Leonard Fong Roka
As the pre-independence Papua & New Guinea Constitutional Planning Committee rummaged the length and breadth of Papua & New Guinea for citizens’ desires for the constitutional composition, many thoughts were given. These were all compiled into the legal basket we call, the Five National Goals and Directive Principles and other related constitutional components.
Letting go the Directive Principles that I consider, literally, as just a roadmap towards the achievement of the Five National Goals, I shall explain the very first point, INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT of the Five National Goals, based on my observation of Papua New Guinea, for they were what politicians wanted Papua New Guinea to reach for every citizen in order to unify and strengthen the state.
Every person has 'Dignity and Worth'
In simplified terms, Integral Human Development is the ‘creation of a person that is ‘whole’ or a ‘complete being’ within the state boundaries of Papua New Guinea’. On the Constitutional Planning Committee Report (1974) it is written: ‘This means that we use the term development to mean nothing less than the unending process of improvement of every man and woman as a whole person. We take our stand on the dignity and worth of each Papua New Guinean man, woman and child’.
‘Dignity’ and ‘worth’ of every Papua New Guinean is what the citizens wanted prevalent as the very first goal of Papua New Guinea as a state as from 1975. The people wanted the independent state of Papua New Guinea to be the catalyst towards which, it would be the way for citizens to respect each other; and also, that it would be the means for citizens to see value in each other and then, development should flow freely for all.
To me, positive change was well catered for on paper for Papua New Guinea’s progress. For, when the law-makers tapped into Integral Human Development, they addressed the human person as a ‘whole’.
For in the ‘whole human’ person, we connote the three main parts of a person for it is known that a man is made up of the spiritual, physical and mental components. Manifestation into these parts meant the constitution was truly holistic. It was dedicating itself into getting every PNG citizen to be free spiritually, physically and mentally.
In the spiritual aspect of life, the National Constitution for example, was to uphold the Melanesian traditions, cultures or norms that connect the man to his environment. I say this because Melanesians were spiritual beings long before Western colonisation of our islands. In the physical light, by enshrining Integral Human Development as priority number one, the government was telling the world that it was to provide for its citizens. Equality, fairness and justice in political, economic and social benefit sharing was it obligation. For example, poverty would be eradicated for every citizen. In the mental side of the coin, the state would provide easy access to services, for example education or health care without discriminations.
All these basic services, to the government of Papua New Guinea, were its top duty commitment to the people with an ambition to create a stable and viable state where every person was free to access and benefit from every development in Papua New Guinea.
Nice a foundation for a country to any nation builder’s strategizing; but, a proper analysis of Papua New Guinea then, seemingly the leaders was breathing an air of lies and running around with spiel to create a Papua New Guinea, swiftly for the world to see or, for the history books to take note of their credentials as leaders.
Whilst promoting integral human development, the leadership on the other hand, were already engaged to allowing the way for citizens not to see his or her fellow countryman or woman has having his or her own ‘dignity and worth’ within his or her respective provincial settings behind the state boundaries of Papua New Guinea.
Inequality and injustice was what the colonial administration blessed the government of Papua New Guinea with to start off as an independent country directly contradicting its written laws.
A classical case in this regard is my Solomon island of Bougainville. The Government of Papua New Guinea was not willing to respect our ‘dignity and worth’ as non-Papuans or New Guineans to developed with our own values despite being a member of the United Nations that protects minorities or marginalise peoples in the world against all forms of genocide; exploitation and suppression.
At the cost of Bougainvillean land and people, that is our ‘dignity and worth’ Papuans & New Guineans were trying to economically get themselves up and running. Our dignity and worth, was nothing to the state that was built to sustain the bicycle tyre called Papua New Guinea and not those spokes that strengthens that tyre to carry the country.
And today, we still, despite the fact that in the National Constitution there is the Five Nationals Goals with the very first goal being, ‘Integral Human Development’, witness Papua New Guineans killing each others ‘Dignity and Worth’.
In summary, Integral Human Development is for the state to empower each individual citizen’s dignity and worth in its own unique setting for a harmonious national sustenance and developmental progress. But, for Papua New Guinea, the respect for its citizen’s dignity and worth as being neglected in the name of national progress and not citizen development as a whole person.