An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Civic Duty Scuppered

I received the following email invite yesterday, from the Uni's Public Relations office.
Dear staff

The National Government through the Minister for Internal Security, Bire Kimisopa, has established a National Guns Control Committee to look at ways of dealing with the deteriorating law and order situation affecting PNG and its direct link to the use of many firearms. The situation is extremely critical as it is have a devastating impact on business, commerce and the society at large.

The Committee headed by former Defence Force Commander, Major General Jerry Singirok MBE (Rtd) has been tasked to consult with all sectors of the community on this most serious matter and to prepare for a national gun summit to consider the views of the community and make recommendations to the Government on how best to deal with it.

DATE: TUESDAY 8/3/2005
TIME: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

I thought I might go along and attend, do my civic and social duty as it were. Gun control is a hot topic here at the moment and I was keen to see and hear the stats.

So I rock up with John at a quarter past 6 thinking that we would be late, only to find that there are about a dozen people in the hall and the committee members are just milling about chatting by the stage. This is a shame I thought, more people should come along to hear what they have to say.

No action occurs for ten minutes, apart from about a dozen more people - students - rocking up. Then some finger food type stuff starts to come in on trays and gets placed on a table on the stage. The participants go over and start feeding themselves, ignoring the crowd. WTF?

I say to John "blow this" let's go. I can think of better things to do than watching this travelling waste of public money.

You see this gun control committee is in Lae for a week. The first night they seemed to get things happening, a lot of discussion, reports in the papers etc. One night is fair enough, but a weeks worth? And where do they go after here? Mt. Hagen for another week, then Port Moresby for a month.

A gun control forum needs to happen, and hopefully good things come out of it, but boy it seems to me like a bit of a free lunch (and dinner) for the people on the committee.