Lack of service delivery cannot be blamed solely on the local, provincial and national government, or donors.
In many cases, it is due to difficult geography, and peoples’ attitudes.
These words are from Joe Biri, a dentist turned health extension officer for the Rupila Aid Post of the Guari LLG in Goilala, Central Province.
Over the last 14 years, Mr. Biri has altered his profession from that of a dentist, to one of a health officer, to serve his people; in an LLG with no services and no public servants for the past 20 years.
Guari LLG is one of the 3 LLGs in the Goilala district. It is castled by rugged valleys and mountains. The only service still in existence is the Rupila Aid Post. It is taken care of by local, Joe Biri, a dentist by profession, now a health extension officer.
Mr. Biri abandoned his comfortable dentist’s life in Port Moresby and returned to his village 14 years ago, and begun to provide general health services to his people.
Mr. Biri stocks up every 6 months. It takes him 5 days and 4 nights to cross this rugged terrain to reach Tapini station. From here, he either gets on a PMV or makes a 6 hour journey to Port Moresby, or catches a one engine plane, or if lucky, a helicopter to Port Moresby to collect supplies.
He said it is very difficult to provide services in such tough geography and with the continuous pay back killings in the district and LLG; public servants and missionaries have abandoned the people.
The people blame the public servants for the lack of services and increasing law and order problems.
Local MP Daniel Mona visited the electorate last Friday to farewell the 2nd batch of policemen and public servants on the manhunt following the shooting of a catholic priest, a communion minister in Guari, and others dating back to January this year.
Locals at Tapini station expressed anger when the public servants got on the helicopter with the policemen to Guari.
The district is blessed with the Tolokuma Gold Mine and the fertile valleys and mountains. The people say there is more gold in the valleys and mountains that can be developed.
Mr. Mona is focused on rebuilding and extending the Mona highway with the K11 million committed by the national government. Once the highway is done, services such as housing for all public services, basic health, education, post offices, banks, police and other law enforcing agencies can be rolled out in each district.
He is confident there are better days to come for Goilala and it is only right to begin with law and order.
In the meantime, about 12 policemen are in the district to restore peace and normalcy, following the chain of killings since January this year. Six suspects are in custody, whilst the investigation continues into Port Moresby.