Gulf Province is only six hours away from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea’s capital city and is one of the most least developed provinces in the country.
Its main town, Kerema, is in a sad state. The market has closed forcing locals to sell their fresh fish and garden food in an open sports field. The BSP Bank closed after a robbery, forcing locals to withdraw cash from Chinese Shops in town.
I haven’t been to the hospital or the Police Station yet, but the town is littered with outsiders who have come to town to buy betelnut.
I think its time the Town Authority sit down and really looking into mapping the town area out and rehabilitating existing infrastructures. There must be laws also governing the influx of betelnut buyers to protect the locals interest.
The Provincial Government should also help find and establish markets for fish with buyers outside of the Province, because Gulf definitely has a lot to offer in the fisheries sector. A market for Cocoa should also be set up.
Despite having various projects like logging in the Province for years, Gulf has little to show in terms of Development.
People still walk for miles out in the villages to access basic services. There is no sea ambulance, many times pregnant mothers give birth at home, some die, and for them it is an everyday experiance.
In terms of law and order, Gulf despite been a Province of its own does not have a jail. Detainees and Remands are transported back to Port Moresby Bomana Jail. A expensive exercise.
People take advantage of this, knowing that only the serious cases will be prosecuted.
There are a lot of educated Gulf men and women in the Country, yet, we are tolerant. We see, we complain but we do nothing. Most choosing to turn a blind eye to the state of their province and live in luxury in Port Moresby. I say this, with a lot of shame, because I am honest enough to admit that I have never been home, never written about my province, and today I have come. And I want to write.
So if you are a fellow Gulf mann or woman and have stories you want to share…please inbox me!
It’s time to tell Gulf Stories.
*Rebecca Kuku is from Uaripi Village in Gulf. She is a content contributor to the Guardian (Australia) and the Post Courier.