How important is Justice to a nation?
By Allan Bird
My post on Justice last month (26/10) has generated much debate and many people have inboxed me privately and I realise it’s of supreme importance to citizens of our country.
Many PNGans who commented negatively about my post do not understand the concept of separation of powers. Or it’s significance.
We have three arms of government, The Legislature (Parliament), Executive Government (NEC) and the Judiciary. The work of dispensing justice belongs to the Judicial arm of government.
This is an important point. Parliament or NEC cannot and must not do the work of the Judiciary. The Judiciary must do its own work and it is this arm that is entrusted by the Constitution to dispense Justice equally to all citizens.
Right now, this arm of government is apparently paralyzed because it is clogged with matters it seems unable to deal with. This paralysis seems to be embraced and even welcomed.
It is generally accepted that most of our people have lost faith in all institutions, including Parliament. I am of the view that unless the Judiciary is able to respond to the perceived injustices in our society then our very small middle class will desert the country.
This is a phenomenon very common in Africa for instance. Many countries there were so overcome by corruption with their leaders and their families living in luxury off shore and bleeding the country to maintain their expensive lifestyles.
This then led to a significant exodus of it’s highly educated middle class. The middle class left these nations because they were fed up with corruption and wanted to live in relative peace and harmony. Something that was missing in their own countries.
Our country is corrupt. There is no argument there. Justice is also missing. What do our good citizens do in such a situation?
Should they stay and tough it out in a situation that is not of their making and over which they have no power to change? Or do they think of their children and try to provide the best they can for them? It’s not a hard choice.
Elected leaders have a responsibility not just to delivering cargo and lollies to their electorates but a greater responsibility to upholding the Constitution and the principles it contains.
It is the ability of a nation to uphold its own laws that make it an attractive place to live in. If a nation’s Constitution has little influence on it’s leaders then it’s a worthless piece of paper.
The most important pillar of constitutional democracy is respect of individual rights and values and when those are violated, justice is speedily and appropriately applied. Without justice, there can be no peace. Without peace there can be no confidence. And right now, we are down on all three.
There is no better time for justice to be dispensed appropriately so that peace and confidence can be restored than today.
I predict that if corruption continues unabated and justice difficult to obtain then the good people who feel powerless and can leave, will leave and the country will continue to deteriorate. Those who can’t leave will find justice any way they can.
Am I complaining? No. I am merely providing an opinion.