ESP Governor disappointed

East Sepik Governor Allan Bird was clearly disappointed with the Health Minister’s presentation on the country’s COVID-19 data and response.

Bird said the detailed report did not contain the evidence he had requested for when Parliament sat to pass the 2-month SOE in April.

After Health Minister Jelta Wong tabled his statement yesterday (June 2), which generally outlined the government’s response to COVID-19, Governor Bird said he was disappointed that those responsible failed to comply with the constitutional directive of presenting data that truly reflects the people’s status.  

“Now we’ve been presented so much evidence of what’s been happening in America, so much evidence of what’s happening in China, Australia and we understand that, Italy, we understand that. Mr Speaker, Papua New Guinea is not America,” he stated. “We need to understand what’s happening in our own country. We need to make decisions based on data from our own country.”

Governor Bird said in an effort to collect their own data, East Sepik Provincial Administrator and medical public health expert, Dr Clement Malau, was asked to engage the Institute of Medical Research.

And with funding from both the East and West Sepik governors, four IMR staff based at Maprik were engaged to conduct antigen tests.

“Mr Speaker, mipla testim ol manmeri lo fopla vilej na lo Moem Barracks – ol soldia. Na lo haus sik tu. Mr Speaker, we found out that 50 people in East Sepik actually got sick and recovered without us ever knowing about it. And that was out of a test sample, Mr Speaker, of 1,153 people we tested.

“Wai na nesenol gavman ino wokim na mi mas spendim teks moni blo ol pipol blo Sepik lo wokim disla samting?”

Governor Bird said K4.3 million was spent on their fact-finding exercise, where he proceeded to question the other MPs on their own studies following the allocation of funds to Ministers.

“Praim Minista mi rispektim yu. Plis mi askim yu, pulim ol displa ol minista blo yu, pull them in line. Kandaim ol, stikim ol and get them to do the job properly, please.”

Carmella Gware