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104 posts from January 2014

O’Neill government’s drug supply saga just won’t go away


Pharmaceutical imageIT ALL BEGAN BACK IN SEPTEMBER last year when Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill announced that the Borneo Pacific Pharmaceutical company (BPP), owned by Malaysian interests, would be given a contract to supply PNG pharmaceuticals.

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop then announced that her government would not support this decision as BPP did not have the ISO 9001 quality rating and this implied their procurement methods were not up to a standard where they could be trusted to maintain a supply of good quality drugs.

There had been a history of trouble in the supply of medical kits and Australia had come to PNG’s aid and contributed millions of kina to aid their distribution. But the BPP decision was a bridge too far for Ms Bishop.

Continue reading "O’Neill government’s drug supply saga just won’t go away" »

Eremas Wartoto, accused of fraud, got visa despite PNG plea


Eremas WartotoAUSTRALIA ALLOWED ONE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA's most wanted men to enter the country on a 457 skilled worker visa despite a PNG government request for him to be barred, diplomatic cables reveal.

The decision to allow accused fraud Eremas Wartoto (pictured) to stay in Australia and avoid prosecution prompted Australia's high commissioner in Port Moresby, Deborah Stokes, to declare the case could be used to “prove that Australia is a haven for the proceeds of crime from PNG”.

The PNG government's request to “bar [the] businessman from travelling to Australia” was documented in a cable sent by the Australian High Commission to Canberra on 24 August 2011.

Continue reading "Eremas Wartoto, accused of fraud, got visa despite PNG plea" »

Church in Papua New Guinea warns against sorcery & violence


Traditional dance (Diocese of Daru-Kiunga)OBSERVING WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY in Port Moresby last Friday, Papua New Guinean Catholics gathered with local media to discuss charges of sorcery, which often end in violence against the accused.

The conference on Church and Media – A Joint Reflection on Sorcery was held on the feast of St Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. While nearly all of PNG’s population is Christian, and 27% is Catholic, many people integrate indigenous beliefs and practices into their religious life.

As a result, many Papua New Guineans believe in sorcery, and those accused of practicing it – a majority of whom are women – are at times subject to mob attacks and murder.

Continue reading "Church in Papua New Guinea warns against sorcery & violence" »

Peter O’Neill apologises to Bougainvilleans for deadly civil war


The view from Arawa (SBS)PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND BOUGAINVILLE have moved closer to reconciliation after the Pacific island nation's prime minister, Peter O’Neill, made an historic visit.

Mr O'Neill also performed a reconciliation ceremony with the autonomous region's president, John Momis, and visited the site of the Panguna copper mine which sparked the civil war.

"Following custom, I'd like to say we are truly sorry for all the bad things that happened in your communities in Bougainville and our country Papua New Guinea," the Post Courier reported Mr O'Neill as saying on Tuesday.

Continue reading "Peter O’Neill apologises to Bougainvilleans for deadly civil war" »

NSW north coast kiaps celebrate award of Service Medal

BELINDA SCOTT | Coffs Coast Advocate

Ex-kiaps John Blyth, Dick Olive, Bob Smith and Gavin CarterKIAP IS A LITTLE KNOWN TITLE on the Coffs Coast, but a quartet of kiaps who have made the area their home are hoping the work of those who helped guide Papua New Guinea into the modern world will become better known in the future.

Kiaps were Papua New Guinea patrol officers, district commissioners and magistrates who worked in often inaccessible terrain in PNG until after that country gained independence in 1975.

Their roles in remote areas included being sole magistrates, jailers, policemen, surveyors, public works engineers, builders, mapmakers and explorers, welfare advisers, agricultural advisers and the only representatives of all other government functions in their area, which included weather observations, selling stamps, sending telegrams and even customs work in coastal locations.

Continue reading "NSW north coast kiaps celebrate award of Service Medal" »

Expert worried as PNG population reaches 7.8 million


May_Prof RonAN AUSTRALIAN ACADEMIC SAYS Papua New Guinea's current population growth rate is extraordinarily high and has serious implications for the country.

The government has just released census data from 2011 which revealed the country's population had reached 7.3 million. This is estimated to have increased to about 7.8 million, with a growth rate of 3.1 percent.

A Melanesian expert at the Australia National University, Ron May (pictured), says such a high rate of growth could pose problems.

"In some parts of the country, there are already pressures on land,” he said.

“The high rate of population growth is also putting a lot of pressure on the education system, the health system, not to mention urban housing and so on. It's got quite serious implications."

Ron May says government, churches and NGOs all have a role to play in population policy.

Tourism & business boost: PNG re-establishes Cairns consulate

Air Niugini Boeing 767 at Cairns (FNQ SKIES blog -

THE PNG government has re-established a consulate in Cairns to provide visa and other services.

The consulate commenced issuing visas to foreigners travelling to PNG on Tuesday after the establishment of a border management system by Australian and PNG immigration authorities.

PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato said that the consulate will assist business and add to the other three overseas posts in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.

He said the operations will boost PNG’s trade and investment interests in north Queensland, including the tourism industry’s project to implement direct flights from Cairns to provincial airports in PNG.

Lukaut nau! The death penalty is coming at us like a thief

FR GIORGIO LICINI | Catholic Reporter PNG

The nooseTHE FRONT PAGE OF The National on 27 January reminded the public of the fact that the death penalty is coming and is not far away.

Thirteen men sentenced for unspeakable crimes of piracy, attempted piracy and wilful murder years or decades ago can start counting their days. They are unlikely to see another Christmas or New Year celebration.

Their mothers, wives and children better forget about them. High ranking Papua New Guinea government officials travelled abroad during 2013 trying to understand if it would be easier to get rid of them by lethal injection, hanging, or firing squad.

Continue reading "Lukaut nau! The death penalty is coming at us like a thief" »

Visa restrictions for Australians in PNG will not affect business


Peter TaylorTHE AUSTRALIA PAPUA NEW GUINEA BUSINESS COUNCIL says a reciprocal visa arrangement will make it easier for the two countries to do business together.

The PNG government says it will no longer issue visas on arrival for Australians, unless Australia agrees to allow Papua New Guinea citizens a similar arrangement when travelling there.

It has said the ban will not include tourists.

The Council's president, Peter Taylor (pictured), says it is unlikely such a move will affect Australian business people because many travel on multi-entry business visas which run for a year.

Continue reading "Visa restrictions for Australians in PNG will not affect business" »

27 evocative short stories about the way PNG once was


SivaraiSivarai, by Chips Mackellar, Pukpuk Publishing, 2013, 302 pp, illus, ISBN-10: 0987132180; ISBN-13: 978-0987132185. $25 + postage. Order from Bill McGrath’s Pacific Book House here or from Kindle for $3.02 as an e-book here

IT TURNS OUT – and, when the truth dawned some years ago, this caught me by surprise – that the great storytellers about Papua New Guinea in colonial times have been the kiaps.

Of course, as patrol officers, they had much fecund material to work with, but I always reckoned the schoolteachers, being formally educated in how to instruct others in the English language and its grammar and vocabulary, as well as having plenty of time to themselves in those remote bush schools, might have gravitated to the role of tribal chroniclers.

Well, with some notable exceptions such as Trevor Shearston (Something in the Blood) Eric Johns and his most useful histories, and a small number of others, it didn’t happen that way.

Instead we got the rich, evocative and so readable offerings of authors like Jack Hides (writing in the 1930s), Ian Downs, James Sinclair, Phil Fitzpatrick, Bob Cleland, John Fowke, Michael O’Connor, Laurie Meintjes and many more. We also got kiaps’ wives (Pamela Martin, Libby Bowen et al) recording the inspiration of being immersed in a new and exotic culture as well as the travails of the outstation.

Continue reading "27 evocative short stories about the way PNG once was" »

Captivated by the challenge, osteopath will undertake PNG mission

FIONA HENDERSON | The Ballarat Courier

Megan Fraumano with some PNG childrenTHE STATISTICS ARE SOBERING. One in 20 women in Papua New Guinea die in childbirth. One in 12 children die before the age of five due to malnutrition. And the average life expectancy at birth is just 56 years.

To help change these devastating figures, Ballarat osteopath Megan Fraumano will join the third No Roads to Health expedition in March, aimed at improving the health of communities along the Kokoda Track.

Ms Fraumano walked the track with her family, including her grandparents, in 2009 and said it was a “pretty big eye-opener” to see the locals’ health first hand.

Continue reading " Captivated by the challenge, osteopath will undertake PNG mission" »

Thumbs up, Belden Namah, for your scrutiny of the O’Neill regime


A MASSIVE K71.8M WALKED OUT of the Finance and Treasury Departments and no one (including members of parliament) knew or had the guts to say anything about it. It was truly a blatant abuse at best and, most likely, official corruption.

The money was allegedly paid to a law firm, Paul Paraka Lawyers, with the aid of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Finance Minister James Marape, Treasure Don Polye and officers from their departments.

The issue was not known to other MPs, bureaucrats and Papua New Guineans until a copy of an alleged letter from the Prime Minister somehow reached Opposition leader Belden Namah and his minority group in Parliament. Mr Namah then lodged an official complaint with the police for an urgent investigation into the matter.

Immediately after the report, the Prime Minister engaged Investigative Task Force Sweep to carry out inquiries. That’s where the Parakagate saga investigation started. Thanks to both Peter O’Neill and Belden Namah for initiating the investigation into this matter.

Continue reading "Thumbs up, Belden Namah, for your scrutiny of the O’Neill regime" »

Applications open for important Australian study opportunities


Aus-PNGTHE AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION has invited Papua New Guineans to apply for high-status Australia Awards Scholarships for study in 2015.

The Australia Awards Scholarships provide PNG’s next generation of leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research or professional development in Australia.

Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Deborah Stokes, encouraged young Papua New Guineans to pursue the opportunity of a lifetime by applying for an Award.

Continue reading "Applications open for important Australian study opportunities" »

Holmes in the place of the Great Masalai - the end


SH icon"HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO COVER THIS, you stupid bastards?" shouted Bikpela Mauswara as he slammed down the draft of the latest edition of the Post National in front of the trembling faces of his journalists.

"I employ you to get stories, not this lefty tree-hugging nonsense!  Give me stuff about how great oil-palm plantations are, trees were made by God to be cut down and used, mines are God's gift to the developing world, and any stupid Neolithic tribe who stands in the way should be sent back to where they belong!  In the bush Get those SABLSs running!"

"The value of Kotekas? Shit!"

Bikpela Mauswara puffed insolently on his cigar, blew the smoke into the face to the assembled staff and cast a quivering evil eye over his reporters.

Continue reading "Holmes in the place of the Great Masalai - the end" »

On Australia Day, the wise words of an older Aussie


TODAY, 26 JANUARY, IS AUSTRALIA DAY. It is also my step-mum's 90th birthday,

She is just an ordinary Australian woman. But she has memories.

Brought up a Sydney girl, she remembers the building of the harbour bridge. And the arrival of American troops in World War II . And snow in Wahroonga. And serving as a nurse in the war.

And working with Pastors Len Barnard and Colin Winch of PNG aviation fame. And working as a volunteer in a Romanian orphanage.

She has stories to tell, although she may be just an ordinary Australian woman. She is just 12 years younger than Australia itself.

She remembers Curtin and Menzies and Whitlam - and even Scullin and Lyons. And reckons they are all just a bunch of crooked politicians. She reckons nothing much has changed over the years.

But she remembers. And with each passing year the memories of our elders becomes more precious.

She has this to say. "Peter, if you don't love your neighbours, then you can't love yourself."

Wise words from a woman in her 90's.

Right man on the spot: Staff Sgt Riemer’s life-saving exploit

STAFF SGT JIM ARAOS | Eilson Air Force Base, Alaska

Staff Sgt. Joseph Riemer, 354th Civil Engineer SquadronIMAGINE SITTING IN A HOTEL LOBBY of a foreign country, when suddenly, a scream for help echoes from a dark parking lot outside. Without hesitation, you leap to your feet and depart the safety of the hotel in search for a person in need.

While recently deployed to Papua New Guinea for a Joint Prisoner of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command mission, Staff Sgt Joseph Riemer, an explosive ordnance disposal technician in the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron, put his combat life-saver skills to the test when he encountered an injured local.

"At that moment, I didn't even think about if I should help this guy," said Riemer. "It was either I save his life or he bleeds out."

Continue reading "Right man on the spot: Staff Sgt Riemer’s life-saving exploit" »

Trainee priest Eddie Ekari killed in Queensland car smash

CHRIS CALCINO | Gympie Times

Edward EkariCOMPELLED BY A LIFELONG CALLING to serve the Catholic Church, Edward ‘Eddie’ Ekari left his village near Tari in the highlands of Papua New Guinea with his heart set on a new life in Australia.

That life and all its spiritual promise were cut short when his car was obliterated in a collision with a cattle train near Chinchilla on Monday.

Friends of the 33-year-old priest-in-training have paid tribute to a man dedicated to his faith and his flock - he was in the final stretch of attaining priesthood.

Monsignor Anthony Randazzo was overseeing Mr Ekari's training at Brisbane's Holy Spirit Seminary. He said Eddie had completed a pastoral placement in the parish of Murgon at the end of his placement at Toowoomba Diocese's Chinchilla parish.

Continue reading "Trainee priest Eddie Ekari killed in Queensland car smash" »

An interactive electronic book on the spectacular art of PNG


Daniel Waswas paintingLiving Art in Papua New Guinea by Susan Cochrane, produced and distributed by Contemporary Arts Media / Artfilms as a two DVD set. You can purchase the book online here

IT’S AN ART BOOK FOR THE DIGITAL AGE and is the culmination of 30 years research, writing and curating activities in Papua New Guinea. It has morphed from its original concept as an illustrated art book into an interactive electronic book.

The aim of Living Art is to enrich people’s imagination and visual experience with the living arts of Papua New Guinea. It presents artworks and cultural performances that are astonishing in their dramatic visual effect and virtuosity.

Continue reading "An interactive electronic book on the spectacular art of PNG" »

PNG the team to beat in Super Six stage of ICC cricket


BarramundisSIX TEAMS HAVE ADVANCED from the group stage of the Cricket World Cup Qualifier to the next stage of the tournament in New Zealand, with Papua New Guinea the team to beat in the Super Six stage that commences tomorrow at three venues across Christchurch.

The teams progressing to the Super Six stage are Scotland, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates from Group A along with PNG, Namibia and Kenya from Group B.

The Super Six matches will be played at Rangiora Oval, Hagley Oval and Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Christchurch until 30 January, with each team carrying forward its points from the group stage.

Continue reading "PNG the team to beat in Super Six stage of ICC cricket" »

Belden Norman Namah & his fight against corruption


Belden Namah meets the peoplePAPUA NEW GUINEA OPPOSITION LEADER, Hon Belden Namah, recently said: “For the love for my people and motherland I will not be intimidated, harassed and suppressed by a desperate, despotic dictator. I will stand to fight against corruption and corrupt people without fear”.

Like the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Belden Namah carries the hopes and dreams of many ordinary people who want to crack down on corruption especially among those upper class Papua New Guineans who dominate and control the economy and political landscape.

PNG is no different to other democracies in Africa. her social, health and economic development indexes show she has not distanced herself from that category since Independence from Australia. PNG is a country with vast untapped natural resource which locals are proud to call an 'island floating on a sea of oil and sitting on mountains of gold.

Continue reading "Belden Norman Namah & his fight against corruption" »

Former Education Secretary Dr Joe Pagelio dies after short illness


Joe Pagelio on a school visitDISTINGUISHED PAPUA NEW GUINEAN educational administrator, Dr Joseph Pagelio, who served the PNG Education Department for more than 30 years, including four years as Secretary for Education, died on Tuesday after a short illness.

Dr Pagelio, from West New Britain, began his service as a secondary teacher in 1975 at Dregerhafen High School.

He was steadily promoted through the ranks in various parts of PNG, being appointed headmaster of Henganofi High School in 1983 and a school inspector in 1986.

Dr Pagelio completed a Bachelor of Education in 1990, after which he served the Education Department as a national education planner while studying for his master’s in education. He completed his doctorate in education, specialising in educational leadership, at the University of Queensland in 2000.

Continue reading "Former Education Secretary Dr Joe Pagelio dies after short illness" »

Buai ban is political suicide for Governor Powes Parkop


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

Parkop & buai itambuALTHOUGH BUAI (BETEL NUT) IS a health hazard and a source of filth, it can be a potent force of political influence.

Economically, buai has become a commercial crop like coffee, cocoa or copra and is of significant market benefit.

In the domestic economy, buai creates a chain of employment for many people. Buai farmers employ people who harvest and bag the nut. Wholesalers employ truck and boat owners to transport the product to market.

Retailers employ other truck and taxi owners to transport the nut from wholesalers to sellers who are many and scattered in various locations. The nuts are then sold to consumers.

Continue reading "Buai ban is political suicide for Governor Powes Parkop" »

Julie Bishop to seek clarification on PNG arrival visa ban


Port Moresby InternationalAS PAPUA NEW GUINEA's foreign minister Rimbink Pato confirmed that the decision to change PNG’s visa system has been made and will come into force in March, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop said she will seek clarification on the plan to ban visas on arrival for Australian visitors.

Meanwhile prime minister Peter O'Neill has denied the decision discriminates against Australians.

“There is no discrimination whatsoever,” he said. “We have similar arrangements with other countries and will make sure similar arrangements are in place for other world partners.”

Continue reading "Julie Bishop to seek clarification on PNG arrival visa ban" »

DWU subsidiary takes over management of Tabubil hospital


DWU President & Chairman of Diwai Pharmaceuticals Fr Jan Czuba, Tabubil Hospital Administrator Margareth Samei, Pakadavee Parker, OTML MD Nigel Parker, OTML Manager Employee & External Relations Musje WerrorTHE MANAGEMENT OF TABUBIL HOSPITAL in the North Fly District of Western Province has come under the management of Diwai Pharmaceuticals Limited, a subsidiary of Divine Word University.

The hospital which is owned by Ok Tedi Mining Ltd has served OTML employees and their families, contractors and communities from Western Province and Telefomin District for many years and is best known for being the Western Province’s referral hospital, servicing the North, Middle and South Fly districts.

CEO of OTML, Nigel Parker, said that three years ago the company began its search for an organization that could take forward the management of the hospital.

Continue reading "DWU subsidiary takes over management of Tabubil hospital" »

Shy Soldiers


Wars come and go but my soldiers remain eternal (Tupac Shakur)

LAE - Just recently, during my 2013 new year’s holidays in Markham, I stumbled upon a plant that told me a story of war, love, family history and also broadened my biochemistry understanding of a plant that could transform the face of medicine.

After we bought buai and daka at Ansa market in Mutzing station in the Markham district, my grandfather and I trailed back on the dirt track along the eroding banks of Mangyang creek to our peaceful village of Sampubangin.

Along the track the buai I held in my palm slipped and fell into a bed of thorny bushes of herb. Carefully I tried to pick out my buai and pricked my hand in the process.

“Ouch!” I cried out.

Continue reading "Shy Soldiers" »

In praise of people who are different


SHORTLY AFTER I ARRIVED IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA in 1967 I met my first so-called longlong. I was camped at a place called Paiagona on the road between Mount Hagen, Tambul and Mendi trying to repair and keep it open after a month of very wet weather.

Paiagona is high up in the ranges and the stretch of road we were working on was at about 8,500 feet and very cold.  I had with me an old sergeant who was trying to teach me the ropes about being a kiap.

There were also a couple of new graduates from the Police College at Bomana learning to be policemen.  The sergeant had arthritis in his knees and the weather, along with us greenhorns, wasn’t doing his temper much good.

Continue reading "In praise of people who are different" »

Planning on track for ANMEF & ANZAC Centenary in Rabaul


Reg Yates on hill above Simpson HarbourA NUMBER OF EVENTS ARE PLANNED in Rabaul for the Centenary of the landing of the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force, which in 1914 was deployed to the Gazelle Peninsula to capture the militarily strategic German wireless station at Bitapaka.

The events, which will take place from 30 August to 17 September, may include a visit by an Australian warship on 14 September.

In addition, Papua New Guinea’s 39th anniversary of Independence will be celebrated on 16 September. Special arrangements for accommodation and flights will be required for anyone hoping to stay for those events, extra to the five-day fully guided tour of the ANMEF battlefields, which will be a highlight of the anniversary activities.

There will also be a Dawn Service at the Rabaul ANZAC memorial and a Gunfire Breakfast at the Rabaul Yacht Club. The tour is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Optional extras include day tours in Rabaul and surrounds from 13-15 September and a trekking tour to Tol Plantation from 29 August-7 September.

Continue reading "Planning on track for ANMEF & ANZAC Centenary in Rabaul" »

Transparency questions award of pharmaceutical contract

Paul-Oates2-smallPAUL OATES

IN AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT over ongoing concerns about the awarding of a contract for the supply and distribution of pharmaceuticals to PNG Health Centres, Transparency International (PNG) has called for an explanation over the obvious abnormalities in statements by PNG Tenders Board’s and the Department of Health.

TIPNG maintains the matter cannot go unchallenged and that comments made by the Secretary of the Department of Health and others raise serious questions about the contract being awarded to Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals.

"We do not see the comments as valid and challenge CSTB and the Health Department to reveal how they plan to prove our fears wrong," TIPNG said.

Continue reading "Transparency questions award of pharmaceutical contract" »

PNG & Australia: Don’t be shy, say what you think


Neighbours & friendsMANY OF US IN AUSTRALIA are willing to offer advice to Papua New Guinea and especially criticism when our own house is hardly in order.

What criticism we do level at our own government with respect to Papua New Guinea is focused on their inept handling of the relationship between the two separate and sovereign nations.

Apart from that we are critical of the plundering activities of Australian resource developers in Papua New Guinea.

However, the major basis of our concerns is what we perceive to be the failure of successive Papuan New Guinean governments to fulfil the promises of 1975.  Apart from the politicians there is seldom criticism of the Papua New Guinean people.

Continue reading "PNG & Australia: Don’t be shy, say what you think" »

Wart a parasite! Reflections on the life of a mole


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamships Short Story Award

Imagine a part of your body, a body that you loved and admired, suddenly becomes an issue of dispute….

I LOOKED IN THE MIRROR and hated the person staring back at me. I hated me for letting this mole grow on my face.

I realised that this mole above my right eye was hideously ugly, that it was a parasite and that I had been its host for as long as I could remember. It just sat there and grew and grew.

I had ignored it, thinking it was some kind of beauty spot. But, drat, it has labelled me as ‘mole face’ and ‘frog frontal’. Or others, trying to be polite, just say, ‘Wow, that mole on your face, it’s so in the front’.

Actually it is more like, ‘Dang, what an ugly black mass on your face.’

For a second, I lost it and thought that the person looking back at me was from some kind of bad photo. Then, for the second time, I saw how ugly it was. It was sponge-like, proudly perched on the top of my eye as if it has a mind of its own ….

Continue reading "Wart a parasite! Reflections on the life of a mole" »

Bitapaka 100 years on - ANMEF programs in PNG & Australia


Imperial German army troops match along Bitapaka RoadANMEF IS THE ABBREVIATION OF the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force, which in 1914 was deployed to Rabaul to capture the militarily strategic German wireless station at nearby Bitapaka.

The ANMEF & Rabaul Association was formed last year as a not-for-profit body for people with an interest in Australia’s colonial and military history in Papua New Guinea. It is open to anyone with a Service background, descendants of Australian Infantry Force (AIF) members, or people with an interest in PNG and Rabaul such as trekkers or tourists.

Continue reading "Bitapaka 100 years on - ANMEF programs in PNG & Australia" »

Is changing the government a solution to corruption in PNG?


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

IN THE LAST COUPLE of months, there have been deep sentiments for the change of government by political lobbyists and critics, especially in the social media.

The underlying raison d’etre is discontent about some of the decisions made by the government. Among a number of decisions alleged to have involved corruption of some sort are the amendments to the Vote of No Confidence Act, the government takeover of the PNG Sustainable Development Program and Ok Tedi Mine, the asylum seekers deal with Australia and, more recently, the awarding of a medical kit supply contract to Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals.

Bloggers and users of social media are the prominent advocates of this discourse. Some even joined hands with the PNG Opposition in strategising to topple the government. A case in point was the call for a nationwide strike on the eve of the budget session last November that went amiss.

Continue reading "Is changing the government a solution to corruption in PNG?" »

Rabaul to play an important role in the ANZAC Centenary


HMAS Sydney steams towards Rabaul, September 1914The ANMEF (Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force) & Rabaul Association was formed in 2013 for people who have an interest in Australia’s colonial and military history in Papua New Guinea. On and around 11 September this year, the Association will mark the centenary of the capture by the Expeditionary Force of the German wireless station at Rabaul, a significant Australian military victory in the early part of the Great War of 1914-18. Over the next few days PNG Attitude will publish a series of articles on this important commemoration.

FOR AUSTRALIANS AND NEW ZEALANDERS, 2014 brings the ANZAC Centenary with the 99th anniversary of ANZAC Day on 25 April 2014, followed by the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the First World War between Britain and Germany on 4 August 1914.

A mere five weeks after the declaration of war, the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force captured the strategic German wireless station at Bitapaka near Rabaul, East New Britain, in a single day on 11 September 1914.

Continue reading "Rabaul to play an important role in the ANZAC Centenary" »

Lasting change in healthy behaviour must come from within


Well & WiseMANY EXPERTS NOW TELL US that the principal goal of health education should be to change people's habits and attitudes.

Unfortunately, such a goal points the finger at what people do wrong, rather than building on what they do right.

It is based on the paternalistic view that the 'ignorance' of the poor people is the main cause of their ill health, and that it is society's job to correct their bad habits and attitudes.

Continue reading "Lasting change in healthy behaviour must come from within" »

Despite rumours, ban on Aussie arrival visas did not happen


VisaA BAN ON GRANTING AUSTRALIANS visas on arrival in Papua New Guinea – rumoured to have been imposed from today – did not come into force.

PNG’s social media has been running hot with stories that today was the day Aussies would be turned back at the front door unless they got off the plane with the appropriate paperwork, but at Border Control it was business as usual.

The PNG Cabinet has already agreed the ban, which is in retaliation for the Australian government’s strangle grip on Papua New Guineans seeking to get visas to enter Australia.

The ban is now said to be awaiting final sign-off from prime minister Peter O’Neill before it is enforced.

Continue reading "Despite rumours, ban on Aussie arrival visas did not happen" »

Panguna mine group meets to discuss environmental remediation


Panguna mineTHE JOINT PANGUNA NEGOTIATION COORDINATION COMMITTEE (JPNCC), which is developing parameters for negotiating the resumption of mining in Bougainville, will hold its next meeting in Port Moresby on Wednesday.

The JPNCC is a broad-based group comprising representatives of landowners in mine-affected areas, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the Government of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL).

At this stage the JPNCC is working closely with BCL to progress initial environmental studies related to the mine, which closed in 1989 because of civil strife in Bougainville.

Continue reading "Panguna mine group meets to discuss environmental remediation" »

PNG, where violence can seem like the norm for women


DevastationPAPUA NEW GUINEA, A DEVELOPING COUNTRY of seven million people with a growing market in the mining of natural resources, is one of the most violent places in the world for women, according to the United Nations.

In the country’s remote Highlands, the Australian government found that nearly every woman has experienced some form of physical violence, including sexual violence.

After decades of abuse from her husband, Agnes, who is now living in a safe house said: “I thought that that was normal for a woman to be beaten by her husband. I never thought it wasn’t right.”

Continue reading "PNG, where violence can seem like the norm for women" »

Geraint Jones basks in PNG’s new found cricket success


Geraint JonesPAPUA NEW GUINEA’S GIANT-KILLING acts in the World Cup qualifying tournament has made many in the cricketing world stand up and take notice but the most renowned figure in their dressing room, former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, is not a bit surprised.

Having beaten former World Cup semi-finalists Kenya and Uganda, PNG now remain strong contenders for a spot in the tournament which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.

The Australian-bred wicketkeeper, like many of the players in the current line up, migrated to England in his teens and later went on to become a vital cog in England’s 2005 Ashes win. Jones is now playing for PNG, the place of his birth.

Continue reading "Geraint Jones basks in PNG’s new found cricket success" »

Aid groups accuse Coalition of broken promises, but PNG spared

LENORE TAYLOR | The Guardian | Extracts

AUSTRALIAN AID GROUPS ARE ACCUSING the Federal Coalition government of breaking an election commitment after it revealed their funding would be cut mid-year as part of a $650 million reduction in budgeted foreign aid spending, leaving 2013-14 spending $107 million below what was spent last year.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop announced the cuts for aid groups as well as a complete defunding of international environmental programs. The government is redirecting a pared-back aid budget towards the region but will maintain spending on countries such as Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Nauru, whose co-operation is necessary for the success of its asylum policy.

Organisations such as Care, Save the Children, Caritas, ChildFund, Plan International and the Fred Hollows Foundation – who have partnership agreements with the government – have had their current year funding cut by about 8%.

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Profit motive: A different perspective on the Kula trade

MIKE REID | Tribal Mystic Blog

Kula canoeANTI-CAPITALISTS LIKE TO USE examples of supposedly selfless gift exchanges in “primitive” societies to contrast with the greedy behaviour of modern markets. But a closer look at one famous exotic gift exchange, the Trobriand Islanders’ Kula, actually reinforces libertarians’ claims about the universal power of the profit motive.

In the elaborate Kula trade among the islands off the eastern tip of New Guinea, men sailed for many miles to receive ceremonial gifts of shell jewellery, apparently for the sole purpose of giving those gifts away again within a year or two.

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Buai ban will be of limited duration say Port Moresby officials

FR GIORGIO LICINI | Catholic Reporter

Buai-chewingTHE TOTAL BUAI (BETEL NUT) BAN in Port Moresby will remain in place, but not for ever. This was revealed by officials from the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) at a youth seminar on social issues held at St John’s Catholic parish in Tokarara over the weekend.

“Governor Powes Parkop is looking at a proper regulation of the betel nut trade and consumption,” said the NCDC’s Acting Manager for Social Services, Vincent Manukayasi, “but for the moment we need a total ban. It’s a shock therapy to make people realise that they cannot continue littering the nation’s capital by undisciplined chewing and spitting”.

Mr Manukayasi revealed that buai chewing costs the city treasury K10 million a year in cleaning contracts.

Governor Parkop is forcing the city residents into an educational process.

“People from certain provinces observe correct procedures of chewing betel nut in their homes and avoid spitting on roads and public places,” Mr Manukayasi said, “but others don’t.”

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Beyond expectations - A girl's education in New Guinea


An entry in The Crocodile Prize

The girls’ boarding school

I WAS 14 WHEN I LEFT HOME to attend boarding school at Notre Dame High (now secondary) School in the year 2000. A Catholic girl’s boarding school run by the Sisters of Notre Dame, it is located on the outskirts of Mt Hagen city.

Coming from a staunch Catholic family, my dad proudly told me that it was the best school for us girls and that surely father knows best.

The thought of going to a girl’s boarding school sounded fascinating. It felt good to get away from what was ‘usual’. The usual flow of things at home made me tired and I had to make a choice that would open me up to new experiences, adventures, environment and people.

I was ready for a change but everything also has a their downside. I spent my entire childhood with my family and going away was a hard thing to get used to. I rem cried a lot and was very homesick in the first few weeks.

However, my elder sister Savina was a senior at the school, so I was not alone. As the weeks, months and years passed I fell in love with the school and it became my second home. I eventually settled in and made some great friends and we bonded really well.

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Tit for tat politics: Warrant issued for arrest of Belden Namah


Belden Namah does ScorseseREPORTS FROM PORT MORESBY late this afternoon say a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Papua New Guinea's opposition leader, Belden Namah, who is alleged to have threatened Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga.

Mr Kulunga said that Mr Namah had threatened him in a letter demanding that the Commissioner reinstate four police officers suspended as the result of an earlier warrant issued for the arrest of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Despite an earlier commitment only use social media or communicating to the public, Mr Namah is expected to give a press conference tonight.

PNG appoints Colonel Gilbert Toropo as new military chief

KARL CLAXTON | The Strategist

Colonel Gilbert ToropoSMART, MEASURED AND ENERGETIC, Colonel Gilbert Toropo seems a good choice to be Papua New Guinea’s next Defence Force Commander. He’ll need to be. Even the circumstances surrounding the announcement of his selection highlight difficulties likely to confront him in this demanding role.

It’s worth knowing a bit more about recent developments concerning Papua New Guinea’s defence forces (PNGDF) and its new commander as security ties form a pillar of the Australia–PNG relationship.

Toropo will take over at a time of some hope about the PNGDF as well as daunting challenges. These positive signs owe much to outgoing commander, Brigadier Francis Agwi. As the PNGDF’s ninth Commander, Agwi was able to begin modest capability-rebuilding, as scars from a necessary but very painful 2000–06 retrenchment exercise (initiated by PNG and funded by Australia to stabilise the unruly post-Bougainville/Sandline Crisis-era force) started to heal.

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Forget quality, PNG medicines OK (or so Tenders Board says)


IN AN AMAZING REVELATION, Mr Babaga Naime, Secretary of the PNG Central Supply and Tenders Board, has issued a statement confirming that Borneo Pacific (BPP) does not need to meet ISO9001 as it isn’t the manufacturer of the pharmaceuticals it supplies and distributes.

Clearly Mr Naime and his Tender Board can’t see any difficulty. However 'Blind Freddy' could surely see what’s wrong with Mr Naime's statement. If the pharmaceuticals distributed by BPP in the past have a history of poor standards, or not actually being what they claim, BPP are therefore, according to Mr Naime, completely absolved of any responsibility.

Can Mr Naime actually substantiate his continued suitability for this important government position based on this reported statement? Based on media reports, Mr Naime made ‘strong representations’ to the NEC to have BPP awarded the contract to supply pharmaceuticals to the PNG people. Those same people who pay his salary as a public servant to look after them and ensure they are properly looked after.

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The Melanesian fashion atrocity that is the meri blouse


Meri Blouse hook earringsWELL I'LL BE FRANK. So-called meri blouses are an abomination. Shapeless body drapes introduced by sexually-frustrated missionaries and Colonial Colonel Blimps (who had probably never seen their wives breasts) to cover their guilt at seeing women's breasts so openly displayed.

"My God, Peregrine, it will frighten the horses! Charlotte - go and hide yourself immediately!"

That was the original spirit, I am sure.

But meri blouses were a marketing triumph. Promoted by the London Missionary Society and the Lutheran Mission (the Catholics were a bit more liberal), they became the fashion of PNG.

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