Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Morobe Elite Forum


This forum came about as a result of concerned Morobeans raising issues affecting Lae City, particularly the potholes and the escalating law and order problems in the city, the environmental issues affecting the local communities along the Watut River all the way to the mouth of Markham River as a result of Hidden Valley gold mining activities, and the general trends of poor government services and deteriorating state of public facilities and utilities from the district levels up to the provincial level, and thus the overall welfare of the people of Morobe province.
Lae City, the capital of Morobe Province and the hub of industrial activities in the country, and the gate way to the highland provinces has been neglected over the last 10 years or so.
Yet, Lae City and the Morobe province boast the highest number of MPs in the National Parliament and generate much of the national government’s consolidated revenues annually.
It appears that these MPs are not working together for the betterment of the people of Morobe Province and the city of Morobe.
Consequently, the national government is not paying much attention to the deteriorating state of Lae City and thus the welfare of its residents and the people of Morobe.
Through this forum, the issues affecting Lae City and the people of Morobe at large can be shared and discussed to provoke attention and actions.
Morobean elites are thereby strongly encouraged to use this forum to share ideas, views and comments on any matters and issues affecting the Province and its people.
Also through this forum, the technical and professional expertise of Morobeans can be noted and recognised, and called upon for effective utilisation where and when needed in the Morobe Provincial services delivery mechanisms and programmes.

It is envisaged that a database of these expertise will be compiled as the forum progresses.

The vision of this forum is for Morobeans to be wiser, happier and healthier in their city of Lae, villages and the Province of Morobe.
The idea here is that if PNG’s new Vision 2050 is for Papua New Guineans to be wiser, happier and healthy then let that be also translated into the lives of Morobeans comes 2050.
Thus this requires collective efforts from Morobeans including the hidden talents and expertise that had not been effectively utilised during the last 35 years of independence.

The purpose of this forum is to engage Morobean elites in the issues affecting Morobe Province.
It is envisaged that through this forum Morobe elites will share technical and professional ideas, views, and comments on the issues affecting the Morobe Province, and thus provoke government attention and actions through effective leadership of the Province.

The following are some of the objectives of the forum:
1.      To assist in creating awareness on the issues affecting Lae city and the Morobe Province as a whole;
2.      To assist in creating and establishing effective political and administrative leadership in attending to the issues affecting the Morobe Province;
3.      To assist in creating effective political and management leaderships in restoring and creating harmonious living environments in Lae City;
4.      To assist in creating effective political and social leaderships in promoting residents and landowners’ rights and discourage settlement activities;
5.      To assist in creating effective political and management leaderships in protecting and promoting landowners’ rights and maximum benefits from the natural resources developments in the province;
6.      To assist in creating effective political and technical leaderships in protecting and promoting landowners’ rights and maximum participation in the social economic development activities in  Lae City and the Province;
7.      To assist in providing effective technical and professional leaderships in the planning and the management of the resources and the wealth distribution in the Province; and
8.      To assist in creating effective goods and services delivery systems for the people of Morobe Province.

Operational structure
The forum will be run through regular informal meetings, to be held every second Monday evening after government fortnights, in the case of NCD-based Morobeans.
There won’t be any formalisation of the forum or group as yet.
The group will be operating on volunteer basis through individual commitment and interest until certain outcomes and impacts are realised to warrant the formalisation of the group.
It was noted and agreed that often the technical commitments and requirements of such registered groups led to lack of interests and participation by the members, and thus the collapse of an association.
This forum is open to all individuals of Morobeans living in PNG and abroad.
Each centre or branches of groups can organise their own meetings at their conveniences.
The meeting outcomes can be shared through email network.
The forum identified number of issues and classified them into the following categories:
1.      Governance
a.       2012 Elections (potential candidates, voters and awareness);
b.      Governor’s court cases (contracted legal firms);
c.       District Support Improvement Programme (assets registrar, non-completion of projects); and
d.      Morobe Provincial Government administration (transparency, deficiencies in HRD recruitment and staff development program, nepotism, aging and qualification of the public servants).
2.      Development (human and infrastructure)
a.       Lae City roads (methods of construction using cement); and
b.      Gerson Solulu Scholarship (selection criteria, fees, postgraduate studies, job prospects).
3.      Social
a.       Urbanisation (people’s rights of movement and not of settlement);
b.      Use of state and customary lands within the metropolitan boundary of Lae; and
c.       Landing grounds for coastal villages (Voco Point).
4.      Environment
a.        Mining royalties (methods of payment, beneficiaries); and
b.      Environmental impact study (mine waste discharge into Watut River system).
5.      General Issues
a.       Lae bus service (ownership, fees collected);
b.      Malum Nalu’s online blog;
c.       Local MPs (lack of cooperation);
d.      Database in MPG (Morobe professionals, field of expertise); and
e.       Communication strategy (dissemination of the groups discussion)
6.      Other issues
a.       Your issues yet to be raised

Way forward
The group to work closely with authorities in Lae and Morobe Province to make Lae City a better place to live and for Morobe Province to prosper.
The group has proposed to hold a forum at the beginning of 2011 in Lae, and invite all the political leaders to come and listen to the views of the professional Morobeans.
The venue will be decided, but possibly Unitech Duncanson Hall or Rose Kekedo Centre at Unitech, pending arrangements.