It is customary in every part of Papua New Guinea that you do not stand on the threshold of a person’s home and insult them to their face.
The comments by the Member for Ijivitari Hon. David Arore at the Buka Airport were condescending and downright insulting to the government and people of Bougainville and very much unbecoming of a leader.
Mr. Arore’s visit to Bougainville was part of a delegation led by the Minister for Bougainville Affairs Hon. Mannaseh Makiba. The visit was to have National MP’s better understand the autonomous arrangements on Bougainville and meet with our leaders and our people. The trip was a success but what transpired later was on Mr. Arore’s own accord.
I do not take kindly to having an incumbent Member of the Papua New Guinea National Parliament insulting my people and mocking the state of our affairs while doing so right on Bougainville. I understand that he is entitled to his opinion on our independence aspirations but that does not give him the right to use it to insult our leaders and our people.
It is unfair for Mr. Arore to even compare infrastructure development on Bougainville to those of the rest of the country. I make no excuses for our lacking infrastructure but unlike the rest of the nation we are a post conflict region that was reduced to basic humanity; we are only steadily gaining traction on development and peace.
I have only this to say to Mr. David Arore; in the few years preceding PNG’s Independence the Australian colonial masters mocked Michael Thomas Somare’s aspirations for an independent Papua New Guinea. In 1975 Independence was given to PNG on a golden platter only because Bougainville was its economic guarantor.
I want to remind Mr. Arore that Bougainville bankrolled PNG's independence and set the very foundation for every form of development in this country. Subsequently, we had a war waged on our people by the very same government we built. You can mock our shortcomings in development but do not mock the sanctity of our aspirations to be an independent nation.
Sovereignty is rightfully ours to claim, we have paid for it with the unfair exploitation of our resources, our lives and the blood of the people who sacrificed their lives fighting for their freedom in an unjust war.
I thank our people who were witness to Mr. Arore’s tirade of insults directed at the Air Niugini and NAC staff for maintaining civility. In this respect we proved that despite his inebriated state and the discourteous behaviour our people still showed respect for the office that he occupies as a national leader.
To my people, let us take this criticism in our stride and use this as motivation to continue to develop and progress. We are a people who have withstood tougher challenges than the words of a drunken man.
An investigation must be launched into the matter by NAC to discern what transpired on Friday March 31, 2023 at Buka Airport and why he was allowed to board the flight to Port Moresby. He might be a leader but he is still subservient to the law.
As the leader of the good people of Ijivitari Mr. Arore understands our Melanesian traditions and customs and what he must do to atone for his blunder.
Hon. Ishmael Toroama, MHR
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