A great man has been killed by the Department of Health and the Lae International Hotel. He had faithfully served the nation for over 3 decades and was betrayed in the end, contrary to the wishes of the Prime Minister.
But now he lies in a funeral home in Lae waiting for the Government to bid farewell to a great friend of the nation and to ensure that his widow finds her way back to Australia.
Dr Niblett was an old man of 78 years with half a century of experience as a doctor. He was far past the retirement age of other government workers, a fact conveniently overlooked in the growing crisis of cancer in the nation. He was the leading oncologist then and now.
He needed special help from his PNG employers as he was a cripple struck down with polio as child.
But he was a committed people person regardless of his handicap, helping cancer patients and families. He sought to make PNG on a par with other medically advanced nations.
Dr Niblett went on with life by Positive Living and sought to help others to do the same. Putting his handicap behind him, he ran the cancer ward at ANGAU memorial hospital spending his days in a wheel chair.
He was handicapped in two ways. He could not walk and needed daily exercise on a special machine to exercise his muscles.
As the solitary oncologist, Dr Niblett stayed on despite primitive treatment facilities and lack of funding. But cancer sufferers were still dying and more needed treatment that could not be given.
Dr Niblett urged the Government to provide funds for repair of the cancer machine to treat the patients called the linear simulator. It has still not yet been repaired.
Papua New Guinea public servants often have a contempt for citizens. Dr Niblett was an expatriate that would have only provoked extra contempt. How dare he put pressure on the Department of Health. This is our country.
He was then to suffer the fate of all Government workers. So many politicians, soldiers, police and prison officers sink into poverty waiting for a pension that never comes.
They no longer exist and their families become irrelevant to the Government officers in power. Their pensions go to corrupt officers.
Many are unable to support their families with aging wives who sell betel nut in a roadside stall to keep the family alive. Papua New Guina is a quite immoral country at the level of the bureaucracy.
Many retirees die with pensions and entitlements unpaid. Dr Niblett had signed a contract in 2009 appropriate to a crippled contract worker. He needed special modifications to a car and rental accommodation to enable access of a wheel chair.
These were ignored. A car was arranged but corruptly diverted by a senior oficer of the Department of Health. Dr Niblett was given a driver for a car that he had enormous difficulty each time he tried to enter and leave from his wheel chair.
He advised about two years ago his need to retire as he approached 80 years. He sought to recruit a replacement but the new doctor worked only for 12 months before leaving with dissatisfaction on salary and entitlements.
Dr Niblett had selected other doctors and trained them within the limits of a broken-down cancer machine. But the faceless corrupt officers in the Department of Health rejected the selection but did not send any other doctor overseas for training.
They made false reports to the media that Dr Niblett had trained no one. Liars. He would have known best in his selection.
The National Court declared that Dr Niblett had to be paid full entitlements while the problem remained. But there was only contempt of court despite support from the Prime Minister. All entitlements stopped.
Dr Niblett and wife were evicted from their accommodation in the Lae International Hotel with huge arrears. His personal effects were locked away including his polio breathing exercise machine.
This was done by the manager supported by the owner Sir Bob Sinclair who refused to see the widow. His election poster claimed he was Papa bilong Lae. They wanted their money and the crippled doctor had to pay. He did pay ....... with his life.
Dr Niblett suffered deep stress and drop in health as an old polio stricken man of 78 years. He could not exercise daily as his machine was locked away at the Lae International Hotel.
He died in deep distress and suffering. He had the right to rest at the age of 78 years, far beyond the normal retirement age. But experienced oncologists are quite rare and the normal age of retirement was not considered.
He had the right to go back to Australia to spend remaining years with his loving wife, children and grand-chlldren. Instead stupid and selfish people put him in his grave and pointed their fingers to hide their own corruption, incompetence and lack of humanity.
Dr John Niblett stands far above the people who treated him with such contempt. They could not care less about the cancer victims in the nation and a man who could help them to live.
Professionalism and love for humanity came at a great cost to Dr Niblett. No one will ever be able to replace him.
Mrs Niblett is alone in country now except for her many friends. She can not afford to leave and can not afford to stay. If she leaves, the corrupt officers in the Department of Health will steal all entitlements.
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