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127 posts from May 2016

Zurenuoc shamed: Court rules removal of carvings unlawful

Parliament's facade as it was - and will beKEITH JACKSON

IN a win for the wonderful culture and traditions of Papua New Guinea, the national court yesterday declared the removal of 19 masks and a totem pole from parliament house in 2013 were unlawful acts and ordered they be repaired and returned within six months.

Justice David Cannings delivered the decision after legal action by Sir Michal Somare and, Dr Andrew Moutu, CEO of PNG’s national museum and art gallery.

Continue reading "Zurenuoc shamed: Court rules removal of carvings unlawful" »

An open letter to prime minister Peter O’Neill

Enga students taking the message to PorgeraLUCAS KIAP | Interim Chairman, PNG Anti-Corruption Movement for Change

DEAR Mr O’Neill - I have a simple request: that is you step down from the office of the prime minister of Papua New Guinea.

I am of course aware of your stand that the only people who have the legal mandate to remove a prime minister from office are the national parliament or the people at the general election. I am also aware that, you have no intention to step down until the 2017 general elections.

You can then wonder why I am taking such an extraordinary step. My stand I can assure you that I have carefully considered, in asking for you to step down.

Continue reading "An open letter to prime minister Peter O’Neill" »

A guide to Australian culture, as told by a Manus asylum seeker

Behrouz Boochani with all his possessionsANDY HAZEL | Junkee

“GROWING up, I watched Skippy when I was a child,” says writer Behrouz Boochani. “I saw Australia the movie with Nicole Kidman too, that was okay. I enjoy listening to Kylie Minogue, especially Can’t Get You Out of My Head.”

Picture Manus Island and chances are you think of a problematic detention centre. Its inhabitants depicted in grainy digital images of protests and riots, their faces rarely in mainstream media, their identities closely guarded and their ideas and thoughts even more so.

But as people who grew up in countries with rich and proud cultural traditions, their knowledge of Australian culture is less well-known.

“They have not allowed us to know Australian culture here,” says Boochani, an Iranian Kurd soon to be entering his fourth year in detention. Both major party leaders have pledged that no detainees will settle in Australia.

Continue reading "A guide to Australian culture, as told by a Manus asylum seeker" »

PNG languishing but no interest from its 'good neighbour'

UPNG_protest_forum ( FLITTON | The Age

LET me tell you a story; see if you can guess how it will end. It's about a country where defiant student protests have galvanised national attention, delivering the prime minister an ultimatum to stand aside and face investigation about millions of dollars in suspected fraud.

The national economy is teetering. Foreign exchange is in short supply. But the stubborn PM refuses to budge, despite an outstanding arrest warrant in his name. In this tense climate, a firebrand opposition figure takes to the airwaves, calling on people to rise up and "save your country".

Continue reading "PNG languishing but no interest from its 'good neighbour'" »

Huge new loan increases debt as public servants' pay cut

Peter O'Neill (looking left)MICHAEL J PASSINGAN | PNG Blogs | Edited

PRIME minister Peter O’Neill’s planned new $US500 million loan is going to be one of the most expensive borrowings in Papua New Guinean history. And it comes at a time when his mad economic policies are hurting public servants even more.

National Department of Health doctors pay and entitlements have been cut by about 50% More public servants are facing similar cuts. O’Neill has even short-changed police.

What next – Defence Force? The loan will help ease the foreign exchange shortage but is only a stop-gap. In the long run it will make the nation’s economic and financial problems worse.

O’Neill has destroyed the country’s economic reputation overseas and now unscrupulous lenders are moving in for the kill as they realise how desperate the prime minister and his konmen cronies are.

Continue reading "Huge new loan increases debt as public servants' pay cut" »

A cryptic slice of verse leads to a journey of exploration

Bell_Rashmii AmoahRASHMII BELL

THE late journalist and humourist Molly Ivins once commented that satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful but, when aimed at the powerless, is not only cruel but vulgar.

While my girl crush fandom is populated with women who continually expand the sphere of female competence (like completing postgraduate studies whilst raising children), I shudder (violently) at those who serve up their accomplishments with lashings of elitist overtones.

A recent commentator in PNG Attitude would have you believe that ‘an undergraduate degree is a piece of piss’. I just add that there should be no apology for or condemnation of achievement. And we need to remember that, when playing fields are strikingly uneven, comparisons are irrelevant if not foolish.

Continue reading "A cryptic slice of verse leads to a journey of exploration" »

Prison - despair, regret & pain, but not the end of the world


THREE long and perfectly timed clangs of the 9pm bell split the still night, followed by a commanding voice from the guard house ordering silence.

The lights had blacked out about an hour ago and the half moon, partly hidden by clouds, cast a dim yellow glow through the open barred windows.

The effect was to paint the worn out brick wall inside the cell a pale white.

Most of my cell mates had already curled up under the blue and red striped government issue blankets while a few others whispered and tiptoed around, probably in search of a last roll of brus before settling down for the night.

Continue reading "Prison - despair, regret & pain, but not the end of the world" »

Morobe students call on their MPs to support cause for change

Lae students rallyWARIME GUTI

MOROBE students at the University of Technology organised a forum on Saturday with all nine provincial MPs and the Morobe Governor invited to attend the event in Duncanson Hall on campus.

The objectives of the forum were to provide for dialogue with Morobe political leaders in the Morobe way , for Morobe MP's to listen to the students grievances and to make their stand clear in this time of political turmoil.

Only four MPs responded, three turned up and one sent his apology. The three in attendance were Bob Dadae, Ross Seymour and Sam Basil, who is also deputy opposition leader. Theo Zurenuoc (MP for Finschhafen and also Speaker) sent his apologies to students while Governor Kelly Naru was overseas.

Also present were former Morobe governor Luther Wenge, Paramount Chief of the Ahi landowners Nathaniel Malac, chairman of the principal landowners of Nadzab/Wampar Paul Joshua and Lae Community Law and Order Chairman Sam Oyaya.

Continue reading "Morobe students call on their MPs to support cause for change" »

Getting rid of O’Neill only the start of a very long road


THERE are always two sides to a story, or so the saying goes.

It’s reminiscent of that law of physics that says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Both pieces of wisdom are often misused.

Despite what people think, poking something with a stick and having it bite back is not provoking an equal and opposite reaction.

And more often than not there are more than two sides to any story.

However, in our increasingly simplistic world, these black or white, right or wrong, goodie or baddie, left or right interpretations are all pervasive.

Much of the blame can be laid at the door of tabloid journalists, particularly in media like television.

Continue reading "Getting rid of O’Neill only the start of a very long road" »

Democracy in disarray: PNG’s malaise as a sign of the times


THERE seems to be growing evidence that there is something wrong within the world's democracies. Exhibit A - the rise and rise of Donald Trump.

Despite the best efforts of the political apparatchiks within the Republican Party, the Donald's ability to tap into the anger, resentment and fear of so many (mostly white) Americans has enabled him to secure the Republican nomination for the Presidency.

Opposed to him, as seems likely, will be the archetype representative of the professional political class which so many people in the USA clearly detest, Hilary Clinton.

Despite being widely distrusted and disliked by many within the Democrat party, notably younger Americans, Clinton seems likely to claw her way to the nomination.

Continue reading "Democracy in disarray: PNG’s malaise as a sign of the times" »

Strong turnout for ASOPA – but support still needed

Honourable Paul MunroPAUL MUNRO

PNGAA representatives were pleased by the turnout and level of support shown at last Sunday's open day at part of the site of the former Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) on Sydney’s Middle Head.

Fine weather and a good cross-section of people with Papua New Guinea connections attended, about 75 in all, including former students, PNG Consul General Sumasy Singin and representatives of the Wantok Club, Chinese Catholic Association, Friends of Rambutso and various NGOs.

It was a good beginning and a great show of interested support for the proposal to use Ten Terminal as a Community Centre for Pacific Nations, although winning through against some tough competition will be a long haul.

During Keith Jackson's presidency some years ago, the PNGAA made an attempt to promote a similar proposition which failed to gain the critical mass necessary to obtain official support.

Continue reading "Strong turnout for ASOPA – but support still needed" »

Bomana samting long taim bipo: A long dream

Peter & Bomana map (Nara)ALEXANDER NARA

AS HE attempted to conceal the truth, Peter’s clean shaven cheeks crumpled, his shoulders slumped and he struggled to extricate himself from silence.

He was holding a detailed sketch of Bomana Prison and was seeking to divert from answering the question of how he knew perfectly every detail inside.

In fact, the sketch was the first thing he drew as a Level 2 student at the Anglicare PNG Adult Literacy School in Waigani.

Wanpla taim mi bai go skul long uni yet,” (One day I will become a university student), he said confidently, a touch of humour lurking about his mouth.

Peter was not a large man and not a young man but he possessed a restless vitality, a wiry energy that gave the effect of youth.

Continue reading "Bomana samting long taim bipo: A long dream" »

Polye & Flanagan are undermining PNG economy: Lupari

Isaac LupariMEDIA RELEASE | Office of the Prime Minister

PRIME minister Peter O’Neill's chief of staff, Isaac Lupari, has raised concerns at political interference by a former Australian government adviser working with the Leader of the Opposition to undermine the Government.

Ambassador Lupari (pictured) said that, as a close advisor to the former Treasurer Don Polye, recent articles written by Paul Flanagan are more political spin than real analysis and these views are not impartial.

Importantly, Ambassador Lupari said, despite claims by Polye and Flanagan, PNG is largely protected from oil price fluctuation because forward contracts were signed before the recent change in oil prices.

Continue reading "Polye & Flanagan are undermining PNG economy: Lupari" »

Outlawed & abused: criminalising sex work in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinean sex worker meets with a clientAmnesty International

IN PAPUA New Guinea, it is illegal to live off the earnings of sex work and to organise commercial sex. Homosexuality is also criminalised and is the primary basis for prosecuting male sex workers.

Amnesty International’s research found these criminal laws allow the police to threaten, extort and arbitrarily detain sex workers.

Sex workers in Papua New Guinea suffer extreme levels of stigma, discrimination and violence, including rape and murder.

A survey conducted by academic researchers in 2010 found that, within a six-month period, 50 percent of sex workers in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby had been raped by clients or by the police.

Continue reading "Outlawed & abused: criminalising sex work in Papua New Guinea" »

Dream with Me


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

Dream with me,
When I dream that I twinkle among stars,
Or skip with sweet cherubs from moon to moon;
When I spread my wings and glide through rainbows,
Catching gold teardrops of gods in my hand,
Or rollick and romp where night and day blend;
When I gaily farewell stalking shadows,
And watch them disappear into poltroons;
When I spark in Elysian Fields on Mars,
Dream with me.

Continue reading "Dream with Me" »

The economic and financial reality facing Papua New Guinea


THE prime minister and his advisers must accept the incontrovertible evidence that Papua New Guinea is in the midst of an extensive and deepening economic and financial crisis.

Only by the prime minister acknowledging the nature and scale of the problem, and sharing it with Papua New Guineans, can we find solutions to fight the problem, hand in hand.

Everyone knows something is seriously wrong. Everyone is talking about it.

Everyone is living with the growing effects.

Families can see that the cost of food is skyrocketing.

Students know that there are insufficient jobs when they leave school.

Public servants know they aren't being paid on time and in full.

Businesses know that they can't get foreign exchange to pay their suppliers, and that the economy is stagnating.

The problems are urgent and obvious.

Continue reading "The economic and financial reality facing Papua New Guinea" »

The joy of solitude

The Joy of Solitude -Suzanna J. LintonDOMINICA ARE

An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

On my face a comforting glow
Excitedly, from the clamorous world I take a bow
Disturbance I cannot allow

At my hideout
I close the doors and lock everything out
It’s just me, myself and I, out and about

Can’t conceal my delight
As I dance around with smiles so bright
And kneel down to thank God with all my might

Continue reading "The joy of solitude" »

Observations on the statement by prime minister Peter O'Neill

Arnold AmetSIR ARNOLD AMET | Edited extracts

I HAVE just witnessed in Madang an awareness rally by UPNG and Unitech students concerning issues over which the students have been protesting and boycotting classes in the last four weeks.

The rally was attended by a large audience of Madang citizens. I congratulate the students for doing a good job in explaining the issues to the public who responded well to this.

The students also emphasised the need for their campaign of awareness to be peaceful and orderly. I have now read the response by prime minister O'Neill to the students' petition and make the following observations.

Continue reading "Observations on the statement by prime minister Peter O'Neill" »

Students’ sacrifice deserves the nation’s admiration & support

PNG-mobile-police-on-upng-campus-naufm-680wideBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO | PNG Informal Economist

IT SADDENED me to hear the news that the University of Papua New Guinea Council had made a decision to suspend Semester 1 of the academic year for an indefinite period; basically affecting the education of some 5,000 students.

This decision was reached after the student body affirmed its stance to continue the boycotting of classes until the prime minister stepped down.

This week has been the students fourth week of protest against the incumbent government over various issues of national importance.

Think what you may about their actions but the students took on a fight on behalf of the silent and reluctant majority to demand that the government to respect the law of the land. 

Continue reading "Students’ sacrifice deserves the nation’s admiration & support" »

Universities adopt different management style to protests

Albert SchramAsia Pacific Report

ADMINISTRATIONS at both of Papua New Guinea’s two major universities adopted contrasting approaches to dealing with the national student standoff against the prime minister.

While the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby has closed its doors to more than 4,500 striking students, the University of Technology in PNG’s second city Lae has taken a more neutral stance, reports Radio Australia.

Students throughout Papua New Guinea are calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to step aside and face an investigation over corruption allegations.

The UPNG Council yesterday announced suspension of the semester but in an interview with Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat, vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram (pictured) said his students were doing what they felt was the right thing for the country.

Continue reading "Universities adopt different management style to protests" »

G’day Skippy….

Skippy (Steven Ilave)STEVEN ILAVE SR

"Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough
to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs" - Vaclav Havel

G’day Skippy,
I am not very happy
And am extremely jumpy
Coz, people say you’ve become a big bad bossy kangaroo
Who has perhaps done too much time in the detention centre called your zoo
They say your people-welcoming skills have become rather crappy

Continue reading "G’day Skippy…." »

Children’s story collection well received in Enga schools

PNG reading material is always seized upon in PNG schoolsDANIEL KUMBON

TRICKERY at the Crocodile Pool, a collection of children’s stories sponsored by the Paga Hill Development Company, has been well received by headmasters and senior teachers of six schools in the Wabag District were Enga Province.

Other books also highly regarded by recipients were the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 and recent issues of Air Niugini’s informative in-flight magazine, Paradise.

The distribution was arranged by members of the Enga Writers Association and included formal presentation ceremonies at Kopen Secondary School and Kandep High School which were recorded by NBC Radio Enga.

Continue reading "Children’s story collection well received in Enga schools" »

The budding of ‘Economic Man’ on the eve of a national election


A FEW affluent Chimbus, working in Papua New Guinea and abroad and long in the diaspora, aspire to be politicians.

Come election time they will resign from their jobs and return to their tribal lands to see if people still remember them from when they were kids growing up in the village.  

Once back home, to garner support for their candidacy, they are expected to do some charity work such as appearing at funerals, offering compensation and restitution, giving prizes for football games and even getting a few village councillors drunk.

These are the by-products of a collision between liberal democracy, Melanesian governance and Christian principles that an outsider might infer was characterised by socio-political and economic insanity.

Continue reading "The budding of ‘Economic Man’ on the eve of a national election" »

Morauta criticises O'Neill for a ‘stagnating’ PNG economy

Sir_Mekere_Morauta (RNZI - Koroi Hawkins)Radio New Zealand International

SIR Mekere Morauta has taken issue with prime minister Peter O'Neill's dismissal of concerns raised by university students that the economy was in crisis and that this was one reason they wanted him to resign.

Sir Mekere, a former prime minister of Papua New Guinea, said that only by Mr O'Neill acknowledging the problem and sharing it with Papua New Guineans could solutions be found.

He said families were seeing the cost of food skyrocketing, students had few job prospects after graduation, public servants knew their pays were often late and businesses struggled to get foreign exchange while the economy stagnated.

Continue reading "Morauta criticises O'Neill for a ‘stagnating’ PNG economy" »

UPNG suspends studies; gives students 48 hours to leave campus

Students protestJOY KISSELPAR | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

THE University of Papua New Guinea has suspended the school's first semester for an indefinite period, effectively ending a student boycott of classes.

Students have been boycotting for more than two weeks, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill over alleged corruption and mismanagement.

Acting chancellor Dr Nicolas Mann said the university council's decision is based on recommendations from the university senate.

The senate consist of lecturers, professors and heads of schools within the university.

Students were told they have 48 hours to vacate the campus and that all support amenities for students will cease after that time.

Continue reading "UPNG suspends studies; gives students 48 hours to leave campus" »

Building a sustainable economic future for Bougainville

John Momis, speaking at CairnsJOHN MOMIS | Edited extracts

SUSTAINABLE peace and sustainable economic development are inextricably linked.

While there are many other facets to the ongoing peace-building efforts in Bougainville, there is little prospect for success in peace-building without sustainable economic development.

While we are certainly making some progress, at present we are a long way from achieving that vitally important goal.

As you all know, there are significant challenges in the way of Papua New Guinea finding its way forward towards a realistic path for building a sustainable economic future.

Continue reading "Building a sustainable economic future for Bougainville" »

Reserving small businesses for PNGns – are we ready for this?

Busa Jeremiah WenogoBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO | PNG Informal Economist | Edited extracts

UPON the launch of the new Small-Medium Size Enterprise (SME) policy and its masterplan the Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry announced that the government would look into introducing legislation to reserve certain business activities for Papua New Guineans.

This proposition is very popular among many Papua New Guineans as there is evidence to suggest that most simple businesses which can be run by Papua New Guineans like tucker and trade store are being operated by foreigners.

Regardless, such popular moves should be done strictly from a business sense and not for political convenience.

Localisation and nationalisation if done properly could unleash enormous growth for local enterprises. However, if done purely for political reasons, they could turn disastrous and defeat the intention of the SME policy.

Continue reading "Reserving small businesses for PNGns – are we ready for this?" »

Splendid images revealed from PNG’s post-war colonial period

Male Dancer (Cochrane)KEITH JACKSON

PERCY Cochrane (1907-80) and his wife Renata Cochrane (1919-83) lived in Papua New Guinea for 17 years from 1949-66.

Percy, a talented media professional, was to become Deputy Director (Broadcasts) in the Department of Information and Extension Services where Renata was a Publications Officer.

The Cochranes' work roles and private interests converged in their efforts to photograph, record and document facets of PNG’s cultural life, the work of the colonial Administration and the Catholic Missions.

After leaving PNG they continued to write and make films at the request of media organisations.

The Cochrane Collection was assembled by Renata Cochrane and her daughter Susan in 1981-82 and was given to the University of Wollongong in New South Wales in 1985.

Continue reading "Splendid images revealed from PNG’s post-war colonial period" »

Central Bank governor talks on the state of the PNG economy

Loi BakaniPAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics | Edited extracts

UNFORTUNATELY I missed Papua New Guinea Central Bank governor Loi Bakani’s presentation at last week’s Cairns Business Forum but, if I had been in the room, I would have been surprised at the political nature of the presentation.

It was very different from the tone and coverage of previous ones such as last August’s PNG Advantage Investment Summit in Brisbane.

I support the view that, in times of economic crisis, it is appropriate for senior figures such as the head of Treasury and the governor of the Central Bank to become more engaged in debates to help build confidence.

Continue reading "Central Bank governor talks on the state of the PNG economy" »

Botten strikes: Oil Search’s $3 billion InterOil bid set for success

Peter BottenMATT CHAMBERS | The Australian | Extract

OIL Search’s $3 billion joint bid for InterOil with French oil major Total looks set for success, despite expected opposition from the target’s founder and significant shareholder Phil Mulacek.

As Oil Search’s deal-savvy managing director Peter Botten prepared to head to Papua New Guinea to try to smooth the path with stakeholders, prime minister Peter O’Neill publicly supported the deal and analysts said there was little chance of a better bid or Mr Mulacek getting enough support to vote the deal down.

Meanwhile, shares in the Canada-incorporated, Singapore-based, New York-listed InterOil surged past the minimum deal price on Friday in the US, indicating that investors see value in contingent value rights linked to more gas being proved up at Papua LNG.

Continue reading "Botten strikes: Oil Search’s $3 billion InterOil bid set for success" »

Our corrupt bigman syndrome is pitching rich against poor


THERE is an urgent need to re-order our value system in upholding the democracy and the rule of law in Papua New Guinea.

We have a constitution that applies to every single citizen in this country. But unfortunately it is now divided: one interpretation for the no-profile populace and another for the high-profile.

It is sad for democracy to witness how individuals try to influence the State institutions to corrupt and manipulate the system.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s refusal to go for questioning over allegations against him has now brought a new twist. Police Commissioner Garry Baki over the last few weeks has suppressed our independent State institutions primarily established to uphold democracy and the rule of law.

Continue reading "Our corrupt bigman syndrome is pitching rich against poor" »

Simbu people demand resignation of prime minister O’Neill

Simbu protesters on the marchFRANCIS NII & MATHIAS KIN

THE people of Simbu called upon prime minister Peter O’Neill to resign from office at a recent public forum held in Kundiawa and attended by over 6,000 people.

The forum, jointly organised by university students and Voice of Simbu led by Mathias Kin, was to inform  the people of Simbu and make them aware of how Peter O’Neill has run down Papua New Guinea as well as to explain the Parakagate affair and other allegations involving O’Neill and his government.

The forum also canvassed actions that the people of Simbu could take.

After receiving official permission from the Simbu provincial police commander, Superintendent Albert Beli, Voice of Simbu conducted a province-wide awareness program to inform people of the forum.

People started arriving in Kundiawa as early as eight o’clock last Thursday. At the beginning there was a small misunderstanding with the Kundiawa Police Task Force and the Mobile Squad 8 of Kerowagi when they questioned the legality of the assembly.

Continue reading "Simbu people demand resignation of prime minister O’Neill" »

Has Peter O’Neill become the symbol of all that’s rotten in PNG?


IN AUSTRALIA we talk of the ‘tall poppy syndrome’: the tendency to disparage people who have the gall to do better than the rest of us.

Some other countries have similar practices. In Scandinavia it is known as ‘jante’.

It begins early in life. As kids we used to play a game called ‘king of the castle (and you’re the dirty rascal)’. This involved finding a high point, like the top of the monkey bars in the playground, and fighting each other to reach and stay there for as long as possible.

In Papua New Guinea the tall poppy syndrome manifests itself in the modern aberration of the traditional bigman. When someone attains the status of bigman the name of the game is to bring him down.

Continue reading "Has Peter O’Neill become the symbol of all that’s rotten in PNG?" »

Embracing the future dark to see PNG emerge into the light

Women of the revolutionRASHMII BELL

IT’S 18 January 1915 and Virginia Woolf is 33 years old. She is being monitored by nurses and guards after a suicide attempt six months earlier following a severe bout of depression.

In this, the dawn of the second year of the World War I, Woolf takes to her journal and writes “the future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think”.

She may have been writing about the world’s fate, as much as her own.

Seventy years later, two women sit in a top-floor New York apartment. One sips dandelion-root tea as both pore over fragments of a developing speech.

Continue reading "Embracing the future dark to see PNG emerge into the light" »

Be the Voice

Rose Cassy (Global Fund for Women)WARDLEY D. BARRY-IGIVISA

An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

Be the voice
When silence dominates and ignorance
Shoves cottons down the throats of your fathers;
And fear cripples your mothers’ vocal chords;
And your weeping child is choking for breath
Desperately on the portals of death.
Stand up and sing a song or speak some words.
Carve them on wood; scribble them on papers;
And paste them on walls — nail them on a fence.
Be the voice.

Continue reading "Be the Voice" »

Bougainville independence referendum targeted for mid-2019

Joint Supervisory Body in session, May 2016JOHN MOMIS

The Joint Supervisory Body of Papua New Guinean and Bougainvillean leaders established to oversee implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement met in Port Moresby on Friday chaired jointly by prime minister Peter O'Neill and president John Momis - KJ

THE meeting achieved outcomes of great significance involving preparations for the Bougainville referendum which must be conducted before mid-2020.

In a series of meetings over recent months, a joint team of officials has developed proposals for the referendum.

These include establishing an independent agency to conduct the referendum; a target date of 15 June 2019 for the referendum; a detailed work program of activities and associated funding; and a set of basic messages for an initial joint awareness program.

Continue reading "Bougainville independence referendum targeted for mid-2019" »

The Baya Baya legend: Messiah-like myths amongst the Huli & Foe


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

IN EARLY Huli history, there emerged an important young man named Baya Baya. He was the son of the great high god of Hela, Datagaliwabe, who transformed himself into the sun god Ni, came down to the earth and stayed among the Huli people.

Baya Baya was conceived by the virgin Tiame. He was a perfect young man who went around doing good and persuading people to stop fighting, committing adultery and doing evil things.

He was around 14 or 15 years old when he came with Tiame past Duna to Koroba and then down to Lai Terebo places in Duguba. Lai Terebo is a site for performing the ancient dindi ponegone, the ground knot rites.

From there Tiame and Baya Baya came into the Huli area where they stopped and slept at Gumu.

Then they crossed the Tagali River and went to Lumu Lumu, Wabia and all around the Huli area telling people not to do evil things.

Continue reading "The Baya Baya legend: Messiah-like myths amongst the Huli & Foe" »

Ignoring Bougainville autonomy may rekindle conflict: Momis

John Momis & Peter O'NeillJOHN MOMIS

On Friday, for the first time in six months, and only after protracted efforts, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) succeeded in convening a meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB), the high level group charged with implementing the peace agreement negotiated to end the Bougainville civil war. Observers say the meeting made significant progress in approving major steps to prepare for Bougainville’s referendum on independence to be held by 2020. This is an edited extract of President Momis’s opening remarks to the meeting, which included PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill. Download John Momis's full statement here - KJ

THE reason we are here is that we are implementing a peace agreement – an agreement negotiated with difficulty to end a violent, bloody and destructive conflict in which thousands of people died – people from not only Bougainville, but also from elsewhere in PNG.  

The JSB is by far the most important institution for handling relations between the national government and the ABG. Its three main functions are to enable the two governments to jointly oversee implementation of the peace agreement, to provide a forum for consultation between the two governments and to help resolve disputes.

Continue reading "Ignoring Bougainville autonomy may rekindle conflict: Momis" »

Where is our veneration of the women of the revolution?

Women of the revolutionMICHAEL DOM

IT IS a poet’s duty to look at things under the skin of society, listen to the undertones of conversations, and search the secret doubts, fears and distractions people harbour: hidden feelings simmering beneath the bubbling persona or festering within thoughts, words, actions or inactions that people condone or condemn.

As I see these things I try to discharge that duty, although mostly I just write whatever is in my head.

But today I am duty, concerned about the lack of public comment on my recent PNG Attitude article 'Women of the revolution: female students from UPNG defy police', to which I can add Phil Fitzpatrick’s piece yesterday, ‘As women lead the protest, PNG men let them down’.

Continue reading "Where is our veneration of the women of the revolution?" »

Randolph Stow reconsidered – haunted kiap, dedicated writer

Mick - A Life of Randolph StowPHIL FITZPATRICK

Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow by Suzanne Falkiner, $50, 890 pages. UWA Publishing, February 2016, ISBN: 9781742586601

I WAS never a great fan of Randolph Stow. To me his prose and poetry epitomised the over-intellectualisation of Australian literature that prevailed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Like others, I thought this was a reaction of sorts to the realist tradition and an attempt to divert Australian literature away from its traditional roots – look at us now, we are just as sophisticated as you English writers.

This intellectualisation meant that the poor old reader had to spend time bogged down sifting through obscurities and subtleties and looking under rocks and between bedsheets to work out what the hell the writer was on about.

In contrast, the Americans were publishing good, clean and honest work by the likes of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee and many others.

Perhaps with the difficulties and limited appeal of Stow’s work in mind, Suzanne Falkiner opted to tell us about Mick Stow the man, rather than Randolph Stow the writer. It was a wise choice because Mick Stow was a fascinating man.

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Record deficits, bad assumptions mean PNG needs a new budget

Paul FlanaganPAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics

ONE small controversy at the recent Australia PNG Business Forum held in Cairns last week was whether Papua New Guinea is meeting its Fiscal Responsibility Act targets, specifically whether debt to GDP is being kept below 30% (which was temporarily increased to 35% for 2013 to 2015).

The answer is “probably not” but this is the wrong issue to focus on in PNG.

Part of the problem is that there are great uncertainties about the size of the PNG economy (or GDP).

There was a mistake in calculating GDP in the 2016 budget by about 10% (a pretty big error for a budget document). Using the IMF measure of GDP (which is close but slightly below mine), as well as a more inclusive definition of government debt, the IMF says the ratio was 56% in 2015.

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As women lead the protest, PNG men let them down....

19 May Protest, UPNG

THE active involvement and high profile stand by women in the recent student protests against Peter O’Neill and his corrupt government has largely gone unnoticed in the media.

A short article by writer Michael Dom about their courageous march during the week attracted little comment on PNG Attitude. I found this is decidedly worrying.

In the face of fierce opposition and overt threats by O’Neill’s cronies in the ministry and elsewhere, including the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and the University of Papua New Guinea’s administration, these brave women took the lead ahead of the men and stepped into the fray.

They were taking a huge gamble.

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Trickery at the Croc Pool has been well received across PNG

Trickery hits West New Britain schoolsKEITH JACKSON

MORE than 600 copies of a children’s book of stories written by Crocodile Prize entrants has been a popular addition to the stock of reading materials in many Papua New Guinean schools.

The printing and distribution of the book was sponsored by the Paga Hill Development Company as part of its expansive program of supporting the development of a PNG literature.

Schools in most PNG provinces received the free books, with distribution on the ground organised by PNG Attitude readers.

“At last I managed to get Trickery at the Crocodile Pool to six schools on the Sepik coast west of Wewak,” said Gayle Loup Ani. “My cousin, who is a senior teacher, helped to deliver them.”

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Lack of science education beginning to cause problems for PNG

Malakai TabarPNG Today

THE lack of students in science courses is being blamed for Papua New Guinea’s mining and petroleum sector being flooded with foreigners taking up top jobs.

This was disclosed by Higher Education Minister Malakai Tabar (pictured) this week at the PNG Human Resource Institute annual conference.

Mr Tabar said PNG lacks top scientists, engineers and professionals in graduate courses related to science and mathematics.

“I have received reports from tertiary institutions that that so many students are streaming to social science during their first year,” Mr Tabar said. “This is a concern when it comes to the human resources we need to develop this country.”

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Nation’s pursuit of truth means PM must respect the Constitution

40-Years-Of-The-PNG-ConstitutionBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO | PNG Informal Economist

THE justice that we all seek and the truth that we all yearn for is an undeniable right bequeathed to every Papua New Guinean by God almighty and enshrined in our Constitution.

No one can take that away from us; not even by force. To do so is treason.

When we the people express our dissent against a ‘democratically elected’ government that enslaves our alienable rights through the use of undemocratic tactics, we ought to be heard loud and clear for that is our democratic right.

The creation of any government is a function of our democratic rights; a cornerstone of our democracy. What is a government without the governed? What is a leader without the followers?

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Is Papua New Guinea in a leaderless state?


THE student protests at the major universities is a test of leadership, and I mean true leadership.

This is the third week of the students’ boycott of classes. According to media reports, a handful of ministers fronted up at the University of Papua New Guinea only once.

There are 111 MPs on the floor of Parliament –where are they? These students come from an electorate, a province and a country.

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