Success through endless struggle

Roselyn Sakias
Roselyn Sakias and her girls

ALPHONSE MEK

ENGA - Roselyn Sakias, originally from Enga, had a dream to become high school teacher. Life was rough and Roselyn faced a lot of challenges getting educated.

Many times it seemed her dream would just be that – a dream. But she completed Grade 12 at Pause secondary school in 2008 and was selected to attend the University of Goroka. That was a big step forward.

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ADB helps Kina Bank improve services

Kina
Kina Bank's equity boost from the Asian Development Bank will help promote its lending to small business customers

NEWS DESK
| Asian Development Bank

PORT MORESBY - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has made a $10 million (K34 million) equity investment into Kina Securities Limited, a fast-growing financial services company in Papua New Guinea.

The investment will help to increase the availability of sustainable financial services and support growth in PNG.

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Voting ends in Bougainville

Upe_boys-in-wakunai
Giving Upe hat- wearing youths a chance to vote at male-only polling stations was one of many referendum firsts

NEWS DESK
| Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — They voted in highland villages and on remote atolls. Even 15 youths, living in the jungle and wearing bright Upe hats as they underwent traditional training to become men, had the chance to vote.

All across Bougainville, people have voted in a historic referendum to decide if they want to become the world’s newest nation by gaining independence from Papua New Guinea.

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God the writer

The 404 year old King James Bible is ceremonially borne into the PNG parliament
The 404 year old King James Bible is ceremonially borne into the PNG parliament

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The world is awash with self-help books. No matter what the subject, they promise you advice that will solve all your problems.

Self-help literature is an industry in its own right. The motives of its authors range from the naked desire to make a buck out of gullible suckers to a genuine desire to be helpful.

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This strange compulsion

James
Clive James - of all the things that made him famous, he preferred to be known as a writer

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I’m not sure about the antecedents of Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media platforms but it is easy to trace the ancestry of the modern day blog.

The first blogs appeared in the mid-1600s as a product of the debate leading to the English Civil War.

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Clive James wrote me a poem

Sally
Sally Jackson on Clive James - "At some point he wrote me a poem...."

SALLY JACKSON

SYDNEY - Sad to hear Clive James has died ... I loved his books.

My Clive story: I got to interview him once a long time ago at his favourite cafe in Circular Quay, and we got on like a house on fire, talking about reading and low carb dieting.

And went on to have more lunches.

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Something fishy about MRDC deal

Mek
Sir Mekere Morauta - "Foreign consultants have been boasting of their potentially dominant market power "

SIR MEKERE MORAUTA | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Arrangements between two foreign consultancies and the Mineral Resources Development Corporation to build power plants might be treating PNG landowners as fronts to ship out millions of kina.

Under arrangements I’ve been made aware of, the interests of foreign companies seem to have been given preference over a cheap and reliable national power supply and financial returns to the PNG LNG landowner groups who have invested in MRDC’s power-generation plans.

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A soul in need of nurture

Marlene Potoura cropped
Marlene Potoura

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Marlene Dee Grey Potoura is a very talented writer. Whether her stories and books are aimed at adults or children they invariably land in exactly the right spot.

She can write about tragedy with deep feeling and about humour with a whimsical mischievousness. In short she is an accomplished and skilful writer.

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The fears of Luluai Tsike

Tsike – the Tsengelap clan leader burdened by the problems of looming Independence
Tsike – the Tsengelap clan leader burdened by the problems of looming Independence

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA, UK – I look at the two images accompanying this essay and ponder upon how rare it is that photographs in a random collection show the same man in such contrasting postures.

Luluai Tsike of the Tsengelap clan, which has its seat at Talu near Banz on the north side of the Wahgi Valley, is deeply troubled in the image at right and smiling and joyful in the one below.

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Debt repayment: Tough year 2020

Ian Ling Stuckey MP
Ian Ling Stuckey - During the O'Neill regime “every year the average living standard of every person went backward by over K100”

SCOTT WAIDE
| EMTV Online | Edited

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea government is projecting a  tough year in 2020 as it contends with a shrinking economy and a K4 billion budget deficit.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has handed down a K18.7 billion budget whilst issuing a scathing attack on former prime minister Peter O’Neill for what he described as the “mismanagement of the PNG economy”.

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PNG – we can’t go on like this

Nhc
In the National Housing Corporation corruption is rife. The stench from those who feed off the misery of evicted  Papua New Guinean families is sickening 

SCOTT WAIDE

LAE - All the systems we put in place must serve the people.

We can pull our people out from the quagmire of poor health and low literacy. We can educate more women, reduce violence, build great infrastructure, strengthen our internal and external security.

We can be a learning hub for our Pacific neighbours with world class university campuses that use the research and the skills to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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The kiaps: After dedication, melancholy

Oates
Paul Oates at Pindiu in 1970 with Papua New Guinea Administration colleaguesa

CHIPS MACKELLAR

Small Steps along the Way, by Paul Oates. Download it free here

WARWICK QLD - With Small Steps along the Way Paul Oates enters the pantheon of kiaps who have recorded their experiences in Papua New Guinea during the years of its prelude to independence in 1975.

Collectively they fill the void eschewed by mainstream historians, and for good reason.

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Pressure on South Pacific journalism

Dan McGarry
Dan McGarry - "The government refused my application to renew my work visa to silence me and warn other journalists in the country not to speak out”

GRAEME DOBELL
| The Strategist | Australian Strategic Policy Institute

CANBERRA - Journalism has always been a tough trade in the South Pacific. Living and working in island communities exposes editors and reporters to unusual political, personal and professional pressures.

A statement warning about ‘growing threats to media freedom’ from the Melanesia Media Freedom Forum, representing journalists from Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and West Papua, has been underlined by Vanuatu’s expulsion of a long-serving editor.

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The eighth wife of a ‘bosboi’

John Pundari (right) with Michael Malabag
John Pundari (right) with Michael Malabag in Pundari's house at Meraimanda

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - Imagine how brave it was for local women to marry complete strangers – whether other Papua New Guineans or expatriates: men who dressed differently, spoke strange languages, ate weird foods and bore different skin colours.

This was the time when the PNG highlands were opening to the outside world of explorers, gold prospectors and kiaps (patrol officers), strange men who seemed to have appeared in their midst at the blink of an eye.

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Pacific avoids debt-trap for now

Solomons prime minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese premier Li Keqiang (AP)
Solomons prime minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese premier Li Keqiang (AP)

ALEXANDRE DAYANT
| Nikkei Asian Review

SYDNEY - In October, the New York Times reported that China had leased the island of Tulagi, prized for its deep-water harbor, from the Solomon Islands, which lie northeast of Australia.

While the Solomon Islands government has said such a lease is illegal, it set alarm bells ringing internationally, coming less than a week after the country severed relations with Taipei and turned to Beijing.

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O’Neill: Izze an Ozzie izze Lizzie…..?

Oneill
"Is he an Aussie, is he, is he, is he an Aussie is he, eh? Is it because he's an Aussie, Lizzie, That he makes you dizzy, Lizzie?" (From the Vaults)

BRYAN KRAMER MP
| Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY - On Thursday 14 November, former prime minister Peter O'Neill released a press statement announcing he had registered criminal complaints against me.

The complaints, made on 22 May 2019 and 28 October 2019, alleged I had made false citizenship claims against him, thus offending against sections 21 and 23 of the Cybercrime Act.

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B’ville to revive mining proposal

Raymond masono
Raymond Masono - "“Panguna is the most likely project that can bankroll Bougainville’s independence from PNG”

NEWS DESK
| Reuters | Extract

SYDNEY — Bougainville vice-president Raymond Masono said he will revive a plan to overhaul the region’s mining laws after its ongoing independence referendum, which could strip the former operator of the Panguna gold and copper project of its interests.

The proposed changes, which have been criticised by Panguna landowners, would also erase an interest in the project held by the Papua New Guinea government, potentially complicating negotiations between the two governments after the referendum.

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Transparency needed on K1b loan

Bridi rice
Bridi Rice - "We need to be more sophisticated than providing loans through Export Finance Australia"

BRIDI RICE
| Australian Council for International Development

CANBERRA - The Australian Council for International Development has commented on news that the Australian government will provide a loan of $US300 million (K1 billion) to Papua New Guinea.

As the PNG government seeks to pursue further economic reform, short-term liquidity provided by Australia could provide a leg-up for long-term change. But this is far from certain.

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Bougainville’s challenges lie ahead

Mel-togolo
Mel Togolo - "it has been a long road"

SIR MELCHIOR TOGOLO
| Chairman, Bougainville Copper Limited

PORT MORESBY - The beginning of the referendum on Bougainville’s political future marks both an historic and proud moment for all of us who identify as Bougainvillean or have links through marriage and other customary arrangements.

It has been a long road and everybody who has been involved in ensuring Bougainville is well prepared should be happy with the outcome of their efforts.

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Health corruption & incompetence exposed

Juffa Pundari
Public accounts committee deputy chairman Governor Gary Juffa and  chairman Sir John Pundari enter a packed conference room to investigate the health department. How many deaths has this corrupt and incompetent department been responsible for?

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Inside a packed conference room on the first level of B-Wing at Papua New Guinea’s parliament house, the Public Accounts Committee awaits senior members of the health department.

Already present are representatives from the logistics  and pharmaceutical companies who have been summoned to give evidence in this investigation into a health system in crisis.

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When the white man came to Wabag

Thadius Kaka today
Thadius Kaka Menge today - almost 100, saw the onset of colonialism and mind as sharp as a tack

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - Thadius Kaka Menge is one of the few surviving local leaders in Wabag who assisted the colonial administration pacify warring tribesmen and bring change and development to their communities.

The kiaps, or patrol officers, effectively used local leaders to partner with the police to establish Wabag town and built roads and bridges.

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O’Neill wants me fired as police minister

Kramer (back to camera) addresses senior poice officers
Bryan Kramer (back to camera) addresses a meeting of police officers

BRYAN KRAMER MP
| Edited

PORT MORESBY - On 14 November 2019, former prime minister Peter O’Neill released a press statement entitled ‘Criminal complaints and admitted misuse of police power requires PM to decommission Kramer’.

Then last Friday O’Neill issued a further statement entitled ‘Kramer deliberately leaked cabinet information so must be decommissioned’.

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Will Bougainville reopen Panguna?

Bville
The Bougainville people are delighted to be voting in their long-promised independence referendum, but the hardest decisions still lie ahead

JOSHUA McDONALD
| The Diplomat

WASHINGTON DC - The Panguna mine on Bougainville is one of the largest copper and gold deposits in the world.

The mine was also at the centre of a decade-long civil war fought between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force in the 1990s. The conflict cost as many as 15,000 lives and displaced 40,000 of the island’s 200,000 inhabitants.

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Australia to loan PNG K1 billion

Marape Morrison
James Marape and Scott Morrison - Australia's billion kina loan equals about what PNG lost in its ill-fated venture into Oil Search

TOM McILROY
| Australian Financial Review | Extracts

SYDNEY - Australia will loan Papua New Guinea $442 million (K1 billion)) in direct budget assistance designed to secure essential government services and rebuff financial overtures from China.

The Morrison government agreed to the loan request from PNG prime minister James Marape, offering immediate financial support linked to his plans for longer-term economic reforms in the struggling nation.

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The power of persistence

David Johns and Justin Kundalin
David Johns and Justin Kundalin - brothers in arms and partners in persistence

JUSTIN KUNDALIN

SONOMA - He and I had many things in common and were best buddies in our secondary school days. That’s my brother, David Johns.

Doing Grade 12 in Kopen Secondary School, we both loved reading, church activities, leading students in ministry and working with peers and older folks.

We worked hard for the Grade 12 examination and, when the time came to fill the school leaver’s form, we both marked our choices as Sonoma Adventist College and Pacific Adventist University to take theology.

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Is greed natural? Is O'Neill real?

Phil Fitzpatrick at mic
Phil Fitzpatrick - "In PNG rural communities still operate as consensus driven entities ruled by the common good"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - In the 1987 film, Wall Street, the central character, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, famously says: “… greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.”

The 1980s was the era of the ‘yuppies’ (young, upwardly-mobile professionals) during Ronald Reagan’s conservative presidency and the reign of his British equivalent, the ‘Iron Lady’, Maggie Thatcher.

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How PNG universities lost their ethics

VC_back
In 2014, after an exhaustive official inquiry, Dr Schram was allowed to return to PNG and his university. But corrupt politicians and administrators engineered phony charges against Schram in 2018, forcing him to leave PNG

ALBERT SCHRAM
| Extracts | Read the full address to the University of Verona here

VERONA - In all five developing countries where I have lived, no citizen believes the main purpose of the government of the day is serving the country's citizens.

In many developing countries, university lecturers will not speak up or be active democratic citizens, however, since they know this would mean they lose their jobs. It is therefore the students who will speak up.

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Who gives PNG how much?

PNG donor funding
Papua New Guinea’s top donors (National Planning Department, 2020 forecasts)

BRYAN KRAMER MP
| The Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY - While discussing the 2020 budget papers, many members of Papua New Guinea’s national executive council (cabinet) were surprised to find out just how much PNG receives from our donor partners.

In 2020 PNG will receive close to K1 billion in free development funds to assist us in our development goals.

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Kuplam SDA’s drug-drunk conversion

SDA program
More than 500 people attended a program to try to rid Enga society of drug-taking and drunkenness

PORAP GAI

LAIAGAM - Kuplam Seventh Day Adventist church is in Komaip village beside the police station not far away from Laiagam station.

It’s just a right turn from the road to Porgera gold mine amongst the tribes of the Lyen, Samb, Tee and Waiten people, highly populated groups but with many illiterates and a lot of drug use and other illegal activities.

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My eulogy for Murray

Murray Bladwell provided practical help for Simbu and other projects
Murray Bladwell provided practical support for projects in Simbu and many other places

KEITH JACKSON

The funeral of our great friend and PNG Attitude colleague Murray Bladwell is being held in Brisbane as this tribute is published. I was asked by his family to offer a brief eulogy focusing on his relationship with Simbu….

NOOSA - The death of a friend chips away at us. When we lose a friend, we lose something of ourselves. And I miss this man of kindness, substance, practicality - and really bad puns.

Murray and I met in the Papua New Guinea highlands in early December 1963, a week or so after the assassination of John F Kennedy. Murray was 22; I was 18. Both of us were fresh out of teacher training.

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Why Bougainville is eyeing independence

FlagJASON SCOTT SMITH
| Washington Post

CANBERRA - Nearly two decades after a bloody civil war ended, Papua New Guinea’s province of Bougainville is finally getting its promised referendum on independence.

The result is expected to be a clear signal that a majority want to establish a new nation. But the way forward after votes are counted in December is far from clear.

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His Voice singing in the Wild West

His Voice Singers
Enga’s  Seventh Day Adventist His Voice singers, their voices echoing in the woods of Laiagam, Porgera and Mt Kare

PORAP GAI

LAIAGAM - His Voice is the singing ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist church in Enga.

The group was formed in 2019 by men and boys from Tee, Paiyan, Walian and other neighbouring tribesmen of Paip SDA church in Mamal village in the Laiagam District.

On social media, people in our country and even the world can see our own Wild West of the three Engan districts of Laiagam, Kandep and Porgera fighting wars and losing lives.

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On memorials & monuments for kiaps

Coastwatchers memorial madang
The Coastwatchers Memorial in Madang - should there be something similar for the kiaps?

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - There have been rumblings among the ever diminishing ex-kiap community for several years now about the desirability of erecting a monument to the work they did in colonial Papua New Guinea, and especially to commemorate those who lost their lives in the service.

The proposals range from a physical structure at a selected location to something like a scholarship for Papua New Guinean students named to mark the kiaps’ contribution to the development of their nation.

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TIPNG observers for referendum polling

TIPNG observer team
Observers will provide a critical role in ensuring whether the Bougainville independence referendum will be transparent.

NEWS DESK
| PNG News

PORT MORESBY - Transparency International PNG will be among the organisations sending a team of observers to monitor voting during the Bougainville referendum that begins next week.

The team of eleven, made possible with funding from the European Union, will be divided into a group of six in Buka and a group of five in Arawa.

Deputy director of policy and advocacy, Yuambari Haihuie, says TIPNG will monitor the conduct of referendum polling by officials as well as the freedom of voters to cast their votes without fear or intimidation.

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Don Dunstan’s role in PNG independence

Whitlam Dunstan
Gough Whitlam and Don Dunstan in Canberra in 1973 during Whitlam’s prime ministership (National Archives of Australia)

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The argument goes that it was Australian opposition leader and later prime minister, Gough Whitlam, who led the charge for early self-government and independence in Papua New Guinea.

This is a naïve and simplistic view cherished by many observers in both Australia and Papua New Guinea. But the real story was decidedly more complex.

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Push the power of the pen

Power to the pen
"True development comes not when more money comes into the treasury but when the mindset changes"

JUSTIN KUNDALIN

SONOMA – The words of writers live longer than the ploys of many politicians. Writers influence every successive generation. Their legacy lasts long.

I believe in the power of writing and it is a power that has no peer.

The world is changing and Papua New Guinea is changing in terms of buildings and roads and education and international relationships and development.

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The mystery of low birth weight

Baby
Even if small babies survive, they can suffer severe health problems throughout life and have a shorter life expectancy

NEWS DESK
| Burnet Institute

MELBOURNE - Shockingly, one in seven babies in Papua New Guinea is born with a low birth weight.

Babies born too small are often too weak to fight infection and as a result are very likely to die.

Even if they survive, they can suffer severe health problems throughout their life, and have a shorter life expectancy.

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BRA’s Kauona looks at Bougainville’s future

Sam Kauona
Sam Kauona,  former Bougainville Revolutionary Army general now a leading independence figure (Ben Bohane)

BEN BOHANE
| Sydney Morning Herald | Extract | Read full article here

BOUGAINVILLE - China is also showing considerable interest in Bougainville, offering K3.4 billion worth of infrastructure and seeking Bougainville’s mineral wealth in ‘collateral’ as part of the deal.

Also revealed is the scale of a Chinese master plan for Bougainville as it heads towards a referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea.

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Vanuatu doubles down on McGarry

Dan_McGarry
Dan McGarry - "“It’s just plain cruel to make innocent children suffer merely because we printed an uncomfortable truth”

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The government of Vanuatu, having previously blocked Vanuatu Daily Post senior journalist Dan McGarry from working in the country, has now doubled down on that decision by preventing him from returning home to Port Vila.

Mr McGarry had, of all things, been attending a media freedom conference in Brisbane when the Vanuatu government denied his right to return to Vanuatu to be with his family.

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Jamie Maxton-Graham: A tribute

Jamie Maxton Graham
Jamie Maxton-Graham in Mexico in 2008 - he persuaded Daniel Kumbon to adopt a healthy lifestyle

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG – When we met for the first time far from home, the late Jamie Maxton Graham encouraged me to give up Coca-Cola.

It was in Mexico City in August 2008, and it’s not often you come across a national minister who talks on a personal level about health and other important life issues.

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