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92 posts from March 2016

Sir Mek tells people they must act to save PNG democracy


I URGE Papua New Guineans to speak out on the importance of protecting institutions of state from improper influence, intimidation and harassment and financial and procedural abuse.

We have a small band of leaders so terrified of the consequences of their actions that they will do anything to save themselves.

No institution is safe from meddling, no officeholder is safe from harassment and intimidation, no process is safe from manipulation and perversion, no funds are safe from abuse, misappropriation and misapplication.

At times like these it is essential that institutions continue to act in the interest of the nation and the people, not the interest of any individual or interest group.

I know that the task of defending the institutions is not easy and straightforward, but allowing the destroyers to triumph through people's inaction is regrettable.

Continue reading "Sir Mek tells people they must act to save PNG democracy" »

Land grabs, illegal logging & seabed mining on Geneva agenda

Eddie TanagoEDDIE TANAGO | Campaign Coordinator, Act Now!

GENEVA - THE Papua New Guinea government’s human rights record and its failure to protect the interests of customary landowners is under the spotlight in Switzerland this week.

Community advocacy group Act Now! is in Geneva briefing United Nations diplomats on the SABL land grab, illegal logging and experimental seabed mining.

The PNG government must appear before the United Nations Human Rights Council in May as part of a process called a Universal Periodic Review.

The United Nations will be looking at our government’s human rights record so we are here in Geneva to make sure the international community is fully briefed on issues affecting people in PNG and particularly customary landowners.

Continue reading "Land grabs, illegal logging & seabed mining on Geneva agenda" »

National broadcaster said to be headed for collapse

NBC Radio East Sepik LogoKEITH JACKSON

PAPUA New Guinea’s national broadcaster – which has continued to struggle for stability and effectiveness despite being a significant recipient of aid and assistance for the past 40 years – is reported to be on the verge of collapse.

According to PNG Blogs the writing has been on the wall for the National Broadcasting Corporation for some time but it has worsened since the end of the tenure of previous managing director Memafu Kapera.

Referring to the NBC as “the most abused and politicised of all the government entities”, PNG Blogs says the latest crisis was triggered by the chairman and acting managing director attempting to remove members of the current executive management despite them having valid employment contracts.

Continue reading "National broadcaster said to be headed for collapse" »

Drug-resistant tuberculosis at crisis levels in PNG

Daru waterfrontGEORGIA ECCLES | The Diplomat | Extracts

WITH one of the highest tuberculosis (TB) infection rates in the world, Papua New Guinea’s TB pandemic is referred to by national health authorities as a “national emergency.”

About 30,000 people are newly infected with TB every year and there are increasing incidences of drug-resistant strains and limited access to adequate healthcare.

TB is a communicable, airborne infection that can lie dormant within the body for many years. For people with compromised immunity, TB develops into a disease that destroys organ tissue – most commonly in the lungs. It can be fatal if left untreated.

Continue reading "Drug-resistant tuberculosis at crisis levels in PNG" »

More of the buzz from a fly on the wall….

Fly-on-the-wallPAUL OATES

AN open window beckoned and the smell of something fishy attracted the profound attention of our mythical fly.

A convenient spot on an office wall provided a good resting place, disturbed only by the heated telephone call taking place at a desk below.

“I don’t care what you say,” yelled a big man behind a large desk. “The price is a million up front, deposited in an overseas bank account of my choosing or you can get lost!”

The telephone was slammed down, sending reverberations around the office and causing our fly who took the opportunity to change walls.

The door of the office opened and another human entered. “That bloke, wanting to cheat us out of our money!” spluttered the big man to the newcomer.

Continue reading "More of the buzz from a fly on the wall…." »

My Story: A half century of service among the fine people of PNG


I WAS born on 28 January 1946 in Ballinahown near Fermoy town in County Cork, Ireland; the third born son of Garrett Roche and Margaret O’Toole. I was named Garrett after my father.

I attended Grange National Primary School, a two-teacher country school, from 1951 to 1958. Between 1958 and 1963 I attended the secondary school run by the Christian Brothers in Fermoy town.

After completing the Leaving Certificate examination in 1963 I worked as a laboratory assistant at the nearby Agricultural Research Institute at Moore Park.  However, in September of that year I left and joined the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) at Donamon, Roscommon, Ireland.

Continue reading "My Story: A half century of service among the fine people of PNG" »

Ah, my UPNG alma mater, whatever did your alumni do for you?

UPNG graduation ceremonyMICHAEL DOM

GRADUATING from the University of Papua New Guinea was one of the proudest achievements in my life; my own pride outmatched only by my mother’s.

It was a great feeling to read that diploma – “By authority of the Council, Michael Dom, having fulfilled all the requirements and conditions prescribed by the By-Laws of the university has been admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Science”.

But it was the next few words which had my mind reeling, “and to all its privileges”. Affixed with a golden star – the Common Seal. Magical!

Continue reading "Ah, my UPNG alma mater, whatever did your alumni do for you?" »

Call it intuition, call it awareness


Every time, an insistent twitch
On the upper eye lid
A family intuition of old
“I am expecting someone or something.”
And true to my words
I have a message, or I meet someone

Every evening, after I take a swim
I call out my spirit self
He might still be wandering around
“Come now, let us go!”
You can say, my guardian angel

To writers and poets: don’t be a rebel without a cause

O Arise! by Michael DomMICHAEL DOM

MOST readers may consider me a strong critic of Papua New Guinean politics and politicians. My recent poetry collection, O Arise!, was a testament to that tendency.

Clearly I have little faith in our current crop of political leaders, with few exceptions. I am in a sense a rebel. But I have a cause. My cause is society.

Politics and society affect each other intimately. We can ignore politics, but politics does not ignore us.

Politics, and the facilitating public service mechanism, should serve one purpose alone: the welfare of the state and the betterment of its people – the fostering and maintenance of a successful society.

That this is not happening, as many of us agree, is simply not good enough.

Continue reading "To writers and poets: don’t be a rebel without a cause" »

On ageing

Nurses at Kapuna Hospital, Gulf Province, c 1970CHRIS OVERLAND

IN THE very near future I will celebrate my 65th birthday and, in doing so, join the ranks of those who are deemed to have officially entered old age.

Surviving 65 years on this planet is, historically speaking, an unusual event. Humans have, until very recently, tended to have a life that English Philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679) described as solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Ironically, Hobbes lived for 91 years in reasonable comfort and good health, a stupendous achievement for his era.

Even in the 19th century achieving 65 years of age was so improbable that German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck (1815 - 1898) felt able to offer a state pension to those few citizens who made the distance. The wily Otto had been assured by actuaries that only 3% or so of the population would actually survive long enough to claim the pension, so the anxious Treasury could be reassured that the financial cost would not be very great.

Continue reading "On ageing" »

Essential junk: things that I haven’t thrown away


WHEN I left England with my family in early 1956 there were deep snowdrifts along the roads. We travelled in a small, overloaded Morris Minor that sometimes doubled as the village taxi. My Uncle Peter, who had been living with us, followed on his motorbike.

On the station at Ipswich while waiting for the train to London and then Southampton where the SS New Australia waited to take us to Australia my uncle gave us a parting gift each. For my sister there was a doll and for me there was a beautiful Joseph Rodgers penknife.

We never saw Peter again and it was fifty years before I reclaimed the penknife, which had somehow slipped into my father’s pocket. My sister came across it when she was sorting through my parent’s stuff after they had died. Remarkably she remembered it and gave it back to me.

Continue reading "Essential junk: things that I haven’t thrown away" »

A Kiap’s Chronicle: 6 – Goilala


MY superior officer Malcolm Wright was promoted in 1951 and transferred from Kairuku Sub-District to Bougainville as District Commissioner.

Clarry (C. T.) Healy, Mick (M. J.) Healy’s elder brother, was coming to replace him.

Clarry was 45 and had the same small frame as Mick. They both had become Patrol Officers in the 1920s, but there the similarities ended. Mick dressed in stiff long whites; Clarry wore khaki. Mick was the epitome of respectability; Clarry was bit of a larrikin.

A few months earlier, as Gulf Division District Officer, Clarry had transgressed. He had given alcohol to a native,an illegal act, and had been demoted a rank to Assistant District Officer.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 6 – Goilala" »

My Story: A lucky life with a good journey still ahead

Kamasua_John Kaupa22 - JOHN K KAMASUA

I CAN best tell my story by presenting it in sketches. Not that it is a glamorous or significant story, it’s been ordinary; yet, to me, quite spectacular!

My parents were illiterate and were unable to write any of my story, or even have photos of my early life. Now, of course, I do have photos of school, college, and university life.

The life I have now today really when I started school. But I had an earlier life which I can only recollect in patches.

My mother tells me I had a pretty typical childhood. I was born in the former Kundiawa General Hospital and a day later spent the night in Sikewake, near there.

Mother tells me I cried all night and nothing they did could make me go back to sleep. They thought I was going to die that night. And so I was introduced to life on planet earth.

Continue reading "My Story: A lucky life with a good journey still ahead" »

PNG’s mental health woes as Laloki struggles to make ends meet


IN EVERY Papua New Guinean town, you will find people who are mentally affected roaming the streets day in and day out.

They seem to have no families or relatives or carers. They eat whatever’s been left in trash bins. There is no formal data collection system for mental disorders in PNG.

According to a 2004 world mental health survey, 13% of a country's adult population will experience a mental disorder over their lifetime; for three percent of people it will be serious.

Continue reading "PNG’s mental health woes as Laloki struggles to make ends meet" »

Ingrid a winner in Noosa; and PNG friends join the celebration

Ingrid in action at an election forumKEITH JACKSON

INGRID Jackson’s victory in the Noosa Council election, which was revealed as vote counting neared its end on Thursday, has been well received by the PNG Attitude diaspora.

Ingrid and I were both overwhelmed by the huge social media response to the announcement that she had been elected for a four-year term as one of just six Noosa councillors.

Ingrid's victory Facebook post has reached over 1,500 people at last count and Ingrid has received countless wonderful congratulatory comments and good wishes from Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Ingrid a winner in Noosa; and PNG friends join the celebration" »

Did Whitlam & Somare disenfranchise millions of PNGns?


HAVING studied history for the last 55 years or so, I have learned the wisdom of Oscar Wilde's famous aphorism that "the truth is seldom pure and never simple".

This is manifestly the case when it comes to Australia's relationship with Papua New Guinea.

I entirely agree with Ted Wolfer's central proposition that Australians were and remain woefully ignorant about Papua New Guinea.

As a young ex-kiap returning to Australia in 1974, I remember all too well that my experiences in PNG were regarded as being largely about police work. The true scope of the kiap's job was not understood, perhaps because there was no direct equivalent within the Australian workforce.

Continue reading "Did Whitlam & Somare disenfranchise millions of PNGns?" »

Just imagine: Our fly on the wall reports from a mythical place


IMAGINATION can be dangerous.

When Galileo used his early telescope to study the heavens, he resolved something that many people in the Chinese and Arabic worlds already knew. That the earth and planets revolved around the sun.

However Galileo was taken to court by the church over his ridiculous and heretical notion that the earth revolved around the sun.

The Church’s accepted teaching was that the heavens were like the inside of a giant box (as represented in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel) and that God’s earth was the centre of the universe.

An intelligent man, Galileo had the good sense to publicly accept the ruling of the Church But, as he recanted and thereby saved his life, he was heard to mutter of the heavenly bodies, “They still do move”.

But I digress.

Continue reading "Just imagine: Our fly on the wall reports from a mythical place" »

Seeking asylum in my own country: thank you & farewell

Michael Dom, PoetMICHAEL DOM

RECENTLY I have been reminded by someone in my close circle that I am not ‘schooled in Melanesian ways’ because I lack ‘a village upbringing’.

I was reminded that I am not grounded in the various customs and traditions, etc. I have not passed thru ‘the ‘rites of passage’, of how to behave and live life as a tru-tru Melanesian, by birth and nurturing within a traditional Papua New Guinean extended family.

This is true on all counts. And what I write now is not an attack on my fellow human responsible for this particular insult. And don’t anybody start doubting your friendship with me, because this is rant is in general.

I was not raised in a village, I was raised in Port Moresby city – to be precise, I was raised on Third and Fourth Street and at Fort Banner Estate, University of Papua New Guinea, Waigani Campus, National Capital District.

That was my village and I knew and loved every bit of it, on most days.

Continue reading "Seeking asylum in my own country: thank you & farewell" »

Conflicts & problems trouble the Bougainville Administration

Leonard Fong Roka (Palipal)LEONARD FONG ROKA

I JOINED the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) as a Research Officer in November 2014 when Chris Siriosi, my boss, was acting Chief Secretary.

I was on a short term contract which expired in June 2015.

According to many public servants, Chris Siriosi was restoring the office after the previous leadership’s disorder and dereliction. He struggled to restore order.

I believed the responsibilities I was given were about maintaining order, restoring the ABG’s credibility as well as achieving important goals under the Bougainville Peace Agreement and which reflected the aspirations of the people.

This the Chief Secretary’s Office was doing. ABG, PNG government and NGO officials praised the Office and its leadership.

“There is order now under Chris Siriosi,” the manager of the Internal Revenue Commission’s Buka Office told me.

“Under previous chief secretaries we did not know what the ABG was doing and we were in isolation. But now Chris has aligned us and we are working together, having meetings regularly to inform each other of our achievements and so on.”

The National Labour Office in Buka told me: “With Chris Siriosi we are doing well and we will deliver better services collectively.”

Continue reading "Conflicts & problems trouble the Bougainville Administration" »

Australia-PNG relations: Decades of missed opportunities

BadgesTED WOLFERS | The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

LAST year Papua New Guinea’s High Commissioner to Australia, Charles Lepani - who was one of the first Papua New Guinean heads of a government department at independence - observed in Reflections: 39 years of Sovereign Statehood in Papua New Guinea that, despite the two countries’ closeness and successive leaders “tireless efforts…to build our relations....

"Australia remains substantially ignorant of Papua New Guinea. You cannot dig any deeper than the ongoing Manus issue to see the vitriol and vilification borne out of ignorance by Australians of Papua New Guineans and our country."

As Sean Dorney makes clear in The Embarrassed Colonialist, the situation remains much the same a year later: Australians are mostly ignorant and indifferent in regard to Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Australia-PNG relations: Decades of missed opportunities" »

I’m disgusted as MPs laugh at PNG health cuts

ProfileGARY JUFFA | PNG Exposed

YESTERDAY I watched in absolute disgust as members of parliament giggled and laughed as the Minister for Health made light humour of the government slashing funding by K50 million for Church run health facilities.

I had sought an explanation about the cut to our health services by the government and asked the Minister to explain exactly by how much the budget would be reduced and what programs would be cut.

Minister Malabag confirmed that the government had cut K50 million from the wages component of church-run programs.

But the most remote areas in PNG where most of our people live are serviced only by the churches.

Continue reading "I’m disgusted as MPs laugh at PNG health cuts" »

Cuts will affect health services says Catholic church


HEALTH services in Papua New Guinea run by the Catholic Church face a major shake up after cuts in their funding from the government.

Catholic Health Services provides up to a third of PNG's medical services through more than 200 sites around the country - many in remote areas of the Highlands.

It relies on government funding but the O'Neill administration has cut this back, and this will mean staff layoffs and others leaving because salaries will be lower.

The director of Catholic Health Services, Justine McMahon (pictured), said the government has reduced its support to the level paid in 2014 and for some staff this will mean 40% pay cuts.

She said they will lose staff. "Staff will have to be put off but other staff will leave because they will not put up with that level of cut."

No turning back, the Croc is in PNG to stay


THERE is no turning back. The Croc is going to live in Papua New Guinea and that’s that.

For its six-year life, the Crocodile Prize has been an evolving and moveable feast. Not quite making it up as it went along but close.

There was a reason for this approach to instigating PNG’s national literary awards. On the one hand, there was no way of knowing what would work and what would not work – new ground was being broken.

On the other hand, the target group included a capricious mob which was very difficult to fathom. While enthusiastically endorsing the initiative, many people made the right noises but failed to deliver the goods.

Continue reading "No turning back, the Croc is in PNG to stay" »

Defiant churches are challenging Australia's refugee policy

Rev Mark DunnJOHN POWER | Christian Science Monitor

IN A recent sermon, Rev Mark Dunn (pictured) asked his congregation to recall the prodigal son as they considered the plight of 267 asylum seekers facing deportation.

Australians, he said, should emulate the father in the parable and embrace the refugees, whom the government has vowed to return to two controversial offshore detention facilities after arriving in the country for medical care.

Rev Dunn has offered to house the asylum seekers – who are originally from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, and Bangladesh – should immigration authorities try to deport them. It's a bold move that could put him at risk of jail time for harbouring unlawful residents.

Continue reading "Defiant churches are challenging Australia's refugee policy" »

Wiping our arses on PNG's history

Memorial_to_Rupert_Roelef_Haviland,_Kassam_PassMICHAEL DOM

TODAY the guns that once guarded the skies over Lae town stand neglected, blotched with rust, mould and buai spit.

The gun track and mount are now used by the occasional longlong or passer-by for a quick standing piss.

The ANGAU base is a decrepit old hospital swamped by the diseased, the dying and the dead.

The vast empty stretch of land beside ANGAU - the former airport that could have been used to rebuild a modern day hospital fit for an LNG producing country - is disputed or parceled out to unscrupulous Chinese businessmen.

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea ships natural gas worth billions of dollars directly to Japan.

In 1937, just before the breakout of World War II, renowned woman aviator Amelia Earhart launched her Lockheed Electra L-10E from Lae and disappeared into aviation history, myth and legend.

Continue reading "Wiping our arses on PNG's history" »

Sir Julius Chan's take on a life in PNG politics

Playing the GameBILL STANDISH

THE Rt Hon Sir Julius Chan MP was Papua New Guinea’s prime minister from 1980-82 and 1994-97. He is the first PNG politician to have written a memoir, Playing the Game, since Michael Somare’s Sana, published in 1975.

After giving us his family and village childhood memories of the colonial era and those of his enjoyable secondary schooling in Australia, Chan’s book changes gear.

This is the first book covering politics from his first election in 1968 to his current position as Governor of New Ireland Province. It is very much his story, not claiming objectivity or comprehensiveness.

Chan thanks his ‘writer and editor’, journalist Lucy Palmer, and the book reads easily, rather like the spoken word. This book joins the current project of writing personal histories as a part of nation building, and is in fact the only book covering PNG’s last 48 years.

Continue reading "Sir Julius Chan's take on a life in PNG politics" »

PNG has world's worst access to clean water

The water supplyCARLA KWEIFIO-OKAI | The Guardian | Extract

PAPUA New Guinea, where 60% of the population live without a safe water supply, has the poorest access to clean water in the world, according to a study released to mark World Water Day.

A report on the state of the world’s water showed Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Chad and Mozambique joining PNG in the bottom five of a table ranking countries according to the percentage of households with access to clean water.

Globally, 650 million people are living without an “improved” source of drinking water, which includes public taps, protected wells, rainwater or water piped into households.

Continue reading "PNG has world's worst access to clean water" »

Missionaries weren’t misfits, but then again….

Melanesian womanMICHAEL DOM

MORE often than not the saving grace that missionaries offered to Papua New Guinea’s tribes was balanced by cultural destruction, sequestered land, diminution of sustainable lifestyles and, to some degree, retarded capacity to think and make decisions.

I have a theory that one origin of women's disempowerment worldwide is religious teaching, and probably the notion of religion itself.

No matter how innocuous or enlightened religious teaching may be, its foundational precepts seem flawed where women are concerned.

Continue reading "Missionaries weren’t misfits, but then again…." »

Dame Carol Kidu sues over film-makers ‘cinematic liberties’

Dame Carol Kidu (Kian-Yan Law)STEPHEN FITZPATRICK | The Australian

IT sounds like a classic tale: rapacious developers, a Third World shanty town razed to make way for a hotel, and the local MP who stands up for her adopted countrymen and women one last time to fight for their heritage.

Except none of it is true, according to the Australian-born doyenne of Papua New Guinea’s parliament, Carol Kidu, who is suing a Sydney film house she says seriously misrepresented her role in a Port Moresby property stoush.

Worse, she says, the filmmakers secured her involvement in their documentary, as well as Australian government funding for it, under false pretences.

Continue reading "Dame Carol Kidu sues over film-makers ‘cinematic liberties’" »

A master of lost causes

Beautiful universePHIL FITZPATRICK

IN the immense timescale that is the history of the Universe, the evolution and demise of the human race will probably not even register as a blip on the horizon.

Our petty little planet will one day burn up and blow away as so much cosmic dust.

Yet, in our ignorance, we persevere. We fight silly wars and we plunder our home in the mistaken belief that what we are doing is somehow significant.

Some of us take on what we think are noble causes in the hope that we might make a difference. But even in our own little worlds we know this will never happen. Life will blunder on into ultimate oblivion and our causes will be lost without trace.

Continue reading "A master of lost causes" »

It’s a thriller! First book is a case study in great writing

The Master Marksman CoverPHIL FITZPATRICK

The Master Marksman by James Smith, Pukpuk Publications, 2016. 322 pages. ISBN: 978-1523450282. US$14 plus postage from Amazon or AU$24.95 plus postage from the author at

PUKPUK Publications was originally established to produce the annual Crocodile Prize anthologies but branched out to publish books by both Papua New Guinean and Australian writers.

In doing so it utilised new print-on-demand technologies provided, in our case, by Amazon’s Createspace facility.

Pukpuk Publications now has over 30 titles on its book list, most of which have been written by Papua New Guinean authors.

Until recently all the titles had Papua New Guinean themes. But from time to time manuscripts of a more general nature have been submitted for consideration. Previously, I referred them to other publishers.

Continue reading "It’s a thriller! First book is a case study in great writing" »

Anzac, Melanesia and defining ourselves as a people

Anzac 1965JOE HERMAN

TRY asking a school child in Papua New Guinea about Anzac Day and what it stands for. Chances are they won’t know. Should they?

Years ago, every 25 April - Anzac Day - we schoolchildren and our teachers marched to the government station to remember the fallen soldiers.

It was a serious occasion, with the local kiap officiating. Also participating in the parade were government employees and singsing groups.

Each year for four years, I carried the wreath of flowers on behalf of my school and placed them at the foot of the flagpole after a lone policeman had blown Reveille on the bugle.

During the ceremony, the kiap explained at great length the meaning of Anzac. The war had never come to Enga so the historical context needed to be framed for us.

Continue reading "Anzac, Melanesia and defining ourselves as a people" »

Limitless. To the sky and beyond

Brownwein KasitoSTACEY TARURA

An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

MALE dominated industries are slowly being nudged towards equality as women break barriers and set standards like never before.

Although their numbers may seem small in some occupations, women are steadily projecting their accomplishments everywhere.

One such person is Brownwein Kasito, who seemed unaware of the sound waves of her achievement as she went about her work at the Air Niugini hangar at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby.

This beautiful woman from Sirumpa Fayantina village in the Henganofi district of the Eastern Highlands had just become the second woman in the aircraft maintenance division to be licensed as an aircraft maintenance engineer.

Continue reading "Limitless. To the sky and beyond" »

It’s very hard to win an election

Ingrid in action at an election forumKEITH JACKSON

IT’S been a rare day that has gone by these past 10 years without an article or a poem or a commentary or a rant in this space.

But here at Attitude Central in Noosa Queensland, we’re feeling a little shagged out after a three-month election campaign which culminated yesterday in the ballot for a new Noosa Council.

So this single contribution may have to suffice for today.

You might have gathered that my wife Ingrid (pictured at a campaign rally) was standing for one of six councillor positions and, as of this moment, we await a decision in this contest.

Continue reading "It’s very hard to win an election" »

The Bougainville Crisis and the Sandline mercenaries

Sir Julius Chan (Torsten Blackwood, AFP)STACEY N TARURA

An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

THE Bougainville Crisis was the biggest conflict fought on the soil of Papua New Guinea since World War II.

It came about as a result of landowner grievances over unequal distribution of wealth and large amount of environmental damage caused by the mining giant, Rio Tinto.

As a result of relentless rebel activities on Bougainville, the PNG government under Sir Julius Chan resorted to hiring Sandline mercenaries of the Executive Outcome company, the latter being a sub-contractor of Sandline International.

Continue reading "The Bougainville Crisis and the Sandline mercenaries" »

Chan has no regrets over handling of Sandline affair

Playing the GameJEMIMA GARRETT & ADAM CONNORS | Pacific Beat | ABC | Extract

PAPUA New Guinea's former prime minister Sir Julius Chan says that if he had been allowed to continue with the infamous Sandline operation to put down the Bougainville civil war in 1997, he would have been able to bring the island under control.

In his newly released autobiography, Sir Julius has revealed details about his harsh words with then prime minister John Howard over the hiring of Sandline mercenaries, and how he blamed the Australian media for inflaming opinion in PNG.

"I attended a private lunch with prime minister John Howard at Kirribilli House in Sydney shortly after the engagement of Sandline was revealed," wrote Sir Julius in the book, Playing the Game: Life and Politics in PNG.

"His attitude was 'Just get rid of these people. They should not be there.' He did not give me any reason for it.

Continue reading "Chan has no regrets over handling of Sandline affair" »



An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

We gather what’s left of our past and look
West toward tomorrow on silver fields,
Hoping to re-find what we twice forsook.

We fill our baskets and billums with yields
From farmlands that lie in regions far-flung,
While we trample down ol hausman to build

White houses where we listen to strange tongues,
And scribble our ignorance on white sheets,
And speak like strings of tuneless guitars strung

Continue reading "Paradeigmania" »

Balus i kam: The joys & hazards of PNG aviation

Cessna 206 landing at Afore Patrol Post, c 1972CHRIS OVERLAND

DEPENDING upon whom you choose to believe, the first flight by a powered aircraft in Australia took place either in Sydney during 1909 or in Melbourne on 18 March 1910, when the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini, deftly flew his French made Voisin biplane around the appropriately named Digger's Rest.

At the time, flying was regarded largely as a novelty because almost no-one could foresee just how the flimsy, unstable and often lethally dangerous aircraft of that era could be used for any commercial purpose.

Dangerous and impracticable as it seemed, aviation progressed rapidly, especially during the First World War, which saw huge advances in the speed, power and endurance of aircraft.

Continue reading "Balus i kam: The joys & hazards of PNG aviation" »

Is secret loan a last resort to prop a failing economy?


THE foreign banking system is bringing more bad news for Papua New Guineans suffering under the corruption, waste and reckless financial and economic management of the O’Neill Regime.

The International Monetary Fund, an arm of the World Bank, is lending almost K1 billion so commercial banks – BSP plus the two main foreign-owned banks ANZ and Westpac – can prop up the bankrupt government of Peter O’Neill.

The fact that the IMF is a lender of last resort to failed economies illustrates exactly how bad the nation’s economic and financial problems are.

Continue reading "Is secret loan a last resort to prop a failing economy?" »

Signs of cracks in PNG’s coalition government


PAPUA New Guinea's deputy opposition leader Sam Basil says the wheels are starting to come off the Peter O'Neill-led coalition government.

Mr Basil said his Pangu Pati has agreed to team up for next year's elections with a leading party in the government, the People's Progress Party, led by the influential minister for petroleum and energy, Ben Micah.

The ruling People's National Congress party lured a number of MPs to its ranks this term, but lobbying to remove the prime minister recently intensified since the grace period for a motion of no-confidence lapsed.

Continue reading "Signs of cracks in PNG’s coalition government" »

PNG economy faces liquidity crunch


PAPUA New Guinea will be looking for non-resource growth to steer the economy forward in 2016, as the government steps up efforts to return the budget to a surplus by 2020.

A combination of lower commodity receipts and commitments to large-scale development projects has put greater pressure on the country’s cash flow, which is expected to see continued shortages in the near term, according to the Bank of PNG.

After announcing plans late last year to launch a $1bn sovereign bond as a means of tackling the public debt and shoring up foreign reserves, the government finds itself under growing pressure to move forward with the offering.

PNG’s non-resource growth is expected to reach 3.8% in 2016, according to the IMF, up from 1.5% in 2015. While non-resource sectors are expected to continue to lead growth, challenges remain, particularly given weak commodity prices.

Continue reading "PNG economy faces liquidity crunch" »

Poking the fire on PNG Attitude


POSSIBLY the largest two bodies of expatriates in Papua New Guinea prior to independence were the kiaps and the teachers.

They tended to be posted all over the country and often in the remotest areas. They had more contact with Papua New Guinean people at the grassroots level than any other group.

By the time PNG Attitude got going they were all either retired or on the cusp of retirement with time on their hands.

They were also at an age where many had become reflective, and a great deal of that reflection involved their time in Papua New Guinea.

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Corruption case against Peter O'Neill hits another obstacle

ERIC TLOZEK | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

PAPUA New Guinea's government has prevented anti-corruption police from engaging a private law firm and an Australian barrister to argue their case to arrest prime minister Peter O’Neill.

The director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Matthew Damaru, and his deputy Timothy Gitua have been seeking to arrest Peter O'Neill on corruption charges since June 2014.

But Mr O'Neill obtained a court order preventing their warrant from being executed.

The Supreme Court recently ordered Mr Damaru and Mr Gitua to seek approval from the Attorney-General to continue using private law firm Jema Lawyers and Australian barrister Greg Egan in their fight against that order.

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Be the candle


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

Run, my friend. Run into the cold, cold night.
Confront your demons, rage against your fears;
Chase them from your haunt before break of light.

Kindle your beacon with a candlelight;
Hold up its golden flames your path to clear.
Run, my friend. Run into the cold, cold night.

Hear gruesome howls from the depths of twilight,
Feel still winds rustling the hairs in your ears;
Chase them from your haunt before break of light.

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The eyes of the innocent


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

WHEN election time comes, you walk side by side with them down the road, drive in the same car and even take them with you in the plane.

You even invite them to one of your homes or force yourself to spend the night in their humble bush material house.

You talk and talk and talk and never run out of words to manipulate their poor minds on how you will construct roads, build bridges and make their lives better with water supplies and electricity.

With their heart and soul, they put their trust in you, elect you, give you the authority to represent them - and then they wait.

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One brother to another brother

Sepik buai sellerRAYMOND SIGIMET

“HEY, my brother, how’s it hanging? Yu sik o’, longpla taim mi no lukim yu?” Philibert quipped, touching the shoulder of the slim man who was crouching down and putting buai and daka into his small Sepik carry basket.

The slim man, recognising the voice, turned and grinned.

“Hey bro, gutpla avinun,” Lesly replied. “Mi orait, you know just taking each day as it comes.

Kam mi baim wanpla buai long yu.”

Still crouching, Lesly turned to the buai vendor to buy a nut for his friend.

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Political staff - the big time destroyers of PNG politicians


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

IMAGINE you have genuine business to conduct with your provincial Governor, the man people like you have given a mandate to serve.

Say you want to follow up on the K100,000 he has committed to your group’s community-based vegetable project under the special agriculture grant roll out.

The money has been budgeted but not released and the year is about to end.

Your group members are frustrated and pressure you as chairperson to personally meet the Governor and collect the cheque.

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