On the 13th January 2012, I took a flight up to Woitape on a cesnar one engine plane operated by Sunbird Aviation Limited.
It was a smooth ride, the scenery was beautiful, natural as it was initially created. Pristine, virgin rain forest extending as far as the eye can see. Cool, Fresh mountain rivers flowing down hill towards the coast creating the best rafting environment for fast flowing river rafting enthusiastic fanatics.
Landing at Woitape, after passing over Ononge Mission station, I was greeted by cold cool fresh mountain air, which immediately forced me into getting my warm coat out to provide heat for my over heated body from Port Moresby’s oven-like climate.
Well, that was about it all. The natural flora and fauna, the beauty, the freshness, the cool breeze, the cute smiles from innocent onlookers, expecting some goodies from the the Port Moresby via the plane.
After the cesnar departed back for Port Moresby, I stood there watching it fly into the clouds, and eventually disappear over the blue mountain ranges separating Port Moresby and Goilala District, looking around me, I was struck to the harsh reality.
Woitape is the sub-district head quarters for Goilala District. Tapini is the HQ for government administration. Been the sub district HQ for Goilala, one would come to expect general up keep of main government entities been reasonably operational. Entities such as the Health services, Electricity for the station, water supply for the station, police presence, administration offices been occupied and staffed with the critical key officers, council chambers in operation having a LLG Manager present, DPI officials having some presence attending to the agricultural potential of the district, District Court also having a presence to take care of the law and order situation on the ground, so on and so fort.
Needless to say, the whole of Woitape Station has turn into a GHOST town. More like a scene is a country side movie scene. There is hardly no sign of life in the station.
The administration building is literally bare and empty. Doors to the building are open, free for anyone to walk in and out at will. There is no decoration on the walls. No curtains on the windows, no floor pots in the offices, No power coming into the building [well, there is no electricity for the whole station].
The airstrip is unkept. Grass and bushes a grown knee high and too close to the run way making it impossible for twin otter aircraft to fly in. Elephant grass has take over the drainage system alone the airstrips making it impossible for the creeks to flow, resulting in water from the drains flooding the airstrip, creating pools all over the airstrip. This in itself is a disaster.
The absence of Police personnel and law and order in Woitape has lead to rampant abuse of drugs and wide spread of illicit and illegal acitivies such as stealing of food off locals food gardens, killing of pigs and cattle for protein due to heavy consumption of marijuana. There is total break down in law and order and no discipline enforced hence culprits and hooligans have a free will doing their thing as and when they want to.
Lack and/or shortage of basic antibiotic and medical drug supplies in the local heal centre results in curable diseases and illness not getting treated. In the end the prolong delay in attending to such eventually leads to loss of lives. Locals walk for days with their sick family members to Woitape only to be turned back because of no medical drugs to treat this illnesses. Medical orderly staff tries to help send the patients down to Port Moresby but their is no constant and reliable air transport service coming into Woitape hence that complicates the whole issue and unfortunately results in deaths. Avoidable deaths are allowed to take lives, due to pure ignorance shown by the elected representatives to the Parliment.
The future generation of Wotiape, young school age kids are not attending school because of lack of teachers. Most of these teachers head back to Port Moresby and loom the streets and get paid for literally nothing. Their excuse deem to stem from the lack of housing for accomodation, lack of teaching materials, expensive cost of living, late or non delivery of fortnightly salaries. All these reason turn to contribute to teachers spending three quarters of their teaching period in a year down in Port Moresby. The victim turns out to be the future of Goilala. And no one seem to care about this future.
If there’s someone out there that has been delegated the responsibility and the obligation of managing the resources – both financial and natural – of Goilala district, we got a message for you.
We have been Independent [not depending on others] for 37 years. But the quality of the services at our disposal is absolutely disgraceful. It is so poor and non existant. Schools are closed down. Health Centres are closed down. Airstrips are over taken by grass and bushes. Government buildings are literally empty and run down.
Is this a sign of progress and advancement? Or is this a sign of regress?
There has been chronic abuse and misuse of public funds at all levels of Government in as far as the affairs and interests of Goilala District is concern. And its no anyone different. Its the same of old heads who seem to hang around there year in, year out.
For once can some linency and honesty be practised and let the services filter down to the people. For Once.