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99 posts from February 2014

The ‘belkol’ concept & the re-establishment of Panguna mine

Paramount Chief Charles KaroroLEONARD FONG ROKA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Heritage Writing Award

“BELKOL is the promise by Bougainville Copper Limited and Papua New Guinea that they will compensate the people of Bougainville for their impact on our society as they mined our land at Panguna,” paramount chief of Piavora, Charles Karoro (pictured) told me.

In Bougainville’s Nasioi society, just like other societies in the Solomon archipelago, conflict is the essence of the people’s way of life; it is intrinsic to the interaction of humans to other people and the environment.

All these behaviours lead to disruption of peace within society, resulting in war, destruction and death.

Before colonisation the Nasioi society was a world governed by clan leadership and power. Laws that existed over the land were supreme and observed by all people, thus our society was largely peaceful with minimal reckless violence against each other.

But at those times of war and death, the Nasioi civilisation had procedures to heal the wounds and divisions in our midst.

Continue reading "The ‘belkol’ concept & the re-establishment of Panguna mine" »

Papua New Guinea needs a new national anthem


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Heritage Writing Award

COMRADES, brothers and sisters, and fellow travellers on the ship we all call Papua New Guinea!

I am putting forward to you the following proposal: It is about time our country had a new national anthem to launch itself into the voyage of the future.

There are fundamental reasons why the national anthem of the country should be taken as seriously as any other matter of national importance. Songs use words to express feelings, emotions and creativity. They can inspire. We need a song that is all relevant, and driving citizens into the future. We need a progressive song. We need to sing a new song for a new dawn.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea needs a new national anthem" »

Simbu Now and Forever

Chimbu Warrior (Hal Holman OL OAM)JIMMY DREKORE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

They call me Simbu Stone
Because of my heart
The treasure deep within is preserved
My love is precious
You will know when you walk into it

They call me Simbu Warrior
Because of my spirit
The passion roots from the marrow
I love my game and play it hard
You will know when you run at me

Continue reading "Simbu Now and Forever" »

PNG ban on visas on arrival for Australians starts Saturday


THE BAN on visas on arrival for Australians entering Papua New Guinea comes into effect on Saturday, making it harder for Australians to enter PNG now than for many other countries.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the ban is already having an impact, with some Australians facing missed flights into PNG because they hadn’t lodged their written visa applications early enough.

Australian passport holders entering PNG on or after Saturday are now required to apply for their visas in advance of their arrival, from the nearest PNG overseas mission or post, or from an Australian mission or post where there is no PNG representation. PNG has Australian missions in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.

Continue reading "PNG ban on visas on arrival for Australians starts Saturday" »

If we're serious, we must first win battle for rural development

Infrastructure creationJOHN K KAMASUA

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

THE O’NEILL-Dion government shifted the focus of implementing the 2013 budget to the districts. The year was declared unequivocally as the “Year of Implementation.” Donors and international development agencies were to swing behind this policy.

But there were genuine fears among many sectors of the community on the lack of capacity in the districts. This was further compounded by the state of infrastructure such as roads and bridges and the often skeleton staff without adequate resource support who were unable to dispense their duties as required.

Debate raged in the newspapers, on social media and in commentaries on radio and television about how we were shaping up to redistribute the wealth generated from PNG’s resources for the majority of people in rural areas.

Continue reading "If we're serious, we must first win battle for rural development" »

My Silence


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

My silence is the cry that you never hear,
It is the pain that you can never feel
Hidden by these smiles and laughter
Why are we like this?
You might ask
I smile to think of a reason
Maybe like a love that you know will never belong to you?
But none I can find to perfectly describe us
It’s just the way it is
It is my perfect mask and I like to be that perfect actress
My silence. 

Lady in white


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Lady in coloursIn a white robe, at my door she stands
Don’t want to mess up, still she demands a glance
It’s hot in here, cold out there
To turn or to burn, I have to decide
She awaits, offers a chilling embrace
Silence of her chill hovers ever closer
A vast blanket! Ghastly white!
It's hot in here, cold out there
Her chill is pure for sure
Tonight she offers a chance, must make a stance
Surely heavenward she rises in the morn,
And I can’t to heaven rise at dawn,
To turn or not to burn, I have to decide
Blinded by firmness of her whiteness
Oh Moran, you moron!
In a white robe, at my door she stands
While the aircon unit slumbers into a coma

A montage of memories

Silhouette of a womanANONYMOUS *

I REMEMBER being much closer to my mother growing up as a girl child. The relationship with my father was one of affection, yet punctuated with an oddity of distance.

He was a soft spoken man, a person of few words, and always thoughtful about the unfolding of life. He spent most of his time and energy in the garden. I can’t recall a moment of direct conversation with him, yet I feel there might have been and that it’s my frail human memory that can’t fit the puzzle of recollection together.

When my father died, I had already entered into the world of womanhood.  The occasion of my father’s death brought about much soul searching. I was freshly minted out of one of the main universities but was without a job.

Continue reading "A montage of memories" »

Where has foreign policy gone wrong? The Asianisation of Madang


TO ALL those who have never visited Madang, here are some facts to add onto your knowledge about people and places….

The biggest Chinese investment in PNG, Ramu Nickel Mining, is found in this province.

All the stores in Madang are owned by Asians except for two: Christian Books Melanesia (owner unknown ) and Yoko Trading (a very small store owned by a Chimbu fellow). The most (seemingly) expensive building in Madang, they call it "glass house", is owned by the Chinese state-owned MCC (China Metallurgical Group Corporation).

The biggest fishing cannery and the largest number of fishing vessels in Papua New Guinea are owned by Asians.

The vast Trans-Gogol Valley and Ramu Valley, home to virgin rainforest and tropical hardwood, is logged by Asians started by Japan New Guinea Timber (JANT) decades ago and now continued by other logging giants.

Continue reading "Where has foreign policy gone wrong? The Asianisation of Madang" »

Students' eloquent plea: Unitech needs return of Albert Schram

Dr Albert SchramSAMUEL MAGIRI | PNG Blogs

The sacking on Monday of Papua New Guinea’s Higher Education Minister David Arore could provide another opportunity for the PNG University of Technology vice-chancellor, Prof Albert Schram, to resume his position. Prof Schram (pictured) has been mysteriously not permitted to return for PNG for well over 12 months.

HARDLY any talented European comes to our university and we have struggled for more than a year to bring back a damn good vice-chancellor, Albert Schram. Today Unitech is a dark room with no air movement. Only Schram can unlock this place and make it move again.

The government made a mediation report in 2012 and there was the Sevua Report in 2013. Nothing was found wrong with Schram, an innocent man.

But then Minister Arore said he would not let Schram back because of a ‘national security concern’ and ‘instability’. This doesn’t fit the black and white facts. Unitech students were fine when Schram was here.

Continue reading "Students' eloquent plea: Unitech needs return of Albert Schram" »

One bright sunny day by the river Iora….

Lonely tree at Kokoda station (Gary Juffa)GARY JUFFA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamship Short Story Award

1980. KOKODA, Oro Province. One bright sunny Saturday a group of skinny village kids and their dog set off for a picnic trip by the river Iora, Kokoda.

They romped through their parents’ gardens, deftly picking tomatoes here, shallots there, a clump of ginger and bunch of bananas. All went into a tin pot and a bilum that carried the most prized of all picnic treasures: a can of Say’s corned beef, pure delicacy, heaven in a can.

It was a typical Kokoda day, crisp clean air and clear blue sky erratically dotted with white puffy clouds. The main road, dirt and well-travelled but neat, was clear and stretched silently seemingly without end in sight.

Continue reading "One bright sunny day by the river Iora…." »

O’Neill gets tough on ministry: Shape up or ship out warns PM

William DumaJOY KISSELPAR | PNG Edge

PNG PRIME MINISTER Peter O’Neill says by sacking a party leader he is driving home the message that all party leaders are subject to the same rules and regulations of conduct.

He says party leaders must ensure they adhere to solidarity in cabinet and provide stability as a team.

William Duma (pictured) who was Petroleum & Energy Minister and is leader of United Resource Party was dismissed.

Continue reading "O’Neill gets tough on ministry: Shape up or ship out warns PM" »

Eventually the price for parental neglect will be paid....

Francis Nii at Sir Joseph Nombri Hospital, KundiawaFRANCIS NII

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

THE LEVEL of love and care we give to our children are the same we will receive from them when we are sick or get old. If we give them the best according to what we have, we will get the same measure and even more from them.

Yesterday the news of the demise of Tabie reached me, and memories of human tragedy rekindled. He had been referred to Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa from Goroka Base Hospital.

Tabie was in his early sixties and some months ago was admitted to my ward for treatment of acute arthritis in both his legs.

Continue reading "Eventually the price for parental neglect will be paid...." »

Protecting my essence


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Plagiarism MonitorSo you modelled your jewel
Carefully, like I did mine
Perhaps heartily like me?
Thinking I'd let you be
Oh you paved a walk to a dual
In my palm it ain't a glass of wine
You heard of a pint of blood?
I bled many a great flood
So my jewel can grace this page
With its meagre presence
So please be a gem and tell me now
Need I ask you to tell me how?
Know ye this isn't me in a rage
Rather it is me protecting my essence
Please tell me
That I may be

Maria von Trapp, last member of a celebrated family, dies at 99

Maria von Trapp in 2008 (AP)MARY MENNIS

Maria Agatha Franziska Gobertina von Trapp - the last of the von Trapp children whose flight from Nazi-occupied Austria with their parents was dramatised in the film The Sound of Music and who went on to teach in Papua New Guinea - has died aged 99 at her home in Vermont in the United States. In this earlier account on the E-Course website, Mary Mennis reflects on her memories of Maria.

I FIRST met Maria, step-daughter of Baroness Maria von Trapp, in 1962-63 in Rabaul while she was doing the fourth E-Course at Malaguna. It was over on the other side of the town and I only had a bicycle to get around, but we often met at the Church on Sundays where Fr Francke said Mass.

The E-Course was a six month long teacher-training course designed to train people to teach in primary schools in rural areas. The Administration sought people with something of a missionary spirit who would be willing to live in native material houses in villages. Maria threw herself into the course, especially the musical side with Fred Ebbeck as music teacher.

Of course, Maria was already a gifted musician and singer trained with her family group the Trapp Family Singers on which The Sound of Music was based. At that stage it was a Broadway Musical which had run since 1959. The family was already quite famous but Maria was self-effacing and called herself Maria Trapp not Maria Von Trapp. She was very charismatic and her face lit up brightly when she smiled.

Continue reading "Maria von Trapp, last member of a celebrated family, dies at 99" »

A devotion to maintaining PNG’s rich linguistic heritage

Andrew IkupuUNESCO

ANDREW Ikupu speaks 11 languages; an elegant and measured English among them. It’s hardly surprising when you consider that he is a native of Papua New Guinea, the country with the most diverse linguistic heritage in the world.

Papua New Guinea is home to more than seven million people and 875 local languages, the result of the country’s rugged and often impenetrable geography of deep valleys and high mountains which have kept small pockets of people isolated from each other.

The greatest number of speakers of a local language is 300,000; the smallest less than 200. Judged against the UNESCO atlas, it is a success story with only 88 of its tongues in danger.

Continue reading "A devotion to maintaining PNG’s rich linguistic heritage" »

Domestic violence within


Woman from Rigo districtAn entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

For every woman, freedom must be lived and felt

I am a young woman
I have heard, seen and read about women like me,
Old women and young women, women from all walks of life;
Abused, beaten, killed, cursed, murdered.

What do you call this?
My country is the country of freedom!
But I have my fears of living my freedom
As a young woman in this free country

Continue reading "Domestic violence within" »

Century old Melbourne counterfeit press turns up in PNG

Antique print press like the one in Milne BayNIC WHITE | ProPrint

A CONTENDER for the Pacific region’s oldest operating press is in a small print shop in Milne Bay, some 82 years after it is said to have been printing counterfeit banknotes in Melbourne.

Milne Bay Printing Services owner, Delsie Chariton, says the pedal-powered letter press was bought by Methodist missionary John Dixon in 1932 from Melbourne, and spent the next 71 years printing Bibles and other religious documents in numerous mission stations around Milne Bay and East New Britain.

A page in Papuan Islands Pilgrimage by the Dixon’s son Jonathan recounts how the press fell into the church’s hands.

“It had a particularly dubious past. It had been used to produce counterfeit banknotes. But it looked alright to this purchaser,” young Dixon wrote.

“While the former owners were on their way to jail, the printing press was headed for Papua to print books of the Bible, hymns, church magazines, and all the educational needs of the theological training institution.”

Continue reading "Century old Melbourne counterfeit press turns up in PNG" »

Hey, I prefer my kwila trees & rainforest....


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

I READ Garry Juffa’s poem in PNG Attitude entitled Meanwhile the trees keep falling and wanted to continue on the same theme with a contribution of half a dozen original ‘pseudo-haiku’.

A K300 million Raintree Hotel and Suites development (pictured below) by timber giant Rimbunan Hijau is going up very fast near Vision City in Port Moresby.

In a ground breaking ceremony in March kast, prime minister Peter O’Neill spoke of the substantial economic contribution that the Raintree Hotel project will make to PNG.

He emphasised that RH's significant investments in PNG "are most welcome and are appreciated by the government".

Through the haiku, I wonder at the real cost of such activity? I lament the gradual disappearance of the rainforests and forest life.

My basic stance is that “you can keep the K300 million and your Raintree Hotel; I prefer to keep the 300 remaining kwila trees and my rainforest”.

Continue reading "Hey, I prefer my kwila trees & rainforest...." »

Papua New Guinea extends the olive branch to Bougainville

Peter O'Neill in BougainvilleOXFORD BUSINESS GROUP

A LANDMARK visit in January by Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, to the semi-autonomous island province of Bougainville, has paved the way for reconciliation and renewed commercial interest in the region.

Bougainville’s name remains synonymous with the controversial Panguna Copper Mine, which closed in 1989, after protests over environmental damage and royalty distributions escalated into a decade-long civil war between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the island.

Owned by Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), whose largest shareholder is Rio Tinto, Panguna was the world’s largest open air copper mine in its heyday, making the island one of PNG’s most advanced provinces.

Yet its autonomy and distance from the mainland has led to Bougainville capturing little, if any, of the trickle down from PNG’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) windfall, with development arguably reversing on the island of around 200,000 people during the past 15 years.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea extends the olive branch to Bougainville" »

Mana and the Gilk - a children’s story from Simbu

Rose Bemu 2ROSE BEMU

THIS STORY is based on upper Simbu (from around Gembogl) traditions and folklore. It is derived from myths and legends that go back many hundreds of years, into my family's past: the Dakas, Kumans, Gehrigs, Whoms and many more. These are the family memories of many people. While it is not to be taken lightly, ut please accept that it is intended as a children's story.

A STRANGE creature crawled out from the Wara Simbu and shook his head. The water glistened from his pate and then he started sniffing. He was a strange pale creamy colour, like a waitman in the moonlight.

"I smell humans!"

He saw a small bush hut before him.

"Ah! Food !" he declared and crawled his way to the hut. His claws clinging to the earth and his nose quivering as he sought his prey. The noise he made from his frothing, deformed mouth was hideous. His red eyes glared around the hut.

"Humans! Food!"

Who was he? And where had he come from?

Continue reading "Mana and the Gilk - a children’s story from Simbu" »

Bougainville after O’Neill: greater hope & a feeling of moving forward


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

Peter O'Neill on BougainvilleAFTER nine years another Papua New Guinean leader, prime minister Peter O’Neill, has set foot on the Solomon Island of Bougainville to assure the people that his country and government are behind them, like a father guiding every economic and political step.

On 15 June 2005, the day the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) was inaugurated on the lawns of Hahela Primary School, Bougainvilleans were assured by then prime minister Sir Michael Somare of the continuous contribution and assistance of the Papua New Guinea Government.

In January 2014, Peter O’Neill was not a mile away from where Sir Michael stood in 2005. Mr O’Neill told Bougainvilleans that PNG is there for them and that it is wanting to see the referendum on independence.

Continue reading "Bougainville after O’Neill: greater hope & a feeling of moving forward" »

Star Mountains boys take up 6-year study program in Australia

13-year olds, Cyril Bineng (centre) and Oscar Nori with OTML's James Yore at Tabubil International Airport awaiting their flight to CairnsOK TEDI MINING LTD

IT’S THE beginning of an exciting journey for two promising young boys from the remote Star Mountains of Western Province who have been offered a golden opportunity to make their education dreams come true.

Through the Ok Tedi Community Education Program, Cyril Bineng and Oscar Nori, both aged 13, will be taking up a six-year study program at the Scots College in Sydney.

The program was established last year through an agreement between Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML), Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) Limited and The Scots College.

Continue reading "Star Mountains boys take up 6-year study program in Australia" »

The despair that is Manus: How many more will die?

No one chooses to be a refugeeGARY JUFFA

I THOUGHT last night about widely reported recent events that occurred at the asylum centre in Manus: the loss of a life, injuries and destruction to property.

The destruction to property is of course nowhere near as important as the loss of a life or injuries sustained.

I pondered the plight of the people who were seeking refugee status, locked up in hot and humid conditions, unable to move about, controlled by hostile guards and with no freedom.

In this group there is a variety of people.

Continue reading "The despair that is Manus: How many more will die?" »

Sonnet 14: Getting bruised


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

Floyd-mayweather-vs-canelo-alvarezIn this ring you should get hit often,
Early on, as much as possible: want it.
In fact, walk right into it and always
Make sure you’re hit hard and that it hurts much,
Especially when you fall on your face;
Don’t try to save face let that get bruised too.
Believe me you don’t want to forget this
No matter what advice that well-meaning
Friends offer, they’re wrong. Do it again.
Get off the canvass and go back swinging.
Jump in the ring and walk into that punch.
Friends, no one can tell you what love feels like;
Keep your punches true; get hit where you must;
Don’t back down from a good toe-to-toe match.

This 14 line non-rhyming poem is a modern sonnet written in ten syllable lines, with a ‘turn’ in line 10 and a heroic couplet to end. Created 9:16pm, 17 February 2014 at Labu Station.

Kath Donovan: health worker who served PNG for many years

Kath DonovanRUTH MYORS | Sydney Morning Herald

KATH DONOVAN, who has died aged 83, arrived in Balimo in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea in June 1966 to do medical work among the Gogodala tribespeople.

She was appointed to a government-run health centre that consisted of a few thatched huts staffed by a couple of male medical orderlies.

The orderlies had minimal training and a penchant for going home at 4pm no matter what the condition of any patient. This was unacceptable to Donovan, who believed that every patient should receive the best treatment possible.

There were huge changes when Asia Pacific Mission (now Pioneers of Australia), the organisation Donovan belonged to, took over the hospital and she was appointed medical superintendent.

By the time she returned to Australia in 1983, she left behind a well-appointed 100-bed hospital staffed around the clock by two doctors and a team of qualified nurses. A nurse training school had been established, a feeding program was up and running and supervised aid posts covered 20,000 people over more than 20 villages.

Continue reading "Kath Donovan: health worker who served PNG for many years" »

PNG class warfare: the predatory elite & its ‘willing’ prey

MARTYN NAMORONG | Namorong Report

People on a street in Port MoresbyI USED to have the opinion that Papua New Guinea’s middle class offered a solution to the growing gulf between the haves and have nots in PNG.

Lately that view has been changing. Despite the activism of some, and many Facebook conversations, only a handful of people meet together and take action on issues. Are we seeing the rise of the predatory elite and people/prey who do not seem to mind being exploited?

There seem to be inequality of ideas and aspirations. The inequality of wealth and access to education and decision making bodies also create rather contrasting levels of aspiration.

Continue reading "PNG class warfare: the predatory elite & its ‘willing’ prey" »

Banning guns would be a major step towards peace & order

Tindi Apa (PNG Blogs)FRANCIS S NII

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

PRIME MINISTER Peter O’Neill’s announcement in Parliament last Friday of proposed legislation to ban guns in PNG except for security forces is a step in the right direction towards peace and order in this country.

Peter O’Neill told Parliament that the proposed law would include banning police officers from carrying high powered guns in public. He said it would restrict guns to senior officers.

The legislation to ban guns is one of the recommendations in a report instituted by former police minister and current Goroka MP Bire Kimisopa which was tabled in Parliament three years ago.

A ban on guns would be a momentous step towards the elimination of tribal warfare, armed-holdups and enhancing peace and order in PNG.

Continue reading "Banning guns would be a major step towards peace & order" »

Our Ancestors

Our ancestors in the night skiesJOHN KAUPA KAMASUA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

Have you ever looked at the night sky
And watched the stars?
And wondered why we know more about them
Than we do ourselves?

There is a faint and distant connection
Between us and these heavenly bodies,
Somewhere in the eons past
Where even memories cannot be resurrected
We were one, intricately linked,
Made of the same material as the stars
All together, in body and spirit!

Continue reading "Our Ancestors" »

Death of Norman Norden: Lutheran minister & PNG missionary

MARK ZABORNEY | The Toledo Blade

Rev Norman F NordenREV NORMAN F NORDEN, 76, who began his ministry as a missionary in Papua New Guinea, died in the United States last week.

In retirement, Pastor Norden became an officer in the German Lutheran Heritage Society, which has collected and preserved family histories and archives from northwest Ohio counties with deep German roots.

He was born in 1937, and grew up on a farm. He was a 1955 graduate of Ridgeville High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Capital University in the Columbus area.

Continue reading "Death of Norman Norden: Lutheran minister & PNG missionary" »

PNG as a banana republic: Chinese Li Wu suborns officials


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

Hastily taken shot of the incidentA RECENT incident I witnessed at Taurama Shopping Centre in Port Moresby ended up posing some important questions for all Papua New Guineans.

An argument started between a Tari man in a Chinese kaibar and the Chinese man on the other side of the counter. Moments later, a towering Chinese man came out and punched the 1.5 metre Tari man into submission.

He was beaten and bruised to the point of exhaustion and, as you might expect, two of his Tari wantoks came to the rescue and nearly punched and kicked the tall Chinese man to death.

The public who witnessed the incident were divided in their support. The pro-Chinese mob said the Chinese had created employment and paid taxes through their businesses. They said Papua New Guineans do not create employment but sit and gamble (bom or 7-leaf) or talk politics and wait for free handouts.

They added that Papua New Guineans finding themselves with some money become one-day-millionaires and go on a drinking spree and sing until dawn. They concluded that PNG men and women have no business acumen and should not talk about Chinese business aggression.

Continue reading "PNG as a banana republic: Chinese Li Wu suborns officials" »

Breeding new leaders for PNG – limiting the right to public office


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

DEMOCRACY permits individual rights to citizens who are abusing their privileges when intentionally engaging in corrupt activities.

To minimise this scenario, the state needs to restrict certain rights of individuals. The right to contest for public office as stipulated in Section 50 of the Constitution of the Independent State of PNG is one such right.

The tendency of Papua New Guineans to respect the position of leadership in pre-colonial societies including colonial and post-colonial is evidence that leaders have a paramount role to play. The axiom of “where the head leads, the tail will follow” confirms the paramount role leaders play in any society.

The change in the geo-political climate warrants a change in the style and substance of leaders. By restricting the nomination of candidates in both the national and local government elections to only educated and professionally experienced citizens is perhaps contradictory but is crucial for the common good.

Continue reading "Breeding new leaders for PNG – limiting the right to public office" »

Law & order is necessary for development, says Oro Governor

Governor Juffa inspects run-down police housingGOVERNOR GARY JUFFA has commended provincial police for their successful efforts in investigating serious crime in Oro Province.

Mr Juffa, seen here inspecting run-down police housing, thanked provincial police commander Jacob Singura for his management of the police since taking office late last year.

The Governor instigated an enquiry soon after his election in 2012, when he saw reports from the Auditor-General’s office about the misuse of public funds by various people including public servants.

The matters were referred to police, who identified a number of serious cases of fraud. Before departing Oro to take up his post as PNG’s Director of Internal Affairs, former provincial police commander Victor Isuove recommended a number of investigations, arrests and prosecutions.

At the Governor’s request, police investigators were flown in from Port Moresby to carry out the recommendations, resulting in several people, including public servants and former public servants, being charged with serious crimes.

Continue reading "Law & order is necessary for development, says Oro Governor" »

Will Oz justice minister get down & dirty on PNG crime & corruption?


Michael Keenan MPAUSTRALIA’s justice minister Michael Keenan arrives in Papua New Guinea today for a three-day visit in which he’s having talks on transnational crime, policing and corruption.

“The PNG Government is taking steps to fight corruption and I look forward to discussing progress in this area with Minister [Kerenga] Kua, including PNG’s progress to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption,” Mr Keenan [pictured, pick the deliberate error] said.

The visit follows hard on the heels of what has been termed “a lecture” by Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop on corruption and lack of development in PNG.

Ms Bishop, slammed the PNG government claiming corruption is rife and lamenting the country’s backward slide on the Millennium Development Goals.

Continue reading "Will Oz justice minister get down & dirty on PNG crime & corruption?" »

Closing the gap in PNG: How many children must die?


11-week-old Baby Umi from Bamio in the Western ProvinceTHERE'S BEEN a great deal of hand-wringing and expressions of sympathy about Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's admirable statement about "Closing the Gap"

But closing the gap between whom?

Compare some basic statistics about child mortality between Australia and our near territory and closest neighbour, Papua New Guinea.

Infant mortality is defined as the death of a child under one year of age. For New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory from 2006–10, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infant mortality rate was eight infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

This compares with a non-Indigenous infant mortality rate of four infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

Continue reading "Closing the gap in PNG: How many children must die?" »

The Old Man


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamships Short Story Award

Dedicated to the eternal memories of the old people who had a part to play in influencing my life’s journey

Sonoma - well known for his legendsTHE MORNING air was quiet for many miles around. The sharp cries of the cicadas somehow stopped for a while, and no wind blew the leaves. Only a moment later children’s voices could be heard from the direction of the garden.

     “Kemi stole the bananas! Kemi stole bananas from Kondo’s garden!” shouted the children as they dragged Kemi to the entrance of the men’s house (hausman) in the village.

     “Usher in the suspect for he must speak for himself, and if found guilty pay for his sins,” commanded the village chief. It so happened that the men were still sitting in their beds and did not feel the need to hurry to their chores for the day, it being a weekend.

     “He did not sin. He only stole some bananas from Kondo’s garden. We caught him in the act,” said the leader of the group. “Not like the sin in the Bible.”

Continue reading "The Old Man" »

Award-winning Bougainville author facing legal challenge


Leonard RokaBOUGAINVILLE’s award-winning writer and pre-eminent author, Leonard Fong Roka, is likely to face a court battle over a short story featured in his second collection of short stories, Moments in Bougainville published last year.

Litigation for defamation has been threatened by the family of an ex-girlfriend in Mr Roka’s home area in the Tumpusiong Valley near Panguna.

Mr Roka said that the story, Tongare Love, was a record of his time with a woman he loved and wanted to marry. But her family would not allow it and instead they began to threaten him.

“Yeah, they openly proclaimed across the Panguna District that I was a sex maniac,” Mr Roka recalled. “But I did not take them to court for defamation. They announced I was a drunkard and worthless, and still I did not take them to court.

“They threatened me at home with offensive weapons and still I did not bring them to court for trespassing and harassment. They beat and molested me in public and I ignored that.

“Thugs broke into my home and stole my property while others justified that crime as compensation for befriending their relative. But I did not take any legal action.

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Death of diplomat revives memories of Vanuatu’s ‘coconut war’


Andrew Stuart receiving the British flag from the Commissioner of Police on Independence Day, watched by Jean-Jacques RobertANDREW STUART, who has died aged 85, oversaw the fraught transfer to independence of the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) during the so-called ‘Coconut War’ with France; he also had long experience as an African colonial and post-colonial administrator, and was later Britain’s Ambassador to Finland.

The Coconut War erupted when Stuart was forced to quell a rebellion by bow-and-arrow-wielding cargo-cult devotees on the eve of Vanuatu’s independence in July 1980. At his request 200 Royal Marines of 42 Commando were sent to the South Pacific island nation by Margaret Thatcher from their base in Plymouth.

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Meanwhile, the trees keep falling....


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

ForestThe verbiage of supposed concern in parliament is tremendous
The rhetoric promoted by the elected officials certainly impressive
These seemingly agitated leaders that express much outrage and nothing else

And the trees keep falling

Empty promises, yet to be kept, empty lands, bare feet, empty pockets
The birds have flown, the land is quiet, streams muddied, all creatures no more
Weeds quietly grow where majestic giants and their kin once stood,

And the trees keep falling

The keepers at the gate, have failed their promises and their duties and sold out
Their pockets filled, their mouths gagged, their bellies swollen
Chinese meals, offshore trips, fat accounts and inconsiderate hearts

And the trees keep falling

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New Lae facility supports survivors of family & sexual violence


DespairAUSTRALIA’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop last week announced $3 million over three years from the Australian aid program to fund the Papua New Guinea Family and Sexual Violence Case Management Centre (CMC).

The CMC will commence operations later this year with the goal of improving access to services for survivors of family and sexual violence.

Ume Wainetti, CMC Management Committee member and National Coordinator of the PNG Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, said that establishing case management services in the country is essential for the protection of survivors of violence.

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Mining the abyss: positing a role for economic nationalism

PETER NEILL | The Huffington Post (US)

Nautilus schematicWORLD OCEAN OBSERVATORY gathers its subject matter from sources all over the world. This week's story comes from an excellent piece by Jo Chandler published in December 2013 by The Global Mail an Internet news service, now sadly going out of business, based in Sydney, Australia.

The article is framed by the occupation of Eliuda Toxok, a resident of the west coast of New Ireland.

Toxok is a ‘shark-caller’, an artisanal fisherman and devotee of traditional lore who attracts sharks to his small outrigger canoe by rattling small half-coconuts on a chain to mimic the sound of thrashing fish that in turn lures the fish to a vine noose by which he captures his prey -- some 100 caught in a career of over 40 years.

Toxok lives on less than $2 a day, and he is representative of his friends and neighbors who live in poverty far from the eyes of the developing world.

Unless that world looks to just 30 kilometers offshore where Solwara 1, a vast area of the ocean floor, has been licensed by the Papua New Guinea government for the world's first open-cut deep water mining operation in pursuit of gold, silver, and copper in amounts significant enough to justify an investment of some $383 million toward a $600 million return over a life-span of only five years after which the "vein" is exhausted and the equipment moves on to another opportunity.

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Work the land & earn your living


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Working in the gardenI dedicate this poem to fellow Papua New Guineans who I desire to be self-reliant by working on their land and not to stay idle and make their living on hand-outs….

If I can work the land
If I can get my hands dirty
I can tell the entire world
I can fly

If I can work the land
If I can get my hands dirty
I can tell the entire world
I can travel the earth

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PNG drugs crisis - how many will die before morality prevails?


TB patient in Daru hospitalI NOTICED in the Sydney Morning Herald this week that China is showing her naval powers by sending three warships for a jaunt, through the straits between Java and Sumatra, down between Java and Christmas Island and then back through the straits between Bali and Lombok.

I found this interesting as I know the Australian navy has also been frequently navigating this area during the past few months turning back people smugglers.

During that time I’ve also been trying to see if I could help to solve the problems caused by the issuing of the contract for supplying pharmaceuticals to PNG.

PNG has had a history of having problems with its pharmaceuticals and over the past few years the Australian government has been helping with distribution and suggestions about purchase.

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Strengthening democracy in a fragmented, parochial & corrupt polity


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

PRE-COLONIAL Papua New Guinean societies had their own political systems. Leadership in such culturally and ethnically heterogeneous societies was provided in several ways.

In the Highlands, leaders were known as ‘bigmen’ who earned their status by demonstrating their skills in warfare, oratory, trading, gardening, or sorcery. Those who accumulated and distributed wealth and built up networks of relationship through marriage and trade also earned leadership status.

European colonization began around the 17th century which forced a fusion of fragmented traditional politics with the introduced systems. The German luluais in New Guinea and the British village constables in Papua are examples.

These systems survived the transfer by both colonizers to Australia who later introduced the local government councils. Introduced at the village level in the 1950s and 1960s as a lower form of government to stimulate the participation of the people, the new system symbolized the beginning of democracy in PNG.

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Ruggedness: The Power of Hope

On Mt Wilhelm's slopes, Easter 1964JIMMY DREKORE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

That rugged road
a cupid code

That misty mountain
an empty emotion

That friendly hug
a heartily hug

Those tears from the side
Are souvenirs of countryside

Maril Nule runs below
Iri Maule stations in snow

Waramon sings
Omindara sings

Sons of Yuri
Daughters of Yuri

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