Tracking daily developments in the struggle for a Papua New Guinea worthy of its people
Saturday 2 July 2016
OIL Search's $3 billion bid to acquire InterOil is now subject to a rival offer from an unnamed party, believed to be Exxon. Oil Search says it has been notified by InterOil that an unsolicited, conditional non-binding proposal has just come forward. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/07/01/rival-emerges-oil-searchs-interoil-bi
Friday 1 July
PNG church leaders are calling on the prime minister to step aside while a commission of inquiry investigates recent violence at the nation's universities. Retired judge Warwick Andrew will chair the commission, which the church leaders say will only investigate the symptoms and not the root cause of the unrest. The deputy chairman of the evangelical and pentecostal churches in Morobe, Pastor Newman Watati, says the prime minister should do the honourable thing. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307681/church-leaders-in-png-call-for-pm-to-step-aside
THE PNG government has successfully raised an unsecured loan for up to $US500 million (K1.5 billion) from Credit Suisse AG, with the first funds to be drawn down immediately. The government announced this in a aid advertisement but with no details on conditions, interest rate or where the proceeds would be applied. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/png-government-secures-k15-billion-loan.html#ixzz4D7Oldoks
PETER O’Neill’s trade mission to China next week, juxtaposed with Rio’s pull-out from Bougainville, has some PNG Attitude commentators excited. Will the Chinese be invited to redevelop the Panguna mine? While John Momis was once PNG’s ambassador to China, Bougainvilleans would be hugely unexcited by this option, especially under the aegis of the PNG government. In China, O’Neill will meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/png-pm-oneill-to-officially-visit-china.html#ixzz4D6B5QtmM
PETER O’Neill has revisited his effort to grab the $USD1.4 billion PNG Sustainable Development Program established for the people of the Western Province when BHP fled PNG. O’Neill says he wants to see that the funds “are protected and safely delivered back to the people of Western Province”. Ahem…. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/prime-minister-oneill-committed-to.html#ixzz4D68ulKGw
Thursday 30 June
POLICE are providing protection for Unitech vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram following an attack on his car and threats made to him. A group of students was not happy with Dr Schram for not publicly disclosing which group killed a student on Saturday. Metropolitan superintendent Anthony Wagambie said police had been assigned to provide protection. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/110692&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
ASIAN Development Bank says PNG is still seen by private sector as a growth market, but the downside risks are significant. "Without a public finance reform … any additional debt begs the question how it's being utilised, whether it's being driven towards productive sectors or not." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307605/adb-urges-further-expenditure-reform-for-png
IN rare good news, the international anti-money-laundering task force has removed PNG from its blacklist. It welcomed the "significant progress" PNG has made in addressing deficiencies in its anti-laundering systems. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307606/png-dropped-from-anti-money-laundering-blacklist
Wednesday 29 June
NO new doctors will graduate from the UPNG medical school in 2017 because of the impact of the student boycott on classes in a so far failed effort to get rid of prime minister Peter O’Neill. PNG has one of the worse doctor to patient ratio in the world, a ratio of 0.05 dctors per 1,000 people. http://www.looppng.com/content/no-graduating-doctors-put-strain-health-services-%E2%80%93-health-secretary#.V3IYUGKTlqU.twitter
THE PNG government is enforcing a curfew at UPNG and Unitech following the violent attack in Lae and ongoing student protests. NCD metropolitan police commander Ben Turi said there would be no tolerance for more protests. The mood at UPNG is said to be quiet under a heavy police presence. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307509/curfew-and-clampdown-on-protests-in-png
EASTERN Highlands governor Julie Soso has been found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court. The court found that the actions of the governor in instructing Solomon Tato to step down as provincial administrator and later recommending another appointment was contemptuous as it breached an earlier court order. The matter will now proceed to criminal trial. http://www.looppng.com/content/soso-guilty-contempt-court#.V3IWBysHNUU.twitter
OPPOSITION Leader Don Polye has called on chief secretary Isaac Lupari to resign, saying he must be blamed for leading the country into financial woes and uncertainty. “Isaac Lupari is professionally and morally unfit to be the government’s chief secretary,” he said. https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/902664963175630
Tuesday 28 June
LAE police have arrested three students after the death of a student at the University of Technology on Saturday. It is understood one of arrested men was the dead man's roommate. The victim was reportedly targeted amid student disagreements over whether to continue boycotts on classes as part of a campaign to get prime minister Peter O'Neill to resign. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-28/three-arrested-over-png-student-death/7550564
FOLLOWING a visit to West Papua, PNG’s ambassador to Indonesia, Peter Ilau, says West Papuans are running their own region. "We're observing a trend towards doing things for themselves," he said. "You know the governors, they're all indigenous Papuans.” Ilau said that ‘one of the salient points’ he and ambassadors from New Zealand, Fiji and Solomons picked up during the visit was that local people in Papua are ‘fed up with outside interference’. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307457/west-papuans-in-the-driving-seat,-says-png-ambassador
IN AN example of what psychologists call ‘projection’, Peter O'Neill blames the opposition for protests at the country's universities, saying opposition leader, Don Polye, has blood on his hands. O'Neill accuses Don Polye of stirring up students and misleading them with false ideas. When investigations are completed, O’Neill says, he wouldn't be surprised to find the opposition heavily involved. He also says the opposition is undermining the economy and image of the nation. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307451/png-pm-again-blames-opposition-for-student-unrest
WITH PNG’s university system in chaos and students heading home, Peter O’Neill is planning a curfew. “A curfew needs to be imposed on campuses and strict controls must be in place to ensure that only students, staff and people with a legitimate reason to be there are able to visit campuses,” he says. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/png-government-plans-to-impose-curfew.html#ixzz4CooZMh5w
THOUSANDS of people march in the Southern Highlands capital Mendi to mourn Graham Romanong, a first-year surveying student, who killed at Unitech on Saturday, allegedly murdered by a rival student group. The killing is not related to recent student boycotts but to an earlier incident where a clash between two groups of students resulted in a wounding.http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/shp-mourns-for-student-killed-at.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz4Copwr3UY
Monday 27 June
RESPECTED paediatrician and vice-president of the National Doctors Association Dr Alphonse Rongap Snr was shot at close range and killed in a weekend carjacking in Lae. The death of the senior doctor, originally from East Sepik, has shocked PNG. http://www.looppng.com/content/bring-culprits-dr-rongap-snr%E2%80%99s-death-justice-nda?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
THE Catholic Bishops Conference says the situation at UPNG and Unitech has gone from bad to worse. General Secretary Fr Victor Roche said: “The CBC is against any form of violence. We appeal to the students not to cause any more destruction of property. The students who want to attend classes should be allowed by other fellow students. There should be no intimidation.” http://www.onepng.com/2016/06/unitech-upng-situation-going-from-bad.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
Sunday 26 June
UNITECH vice-chancellor Albert Schram confirms that Appropriate Technology & Community Development Institute, Department of Open and Distance Learning, SRC president’s house and mess building lost to arson. “We will need support now in times of need to rebuild the mess and academic buildings,” Prof Schram says. https://www.facebook.com/albert.schram/posts/1298827166811870
GOVERNOR Gary Juffa tweets on continuing unrest in three universities: “One student murdered in Lae; another still in critical condition in Port Moresby; Parliament must be recalled.”
CORRUPTION busting lawyer Sam Koim (deposed by a fearful prime minister) tweets: "The central feature of the Rule of Law is that our country is ruled by laws not men."
POLICE have arrested and charged four people in relation to the violence on the UPNG campus. Police Minister Robert Atiyafa said most students wanted a return to classes but were prevented from doing so by intoxicated students. “The activities of these remaining few are no longer student issues but law and order issues,” he said. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/four-arrested-over-upng-student-rampage.html#ixzz4CckioO9N
HIGHER Education Minister Malakai Tabar has condemned the actions of students who torched a building and five vehicles at UPNG. “They are behaving like criminals, they are not behaving like students, and the police have been requested to identify and deal with those involved,” he said. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/tabar-condemns-actions-of-students-at.html#ixzz4CclRclEX
Saturday 25 June
PNG’s attempt to interest global investors in a $1 billion bond issue has likely been doomed by UK’s vote to leave the EU and the market turmoil in its wake. Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari says if the funds aren’t raised there will be further spending cutbacks on schools, roads, hospitals, bridges and health care. http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Papua-New-Guinea-tries-again-to-interest-global-bond-buyers
UPNG’s Uni-Venture publishing and bookshop business entity has gone up in flames. Books on PNG history valued at K1.5 million have been lost together with office and training equipment, school kits and other reading materials. The building was also looted. http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=Millions-in-Flames-&subcategory=Top-Stories
Friday 24 June
POET Jeff Febi writes: "I have been supporting UPNG4PNG protests passionately until today. After burning of the two important and critical infrastructure - Somare Library and Uni Printery of UPNG - my support will be withdrawn. Uni students just can't afford to stoop to the levels of the policemen who shot at them and injured many."
POLICE have reoccupied the UPNG campus after students burned a building and vehicles and shut down the main campus yesterday. UPNG staff were told not to enter the campus this morning and police met with university administrators and were guarding the main buildings. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-24/png-police-re-occupy-university-after-students-torch-building/7541070
IN A media statement, PNG chief secretary Isaac Lupari hits out at “ill-informed naysayers who are preoccupied with talking down the national economy.” He says people “who talk the economy down are ignoring the facts. There is a small group of people who have a singular obsession of trying to mislead markets and the nation about the national economy.”
Thursday 23 June
THE PNG Supreme Court has set 1 July as the date for a hearing on the right of Sir Mekere Morauta to challenge the constitutionality of the O’Neill government’s illegal expropriation of PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd’s 63.4% shareholding in Ok Tedi Mining Ltd. Sir Mek is seeking standing to bring the challenge as a private citizen. http://www.mekeremorauta.net/#!Date-set-for-constitutional-challenge-to-illegal-expropriation-of-PNGSDP-shares-in-Ok-Tedi/c1sbz/57687e140cf2644549bd278a
UPNG students have requested a formal reconciliation process with the university administration before returning to class. Student Council spokesperson Gerald Peni says students are prepared to apologise if the administration says sorry to students and condemns the 8 June shootings by police. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307033/upng-students-seek-reconcilation
Wednesday 22 June
MOVES by police commissioner Gary Baki to arrest fraud squad head Matthew Damaru are described as an abuse of power by his lawyer McRonald Nale. He said the argument that Damaru failed to consult the public prosecutor before arresting and charging Sir Bernard Sakora is nullified by the constitutional provision that police operate independently. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307006/arrest-of-png-fraud-squad-head-called-an-abuse-of-power
MAJOR Andrew Napi, commanding officer of Kerowil Barracks in Jiwaka, says soldiers will assistpolice along the Nondugl-Banz road in doing random checks on vehicles for illegal firearms and weapons, unlicensed liquor, marijuana and unregistered vehicles. Looks like it could be a thin edge. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/110155
NEW charges against the head of PNG’s police fraud squad are temporarily suspended by the national court. Matthew Damaru was arrested last week in relation to his arrest of supreme court judge, Sir Bernard Sakora, on corruption allegations. Justice Kiele Polume has placed a restraining order preventing police commissioner Gary Baki or internal affairs officers making further arrests of fraud squad detectives over the matter. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306958/charges-against-png-fraud-squad-head-on-hold
FRAUD squad boss Matthew Damaru has aired his frustration at the police hierarchy for infighting amongst officers. He says it is embarrassing him to be arrested for doing his job in investigating and prosecuting high profile cases. Mr Damaru said the charge of abuse of office was a “real joke” and blamed it on wrong advice issued to the police commissioner. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/police-infighting-is-embarrassing-says.html#ixzz4CFAFkuoR
CHIEF Secretary Isaac Lupari says classes have resumed at Unitech and the UPNG medical school, the first since students were shot at UPNG. He took the opportunity to lash social media, saying, “As responsible Papua New Guineans it is our responsibility to be careful of what we post on social media, not to incite any major trouble in the country.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/positive-turnouts-as-students-resume.html#ixzz4CFEr7L85
Tuesday 21 June
A PSYCHOLOGIST who has counselled people in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, bombings and mass murders says he has "never seen more atrocity" than in the detention centres of Manus and Nauru. Paul Stevenson has disclosed 2,000 pages of reports revealing the privation, self-harm and desperation he dealt with during his 14 deployments to the Australian detention centres. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/20/i-have-never-seen-more-atrocity-than-i-have-seen-in-the-incarcer/
INTERESTING piece in favour of anonymity in PNG social media as “an excellent way to support the kind of effective free speech that the Peter O’Neill government now wants to silence.” Some familiar names are mentioned and fascinating ideas canvassed. But it’s written anonymously and thus should be read with caution. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/06/all-out-png-social-media-war-against.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
THE PNG supreme court wants to enforce its ruling that the detention of asylum seekers on Manus is illegal. About 900 of the so called boat people are remain at the detention centre. The court asked lawyers representing detainees and the government to apply for orders that to enforce the ruling. One of the detainees' lawyers, Ben Lomai said “we are seeking a release and retransfer of all the asylum seekers back to Australia within the next 30 to 60 days. The supreme court is reconvening today. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306783/png-supreme-court-to-enforce-manus-ruling
ASSISTANT commissioner Victor Isouve who is leading the police investigation into the UPNG shootings says the investigation is proving difficult because people are not cooperating. He says he is waiting on university officials for information and the general hospital has refused to release medical reports to police. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/no-cooperation-in-upng-protest.html#ixzz4CAXOg9R0
UPNG student leader Henry Norrie-Maim says students have chosen not to attend classes out of respect for those shot by police. "The lecture rooms are open for us,” he says, “but most of us don't want to go to classes while our friends that took bullets are suffering in hospital and recovering." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306495/upng-students-still-not-back-in-class
EXPERIENCE in PNG has shown that inappropriate policy, poor governance and ineffective administration have contributed to the inefficient translation of economic gains into broad based gains and development. Here’s the story of the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/eiti-in-papua-new-guinea-pros-and-cons/?utm_content=buffer186d6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
THE detention of three immigration officers attempting to deport a Malaysian businessman has caused a confrontation with police. Chief Immigration Officer Mataio Rabura expressed concern over the behaviour of a senior police officer and his faction of policemen for allegedly assaulting the immigration officers and detaining them at the Gerehu police station last week. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/110101
Monday 20 June
PNG IS approaching world financial markets for a USD 1 billion sovereign bond. A successful raising will have major benefits for PNG, says Paul Flanagan, especially in reducing foreign exchange shortages. However, the costs will be too high – over 25% per annum – unless the kina is made much more competitive before the bond is issued. Failing to do so will be a K2 billion mistake. http://pngeconomics.org/?p=184
AS OIL Search attempts a takeover, the InterOil share price rallies and pressures the $US2 billion bid. InterOil founder Phil Mulacek has been strongly critical of the Oil Search offer, which he argues undervalues the potential of the Elk-Antelope reserves in the Gulf Province. http://www.smh.com.au/business/interoil-share-price-strength-adds-to-oil-search-bid-woes-20160619-gpmli1.html#ixzz4C5Em32Nx
THE UPNG Administration is demanding students complete ‘reaffirmation forms’ to clarify if they want to continue to boycott classes. The coercive and repugnant forms include clauses designed to remove the students’ democratic right to protest. Time ANU severed its association with this failed institution. https://www.facebook.com/pngples/posts/1129666030428343
STAFF at the National Broadcasting Corporation missed out on their pay last week, Tundei luswik in PNG parlance. They now face the grim reality of the government’s cash flow problems and the difficult task of sustaining their families. There is no certainty they will get their pay this week. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/06/nbc-staff-didnt-get-their-pay-this-pay.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Fights among students at Bugandi Secondary School in Morobe Province have been an issue for many years. Principal Tony Gau says he is not sure if the fights are related to cult activities or ethnic differences. He has exhausted all avenues to stop them and has involved the police to assist the school. Some students caught by police have been taken into juvenile custody. http://www.onepng.com/2016/06/student-gang-groups-cause-school-fights.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
AT the University of Technology, student leaders from all 22 provinces are working tirelessly to broker peace between students from Southern Highlands and Enga. A physical confrontation took place between the two groups last week after a forum to air support, as well as raise funds to contribute towards medical costs for their UPNG colleagues. http://www.looppng.com/content/unitech-students-seek-reconcile#.V2WoKfMZzzY.twitter
Sunday 19 June
“Those who wants to fight against corruption, bear in mind that corruption fights back,” says Sam Basil MP, who led this weekend’s walk against corruption in Lae. “I am the longest serving opposition member in the current national parliament and I am the victim of fighting corruption. Look my Bulolo District. My business and my family are also affected because of fighting corruption.” https://www.facebook.com/pngples/posts/1129915267070086
MORE than 300 Engan students at the University of Goroka have distanced themselves from ongoing students protests. After meeting with Enga Provincial Government authorities the students said they were not supporting other tertiary institutions. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1106407759400291&set=gm.1128955950475952&type=3&theater
Saturday 18 June
ECONOMIST are forecasting a crisis in which thousands of Papua New Guineans will be laid off from their jobs, writes Sylvester Gawi. “Companies are going to lay off workers because they are not making enough money. Prices of goods and services will increase. There is not enough money in the economy for the people and business to buy and sell. That means thousands of Papua New Guineans will be without jobs.” http://sylvestergawi.blogspot.com.au/2016/06/massive-redundancy-looming-for-png.html?spref=fb
THE Solomons government is repatriating its students studying at UPNG, University of Goroka and Unitech due to the ongoing boycott of classes and disturbances. Repatriation starts today. Officials had been closely monitoring the national students uprising. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1606/S00054/govt-begins-repatreation-of-students-studying-in-png.htm
ENGAN students at the University of Goroka have called on the PNG government to investigate what was described as “a sudden attack” on students Enga, Hela, Jiwaka, Southern Highlands and Western Highlands by their Eastern Highlands and Shimbu colleagues. The incident led to 46 students being treated in hospital on Tuesday. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/06/17/engan-students-call-for-png-inquiry-into-goroka-campus-clash/
“SINCE Mr Somare’s time the stakes have grown. The past decade’s commodity boom poured rivers of extra cash into public coffers. Meanwhile, politicians have grown more adroit at using state institutions to quash investigations into their alleged misconduct. Incumbency confers big advantages. The fear is that some politicians may steal and take kickbacks not only to enrich themselves but also to buy protection and win elections.” http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21700667-student-protests-spread-defiant-prime-minister-digs-university-challenge
NEW Ireland governor and ex prime minister, Sir Julius Chan, has warned that the worst is yet to come with the PNG economy. He says foreign investors will think twice about investing in PNG because, while they will be able to bring in their money, they will not be able to take it out. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/sir-julius-chan-warns-of-looming.html#ixzz4Bs73zBpd
Friday 17 June
CORRUPTION fighter Sam Koim, fired by O’Neill for getting too close to the truth, writes poetically: “In a society where the abnormal becomes normal/The corrupt are rewarded/And the honest are penalised/The madness continues/Unhindered by popular dissent/Not even a court order.” https://www.facebook.com/sam.koim/posts/1130105037052539
FINANCE Asia reports that PNG is to embark on international roadshows next week for what it hopes will be its debut international bond deal. Central bank governor Loi Bakani and Department of Treasury secretary Dairi Vele will lead presentations in London, Boston and New York. PNG will be hoping it is third time lucky given it has made failed attempts to raise dollar bonds over the past 15 years and it is running short of US dollars. https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/chinese-banks-to-bail-out-the-png-government/
BANK of China is helping out PNG with its international fund-raising effort. Its inclusion in the syndicate reflects the greater role Chinese companies are playing in PNG. Chinese investors may provide some a backstop for the deal, especially as they have a reputation for being less bothered about political risk. In PNG’s case, that may be just as well since political risk will be one of international investors’ chief considerations. https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/chinese-banks-to-bail-out-the-png-government/
FORMER chief justice Sir Arnold Amet says victims of the police shootings in Port Moresby can seek redress in the judicial system. The government and police have announced inquiries into factors leading up to the unrest. But Sir Arnold said he had no confidence that the inquiries will hold anyone to account. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306612/upng-shooting-victims-can-seek-court-action,-says-amet
PROFESSOR Jason Sharman, a money laundering expert at Griffith University, has again warned that Canberra has put the maintenance of the Manus detention centre over the fight against corruption in PNG. “Various people have flagged PNG corruption proceeds coming to Australia as a problem but the Australian government has chosen not to investigate and recently Manus has been a big reason for inaction.” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/15/in-png-and-nauru-australias-immigration-policy-comes-at-the-expense-of-democracy
THE government has ignored serious human rights concerns raised by various United Nation’s representatives about the huge SABL land grab and its impacts on customary landowners. Instead of addressing concerns, the government is pushing ahead with changes to the Land Act that will make the situation even worse by retrospectively endorsing the illegal leases. http://actnowpng.org/blog/blog-entry-government-ignores-human-rights-envoys-over-sabl-land-grab
BELDEN Namah, who says he fell out of love with the prime minister as long ago as August 2011, declares “This guy is bad for our country and democracy. Why is Peter O’Neill continuing to hijack the process of parliament?” he asks. http://www.looppng.com/content/no-confidence-vote-democratic-process-namah?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
POLICE have arrested the director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru, who has been leading efforts to arrest prime minister Peter O’Neill. He has been charged with abuse of office and deprivation of liberty over the arrest in April of supreme court judge Bernard Sakora. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-16/papua-new-guinea's-top-fraud-squad-officer-arrested/7518278
AUSTRALIA’S close association with the PNG police force in terms of training and policing programs has been questioned. “The sight of PNG police with semi-automatic weapons facing students last week not only suggests a police state, it also raises pressing questions about the types of training, discipline and equipment that have been made available to use in response to unarmed protestors,” writes Bal Kama. http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2016/06/16/Students-against-PNG-Prime-Minister-A-bloody-struggle.aspx
Thursday 16 June
POLICE commissioner Gary Baki is undermining the honest detectives again. Last night internal affairs police tried to arrest the director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption directorate, Mathew Damaru, alleging “abuse of office”. Damaru's lawyer, McRonald Nale, was to have met with police this afternoon to see what they're up to this time. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306558/png-police-try-to-arrest-damaru
THE PNG government has met with the country's state-run universities for talks on how to salvage the academic year. This comes amid continuing boycotts of classes as part of students’ demand for prime minister Peter O'Neill to stand aside over fraud allegations. This week there were violent clashes at the University of Goroka and the University of Technology in Lae over student divisions about whether to continue the boycott. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306553/png-govt-and-universities-in-talks-over-class-boycotts
DESPITE the O’Neill government trying to talk up the economy, PNG consumers are facing a big hit as inflation accelerates to 6% this year. Business will also suffer as the government continues to face pressing cash-flow problems with the build up of arrears from deferred obligations, difficulties in financing the deficit and higher debt servicing costs. http://www.looppng.com/content/inflation-expected-reach-60
RURAL Industries Council Chairman Sir Brown Bai says the dearth of foreign currency is hindering new investment coming into PNG. Bai says newly established investment companies are especially feeling the pinch. As if foreign exchange problems weren’t enough, there are also concerns that new payment procedures introduced by Customs are delaying clearance of cargo and containers. http://www.businessadvantagepng.com/brief-june-15/
“THE Australian government is clearly concerned at the ongoing political instability in PNG,” says the World Socialist website. “Canberra has previously indicated it would intervene, including militarily, in the event of a crisis in PNG and may well be attempting to manipulate events behind the scenes at present. An obvious question needs to be asked: what were the AFP’s embedded advisers doing last Wednesday as PNG police shot at protesting students?” https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/06/14/pngs-j14.html
THE website also comments that the police shootings “are a warning of the draconian measures that will be used by the local ruling elites to suppress any resistance to their agenda. It is not difficult to imagine a completely different scenario if O’Neill no longer enjoyed Canberra’s support. Not only would the corruption allegations be used to paint a picture of a dysfunctional government, but the shooting of unarmed student protesters would be seized upon to denounce O’Neill in the blackest of terms, paving the way for his removal.” https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/06/14/pngs-j14.html
SELF-proclaimed author, researcher, and theologian Peter Barnabas Pamula says “Peter O’Neill’s leadership is anointed and favoured by God” and that “God will give him the ability and power to lead this nation to the next level of economic and spiritual prosperity, in spite of the prevailing antagonism against his leadership as well as appalling global and national economic conditions.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/call-for-students-to-return-to-classes.html#ixzz4BgWpS9kW
Wednesday 15 June
ASTONISHING statistic. Sam Basil reveals that PNG Defence Force recruitment since 2013 has seen 70% of recruits from Peter O’Neill’s Ialibu Pangia area and the remaining 30% from the adjacent Southern Highlands and Jiwaka provinces associated with defence minister Fabian Pok. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1127098204018459&id=470905732971046
LAST week's shootings at UPNG are having repercussions elsewhere in PNG, especially in the highlands. Public outrage over the unrest is significant and there has been fighting between university students in Goroka and Lae which have led to casualties. Opposition leader Don Polye has called for an independent inquiry into the police actions at UPNG. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306381/university-chaos-proliferates-in-png?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
THE student boycott of UPNG is still on despite court orders obtained by the University Council. Student leader Kennet Rapa welcomed a government decision to have a commission of inquiry but says the boycott of classes will continue. http://www.pngfacts.com/44/post/2016/06/student-continue-boycott-despite-restraining-order-from-the-university-council.html#ixzz4BaVWilbm
Tuesday 14 June
REPORTS are being received of bloodshed up the spine of PNG from Lae to well into the west of the highlands as pro and anti government supporters come into conflict. Great pressure is being put on highlands MPs to abandon support for Peter O'Neill and there are rumours of some deaths.
PETER O’Neill has finally expressed sympathy towards students shot by police on the UPNG campus last Wednesday. "Let me express our sympathies to the students and some members of the public who received injuries,” he said. "It has come to light that this confrontation was unnecessary, it could have been handled a bit better by of course not allowing this sort of confrontation to take place." What a very strange choice of words. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/prime-minister-peter-oneill-thanks.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz4BUpBXtgR
A DOCTOR at Port Moresby General Hospital has denied a rumour that a UPNG student shot by police has died. The hospital says that of all the students admitted to the emergency unit only two remain, and they are recovering. http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=UPNG-Students-Recovering-in-Hospital-&
UPNG students’ council president Kenneth Rapa says that, after last week’s shootings by police, most students are staying away from the campus. Raka is trying to calm students but says the government must respond to outrage in communities around PNG. Dozens of students were hospitalised with injuries, including at least four who were critically wounded. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201804301/png-university-students-keep-away-from-campus
Monday 13 June
ROSE Amos (journalist & independent eye witness): “I was there in the midst. I see there was no provocation (by) students. The students organised themselves in an orderly manner and they were just preparing themselves to march through the street. But unfortunately, some policemen just decided to just open fire and that's when everything escalated and went out of control. And then the students were shot. A lot of females were dragged, kicked, punched, I was there, I watched everything that happened. And it turned really bad.” http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201803882/png-police-said-to-have-fired-without-provocation
“POLICE have no right to behave in that manner and people really should be controlling the use of weapons by our disciplined forces," says chair of Transparency PNG Lawrence Stephens. "They continue to cause us great shame and great destruction to life and damage to individuals." He says last week's shooting of students was yet another case of the disciplined forces acting with impunity. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306235/little-prospect-of-change-after-png-police-shootings
ENGA students from UPNG walked out of a meeting with Governor Peter Ipatas on Saturday. Ipatas called on the students to return to class saying whatever they have set out to achieve is before the government But the students said they will stand their ground and continue to pursue their cause to have prime minister O’Neill step down from office. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/enga-students-walk-out-of-meeting-with-governor-ipatas-politicians/
UPNG has made it compulsory for every student to sign a ‘Reaffirmation of Registration’ before resuming classes, if they do, this week. The document expects students to relinquish constitutional rights in exchange for their education. http://upng4png.live/upng-administration-imposes-draconian-document-on-students/
UPNG public relations flack Jim Robins says police will still be on campus as classes resume tomorrow. Robins says this is to ensure the safety of staff, students and university property. Students can come back to classes only if they sign a reaffirmation form to declare they want to continue their education by foregoing some of their constitutional rights. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/police-to-watch-university-campus-when.html#ixzz4BOys4MWZ
Sunday 12 June
UPNG student Alphonse John from the Western Highlands, unarmed and exercising his democratic right to protest, is in hospital after being shot in the lower abdomen by police acting on government instructions. He wishes to see a family member. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/pls-pass-the-word-alphones-john-is-recovering-wants-to-see-a-family-member/
TWO Grade 10 students in Mt Hagen were arrested after a riot prompted by the police shootings in Port Moresby. Hagen Park Secondary School principal Tony Buldung said the public was blaming his students for all the damage caused in the city. But he said opportunists had been responsible. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/06/12/two-hagen-high-school-students-arrested-in-highlands-protest-fallout/
ANU academic Bill Standish always manages to clarify a situation, no matter how complex. He looks at how last week’s shooting of students has damaged PNG – and changed the political dynamics: “The student protestors are all members of their clans back in their home provinces. Their campaigns will likely hurt current parliamentarians in the 2017 election.” http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2016/06/11/papua-new-guinea-students-shot-country-damaged/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork
“WE don’t need money or apologies from politicians. We have our family of 8 million! We are a group of ex UPNG friends and with great heartache, we heard about the plight of UPNG students. They stood for our right, freedom and justice, only to be gunned down heartlessly by RPNGC.” Read more…. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/we-dont-need-money-or-apologies-from-politicians-we-have-our-family-of-8-million/
HUFFINGTON Post has a good backgrounder on last week’s shootings and quotes Gary Juffa: "This is all happening because the prime minister refuses to go down to the police station and answer a few questions. If he is innocent then he has nothing to worry about and if he is charged then he can go to the courts and it should only be the courts that find him innocent or guilty, not he himself declare that he is innocent." http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/06/09/theres-a-lot-more-to-the-png-shootings-than-one-day-of-violence/
Saturday 11 June
PNG chief secretary Issac Lupari blames the media for inciting violence after police shot about 40 people at UPNG on Wednesday. He says the media will be investigated by a commission of inquiry. Lupari also lashes out at overseas media for reporting on “unfounded events”. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1125253664202913&id=470905732971046
LATEST reports are that about 40 people were hospitalised after Wednesday’s police shootings of unarmed student protesters. Four are in a critical but stable condition. In a stunning revelation, it seems two of the wounded were chased and shot by police several kilometres from the campus. UPNG and other authorities – behaving like sociopaths - have extended no sympathy to the victims. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201804050/png-authorities-yet-to-condemn-police-shootings
GOVERNOR Powes Parkop emerges as an apologist and purveyor of weasel words. “Removing the prime minister will not solve the problems of PNG,” he says. “It will not end corruption and we will not be better off…. The protests have incited opportunities to create a security threat to other civilians. It becomes unlawful when it is a threat to security!” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/we-can-learn-more-from-current-student.html
UPNG's struggling vice-chancellor Albert Mellam describes the conduct of students shot by police as 'illegal from the outset'. And acting chancellor Nicholas Mann confirms the university obtained a court order to stop students exercising their democratic right to protest. Meanwhile fearful students stay away from campus despite the university urging them to return to classes on Monday. "If the police can go right into the campus and shoot them, it's unsafe for them to stay so most of the students have left already," says students’ council president Kenneth Rapa. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306103/heat-on-png-students-following-unrest
COMMENTATOR Albert Kasokason (@ConfigGuyPom) makes an interesting point when he observes ironically that the “rapid rise in police brutality and a sharp decline in professionalism by PNG police says much about the success of Australian Federal Police technical support program” in PNG.
JOURNALIST Sylvester Gawi says democracy in PNG is becoming a myth. “All voices of hope have been [subordinated] with a bigman law… Simply our democracy is threatened and it is likely to be traded to bail PNG out of the chaos of law and order, financial crisis and the falling global prices.” https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/892006594241467
REPORTERS Without Borders says it is “appalled by a police attack on a woman journalist during a student demonstration that was dispersed violently in Port Moresby and calls on PNG authorities to put an end to such violence and punish the police officers responsible”. https://rsf.org/en/news/rsf-calls-end-papua-new-guinea-police-violence-against-journalists
“I HAVE felt for years that PNG was a failed state. The rattling sound of semi-automatic weapons being fired at student protesters puts it beyond doubt,” writes Australian Chris Craig, founding member of the National Union of Students. “You have to ask if independence was an achievement or an abandonment. Were they ready to manage a functioning democracy in the modern world? The fact that they are now slaying their young argues not.” http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3961529/pngs-protest-shootings-point-to-a-larger-failure/
Friday 10 June
THE PNG media council has condemned the assault of journalist Rose Amos by two police officers. Amos ran towards police for cover only to be punched by a heavily armed policeman and kicked by another, with a third policeman punching her again before a senior officer intervened and took her to a RPNGC vehicle. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/media-council-condemns-police-attack-on-nbc-journalist-rose-amos/
GOVERNOR Gary Juffa says that PNG is “seeing the birth of an autocratic state; we are witnessing the rise of a dictatorship.” He adds that laws to curb social media are now likely to be imposed.
PETER O’Neill's spin doctor Susan Merrell, showing an exquisite sense of appropriate sentiment, tells PNG Attitude: “Mr Rapa [UPNG student leader] and his cohorts got exactly what they wanted … exactly what they asked for, in fact, I’d say they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams – they just need to keep off the moral high ground, it doesn’t belong to them.”
MEANWHILE O'Neill brushes off Australia's concerns over the shootings while offering throwaway sympathy to victims saying they "could have been handled better". "Of course Malcolm [Turnbull] has got every right to call me any time he wants to,” O’Neill said, “but as I indicated to him, these are internal matters for PNG.” Big man indeed. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-06-09/papua-new-guinea-pm-peter-oneill-brushes-off-australias-concerns-over-protest-shooting/1588966?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
UPNG vice-chancellor Albert Mellam tells the PNG national security advisory committee that the conduct of students has been illegal since day one. Mellam seems to believe that university by-laws trump the democratic right of protest. Clearly unfit for the job. http://www.looppng.com/content/upng-students%E2%80%99-conduct-illegal-says-mellam#.V1m5olzJSDE.twitter
PNG opposition leader Don Polye says parliament must sit again to address pressing issues of national importance. Parliament was prematurely suspended on Wednesday amid concerns about the security situation in Port Moresby. Polye also slammed the police, calling for those behind the shootings to be imprisoned. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/306031/png-opposition-wants-parliament-to-reconvene
TRANSPARENCY International PNG says the country is being “dragged into chaos by people who apparently expect impunity from the law”. "There can be no excuse for the use of high-powered assault weapons in dealing with a group of defenceless students in expressing their rights," says chairman Lawrence Stephens. http://www.transparencypng.org.pg/newsroom/view/tipng-strongly-condemns-the-use-of-assault-weapons-on-students
THE Catholic Church condemns the use of violence against unharmed civilians and says it’s willing to mediate peace with the disputing parties. “We appeal for all parties involved that there should be no violence. Especially there should be no violence by the disciplinary forces with arms on unharmed civilians,” said general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Father Victor Roche. http://www.looppng.com/content/catholic-church-condemns-violence-against-unarmed-civilians
INTERNATIONAL and regional organisations are pressuring the PNG government to immediately set up an independent investigation into the police shootings of unarmed student protestors. The United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Transparency International issued separate statements, concerned over prime minister Peter O'Neill's initial reaction after Wednesday’s confrontation. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/international-pressure-on-png-government.html#ixzz4B7DwgbA8
Thursday 9 June
THERE are fears for the wellbeing of a number of students who remain missing after yesterday's shootings at UPNG. Police claim 23 people were injured but say no one was killed. This has not been independently verified. More than 24 hours on, dozens of students are unaccounted for. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305965/fears-for-students-still-missing-after-png-unrest
UPNG students signal they will continue to boycott classes in their protest against prime minister Peter O'Neill. However, for now they are taking stock of the carnage from yesterday's savagery when police opened fire on students at the Waigani campus. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305997/png-uni-students-to-take-stock-of-carnage
THE ABC is reporting more shots have been fired in Port Moresby this morning and attempts made to torch a police barracks. But there is still no clarity on casualties as suspicion mounts that prime minister O'Neill may have lied to Malcolm Turnbull that nobody was killed in the initial confrontation.
AMNESTY International describes the shooting of students peacefully protesting in Port Moresby as a disgraceful attack on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. With hard figures on casualties impossible to obtain and disinformation from government and police sources, Amnesty believes 38 people were injured, including four in critical condition. https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/disgraceful-shootings-of-students-must-be-promptly-investigated/
RESPECTED corruption fighter Sam Koim writes: “To the Heartless who may be wondering why I shed tears today, let me tell you this / My heart is not made of stone / My flesh is not made of steel / My passion for my country is driven by my compassion for my people / When my people cry, I cry / When my people are hurt, I am hurt / What more would make me cry than crying for what happened today / These innocent students were shot openly in daily light, and I cried openly / I am not ashamed of my tears.” Sam Koim is everything Peter O’Neill is not. https://www.facebook.com/sam.koim/posts/1125384834191226
LIKE a textbook tinpot dictator, Peter O’Neill, condemns “agitators” for instigating yesterday’s police violence. He also announces an inquiry – but into students not police. “This is now a law and order issue,” he says. “We must obtain the facts and ensure this does not happen again.” http://www.looppng.com/content/pm-o%E2%80%99neill-condemns-agitators-behind-upng-confrontation#.V1g08wqOwLs.twitter
AFTER spending a day downplaying and misinforming about students deaths and woundings, disgraced police commissioner Gari Baki demands that people refrain from releasing unconfirmed, unsubstantiated information to the public. He could in fairness start with himself. http://www.looppng.com/content/police-commissioner-urges-public-refrain-releasing-unconfirmed-reports-public#.V1g00ECYTM8.twitter
SPEAKER Theo Zurenuoc says something sensible. As acting governor-general he says parliament should not have been suspended yesterday. "Some of the pressure should have been defused in parliament. I think that's the appropriate avenue for all concerns of the people of the nation to be dealt with." Correct. Peter O’Neill doesn’t get it – or, more likely, doesn’t care. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/pacific/305922/png-governor-general-disappointed-in-parliament-adjournment
ORO governor Gary Juffa forecasts dire s repercussions for the government from yesterday’s violence, pointing out that students come from all over PNG. He also says people “will hold their leaders to account…. some of the reactions of the leaders leave a lot to be desired…. "[They] will only escalate the tension, they do not resolve anything." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305940/fears-of-escalating-tensions-in-png
DEMONSTRATING they are unfit to administer a pet rock let alone a university, UPNG authorities obtain a court order against further protests after police open fire on students. If UPNG had responded like Unitech’s Albert Schram instead of going to war with students, outcomes may have been very different. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-09/png-university-gains-court-order-to-prevent-student-protests/7494692
KUDOS to Radio New Zealand International’s coverage of yeterday’s atrocity. Under the experienced leadership of the well-networked Johnny Blades and with Todagia Kelola on the ground, the reporting was comprehensive and as reliable as you can get in the circumstances. To its credit, and unlike other sources, RNZI refuses to buy into government and police propaganda.
NUMEROUS students report that local residents and strangers helped and protected them from the brutal police assault. Some students ran to Ensisi settlement and were hidden by residents. Other members of the public gathered at the campus gates and scolded the officers, questioning their use of firearms. “These are not our children but as parents we feel their pain,” a mother told Loop PNG. University guards responded courageously, protecting female students from assault while others tried to revive unconscious students and get medical treatment. http://www.looppng.com/content/strangers-showed-kindness-when-students-thought-all-was-lost?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
Wednesday 8 June
JUSTICE Bernard Sakora was not acquitted as was misreported earlier in the mainstream press. The charge against him was dismissed by the magistrate because of an alleged procedural error by the police. Justice Sakora had been accused of corruptly receiving a payment in return for issuing a blanket injunction preventing implementation of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance or any media reporting on the matter. https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/post-courier-wrong-sakora-not-acquitted/
DISGRUNTLED InterOil shareholders have begun to ramp up their campaign against Oil Search's K7 billion takeover offer, arguing it "materially undervalues" the company by as much as K10.5 billion. "Concerned InterOil shareholders" backed by company founder Phil Mulacek claim as much as K13 billion worth of possible oil and gas in the Elk-Antelope field is not reflected in Oil Search's bid price. http://www.smh.com.au/business/energy/unhappy-interoil-investors-say-oil-search-bid-materially-undervalues-their-company-20160607-gpdcs8.html#ixzz4AvA1qoMS
PNG's international standing is helping secure its economic future, says prime minister Peter O’Neill, evidencing the staging at short notice of the Africa Caribbean Pacific leaders’ summit last week. “We do more than just host events successfully,” O’Neill said. “We enjoy a strong leadership role in the deliberations that take part during events such as the ACP leader’s summit and the Pacific Islands Forum.” He said it was also strengthening PNG’s reputation as a secure country to invest in. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/papua-new-guineas-international.html#ixzz4AveqTCG1
Tuesday 7 June
PNG’s opposition is making a fourth attempt to unseat the government of prime minister Peter O'Neill. This morning it lodged another motion for a vote of no confidence in the national parliament. Previous attempts to test the government's numbers have been blocked largely by technicalities. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-07/papua-new-guinea-opposition-launches-no-confidence-vote-bid/7487528
OPPOSITION leader Don Polye calls on Peter O’Neill to reveal how much the state’s 19.5% equity in the LNG project has earned for PNG. “The prime minister has deliberately failed to disclose how much the volume of LNG cargo shipment has earned for our public coffers,” Polye alleges. “Our people are just fed up with his serial lies and grandstanding statements. Does he have moral conscience to feel guilty of hiding the truth from being known by our people.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/polye-calls-on-pm-oneill-to-reveal-195.html#ixzz4Aqna4HPv
ACCORDING to party officials, the National Alliance – led by Patrick Pruaitch - will not be a willing partner of Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress after the 2017 elections. “Presently, Peter O’Neill is giving out contracts to his companies and cronies at very inflated costs,” a National Alliance public relations operative is said to have remarked. O’Neill is also blamed for concentrating development priorities in Port Moresby at the expense of critical sectors of the economy. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/06/pnc-betrayed-our-confidence-national.html
CHIEF Justice Sir Salamo Injia tells the Opposition to personally serve Peter O’Neill with a copy of an application challenging the government’s decision to acquire a K3 billion loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland. He says the PM must be served properly and in person and not through his office. The matter returns to court on 14 June. http://www.looppng.com/content/pm-be-personally-served-ubs-case#.V1X6Zj-so5Y.twitter
UNITED States ambassador Catherine-Ebert Gray says PNG needs laws to protect its bird species. Pointing out that PNG has more than 1,000 different bird species, Ms Gray, observes that “it’s a great source of tourism and it’s a great interest to people around the world who come to see the birds of PNG.” http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=Gray-on-bird-species&subcategory=Top-Stories
GOVERNMENT MP Ken Fairweather signs the vote of no-confidence in prime minister Peter O'Neill. He says the economy has been mismanaged, even his own business is severely affected, and the government is not controlling spending and expenditure and is borrowing too much. Fairweather says he is disgusted with the government, including his own People’s Progress Party leader, Ben Micah. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305785/png-government-mp-backs-no-confidence-move
A STUDENT leader from UPNG’s medical school urges the media not to twist facts or sensationalise events. “You are also citizens of this country,” Hermin Peamo tells journalists. “We are fighting for all of us.” UPNG students started their boycott on 2 May, calling for prime minister Peter O’Neill to respect the integrity of his office and step aside. http://www.looppng.com/content/upng-student-leader-calls-media-be-fair#.V1X6kPW3ga0.twitter
“ADMINISTRATION of soccer is serially monopolised; it is run by select group of individuals,” says Isaac B Lupari CBE chairman of the National Soccer League and prime minister O’Neill chief of staff. He calls for the immediate overhaul of leadership of the PNG Football Association. “Every aspects of soccer administration is controlled by few people. These people do not want to accept change and they do everything within their power to stop change,” he says. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/lupari-calls-for-overhaul-of.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz4Apq1KuwB
AS Peter O’Neill celebrates PNG’s 200th shipment of natural gas, the commodity's price continues in free fall. In east Asia prices decline 35% in 2016. In the UK, the price is down by 20%. And in the US, the benchmark plunges below $2 and is easily the year’s worst performer in the Bloomberg Commodity Index. More bad news for the PNG economy. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/3bc0116c-e681-11e5-a09b-1f8b0d268c39.html#axzz4ApsYTeEC
Monday 6 June
UPNG students boycott of classes enters its fourth week despite calls from the university for classes to resume today. Student leader Gerald Tulu Manu-Peni says students last night agreed boycotts would continue. “We believe that what we are doing is for the good of this nation [and] that is why we can put our education on the line." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305720/png-students-continue-boycott
LAE manufacturer KK Kingston is struggling as it tries to deal with the short supply of foreign currency. "To be honest we have tried to engage with the government," says CEO Michael Kingston, “but we have found it very difficult to find someone who is willing to talk to us and help us, so we are pretty much dealing with it on our own…. Every month some suppliers go unpaid and our debts overseas slowly get bigger because we can't get the Australian and US dollars we want.” http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=Puma-Energy-Dealing-with-Forex-Challenges-in-PNG-&subcategory=Top-Stories
Sunday 5 June
UNIVERSITY students who had their case struck out by the Wewak District Court can be re-arrested says East Sepik police boss Peter Philips. They were charged for unlawful assembly, but Philips says they can be re-arrested and charged under the Peace and Good Order Act. “I cannot compromise,” he says. http://www.looppng.com/content/ppc-philips-says-sepik-students-can-be-re-arrested?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
PNG police commissioner Gari Baki says there is no room for violent officers in his force. The comments follow police assaults on reporters at Boroko police station. Police brutality is a systemic problem in PNG and there is public cynicism that the problem will be addressed. http://www.looppng.com/content/baki-there-no-room-violent-persons-police-force?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
Saturday 4 June
OCTOVIANUS Mote, secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, has been refused entry to PNG and says no reason was given but that “it was an order from the top”. Mote is the second leader of the ULMWP to be turned away from PNG. He stressed he was not deported and that he was treated respectfully as a wantok by PNG’s immigration. http://matangitonga.to/2016/06/03/west-papuan-leader-turned-away-png
“THE one thing every Papua New Guinean wants to tell people about Manus Island is how beautiful it is,” says ABC correspondent Eric Tzlozek. “[But the people] are not always friendly with me when I want to film the detention centre. I have been harassed while filming it from a public road some distance away — the many Manusians who work there are worried about their jobs.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-04/manus-island-tension-rising-between-locals-and-asylum-seekers/7475364
ZIMBABWEANS are angry at Robert Mugabe’s trip to the ACP meeting in PNG, complaining of his “penchant to blow taxpayers money on such unhelpful trips at a time the country is buffeted by serious problems which include acute cash shortages and widespread drought. This has earned him the unkind moniker back home as the 'visiting president'.” http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2016/06/03/acp-meeting-mugabes-fruitless-trips-wasteful/
“LOW commodity prices cannot be the sole reason PNG is broke. Poor economic management, including bad forecasting, has created this mess,” comments Albert Kasokason on Twitter. Astute remark. @ConfigGuyPom
EXIM Bank of China has reneged on a loan of K900 million to the PNG government thereby stopping work on the Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone project in Madang will not begin operations as planned. State Enterprise Minister, William Duma, claims the reason was landowner issues. “We wasted more time fixing landowner issues thus the time to acquire the loan elapsed,” he said. http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=PMIZ-Loan-Questioned-in-Parliament
Friday 3 June
NATIONAL Research Institute director Dr Charles Yala warns about the national economy. “We never learn from history,” he says. “We blew up the budget in the early 1990s and created a self-destructive situation. We anticipated Kutubu, Misim Lihir and Porgera would all come on stream. One of our prime ministers said PNG is an island of gold floating on a sea of oil. That bonanza did not deliver. We do not seem to get it. We fail to do the little things correctly.” http://www.onepng.com/2016/06/nri-director-yala-warns-of-pngs.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
THE PNG opposition is hoping the courts will force parliament to allow its motion of no confidence in the O'Neill government, the fourth time it has tried. Previous motions were declared illegal by the Speaker or his deputy, who queried the validity of signatures on documents. A court ruling is due later today. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305543/png-courts-to-decide-validity-of-no-confidence-motion
ENVIRONMENTALISTS warn that a large-scale copper and gold mine in the Sepik River catchment could harm the pristine Sepik and Frieda Rivers. "From a biological perspective I can hardly think of a worse place for a copper mine," said Prof Tim Flannery, who made his name in PNG identifying 16 mammal species unknown to science. Frieda River is one of the 10 largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-01/first-mine-in-png-sepik-region-worries-environmentalists/7467984
A DOCUMENT obtained by ABC Lateline program refers to alleged rape of a PNG woman by three Australian security guards last July. A short time after, the men fled to Australia. Manus MP Ronnie Knight says Australia’s Immigration Department is “hiding something”. The Department argues making the information public would damage Australia's relationship with PNG. Knight says the men should be brought back to PNG to help with the investigation. "That should straighten up the relationship,” he says.
SOURCE close to PNG Government reveals cabinet given confidential report into alleged rape on Manus but this has not been disclosed publicly. "The Australian government and PNG government have total disrespect for the leaders of Manus,” says Ronnie Knight. Australian Department of Immigration says "allegations of criminal activity on Manus are a matter for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary." http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-06-02/manus-island-rape-claims-censored-report-shows-immigration-department-hiding-something-mp-says/1586922?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
NATIONAL Research Institute says private sector businesses are feeling the pinch of the cash flow and foreign reserves crisis and government must borrow to stabilise the situation. But NRI admits that lack of foreign reserves will still remain a problem because the concessional loans are only a short term solution to the crisis. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/nri-advises-government-to-borrow-more.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz4ASHYfj1W
AS protests spread throughout PNG, hundreds of people at Kimbe, West New Britain, turn up to listen to students and local leaders express discontent with the current government. They call on prime minister O’Neill to respect the integrity of the PM’s office, step aside and clear the numerous allegations levelled against him. http://www.looppng.com/content/hundreds-turn-kimbe-listen-students?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
UPNG – with egg on its face - recants and lifts the suspension of Semester 1 allowing students to resume classes. The university suspended classes after a protracted student protest against the government. It now says students who want to continue boycotting or to express their democratic right can do so, but the semester will resume. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/university-council-lifts-suspension.html#ixzz4ASFTybJH
Thursday 2 June
IT’S not competence, nor the people’s will, nor ethics, it’s the money, according to vice minister Joe Sungi. “All we are concerned about [is] DSIP funds,” he says. “It’s not about your number of qualifications … so long as you have the money, you will master the numbers.” http://www.looppng.com/content/dsip-funds-keep-mps-intact-pm-o%E2%80%99neill-says-sungi
A NATIONAL disgrace. Fourteen medical officers have contracted multi-drug resistant tuberculosis whilst treating patients in Daru. “They are the true sons and daughters of PNG,” says Sam Koim. “It is very disheartening to know that they were not compensated for the added risks to their lives as a consequence of the live-threatening work they undertook. May God heal them, I pray.”
PROFESSIONAL aviators in PNG have joined the cause of students and unions in asking prime minister Peter O'Neill to step down. The pilots said they wanted “to preserve the integrity of the highest office of the land. This country belongs to the people of PNG. It does not belong to any one person, be it Peter O'Neill or anyone else.” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1018970944848721&set=a.281700335242456.67369.100002074762122&type=3&theater
INTEROIL founder and big wheel Phil Mulacek has commenced legal action to postpone the annual meeting of shareholders scheduled for 14 June until they have an opportunity to vote on the proposed bid by Oil Search for InterOil, which has the enthusiastic backing of Peter O’Neill. “We are very concerned that shareholders are being asked to vote on board nominees without having the benefit of full disclosure regarding the details about the Oil Search transaction,” Mulacek says. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/concerned-interoil-shareholders-commence-legal-proceedings-to-postpone-interoil-annual-and-special-meeting-until-after-vote-on-oil-searchtotal-proposal-300277281.html
PROTESTING UPNG students have won the right to stay on campus while a court considers their eviction. The university council had given the students 48 hours to leave after it suspended the semester and called in police to quash long-running student protests against the government. The PNG National Court has extended an injunction against that eviction and allowed the students to seek a judicial review. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-01/png-student-protesters-to-stay-on-campus/7468398
Wednesday 1 June
PNG’s opposition will attempt another vote of no-confidence to topple prime minister Peter O’Neill this afternoon. Opposition leader Don Polye says its numbers are increasing as more MPs move its way “to fight this monster”. “We will not rest until this corrupt government is gone,” he says. " http://www.onepng.com/2016/05/png-opposition-confident-of.html
PARLIAMENT was adjourned yesterday with the motion of no-confidence in the government not tabled. This is now expected today. Students will return to rally outside parliament again after staging a a peaceful protest yesterday. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305288/png-students-rally-outside-parliament
A NERVOUS Wabag MP, Robert Ganim, says anti-government protests by students are a threat to national security. He made the claim after Enga police said students rioted there last week. However opposition MPs alleged the government was trying to discredit protesters by falsely portraying students as being manipulated by political interests. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305220/claim-png-national-security-at-threat-from-protests
IN AN escalation of its conflict with students, the Department of Higher Education has threatened protesters on study assistance may lose their scholarships “for not behaving in a proper manner”. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/protesting-students-may-loose-their.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz4AH0dUCdA
SIR Michael Somare expresses outrage at the actions of police towards students and the public in Wewak on Monday. “It is despicable that leaders are abusing their office by instructing the police to carry out their dirty deeds. Your role is to provide a safe and secure environment for our people,” he says, http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/somare-condemns-police-actions-in.html#ixzz4AH3eWxEf
Tuesday 31 May
CENTRAL Bank governor Loi Bakani refutes claims that PNG’s economy is heading towards an economic crisis similar to Greece. He says PNG is not heavily indebted and the comparison is unfounded. Adverse effects from a fall in global commodity prices have slowed PNG’s economy drastically and economist Paul Flanagan says poor governance is partly responsible. http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=Bakani-Refutes-Claims-about-Economic-Crisis-&utm_source=emtv&utm_medium=twitter
ELECTORAL commissioner Patilias Gamato hopes the government will provide the funding needed to conduct the general election next year. He asked the government for more than $6 million but only $3 million was allocated. The commission still has to settle outstanding bills from the 2012 election. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305244/png-electoral-commission-hopes-for-more-money
SIR Michael Somare has paid the bail of 18 students arrested in Wewak for exercising their democratic rights. The grand chief stumped up the K9,000 and also negotiated with the provincial police commander to secure the students’ release. Somare also addressed the crowd, explaining why the students were engaged in a political awareness program. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/maket-mamas-street-boys-grand-chief-pay-k9000-for-sepik-students/
THE astute Albert Schram tells PNG Attitude it is regrettable that “massive vote buying, lack of a proper electoral role, multiple voting, ballot box stuffing and ballot box destruction” sullies PNG elections. Prof Schram says establishing a proper electoral roll and biometric identification will diminish these problems. [see Recent Comments]
UPNG students from Papua have called on their MPs for support after a political awareness program in Milne Bay, Central and National Capital District. They discussed the status of the economy and educated the public on the integrity of the prime minister’s office. The students asked their MPs to call for prime minister Peter O’Neill to step aside for questioning to clear the allegations against him. http://www.looppng.com/content/upng-southern-region-students-call-mps-support?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
Monday 30 May
FORMER Attorney-General Kerenga Kua has called upon police commissioner Gary Baki to direct his Wewak police commander to release the students who were verbally abused, assaulted and locked up for allegedly conducting “an illegal awareness campaign”. Kua said “this is one more proof that everything has been designed politically for political conveniences just to uphold one man.” https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/885642644877862
WEWAK police arrested students from UPNG, Unitech and high schools this morning for spreading information about the political awareness campaign. Students say they were beaten and the wife and baby of a student was locked up along with parents. East Sepik police commander Peter Philips says the students were arrested for driving around, causing a commotion and unlawfully assembling in the township area.
UNITECH students carrying out a political awareness program in the Highlands region say they have received overwhelming support from the rural population with 4,000 people at their first forum at Goroka. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/05/30/student-leader-reports-huge-png-support-during-awareness-rallies/
FORMER MP Gabriel Ramoi tells PNG Attitude there is a “conspiracy to invite the IMF in through the back door and to remove a popular nationalist leader from office”. He says he was with Sir Mekere Morauta, Sir Arnold Amet and Kerenga Kua in Wewak for Michael Somare’s 80th birthday when Somare “requested permission from the leader of his party to allow him to put up his hand one more time”. [See Recent Comments]
DANIEL Fitton writes in the Age newspaper that PNG is a “combustible mix, yet incredibly, none of this strife appears to much worry Australia's political leaders.” On the contrary, “Australia, a wealthy champion of liberal democracy, is busily encouraging a poor nation already straining with internal troubles to buck the local law. How neighbourly.” http://www.theage.com.au/comment/neighbourly-advice-no-help-to-png-20160523-gp23eu.html#ixzz4A57dSMi1
A PETITION launched by Act Now calling on the government to cancel the special agricultural and business land leases has collected more than 1,000 signatures. The petition also asks the treasurer to launch an urgent investigation into the logging industry and its tax record. Campaign coordinator Eddie Tanago said the situation is “a nightmare”. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305142/png-government-called-to-cancel-controversial-land-deal
ROBERT Mugabe is a “selfish leader” who “sneaked to PNG”, Zimbabwe’s opposition party says. “His foreign trips never cease and it seems like he gets sick if he spends a single month in Harare.” http://nehandaradio.com/2016/05/29/mugabe-selfish-leader-mdc/#sthash.vzmiWc3m.dpuf
Sunday 29 May
'MINI-RIOT' reported to have occurred in Wabag when local police commander stopped Unitech students carrying out a peaceful awareness program on PNG’s current political crisis. Students said their constitutional right to free speech was denied. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/unitech-student-awareness-activities.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
THE PNG opposition will have another go – its fourth – at ousting the O’Neill government tomorrow. This time it says it has both the numbers and has got the technicalities right. O'Neill has been embroiled in a far-reaching corruption scandal for the past two years. An opposition spokesman says this motion meets every requirement and there should be no reason for its passage to be blocked in parliament. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305071/png-opposition-plans-another-no-confidence-motion
DR ALLAN Marat, the MP for Rabaul, says Peter O'Neill's stubbornness is adding fuel to university protests across PNG. He says O'Neill must follow the rule of law. “All these problems happening with our students,” Marat says, “the prime minister is the cause, not the students." http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/rabaul-mp-dr-allan-marat-lashes-out-at.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz49zGI7ow3
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been mocked in Papua New Guinea,” says the Zim Eye website. “Before jetting into that country, Mugabe was debased by journalists there who noted in laughter that he is the only head of state flying in for a little known summit called the Caribbean and Pacific meeting.” http://www.zimeye.net/mugabe-humiliated-in-paupa-new-guinea/#sthash.n1AgrLJk.dpuf
Saturday 28 May
RADIO New Zealand International is reporting that PNG's opposition says it has the numbers to defeat the government in parliament and will file a motion of no confidence in the government on Tuesday.
SUPREME Court judge Sir Bernard Sakora, charged with judicial corruption, tells the Waigani Committal Court the case against him should be dismissed in its entirety because the prosecution did not seek the jurisdiction of the court. Sir Bernard was charged by anti-fraud police with judicial corruption last month in relation to an arrest warrant against Mr O'Neill for suspected corruption. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305073/png-judge-seeks-dismissal-of-case-against-him
“GONE are the days when only a few privileged were privy to information and through unholy alliances, one could easily manipulate the colour and content of that information to achieve a desired outcome,” writes corruption fighter Sam Koim on Facebook. “Today, no one has monopoly over information and knowledge. I see many higher up still beating up the same kundu 10 years ago.Am wondering whether it is an epitome of bourgeois hypocrisy or are they simply being outmoded by reality.”
PROTESTS against prime minister Peter O'Neill are spreading around PNG, given impetus through a national awareness campaign by university students calling for O’Neill to stand aside to face questioning over an alleged fraud case. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304996/png-protests-spread-to-the-provinces
“UNLESS we have a revolution our students efforts will be in vain,” says political analyst and outspoken commentator, Martyn Namorong. “We need a new system based on the five national goals and directive principles.” http://www.paclii.org/pg/CPCReport/Cap2.htm
Friday 27 May
WHILE Peter O’Neill has so far refused to meet protesters' demands for his resignation, he may have to stand aside over a different matter. The prime minister has been referred by the public prosecutor to a Leadership Tribunal over the controversial K3.8 billion UBS loan he took out on behalf of PNG. The referral stemmed from the Ombudsman Commission's investigation of alleged breaches of procedures over the loan. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/305010/possible-suspension-looms-for-png-pm
EFFORTS by the police fraud squad to probe a major corruption case implicating prime minister Peter O'Neill are still tied up in court. O’Neill has refused to go in for questioning over the case as he and his supporters characterise the probe as ‘corrupted’. Police secured an arrest warrant for O'Neill two years ago over his role in allegedly illegal state payments to the Paraka Lawyers law firm. The matter regarding the warrant is due to be heard in court at the end of June. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201802234/png-govt-maintains-bout-against-anti-fraud-police
UPNG authorities have been delinquent in their duty of care for students as they failed to check if the 6,000 students had anywhere to go when they were given just 48 hours to quit their campus accommodation. The university’s response to the boycott issue has been confused and poorly managed and reflects very poorly on its administration. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/05/27/images-5000-students-at-upng-face-sudden-eviction-after-protests/
SACKED corruption buster (after getting too close to the prime minister’s interests), Sam Koim, pens a poignant tercet: “PNG -- I have been carrying you in my heart / You have been carrying me in your prayers / We are, together in this common cause.”
THE National Court blocks UPNG from evicting protesting students from its campuses and suspending the first semester. The ruling follows a legal challenge filed by the university's Student Representative Council seeking a stay of a decision ordering students to vacate the campus within 48 hours. Justice Collin Makail granted a temporary stay until next Wednesday when parties will return to court. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304925/court-blocks-upng-eviction
PANGU Pati leader Sam Basil passes the parliamentary opposition leadership to Don Polye who had stood down after the National Court set aside his 2012 election over a ballot box dispute. The opposition is showing increasing signs of cohesion and strength and was also boosted yesterday by being joined by former justice minister and Simbu leader Kerenga Kua who says, "The fabric of our democracy is under imminent threat.". http://www.looppng.com/content/basil-hands-over-position-polye#.V0bgVr6wfIg.twitter
THE current political instability has the Autonomous Region of Bougainville on edge. “After the conflict here on Bougainville we are very conscious politically and are wary of every situation concerning the region and the country’s political affairs,” says analyst Peter Nerau. “Right now our concern is the future of our children with the university suspended. We have a political journey of our own here on Bougainville and have goals and achievements to attain.” http://www.looppng.com/content/happenings-moresby-keeps-arob-edge#.V0bgEzpDhbE.twitter
Thursday 26 May
HAVING just driven 5,000 students off campus, UPNG is now seeking extra funds to reinstitute the suspended first semester. It seems Peter O’Neill had a change of heart. “"I appeal to the university to consider creating the opportunity to allow students who genuinely want to complete their studies this semester to complete their semester," he said. Quick to pounce, UPNG says this will require an additional K6 million from the government. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304900/upng-trying-to-salvage-semester
HEALTH secretary Pascoe Kase warns health workers not to join protests against prime minister Peter O’Neill. He reminds them that, as public servants, they must serve the government of the day. However the National Doctors' Association has supported the call from students, including medical students, for the O’Neill to step down. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304874/png-health-workers-warned-not-to-protest
IT’LL be like home away from home. Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe is to attend next week’s eighth Asia-Caribbean-Pacific heads of state meeting in PNG. He will be the only president amongst the 50 countries attending and his advance party is already in Port Moresby. http://www.looppng.com/content/robert-mugabe-be-part-acp-delegation-next-week
UNITECH vice chancellor Albert Schram says that, unlike UPNG, the university council has no plan to suspend the semester. Students are in Goroka, Jiwaka, Mount Hagen and Madang explaining the boycott to the public. http://linkis.com/mobile.abc.net.au/ne/lTlLo (includes audio). Seems Unitech has managed this issue with much more alacrity than UPNG
HIGHER Education minister Malakai Tabar says UPNG decision to suspend students may also affect the 2017 academic year. Announcing his department will provide tickets for students to return home he said: “That is their final ticket for the whole year and if they decide to come they will have to find their own ticket to come back.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/higher-education-office-to-provide-one.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz49hriiplB
A UPNG student leader has warned that police may use force to evict protesting students. Hercules Jim said the majority of the 5,000 students lived on campus and would have nowhere to go if forced onto the streets of Port Moresby. "Police will obviously move in. But we have [so far] contained the situation without any violence without any harm and without the destruction of any property," he said. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304792/university-png-students-and-staff-feel-the-squeeze
Wednesday 25 May
FORMER opposition leader Don Polye is returning to parliament after being stood down but is not expected to resume opposition leadership. Polye was suspended after the Supreme Court ruled several ballot boxes in the 2012 general election needed to be recounted. He claims that resisting corruption and not abusing public funds had made people in government target him. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304735/png-opposition-leader-reinstated
A UPNG student leader says protesting students will not back down despite the university suspending classes and 5,000 students 48 hours to leave the campus. "It is impossible to get 5,000 students out within 48 hours without providing them tickets to travel home. How can they survive in Port Moresby?” said student leader Hercules Jim. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304748/upng-students-'not-able-to-back-down'
COMMUNITY Development Minister Delilah Gore says “most MPs in Parliament are illiterate and don’t know the process and corrupt the system which results in public servants depleting all the funds earmarked for development purposes.” In 2014 Gore was involved in a violent and unlawful attempt to topple Oro governor, Gary Juffa. At the time it was alleged she ran up a K17,000 bill at the Grand Papua Hotel in a ‘planning meeting’ with Malaysian logging interests and local Oro cronies. http://www.looppng.com/content/illiterate-mps-contribute-corruption-gore#.V0SbL9gzGNw.twitter
THE $A3 billion merger between Oil Search and InterOil may be challenged if it fails to comply with anti-competition procedures, says the commissioner of PNG’s Independent Consumer and Competition Commission. Paulus Ain says he is concerned the parties had not come to the ICCC for regulatory approvals. His stand flies in the face of prime minister Peter O'Neill's strong endorsement of the deal http://www.oilandgasinvestor.com/papua-new-guinea-may-challenge-oil-search-interoil-22-billion-merger-849571
UNIVERSITY of Technology students have taken the fight to remove prime minister Peter O’Neill to the major towns in the Highlands and Momase provinces to educate the public on why students are boycotting classes. They are expected back on campus tomorrow to plan their next action. http://www.looppng.com/content/unitech-take-their-fight-streets#.V0Sav2laAPA.twitter
UPNG acting-chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann says the university will not refund students’ fees even though it was its decision to suspend the first semester. “Refund of school fees will not be done as this is only a suspension and not cancellation of the academic year, meaning classes will resume when the suspension is lifted,” he said. “We expect students to return to normal classes when the suspension is lifted.” http://www.looppng.com/content/upng-academic-calendar-be-reorganised#.V0Sa2c36lDQ.twitter
Tuesday 24 May
AT 3pm this afternoon, UPNG Chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann delivered the UPNG Council's decision in response to the prolonged boycotting of classes by students. It seems the university has decided to “indefinitely suspend the semester”. One observer said students reacted “with a bit of noise”.
RECEIVING reports that the UPNG Council has decided to suspend the 2016 academic year and given all students 48 hours to vacate university premises. This could become a spectacular own goal by the O'Neill government as students fan out across PNG to communicate with rural people and urban settlers as occurred in Simbu late last week.
PROTESTING university students say they will not back down from calls for the prime minister to resign even though Peter O'Neill said in a statement last night he had no intention of doing so. UPNG student leader Arthur Amos said students across the country remain united. “We are still fighting this fight and we are not going to back down," he said. “We are sending students to their own provinces to do awareness about the current economic crisis that the country is facing and the continuous abuse of the prime minister's office." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304661/pm's-explanation-doesn't-satisfy-protesting-png-students
THE UPNG council is meeting today to decide the fate of thousands of students who have been boycotting classes while calling for prime minister Peter O'Neill to stand down. Mr O'Neill has responded to a petition from the students saying that several of the students' concerns were before the courts and that he could not comment. But he did say the warrant for his arrest was of questionable political intent. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304648/png-leader-responds-to-student-accusations
MATHIAS Kin reports from Kundiawa that the Simbu people - a province of 400,000 - are planning more protests against the O'Neill government and that Simbu students are ready to quit their institutions and return home. Could this be the start of protests that extend beyond the university towns and into rural areas? If so, it will present an even more challenging problem for Peter O'Neill as he plays hide'n'seek with the courts.
LATE yesterday Peter O’Neill responded to a petition from UPNG and Unitech students that he step down pending the resolution of corruption allegations. In a nine-page letter, O’Neill said he has no intention of either stepping aside or resigning. “The people that have the legal mandate to remove a prime minister from office are the national parliament or the people at the general election. I was mandated by the people in 2012 and duly elected by members of parliament, and i intend to uphold and respect their mandate until 2017 general election.” http://www.looppng.com/content/pm-responds-points-students%E2%80%99-petition
Monday 23 May
PETER O’Neill has finally told protesting university students calling for his resignation that he will not be stepping aside. He has published a lengthy response to a petition from students who want him to submit to a warrant for his arrest for official corruption. Students from three major universities have been boycotting classes for three weeks in protest against his refusal to comply with the two-year-old arrest warrant and concerns over the government's financial management and dealings. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-23/png-pms-tells-protesting-students-he-will-not-resign/7438986
ALEX Rheeney, who heads the PNG Media Council and is executive editor of the Post-Courier, says there are signs of soaring poverty on the streets of Port Moresby. Mr Rheeney says while PNG has enjoyed a dramatic period of growth in the past 10 years, the reverses since the fall in commodity prices and the drop off in construction have had a telling effect. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201801532/more-homelessness-in-png-capital
CORRUPTION benefits the politicians but it is ordinary mothers who pay the price. This is the theme of a short video produced by rights organisation Act Now! And available online. ““I am a mother and I frequently visit the hospital,” the presenter says. “Why should I struggle to pay for every little check when the government can allow K780 million to be stolen?” http://actnowpng.org/blog/blog-entry-mothers-pay-price-government-corruption
IS POWES Parkop really a friend of boycotting students? Bryan Kramer doesn’t believe so and quotes Parkop’s own words as evidence, including: "I would love to support the students, however these students have no coherent strategy whatsoever. It's risky and not intelligent for MPs, NGOs, church groups, women's groups or governors like me who is in full support for the processes of democracy to be seen to support them.” http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/who-is-misleading-who.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
MORE than 6,000 Simbu people demonstrate in Kundiawa and call for prime minister Peter O’Neill to resign “to save this country from disaster”. A petition carrying the same message and with 200,000 signatures is to be presented to O’Neill this week. Full story in PNG Attitude tomorrow
IN CASE you missed it. Social media has truly taken hold in PNG. Internet access, 650,000. Radio receivers 410,000. Facebook users, 350,000. Television sets, 42,000. Post-Courier circulation, 33,500. The National circulation, 23,500. Wantok circulation, 15,000
Sunday 22 May
BOUGAINVILLE is not being treated as a government with constitutionally guaranteed autonomy, John Momis tells Peter O’Neill: “Too often we are regarded as just another provincial government or a department. Cooperation is essential if the peace agreement is to work as intended… We must remember that purpose of the agreement, otherwise there will always be a grave risk that violent conflict will begin again. A renewed war would have terrible impacts, for not only Bougainville, but also the rest of PNG.” http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/05/ignoring-bougainville-autonomy-may-rekindle-violent-conflict-momis.html
STUDENTS say their boycott of classes will continue for at least another week after Peter O’Neill refused to meet their deadline to step down from office. Students are consulting their provincial groups about withdrawing from studies completely. On Friday, O’Neill told them they would get a thorough response but he had to be careful not to undermine the court process. https://pasifik.news/students-to-continue-boycott-in-battle-with-png-pm/
HEALTH authorities are concerned that if UPNG medical students continue boycotting classes, or even worse withdraw from university, the PNG health system will be seriously disrupted. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/health-services-to-be-affected-with.html#ixzz49LyYNACt
UPNG students say they will not back down from their campaign to make prime minister O’Neill step down. The statement came after, despite earlier indications he would take a conciliatory approach, O'Neill failed to respond to their petition. SRC president Kenneth Rapa has asked students to meet in provincial groups to discuss the next step. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/upng-src-we-will-not-back-down.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
STUDENTS who have been boycotting classes for three weeks are determining their next move after the prime minister ignored their ultimatum to step down over a major fraud case he is implicated in. Students are pondering their next step, which could include a mass withdrawal from courses. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304435/no-end-in-sight-for-png-student-boycotts
Saturday 21 May
DEFENCE Force Commander Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo has denied soldiers have been deployed to arrest anti-O’Neill activists. “I want to assure the people of PNG that soldiers will in no way be involved in the current situation,” Toropo said. “I have issued a directive to senior officers and unit commanding officers to refrain from getting engaged in the current activities which can send negative implications. PNGDF only has intelligence personnel monitoring the situation.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/png-defence-force-commander-denies.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
YESTERDAY’S 3pm deadline set by protesting students for prime minister Peter O’Neill to step down passed with no word on whether they would follow through on their threat of a mass withdrawal from UPNG. The students had gained the support of the National Doctors Association, which called on the Governor General to dissolve parliament if Mr O'Neill refused to comply with the demands. But cabinet minister Justin Tkatchenko said there was no reason for Mr O'Neill's arrest, despite an outstanding warrant. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304377/students'-deadline-passes-for-png-pm-to-stand-down
UNIVERSITY of Technology (Unitech) students began an indefinite boycott of classes yesterday afternoon. The move came after prime minister Peter O’Neill failed to respond to the students’ petition asking him to step down. The Student Representative Council will meet with provincial heads to discuss their next course of action. http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=PNG-University-of-Technology-Students-Announce-Indefinite-Boycott-&utm_source=emtv&utm_medium=twitter
POLICE Commissioner Gari Baki has lifted the suspension of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate director, chief superintendent Mathew Damaru, whose lawyer Greg Egan told the National Court that while the suspension had been lifted, the case challenging Damaru’s suspension would continue because there were other applications which arose from it. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/108513&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
LAWYER Sam Koim says he’s long wondered why the police commissioner was required to review his own decision after disciplining a police officer. Yesterday the Supreme Court unanimously ruled the police commissioner cannot review his own decision if he is the primary decision maker.
Friday 20 May
ASYLUM seekers on Manus have written to PNG’s chief justice saying they are being held against their will despite a Supreme Court ruling that they must be released. One of the refugees, Kurdish Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani, says the PNG and Australian governments are misleading the media by claiming are complying with the court ruling. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201801370/refugee-on-manus-accuses-png-and-australia-of-lying
NATIONAL Capital District governor Powes Parkop accepts a petition from UPNG students demanding that Peter O’Neill step down as prime minister. SRC president Kennett Rapa says O’Neill has until 3pm today to respond. If there is no response, students are expected to exit the university and begin a nationwide awareness program. http://www.onepng.com/2016/05/parkop-receives-students-petition.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
POWES Parkop commended university students for showing maturity and good leadership during the time of the protest. "I am proud of our students for their passion for their country,” he said. “I am humbled that they are thinking and taking their future seriously in both taking action on what they believe is right and also being committed to their studies. They were very patriotic and nationalistic and showed maturity and leadership as I received their petition today." http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/governor-parkop-commends-students.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz498O26w6t
A MORE conciliatory Peter O'Neill has acknowledged receiving the petition from UPNG and University of Technology students. “I thank the students for the mature manner in which the petitions were presented to my delegation,” O’Neill said. “There are several assertions that are made in the petitions for which considered and detailed briefs will be prepared and presented to the UPNG and Unitech student representative councils.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/prime-minister-peter-oneill.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz498Ogbbhe
Thursday 19 May
“THE silence of one organisation annoys me most,” writes lawyer Ganjiki Wayne, “the PNG Law Society. Its number one function is to protect and promote the rule of law. Yet, while the nation descends into utter confusion about the legal implications of everything at hand, and the respective sides claim positions in law, the Society remains mute. Just as it has been in every controversy involving the rule of law.” https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/878310715611055
THE Electoral Commission has admitted it was advised by the government not to conduct a boycott referendum at UPNG. In a statement that bodes ill for the fairness of next year’s general election, acting electoral commissioner John Kalamoroh said the referendum was planned and a team of nine officers available. “However, the State Solicitor telephoned and verbally advised me to recall or pull out the team.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/we-followed-government-orders-not-to.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#ixzz493mBGgRZ
THE PNG Trade Union Congress believes cash flow is critical in PNG’s current financial crisis and calls upon the government to address the issue immediately. General Secretary John Paska spoke amid continuing boycotts by tertiary students and attempts by civil society groups to urge the prime minister to step down. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/low-cash-flow-is-more-critical-in-png.html
COMMENTATOR and political analyst Bryan Kramer begins a two-part Facebook series on controversial PR flak Susan Merrell, of recent interest to PNG Attitude readers. Kramer seeks to answer the question, “Who is Susan Merrell and why is she so concerned about PNG's affairs?” https://www.facebook.com/groups/nokonditalk/permalink/1236401349703665/
DIVINE Word University student representative council has decided “in the spirit of the national constitution and the DWU charter, vision and core values considering the welfare of all students have declared a neutral stand” in relation to student protests in Port Moresby and Madang. http://www.looppng.com/content/dwu-makes-position-known-protest
UNIFORCE security guards on campus say the UPNG administration overlooked their role by bringing in police without informing them. “The UPNG administration risked the lives of the guards that were minding the gate as all those 40 police vehicles drove straight through the stop sign” a guard said. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/uniforce-upset-with-police-presence-at.html
Wednesday 18 May
THE prime minister and police commissioner attempt to turn the screw on UPNG students as metropolitan superintendent Benjamin Turi turns down their request to carry out a public awareness program. “There is a big no now,” he says, as if talking to pre-schoolers. “You hold a referendum according to the SRC constitution and when majority rules, you can go out. Right now, you don’t have a majority ruling. If you don’t hold a referendum, there is a big no from me.” Catch 22. The government will not allow a referendum. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/108339&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
SAM Koim issues a challenge to the country’s political leaders. “The student protest at the major universities is a test of leadership, and I mean true leadership. This is the third week of the students’ boycott of classes…. A handful of ministers fronted up at UPNG only once. There are 111 MPs on the floor of parliament –where are they? These students come from an electorate, a province and a country.” https://www.facebook.com/sam.koim/posts/1111562712240105
PRIME minister O’Neill's media and public relations adviser Susan Merrell calls PNG Attitude contributors “arseholes” and “fools”. And me “old balls”. Ah, such insight. I certainly hope, if Ms Merrell ever reaches the age of 71, her balls are in as good nick as mine.
UNIVERSITY of Goroka chancellor Joseph Sukwianomb advises the Student Representative Council that a decision to boycott classes is not in their best interests. “For UOG students to step into the queue of boycotting students from the other three universities will be really non-consequential since the support and impact this might have on the national front is already subsiding,” he says. “In any case, the 2016 UOG academic year had a slow start this semester and all students are required to catch up.” http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/108341&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
FORMER chief ombudsman and police commissioner Ila Geno says investigations into allegations against the prime minister should continue without interference. Geno is a member of the Community Coalition Against Corruption which is pressing to have all constitutional offices assure the public they are addressing serious allegations against public office holders. http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=Former-Chief-Ombudsman-on-Constitutional-Rule&utm_source=emtv&utm_medium=twitter
ECONOMISTS agree that collapse in imports as result of foreign exchange restrictions and closure of the Ok Tedi mine have projected PNG into an economic crisis. To add to the woes it’s also in a political and constitutional crisis. https://twitter.com/mattpdmorris/status/732609790598221824/photo/1
AS A certain mania overtakes the government of Peter O’Neill, his chief secretary Isaac Lupari bizarrely claims there are ‘big money’ people behind the current university protests who are not students but agitators with sinister purposes. National Security Advisory Committee will convene to wring its hands. http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/05/government-apparatchik-issues-stern-warning-over-student-protests.html
Tuesday 17 May
RADIO New Zealand International tweets that the PNG government has warned about agitators with "sinister purposes" behind university student protests and is to convene a meeting of the. National Security Advisory Committee.
A BUST of Mahatma Gandhi recently unveiled at UPNG by the Indian president and removed by students who have been boycotting classes is now safe and sound. “We were not allowed to stage a peaceful protest, so the bust was meaningless,” a student said. “The bust was heavy and it needs about four people to carry it. So it was taken from the podium near the forum and taken about 12 metres and hidden under the bookshop.” http://www.onepng.com/2016/05/boycotting-png-university-students.html
PNG central bank governor Loi Bakani tells business conference PNG’s present foreign reserves are $US1.7 billion and offer 10 months import cover. More expert opinion from ANU and elsewhere, which the governor should be listening to, say it’s more like 2-3 months using conventional measures and could be even less. Do O’Neill and Bakani really believe what they tell people?
POLICE personnel deployed to UPNG campus allow students to move off campus in a fleet of 20 buses to conduct public awareness raising at various location within Port Moresby. The students assure police they will carry out the program peacefully.
A DISPUTE is said to be brewing between the Electoral Commission, UPNG officials, and protesting students over a move to put the question of a return to classes to a campus wide vote. The ABC says UPNG is concerned that such a vote could be in contempt of court. Contempt? What unadulterated rubbish. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-17/claims-a-poll-on-upng's-student-protests-could-be/7420306
THE National Doctors Association agrees to support the medical school which is part of UPNG and faces imminent closure along with its associated programs including specialist training. The PNG Nurses Association also declares its support. “The message must be transmitted loud and clear,” say doctors. “Why will we allow one man to put all of us at ransom and drag us into misery?”
“WHILE university students hold forums about governance, the Australia PNG Business Forum talks about exploiting Papua New Guinea,” writes Martyn Namorong.
PETER O’Neill calls on Belden Namah to stop grandstanding over the Supreme Court decision on the Manus detention centre and to let the governments of PNG and Australia go about getting on with the process of adhering to court orders. “Closure of the centre will require a coordinated effort and officials from both countries are working on this,” O’Neill says. “Just standing on a soapbox and beating your chest does nothing to change the processes involved in adhering to this decision.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/pm-oneill-blasts-namah-for-interference.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz48sF3TpNJ
A PANGIA man who threatened to assassinate prime minister Peter O'Neill has been granted him K1,000 bail after being apprehended and charged by police in Port Moresby. Michael Ambrose was alleged to have made threats on Facebook between April and May this year. He is in his early forties and the prime minister is his elected representative. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/police-detain-man-who-allegedly.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz48sCnuPxO
FORMER MP for Nawae Timothy Bonga calls on Peter O’Neill to man up and stop his childish rants before he further incriminates himself. “Mr O’Neill should stop his blame game that includes diverting attention away from real facts,” Bongia says. “Papua New Guineans have grown accustomed to his slippery tactics. “It is obvious that he is not mature enough to be holding the highest office in the country.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/bonga-calls-on-mr-peter-oneill-to.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz48sDv8gFn
UPNG student Peter Bosip asks on Facebook why police are patrolling UPNG. “Is it another intimidation tactic by the prime minister? The university administration should allow referendum voting to take place to see whether the majority of the students are for or against the boycotting of lectures. If majority are for the boycotting then let it be.” https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/878177482291045
UPNG’s media unit director James Robins claims staff have been threatened by rebel students. “Some students also want to attend classes but they have been intimidated,” he says. “All we need is normalcy to come back so everyone can be productive. Lecturers and tutors are being paid but they haven’t been productive for the past two weeks. They’ve been here but students haven’t been.” http://www.looppng.com/content/rebel-students-threatening-staff-says-director#.VzoZkBirVyE.twitter
Monday 16 May
DON’T PANIC! In Cairns this morning, struggling PNG central bank governor Loi Bakani tells the Australia-PNG Business Forum there is no need to panic about the state of the country’s economy. He blames “social media” for the bad wrap the country is currently experiencing from PNG firms unable to access foreign exchange, doctors saying there's a shortage of cancer-treating drugs and unpaid public servants. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304005/png-govt-and-central-bank-reassure-over-economy
FORMER Attorney General Kerenga Kua says the police commissioner’s establishment of a vetting committee within the fraud squad is unconstitutional. He asks why high profile people should be given preferential treatment and more privileges and rights than ordinary people. http://www.pngfacts.com/44/post/2016/05/vetting-committee-unconstitutional-kua.html#ixzz48n1LfI8D
EX opposition leader Belden Namah has challenged both the PNG and Australian governments to immediately close the Manus refugee centre as the Supreme Court has ruled and urged Peter O’Neill to step down as prime minister. He said nothing has been done to adhere to the courts orders. https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/877453152363478
THE NATIONAL newspaper refuses to publish a thoughtful statement by former chief justice Sir Arnold Amet calling upon prime minister Peter O’Neill to step down from office and voluntarily submit to the due process of the rule of law. http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/05/the-distinguished-jurists-statement-the-national-refused-to-publish.html
UPNG student Lynatha Omi speaks for many of her peers today when she states, “I am not going to class until people who think they are above the law and who manipulate the constitution for their benefit are stripped of their power.” She adds that PNG is on the verge of bankruptcy “bikos dinau kilim yumi…. noken ting u own this land any more...we've been sold. Let’s take PNG back.”
Sunday 15 May
PRICES set to escalate in PNG and life to get much tougher after PNG’s bid to borrow foreign currency from the World Bank was unsuccessful and the country runs out of foreign exchange. Serious doubts about ability of O’Neill government to manage the coming crisis. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/high-inflation-expected-as-foreign.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#ixzz48hkIfSUI
UPNG academic senate to decide this week whether to terminate the 2016 academic year and send students home. Students have boycotted class for two weeks after calling on prime minister Peter O’Neill to step aside to be investigated about corruption allegations. Vice-chancellor Mellam had said students continuation would be untenable after Friday 13 May. http://www.looppng.com/content/upng-senate-will-decide-whether-or-not-terminate-semester#.VzcFORdf6bw.twitter
AN unnamed UPNG student, speaking of the vice-chancellor’s threat to shut out students, says, “We’re sacrificing our education to secure a better future; we’re fighting for our people back home” arguing that “our degree would be worthless in a dying economy. What would be the use of that degree if there are no jobs and you find yourself working in the garden?” http://www.looppng.com/content/upng-senate-will-decide-whether-or-not-terminate-semester#.VzcFORdf6bw.twitter
Saturday 14 May
PNG BLOGS is reporting that a proposed K1 billion loan from the International Finance Corporation designed to prop up a weak PNG economy has been rejected. Severe foreign exchange restrictions continue to apply in PNG and these are further hampering the country’s economy. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/exclusive-peter-oneills-last-ditch-loan.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
THE PNG government continues to put the squeeze on students as the Electoral Commission nullifies a referendum conducted at Unitech by its Lae election office saying head office approval was not sought. The vote hugely approved a boycott of classes as student protests continue to demand prime minister Peter O’Neill stand down and allow investigations into allegations of corruption to proceed. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/05/13/electoral-commission-nullifies-unitech-student-vote-in-new-png-twist/
OPPOSITION Leader Sam Basil says PNG embassies have not been provided with funds for over a month. “We understand they are now resorting to collecting visa fees and using them as operating funds including paying wages,” he says. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/png-embassies-and-high-commisions-have.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
LAWYERS acting for 898 asylum seekers on Manus yesterday sought to hasten their compensation claim for illegal detention. The Supreme Court was asked for compensation of K1,500 for each day they were held illegally. PNG says it has ended detention of the asylum seekers but few detainees benefit because other restrictions make their exit problematic. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-asylum-idUSKCN0Y40PI
Friday 13 May
POLITICAL analysts agree that by establishing a vetting committee over the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, police commissioner Gary Baki has effectively imposed conditions that will impede its investigations into allegations or corruption in high office.
UPNG students say there will be a ‘mass withdrawal’ from the university if vice chancellor Albert Mellam does not provide an explanation of why he failed to bring in the Electoral Commission to conduct a referendum on moves to force prime minister O’Neill to step down. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/upng-students-threaten-mass-withdrawal.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Thursday 12 May
DR SAM Yockopua, the only specialist emergency physician in PNG, calls on Peter O'Neill to step down. “The message is loud and clear,” Dr Yockopua says. “I speak as a private citizen and a concerned, hard working public servant.” https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/875207599254700
LAE police commander Anthony Wagambie Jr wins high praise from protesters for “showing the true Melanesian spirit of dialogue and consensus” in meeting with University of technology students to find a solution to enable them to protest against the prime minister. “Managing a crowd of 2,000 frustrated students plus an addition 2,000 people was not an easy task,” said an observer. https://poboxblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/wagambie-voted-hero-of-png-democracy/
NON-GOVERNMENT organisations and civil society groups say they are still planning to stage a protest against prime minister Peter O'Neill over his continued refusal to stand down and face questioning from the police fraud squad. Organiser Noel Anjo says protestors are working on new strategies even though police commissioner Gary Baki wants them to back off claiming there are not enough police to provide security.
IMMIGRATION officials in PNG says all asylum seekers detained on Manus are now free to come and go from the detention centre. Deputy Chief Migration Officer Esther Gaegaming says the 900 asylum seekers are encouraged to relocate to the refugee transit centre in East Lorengau. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/303603/png-says-manus-asylum-seekers-free
PNG authorities play hardball with UPNG students over conducting a referendum on whether the student body should boycott classes in an attempt to force prime minister Peter O’Neill to stand down from office. The Electoral Commission says it does not recognise the students’ representative body and will only respond to a request from the UPNG administration. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/png-electoral-commission-does-not.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Wednesday 11 May
DESPITE the PNG Supreme Court ruling Australia's detention of asylum seekers on Manus is illegal, Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton says this does not mean the detention centre must shut. Dutton’s slender understanding of the law was learned as a member of the Queensland police force. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-11/png's-court-ruling-does-not-mean-centre-must-be-shut:-dutton/7403600
MATTHEW Damaru, head of the police fraud squad, says he doesn't expect to have investigation files for a major fraud case vetted by the police commission. He said the squad has resumed work although it now has to submit all active investigation cases to a so-called "vetting committee" within the police commission. But he doesn't believe the fraud case involving prime minister O'Neill needs to be vetted. “I think we've gone past that. we've already made arrests and warrants of arrest have been obtained." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/303538/png-fraud-squad-doesn't-expect-fraud-case-to-be-vetted
DIVINE Word University joins other tertiary institutions in the struggle to protect PNG’s rule of law. A majority of students at a campus meeting have called upon prime minister Peter O’Neill to step aside. http://linkis.com/www.looppng.com/cont/63gpI
MICHAEL J Passingan offers a clever calculation on the daily cost of protecting Peter O'Neill - security, lawyers, maintaining loyalty and the rest. According to Michael - K500,000 - K1 million a day. We guess he stands ready to be proven wrong. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/calculating-daily-costs-of-protecting.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
GREAT response from readers to this Notebook. In the three weeks since it was first published, PNG Attitude's average daily readership has leaped by nearly 50% from 1,800 to 2,400.
ANONYMOUS academic claims UPNG vice chancellor Albert Mellam's threat to shut down university was as much because of lack of government funding as it was because of students' boycott of classes. Sounds a bit far-fetched but you can read the speculation here. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/end-school-year-vice-chancellor-mellam.html
SCANDALOUS article purporting to lift the lid on errant behaviour of Papua New Guinea's major newspapers. We'll leave it to readers to decide what is pis and what is pipia. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/why-students-are-right-not-to-trust.html
Tuesday 10 May
SUPREME Court judge Bernard Sakora who was arrested last month has filed a submission for his case to be dismissed. He was charged by anti-fraud police with judicial corruption in relation to an arrest warrant against prime minister Peter O'Neill. His lawyer Loani Henao says there was no direction from the public prosecutor to prosecute his client and the warrant was not signed by a magistrate. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/303511/png-judge-files-for-case-against-him-to-be-dropped
PNG’s extremely high rate of family violence must be addressed said a long list of countries when the UN scrutinised its human rights record on Friday. In a 2011 review, PNG accepted the same recommendations to improve its response to domestic violence and this time argued a lack of resources and data hindered its ability to do so. International human rights groups, rightly, do not accept this weak excuse. https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/05/09/dispatches-papua-new-guineas-family-violence-crisis
OPPOSITION Leader Sam Basil says the freedom of speech enshrined in the PNG constitution must be exercised freely without fear or favour. He was responding to questions about some MPs threatening to remove funding if university students take part in protests. Basil says when MPs sponsor students through scholarships, the money cannot be given with conditions. http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/05/10/pngs-basil-calls-for-defence-of-free-speech-in-student-unrest/
PETER O’Neill may have caught himself out over the so-called ‘forged letter’ which purported to prove his non-involvement in the Paraka Affair. A second letter has been revealed that indicates the original was not a forgery at all. The ABC has the full story here. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-10/second-letter-undermines-png-prime-ministers-forgery-claims/5586038
UPNG students say they won’t succumb to threats from vice-chancellor Albert Mellam for them to back off a boycott on classes or he will close the university for the academic year. The boycott is designed to bring pressure on prime minister Peter O’Neill to step aside while he faces corruption allegations. A new referendum on the boycott is slated to be held today. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/upng-to-hold-fresh-referendum-students.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Monday 9 May
IF YOU don’t live in Port Moresby and have a government job, you have probably never heard of PNG Now – “the official government propaganda piece,” as it has been called by PNG Blogs. “The publication excels in filtering through a PNG ocean of broken down or half built classrooms to find and write about one showcase example.” http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/money-starved-png-government-still-has.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
SEIZING a stein of courage, PNG’s Ombudsman Commission warns leaders facing criminal charges or leadership tribunal proceedings to step down from public office and clear their names first. Strong signal here to prime minister O’Neill. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/303440/png-leaders-facing-charges-urged-to-step-down
LATE night goings on are reported from the Cairns home owned by PNG businessman Eremas Wartoto under investigation by the Australian Federal Police for international fraud. Wartoto left Cairns in 2013 after the misappropriation of $30 million from the PNG government was reported. When the Cairns Post visited the house last week, two women were working in the backyard chopping up trees with large knives.
AUSTRALIA'S immigration minister Peter Dutton says the fate of nearly 900 men held in the Australian detention centre on Manus is unlikely to be determined for several months. The PNG government plans to close the centre the Supreme Court ruled it was unlawful. Now it seems justice must await the convenience of an election-challenged Australian coalition government. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/australia-says-talks-on-f/2768756.html
FINALLY complying with a PNG national court order after contempt of court proceedings were brought against him, at 10am police commissioner Gary Baki will reopen the anti-corruption office he closed three weeks ago and meet with its director, Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru, and deputy director, Timothy Gitua. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/303374/png-anti-fraud-office-reopens
ACTIVIST Noel Anjo says he has secured a national court order restraining police from infringing people’s constitutional rights to protest at today’s rally at Unagi Oval. Anjo has also filed contempt proceedings against metropolitan police superintendent Turi. https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/874002112708582
IN A last minute plea before today’s planned protest rallies and claiming himself to have been “a victim of outside influence”, prime minister Peter O’Neill asks “every student to go back to classes. Your education is priority. Do not risk it. Do not allow others to use or influence you. They will not be there for you when you are in trouble.” http://linkis.com/www.emtv.com.pg/bRuAZ
PNG BLOGS has come up with an original and useful idea - curating a downloadable selection of papers as a guide to “the national crisis issues now reaching the point of explosion.” The resource includes papers on current PNG development, corruption, loss of freedom, obstruction of justice, financial mismanagement, scandalous issues and other matters. https://t.co/mfwfA5MoAH
SUSPENDED Kandep MP and former Opposition Leader Don Polye raises serious concerns about the decision to stand him down. Polye says he won Kandep with 23,952 votes with the runner-up on 11, 905. Five disputed and rejected ballot boxes contained 3,248 votes. Polye says the decision is unjust and unfair and that the possibility of abuse of process is very high.. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/polye-unfair-unjust-decision-that-lacks.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Sunday 8 May
HIGHER education minister Malakai Tabar says if university students' want to boycott classes they can quit because thousands of youngsters can take their place. It’s “a political act influenced by outside forces,” he claims. On Thursday Tabar went to UPNG to receive a petition but students refused to meet him, instead demanding Peter O'Neill accept it in person. Tabar, still sulking, says it was a disrespectful act. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-06/upng-students-told-they-can-leave-and-be-replaced/7391784
ORGANISERS are assuring the public that tomorrow’s planned anti-government protest at Unagi Oval will proceed. Set to start at 9am, the protest is calling on prime minister Peter O'Neill to step down and face serious corruption charges. Chairman of PNG Anti-Corruption Movement for Change Lucas Kiap says metropolitan police Commander Ben Turi has been requested to provide escort and security to ensure a peaceful protest can be held. http://www.looppng.com/content/planned-protest-will-proceed-says-kiap
AUSTRALIAN federal court rules that Australia cannot force a refugee, who was raped in Nauru, to PNG for an abortion, where it would be “unsafe and illegal”. Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton ordered she should be sent to PNG for the abortion. Since then she has spent a month in PNG. Justice Mordecai Bromberg ruled that the procedure is illegal in PNG and a lack of medical expertise and physiological and psychological support. http://www.trtworld.com/asia/court-australia-cant-force-refugee-rape-victim-to-png-101558
Saturday 7 May
SIDELINED corruption-busting lawyer Sam Koim says he has faith in the PNG judiciary to fairly determine the fraud case in which prime minister Peter O'Neill allegedly had a role in illegal payments of $US30 million. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201799749/png-anti-corruption-officer-sees-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel
UN encourages PNG to decriminalise homosexuality, improve world-worst record of violence against women, put a stop to police brutality, establish a national human rights body and suspend the death penalty. Agreeing with most of that, PNG's UN representative Fred Sarufa said it would not be swayed by international pressure to outlaw the death penalty. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/303294/death-penalty,-manus,-critcised-at-png-human-rights-review
STUDENTS at the University of Technology organise a campus-wide vote to decide whether to stage a boycott in protest against prime minister Peter O'Neill. The vote is a decisive 2,059 in favour of a boycott to 296 against.
DOCUMENTARY film, The Opposition, premieres at Hot Docs festival. Kris Lasslett writes: “It documents arguably the most controversial real-estate venture in the history of PNG, which centres on a 14 hectare tract of land in the nation’s capital known as Paga Hill.” http://statecrime.org/state-crime-research/the-opposition-premiere/
PNG Media Council President and Post-Courier editor Alexander Rheeney condemns burning two daily newspapers, The National and the Post-Courier, by UPNG and Unitech students. Rheeney says it is unfortunate to see students acting that way and in banning some media from entering the campus. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/png-media-council-condemns-burning-of.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Friday 6 May
STUDENTS at the University of Papua New Guinea have burned newspapers from what are described as “certain media companies” (in a photo one publication was clearly the Post-Courier) saying they are biased and pro-government. Students also banned some journalists from attending Monday’s planned protest rally. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/upng-students-burn-newspapers-in.html
A CALL goes out to all schools in the National Capital District to suspend classes on Monday and make their way to Unagi Oval to peacefully demand the resignations of the prime minister and the police commissioner.
SEEMS Australia’s Immigration boss Michael Pezzullo feels it’s in his gift to defy the PNG Supreme Court and government. The PNG government has flagged it wants to shut down the Manus detention centre but Pezzullo played down the prospect of closure, which the court has ordered. "There is no crisis that requires any kind of closure of the amenity,” Pezzullo said yesterday. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/05/05/open-manus-centre-speculation-premature
INSTITUTE of National Affairs director Paul Barker says PNG’s foreign exchange issue is affecting nearly all businesses and many households. “All firms, whether importing staple foods like rice, equipment, fuel or spare parts, are having difficulties. The banks are having to restrict foreign exchange into very small parcels (generally K25,000 which is a very small amount for a major trading firm).” http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/107551&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Thursday 5 May
PNG Supreme Court dismisses a further attempt by lawyers for Peter O’Neill to delay an anti-corruption investigation. A ‘slip rule’ application sought to set aside an unsuccessful appeal by O'Neill and finance minister James Marape. A three-man bench refused leave to make the application. A separate court order still prevents police from arresting O'Neill but not Marape. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-05/png-pm-loses-attempt-to-delay-anti-corruption-investigation/7388702
THIS evening's news from PNG suggests PM Peter O'Neill has lost another legal challenge, taking him a step closer to having to answer his accusers in court.
THE Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court to declare the Manus detention centre for asylum seekers unconstitutional and unlawful. General Secretary Fr Victor Roche says the Catholic Church has always maintained that the arrangement was unjust, inhumane and unlawful. “These people have human rights and dignity that have to be considered, just as every other person living in PNG, “says Roche. http://www.looppng.com/content/catholic-church-welcomes-court-decision-detention-centre
PNG’s police command says university students will not be allowed to march in protest to support their call for prime minister Peter O’Neill to resign. Police chief of operations Jim Andrews says this is due to concerns over “public safety and security issues”. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/303113/png-uni-students-not-allowed-to-protest,-say-police
BESIEGED police commissioner Gary Baki is to meet with the presidents of the student representative councils of the University of PNG and the University of Technology to brief them on what is euphemistically termed “the current state of affairs”. "I want to educate and inform the leaders of tomorrow so that they make wise and logical decisions," he says.
LAWYERS for over 700 asylum seekers held in the detention centre on Manus have filed an injunction to halt their transfer to Nauru. The injunction, filed in Australia's High Court yesterday, calls for the asylum seekers to be sent to Australia and not Nauru. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/303091/lawyers-for-asylum-seekers-on-png-file-injuction
Wednesday 4 May
OFFICIALS from Australia and PNG are still working to plan o the closure of the Manus detention centre and determine the fate of 850 asylum seekers. A joint statement indicates that progress is slow: “The two governments agreed to continue to work together on a roadmap that would ensure the PNG government's compliance with the court's orders." http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/05/04/talks-continue-over-png-detention-limbo
NATIONAL fraud office director Matthew Damaru says it was “a fair call” for the courts to ask police commissioner Gari Baki to re-open the fraud squad office. Damaru says the office needs to be opened immediately as high profile investigations have been halted and matters before the courts delayed. Damaru says the courts had ruled acting appointment for his position null and void and he remains director of the National Fraud and Ant-Corruption Directorate. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/fraud-office-must-open-sooner-damaru.html
MEMBERS of the Community Coalition Against Corruption say PNG is facing a constitutional crisis orchestrated by individuals who “seem to think the public offices they hold entitles them to undermine the basic principles of PNG's democracy. The CCAC does not accept the closure of the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate by the police commissioner. It cannot be seen as coincidental that, immediately following court decisions regarding the work of senior police officers, action was taken to close down the office.” http://www.looppng.com/content/ccac-png-facing-constitutional-crisis#.VyjfDc3lOWc.twitter
ACTIVIST Noel Anjo says NGOs, civil society and UPNG students will stage a peaceful protest on Monday if Peter O’Neill refuses to step down from office and the police commissioner fails to reinstate fraud squad officers. Anjo also calls for national protests “to save the future of PNG.” http://www.looppng.com/content/ngo-groups-call-nationwide-stop-work
PORT Moresby metropolitan police superintendent Ben Turi says police will not allow a student march in Port Moresby. Turi says no clearance had been given by the Peace and Good Order Committee, adding that he will not change his stance on this issue. He says he “is wary of opportunists who may take advantage of the situation.” http://www.looppng.com/content/police-ready-deter-upng-students-protest-march#.VyjeSR_ZWIw.twitter
THE UPNG administration rejects a Student Representative Council request for approval to hold a one-week boycott of classes. “The university senate standing committee is concerned about the disruption of classes,” says vice-chancellor Prof Albert Mellam. The senate says the rally held on Monday was “unsanctioned”. The senate is concerned because it “has a responsibility to ensure that the integrity of our academic programs are not compromised”. http://www.looppng.com/content/upng-admin-says-students%E2%80%99-forum-%E2%80%98unsanctioned%E2%80%99#.VyjeHMA7uZ8.twitter
THE University of Natural Resources and Environment in East New Britain is the latest tertiary institution to call for Peter O’Neill to step aside and be investigated. Students also demand that police commissioner Gari Baki comply with a court ruling and let fraud squad director Matthew Damaru carry on his work. http://www.looppng.com/content/unre-joins-upng%E2%80%99s-cause#.Vyje23JB5gI.twitter
Tuesday 3 May
AFTER asylum seekers set themselves on fire, Peter Dutton blames refugee advocates. UN High Commissioner for Refugees responds: “These people have already been through a great deal, many have fled war and persecution, some have already suffered trauma. The consensus among medical experts is that conditions of detention and offshore processing do immense damage to physical and mental health.” Who to believe: idiot du village or international authority? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/australia-blames-refugee-advocates-after-asylum-seeker-set-herself-on-fire_us_572825c1e4b096e9f08efa21
PNG’s supreme court tells police commissioner Gary Baki to reopen the anti-corruption unit he locked down two weeks ago. Deputy chief justice Gibbs Salika says the unit’s closure is affecting criminal cases before the courts. He tells Mr Baki to reopen the unit of his own volition but warns, if he does not comply, the chief justice will recall him to the supreme court and order him to do so. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-03/png-supreme-court-says-to-reopen-corruption-unit/7378262
UNIVERSITY of Papua New Guinea students call on PM Peter O’Neill to surrender to police for questioning. The UPNG campus is currently in lock down, only students with ID cards being allowed in and classes suspended for the week. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/05/upng-student-leaders-want-pm-oneill-to.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook
CAIRNS apartments listed as belonging to Eremas Wartoto, described in 2013 as “Papua New Guinea’s most wanted man”, are being sold. Wartoto remains under investigation by the Australian Federal Police and PNG authorities accused of misappropriating more than $30 million from the PNG government. http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/cairns-property-listed-as-belonging-to-alleged-fraudster-being-sold/news-story/d455d58a545563c0134dc34ed13114ea
JUSTICE delayed. Opposition leader Don Polye's 2012 election victory is stayed by the National Court after runner-up Alfred Manase successfully applied for a recount. Prime minister Peter O'Neill was quick to refer to Polye as "suspended" but his status as an MP remains unclear. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302897/png-opposition-leader's-election-declared-invalid
MONDAY wasn’t Mr Polye’s day, the Supreme Court also dismissing his challenge to the constitutionality of a $US1.2 billion loan from Swiss bank, UBS. Polye had alleged O’Neill circumvented the rules in taking out the controversial loan without consulting parliament.
Monday 2 May
IF THERE was a neighbourhood watch group in this part of the world, Australia would be the neighbour the group had to watch, says lawyer Tim Dick. “It is rich and large, rude and loud, and doesn't seem to care that its behaviour brings the region down. Australia has behaved highhandedly towards its former colony, Papua New Guinea." http://www.smh.com.au/comment/australia-is-a-bad-neighbour-and-we-should-be-better-than-this-20160501-goj6c9.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn%3Atwi-13omn1677-edtrl-other%3Annn-17%2F02%2F2014-edtrs_socialshare-all-nnn-nnn-vars-o%26sa%3DD%26usg%3DALhdy28zsr6qiq
CONTEMPT proceedings have been filed in court against police commissioner Gari Baki. Two weeks ago Baki suspended head of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Matthew Damaru. McRonald Nale of Jema Lawyers, representing Mr Damaru, says that contempt proceedings had been filed and that there will be more coming. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302816/contempt-proceedings-filed-against-png-police-chief
CLASSES have been suspended for this week at the University of Papua New Guinea after students decided to boycott classes in protest against the prime minister. The students have called on Mr O'Neill to step aside to face corruption allegations. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302824/upng-suspends-classes-for-a-week-over-pm-protest
ROWAN Callick writes in The Australian that there are two key factors in next year’s PNG election. “One is the economy, the other corruption. Voters are angry about the corruption many of them witness daily. Tackling corruption - or appearing to - is perceived to win votes, although in some local cases politicians jailed for stealing have been voted back in. O’Neill has promised an independent commission against corruption, but it has yet to be constituted.” http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/rowan-callick/besieged-by-economic-headwinds-manus-the-least-of-png-worries/news-story/aa9756979531d2a49d3147832745429f
FORMER prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta says Peter O’Neill should allow the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate to take up his challenge to find whether there is evidence or not that he benefitted financially from the Paraka scandal. “Mr O’Neill has boasted that he knows the facts surrounding the case, and who benefitted financially. He has a duty to reveal that to the Fraud Squad.” http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/allow-investigations-to-continue.html
BEN Lomai, the lawyer representing hundreds of asylum seekers on Manus, is to seek a court order to make Australia legally liable for internees at the detention centre. Lomai will seek to make the Commonwealth of Australia a defendant in the asylum seekers' challenge to their detention. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/pacific/302780/png-lawyer-pushes-australia-to-take-back-manus-detainees
PNG WILL this week undergo its periodic review of human rights by the UN. During the last review in 2011, concerns were raised about violence against women and women's rights, and these will be raised again. There are also questions regarding police brutality and Special Agricultural and Business Leases, under which traditional land is are without consent. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302785/png-police-under-un-spotlight-with-periodic-review
MANIC rant by a self-proclaimed ‘O’Neill supporter’ against university students (“baby brains with baby sense”) and attacking “keyboard warriors like Martyn Namarung (sic)” reads more like the effusion of an agent provocateur. This morning’s comedy spot. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/05/baby-sense-uni-students-are-no-threat.html
Sunday 1 May
THERE are claims the PNG government is diverting a huge amount of money meant for hospitals into slush funds. It seems K225 million earmarked in the 2016 budget for spending on hospitals has made its way into the provincial services improvement program, “a slush fund which is used and abused,” says PNG Blogs. This money is handed out without ever being accounted for. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/04/hospital-monies-now-diverted-by-oneill.html
LAWYERS go the PNG Supreme Court tomorrow to argue for the immediate repatriation of Manus detainees to Australia as well compensation for their detention. Lawyer Ben Lomai, representing more than 300 of the detained men, says, “We can go straight to assessing reasonable compensation without having to prolong the case any further.” http://www.japantoday.com/category/world/view/australia-at-odds-with-pacific-neighbors-over-harsh-immigration-policy
INTERESTING speech by Bougainville vice-president Patrick Nisira at ANU last Thursday includes commentary on failure of PNG government to honour terms of Bougainville Peace Agreement. Another constitutional and legal snub by Peter “my way or the highway” O’Neill. A must-read statement for anyone interested in Bougainville affairs. Download 'Challenges facing the Bougainville Government' by Patrick Nisira
FERROVIAL, the Spanish company taking control of the business operating the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, says it will quit the facilities because they are “not a strategic activity in Ferrovial’s portfolio”. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/apr/30/new-manus-and-nauru-operator-signals-plans-to-quit-detention-centre-business?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
Saturday 30 April
MIKE Seccombe, writing in The Saturday Paper, says the problem of PNG is great. “It is about a failed state stoked and ignored on our nearest shore…. [Australians] forget the near 8 million people whose institutions we let founder for our own cheap political ends. It is almost surreal that the high moral ground [on asylum seekers] has been forfeited to a leader such as O’Neill. More than that, though, it is embarrassing, if not shameful.” https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/immigration/2016/04/30/the-failed-state-png/14619384003181
SHOWING off Australian immorality to the world, prime minister Turnbull rejects a second New Zealand offer to resettle 300 asylum seekers from PNG's about-to-close Manus detention centre. Now he and Peter O’Neill will have an arm wrestle to see who will get rid of them and to where. http://www.wsj.com/articles/australia-spurns-new-zealands-asylum-offer-after-papua-new-guinea-detention-camp-ordered-shut-1461909838
JONATHAN Pryke reviews Julius Chan’s book ‘Playing the Game’ for The Australian newspaper, saying it lacks “self-reflection” and that Chan's account of recruiting Sandline mercenaries in a disastrous effort to subdue the Bougainville people is “most galling”. For Julius, it was always someone else’s fault. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/julius-chan-gives-one-side-of-png-story-from-his-long-political-career/news-story/13bd2964bb1114f00af380eda8255bba
Friday 29 April
AS AUSTRALIAN officials prepare to travel to PNG for emergency talks, lawyers for 850 asylum seekers held on Manus say they plan to seek billions of dollars in compensation. The closure of the detention centre has the two South Pacific neighbours at loggerheads, with each saying responsibility for the detainees' welfare rests with the other. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/australia-and-png-at-logg/2741876.html
THOMAS Kiat writes in New Matilda how the PNG Supreme Court told truth to power and combined legal and moral reasoning, referring to the example of Martin Luther King and international covenants. The justices also nailed the political reality: “It was the joint efforts of the Australian and PNG governments that has seen the asylum seekers brought into PNG and kept at the [Manus] against their will.” https://newmatilda.com/2016/04/28/explainer-what-png-high-court-decision-can-teach-us-about-law-and-justice/
INDIA’S president Pranab Mukherjee offers a $100-million line of credit to PNG for financing infrastructure projects and providing medicines. (Not that PNG really needs more debt.) In return, PNG agrees to provide visas on arrival for Indian tourists. “On an average, 40,000 Indian tourists visit every year,” says the New Indian Express. Could that possibly be true? http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/India-Offers-100-Million-Credit-Line-to-Papua-New-Guinea/2016/04/29/article3406114.ece
HUNDREDS of students at the University of PNG call upon Peter O'Neill to step aside as prime minister to face corruption allegations. They also demand change in draconian cyber laws currently being considered. The campus gathering was observed by a convoy of police vehicles and armed officers who students say were there to intimidate them. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302534/png-university-students-call-for-pm's-resignation?utm_content=bufferfb97d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Thursday 28 April
LAWYER Loani Henao who successfully argued the Manus Island detention centre in PNG is illegal says the 850 refugees have a strong case if they wish to sue the PNG government for damages. Mr Henao says they have a clear legal avenue. "Their human rights have seriously been breached and they are entitled to some form of compensation. I'm almost certain that there would be lawyers in PNG who would be interested to take up that course of action." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302512/png-lawyer-says-refugees-have-strong-damages-case
GOVERNOR Gary Juffa says the “ill-conceived effort at shirking one’s international responsibilities” by Australian and PNG prime ministers was “never in the best interests of Australians, Papua New Guineans, genuine asylum seekers and humanity”. He says it was the lowest point in PNG’s brief history as a nation and that the sovereignty of the nation was “prostituted” in exchange for a few coins and buildings. http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/107234&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
AUSTRALIA and PNG are to hold urgent talks (urgent in bureaucratese means next week) on asylum seekers now being held illegally at the detention centre on Manus. PNG’s high commissioner to Australia Charles Lepani says the detainees were Australia's responsibility. Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says they are PNG’s responsibility. That’s a big difference of opinion.
AUSTRALIAN Financial Review reports on “obvious tension between the [PNG] government and the commercial banks” and says that Westpac has stopped writing new business in PNG. “The financially hard-pressed and increasingly controversial government of prime minister Peter O'Neill is said to be urging understandable speed [to finalise negotiations for the banks to help out], given foreign exchange is the life-blood of an emerging economy.” http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/anz-and-westpac-lead-png-loan-plan-20160427-goge0z
SUSAN Merrell, who doesn’t like to disclose whether she is in some way in the employ of prime minister Peter O’Neill, uses her sleaze sheet to engage in a grubby attack on PNG’s chief justice and the Supreme Court. Malicious stuff. http://www.pngecho.com/2016/04/26/political-shenanigans-in-png-could-the-chief-justice-be-involved/
PNG RESEARCH Institute says foreign currency woes are choking PNG economy and that “solution lies in the LNG export sales that are currently not flowing into the PNG economy. If the government allows adequate inflows of mineral, oil and gas export earnings into PNG, the currency crisis will be averted.” http://www.nri.org.pg/images/Downloads/Publications/2016_publications/Spotlight_Forex_Crisis_270416.pdf
Wednesday 27 April
PNG democracy's last bastion remains as strong as ever. Sean Dorney writes that once again the PNG Supreme Court has demonstrated its independence by finding against the PNG government over the legality of the Australian funded Manus asylum seeker detention facility. http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2016/04/27/A-constitution-Papua-New-Guinea-can-be-proud-of.aspx
REPORTS from students at UPNG suggest police have been seen on campus - a move referred to as 'intimidating' - as students plan to regroup tomorrow. University of Technology in Lae may also join protests. https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/867499790025481
WHAT friends are for…. Australian government cuts PNG loose on asylum seekers after Supreme Court rules it is illegal to detain them. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says ball is with PNG and that the court decision does not bind Australia. Meanwhile O'Neill struggles to work out what to do next http://theconversation.com/png-asylum-seeker-judgment-doesnt-bind-australia-dutton-58449
IS O’NEILL trying to squeeze Bougainville into submission ahead of referendum on independence? Autonomous government in financial crisis as national government withholds K600m in grants. This is generating civil unrest and instability. Unpaid suppliers are seizing government property, especially vehicles.
MARTYN Namorong reports that students at the University of Papua New Guinea are rallying to call upon prime minister Peter O'Neill to resign. https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/867467126695414?pnref=story
FIJI SUN, tightly controlled by Bainimarama and cohorts, plays fast and loose with Peter O’Neill’s reputation. “Mr O’Neill's muscle flexing efforts at supremacy may now threaten a functional MSG. That’s unless the PNG fraud squad detectives trying to arrest Mr O’Neill get their way despite his many legal challenges to try to stop this.” Ouch!
GARY Juffa says Peter O’Neill should resign over Manus. “No deal that is based on the misery of human exploitation can ever survive the scrutiny of justice. Those who perpetrated this heinous effort have blood on their hands starting with the prime minister. The court’s decision is as good as finding them guilty of prostituting our sovereignty.” https://www.facebook.com/juffa
BULOLO MP Sam Basil says PNG’s national broadcaster is failing. "Since the decommissioning of shortwave and medium wave from the NBC 20 years ago, nobody in rural areas is tuning into what's happening. Some areas I go to don't even know who the current prime minister is." http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302361/lack-of-radio-means-png-rural-population-starved-of-info
SPOKESMAN Richard Marles, speaking on behalf of a craven Australian Labor Party & architect of its current brutal boat people policy, says there will be no change to party’s approach despite PNG Supreme Court ruling. It seems ALP is willing to sacrifice people’s lives & sanity rather than develop a humane position & argue for it forcefully to an Australian people who are ready for it.
SUPREME Court orders lawyers from both sides to be prepared to proceed on 5 May with matters related to legal argument as to whether a warrant for the arrest of prime minister Peter O’Neill should be pursued. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/04/prime-minister-peter-oneills-warrant-of.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
FOREIGN exchange liquidity problems – which takes the form of rationing the sale of foreign currency to companies needing to remit funds overseas - are taking a toll on business, says Moni Plus head of foreign exchange, Mal Parsonson. Puma Energy, a major importer of crude oil, also says it has been badly affected by the forex shortage. Parsonson says the US$250 million facility the government is trying to secure does not seem enough. “Anecdotal evidence suggests the orders outstanding are more in the order of K3 billion.” http://www.onepng.com/2016/04/forex-issue-worry-for-business-houses.html
MOROBE Governor Kelly Naru calls on prime minister Peter O'Neill to act responsibly over Damaru Affair and warns the situation can lead people to disregard the rule of law and lead to social unrest. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/04/naru-joins-call-against-prime-minister.html
THE PNG Supreme Court decision has been hailed as a step toward ending the human rights violations at Australia's remote detention centers, though Australia shows no signs it will officially end the program, says Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2016/0426/Papua-New-Guinea-Australian-Refugee-Detention-Center-is-illegal
Tuesday 26 April
PNG Supreme Court rules Australia's detention of asylum seekers on Manus unconstitutional. ABC reports that the court has ordered both the PNG and Australian governments to immediately begin making arrangements to move people out of detention. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/apr/26/papua-new-guinea-court-rules-detention-asylum-seekers-manus-unconstitutional
JOHNNY Blades from Radio New Zealand International uses an interesting grab from PNG’s parliament in a recent broadcast piece on the Baki-Damaru stand-off. PETER O'NEILL: “I have always stated this and I state this again very clearly: If there is one evidence that I have received one financial benefit I will resign tomorrow” [audible laughter from chamber]. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201798371/stalemate-over-probe-into-png-fraud-case
A WISE man of PNG public affairs explains why the people seem to be so inert when confronted with corruption and other wrong-doing. “The majority of Papua New Guineans in rural areas do not have access or interest in social media and this includes middle working class people like teachers, nurses, clerks and secretaries,” says Francis Nii. “How can they act when they don’t fully understand what has been going on?” Check out Francis's views in PNG Attitude’s Recent Comments – always worth reading.
BULOLO MP Sam Basil believes police commissioner Gary Baki has been wrongly advised in continuing to defy a court order. "I see that Baki will be in a lot of trouble; he has gone against the orders of the court,” says Basil. “If the police commissioner doesn't respect the court orders, who else can?" http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302337/police-chief-in-dangerous-waters,-says-png-mp
NGO forest officer Kenn Mondiai says logging companies are resisting government conservation policies and ignoring the logging code of practice. That’s scandalous but the greater scandal is that the O’Neill government does nothing about it. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302336/logging-companies-resist-conservation-efforts-in-png
MICHAEL Field writes of PNG’s downgraded foreign currency rating in Nikkei.com. “PNG, which sells itself as the ‘land of the unexpected’, was hit Monday with a credit downgrade right in the middle of protracted political and liquidity crises…. The downgrade, which follows a Moody's review launched in February, comes in the middle of a corruption scandal and a series of high-level political arrests which threaten the leadership of prime minister Peter O'Neill.” http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/PNG-hit-with-ratings-downgrade-amid-political-turmoil
Monday 25 April
ON THE back of foreign currency problems due to balance of payments pressures (forecast to continue for two years) and eroded debt affordability, Moody’s downgrades PNG rating. New Zealand commentator Michael Field asks, “Can PNG's Peter O'Neill last much longer? Corruption and all that, and now a hefty Moody's credit downgrade?” https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Papua-New-Guineas-rating-to-B2-with-stable--PR_347168
AUSTRALIAN bungling costs lives. The urgent medical evacuation of a gravely ill asylum seeker from Manus to Brisbane was delayed 30 hours after a public servant had gone for the day and did not check his emails. “Pathetic,” says Australian Medical Association president Dr Brian Owler in tonight's Four Corners program on ABC TV. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-25/manus-island-blunder-blamed-for-asylum-seeker-death/7355858
MORE than a week after being forced out, the Police fraud squad remains unable to access its office and files, reports Radio New Zealand International. Directorate head Matthew Damaru says officers loyal to police commissioner Baki continue to blockade the squad’s headquarters. “We are just hanging around outside the office and out on the street, basically doing nothing," Damaru says. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302307/png-fraud-squad-still-locked-out-despite-court-ruling
LIFE can be harsh and dangerous when the normal protections offered by government break down. A visitor to Kamusi logging camp in the Middle Fly of Western Province alleges the operation,reportedly owned and run by Ribunan Hijau, is in “gross violation of the human rights of Papua New Guinean citizens (both employees and local villagers).” Warning: Some confronting reading. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/04/gross-violation-of-human-rights-at.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
SIR Mekere Morauta says prime minister Peter O'Neill’s claims about the use of PNGSDP funds and consultants are untruthful. “Mr O’Neill should stop demeaning the Office of the Prime Minister by using it to spread falsehoods about PNGSDP. I suggest the prime minister confine himself in the future to the truth, and verify his facts.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/04/morauta-brush-aside-pm-oneills-claims.html
Sunday 24 April
SCOTT Waide of EMTV News reports that another journalist has been threatened with arrest by senior police for maintaining contact with suspended Fraud Squad head, Matthew Damaru. “It is infuriating that we, as a country have allowed arms of government to stoop low to threaten those whose job it is to speak out for those who are unable,” says Waide. “A people cannot be silenced. The act to silence the masses by silencing the media is – as history has shown – always unsustainable and always short lived.” http://www.emtv.com.pg/article.aspx?slug=Media-Intimidation&subcategory=Top-Stories
AT LAST night’s packed K10,000 a table fundraiser for the Christian Democratic Party, its leader Gov Kelly Naru MP observed that “this country should be shining in gold and yet … our police force are up against each other’s throats with the infighting”. No mention of the real reason for dissent in the RPNGC: corruption and political interference. Need to do better, Kelly. Although the event made a satisfying K300,000 profit. http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/04/kelly-narus-christian-democratic-party.html
GOROKA-based self-styled underground rapper Cash Manila declares “politicians are the real criminals; our country needs someone who we can trust to lead us.”
“ARE we prepared as a people and country if we slide over the edge into bankruptcy?” asks constitutional lawyer Dr Tony Deklin on the West Sepik Development Forum. He continues, “There is virtually no foreign reserve left in the tank, nor is there much liquidity anywhere else. What happens then? If the national financial system tips over the edge in June (God forbid) it will be a different kind of El Nino never seen or experienced before in the land of the unexpected.”
SALLY Andrews, Indo Pacific Fellow at Young Australians in International Affairs, writes “The future of public confidence in his administration may rest on O’Neill’s ability to face the public with frankness and transparency about the Paraka affair. Perhaps O’Neill would do well to heed the words of the immortal Bard that “corruption wins not more than honesty”. http://www.youngausint.org.au/#!Corruption-and-Chaos-in-Papua-New-Guinea-O%E2%80%99Neill-and-the-NFACD/ct07/571b15730cf28d4bbf5185ac
Saturday 23 April
STUNG by comments from ex prime ministers Michael Somare and Mekere Morauta that he should face justice instead of fighting it, Peter O'Neill says, "Whilst these matters are before the courts, no person is guilty until proven so in a court of law based on compelling evidence. I have always stated - show evidence of me benefiting financially or otherwise and I will resign. I would never do so because Somare or Morauta think I should. Their motive is simply sour grapes.” http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/04/pm-oneill-labels-somare-and-mekere-as.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
IN AN emotional plea, Gov Gary Juffa asks Planning Minister Charles Abel to explain why government has withheld development funding of well over K100 million promised by Peter O’Neill to Oro Province. “Your party dishes out money to its supporters and withholds money from those who speak out,” he tells Abel. “Brother, you are in a heartless, selfish and corrupt government.”
THAT there is something rotten in PNG’s law firms has long worried legal observers. “We are watching the attacks on public officials trying to investigate extraordinary payments to law firms and have failed to insist that the legal fraternity be made more accountable,” says Transparency International’s Lawrence Stephens on Facebook.
AS O’NEILL government tries to legitimise illegal land grabs, the UN Human Rights Council reports its concern at the alienation of indigenous lands without consent of local people. The UN is also troubled by the impacts on human rights. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302160/png's-sabls-will-feature-in-country's-human-rights-review
Friday 22 April
ANONYMOUS ‘RPNGC Insider’ uses PNG Exposed blog to allege recent senior police appointments are aimed at destroying files held by the National Fraud Squad and Anti-Corruption Directorate that could implicate prominent political figures and their associates. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/04/jacob-ivaroa-new-deputy-director-for.html
GOVERNOR of Oro Province, Gary Juffa MP, a great fighter for PNG democracy and honesty in government, reveals that Peter O'Neill's Peoples National Congress has endorsed several candidates for next year's election who have been found guilty of bribery by the courts. "Such efforts say much," wryly observes the governor.
“IT IS increasingly apparent,” expounds PNG Exposed, without referring to any particular case, “that the judiciary is not immune to the disease of corruption – in fact there is a growing body of evidence and inside information that some judges are accepting bribes, to return favourable judgements.” https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/supreme-court-quashes-maladina-conviction-but-your-honor-jimmy-confessed/
TRANSPARENCY International PNG calls on Police Commissioner Baki to immediately reopen the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate. Chairman Lawrence Stephens says Baki should refrain from giving instructions to police which, if obeyed, would expose them to being charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. "The Directorate is the property of the people of PNG and on behalf of the people we call upon the Police Commissioner rescind the instruction to lock down that office,” he says. http://www.looppng.com/content/tipng-fraud-anti-corruption-directorate-must-be-reopened
A ‘GOVERNMENT Insider’ tells PNG Blogs that, at a meeting with World Bank and former AusAID consultants he was told that most PNG parliamentarians are economically and financially illiterate and that there is no prudential management of the economy by the O'Neill government. It was also claimed the government manipulated fundamental economic data and statistics. http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/04/oneill-government-passed-2016-budget.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Thursday 21 April
VICTOR Isouve appointed Assistant Police Commissioner and head of Crimes Directorate. He has served RPNGC since 1977 and has a track record as an honest & efficient officer.
SIR MEKERE Morauta says O’Neill government’s proposed K1 billion loan from International Finance Corporation is a smoke-screen that will do little to solve PNG's economic problems. “I am surprised the IFC would even consider such a loan,” he says. "The prime minister cannot borrow his way out of the problems he has created."
FORMER prime minister Sir Michael Somare calls on Peter O’Neill to respect the Office of the Prime Minister and surrender to police so they can carry out their duties without obstruction. “Sadly our Police Constabulary is in disarray,” Sir Michael says. “All eyes are on our judiciary to continue to uphold our Constitution and protect the rights of all citizens, even the prime minister if he has been wronged. It is the obligation of every citizen to be vigilant and observant about the rule of law and not tolerate breaches and abuses by any individual especially elected representatives.”
ANOTHER former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta accuses Peter O’Neill of undermining the integrity of the prime minister’s office and says he has “lost touch with reality”. Sir Mek says the PM “should hand himself in to the Police and tell them what he knows about the Paraka case and what his involvement was", adding, "now is the time, prime minister, now is the time.”
Wednesday 20 April
PNG Forest Minister complains that “despite the assurances of the PNGFA that all logging is conducted within the law, various interest groups continue to use the issue of illegal logging for their own purposes”. What he fails to mention is that those 'interest groups' include bodies like the International Tropical Timber Organisation and the World Bank who concluded logging is unsustainable and illegal. What possible motive could such organisations have for publishing false analysis?
IN A dramatic move in the stand-off between police sympathetic to prime minister O’Neill and police attempting to uphold the rule of law, Police Commissioner Baki orders all files held by the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate to be confiscated. Let’s hope authenticated copies are held in safekeeping elsewhere.
OPPOSITION Leader Don Polye says the action of Commissioner Baki in shutting down the fraud squad is contempt of court and says the PNG people must stand up and fight for their rights. “I am urging citizens of this country to conduct forum discussions and debate these issues and put in light those leaders who are breaching the Constitution,” he tells PNG Today.
FORMER New Guinea Islands assistant police commissioner John Toguata challenges Police Commissioner Baki to retract his decision to place fraud office under lock-down, which Toguata calls erroneous and unprecedented. “If any action had to be taken; it should have been on the officers and not shutting down the office of the people of this nation,” he says.
NOEL Anjo Kolao,one of the more courageous PNG activists, calls on people to provide him with logistical support and prayers. You can phone him in Port Moresby on 71151136. “When the highest court in the land declared the O'Neill-Namah Government illegal,” Noel says, “it was people power that saved O'Neill from going to prison.” Now Noel is fronting up again in favour of a democratic PNG that he fears is slipping away.
IN a surprise outcome - and after an 18 year wait - the PNG Supreme Court today found Jimmy Maladina not guilty of misappropriating K2.65 million from the National Provident Fund. The bench consisting of Justices Nanu, Higgins and Sowong ruled that the trial judge, Sir Gibbs Salika, didn't have the evidence to convict Mr Maladina and it quashed the conviction and acquitted Mr Maladina of any wrongdoing.
"WHEN our Youth evade arrest We call them Criminals / When our Politicians evade arrest We call them Leaders" - Martyn Namorong.
COMMISSIONER Baki establishes inquiry into fraud squad head Matthew Damaru and his team including allegations of insubordination and bribery and questions of their impartiality and compliance with proper procedures. Inquiry expected to take four weeks and is headed by Assistant Commissioner David Manning, whose personal goal according to Linked In is “building local capacity, restoring credibility and confidence in the RPNGC & maintaining my leadership journey”.
Tuesday 19 April
FINANCIAL Times says PNG’s attempts to seek prop-up loan from World Bank rather than accepting advice from International Monetary Fund is “not sensible” since PNG is “pretending” such an intervention will resolve what is a serious structural problem in its economy.
"I AM a Papua New Guinean and will fight for Papua New Guinea," says Matthew Damaru, relieved at a national court decision restraining his suspension as head of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate. However police commissioner Gari Baki later defies the court by indefinitely suspending the operation of the directorate.
COMMENTATOR Jope Tarai says Melanesian Spearhead Group is in a state of tension after PNG and Fiji bow to Indonesian pressure to become member ‘representing’ West Papua. Talk of cheque book diplomacy follows Indonesia’s instruction to jump and PNG’s response of ‘how high?’
RADIO New Zealand International tweets that police commissioner Baki has set up an internal inquiry into the Anti-Fraud Squad. Sounds like jobs could be on the line. What will Judiciary do?
SIMBU provincial administrator, Joe Kunda Naur, supports police commissioner’s allegation that fraud squad conducted investigations without full authority. Naur says when detectives came to his town two weeks ago, his police commander did not know. Says police commissioner Baki told him fraud officers are paid by “another source”.
Monday 18 April
TRANSPARENCY International PNG chairman Lawrence Stephens is quoted by Xinhua news agency that current “disturbing developments may be a turning point in the fight against corruption in PNG. The feeling is that people are particularly horrified, and there now appears to be a level of interference in due course of justice". He said corruption has been a systemic issue in PNG for many years but, “as PNG gears up to host the APEC leaders’ summit in 2018, the international community can no longer ignore these systemic issues that bring instability to the region.”
EX ATTORNEY-General Kerenga Kua tells the ABC that Police Commissioner Gary Baki's emotions are clouding his judgment. "He's clearly distraught and emotional. He's not a rational man anymore. Listening to him over the radio, he's yelling and he's screaming. In a time of crisis like this, you need your head of the police force to keep his head squarely on his shoulders, be calm, be rational, be cool, be composed, and talk sense and logic.”
MEANWHILE Chief Superintendent Damaru says the conflict relates to his efforts to arrest senior officials over a long-running corruption case with links to the Prime Minister. "We are simply doing our job, fighting corruption at the highest level. Unfortunately our bosses don't see it that way," he said.
FORMER PNG Attorney-General Kerenga Kua tells Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that Peter O'Neill may think he's untouchable, but he must step aside and answer fraud allegations.
JOHN Steward in PNG Blogs says the arrest of the three high profile figures last week not only sent shockwaves through PNG but more specifically to Peter O’Neill and others who had outstanding charges to answer. “The appropriate action that the PM wanted Commissioner Baki to take is to get rid of what the PM and his spin-doctor Susan Merrell described as ‘vigilante’. The Commissioner hastily implemented the direction to [remove] the ‘vigilante’. Steward refers readers to Bryan Kramer's analysis.
JOHN Steward writes in PNG Blogs: “This is the madness that Papua New Guineans should be taking to the streets instead of loud mouthing on Facebook. I am amazed no one has the guts to do something like that. Damaru and Gitua are simple police officers, fighting to protect all of us and our common interest. They stood up for us. When will we stand up for them when it really matters?”
POLICE Commissioner Gari Baki tells Loop PNG that Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru and his fraud officers will report for duty at the Crimes Directorate following Baki’s closure of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate. He says if they do not report for duty then they will be charged, adding that he “cannot afford to have officers running around”. The issue, says Baki, is that Damaru does not follow the chain of command. Commissioner Baki was appointed by prime minister Peter O’Neill who Damaru is investigating.
A REPORT on the ABC's AM program has actuality of a police officer loyal to the Commissioner saying "we don't care about the court order" [to let the fraud squad get on with its work] and broadcasts an almost incoherent rant from Commissioner Baki which Damaru's lawyer Greg Egan describes as "remarkable". Police defiance of the court bringing PNG closer to a constitutional crisis.
SACKED corruption buster Sam Koim tells The Guardian that accusations by Peter O'Neill's lawyer Tiffany Twivey that he controlled fraud squad officers Damaru and Gitua are “baseless and “ridiculous” but says he does not want to discuss it outside court. “They arrest people on the merit of their case. And it’s no secret Mr Damaru and Mr Gitua are members of the fraud squad and [Taskforce Sweep], so we work together on occasions.” Koim also says Australia is well-placed to consider sanctions against PNG, in response to O’Neill’s attempts to “undermine the rule of law.”
REACTING to Police Commissioner Baki’s action to defy the National Court and indefinitely disband the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, PNG’s leading political commentator Martyn Namorong says it is time for the international community to impose sanctions on PNG. “When a cop is suspended for doing his job, your country is run by criminals,” Namorong says. “Let’s all take back PNG from the criminals who are ruining our nation."
NATIONAL Fraud and Anti-Corruption Director Mathew Damaru confirms that the Police Commissioner instructed officers to lock his [Damaru’s] office and says this is in contempt of the directions of the court for Police not to interfere with the work of the Fraud Squad Office. He says they will be filing another lawsuit against the actions of the Commissioner and officers involved in the alleged contempt.
ABC PNG correspondent Eric Tlozek reports that “rival elements of PNG’s police force are in open confrontation in Port Moresby [Monday] afternoon… officers loyal to the Commissioner have locked down his [Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru's] office with chains and are not letting anyone near it.” The report does not make clear that one of the “rival elements”, the Commissioner’s men, is acting in defiance of a ruling by the national court.
LAWYER Tiffany Twivy, who represents prime minister Peter O’Neill, and was herself arrested and charged with perverting the court of justice, is reported by The Guardian as claiming a conspiracy exists in which “shadowy unknown third parties [are] funding policemen and an alleged anti-corruption body to do what they can to destabilise the government of the day and the police force.”
THE Financial Times reports that “PNG is seeking a World Bank loan of hundreds of millions of dollars to tackle a foreign exchange crisis… The move to borrow $300m follows the country’s failure to raise $1bn on bond markets late last year and a slowdown in the South Pacific nation’s economy.”
THE National Court stays the suspension of Fraud and Anti-Corruption Director Matthew Damaru following upon an urgent application by his lawyer, Greg Egan QC. The application was filed after it was feared fraud files would be tampered with while Mr Damaru was on suspension. Justice Allen David restrains the police force from threatening fraud squad members and orders the Police Commissioner not to interfere with investigations.