him has now brought a new twist. The Police Commissioner Garry Baki over the last few weeks have suppressed our independent State Institutions primarily established to uphold the democracy and the rule of law. The Police Force has now been played to lose its values and integrity once it had.

The Police Force, Ombudsman Commission and other Government authorities must wake up to their sworn duties to their citizens. It is encouraging that there are several mechanisms in place that can promote well-being and minimize ill-being. The big man culture thrives on ill-being. Hence once ill-being is minimized, "bigmanism" as a philosophy of suppression will choke.
Peter O’Neill plays a bigmanism show with Garry Baki and their associates to choke the survival and independence of the State Institutions. This is controlled by big man syndrome and money power.
The big man syndrome has become a government. Supposedly, the State Institutions were established to be independent to uphold the democratic values and apply the rule of law. But O’Neill Bigmanism syndrome has seen no value to State Institutions and the rule of law.
The big man triumphs because he can afford mansions, in a country like ours where countless people are homeless, sick and naked. And there is no form of social security to cater for unemployment, old age or ill health. A caring Prime Minister can do so much by creating enabling environment to work and by doing so, melting down the gap between the uncaring rich and the fettered poor. Instead O’Neill has just did the opposite – putting the country to constitutional and economic downfall.

Law, I mean, the rule of law is a powerful cure to the extremes of the conscienceless rich. If we can strengthen the legal and judicial system and solve the problem of judicial corruption, we will be doing a lot of good to PNG's development. We need to demonstrate on a consistent basis, that one's wealth or poverty means nothing to the law. And why we should have a vetting committee for high-profile cases and no vetting committee for no profile people.
Where does the word “high-profile” comes from? What does it supposed to mean in this context?
In PNG today, many people are in real doubts, whether mother justice is not faking "blindness". The liberated rich displays confidence that the law will be silenced, somehow. If they suspect that the courts will be difficult to get at they start from the police. There is currently a demand and even commitment for justice reform. If these are sustained, and they pan out results, it will be very good remedy to the evils of "bigmanism"

Everybody needs to pursue the course of justice with energy. Papua New Guinean's should know their rights and know how to engage the legal process.
Everybody is accorded due respects. The big man culture seems swallowed by the collective will to promote collective well-being. Everybody is a big man in his own house. Nobody cares to know or so it seems who is big and who is not big. Once you respect the law, you are a big man. Here the reverse is painfully the case.

We should promote the western model of "bigmanism". If you are a big man, let us know by your commitment, your sacrifices to the collective growth/vision, by your handiwork and work ethic, by your integrity; selflessness and demonstrated love for your country. In absence of these values, your "bigmanism" means nothing but a fool.
"BIGMANISM" and political power are in hot romance. But curiously, the big man does not believe in the institution of government.  Neither does he believe in the force of the law. For him, the wealthy individual is a government unto himself. He builds empires around himself and compels the poor to owe loyalty to him as they would have the government.

The PNG big man is an example of human rights abuses, constitutional crises and promoting corruption at the highest level.
The big man culture promotes crimes, especially violent crimes. Because of the wall erected between the rich and the poor, many a poor want to shoot themselves to the priority divide of rich and liberated leading to violent crimes. The rich themselves, in order to maintain their status, engage in unthinkable white-collar crimes.
The rich and liberated who, more often than not, find themselves in positions of trust have made feast of the commonwealth in order to maintain their status. Politics for them has become a do-or-die affair. This is the main reason for violence and election malpractices.

The ballot, which should be used to elect people to occupy positions of trust have been hijacked by the rich. The votes of the fettered poor no longer matters. That is, if they are allowed to vote at all. The big man has come up with new ballot system that prevents voting; yet results emerge. This distorted big man's notion of electoral democracy was sufficiently demonstrated in the last elections, where "the devil came to the polls".

Another evil effect of this culture is that it confuses the greatness in all of us. We devalue people, just because they look poor or because they are not rich. By doing this we deplete the development energy in our country and raise serious question about our understanding of citizenship. This uncalled for divide between the liberated rich and the fettered poor has made some people to believe that we do not have equal stake in the country – not even elections. This is a dangerous.

"All human beings are born equal and instilled by the creator with unchallengeable rights". Our Constitution reaffirms this equality. We should be seen to be acting this out.

*The writer is a former newspaper columnist and investigative journalist. Email: howarigc@gmail.com

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 7:04 AM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article


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