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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Papua New Guinea Blogs: HERST Minister Gore, Solving Unitech Saga Is Simple

Original: Papua New Guinea Blogs: HERST Minister Gore, Solving Unitech Saga Is Simple

Peaceful and dignified student demonstration "No Schram, No School".
Hon Minister, you have assumed the Ministry of perhaps the most important department for our nation's future in a time of crisis. Congratulations on your appointment!

In your acceptance speech you said that you would make solving Unitech Saga your top priority. What is worrisome is that you also said that it is too early to give details of your plans on how to solve the crisis.

Minister Gore, time is running out. The deadline set by the Unitech Council for Albert Schram to come back is only weeks away. You too will be accused of using delaying tactics unless you have a plan ready to go within the next few days. Hopefully, being appointed Minister of HERST means that you take a keen interest in PNG higher education and have been following Unitech Saga to some extent.

If not, here is a brief refresher course. Unitech Saga is a battle between good and evil. The Saga started when newly recruited Albert Schram naively thought the Unitech council supported good governance and noted the importance of resolving years of financial irregularities.

Evil raised its ugly head, in the form of all those who had been mismanaging Unitech or misusing its funds. A war started to remove Albert Schram and get him out of the country so that the evil deeds at Unitech could be effectively covered up again and forgotten.

Evil received a setback when the Sevua report has cleared Albert Shram of all alleged wrongdoing made up by the now disgraced former Council members.

The current Unitech council has endorsed Albert Schram's return. Unitech's staff and students seem to support Schram coming back in the majority.

In other words, everyone who is good and decent and cares about this country is pretty much on Albert Schram's side.The only obstacle is that Foreign Affairs will not give Albert Schram a new work visa. Minister Gore, the solution to Unitech Saga is simple. Remove the government obstacles that are keeping Albert Schram from coming back to PNG.

Maybe there is a rogue element within PNG Foreign Affairs that has caused this problem to continue endlessly. Maybe it was your predecessor, David Arore who was pressuring Foreign Affairs not to grant the work visa.

Hopefully, the cause for the work visa blockage is not the Prime Minister, although we all learnt that he is not above petty politics with expatriates. The evidence is in the deportation of Mark Davies of the PNG Sustainable Development Programme.

Despite that complication, your work can be relatively easy. Give the facts of Unitech Saga to Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato or to your big boss. Make note of the fact that deporting expatriates using dubious reasons tarnishes our international reputation and makes us look like a banana republic.

In short, do what is necessary to remove the block at Foreign Affairs so that Albert Schram an come back to Unitech to serve out his contract, with all time lost during his deportation being added back onto his contract as compensation.

Bring him back so that we can see for ourselves how Albert Schram performs in cleaning up the mess that is Unitech.

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