As Papua New Guinea marks Independence Day today, the bishops of PNG and Solomon Islands have called for those in authority to address challenges people still face 45 years after independence. Source: Vatican News.
In a message for the day, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands noted the nation's journey of mastering its destiny and self-determination began in 1975.
“But the struggle for universal education, health care, end of gender and domestic violence, personal honesty, prosperity for all, development and necessary infrastructures is far from won,” wrote the bishops’ conference General Secretary, Fr Giorgio Licini.
PNG achieved its independence at midnight between September 15 and 16, 1975, ending 69 years of Australian rule. It also signalled the end of 90 years of colonial rule under British, German and Australian authorities.
In the message, Fr Licini noted that people are happy with the “simplicity of village life”. But he lamented that “tribal fights and family conflicts push an increasing number of individuals out of their place of origin and their ancestral land”. While urban centres boom, he said, “opportunities for employment are scarce, the streets are dirty and filthy and petty crime is hardly contained”.
Alluding to those in authority, Fr Licini called for unity and cooperation to overcome the country’s challenges. He urged the Government to be more pro-active in reaching out to civil society for input and scrutiny.
PNG bishops: many challenges even after 45 years of independence (By Robin Gomes, Vatican News)