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106 posts from April 2016

PNG Supreme Court ruling on Manus Island detention centre

Kama_BalBAL KAMA | Dev Policy Blog

AUSTRALIA’S asylum seeker detention and processing centre at Manus Island was ruled to be unconstitutional and illegal by the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court last Tuesday.

The detention centre has been in operation since 2012 after successive memoranda of understanding between the Australian and PNG governments in 2012 and 2013.

For those who have long advocated against the arrangement, the decision is a great relief. For others, the decision raises serious concerns about the future of the asylum seekers and Australia’s policy in dealing with this issue.

Continue reading "PNG Supreme Court ruling on Manus Island detention centre" »

My Tumbuna Talked

Wardley Barry at workWARDLEY BARRY IGIVISA

The day before, I heard my Tumbuna talk and talk and talk

He talked and up came shells from the coast
He talked and our rivers were protected by ghosts
He talked and he understood the dance of the sun
He talked and the birua laid down his weapon
He talked and young warriors fought through daylight
He talked and the sorcerer danced through the night
He talked and he got ten beautiful brides
He talked and they brought pigs to his side
He talked and everyone from the far mountains listened
He talked and we laughed and loved from end to end

Continue reading "My Tumbuna Talked" »

PNG conservation leader wins 2016 Whitley Award

The luscious YUS landscape (Ryan Hawk)THE Princess Royal has presented the prestigious international Whitley Award, a nature conservation prize valued at K160,000 in project funding, to Papua New Guinean conservationist Karau Kuna.

The ceremony was held at the Royal Geographical Society, London, and honoured his work in bringing together landowners to ensure protection of the YUS conservation area, home to many diverse and endangered species including tree kangaroos and birds of paradise.

Situated on the Huon Peninsula and named after three main rivers, the Yopno, Uruwa and Som, the 1,500 square kilometre YUS area harbours more native birds and mammals than any like-sized area in mainland New Guinea.

Continue reading "PNG conservation leader wins 2016 Whitley Award" »

Trying not to make Port Moresby any uglier


WHEN I first saw the Sydney Opera House in early 1974 I thought: what a hideous building!

To my mind it looked completely out of character with beautiful Sydney Harbour; it was lumpy and looked unfinished. Another horrible example of 1960s post-modern architecture.

I haven’t changed my mind. Maybe if they painted it another colour, blue or brown maybe?

Of course, Sydney is not the only place in the world to build hideous monstrosities completely out of whack with its surroundings. And they are still at it thanks to casino mogul James Packer.

Continue reading "Trying not to make Port Moresby any uglier" »

Women’s advocacy in PNG: Where is it going wrong?


THE same week I read The Embarrassed Colonialist, in which Sean Dorney identifies Papua New Guinean women as a strength of the nation, prime minister Peter O’Neill stood before a crowd and responded to ever-increasing political controversy and dissatisfaction with his leadership.

He refuted public criticism of him with the words, “Mi stilim meri blo ol na ol laik karabusim mi or” (did I steal their wife to make them want to arrest me?).

That was met with deserved but sparse outcries of misogyny. And some people who riposted with humorous rhetoric, musing whether the ‘theft’ of the prime minister’s wife might be in order.

Indeed no argument in PNG seems to endure full navigation without the often convenient and fallback assertions of custom, traditional practice, language, the ‘Melanesian way’ and what not being employed.

Continue reading "Women’s advocacy in PNG: Where is it going wrong?" »

World Bank financing does not provide solution PNG needs

KinaFINANCIAL TIMES (UK) | Edited extracts

ANOTHER emerging market commodity exporter deep in fiscal trouble; another chance for the World Bank to try to prove its relevance.

Papua New Guinea is the latest exporter of oil and gas which, hit by the falling global price of hydrocarbons in recent years, has found itself short of foreign exchange and obliged to turn to international official lenders.

As was the case with Nigeria, it is currently trying for a loan from the World Bank rather than accepting the advice of the acknowledged crisis lender, the International Monetary Fund.

Continue reading "World Bank financing does not provide solution PNG needs" »

PNG – where the meek will never inherit the earth

Mt Hagen tribal chiefPHIL FITZPATRICK

I’VE been trying to get my head around how politics in Papua New Guinea work for a very long time.

There is something fundamentally wrong with Papua New Guinea and its politics but I'm buggered if I can put my finger on it.

On the one hand you have self-serving politicians pillaging the public purse and on the other a meek and ignorant public allowing it all to happen.

It is much more than the malaise we have in Australia where people are just too weary of politics to care anymore. It runs deeper than that and seems to be something ingrained in the national character.

The theoretical basis for what happens seems to have been debated on PNG Attitude for just as long – democracy, the Westminster system, the Melanesian Way and all sorts of variations thereof but none of them seems to be able to explain what is actually happening now.

Continue reading "PNG – where the meek will never inherit the earth" »

‘Wonderfully written’ new book from veteran Engan journalist


I Can See My Country....I Can See My Country Clearly Now by Daniel Kumbon, Pukpuk Publications, 2016, ISBN: 978-1530843954, 266 pages plus photographs, US$10.10 plus postage or contact Daniel on

For people who enjoyed Daniel’s first compilation of writing from a variety of Engan authors, Remember Me, another treat is in store. He has now published a work entirely in his own right. We hope this will help Enga Province along the road to developing its own literary heritage in much the same way that Simbu writers have put their province on the literary map. Anthropologist Polly Wiessner, who for many years has worked extensively in Enga, wrote this foreword – PF.

THERE are few societies that have travelled from the Stone Age into the global economy of today as rapidly as the inhabitants of Enga Province in Papua New Guinea. 

Prospectors and explorers first moved through the area in the early 1930s, followed the Taylor-Black Hagen-Sepik patrol in 1938-9 and the establishment of a patrol post at Wabag.  Isolated by World War II, most of Enga did not come under control of the Australian Administration until the 1950s and 60s.

Continue reading "‘Wonderfully written’ new book from veteran Engan journalist" »

Revealing Peter O'Neill’s secret cybercrime laws

Martyn Namorong 2015MARTYN NAMORONG

THE lack of public consultation with civil society stakeholders like me raises serious questions about the intent and purpose of the Papua New Guinea government’s proposed regulation of the internet.

The O'Neill government has been secretly drafting laws to stifle freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly under the guise of fighting cyber crime

Cybercrime is the use of computers and mobile devices for hacking, bullying, pornography and criminal activities on the internet.

But there are sections within the draft Cybercrime Bill that may gravely undermine democracy in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Revealing Peter O'Neill’s secret cybercrime laws" »

O’Neill says PNG will close Manus detention centre

HELEN DAVIDSON | Guardian Australia

THE immigration detention centre on Manus Island will close, and the Australian government has been requested to find alternative arrangements for its detainees, the Papua New Guinean prime minister has announced.

Peter O’Neill’s announcement follows a ruling by the PNG supreme court yesterday that the detention of asylum seekers and refugees was illegal and unconstitutional, and it ordered the governments of Australia and PNG to immediately move to end the practise.

“Respecting this ruling, Papua New Guinea will immediately ask the Australian government to make alternative arrangements for the asylum seekers currently held at the regional processing centre,” O’Neill said.

Continue reading "O’Neill says PNG will close Manus detention centre" »

Peter O’Neill should resign over Manus debacle says Juffa

O'Neill and Rudd - inhumane deal turned into a debacleGARY JUFFA

THE Manus detention deal, which has now ground to a halt thanks to the Supreme Court ruling, is indeed justice for Papua New Guinea, Australia and humanity.

This ill-conceived effort at shirking ones international responsibilities by a failed Australian prime minister aided and abetted by a failing PNG prime minister was never in the best interests of Australians, Papua New Guineans genuine asylum seekers and humanity.

It was the lowest point in Papua New Guinea’s brief history as a young nation. Never before had our sovereignty become so prostituted by one man lack of consideration of the dignity of a people in exchange for a few coins and buildings.

Continue reading "Peter O’Neill should resign over Manus debacle says Juffa" »

Leaders are killing PNG: Citizens must demand democracy


OUR elected leaders’ unjustifiable actions are killing democracy in Papua New Guinea.

Using the power vested in them, they seem to have no care for the rule of law which everyone is expected to follow.

Our judiciary’s powers have been undermined by our leaders, trying to twist and bend them in any way possible to favour their own interests.

Our media are continuously attacked by our leaders to ensure there is no investigative and objective reporting.

Our institutions are politicised and are no longer working to achieve their intended purposes.

Continue reading "Leaders are killing PNG: Citizens must demand democracy" »

We must act to salvage our country before it is too late

Kamasua_John KaupaJOHN K KAMASUA

ON A Tuesday night in January, I found it hard to sleep and stayed up late. It was strange. I felt very tired from the day’s work and had much to do the next day.

An sense of emptiness hovered in the air around me. The place was quiet and I could hear the call of dogs. I thought of what it meant to be a citizen of Papua New Guinea. My country.

How could I best describe my country? Many thoughts wandered through my mind.

The emptiness refused to go away. It lingered close.

The dogs barked again and there were distant sounds of traffic on the road and the emptiness hugged me.

Continue reading "We must act to salvage our country before it is too late" »

Annie, Ismail & baby Archie - problems in a cross-cultural marriage

Kundal_JohannesJOHANNES KUNDAL as told to Daniel Kumbon

IN THE olden days it was not possible to marry a woman from another part of the highlands region let alone to find a wife from the coast.

Our ancestors always thought people living beyond the mountain ranges were cannibals or masalais (spirits) and never ventured far. They did not have any clue that there was a big ocean and people were living along its coasts.

But all this is changing rapidly in the modern era. It is now possible for young people to marry people from distant places who they met at school, at work or in the church.

My son Ismael met Annie at the International Training Institute (ITI). Annie has a mixed parentage of Gulf, Western and Central provinces. Annie’s grandmother was from Daru and she married a man from Rigo. They raised nine children and Annie’s mother was their seventh child.

Continue reading "Annie, Ismail & baby Archie - problems in a cross-cultural marriage" »

Manus detention centre is unconstitutional: PNG Supreme Court

PleaGUARDIAN AUSTRALIA | Edited extracts

THE Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has ruled that the detention of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island is illegal, finding it to be in breach of the PNG Constitution.

The full bench of the court ruled the incarceration of asylum seekers and refugees was in breach of their personal liberty, the ABC has reported, and ordered both the PNG and Australian governments to immediately begin making arrangements to move people out of detention.

The challenge to the offshore detention regime, brought by Port Moresby lawyer Ben Lomai on behalf of more than 300 detainees, argued that the men’s detention was in breach of Section 46 of the PNG Constitution.

Continue reading "Manus detention centre is unconstitutional: PNG Supreme Court" »

Treasure trove: Kiaps patrol reports made available online

Bill Brown & policemen on patrolLIAM FOX | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

HUNDREDS of thousands of documents written by firsthand witnesses to Australia's colonial history in Papua New Guinea and the modern history of PNG have been made available online for the first time.

The documents are reports written by Australian patrol officers, known as kiaps, whose task was to extend the reach and influence of what was then the Australian administered Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

The reports have been collated into a digital format by the University of California San Diego and the National Archives of PNG.

University librarian Kathryn Creely oversaw the three-year project to digitise the reports from microfiche and microfilm.

Continue reading "Treasure trove: Kiaps patrol reports made available online" »

Problem? What problem? Silence not good for Australia or PNG


THE curious silence from both the Australian media and government about the latest shenanigans in Port Moresby is most puzzling.

In the past they have both been more than happy to contribute their uninformed and sensational two bob’s worth over things Papua New Guinean.

I don’t read the Murdoch tabloids but even the Fairfax Press seems muted. The latter seems happy to report on Dame Carol Kidu’s change of heart about the Paga Hill development but have pointedly ignored the impending collapse of civil society in PNG.

The only place I’ve seen mention of the sorry affair is in Hamish McDonald’s column in The Saturday Paper. Not even the ABC seems very interested, despite the efforts of its PNG correspondent, Eric Tlozek. At least the New Zealanders think it’s newsworthy.

Continue reading "Problem? What problem? Silence not good for Australia or PNG" »

War of words continues between O’Neill & predecessors


A WAR of words is continuing between Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill and his two predecessors over his refusal to stand aside over a major fraud case.

Last week, Sir Mekere Morauta and Sir Michael Somare issued media statements after the police commissioner moved to suspend leading members of the fraud squad for probing Mr O'Neill's role in alleged illegal state payments to a law firm.

This followed several high-profile arrests in relation to the case, including of the prime minister's lawyer, the attorney-general and a Supreme Court judge.

Continue reading "War of words continues between O’Neill & predecessors" »

'Somare & Morauta are first class hypocrites' - O’Neill

O'Neill and SomarePETER O’NEILL | PNG Today

RECENT comments by Sir Michael Somare and calls for me to leave office are self-serving and simply unnecessary from a person who has been hell-bent on removing this government since him losing power in 2011.

Whilst these matters are before the Courts, he has to respect that no person is guilty until proven so in a court of law based on compelling evidence.

I have always stated - show evidence of me benefiting financially or otherwise and I will resign.

I would never do so because Somare or Morauta think I should, their motive is simply sour grapes.

Continue reading "'Somare & Morauta are first class hypocrites' - O’Neill" »

Corruption & chaos in PNG: Peter O’Neill & the Fraud Squad

Sally AndrewsSALLY ANDREWS | Young Australians in International Affairs

BACKSTABBING, factionalism, and dramatic abuses of power led the battle to combat corruption in Papua New Guinea take on Shakespearean proportions last week as the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD) locked horns with high profile government figures, including the Attorney General and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Headed up by Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru, the NFACD is the chief anti-corruption agency in Papua New Guinea, operating as a police agency within the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

During the last month, the NFACD has exploded onto the political scene by arresting Attorney-General Ano Pala, Supreme Court Justice Bernard Sakora, and the prime minister’s lawyer, Tiffany Twivey, for corruption, fraud, and perverting the course of justice.

Continue reading "Corruption & chaos in PNG: Peter O’Neill & the Fraud Squad" »

There is a flood, but it will be over

Sepik flood (ABC)JIMMY AWAGL

The river flows with current strong
Sweeping dirt and debris along
Flooding at points unexpected
Stopped, blocked, diverted
Beyond human philosophy and ideology

The flood know only self-interest
Causing destruction on every course
Those at its mercy voice their grief
But the flooded river flows
On its perverted course

Without human interaction and hindrance
The river toxic as a crawling snake
But no strength and power
To divert for a third time
There is no rain to aid the flood

Continue reading "There is a flood, but it will be over" »

Dawn passage through the Dardanelles on MV Nautica

The eternal flameKEITH JACKSON

WE arise before dawn and we see the dark shape of land - the Aegean Sea is funnelling into the Dardanelles, just a narrow strait but with a name that triggers an emotional response in Australians.

In the half-light we see silhouetted on the rocky clifftop that marks the strait’s entrance four soaring columns of a massive monument and an oversized Turkish flag.

At about this time on 25 April 1915, 60,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders traversed these waters to be landed on Gallipoli’s precipitous and lethal shore.

Over the next eight months until the Allies retreated, 33,000 Allied (Diggers, Kiwis, Tommies, French) troops were killed – as were 86,000 Turks.

Continue reading "Dawn passage through the Dardanelles on MV Nautica" »

I do not know

Kundiawa Anzac Day service (police and doctor boys) 1964MICHAEL DOM

I do not know what made them go,
Those brave young blokes so long ago,
Those faithful sons you sent to war.
Was it glory, mateship, honour;
For freedom, from violent foe?

And when they fell, so far from home,
Did their souls rest whence they had roamed?
Does God forgive you their horror?
               I do not know.

Many died young, still bright and bold.
Their hopes and dreams did not unfold.
We, who now live by their valour,
Spend just one dawn to remember;
Will we keep faith as day grows old?
               I do not know.

Fred Schipke befriended enemy in World War II aftermath

Fred Schipke (Anna Rogers)JANESSA EKERT | The Cairns Post

IN THE aftermath of World War II, an Aussie and Japanese soldier became friends.

Cairns man Fred Schipke had been stationed in Bougainville with the 16th Field Company Royal Australian Engineers when peace was declared.

Mr Schipke was sent to New Britain. “Peace had just been declared in August and we went over in September,” he said.

He said his first job was to fix the main runway of the Vunakanau air base so supplies could be brought in. Mr Schipke and two others ran the bulldozer 24 hours a day.

Continue reading "Fred Schipke befriended enemy in World War II aftermath" »

Artefacts from war days reflect ties between Australia & PNG

Charles Lepani at the launch (Rodney Start)BRUCE HILL | Pacific Beat, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

A COLLECTION of artefacts collected during the Australian military occupation of Papua New Guinea between 1914 and 1921 represents a significant link between the neighbours, says Charles Lepani, PNG's high commissioner to Australia.

A new book, War Trophies or Curios?, describes the untold story behind the collection of more than 600 objects including carved figures, masks, shields, instruments and weapons.

Charles Lepani, who attended the book's recent launch at the Melbourne Museum, told Pacific Beat the collection reflected Australia and PNG's close historical ties.

"This collection puts PNG and Australia relations together and takes it to another step back to the World War I, as well as Kokoda of course, Kokoda Track for the World War II," he said.

Continue reading "Artefacts from war days reflect ties between Australia & PNG" »


Gallipoli Monument (Paul Oates)EDGAR WALLACE

The children unborn shall acclaim
The standard the Anzacs unfurled,
When they made Australasia’s fame
The wonder and pride of the world.

Some of you got a V.C.,
Some “the Gallipoli trot,”
Some had a grave by the sea,
And all of you got it damned hot,

And I see you go limping through town
In the faded old hospital blue,
And driving abroad—lying down,
And Lord I but I wish I were you

Continue reading "Anzacs" »

A Kiap’s Chronicle: 7 – Urun

Map  - Urun region (Bill Brown)BILL BROWN MBE

URUN Patrol Post, nestling in the Owen Stanley Range, was a long way from anywhere, and you could only get there by walking.

Assistant District Officer Galloway said the walk would take me three days and that, once at Urun, I would be there on my own for 12 months but I could return to Tapini for short breaks.

Nothing had prepared me for that long trek across the towering mountain ranges and the deep valleys that lay between.

Not for the first time in being reposted, I left gear behind. I knew if I reduced my chattels to only those I needed, I could get away from the slow-moving mules and just use carriers.

Everybody had warned me about climbing the Oro Spur track when the morning sun was burning, but a farewell party the night before had taken its toll and the loads and carriers were not organised until just after 9:30. We had barely squelched down the track to the river and started the climb out of the gorge when the sun struck.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 7 – Urun" »

Pacific leaders need to act on fossil fuels immediately


EMISSIONS from burning fossil fuels have increased over the years and now account for two-thirds of all carbon emitted since the beginning of the industrial era, that’s 63% of all carbon dioxide produced.

Researchers have confirmed that when it comes to identifying who’s responsible, it’s not so difficult to pinpoint the biggest emitters worldwide.

In a recent detailed and exhaustive research by Rick Heede, who spent eight years combing through data, the major emitters can be limited to 90 entities. These ‘carbon majors’ have been burning fossil fuel for the last 150 years and continue to do so with greatly deleterious impacts on humanity.

Continue reading "Pacific leaders need to act on fossil fuels immediately" »

Dame Carol Kidu wins injunction against Australian film

Dame Carol Kidu at her home village in Port Moresby in 2011 (Jason South)LOUISE HALL | Sydney Morning Herald

REVERED former Papua New Guinea politician Dame Carol Kidu has won an injunction restraining the Australian makers of a documentary from screening footage about her role in a controversial land development premiering at a prestigious film festival next week.

On Friday, the NSW Supreme Court granted an injunction preventing the screening of parts of the film The Opposition by young filmmaker Hollie Fifer at Canada's Hot Docs, the largest documentary festival in North America.

Fifer's 77-minute documentary focuses on the struggle to stop the eviction of 3,000 people from a decades-old squatter community to make way for an Australian-backed property development that is promising a hotel, marina and exhibition centre. It is the proposed venue for the 2018 APEC leaders' summit.

Continue reading "Dame Carol Kidu wins injunction against Australian film" »

Port Moresby writers develop strong plans for 2016

John Kamasua (second right) and PMWA members JOHN KAMASUA

DESPITE the nation being embroiled in so much controversy, a group of new and established writers met on the campus of the University of Papua New Guinea last Saturday.

Among those present were established writers Sil Bolkin and John B Varey as well as Frank Senge Kolma, the veteran PNG journalist, editor and writer, who came with his wife. Short story writer Akilino Powesiu and his wife also attended.

There were also a number of school children, some with their parents.

The members of the organising committee are Tanya Alone, Frank S Kolma, John B Varey, Yombi Kep (a final year journalism student at UPNG), David Kawage Bitno and John K Kamasua.

Continue reading "Port Moresby writers develop strong plans for 2016" »


Betel nut mortarAKILINO POWESIU

“Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determining. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment” – Viktor E. Frankl

EURYTH lay on his mat, twisted in a figure four position under his thin-blue bedsheet, which didn’t offer much protection against the cold from the morning rain.

And, as if the cold had setae, he could feel it penetrate the pores of his skin, causing the blood to rush to his organs and yanking him into an almost twilight state just between half awake and asleep.

The house seemed quiet at first, then from outside his ears caught the introductory sounds of a new day, as if assigned chronologically – passing vehicles, playful screams, quizzical chitchat and irritating laughter in that order. It promised another day of undefined hope. Amongst those sounds, there were the audible splashes of rain drops.

Continue reading "Serendipity" »

Somare calls for ‘manipulative’ Peter O'Neill to submit to law

O'Neill and SomareBRYAN KRAMER | Facebook | Edited

PAPUA New Guinea’s founding prime minister Sir Michael Somare has called on members of parliament to represent the interest of their electorates and the true intent of the Constitution to protest against the current and continued manipulation and deterioration of the institutions of state.

“People of Papua New Guinea must not tolerate elected leaders who are condoning the actions of the O’Neill regime by remaining silent,” Sir Michael said in a statement. “Silence means acceptance of the glaring abuses of processes that are taking place around us.

“Before long our institutions will be completely useless because elected leaders have neglected their duties to stand up against the current manipulations by leaders holding high offices.

Continue reading "Somare calls for ‘manipulative’ Peter O'Neill to submit to law" »

Peter O’Neill had undermined integrity of prime minister’s office


THE integrity of the Office of Prime Minister has been undermined by the actions of prime minister Peter O’Neill.

Mr O’Neill knows well that the Office of the Prime Minister is not a personal possession.

It is a Constitutional office, the highest in the land, and it belongs to the people and the State. It does not belong to Peter O’Neill.

It is there to serve the people and the nation; it is not there to serve the interests of the incumbent.

Continue reading "Peter O’Neill had undermined integrity of prime minister’s office" »

Can Rimbunan Hijau’s powerful grip over PNG be broken?

Frédéric-MousseauFREDERIC MOUSSEAU | Inter Press Service

JAMES Sze Yuan Lau and Ivan Su Chiu Lu must be extremely busy men. Together, they are listed as directors of some 30 companies involved in various activities and services related to logging or agribusiness in Papua New Guinea.

The former is the managing director of Rimbunan Hijau (RH) PNG and son-in-law of RH’s founder Tiong Hiew King; the latter is executive director of RH PNG Ltd.

All but two of these 30 companies have the same registered address at 479 Kennedy Road in the national capital, Port Moresby–the headquarter of the RH group in the country.

Their ability to magically fit into a relatively small office space on Kennedy Road is not the only puzzling fact about the subsidiaries of the Malaysian group, Rimbunan Hijau. Out of the 30 above mentioned companies, 16 subsidiaries that are directly involved in logging or agribusiness have one other thing in common.

Continue reading "Can Rimbunan Hijau’s powerful grip over PNG be broken?" »

PNG government plan to convert SABL leases must be rejected

Effrey DademoACT NOW!

THE Papua New Guinea government is planning to convert unlawful SABL (special agriculture and business leases) leases into registered land and community advocacy group Act Now! says there are strong reasons why the government’s plan is wrong and should be rejected.

“The Department of Lands is drafting amendments to the Lands Act which will allow the government to endorse the unlawful SABL land grab,” said program manager Effrey Dademo (pictured).

“We have identified seven reasons why this is a dangerous move and must be rejected. Most importantly, under the government plan, customary landowners will still lose control of their land which is a vital resource for them and the illegal logging will be allowed to continue.”

Continue reading "PNG government plan to convert SABL leases must be rejected" »

Morauta says billion kina loan will not buy PNG out of trouble

Sir Mekere MorautaFORMER prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta said today the O’Neill Government’s proposed $US300 million (K1 billion) International Finance Corporation (IFC) borrowing was a smoke-screen and would do little to solve the country’s economic and financial problems.

“I am surprised that the IFC would even consider such a loan,” Sir Mekere said.

“The prime minister cannot borrow his way out of the problems he has created.

“The budgetary and financial problems the country is facing will not be cured by band-aids such as this. In fact it will only make matters worse.”

Continue reading "Morauta says billion kina loan will not buy PNG out of trouble" »

Did PNG's police commissioner bungle handling of fraud squad?


PAPUA New Guinea’s Police Commissioner Gary Baki has suspended officers of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate over allegations of insubordination and non-compliance with proper procedures.

“I have taken steps to assume command and control of an erratic and out of control NFACD and restore the integrity of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary,” Mr Baki (pictured) has proclaimed.

“I have done that by suspending both Director NFACD, Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru, and his Deputy Chief Inspector, Timothy Gitua, and immediate staff for continuous defiance of administrative direction, for failing to command and control fraud squad members and for acting outside normal and established police practices and procedures.”

Continue reading "Did PNG's police commissioner bungle handling of fraud squad?" »

Forex crisis: PNG seeks to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars

CurrencyJAMIE SMYTH | Australian Financial Review

PAPUA New Guinea is seeking a World Bank loan of hundreds of millions of dollars to tackle a foreign exchange crisis linked to a slump in oil prices, a severe drought and a ballooning budget deficit.

The move to borrow $US300 million follows the country's failure to raise $US1 billion on bond markets late last year and a slowdown in the South Pacific nation's economy, which until recently was the best-performing in the region, thanks to the construction and start-up of a $US19 billion gas plant operated by ExxonMobil.

Papua New Guinea, one of the world's most culturally diverse but least explored countries, said last week that government revenues in 2015 had come in 21% below expectations, mainly because of lower commodity prices. The country's difficulties mirror those of other petrodollar economies, which have been hit by weak oil prices and widening budget gaps.

Continue reading "Forex crisis: PNG seeks to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars" »

Law and disorder: Can PNG's democracy be saved?


RECENT developments in Papua New Guinea and in Brazil have caused me to reflect once again upon why it is that democracy is so difficult to establish and maintain.

The advantages in doing so seem blindingly obvious. After all, it has been the original democratic states that have seen the most social, economic and technological progress since at least the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Abraham Lincoln during his famous Gettysburg Address talked about democracy as being "government of the people, for the people and by the people". This strikes me as a very succinct and accurate summary of what democracy is all about.

Of course, to make such a system work is harder than it sounds. Winston Churchill once said, not entirely facetiously, that in order to understand why it was so hard to make democracy work, all that was necessary was to spend five minutes talking to the ordinary voter.

Continue reading "Law and disorder: Can PNG's democracy be saved?" »

Sinagu E!

Mother and new baby, Port MoresbyVAGI SAMUEL JNR

A poem in Motu and English. Sad to admit, PNG Attitude’s
first Motu poem in ten years of publication - KJ

Hua taurahani ta emu puse lalonai o beugu
Dina badana ai oha varagu
Emu hisihisi be manoka lasi taruanai
Egu tai regena amo oi o kiri tai

Ratamu ranuna ai o-ubuguva
Vasiahu namo be bubutau ena reke gwarumedia
Parao kininini be bubuhahine imana gaudia
Egu bogakunu danai so laga ani namonamova

Continue reading "Sinagu E!" »

It’s time for Australia to reconsider its aid to PNG

Iroquois helicopter in New GuineaCHRIS SHEAHAN | The Diplomat

RECENTLY, a couple from the UK, seeking publicity, were found to have fabricated claims of cannibals in Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, many authors have identified and discussed sexual assault and accusations of witchcraft as the greatest threat to a stable PNG society.

The problem here is that these stories focus on individual symptoms rather than the underlying societal shortcomings. While programs put into place to treat these symptomatic issues at a low level are in no way malicious, international efforts would be better directed at the overall development of Papua New Guinea.

Too often, international efforts seek to apply band-aid treatments designed to deliver short-term results that leave the donor with a feeling of accomplishment, but that fail to address broader concerns and allow a more developed society to rectify its own shortcomings.

Continue reading "It’s time for Australia to reconsider its aid to PNG" »

PNG may be on the brink – but does anyone care?

Mathew Damaru...he cares a lotPHIL FITZPATRICK

ONE of the defining characteristics of traditional agriculturalists and hunter-gatherer societies is their acceptance of the natural world and its rhythms and inevitabilities.

This leads to a kind of fatalism - whatever will be will be and there is nothing that can be done about it.

In some ways it creates a sense of false security and a reluctance to see things change. It is a comfortable apathy that is often dangerous. The way the Jews seemed to accept their fate without resistance during the Holocaust is an example.

Another more recent example seems to be developing in Papua New Guinea with people meekly accepting their fate in the face of a corrupt and outrageous government.

In a recent comment on the hijinks in Port Moresby, author Francis Nii suggested that most Papua New Guineans don’t really know what is happening. Other commentators have said that, even if they do, they don’t care.

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Baki’s sacking of fraud squad officers was flawed says Amet


A FORMER Papua New Guinea chief justice has told Radio New Zealand International that police commissioner Gary Baki’s claim that he needed to give approval for any fraud squad investigation was flawed.

Sir Arnold Amet was commenting on Mr Baki’s suspension of anti-fraud detectives who had been investigating a major case implicating prime minister Peter O'Neill.

After being the subject of a stay order since 2014, the investigation resumed two weeks ago, prompting last week’s arrests of the prime minister's lawyer, the attorney-general and a Supreme Court judge.

Mr Baki accused the suspended fraud squad officers of insubordination and circumventing police procedures by not keeping him informed of the fraud case.

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I am Demaru

Matthew Damaru has been intimidated and assaulted since the probe of Peter O'Neill beganMARTYN NAMORONG

I am Demaru
I am the voice of the voiceless
From Bougainville to Daru
I am the cry of the populace
For Justice
For Peace
For opportunity for All
And not just the Powerful

We are Demaru
We are the People of this nation
From Manus to Daru
We're an angry Population
Against the corrupt
About to erupt
And demand accountability
Of the corrupt fraternity

A patriotic plea: The hope of justice for our beautiful PNG


“The PNG Police Commissioner’s actions and media release has the fingerprints of the Prime Minister all over. The importation of the words used by the Prime Minister and the way they are effected by the Commissioner echo the PM’s voice” – John Steward

IT IS now public knowledge and every good thinking Papua New Guinean is well-aware of it. The people think the prime minister is using the police commissioner to pervert the course of justice in our beautiful country, Papua New Guinea.

But we can’t do anything. Not even the military can do anything. It’s a situation where the gate of a cage of wild cats has been opened and the mice are taking cover. True believers of democracy like our next-door friend Australia could not even step up with a comment.

What more is there to fight when corruption and the manipulation of state institutions are so compromised in this country; and in a bright daylight and right under our noses?

Continue reading "A patriotic plea: The hope of justice for our beautiful PNG" »

‘Expecting to drown any minute, we cried like children’

Johannes Kundal and his two grandsons, Victor & ArchieJOHANNES KUNDAL as told to Daniel Kumbon

MY wife Rose and I are from Enga Province in the Papua New Guinea highlands. We do not know how to swim or know anything about the solwara [sea].

Some friends living in Kerema warned us against boarding a dinghy because the seas were rough but we were desperate to reach our two grandsons and their mother.

The engine stopped midway across the mouth of the Vailala River and big waves began to continuously pound the dinghy. We cried out like little children and prayed hard, expecting to drown any minute. I knew we would drop to the ocean floor like stones without a struggle.

We had come to the Gulf Province to take our two grandchildren and their mother back to Enga. Our only son, Ismael was continuously arguing with his wife Annie who tried to stop him from marrying a second wife. In the end, she ran away to her own people in the Gulf province taking the two children with her.

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Urgency required to prepare for a Bougainville referendum

Regan_AnthonyANTHONY REGAN | Edited extracts

Download the full text of the Regan paper 

THE forthcoming referendum on the future political status of Bougainville must include a “choice of separate independence for Bougainville”, that is independence from Papua New Guinea, and be held before mid-2020.

A referendum is a process for making decisions, mainly about issues of great importance. Since 1990 over 50 referenda have been held on independence for a country or part of a country. Usually such referenda are conducted as part of efforts to resolve disputes, often (though not always) violent conflicts.

Examples include referenda on: Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia in 1993; Quebec’s independence from Canada in 1995; East Timor’s independence from Indonesia in 1999; and Scotland’s Independence from the United Kingdom in 2014.

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Prominent PNGns respond with alarm to O’Neill intervention

Reinstate Demaru posterKEITH JACKSON

I KNOW how hard it is in Papua New Guinea to resist the power of the State. The democratic tradition has shallow roots and the clout of money is strong.

This often leads to an unhappy trade-off between the right thing to do for country and personal benefit. Altruism is in short supply.

But this is a critical time for Papua New Guineans. The country is sliding towards rule by oligarchs and people of strength and integrity need to stand up and be counted.

What good and decent Papua New Guineans don't seem to be able to count on any more is the support and influence of the Australian government.

Let's catch up with where this saga got to following a dramatic weekend.

On Saturday, after strong public hints from prime minister Peter O’Neill, and who knows what verbal instructions, police commissioner Gary Baki suspended police fraud directorate chief Matthew Damaru and stood down his team, accusing them of undermining his authority and of being corrupt.

Continue reading "Prominent PNGns respond with alarm to O’Neill intervention" »

Corruption: When silence speaks the people can live again


MOST Papua New Guineans like me, who dream of a transparent, fair and equitable nation were wondering if the recent Police fraud squad’s arrests of high profile individuals was the light at the end of this abyss called corruption.

The events of this recent weekend – with the head of the Police fraud directorate being suspended and his forced to step aside – may mean what appeared as a light was only a shadow.

Considering the magnitude of corruption in PNG, honest hardworking Papua New Guineans across both rural and urban areas feel entrapped in a system that sucks the life out of honesty and leaves behind hopelessness and frustration. We are under siege.

It is common knowledge that the 10% commission fee is a way of “getting things done” in PNG. If we choose to go through the proper processes it is “a walk to no way”.

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Ken McKinnon plans last sentimental visit to old stamping ground

Ken addresses the PNGAA, December 2008KEITH JACKSON

IN A week's time, on Anzac Day to be precise, Dr Ken McKinnon AO, a distinguished Australian and alumnus of Papua New Guinea, will make what he is calling his “last sentimental visit” to a country to which he made such a great contribution.

After attending Adelaide and Queensland universities and teaching in remote South Australia for two years, Ken decided to pursue a career in PNG.

He then undertook a four-month program at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) before arriving in Port Moresby in May 1954. “My Sydney sojourn came after Oodnadatta,” he told me, “so was mostly a time for savouring the offerings of the city - not neglecting ASOPA luminaries such as James McAuley and Camilla Wedgewood.”

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