Understanding the Somare vision – Equality and Participation

33.              As we have said in relation to the first goal – “Integral Human Development – Liberation and Fulfilment”, the kind of society which we believe our people want to build is one

which is fundamentally based on the right of each one of our citizens, whether he or she lives in a village, a town, or a city, to fully develop himself or herself as a whole person.

34.       We recognize that people are not born equal either in the talents they possess or in their determination to use them to the best of their ability.  But everyone should have an equal chance to develop the talents he or she has whether they be in farming, teaching, the arts, technology or in any other field of human activity.

35.       At present the place in which a child happens to be born is an extremely important factor in determining the opportunities he or she will have of obtaining any education at all, of winning a place in a high school, of obtaining health and other government services and of being able to participate in the cash economy.

36.       This situation has resulted from the fact that some areas of the country have been very much neglected in the past – in their economic development and in the education, health and other services established there.  Not surprisingly this situation has given rise to wide-spread resentment and has been a major underlying cause of disunity at this crucial stage of our country’s development.  The goal of achieving equality of opportunity and participation in our national life is not, then, something for which we may piously hope, but a vital necessity if we are to achieve genuine national integration.

37.       Our present Government is seeking to reduce these inequalities of educational and economic opportunities and access to other government services in different parts of the country, and we fully endorse this policy.

38.       But inequalities of opportunity as between different areas are not the only inequalities with which, as a nation, we should be concerned.  There is also emerging a class structure which did not exist before – well educated Papua New Guineans are tending to lose touch with their relatives in the villages, and gaining substantially greater opportunities to advance themselves than their village counterparts.

39.       We must take firm steps to prevent this situation developing further.  There is a clear need to reshape our society now before this emerging class structure becomes entrenched, so that all of our people have an equal opportunity to develop themselves; so that they can use their abilities to achieve personal fulfilment, and at the same time, make a full contribution to the welfare of the nation.

40.       We do not underestimate the difficulties we face in seeking this goal of equality and participation, but we are convinced that now is the time to direct all major policies toward this end.  Nothing less than a full scale effort will have any chance of success.  Despite the recent steps taken by our Government to redirect development in this manner, the effects of the development policies which were vigorously pursued by the Australian Administration during the second half of the nineteen sixties and into the seventies, aimed at achieving the maximum economic return in the shortest possible time, are widespread and not easy to reverse.

41.              But we must reverse these effects if we are to achieve this fundamental goal.  Without equality of opportunity the level of participation in the political process and in other aspects of the life of our nation will be uneven.  Those who have had the fewest

opportunities will not be able to adequately press for their rights as against others who are more educated, have greater mobility, and more experienced in making their views known and taken into account by the national government.  The more privileged groups will be in a position to dominate the less privileged and may well do so.  Such a situation must not be allowed to develop.  Action on a broad front must be taken now to begin about real equality of opportunity for all of our citizens.

-This is taken from the National Goals and Directive Principles written in 1973

4 comments on “Understanding the Somare vision – Equality and Participation

  1. Reblogged this on Just Prizzy.


  2. The scholarships received by our students overseas have been more leaning toward training the next generation of people to create the class structure. Scholarships are not about PNG constitutional aspiration but to promote the aspirations of educated elites who will no longer appreciate where we came from.


  3. Pingback: Understanding the Somare vision – Equality and Participation — My land | My country – GLOBALYNC – Humanity

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