Saturday, 14 May 2016


Words and Pictures By Philip Kepson

For too long critics have branded Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas as “a briefcase carrier” for the current prime minister following his statement against the ongoing university students unrest. Whether they are right or wrong, everyone is entitled for his or her opinion.
But for their information, there are many reasons why Sir Peter Ipatas robustly defends the current Government:

Since PNG became an independent state on September 16, 1975, or even before that when it operated as a sub district for the Western Highlands Province, nobody (impartially) wanted to know about Enga in terms of recognizing it as a province that required similar amount of attention in service delivery and projects.

The successive governments of the various Prime Ministers including the founding father of the nation (now retired) Sir Michael Somare, Sir Julius Chan, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Paias Wingti, late William Bill Skate and their renowned Ministers and senior public bureaucrats turned annoying blind eyes on the province.

The only evidences of minimal service delivery and projects that one may have noticed with much displeasure were the celestial facilities including health and education infrastructures that were put in place by the missionaries of the different church denominations -Thank God.

Besides ignorance by consective governments, overseas development partners including our coloniser Australia did not want to know about our province. Thus, Enga has been deprived from hundreds of bilateral development progams involving millions of kina for many years. One of the reasons could be the prejudiced media reports on the widespread tribal fighting but the obvious one was associated with mere ignorance by sequential governments. Even if Sir Peter, who is widely believed to have enlightened the province with a hope of rescuing it from recurring socio-economic doldrums, particularly with his successful introduction of the human resources development policy (free education scheme) among others, the lack of corporation by local MPs from the province and the continued ignorance by state leaderships basically about being fair to Enga were his major stumbling blokes.
Even in the previous Government of Sir Michal Somare where Kandep MP and former Wabag MP Sam Abal played visibly important roles in the capacity as senior ministers and at times acting prime ministers, the province remained unaffected in terms of delivery of any major projects. They brought literally nothing to Enga, a total waste of their time with the Somare Government.
In light of the struggles that the province had gone through for many decades, the historic liberation (under prevailing circumstances) from egocentricity, greed and bias came with the formation of the O’Neill/Dion Government. It has after almost 40 year’s recognised Enga as a province with Cabinet endorsement of breakthrough projects worth more than a billion kina within the last two years. No other government had given as much as this government to the people of Enga. (Mind you, we were a forgotton province for almost 39 years).

The most unambiguous projects that Enga has received through the gifted leadership of Sir Peter Ipatas are as follows;
• The approval of K300-K500 million plus for the state of the art Enga hospital to be built soon
• Enga Teachers College
• Enga College of Nursing
• Hela-Opena Polytechical College at Akom
• Registration of Church-EPG partnership development of Kungumanda Community Health Workers College
• Mukuramdna Jail Development
• Wapenamanda Airport Fencing and instroduction of Seven days a week flight to & from Port Moresby
• Increase of school subsidy funds from mere K13 million to K43 million
• Wabag town sewerage and rood development projects
• Surunki and Wanepakos high and low altitude Agriculture farming projects
• Specific funding to sustain inreased Enga students enrolment from mere 10,1000 in 1997 to 115,000 to date
• Improvement work on St Pauls Pausa, Kopen, Wabag, Four Square, Tsak, and Highlands Lutheran International Secondary schools with most-modern learning facilities’.

As I have stated earlier none of the previous governments had given reassuring priority to Enga in terms of approval & funding impact projects and service delivery programs in the same manner as the current PO’ government has done. They have looked down on Enga as a backward province (that has been sure for many years). I don’t think even a fresh government that we may associate with in future would do us justice of such magnitude. Therefore, Sir Peter Ipatas, who has always been a smart player in politics, has made a decision to back the current government with the outlined reasons (there are no hidden motives). Therefore, the critics or cohorts of Ipatas political enemies are seen to be making a laughing stock of themselves when they impose ridiculing names around him. Further, If they still do not know, Sir Peter is undisputedly the longest serving Governor and most respected leader in the Highlands region. On top of that he is a shrewd politician. The effective implementation of the education policy and delivery of other impact projects are pure reflection of his niftier brain cells that God has his given him to deliver over his calibres. Therefore, he is more than just a routine paramount chief to the majority of Enga population. Thus, Sir Peter will be the Governor for Enga as long as he survives. Critics can talk against him on Facebook and poker machine venues in the major cities but their calculated politics will not work in true Enga for them.

NOTE: This post and views are from the writer and doesn't include or represent the publisher or blog owner. It is only made available through this blog for public consumption with authority from the writer.

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