An emerging trend of close cooperation between members of parliament in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe province is changing the face of rural development.
|Gisuat Siniwin, Nawaeb MP. No man is an island.|
Nawaeb’s Gisuat Siniwin and Kabwum’s Bob Dadae are examples. They began working together because they share common challenges and difficulties. The Nawae electorate shares a common land border with Kabwum. People in both electorates grow coffee. Both electorates have transport infrastructure challenges, high maternal and infant mortality rates and low literacy.
|Ross Seymour, Huon Gulf MP|
“Members of Parliament need to work together,” Siniwin says. “there is no other way.”
Just recently, Siniwin and Dadae announced the start of work on a jointly funded coffee mill worth 1.6 million kina. It will serve people in coffee growing areas of Boana, and landlocked areas in Kabwum. They’re also talking about road construction between the two electorates but that’s still a long way off. They have to work out how they’re going to cross the hundreds of mountain ridges of the Sarawaged Ranges.
“We belong to the same place,” Kabwum’s Bob Dadae told a meeting of landowners from Nawae who were granted a permit to operate a coffee mill. “Whatever benefit that goes to Nawaeb will also come to Kabwum.”
|Theo Zurenuoc, Finchafen MP. Cost of service delivery is very high.|
In Bulolo, a new road being constructed into the Buang area has opened up new opportunities for people in Salamaua in the Huon electorate. Bulolo’s rural electrification program and the road will be extended into the Huon Gulf. That’s the result of brainstorming sessions between Bulolo’s Sam Basil and Huon Gulf’s Ross Seymour.
|Building roads is no easy feat.|
Both men are members of the opposition party in parliament. Seymour a fist time MP, has been discussing the possibility of connecting a road from Buang into the Huon Gulf which will, for the first time, connect the coastal government station to the provincial capital of Lae.
“It’s good for the districts. Its good for the province and it’s good for the country,” says Seymour.
At the other end of the province, in Finchafen, where service delivery takes up 70 percent of project costs, The Finchafen MP, and speaker of parliament, Theo Zurenoc hopes to connect roads into Pindiu linking Kabwum and Finchhaefen.
If they succeed in achieving those tasks in this term, they will have done more than what their predecessors did in previous terms.