Friday, October 28, 2011

Source: The National - Friday, October 28th 2011

I AM deeply concerned at the attempt by the government to restrict the democratic freedom of the East Sepik people.
The democratic and legally-elected East Sepik provincial government, as an entity, ought to be allowed to exercise its democratic constitutional rights through the courts.
Even though I represent the opposing view in East Sepik politics, my concern is growing daily with the erosion of democracy by the ruling class in Waigani.
Are we a democratic country or not?
This is the key question.
If we are, then all the tenets of democracy ought to be exercised by all the people of this land regardless of whether they are in power or not.
Dissent is an essential part of the democratic process.
Allowing all sectors of the community the right to disagree with the government of the day are normal occurrences in a democracy.
Without the avenue for peaceful dissent, people will then take up arms to dissent.
It is a safety valve designed to ensure the in­tegrity of democratic systems.
Democracy is essentially about majority rule while ensuring civil and political rights for everyone, including criminals.
Like it or not, this is the system our forebears decided we ought to have in 1975.
If we want to change the system, then the right place to do it is to take it to the people in a referendum.
If the people of PNG choose to have a communist or socialist system of government, then we can throw out the Constitution and start all over again.
Until that day, we must respect the Constitution that we all agreed to at Independence.
This is essential if we are to maintain our unity.
Allan Bird

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