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142 posts from October 2014

Oro power grab a public disgrace: resignations are called for


THE power struggle in Northern Province offers a lesson to provincial governments nationwide. In that context the relevant laws discussed here should offer useful education.

The political saga has kicked off with an alleged serious criminal offence – break and enter allegedly orchestrated by two MPs who are not members of the Oro Provincial Assembly.

This writer is aware on credible information that the two MPs from Northern Province Delilah Gore and David Arore have, without any lawful excuse, failed to attend more than three scheduled Oro Provincial Assembly meetings notwithstanding that they each received due notice of those meetings.

Section 12 of the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local-level Governments states in part that if a member of Parliament is absent, without leave of the Provincial Assembly, during three consecutive meetings of the Assembly, unless the Assembly waives this provision upon satisfactory reasons being given, the member shall cease to be a member of the Provincial Assembly.

Continue reading "Oro power grab a public disgrace: resignations are called for" »

Age did not weary him – the remarkable life of Sir Wamp Wan

Dan Leahy at Mt HagenGARRY ROCHE

A recent contribution to PNG Attitude included a reference to Sir Wamp Wan of the Mokei Nampaka (Nampoga) clan near Mt Hagen, a prominent leader in the Western Highlands Province from before World War II until the 1990’s.

Sir Wamp had travelled both to London and Rome, where in 1972 he met Pope Paul VI, and he was later knighted by the Queen.

He was a strong supporter of the Catholic Mission, although he delayed baptism until 1976 because he had several wives and so.

Sir Wamp’s life covered the entire period of the exploration of the highlands, the colonial era and PNG’s journey to independence, and much beyond. So how old was the great leader when he died in 2007?

Continue reading "Age did not weary him – the remarkable life of Sir Wamp Wan" »

PNG must prioritise corruption ahead of new land laws

Act Now logoEFFREY DADEMO | Act Now PNG!

MOVES by the government to review the Lands Act and introduce revised legislation are premature and focus attention away from the real problem of corruption.

Changes to the law ignore the corruption that is at the root of most of the current problems with land administration and therefore any changes will do nothing to stop the ongoing abuses.

The Minister for Lands, Benny Allan, has publicly acknowledged the high level of corruption and inefficiency within his Department and has described the system of land administration in PNG as "corrupt and dysfunctional".

Continue reading "PNG must prioritise corruption ahead of new land laws" »

How to make service delivery work in Papua New Guinea


A report based on two surveys 10 years apart has been released by a team of researchers from Papua New Guinea’s National Research Institute and the Australian National University.

In 2002, NRI, in collaboration with the World Bank, surveyed 330 primary schools and health clinics in PNG from the national capital to the most remote districts.

In 2012, NRI, this time in collaboration with the Development Policy Centre at ANU, went back to many of the same primary schools and health clinics in the same eight provinces, this time surveying about 360 facilities.

The end-product is data of unprecedented detail in relation to service delivery in PNG.

Continue reading "How to make service delivery work in Papua New Guinea" »

Tribunal rejects government move to dismiss Ok Tedi case


A tribunal of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes has rejected an attempt by the O’Neill government to strike out PNG Sustainable Development’s case seeking restitution of the company’s 63.4% shareholding in the Ok Tedi mine.

The chairman of PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd, Sir Mekere Morauta, welcomed the tribunal’s decision to allow the case to proceed and to reject the government’s objections.

“This is very good news for the people of Western Province,” Sir Mekere said. “It means that the second of PNGSDP’s court battles to protect its investments is off to a strong start.

Continue reading "Tribunal rejects government move to dismiss Ok Tedi case" »

Attempted Juffa ousting is threat to nation says deputy PM


PAPUA New Guinea’s deputy prime minister Leo Dion has distanced the national government from Tuesday’s attempt by a group of Oro Province politicians to oust Governor Gary Juffa.

Mr Dion (pictured) condemned the attempted coup saying it would “set a very bad precedent and [was] a threat to the unity and security of the nation.”

He said that Mr Juffa was elected by the people of Oro to represent them for a full term and that he should be allowed to complete his full term as “their mandated and legitimate Governor.”

In parliament, Governor Juffa sits on the cross benches and is aligned with neither government nor opposition groups.

Mr Dion did not address the conspiracy underpinning the attempted removal from office of Mr Juffa nor the underlying tensions flowing from the Governor’s strong efforts to clean up corruption in his province

Continue reading "Attempted Juffa ousting is threat to nation says deputy PM" »

Delilah Gore’s leadership – from ray of hope to spent flame


WHEN Delilah Gore (pictured) walked into parliament that first day, women across Papua New Guinea stood still and were in tears.

She gave us, the women of Papua New Guinea, a feeling of freshness; a freshness to leadership that women’s groups observed was declining in this country.

She was our ray of hope.

But then Delilah Gore started to lose her shine.

Her leadership style was no different to the styles women had been critiquing and challenging. She thought and issued her statements like the men did.

Continue reading "Delilah Gore’s leadership – from ray of hope to spent flame" »

Kiaps need to get off the defensive & acknowledge their flaws


MY first posting as a Cadet Patrol Officer in Papua New Guinea was to Mount Hagen in the Western Highlands.

The District Commissioner at the time was the legendary Tom Ellis (pictured).  Ellis ruled his domain with an iron fist and brooked no dissension from anyone.

Apart from the kiaps and a miscellany of other public servants, at the time there was a society of European planters in the highlands.  As for the locals, they still got around in traditional dress, arse-grass, bare breasts and wigs.

Most of the kiaps and a lot of the public servants wore an unofficial uniform of khaki.  The whole place had the aura of an outpost of empire with the Raj firmly in place.

My superiors made me understand that highlanders were a fractious people who had to be administered with a firm hand.

Continue reading "Kiaps need to get off the defensive & acknowledge their flaws" »

Village life: The waging of warfare & the making of peace

The makeshift homeBOMAI D WITNE

WHENEVER Nembare, my father, came to visit, I would take time to ask questions about life at home and what he was doing.

Last weekend, when I caught up with two tribesmen, Steven Gari and Joe Kuman, for a few beers, I shared a story that Nembare told me.

After the Local Level Government Council election in 2008, inter-clan warfare broke out between the Pile and the Wamil-Nulaikia clans of the Yuri tribe.

Many houses were burned and gardens destroyed. Nembare had to relocate from Dekawi to Pildimna and make a makeshift home for his family.

His biggest dilemma was how to relocate two huge pigs he had raised. I smiled broadly while listening to the story of how he managed to get the pigs to his new home.

Nembare did not foresee the post-election warfare, so he had not make any gardens on the Pildimna site where he settled as the fighting raged.

Continue reading "Village life: The waging of warfare & the making of peace" »

I don’t mind

Jealousy-the dogGEORGE KUIAS

You fed me with scraps     -  I don’t mind
You are inside the house   -  I don’t mind
You locked me out             -  I don’t mind
You hit me                           -  I don’t mind
You swore at me                 -  I don’t mind
You are fast a slept             -  I don’t mind
You are happy                     -  I don’t mind
You are sad                          -  I don’t mind

I am chained                        -  I don’t mind
I am there at your back      -  I don’t mind
I am scolded at                    -  I don’t mind
I am instructed                    -  I don’t mind
I am mistreated                   -  I don’t mind
I am left hungry                  -  I don’t mind
I am your security              -  I don’t mind
I am Jealousy the dog          -  I don’t mind

Beware HIV lingers

Virus lingers (Philip Kaupa)PHILIP KAUPA

An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

My fellow citizens, beware.  Our little enemy, the HIV virus, is still around. We cannot defeat it if we are ignorant. It is human ignorance that makes HIV invincible. I have lost one relative and I know many of you have also.  It's painful. Take this piece as awareness - PK

Of its kind, so minute and almost non-living                                                                                                             
                                                  primary distinction science is giving                                                                         
                                                    Despair, desolate and peril are trace of its path                                                   
                                                         unto its acquaintance is dark death 

Continue reading "Beware HIV lingers" »

Was public money used to fund coup, Gov Juffa asks Minister Gore

The Arore convoyPNG EXPOSED | Edited extracts

ORO Governor Gary Juffa has demanded explanations from Community Development Minister Delilah Gore who he alleges used her official position to draw funds from the Department of Community Development to sponsor yesterday's political upheaval in Oro Province.

Governor Juffa was presented with copies of vouchers indicating that the Department of Community Affairs had paid for accommodation for four Oro local level government presidents who stayed at the Grand Papua Hotel for four nights at the expense of the Department.

The documents show that the Department paid over K17,000 to the hotel for the accommodation.

“The presidents for Kira, Afore, Tufi and Oro Bay were accommodated at the Grand Papua at the expense of the Department and PNG taxpayers, allegedly for political reasons,” Mr Juffa said.

Continue reading "Was public money used to fund coup, Gov Juffa asks Minister Gore" »

‘Warrior Governor’ Gary Juffa calls for calm as tensions rise in Oro

Gary Juffa with tribesmenKEITH JACKSON

WITH his position as the democratically elected governor of Oro Province under threat from politicians allied with illegal logging interests, Gary Juffa has asked people to remain calm.

“I am calling on his people not to take matters into their own hands and resort to violence during this tense period but to respect the law,” Governor Juffa said at a media conference.

Yesterday Ijivitari Open MP David Arore and seven local level government presidents passed a vote of no-confidence against Governor Juffa in an attempt to oust him.

Since he was elected in 2012, the governor has been active in his efforts to clean out corruption in the provincial public service and to remove illegal logging interests in Oro.

Continue reading "‘Warrior Governor’ Gary Juffa calls for calm as tensions rise in Oro" »

Momis renews attack on Jubilee report – ‘flawed & destructive’


BOUGAINVILLE president John Momis (pictured) has reiterated earlier criticism of Jubilee Australia’s report, Voices of Bougainville, calling statements by the NGO “misleading” and “condescending”.

In a wide-ranging reaction to public declarations made by Jubilee executives and an academic who oversaw the production of the report, Dr Momis said he was gravely concerned about misleading statements.

Reacting to Jubilee chairman Luke Fletcher’s assertion that it was “very unlikely” the report will be withdrawn”, Dr Momis said, “He made it quite clear that Jubilee had essentially pre-judged the issues involved.”

“Not only does Jubilee imply that it is breaking remarkable new ground by revealing opposition to mining,” Dr Momis went on to say, “ but there is also a strong implication that such [Panguna] voices have been excluded from debates on the subject. “There is absolutely no basis for such views….

Continue reading "Momis renews attack on Jubilee report – ‘flawed & destructive’" »

Maisin people fight against illegal land grab in Collingwood Bay

Collingwood BayLESTER SERI | PNG Exposed

MY people - the Maisin people - along with our neighbouring communities in Collingwood Bay have been fighting to protect our customary lands from illegal land grabs for logging and palm oil development for nearly three decades.

In 2002 we won a four year court battle against the government for illegally leasing our land for logging and palm oil projects without the consent of the customary landowners.

Yet, in 2012 this same land area was leased again to suspect middlemen landowner companies and ultimately sold to Malaysian palm oil company Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK).

When I and several other landowners heard that our lands had been leased without our consent again, we took our case to court once more.

Continue reading "Maisin people fight against illegal land grab in Collingwood Bay" »

My original mind, where are you?


An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

My original mind where are you?
I can only hear you in whispers.

In your inaudibility I have sought peace and harmony
in this defiled sanctuary that I am clothed with.

My original mind where are you?
In your invisibility I have looked away from God, my beloved father

And instead followed the shadows of ignorance
and emptiness cast upon my life by the joker.

Continue reading "My original mind, where are you?" »

Bougainville warlord threatens landowners over payment

Peter O'Neill, John Momis & Chris UmaCOLUMBUS KANANGKERU’AAVIROI *

CHRIS Uma, the self-styled General of the Meekamui Defence Force and self-professed raskol, is living up to his moniker by trying to extort a million kina from Siokate landowners of Arawa town who recently got a K3 million land lease payment.

According to insiders, the payment is part of arrears owed by the PNG government to landowners and dating back to the 1970s. It represents a 99 year lease for 375 acres of a customary land.

After years of protracted discussion with the national government, it was agreed that K3 million would initially be forwarded to landowners through the Arawa Loloho Poraka Resource Owners Association.

When National Planning Minister Charles Abel presented the cheque during a recent trip to Bougainville, Chris Uma (seen in the photo with Peter O'Neill and John Momis) made his demand known to Theresa Jaintong, chairwoman of the Association, who had been at the forefront of securing the funds.

Continue reading "Bougainville warlord threatens landowners over payment" »

Governor Gary Juffa slams removal attempt by logging interests

Gary Juffa


THE Governor of Papua New Guinea's Oro Province, Gary Juffa MP, has described as illegal an attempt by members of the Provincial Assembly to oust him.

Reports emerging from PNG late today signalled that members of the assembly tried to force a vote against Mr Juffa and replace him with MP David Arore.

It comes at a time when Governor Juffa has cracked down on illegal logging in the province and instigated new control measures on the expenditure of public funds.

Continue reading "Governor Gary Juffa slams removal attempt by logging interests" »

Jubilee rejects claims of bias & dishonesty in Panguna report


THE chair of the Sydney-based Jubilee Australia, Luke Fletcher, has rejected criticism by Bougainville President John Momis that a recent report by the organisation was biased and methodologically flawed.

The report, entitled Voices of Bougainville, was based on a survey of 65 people in the Panguna area of Bougainville who it said were universally against the resumption of mining in their area.

Mr Fletcher (pictured) said his organisation had undertaken a detailed review to address the concerns raised by Dr Momis.

In a letter obtained by PNG Attitude, Dr Momis called the report “factually inaccurate, biased, methodologically unsound and dishonest" in claiming that interviews with 65 selected individuals represented the voices of 300,000 Bougainvilleans.

Continue reading "Jubilee rejects claims of bias & dishonesty in Panguna report" »

The priesthood wasn’t for me, however it has guided my life

Bomai Witne & his familyBOMAI D WITNE

THE history of missionaries in Papua New Guinea can be traced to before even the early political and administrative colonisers.

They travelled the oceans, mountains, hills, gorges and gullies and later built roads and wharves to link hamlets, villages and towns.

Those Papua New Guineans who were among the first members of the House of Assembly and the early private and public sector employees were often the handwork of missionaries.

The missionaries have continued the journey and the work of those who came before. In whatever they do, they touch the lives of people in significant ways.

Continue reading "The priesthood wasn’t for me, however it has guided my life" »

Tales with mum


LOOKING through some of my memorabilia, I found some material I wrote long ago when I had pretensions to being a writer.

One item, a poem, was written after my mother’s death in 1983 soon after I graduated and began work.

I tried to capture my relationship with her, which always seemed unfair to me when all I wanted to do was play with my friends and she was always getting me to work.

However, late at night, we settled into some sort of camaraderie, when she told me tales of long ago.

I kept them in a scrapbook which was later retrieved and put on a computer and I thought this may be a good time to share.

Continue reading "Tales with mum" »

Sime Darby commits to employment & training in PNG


SIME Darby Plantation has said that Papua New Guinea communities will continue to benefit from employment opportunities if the company acquires a majority shareholding in New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL).

Managing Director of Sime Darby Plantation, Datuk Franki Anthony Dass, stated that using a local workforce is a key part of the company’s strategies.

Sime Darby Plantation is edging closer to acquiring NBPOL, which is Papua New Guinea’s largest private sector employer.

“Sime Darby Plantation ensures that local communities benefit from employment opportunities, be it on plantations or at supporting facilities such as mills, offices, plants and research centres,” Mr Dass said.

Continue reading "Sime Darby commits to employment & training in PNG" »

Kids have so much to offer: but not exploitation & petty crime


IT is common in Papua New Guinea to see kids and youths on the road filling potholes and demanding payment from the travelling public.

Anecdotal evidence show this practice first developed along the Highlands Highway when villagers began to hold up travellers for ransom.

This practice has now taken a new twist.

There are reports of villagers deliberately blocking roads by chopping down nearby trees. They then demand payment for removing them.

Most parts of PNG have contracted this infection, even Port Moresby.

I was astonished a week ago when youths from my street undertook a ‘pothole filling exercise’ and began to demand money from vehicles.

Continue reading "Kids have so much to offer: but not exploitation & petty crime" »

Creating the path for peace and harmony in PNG

Peace (Philip Kaupa)PHILIP G KAUPA

An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

Share the burden of a mother
Take her as a sister, a daughter
Love one as wife
And let polygamy reign no more
Humiliate lust, cage the rapist
Let no women face fear
Put on her happy face
And send violent hearts to exile
Let at ease a women’s heart
Hence cometh calm dwell

Let man bear the weights of harvest
When it’s expected of women
Build your wantoks house
And burn them no more
Let no hands blister
Quench a tongue that thirsts
Unite all and carry each shoulder
Pour harvest to each other
Let a cup of water say welcome
And the smiling local dishes gather all

Continue reading "Creating the path for peace and harmony in PNG" »

Assistance required to complete a history of the Simbu


PAPUA New Guinean writer Mathias Kin (pictured) has been doing fine work researching the history of the Simbu people, especially the impacts of the Australian colonial administration on that beguiling highlands province.

A recent article based on some of Mathias’s work, The sad story of Golen Keri massacre, led to a fascinating debate in PNG Attitude last month and he hopes that by the end of this year, his book on Simbu history will be close to publication.

Now Mathias was reluctant to allow me to write this, but he has a serious problem raising funds – he needs about K4,000 ($1,800) – to complete his research in the Chimbu Gorge and to the Kerowagi area.

He needs the money to employ students to assist gather material (mainly oral histories as I understand it) and so he can travel into those areas and also to the Melanesian Institute at Goroka for about a week to research its extensive library of books and documents.

Continue reading "Assistance required to complete a history of the Simbu" »

My love for Simbu gives peace

I love mountainous Simbu (Jimmy Awagl)JIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

I need to afford what I love
Since needs and wants are still out of love
That I will still pursue till I secure
Then I only immense within the pool of peace till
I find satisfaction with my love for peace

I love a crocodile with ugly features
But it is out of love that the ugly creature
Is subject to the desire of love
As the ugly crocodile walks towards me than
The love is subject to reality and I am at peace

Continue reading "My love for Simbu gives peace" »

Tertiary institution places susceptible to bribery & foul-play

Newspaper clipPNG MATHS BLOG

ACCORDING to Papua New Guinea Education Secretary, Dr Michael Tapo, precisely 21,430 students sat the Grade 12 national examinations this year.

But only 4,500 places are available across all higher learning institutions for the 2015 academic year.

This means that 80% of Grade 12 students will not be considered for entry to universities and colleges.

The English and Literature examination is compulsory for all students which means that all 21,430 should have sat the exam. But the real number was only 17,236. So who are the missing 4,194 students?

Continue reading "Tertiary institution places susceptible to bribery & foul-play" »

Identifying the causes of violence: avoiding extremism in PNG

Gang violence (Vlad Sokhin)FIDELIS SUKINA

An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

THE world is a place of diversity but one thing is for certain, we all have our own views and these can lead to struggles for their recognition, sometimes they’re violent.

Many fights for recognition go to the extreme and a lot of the people within Papua New Guinea suffer because of this.

Look at the conflicts on the television news each night: the bloodthirsty tactics of ISIS fighting for recognition and influence over other Islamic groups and seeking its own caliphate.

It’s hard to comprehend and impossible to excuse the methods they use.

Continue reading "Identifying the causes of violence: avoiding extremism in PNG" »

Kefamo helps Fr Franco celebrate 50 years of priesthood


SUNDAY 28 September was a day the parishioners at Saint Mary Help of Christians Parish, Kefamo, will not forget for a long time.

For this was the day they celebrated the life and journey of selfless SVD Catholic Priest, Father Franco Zocca.

Fr Franco told parishioners during his homily that he grew up in a family of prayer. His mum would pray to the Lord to make any of the members become a missionary.

At the time, Fr Franco did not know God would answer his mother’s prayer and lead him to become an SVD Priest and missionary.

But when he was just 11 years old, he began to engage in prayers and other activities that led him to realise God’s call for him.

Continue reading "Kefamo helps Fr Franco celebrate 50 years of priesthood" »

“Someone has to stop it”: PNG’s tragic witch-hunts

Stop violence against womenDANA MACLEAN | The Diplomat

IN the past decade in Papua New Guinea, hundreds of men, women and children have been accused of witchcraft or sorcery, and publicly tortured and murdered by vigilante mobs.

Endemic fears of black magic haunt Pacific Island communities, fuelling the violence.

“It is a public mob-mentality packed action. It is not just killing, but torturing, to try to get a confession out of them,” says Kate Scheutze, Amnesty International’s Pacific researcher.

In April 2014, six people – including two children – were murdered in Sasiko village in the Madang province on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea by marauding men from a neighbouring village.

Nearly one year earlier, a 20-year-old mother in Mount Hagen, in the Western Highlands, was burned to death after being accused of using sorcery against a 6-year-old boy who had died.

Continue reading "“Someone has to stop it”: PNG’s tragic witch-hunts" »

On dictating to the reader & accepting criticism for my writing sins

Leonard Fong Roka, October 2014LEONARD FONG ROKA

I feel that September’s 2014 Crocodile Prize writers’ seminar held at the National Library’s American Corner did some justice to me as a struggling Bougainvillean author.

And visiting Australian author Trevor Shearston ahsd some welcome words for me as a lone Bougainvillean voice.

“Your writing is unique, Leonard,” he said to me, “but you only need to do away with trying to dictate to your readers what they should see in your texts or stories.”

As a lone mushroom, I sprouted in Bougainville’s Arawa High School in 1997, encouraged by my New Guinean teacher William Mania and Kiwi ornithologist and author Don Hadden.

Continue reading "On dictating to the reader & accepting criticism for my writing sins" »

PNG economy: Is monetary policy on a very slippery slope?

Paul FlanaganPAUL FLANAGAN | DevPolicy Blog

ON 30 September, Papua New Guinea’s central bank (BPNG) released its six-monthly monetary policy statement. This was a mixture of good and bad news.

I mentioned in a blog a couple of weeks ago that possibly the only thing more boring in economics than exchange rates was monetary aggregates.

So this blog will go into these monetary aggregates but once again, there are some very important development issues tucked away among the technical details.

Indeed, there are some very worrying steps being taken that augur poorly for PNG’s international credibility and ultimately its future development.

Continue reading "PNG economy: Is monetary policy on a very slippery slope?" »

Is PNG culture relevant in modern diplomacy and foreign policy?


CULTURAL diplomacy may be an old-fashioned soft power tool in this modern era of diplomacy and globalisation.

Foreign policy seeks to maximise benefits and minimise costs to nations and it can achieve those benefits of it is if well-resourced.

However, funding remains a constraint even for the most economically powerful nations. And in Papua New Guinea we must make-do with what little we have. That is our challenge.

I read my former student Sioni Ruma’s analysis of Culture, National Interest and Identity in PNG Foreign Policy with some delight and would like to provide my views on the role and position of culture in modern-day diplomacy and foreign policy.

Continue reading "Is PNG culture relevant in modern diplomacy and foreign policy?" »

Beware the Papuan magani jumping syndrome - it sucks

What governments don't wantDAVID EPHRAIM

PAPUA New Guinea has a cultural problem which I’ll call the ‘Papuan Magani Jumping Syndrome’

From the prime minister himself to his ministers, advisors, bureaucrats, media, business, churches, lawyers, police and military. The people too.

People like to jump when there is cash dished out.

Bribery and exploitation of power, vested and mandated, is not new. Some of these old dogs working for O’Neill used to work for Somare. But under Somare many of them never benefited.

Within three years of O’Neill’s first term in office, you would be surprised at how many businesses have reached millions in government contracts.

Continue reading "Beware the Papuan magani jumping syndrome - it sucks" »

The beauty of the flowers for church is the beauty of Maria

Maria arranging her flowers in churchBOMAI D WITNE

MEMBERS of the Liklik Kristen Komuniti at Mary Help of Christian Parish-Kefamo come from many different provinces in PNG.

There are a lot of older people in their 40s and 50s from the Simbu Province who settled in the Gahuku and Mimanalo local level government areas a few decades ago.

A few are working class people who live and work in Goroka town and attend Sunday church service at Kefamo.

Each of the settlers has a story to tell of how they came to settle on the land they are occupying.

Last week, old John Gior told me he had problems with the son of a landowner who, under the influence of liquor, attempted to use force to remove him.

I found out from John that he made arrangement to settle on the land from the father of the drunkard but since then the man had passed away. The drunkard son did not accept any agreement between John and his late father.

Continue reading "The beauty of the flowers for church is the beauty of Maria" »

With peace they lived


An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

Tribes and hamlets were not populous
Everything was provided by Mother Nature Roasted bananas and pork tasted fabulous
Surplus was distributed amongst each other
In peace and harmony they lived

Land was plenty for hunting and gardening
The sea held all that the coast and islands needed
Fresh fish served with sago was tantalizing
The young look up to elders and that was respected
Life was peaceful and so they had lived

Continue reading "With peace they lived" »

Creeping normalcy & the need for some bastions of truth

The moral bastionPAULUS RIPA

CREEPING normalcy is a phenomenon described in various aspects of life as a slow change to which people adjust over time whereas, if the same change occurred suddenly, it would raise a hue and cry.

The common adage is the frog which, if placed in a bowl of hot water, jumps out, while if in cold water which is slowly heated, adjusts and fails to notice and eventually boils to death.

Jared Diamond expounded this concept of ‘creeping normalcy’ in his various books but particularly in Collapse whence some societies destroy themselves slowly over time, for example, the Easter Islanders who cut down all their trees.

In its almost 40 years of Independence, Papua New Guinea has seen this phenomenon of creeping normalcy in all walks of life, and it is my fear that our society is drifting down a slow pathway to self destruction. Let me provide you with a few examples.

Continue reading "Creeping normalcy & the need for some bastions of truth" »

She loved him to death

A young mother who is a victim of domestic violenceALTHEA MASI

It is a sad thing to see most of my Papua New Guinean sisters submit to domestic violence, a submission that often lead to their death. Most often they want to get out of the relationship but it’s fear and shame that keeps them loyal to a violent husband. I just hope that soon the government will make strong laws that encourage law and order and police intervention into family affairs, especially if there is evidence of domestic violence or child abuse - AM

He had her
Yet wanted more
He married her
Yet entertained his mistresses
But she still loved him

He slapped her
He punched her
He kicked her
He beats her up so bad
Like it don’t hurt
Yet she loved him

Continue reading "She loved him to death" »

Bloodshed & suffering: A chronicle of the Yuri people


By way of introduction, I am Joe Kuman, a primary school teacher and a volunteer working towards peace building and conflict resolution among the remote Yuri Alaiku tribe of the Gumine District in the Simbu Province. As a social worker, I've interviewed elderly citizens in the area and have collected a substantial amount of information regarding the history of the tribe, including cultural ceremonies and rituals, the entrance of the colonial masters and the Yuris’ contribution towards nation building.

YURI Alaiku is one of the major tribes in Digine Local Level Government. It is located south-west of Kundiawa, the provincial capital.

It is the third most populous tribe after the Yongomugl tribe of Sinasina and the Gena tribe of Kerowagi and inhabits the rugged topography of the Mounts Digine and Wikauma of the Kubor Range.

The tribal names Yuri means Spirit and Alaiku refers to the name of the great ancestor Alai from whom the tribe originates.

Continue reading "Bloodshed & suffering: A chronicle of the Yuri people" »

It’s a constant struggle but life goes on in Banana Block

In the Banana Block settlement, GorokaROSA KOIAN

GOROKA is always refreshing and, despite the deteriorating state of infrastructure, the warmth from these people reassures us that there is more to life.

A couple of months back I had the opportunity to visit the famous Banana Block. It is not a place many city dwellers would like to visit.

Yet this visit was a timely reminder of how modern developments in Port Moresby’s rush for growth are leaving behind the people that matter.

As I took a kaukau from a mama’s barbecue plate with my friend Awayang Namorong, I looked back at the track we had struggled along that morning.

It had been raining for a week and down here in the ankle-deep mud we were alongside teapots, barbecue plates and dishes over small fires with kaukau, sausages and lamp flaps cooking.

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From the Kundiawa News 50 years ago today

KN cartoon 23 October 1964COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

Issue No 21 of the Kundiawa News ran to 18 pages including five pages of advertisements and circulation had increased to about 150. There were 14 voluntary staff members, including three Papua New Guinean school teachers who were producing a Pidgin edition, Simbu Nius, whose first issue of 60 copies had sold out within minutes.


Well known Highlands identity, Mr H (Blue) Russell, was hit by a flying projectile in a Kundiawa flat two weeks ago. A beer bottle was thrown at him. Mr Russell, who was visiting Kundiawa on Council business, indiscriminately referred to Australian Labor Party leader, Mr A Calwell, as a “mug”.

The term upset an avoid ALP supporter who let loose a South pacific brewery bottle at the floor. Mr Russell was between the floor and the supporter. The bottle struck him a glancing blow on the forehead. The empty bottle did not break but Mr Russell’s head did. With a faint gurgle, he rose to his feet and pitched face down on the floor.

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Governor Gary Juffa hits back at corrupt logging interests

Gary-juffaGARY JUFFA

I was bemused and intrigued by a recent press release of seven Oro local level government presidents and Ijivitari Open member David Arore proclaiming a vote of no confidence in me.

I am glad. It gives me an opportunity to say what has been happening and what I have been doing.

It also gives me an opportunity to gauge my people’s views and see where they stand. Whether they want change for the better or whether they want to continue to slip into the abyss of miserable anarchy and deteriorate as a people.

Already the support is mounting and overwhelming. Tribesmen from all parts of Oro mobilised with the intent of demonstrating their outrage with violence. I stopped them all.

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Reminiscences of a long association with Papua New Guinea

Michael Somare & Gough Whitlam 1975GOUGH WHITLAM

MY first visit to Papua New Guinea was late in World War II on my way back to the Philippines, where I was navigator of the only Empire [flying boat] aircraft attached to [General Douglas] MacArthur’s headquarters.

I frequently saw the pioneer Mick Leahy, who was working for the American forces. I did not always share Mick’s views but I learned much from him.

In April 1965 my wife and I attended a seminar in Goroka. Nugget Coombs supported the assumption of some responsibility for the allocation of budget funds by elected members of the House of Assembly.

I declared, “The rest of the world will think it anomalous if PNG is not independent by 1970.” CE Barnes, Minister for Territories, opposed my view.

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Arrests follow discovery of Australia-PNG drugs & firearms racket

Handguns & rifles seized by AFPAUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE

THE Australian Federal Police and other agencies have dismantled an organised crime syndicate allegedly importing large amounts of drugs into Australia and attempting to export firearms to Papua New Guinea.

Eight people have been charged with various offences and 10 litres of P2P has been seized, a precursor substance used to manufacture amphetamine-type drugs, such as 'ice'.

Police estimate the P2P seizure was capable of producing approximately 9.8 kilograms of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of $2.5 million.

The joint operation began in May when the AFP targeted smuggling networks operating out of Daru.

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Gough Whitlam dies at 98 – he brought independence to PNG


GOUGH Whitlam died this morning at the grand age of 98 and I am filled with sadness.

I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Gough on a number of occasions.

He had sharp recall of his work to bring independence to Papua New Guinea and the personalities involved, and he retained a continuing interest in its affairs.

Gough was Australian prime minister between 1972 and 1975 before being dismissed from office in controversial circumstances that resonate to this day.

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Better governance needed to avoid more buai trade deaths

The harrowing photo that led to  public outrageBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

LAST week in Port Moresby a life lost because of a blatant disregard for basic human rights by the city authority.

A grandmother from Goilala, a betel nut (buai) vendor, was run over by an oncoming vehicle as she was attempting to cross the road to avoid the clutches of City rangers dressed in police uniforms.

A careful reading of this story painted a horrifying picture. An accompanying photo showing a grief-stricken young boy trying to assist the dead woman was heart-breaking.

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Student mayhem: Future leaders are running out of control


An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

VIOLENCE runs rampant in Papua New Guinea and we seem unable to stop its spread.

One recent incident concerned so-called cult practices and school fights among the younger generation.

On Monday two weeks ago, I saw a headline in The National newspaper about six school students from Gerehu Secondary and one from Port Moresby Grammar - being drunk and disorderly at 5-Mile next to the National Broadcasting Corporation.

The report stated that five of them were female Grade 9 students.

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On a sick bed I shine & bring patients some joy

Willie Kupo - 4 years old, ill with osteomyelitis & entertaining the sickJIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

This is a poem in honour of Willie Kupo, a four-year old kid diagnosed with osteomyelitis and in the isolation ward at Kundiawa Hospital. I saw how enthusiastic he is, so dedicated this poem to him

I am diagnosed with osteomyelitis
A bone inflammation on my left leg
Clasps with iron pins run into my marrow
I am four years old and come from Nend village
Hospitalised for nine months at Kundiawa General

I occupy isolation ward bed number twenty three
On my left in bed twenty two is Francis Nii
And on my right is John Kupe in twenty four
I have become their companion in here
Despite being young with bone ulcer and agony

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Francis Potape’s colourful & controversial career interrupted


FRANCIS Potape MP, sometime PNG Petroleum and Energy Minister, probably should have used his Master degree in engineering to do something really useful – like maintaining roads and bridges.

Late last week, the national court found Mr Potape and others guilty of conspiracy and misappropriating K330,000 of taxpayers’ money.

“One more ITFS case led to conviction today,” wrote Investigative Task Force Sweep chairman, Sam Koim, on Facebook.

The offences occurred in 2010 when the Komo-Margarima Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee passed a resolution to pay itself what it claimed to be outstanding allowances.

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