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119 posts from November 2013

Solar adventures as a new power source comes to Simbu

Installing the solar panelsALEX CHONG | Energy Matters

IN SEPTEMBER I TRAVELLED to Papua New Guinea with Wayne Merry from Hope Worldwide  to install small solar panel systems on the rooftop of a rural clinic in the Simbu province and at the 9 Mile Urban Clinic in Port Moresby.

It turned out to be quite an adventure - apart from the remoteness of Simbu, which is accessible only by plane and four-wheel drive, we were encountered various roadblocks set up by protesters and some opportunistic bandits.

We had to request a convoy from the local police on our way there and they in turn charged us a sum for their service. To avoid the premium fee on the way back, we tailed a local convoy with truckloads of people needing to get to the town to stock up on food.

Continue reading "Solar adventures as a new power source comes to Simbu" »

Cricket: Papua New Guinea records famous win over Kenya

ANDREW NIXON | Cricket Europe

Barramundis celebrate a wicketTHE LAST TIME Papua New Guinea played Kenya was the 1990 ICC Trophy in the Netherlands. Papua New Guinea were winners that day, but since then Kenya had gone on to much brighter things.

But these days Kenya are on a decline, and Papua New Guinea are one of the rising stars of the associate world. But even so, the win today - especially the manner in which it happened - was a surprising one.

Continue reading "Cricket: Papua New Guinea records famous win over Kenya" »

As O'Neill cracks down, ill-planned corruption protest crumbles


Peter O'Neill - acute political thinkerOVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS prime minister Peter O’Neill, one of the most acute political thinkers Papua New Guinea has seen, has issued a number of challenges to his carping critics.

Some of the challenges - a deportation and threats against media owners - were pretty ugly. The most recent illuminated the reality that you've got to be very well organised to best Peter O'Neill.

Yesterday afternoon, when Port Moresby Police commander Andy Bawa issued a statement that "in the interests of public safety, peace and good order" protest marches and strikes would not be allowed on Monday, it was clear that the officer was not out on a frolic of his own.

Continue reading "As O'Neill cracks down, ill-planned corruption protest crumbles" »

Consultation funds hijacked as Meekamui leader turns reckless


PEOPLE IN THE PANGUNA and Upper-Tailings special mining leases of Bougainville have demanded that Meekamui gang leader Moses Pipiro apologise and explain why he and his followers terrorised them and allegedly stole consultation funds.

As Panguna mine re-opening negotiations continue, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) mining department planned a Bougainville-wide consultation to unearth public opinion on the mine, widely considered to be the catalyst of the Bougainville crisis during the 1990s.

In the Panguna District, the special mining lease leaders proposed to the ABG that Panguna was a special case where people were directly affected and so ABG should consult directly with village people.

Continue reading "Consultation funds hijacked as Meekamui leader turns reckless" »

You’re being conned: Why the Pacific should say no to refugees

MARILYN SHEPHERD | Islands Business | Extracts

Manus refugeePAPUA NEW GUINEA AND NAURU are being bullied to assist Australia to traffic humans by force out of Australia on the pretext of stopping people smuggling—a con invented by former Minister for Immigration Philip Ruddock in 1999 and agreed to by former Shadow Minister Con Sciaccia and which has continued to this day.

Before 1999, there was no offence under Australian law called “people smuggling”. In 1992, the refugee convention had been enshrined into the Australian Migration Act granting anyone the right to enter or stay in Australia without visas and claiming asylum. At the same time, the parliament invented refugee detention to avoid having to assess the claims of a few hundred Cambodians.

Continue reading "You’re being conned: Why the Pacific should say no to refugees" »

O’Neill threatens to scrap visa on arrival rights for Australians


PNG visaPNG PRIME MINISTER Peter O'Neill has threatened to withdraw the visa on arrival arrangements it has with Australia unless visa rights are reciprocated.

Speaking in parliament, Mr O'Neill said he is disappointed with how long it takes Papua New Guineans to get an Australian visa.

He says he is also upset with reports about inconvenient questions being asked by the Australian High Commission during the application process.

"This visa on arrival business for all Australians will be withdrawn by the following year if we don't get a similar arrangement with them," Mr O'Neill said.

Continue reading "O’Neill threatens to scrap visa on arrival rights for Australians" »

Anti-corruption activists call for national stopwork on Monday


ATTITUDE UPDATE: Port Moresby Police commander Andy Bawa said this afternoon that, "in the interests of public safety, peace and good order", protest marches and strikes will not be allowed on Monday. Commander Bawa said that members of the public found congregating in public places will be arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. 

One man's silent protest (Martyn Namorong)A GROUP CALLING ITSELF the ‘Social Media Activism Committee Executive’ that operates through the PNG News Group on Facebook is calling for people to stop work throughout Papua New Guinea on Monday to protest against corruption.

The group had originally planned to hold a mass public rally in Port Moresby on Wednesday but called it off when Police objected.

A notice is now circulating in social media askingall workers in Port Moresby and around the nation to stop work on Monday and challenge the O’Neill government to send the Police to come and arrest each and every one of us for protesting”.

Included in the 12 people associated with the Social Media Activism Committee Executive are Sonja Barry Ramoi, David Ephraim, Lucas Kiap, Noel Anjo Kolao, Charlie Gilichibi and Reginald Renagi.

“You can help to stop corruption by protesting it so that as a collective voice we can be heard,” the group says. “We ask all PMV and taxi operators in Port Moresby to pull your vehicles off the road on Monday 18 November. We also ask all parents not to send your children to school.

Continue reading "Anti-corruption activists call for national stopwork on Monday" »

Mood strengthens against Asian business proliferation in Bougainville

DAVID LORNIE | Bougainville Bureau Chief | PNG Post-Courier

Bank South Pacific ArawaTHE LOOTING OF AN ASIAN-OWNED warehouse in Arawa recently sent a strong message that Bougainvilleans are still willing to take action to protect their interests.

And it further confirmed that the ex-combatants who led the raid are still a significant force in the Bougainville political landscape.

The incident was also a reminder that, despite significant progress, the Bougainville peace process is a complex and delicate one.

It is generally agreed that the Autonomous Bougainville Government is doing a fine job in bringing all parties to the peace table. Bougainville is benefitting as a result. Wounds are being healed and the future looks bright.

Continue reading "Mood strengthens against Asian business proliferation in Bougainville" »

Chinese aid to Pacific causes some concern to traditional donors

PACIFIC BEAT | Australia Network News

With compliments from ChinaCHINA'S ONE BILLION DOLLAR AID package to the Pacific has been described as "fairly significant" but analysts say it remains to be seen how the money will be distributed. Vice-Premier Wang Yang announced last Friday that the Chinese government will provide the concessionary loan to Pacific island nations to support construction projects.

Wang Yang made the announcement at a forum with Pacific island nations but no other details on the loan were provided.

"[We] need to be careful, it's a facility of one billion dollars available for infrastructure loans," said Director of the Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, Jenny Hayward Jones.

Continue reading "Chinese aid to Pacific causes some concern to traditional donors" »

Basil says budget delay is attempt to cover up economic problems


Sam BasilPAPUA NEW GUINEA’s deputy opposition leader Sam Basil launched a searing indictment of the competency of the O’Neill government in a statement released late today.

Claiming that the 2014 Budget has been purposely delayed, Mr Basil suggested that prime minister Peter O’Neill, treasurer Don Polye and central bank governor Loi Bakani have been slack on “corruptive practices with overzealous overspending” and jointly mismanaging the PNG economy leading to “the fearful depreciation of the Papua New Guinea kina”.

Pointing out that the forecast 2013 budget deficit of K2.7 billion had blown out to K5-7 billion, if not more, Mr Basil said “the O’Neill government looks to be on the verge of not being able to pay what it owes internationally”.

Continue reading "Basil says budget delay is attempt to cover up economic problems" »

Will PNG’s ICAC become truly an independent body?


ICAC planning paperTHE LONG AWAITED CANON for fighting corruption in Papua New Guinea, the Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill, is expected to be passed in this month’s session of Parliament which began on Tuesday. The question is will ICAC be truly an independent body as intended by the spirit of the effort?

As much the ordinary people want ICAC leadership and its entire functions to be totally free from political influence, PNG politics at many times is weird, unpredictable and does not conform to popular wishes and moral principles.

If PNG politics prevails as usual, we might find the offices of the prime minister and the opposition leader included in the committee that appoints the members of the ICAC - essentially subjecting the organisation and its functions to political influence like we experience in other state anti-corruption institutions in PNG.

Continue reading "Will PNG’s ICAC become truly an independent body?" »

Kukukuku - Reminiscences of the cassowary bone people


Kuk WarriorJK MCCARTHY IN HIS PATROL INTO YESTERDAY stated that “the Kukukuku tribes had a deserved reputation as the most bloodthirsty and vicious in New Guinea.”  And this description of them was still valid when I lived among the Kukukuku in the early 1970s.

Sinclair in The Outside Man said the Kukukuku “roamed a vast domain of windswept mountains and open grass valleys from the Papuan Gulf to the Morobe gold fields, so totally dreaded by their neighbours, that the very appearance of a raiding party of the little men.... was sufficient to panic entire districts.”  And he was right.

In the centre of the heartland of Kukukuku country was the Government station of Menyamya. The station straddled the hub of a four-spoke wheel, a cross roads for pedestrian traffic spilling out of each of four river valley systems which converged there on the grassy river flats.

It was the frontier of four traditionally hostile groups; a place of suspicion, where tempers flared, and people clashed in periodic outbursts of violence. And although not one Kukukuku ever attacked any of my patrols or ever raised a finger in anger against me, they treated each other with the utmost savagery and brutality. 

The Kukukuku had the most amazing value system.  For although life to them was cheap, property was sacred. For example, one brother might kill another over a simple dispute relating to which of them should go and fetch the firewood.

Continue reading "Kukukuku - Reminiscences of the cassowary bone people" »

The Bougainville challenge: partnering for peace & prosperity

Dame Carol KiduThe editor of Bougainville Copper Limited’s blog, Bougainville 24, BEN JACKSON, spoke to DAME CAROL KIDU about her appointment earlier this year to the BCL Board. Here’s the transcript….

B24: Are there parts of your previous career you believe will be particularly useful in your role with BCL?

My career as a member of Parliament in Papua New Guinea for 15 years - as a Minister for nine years, a Shadow Minister for two years, a Committee Chairperson for three years and leader of the Opposition for one year - has developed knowledge, skills and capabilities that should be of intrinsic value for me as a Board member of BCL.

Continue reading "The Bougainville challenge: partnering for peace & prosperity" »

Social media outcry goes nowhere: Corruption protest fizzles


Stop CorruptionTHE PNG ANTI-CORRUPTION Movement for Change will have to toughen up if it’s going to make a difference. A peaceful civil protest planned for today turned out to be a damp squib when organisers called it off after police said they didn’t like the idea.

The protest had been arranged after a growing social  media outcry among Port Moresby’s internet savvy community.

Organisers claim there is growing frustration among the general public over the lack of action by the government in addressing corruption.

They had asked prime minister Peter O’Neill to come to the protest event at Jack Pidik Park to explain the ‘Paraka allegations’ that have triggered political and media controversy in recent weeks.

Continue reading "Social media outcry goes nowhere: Corruption protest fizzles" »

Dame Carol on mining: let's learn from our past mistakes

BEN JACKSON | Bougainville 24

Dame Carol KiduTHE ELECTION OF DAME CAROL KIDU to the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) board in April 2013 was a clear indication of the company’s intent to learn from its past mistakes and push forward with a new approach to resource development in the Autonomous Province.

“The major consideration should be learning from the past to create a better future for all stakeholders using inclusive strategies,” said Dame Carol, who was appointed to the Board of BCL earlier this year.

“It is important for BCL and the people of Bougainville to acknowledge that the old Panguna existed in a very different era.

Continue reading "Dame Carol on mining: let's learn from our past mistakes" »

PNG: Looking like a textbook case of how to ruin an economy

MARTYN NAMORONG | The Namorong Report

Pgk-usd-365-day-exchange-rates-history-chartIN THIS PERIOD leading to the 2014 budget, the Papua New Guinea government’s spin has gone into overdrive about deficit spending being required to stimulate economic growth.

In a strange coincidence (or perhaps it wasn’t), both daily newspapers have been peddling this government propaganda from the Central Bank Governor and the Prime Minister.

At the height of the global financial crisis, when the Somare regime was in charge, the country had a low debt to GDP ratio of 9%. According to the O’Neill regime’s 2013 Annual Issuance Plan for Inscribed Stock and Treasury Bills, government debt as a proportion of GDP is projected to increase from 26% at the end 2012 to 32% by the end of 2013.

Continue reading "PNG: Looking like a textbook case of how to ruin an economy " »

PanAust to acquire 80% of the Frieda River copper project


Frieda RiverAUSTRALIAN MINING COMPANY PanAust Ltd says its acquisition of an exploration project in Papua New Guinea from Glencore Xstrata could transform it into one of the world’s top independent copper producers.

PanAust, a new player in PNG, is benefiting from moves by big mining companies to sell off undeveloped assets and tighten belts after a cooling of the global commodities boom.

Last week the company agreed to buy 80% of the Frieda River copper project from Glencore Xstrata for $125 million.

Continue reading "PanAust to acquire 80% of the Frieda River copper project" »

The Mark Davis story – after 40 years, the bum’s rush


Mark DavisTODAY JULIE BISHOP did something unusual for an Australian foreign minister – she personally intervened in the saga of journalist Mark Davis by registering concern with the Papua New Guinea government of its treatment of him.

Davis was deported from Port Moresby last week, allowed to take with him only the clothes he was wearing, after allegedly interfering in PNG politics. He had lived in the country for 40 years and most recently had been working for the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program as media advisor.

Today, in response to Ms Bishop, PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill defended his decision to deport Davis, accusing him of orchestrating a campaign against the government.

Politics was not within the scope of Davis's work permit, O’Neill said, adding that the ‘government is happy to reclassify the permit’ but Mr Davis would have to re-apply.

Continue reading "The Mark Davis story – after 40 years, the bum’s rush" »

Ex PM speaks out: Mekere Morauta says ‘no one is safe in PNG’

MEKERE MORAUTA | The Masalai Blog

Happier days - Mekere Morauta and Peter O'NeillNO ONE FEELS FREE. We live in fear, with our mouths shut. We see, but we don’t talk.

Ministers are afraid to speak their minds, fearing they will lose their job. Provincial Governors are afraid to speak their minds, fearing their province will be starved of funds.

Backbenchers are afraid to speak their minds, fearing they will never become ministers, that their District funds will not be paid, and promise of funding for other projects will not materialise.

The private sector is afraid to speak at all, fearing threats to business, loss of contracts, and now even forced takeover.

Papua New Guineans are afraid to speak their minds, fearing harm to themselves, their family members, their business interests.

Expatriates living here are afraid to express views, fearing deportation.

No one is safe.

Continue reading "Ex PM speaks out: Mekere Morauta says ‘no one is safe in PNG’" »

NGOs mount legal challenge over Nautilus seabed mining

Seabed mining schematicA COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY organisations is mounting a legal challenge to the world's first license to operate a deep sea mine in Papua New Guinea. The license was granted by the former Somare government to the Canadian company Nautilus for its Solwara 1 mine.

One of the NGOs which is taking the government to court over the seabed mining project is Stop Experimental Seabed Mining in the Pacific.

Its spokesman Wenceslas Magun told Radio Australia that the current government has been "arrogant and ignorant" despite appeals to stop the project.

"[We] fear that it's going to threaten our marine environment, our marine ecological system and affect the livelihood of the people that benefit from our marine resources," he said.

Mr Magun says the move to block the project is a precautionary measure. "The majority of Papua New Guineans that live off the marine resources do not know what the threats of seabed mining is going to cost to the marine environment," he said.

Mr Magun said the group's advisors - which include scientists and lawyers - have "clearly indicated that there is going to be damage to the ecological system".

Continue reading "NGOs mount legal challenge over Nautilus seabed mining" »

Gould’s birds of paradise still resplendent after all these years

JAMES COCKINGTON | Sydney Morning Herald

Marquis de Raggi Bird of Paradise (Gould)THE REMARKABLE JOHN GOULD was a taxidermist by training (famous for having once preserved an entire giraffe) and an entrepreneur by nature. Proof is that his lithographic prints are as much in demand today as they were when produced in the 19th century.

The fact that admirers of his art are happy to pay more than $10,000 for a single example is not surprising. They were expensive at the time. He used the best paper and the finest printing process and charged appropriately.

In the case of his final work, Birds of New Guinea, these were sold by subscription in 25 instalments, 320 prints in total that were usually bound by the buyer in five volumes.

Gould understood the power of the limited edition. Only 220 sets of prints were produced, each one coloured by hand. This massive project started in 1875 and was completed in 1888 by Richard Bowdler Sharpe after Gould died in 1881.

It is still possible to buy a complete edition of five bound volumes. The usual asking price is around $100,000, depending on condition and binding.

It's also possible to buy the individual prints for a few thousand dollars each.

Louis Kissajukian of the Antique Print & Map Room in Sydney recently obtained a series of 35 of the most popular prints, sold with original letterpress descriptions.

Continue reading "Gould’s birds of paradise still resplendent after all these years" »

Silent suicide: Illegal gold miners risk lives in Bougainville

AXEL STURM | European Shareholders in Bougainville Copper

There are dangers in small scale alluvial miningTHE ISLAND OF BOUGAINVILLE is rich in precious assets and gold especially is in the focus of indigenous people who want to earn money by small scale mining. Unfortunately they are not aware that their new business is highly dangerous and can even be lethal.

Not far to the south, as Radio New Zealand International reports, Transparency Solomon Islands is urging the government to investigate claims that mercury is being used at the gold mine on Guadalcanal.

As in Solomon Islands the use of mercury is also the customary way to separate gold from rock in Bougainville. The gold is then sold to dealers who don’t care that Bougainville’s environment may be damaged for years. They also don’t care that Bougainvilleans may die from severe intoxication.

Continue reading "Silent suicide: Illegal gold miners risk lives in Bougainville" »

It’s official – Australia a great tax haven for PNG’s illicit money


ATOAUSTRALIA IS CLEANING UP some of its own tax-avoiders, but for those with money to launder – especially from Papua New Guinea – it’s a nice place to wash up.

The 2013 update of the Financial Secrecy Index, compiled every two years by the international Tax Justice Network, finds that Australia still hosts “significant quantities of illicit funds from other jurisdictions”, notably from Papua New Guinea.

Australia is apparently getting better at protecting its own revenue base from tax avoiders. But the report was critical of Australia’s performance when it came to co-operating with other countries trying to take on tax avoiders and evaders.

Continue reading "It’s official – Australia a great tax haven for PNG’s illicit money" »

AAP editor understands what Aussies want to know about PNG


Tony GilliesIT’S HEARTENING TO KNOW that the man who axed the AAP press agency in Papua New Guinea after 60 years fine service has such a firm grasp on what Australians are interested in when it comes to their nearest neighbour.

Australian Associated Press editor-in-chief Tony Gillies told Radio Australia that ‘most Australians were concerned mainly with asylum seeker issues, rascals and Australians getting into trouble in Papua New Guinea’.

By this definition Australians have no interest in Kokoda, business, Bougainville, Papua New Guineans, political developments, corruption, travel, sport, aid, trade and the many other ties and issues that bind our two nations together.

Continue reading "AAP editor understands what Aussies want to know about PNG" »

PNG condemned for standing down reporters critical of O’Neill


Peter O'Neill and Wang YangREPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS condemns the abusive measures taken against three respected journalists with the state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) because of news coverage critical of the prime minister that the government regarded as “biased” and reflecting “opposition viewpoints”.

“NBC’s statement about an alleged ‘breach of standing NBC editorial policy guidelines and failing to adhere to instructions’ will put pressure on the media to censor themselves, as will the prime minister’s personal warning to media carrying ‘false or defamatory reports against the government’,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We regret that NBC complied so readily with orders that clearly flout the principle of editorial independence. The virtual dismissal of these journalists has exposed the fragility of public media independence and freedom of information.

Continue reading "PNG condemned for standing down reporters critical of O’Neill" »

Australia's visa bastardry. The unnecessary sadness of Mana Dau


Mana DauSOME TWO MONTHS AGO we noted in these columns that Mana Dau, mother in law of contributor Peter Kranz, was contemplating with great excitement her first trip to Australia, where she would visit all manner of tambus and wantoks.

Mana Dau is by all accounts a lovely lady with a heart of gold. She has lived most of her life at remote Goglme village in the north of Simbu which graces the central highlands of Papua New Guinea.

She loves singing - of life, of her love of God, and of Simbu's past and future. And she is inordinately proud of her four children: Kiak, who runs a small shop; Elise, a housekeeper; Willie, a Sergeant in the PNG Defence Force; and Rose, Peter’s wife.

Some of the family call her 'a silly old woman' because she talks to the radio and believes everything on TV is true. She doesn’t wear shoes, distrusts planes and believes the ocean is a giant tsunami waiting to happen.

But she has faith. In the Catholic church, in her family, in the inherent goodness of life ... and faith in a good laugh. But she's not laughing right now.

Continue reading "Australia's visa bastardry. The unnecessary sadness of Mana Dau" »

Australia’s Bougainville challenge: aligning aid, trade & diplomacy


The oversightersA DECADE AFTER the successful peacekeeping mission, and a year and a half before the window opens for a referendum on Bougainville’s political status, the peace process is dangerously adrift.

The pathbreaking unarmed regional peace effort, begun by New Zealand in late-1997 and led by Australia from early 1998 to mid-2003, is cited as a model of innovative and flexible peacemaking. It ensured large-scale fighting didn’t resume and it bought time to prepare for an orderly political settlement.

Sadly, those preparations have been insufficient to ensure a workable and sustainable political outcome. The Papua New Guinea Government, donors, neighbours and officials on Bougainville have failed to build the capacity the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) requires to remediate the causes of the earlier conflict.

Continue reading "Australia’s Bougainville challenge: aligning aid, trade & diplomacy" »



I recall how I had surveyed you, guardedly from a rocky peak,

And why I left the shelter of the mountains, for you.

How we wandered on those plains together,

Endless long days and shorter nights.

You a gazelle and I an eagle.

Horned and barbed, we;

Leaping from earth;

Soaring heights;

Left behind;

– |Life| +

Right ahead;

Plunging depths;

Chaining us to earth;

To leap and soar no more;

My gazelle, your eagle, less we;

Each day numbered, uncounted nights.

Trudging thru mired fields planted with seeds

Someone else chose for us and we unwittingly accepted,

Until the mystery of these once sweet green steppes withered.

Hanuabada: This is where you find the soul of cricket...


Makeshift cricket equipment is often usedTHE MAIN ROAD through Hanuabada village on the outskirts of Port Moresby is really the only open space among the thousands of wooden huts with their rusted iron roofs.

So it stands to reason that cricket must be played right there in the middle of the main street. After all, with its rock-hard clay surface, it makes an ideal year-round pitch. The bounce is even and the outfield fast: very fast.

Former national captain Rarua Dikana still plays regularly in the village, always to a hero's welcome. "Cricket," he says, "is a way of life here. The kids love it when me and some of the others from national teams go home and join in a game. We always play on the main road and just ignore the cars."

Continue reading "Hanuabada: This is where you find the soul of cricket..." »

As elite carve up national wealth, Namorong out on his own

Martyn Namorong, March 2013MARTYN NAMORONG | The Namorong Report

HAVING LIVED THE PAST FEW MONTHS in a blissful alcohol infused existence, for me a sobering moment was reading in the newspapers of the sidelining of three senior radio journalists.

The event was a challenge, not just about media freedom but the right of Papua New Guineans to be well informed about matters of national interest.

Being in national television, I felt limited in the type of relevant content I could produce in the public interest. I have therefore decided to freelance.

Peter O’Neill is the most media savvy prime minister this nation has ever had. Whilst he has been able to master the language, there have been inconsistencies which only a more discerning observer would pick up.

The deportation of PNGSDP communications director, Mark Davis, was an attack on one such discerning observer who was able to cut through the crap of what the prime minister was saying.

Mark caught Mr O’Neill red-handed when he highlighted the PM’s inconsistencies in a PNGSDP advertisement entitled ‘Which is true, PM? What you tell PNG or what you tell Australia?’

In it, Sir Mekere Morauta opens with a series of cut-through observations aimed at the PM.

Continue reading "As elite carve up national wealth, Namorong out on his own " »

Namah goes on attack; says Task Force Sweep may be shut down


Belden Namah does ScorsesePNG OPPOSITION LEADER Belden Namah has called on prime minister Peter O’Neill to “stop playing games and own up” to a corruption scandal in which Namah alleges Mr O’Neill and two of his most senior Ministers are involved.

Mr Namah said “there is no doubt that he [O’Neill] and his Ministers knowingly and or carelessly aided and abetted the fraudulent payment of nearly K100 million of public funds” to lawyer Paul Paraka.

In a media statement entitled ‘Stop deflecting the issue PM’, Mr Namah claimed that “the level of intimidation and cohesion [coercion?] that was applied by the three politicians on the poor servants in the Finance and Treasury Department is unbelievable.

Continue reading "Namah goes on attack; says Task Force Sweep may be shut down" »

1000s more settlers face eviction in the name of development


Some Art Centre community residents (Philippe Schneider)HERE WE GO AGAIN! This time it’s the 3,754 residents of Port Moresby’s Arts Centre community facing eviction. In Thursday’s Post-Courier the developer claimed this ‘necessary’ step will pave the way for a “major development … worth more than K230 million”, which will “directly employ scores of Papua New Guineans and boost the country’s economy”.

Sound familiar? It is almost identical to the argument used by developers to justify the now infamous Paga Hill forced eviction of 2012.

The Arts Centre ‘development’ is spearheaded by former parliamentarian Tom Amaiu and his company Macata Enterprises, which holds the state lease over this prime piece of land (portion 1564). Amaiu claims his ambitious plans are being frustrated by “illegal tenants who have unlawfully trespassed on his property”.

It’s not quite that simple. Here are three reasons why.

Continue reading "1000s more settlers face eviction in the name of development" »



Chips Mackellar and CabbageBOGIA WAS THE HEADQUARTERS of a sub-district of the same name in the Madang District. Bogia administered the lower reaches of the Ramu River and a few off-shore islands, the largest of which was Manam Island, which in the 1960s had a population of some 5,000 people.

During a routine patrol when I was camped in a remote inland village I was buying food for the police and carriers.  One of the items offered for sale was a three-day-old bush piglet.  It was emaciated, dehydrated, whimpering in misery, and nearly dead from hunger. It was so small it fitted into the palm of my hand.

“Where did you find this little pig?” I asked the child who had offered it for sale.  “His mother was stealing our cabbages,” the child explained, “and when we chased her away; he fell down a drain and could not escape with his mother.”

I felt sorry for the piglet, so I bought it, not knowing at the time what to do with it, although the thought crossed my mind that if we could rear him and fatten him up he might make a good Christmas dinner back at Bogia. 

We revived the piglet with some powdered milk and for the remainder of the patrol I had him carried in a bilum, with one of the camp followers paid to care for him until the patrol returned to Bogia.  Because he had been found in a cabbage patch, we called him “Cabbage.”

Continue reading "Cabbage" »

Pato says Davis deported after he ‘became involved in politics’


IMMIGRATION MINISTER RIMBINK PATO has told journalists in Port Moresby that PNGSDP spokesman Mark Davis had his PNG visa cancelled after he breached visa conditions and became involved in politics

Mark Davis, communications director of the PNG Sustainable Development Project, was picked up by fraud squad officers in Port Moresby yesterday and driven around the city for four hours before being put on a plane to Cairns.

Mr Davis has confirmed to AAP he was deported. "Yes, I got booted out yesterday," he said. "My only possessions being the clothes I stood up in and my passport."

Continue reading "Pato says Davis deported after he ‘became involved in politics’" »

Currency colonialism: Kina is our economy’s heart, not a plaything


Kina ShellPAPUA NEW GUINEANS have paid scant regard to their currency, and its value, for far too much time. Most people have left it as a subject in the sole domain of central bankers and economists. Others have left it to the bureaucrats in the Finance or Treasury departments.

Our politicians (except for Hon Garry Juffa) seem to think the Bank of PNG knows what it is doing, and that what happens to the currency has little or no impact on the wider economy of PNG and the welfare of the people.

There is a malaise of serious disconnect that exists between the Prime Minister’s Office and what is happening in the Central Bank that is tasked with managing the currency. The buck inevitably stops with the prime minister.

The proper management of the currency and the maintenance of its value has everything to do with good government.

The issue of whether a government is governing the nation well or not has to do with the how it maintains both the macro and the micro aspects of our economy.

Continue reading "Currency colonialism: Kina is our economy’s heart, not a plaything" »

I am home: Bougainville is my freedom country


At studyTHE MOMENT THE Air Niugini flight came to a halt in front of Buka airport terminal at 11am on 24 October, I rushed out of the sitting bird and was quickly sucked up by a gust of peace and freedom.

I was now in the safe house of the Solomon Sea and my ancestor’s world of the Solomon archipelago that has nourished my people since time immemorial. I was in my freedom land, Bougainville, away from fear and harassment from Papua New Guinean street thugs and their scanning evil eyes on the dusty and dirty streets of Madang. I was free.

I waited around the airport for final checks by the security and then darted out of the humid terminal into an ocean of welcoming smiles from the black men and women, the citizens of the true nation of Bougainville in the northern Solomons.

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Dodgy deals see good public servants lose their homes


North Waigani resident beaten by criminals allegedly recruited by government to evict residentsTHERE IS NOTHING WORSE than to meet a community, enjoy its hospitality and then feel absolutely powerless as it is predated upon by venal and corrupt state institutions.

In Papua New Guinea hard working public servants, many of who have devoted their life to service of country and community, are being tossed out of their homes and into the street by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and its business arm, National Housing Estate Limited (NHEL).

Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting residents from the NHC flats in North Waigani. In February they were chased from the place many had called home since 1997 by criminal gangs recruited by the NHC. Thirty thousand kina had been released by the government for this thuggery.

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Good thing going, when theological doctrine is put aside

Herb SilvermanHERB SILVERMAN | Washington Post

WHEN I VISITED PAPUA NEW GUINEA in 1987, and again last month, I saw evidence of many Christian missionaries along with some of the fruits of their labour (both sweet and sour, depending on your point of view).

PNG is one of the most Christian countries in the world. More than 96% of its citizens identify as Christian, with Catholicism the largest denomination at 27%. Here are some of my PNG observations, then and now.

I first went to PNG for six months in 1987 as a visiting professor of mathematics at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in Port Moresby.

While in the country, I only travelled outside Port Moresby to give math talks at universities in Goroka and Lae.

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Kuru: A true story of cannibalism, science & rogue proteins


Child with kuru, 1960sIN THE HIGHLANDS of Papua New Guinea in the 1950s and 60s, it was noticed that people (mostly women) of the Fore tribe were dying of what was originally thought to be a genetic disorder since it happened among family members.

The disease stole away the affected person’s ability to talk, walk and eat and they eventually died a shivering death. Over 1,100 people died of kuru from 1957 to 1968.

The US National Institute of Health’s Neurological Institute had an interest in this strange brain disease and, according to Robert Desowitz in his book Federal Bodysnatchers and the New Guinea Virus, they discovered it was an infectious agent.

Scientist Carleton Gadjusek (see PNG Attitude’s 2009 obituary of the controversial Nobel prize winner) sent the brain of a dead woman back to his lab in Bethesda, Maryland. He homogenised some brain tissue and inoculated it into a chimp named Georgette.

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Does Australia spy on PNG? Well, Canberra's not saying...


Rooftop antennaeTHE CURRENT FURORE about spying on just about everyone by Western intelligence agencies  may be disturbing in its revelation, but we should not be surprised. It’s been going on for years.

Also, many of the complaints are hypocritical as we know the others are doing it too.

Spy versus spy.

But, when it is dragged into the open by the likes of Wikileaks and Edward Snowden and becomes the subject of public debate, the spooks and foreign minister Julie Bishop tend to get a bit perturbed.

But one revelation which has caused concern in Papua New Guinea is that Aussie spies have been using the Australian High Commission offices for eavesdropping operations on neighbouring countries in a secret operation known as ‘Stateroom’.

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Paraka case: Namah files official complaint against Peter O’Neill


Paraka_PaulPAPUA NEW GUINEA’s Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga says opposition leader Belden Namah has filed an official complaint against prime minister Peter O’Neill for alleged involvement in fraudulent payments to Paul Paraka lawyers.

Mr Paraka (pictured) was arrested last month and charged with 18 fraud offences related to alleged payments from government departments of $US25 million. Two other lawyers were also arrested.

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Safe buses proposed to help Moresby curb sexual assault

JULIE McKAY | Women’s Agenda

PNGRL Anti Violence CampaignIN PORT MORESBY, 87% of women report that they were assaulted or sexually assaulted on buses over the last year.

Mothers keep their daughters home because the risk of sexual assault on the way to school is too high. Companies are reluctant to hire women because of the likelihood of getting assaulted on the way to or from work.

Dr Jeff Buchanan, UN Women's PNG Country Manager, has been in Australia sharing stories of women in PNG and the work of his organisation. I had the privilege of spending the day with Dr Buchanan and asked him what's the next thing we need to do to empower women in PNG?

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A Bougainvillean environment of beauteous evergreen

A waterfall in the deep jungle of BougainvilleNIGEL MATTE

Far East is the rising Sun of AROB
A Sun that signifies morning beauty and friendliness
Shines through enrichment, glory and never loses
Gives a natural outlook of coolness and easy going
For what is true and right, that’s the main heart
Never fails to achieve pure diamond and gold
An environment of evergreen
That’s what makes it AROBian

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Domestic processing will boost PNG's fisheries industry


Bigeye TunaA WAVE OF NEW fish processing facilities is galvanising downstream activity across Papua New Guinea, paving the way for the $408m fisheries sector to transform itself into a billion-dollar industry.

PNG’s 3.1m-sq-km fishing zone is the second-largest in the South Pacific, yielding up to 20% of the global annual tuna catch. However, until recently, the country was losing an estimated two-thirds of its potential downstream and value-added business due to a lack of domestic processing facilities.

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Attitude in October: The writing that turned on readers


OCTOBER WAS A BIG MONTH at PNG Attitude. We took up the challenge of re-engaging with The Crocodile Prize; mounted a successful fund-raiser to get paraplegic author Francis Nii some life-enhancing equipment; and saw the new Rivers Harmony Writing Prize (which closed on Friday) in full swing.

The retired teacher Val Rivers, who is funding this excellent venture to encourage Papua New Guinean writers to focus on improvement in societal peace and harmony, lives in the isolated community of Burra North, a small town on the Barrier Highway 160km north of Adelaide.

Val is one of the judges of the prize (the others are Peter and Rose Kranz) and I talk with her regularly on the phone. She is passionate about writing and delighted that she’s had the opportunity to initiate this venture.

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That’s my Niugini…


Village scene 1I see the world blooming, my nation stands amidst the big guns
I feel the echoes of my Melanesian genes and might
The painted tapawear, the Malomalos and the tanget we share
The flying chauka and garamut, we ask the world “meri Manus yu stap we?”
Hoping for the world to tell us “meri Manus i stap hia
We look west of Manus we hear the bamboo beats of my Bougainvillean brothers
The Saposa girls sing island saposa meri saposa, with the panpipes and bamboo beats
The land of the rising sun, island sankamap
Looking from close, a Manusian chauka flies to greet the drongo
The karanas bilas peles, with mystic view, iconic surfing waves and smiling faces
Nilpis is where the drongo lives, with cultures of diversified variety
Tenderness of the Malangan in New Ireland, when the drongo flies
Across the sheer plains, across the volcanic guria land of Radazz
To the ways and smiles of the Matupit
Dances from far and wide, from Rapopo to Blue Lagoon to the far east NCR
Smoking rages and spewing ashes from earth with in
Kokopo stands to greet in style with the pasin west
Dancing in style, buai daka na kambang
It’s my NGI, it’s my NGI, Niuigini Islands

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Teachers from Keravat National High visit Indonesia

Keravat teachers in an Indonesian seminarIN SEPTEMBER A GROUP of teachers from Keravat National High School visited St John’s Catholic School High School in Bumi Serpong Damai, Indonesia.

The group consisted of teachers from Keravat National High School, led by Rieme Alo, the principal, accompanied by Ouka Lavaki, Papua New Guinea’s Assistant Secretary for Education.

Alvina Gunardi, St John's principal, and her vice principals Anne Riancy and Laurentius Sutrisno, hosted the guests in their visit to see the facilities and gave them a short explanation of school policies. The group also met Education Director, Ladislaus Naisaban.

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