BY FRANKLIN KOLMA
MINISTERS were challenged to “get off their high horses” and visit problem sites in the districts and provinces last Friday during Grievances Debate.
Issuing the challenge passionately, a clearly aggrieved Ijivitari MP Richard Masere said he was saddened to see the apparent lack of interest that was being shown by Ministers of State toward issues that are being brought to the floor of Parliament.
Mr Masere said it would bring respective ministers a greater appreciation for the various problems pending a solution in the districts and provinces if they go into these areas and experienced the problems first hand.
He went as far as asking all ministers present in the chamber if any of them had ever visited his district, a question that was met with an unmistakably uncomfortable silence.
“How many ministers in this 10th Parliament have visited my province? Mr Masere asked.
“I can say only the Prime Minister has visited my electorate.
“Those of you who accompanied him on that trip did not come in your own capacities as ministers and so you cannot say you came.” He said he had no problem with anyone in particular but that he was fed up with the constant play with words during parliamentary sessions that rarely develop into tangible solutions on the ground.
Mr Masere said ministers often give a sense of false hope to members and their people when they respond to questions raised in parliament.
“Many ministers have gotten so used to feeding our ears what we want to hear that they think they can just tell us one thing and then leave us to continue playing the waiting game,” Mr Masere said.
He said ministers were acting like they were ministers of Port Moresby and nothing else.
“You are ministers of the nation, not just Port Moresby,’’ he said.
“If you are so comfortable in NCD, give your ministry to another person who is willing to go out to the small people in the small places and truly make their lives a little easier.’’
He said PNG deserved a visit from its ministers and that it was high time a minister made a visit to remote districts like his.
“You always send your departmental heads, why not come yourself? Mr Masere said.
“You go to your own electorates, they won’t dance for you, if you come to my electorate, my people and I will dance for you.”