Commentators lament ‘institutionalized disorder’ and ‘a nation in trouble’
Prominent commentators have responded to the announcement that legal firm Gadens will no longer represent Bank South Pacific because of violent attacks on its lawyers with grave concerns about the future for Papua New Guinea.
Former High Court judge and prominent environmentalist, Brian Brunton has described the situation in PNG as ‘institutionalised disorder’.
Institutionalized disorder, he writes, is a theory of political science originating in West African but which is now quite generalized and can be seen in Papua New Guinea and also Central America (with drug-cartels) and in Israel (where right-wing settlers in the West bank steal Arab land).
A key feature of institutionalized disorder is the fact that disorder is maintained by elite thieves primarily for their own benefit, but consequently all criminals are able to take advantage.
At the same time the Post Courier newspaper’s has spoken of the crucial role a fair and independent judiciary plays in maintaining democracy. Where you see a nation’s judiciary in trouble, you will see a nation in trouble, they say, “for without honest and fearless judges, magistrates and lawyers, you will find people cringing in fear of those who rule over them”.
Is that now the situation we have reached in Papua New Guinea – are we living in fear of those we have elected to govern us?
Certainly our elected politicians, with one or two rare exceptions, do not appear to have any pretence that they have been given power in order to serve the people. Rather, they see their elevation to Parliament as an opportunity to grab as much for themselves and their cronies as they possibly can while sometimes inadvertently, and sometimes deliberately, destroying everything else in the process.