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106 posts from July 2016

Let me tell you of the pulse of Papua New Guinea

Aerial View of Heselibi village in the Middle Fly DistrictKEVIN PONDIKOU

HESELIBI Aid Post is in the Middle Fly District of Western Province. I had just finished weekend work at Rumginae and had taken a 6:00am Mission Aviation Fellowship flight to Heselibi via Kiunga.

"Doctor, there's a woman who has a breast abscess for you to review."

An innocuous phrase; a common phrase I've heard time and time again.

Hearing it from community health worker Fauwena Maliabu, staff member at Heselibi Aid Post, was not unusual.

"That's okay. Where is she?"

"She's in the house. She's too sick to come to the aid post".

Continue reading "Let me tell you of the pulse of Papua New Guinea" »

Attacks on journalists a national embarrassment says Polye

Don Polye (Peter Kinjap)PETER S KINJAP

THE attacks on and verbal abuse of media workers as they perform their public duties is an embarrassment to Papua New Guinea’s democracy, says opposition leader Don Polye.

Polye was commenting on journalists and a photographer who narrowly escaped harm while covering the imprisonment of a politician in Port Moresby last week.

“When we are in government, we will fund insurance cover for media personnel and pass laws to protect them from abuses and assaults from public,” he said.

Polye called on the people to understand the roles and responsibilities of the media.

Continue reading "Attacks on journalists a national embarrassment says Polye" »

I Believe


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

I believe in the flightless bird,
That it can soar above the herd.
I believe in the tree leafless;
I believe that its dead branches
Can bear leaves and fruit on a bad day.

I believe in love torn apart.
I believe there’re songs in your heart’;
There’s a music in your silence,
And in your silence there’s romance.
I believe that nothing dies away.

Continue reading "I Believe" »

Messing with the world – why do we do it?

The elders meet (Janes Oceania)PHIL FITZPATRICK

WHEN I first returned from Papua New Guinea in 1974 I got a job with the South Australian Museum working with Aboriginal people in the remote Pitjantjatjara lands.

The Museum made the mistaken assumption that if I had worked in Papua New Guinea I was ideally suited to work with Aboriginal groups.

I must admit that I believed the same thing until I got on the ground out in the desert. I had obviously brought back from Papua New Guinea that attitude of ‘colonial superiority’ that Rashmii Bell alluded to in a recent PNG Attitude article.

Continue reading "Messing with the world – why do we do it?" »

Kelly Naru (and others) display ignorance of our PNG law


WE KNOW that Kelly Naru, the Morobe governor, is a lawyer as well as a high-profile politician and that in the no confidence motion of Friday 22 July he supported prime minister Peter O’Neill.

In his speech before the vote, Naru (pictured) called on the executive and legislative arms of national government to launch a judicial review because in, his professional view, important provisions of our mama law (the national constitution) had been breached.

These provisions are sections 99 (structure of government), 115 (parliamentary privileges and immunities) and 37 (protection of the law). The media widely reported his statement.

Naru's professional view of the essence of each of these provisions, and particularly their respective scope, shows his ignorance of the law on which these provisions are based. Here is why.

Continue reading "Kelly Naru (and others) display ignorance of our PNG law" »

Crocodile Prize entry deadline set for September

The rough draftQUINTINA NAIME

ENTRY submissions for Papua New Guinea’s highest literary award, the annual Crocodile Prize writing competition, will close on Friday 30 September.

The extension of the deadline by two months is due to the increased interest shown by PNG writers.

The Crocodile Prize for Literature was founded in 2011 to encourage creative and critical writing in PNG.

It attracted over 800 entries last year and 166 were published in the annual anthology, which is distributed to schools across the country.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize entry deadline set for September" »

Gov Naru, I challenge you to have me arrested as a terrorist


IT IS with dismay that I read that Kelly Naru had abused parliamentary privilege by labelling concerned professional Papua New Guineans as domestic terrorists.

We, the citizens of Papua New Guinea, have given you a mandate for five years to represent us, not yourselves, in parliament.

How it turned into a total abuse of power and deliberately misconstruing the constitution to justify politicians' criminal acts while turning it against us, the true owners of power, is absolutely condemnable in the strongest possible terms.

Continue reading "Gov Naru, I challenge you to have me arrested as a terrorist" »

In praise of those dedicated & skilled rural health workers

Lenny John and Sr Belinda Apian, community health workersARTHUR WILLIAMS

WITHOUT Papua New Guinea’s rural health workers I wouldn't be alive today.

Lavongai Island never had its own doctor during my more than 40 years connection with the place.

The best we had were health extension officers who had to be able to deal with all sort of medical emergencies and were generally as good as a doctor.

Here in far off Wales where I now live, if I ring for an appointment to see a doctor they ask which one. After the PNG years of my life, I always say anyone will do and give thanks. Similarly with dentists.

Continue reading "In praise of those dedicated & skilled rural health workers" »

Democracy alive & well in PNG; but the times are dangerous

Powerful messageCHRIS OVERLAND

I WOULD contend that democracy is alive and well in Papua New Guinea despite the obvious abuses of power perpetrated by PNG's first genuine strongman in Peter O'Neill, who operates in the style epitomised by Robert Mugabe.

The problem is that the democratic processes keep producing politicians whose first and only priority is the acquisition of personal power, influence and, of course, money.

Electoral success translates into the means to both enrich themselves and fulfill obligations to their wantoks.

This is entirely consistent with both the traditions of the past and the much more modern phenomenon whereby successful politicians and parties across the world increasingly rely upon bribes in various forms to ensure electoral success.

Continue reading "Democracy alive & well in PNG; but the times are dangerous" »

'Cannibal Crusade': A bloody disgusting load of nonsense

Grainger-s-world-cannibal-crusade-5PETER KRANZ

SORRY to have to say this, but I have just seen the most egregious piece of pseudo-anthropological nonsense ever shown on Australian television.

It is entitled Cannibal Crusade and has just been screened on Channel 7; a sham perpetrated by Greg Grainger who should know better. Its very title says all that needs to be said.

The mockumentary purports to be an exciting trek into the untouched wilds of West Papua, in the Baliem Valley and amongst the Dani and Asmat peoples.

Grainger relentlessly portrays the timeworn western stereotypes about the Melanesian people.

Continue reading "'Cannibal Crusade': A bloody disgusting load of nonsense" »

The Papua New Guinea echo

PNG Echo (Kevin Pondikou)KEVIN PONDRIKOU

I WAS sleeping this morning when I got a call on the two-way radio. I was glad to wake up because I was having a weird dream. The dream was stopped by the call, but it continued to echo.

The story began a year ago when a 13 year old girl was admitted feeling tired and weak. She had experienced weight loss and fever and was thin. She sat there very quietly and didn't utter a word.

At a loss for a diagnosis, I started her on treatment for sputum negative tuberculosis. Within a week she had improved and regained strength.

Continue reading "The Papua New Guinea echo" »

A plane of weary & somewhat despondent equivalency

NT-abuse-of-teens-in-detention (ABC)CHRIS OVERLAND

I HAVE just returned from a week spent in Alice Springs in central Australia. I went there with some reluctance because I find the town profoundly depressing.

It is in this context that I am compelled to reflect upon the words of Rashmii Bell, who once again has favoured us with an intelligent and thoughtful article.

Alice Springs is full of indigenous Australians with nothing to do and nowhere to do it. Amongst those who live in what is called the "town camp", alcohol and drug abuse is rife and violence, especially against women, is endemic.

Continue reading "A plane of weary & somewhat despondent equivalency" »

Where Am I From?

My land (Human Rights Watch)GREGORY BABLIS

A poem about identity and unity and the things
that make us different yet interlink us

I am from land,
          from river, sea and mountain.
I am from valley and volcano,
          from chilly mountain breeze and steaming lava.
I am from mother, father, uncle and aunty,
          proud in traditions, passed through generations.
I am from a wild,
          yet structured social organisation,
          of stories untold and yet to be told,
          lingering in the present and seeping to the future.

Continue reading "Where Am I From?" »

A charter to make our country a better place

Gary Juffa and friendsGARY JUFFA

NOW the no confidence vote is over, I return to attending to my duties as a Governor.

I am not interested in pursuing the no confidence matter further because I have limited time and resources.

To those in opposition who wish to go on with this, you may be right but it may be impractical and costly. It is a cost I simply cannot afford.

The no confidence vote showed that the PM has the confidence of the elected leaders in parliament. For whatever reason, they choose to remain steadfast in their support.

The opposition needs to re-examine its strategies and   with the business of keeping the government in check. However it must do so intelligently, strategically and responsibly.

Continue reading "A charter to make our country a better place" »

Roads, bridges & sea links the key to effective aid delivery

Building the road to KarimuiFRANCIS NII

LAST week we read Lindsay Bond’s story of the opening of three bridges worth K139 million at Eroro, Girua and Ambogo in Oro Province, built with the support of Australian aid, and yesterday we read of the death of a mother of eight children in Dr Kevin Pondikou’s searingly personal piece.

These articles brought a million thoughts to my mind of what wonders Australian aid could have brought to Papua New Guinea had more attention been focused on building roads and bridges to link rural areas and urban centres.

Australia spent millions of dollars on her colony prior to independence and continues to spend $500 million annually even today, but why has this aid money not transformed the lives of the rural masses scattered across remote and mountainous terrain and on islands separated by often treacherous seas?

Continue reading "Roads, bridges & sea links the key to effective aid delivery" »

Today a woman died: glimpses of life at a rural mission hospital


A CRITICALLY ill mother of eight children was flown in to Rumginae from Yehebi on Tuesday.

She was flown here by our Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilots based in Rumginae in what was a last ditch effort to save her life.

This courageous woman was suffering from what turned out to be disseminated tuberculosis with cor pulmonale, heart failure secondary to lung disease.

A long term missionary at Yehebi, Dale, and his wife had sponsored her and her husband’s tickets to fly to Rumginae.

It was another glimpse into the awe-inspiring work that missionaries continue to do for rural Papua New Guinea in 2016.

Continue reading "Today a woman died: glimpses of life at a rural mission hospital" »

A much needed firelight in PNG’s starless night


ABCDreams by WD Barry-Igivisa, Pukpuk Publications, 2016, ISBN: 978-1535429733, 221 pages. Available from Amazon Books for US$10 plus postage

AS PAPUA New Guinean writers and poets GO from strength to strength, this book of poems is yet another example of a young poet taking his work into the public forum with confidence and passion.

Wardley D Barry-Igivisa represents a second wave of poets emerging through the Crocodile Prize, although he has been honing his skills elsewhere for some years now.

In this book, we find selected poems that provide a kaleidoscope of our young poet’s vision.

We can say with great pride that, since the rekindling of PNG’s literary flame in 2010, a small spark has grown into a steady blaze and its cinders, carried by the winds of change, now flutter and flicker into dark Melanesian skies.

Continue reading "A much needed firelight in PNG’s starless night" »

Innocence of Childhood


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

In the innocence of childhood
I saw pictures
Of fathers and children
Much like me and my dad
Of women with bilums
Like grandma and mum
Why do they flee
When the land is theirs?

In the innocence of childhood
I saw dark haired strangers
In photos all in green
Bearing tools of war
With a man just like
My uncle Jimmy
Lying dead at their feet
Why did they shoot him dead
When the land is his?

Continue reading "Innocence of Childhood" »

Peter O'Neill survives, but PNG's democracy is teetering


IN WHAT seemed to be an overwhelming display of strength, the PNG Parliament last Friday voted by 85 to 21 to retain Prime Minister Peter O'Neill until the 2017 national election.

The numbers were potentially much closer. Three former prime ministers – Michael Somare, Mekere Morauta and Julius Chan – voted with the opposition but a fourth, Paias Wingti, decided just before the vote to support the government. He could have brought with him up to 26 votes, and this may have triggered others to abandon O'Neill.

The road to the vote of no confidence was painful, even deadly.

Continue reading "Peter O'Neill survives, but PNG's democracy is teetering" »

PNG governance: Is Australia in a position to cast judgement?


“Everyone seems to have a clear idea about how others should lead their lives, but none about their own” – The Alchemist, Paul Coehlo

WHEN it comes to my offspring, there is but a smidgin of room for criticism.

There was an occasion when my child’s teacher observed him throwing away is homemade lunch.

She informed me that, whilst troubled by this turn of events, she’d decided against reprimand and acted in accordance to the school’s behaviour management policy.

I responded by quizzing said teacher to explain how the school’s policy justified punishing a six year old’s misdemeanour by the binning of an uneaten, greaseproof paper-wrapped ham and cheese sandwich.

Continue reading "PNG governance: Is Australia in a position to cast judgement?" »

Corruption is threat to growth, so how about the death penalty?


THE critical observations by some of our intellectuals, scholars, senior statesmen and former prime ministers on the level of corruption in Papua New Guinea must command the attention of all levels of government, stakeholders, development partners and society at large.

Let me establish that it takes generations to change a society. It is not easy to bring together the two ends of the spectrum: government policies at one end and expected results delivered at the other.

I was raised among rural people and I still live in my rural village in the Tambul-Nebilyer District of the Western Highlands Province. I have also travelled to very remote villages in my country. And I have lived and worked in Port Moresby – a rapidly growing city with mixed attitudes and cultures.

Continue reading "Corruption is threat to growth, so how about the death penalty?" »

‘That day I saw the power of media, and how it can be tragic’

Emily Matasororo ... in the background, images of heavily armed policeDAVID ROBIE | Café Pacific

SURPRISING that a conference involving some of the brightest minds in journalism education from around the world should be ignored by New Zealand’s local media.

Some 220 people from 43 countries were at the Fourth World Journalism Education Congress conference in Auckland.

The range of diversity alone at the Auckland University of Technology hosted event was appealing, but it was the heady mix of ideas and contributions that offered an inspiring backdrop.

Topics included strategies for teaching journalism for mobile platforms; 'dewesternising' journalism education; transmedia storytelling; digital media under the periscope; new views on distance learning, and ethical issues in journalism were just a representative sample of what was on offer.

Continue reading "‘That day I saw the power of media, and how it can be tragic’" »

Controversial lawyer forms new party to contest 2017 election


THE colourful and controversial lawyer Paul Paraka, 48, has launched a new political party, the 34th in Papua New Guinea, and announced his intention to contest the 2017 national elections.

Mr Paraka said the Grassroots United Front Party will transform people’s lives and communities through the political process and public service.

He said he felt that, after 22 years, he had reached a pinnacle in building a little known law practice in 1994 to one of the biggest local law firms in PNG.

He also said that throughout his private legal career he had given a lot to grassroots communities that this is the right time to take the next step to lead the grassroots’ cause in PNG.

Continue reading "Controversial lawyer forms new party to contest 2017 election" »

PNG radio announcers Loqie, Didi & Elton release hit single

Loqie, Didi and Elton from 99.5 Rait FMAsia Radio Today

LOQIE, Didi and Elton from Port Moresby-based 99.5 Rait FM have released a song and a video that have gone viral.

The station’s popular breakfast hosts got the idea after Didi found a 10-year old video clip on YouTube of an original song from Loqie and Elton when they were in a band called Scholastic.

The clip had received 22,000 views and the songs had some popularity 10 years earlier.

When Didi played some of the audio on air, and the original clip was shared on the stations Facebook page, listeners suggested they audition for the TV Show Vocal Fusion, PNG’s version of Idol, that was about to run in Port Moresby.

Continue reading "PNG radio announcers Loqie, Didi & Elton release hit single" »

Community leaders meet in Madang to plan for 2017 elections

Effrey DademoAct Now!

AROUND 70 community leaders from Madang Province met this week to discuss the lack of development taking place in the provinces and to begin organising ahead of the 2017 national election.

The meeting was arranged by community advocacy group Act Now! and was hosted by the Tropical Gem community network.

“Successive governments have failed to improve the lives of most people, especially those living in rural areas and urban settlements”, said Act Now! program manager, Effrey Dademo (pictured).

“Government’s have been too focused on large scale resource extraction projects like mines and logging that boost economic growth but do not help ordinary people.”

Continue reading "Community leaders meet in Madang to plan for 2017 elections" »

Vote of confidence in O’Neill is a victory for corruption in PNG


SADLY the vote of confidence in the prime minister exercised 85-21 by the PNG parliament on the floor of the Haus Tambaran yesterday is a victory for corruption in Papua New Guinea.

The vote of no confidence against prime minister Peter O’Neill was a test of leadership ethics and good governance for parliamentarians.

The victory has not vindicated Peter O’Neill of alleged corruption relating to the K81.7 million paid out to Paul Paraka Lawyers.

This was the core issue that prompted civil society, university students, national pilots, port workers, doctors, health workers and opposition members of parliament to call for O’Neill to step down. It still remains.

Continue reading "Vote of confidence in O’Neill is a victory for corruption in PNG" »

It is time to heal and build a better Papua New Guinea

Martyn Namorong 2015MARTYN NAMORONG

YESTERDAY I was disappointed. Not because the opposition didn’t win the vote of no confidence, but because of the lack of a better alternative to the status quo. 

I’ve noted how some have demonised the speaker of parliament for quelling debate but let’s be realistic - the opposition did not have the numbers on the floor.

Many commentators may have their opinions on why the status quo wasn’t changed. To my mind, change did not occur because there was no better alternative. Change did not happen because the whole of Papua New Guinea wasn’t inspired by a better alternative, to move for change.

Continue reading "It is time to heal and build a better Papua New Guinea" »

Bougainville considers next steps in response to Rio abdication

Robin WilsonROBIN WILSON | Bougainville Minister for Mines | Edited extracts

PRESIDENT Momis has made clear that it is completely unacceptable to the people of Bougainville that the PNG national government have an equal shareholding in Bougainville Copper Ltd with the Autonomous Government of Bougainville.

As mining minister, I firmly believe that if the 17.4% of shares taken up by the national government-owned company Petromin on 30 June are not transferred to the ABG, I will have no choice but to cancel the exploration licence.

That would not be an ideal situation. BCL has about K138 million in funding and it holds the drilling data for the Panguna ore body as well as all other records of the company.

Continue reading "Bougainville considers next steps in response to Rio abdication" »

Peter O’Neill is comfortable winner of no confidence vote

PNG parliament this morningKEITH JACKSON

FORCED by the Supreme Court to a parliamentary vote of no confidence yesterday, prime minister Peter O'Neill survived in his job by a comfortable 85-21 majority.

The vote came after two months of protests and demands by students, pilots, port workers, doctors and other health workers who had called upon O’Neill to resign over a long-running corruption case.

He has been fighting a warrant for his arrest on official corruption charges for two years, saying the allegations against him are politically motivated.

Continue reading "Peter O’Neill is comfortable winner of no confidence vote" »

When the talking ends & the numbers prove immutable, then....


OK, SO here we go. The opposition has put in a strong performance. Don Polye and company have pulled a credible number of MPs their way. And they are talking the winners’ talk.

Commendable politics, perhaps, but all indications are that they will fall well short of the 56 members they need when an acrimonious parliament meets at 10:30 this morning and the crucial vote of no confidence in Peter O’Neill’s prime ministership comes to its climax in the Haus Tambaran.

O’Neill, with a depleted treasury, a struggling economy and parliamentary numbers smaller than they were at the beginning of the week, still seems to have enough political fuel to enable him to walk the victor’s walk.

Continue reading "When the talking ends & the numbers prove immutable, then...." »

Peter O’Neill lied to me about Rio’s decision to quit BCL

John Momis & Peter O'NeillJOHN MOMIS | Edited extract

Download President Momis's full statement to the Bougainville parliament on the conspiratorial politics surrounding the Rio Tinto decision

WHEN I met prime minister Peter O’Neill on Saturday 2 July, I was not aware that the national government had already accepted the transfer of 17.4% equity from Rio Tinto.

I was initially reassured that he understood the serious dangers involved in the national government accepting the equity. I believed he understood our concerns and was ready to consider the shares coming to Bougainville.

But later that day, I received the information that the national government had already accepted transfer of the shares. I immediately wrote to the prime minister, demanding that the shares be transferred to Bougainville.

Continue reading "Peter O’Neill lied to me about Rio’s decision to quit BCL" »



Dilemma - "To have to choose one of two alternatives, both unfavourable; to be forced to choose between equal evils."

IN THE 1960s British philosopher Gilbert Ryle wrote an influential book entitled Dilemmas and this has become a foundation text for many Ethics classes to this day.

My late father once told me of a heart-wrenching dilemma in Papua New Guinea faced by his best friend from student days, Ernie Lemke.

After graduating in the late 1940s, Lemke ended up as a young missionary in Papua New Guinea with his lovely wife and first-born son.

They were travelling up the Fly river in the wet season on a mission boat when there was a fire in the engine room and the boat exploded throwing them into the river.  

Continue reading "Dilemmas" »

O’Neill’s K3 million hand-out on eve of no confidence vote

Peter.kinjapPETER S KINJAP

A PAPUA New Guinea Treasury source has revealed that the O'Neill-Dion government has ordered a payment of K3 million to each government member of parliament at the so-called ‘Alotau retreat’.

The funding will be provided under the district services improvement program.

The source, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the Finance Department has been instructed to make payment this week ahead of tomorrow’s vote of no confidence in prime minister Peter O’Neill.

Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan confirmed that the instrument to facilitate payments has been signed and funds are expected to be released tomorrow.

Continue reading "O’Neill’s K3 million hand-out on eve of no confidence vote" »

How our country is run: A government that lies to the people


MY POSITION on the current political situation is very simple, and very firm. I stand for the good of the nation. I stand for the good of my province. And above all; I stand for the good of the people.

I support good government. I support the opposition. I support the people. I ask all other members of parliament to do the same.

For the last few years, I have seen governments mad for power, spending their money buying support but forgetting the needs of the people.

Continue reading "How our country is run: A government that lies to the people" »

Two days to go – and bribery looms large in the political rhetoric

O'Neill and ministersKEITH JACKSON

"WE BELIEVE in dreams,” said opposition leader Don Polye yesterday as he called upon Peter O’Neill’s coalition allies [right] to abscond and join his ‘Fathers of the Nation’ group. “These dreams will be provided by this team.”

He was speaking at the opposition’s ‘camp’ at Port Moresby’s Laguna Hotel far away from O’Neill’s squadrons in far away Alotau.

"This team is solid and the number is growing firmly and strong,” the Don added, sounding confident that the likes of Sir Michael Somare and Sir Julius Chan has given the opposition’s insurgency the boost it needs.

Continue reading "Two days to go – and bribery looms large in the political rhetoric" »

Husat inap sanap? Three cardinal sins O’Neill should not survive


“Peter O'Neill has committed three cardinal sins which no prime minister of a modern liberal democracy can expect to survive: blatant disregard of the rule of law, mismanagement of the economy and refusal to heed the public outcry to step down from public office” - Dr Anthony Deklin, one of PNG's first constitutional lawyers and former senior lecturer at the University of Canberra Law School

AMONG the hectic politics of money changing hands going on in Alotau and elsewhere at the moment, Papua New Guineans can easily lose sight of the three cardinal sins Peter O'Neill has committed as PNG prime minister.

These are the core issues that remain unresolved and have led to the confrontation between the national politicians that will take place on the floor of parliament this Friday.

These issues are apart from the social and economic costs the country has so far had to endure outside the parliamentary precinct, including the sacrifice of one university student's life.

Continue reading "Husat inap sanap? Three cardinal sins O’Neill should not survive" »

Peter O’Neill – serial raider leaves PNG with a bare cupboard


PAPUA New Guinea can no longer afford Peter O’Neill’s raids on public institutions to keep himself in the prime minister’s chair.

The cupboard is bare, and everyone knows it.

The prime minister is a serial raider, but there is nothing left to raid. He has nowhere to go except overseas and borrow at high interest rates.

Mr O’Neill’s history is littered with the wreckage of his raids – National Provident Fund, Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation, Finance Pacific, Resource and Investment Finance Corporation (RIFL), the Treasury coffers, and state-owned enterprises.

Continue reading "Peter O’Neill – serial raider leaves PNG with a bare cupboard" »

A big week continues with everyone looking out for us

Post-Courier front pageKEITH JACKSON

NO sooner had the PNG Post-Courier appeared yesterday morning with a front page story that the O’Neill government was taking 91 votes (out of 111) into Friday’s vote of no confidence than there was a roll call in Alotau indicating the number was in fact 81.

Yesterday was that sort of a day. Even members of parliament you never heard of are being described as “prominent”. And EMTV said the vote would be on Thursday. Do they know something we don’t?

It was a day on which the National Doctors Association gave Peter O’Neill 21 days to respond to its prescription or its members will stop work.

The prescription/petition was a triple bunger: O’Neill to step down and subject himself to the rule of law; fully reinstate funds to the health sector and church health services; and immediately recommence the academic year at UPNG’s medical school.

Continue reading "A big week continues with everyone looking out for us" »

Unless PNG sees reason, it won’t mine in Bougainville, says Momis


A SPECIAL week-long session of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) sits from today to discuss the shock decision of Rio Tinto to divest all of its shares in Bougainville Copper Ltd.

Three weeks ago Rio Tinto decided to quit its controlling equity in Bougainville Copper Ltd and split it so that both Papua New Guinea and Bougainville governments have an equal share.

This would give each government 36.4% percent of BCL despite Bougainville's determination to secure a majority stake.

Bougainville's President John Momis remains confident he can persuade the PNG government to allow Bougainvilleans a controlling stake.

Continue reading "Unless PNG sees reason, it won’t mine in Bougainville, says Momis" »

Two new books from the prolific keyboard of Marlene Potoura

Emotionally FamishedPHIL FITZPATRICK

Emotionally Famished by Marlene Dee Gray Potoura, Pukpuk Publications, 2016, 123 pages, ISBN: 978-1535268714, US$6.03 plus postage from Amazon Books.

My Brother Warrollu by Marlene Dee Gray Potoura, Pukpuk Publications, 2016, 134 pages, ISBN: 978-1535268738, US$6.33 plus postage from Amazon Books.

AMONG the final new Pukpuk Publications books for this year are two by one of my favourite Papua New Guinean writers, the prolific Marlene Dee Gray Potoura.

One is a second book of 21 short stories and the other is the first in a series of books for children, something we must pay more attention to in 2017.

Marlene’s stories have always landed on the short list for the Crocodile Prize but she has always been pipped at the post by something else that catches the judge’s eyes.

Continue reading "Two new books from the prolific keyboard of Marlene Potoura" »

Both sides shadow box as struggle for numbers continues in PNG

Belden Namah, Ben Micah & opposition MPs relax in Port MoresbyKEITH JACKSON

AS OPPOSITION members took a leisurely Sunday stroll through Port Moresby yesterday – almost as if they had nothing to lose except a few kilos – the O’Neill government was corralling its coalition MPs into camp at Alotau.

Here it was seeking to keep them out of harm’s way, also known as "inducements like money and ministries", as Finance Minister James Marape, who seems to know about such things, pointed out.

Along with Peter O'Neill, Marape is still expected to turn up some time for a discussion with anti-corruption police investigating the apparent payment of some $30 million of allegedly fraudulent legal bills to Paraka Lawyers.

But Marape had other matters on his mind yesterday. He felt able to claim the government had 91 of the 111 members of parliament on side for Friday's no confidence vote while smacking former senior minister Ben Micah for defecting to the opposition because he was "sulking" after his bid to be deputy prime minister was rejected.

Continue reading "Both sides shadow box as struggle for numbers continues in PNG" »

A Kiap’s Chronicle: 10 – Incident at Obura

Obura patrols (Bill Brown)BILL BROWN MBE

WE ALL make mistakes, and Patrol Officer Bruce (BWP) Burge was no exception.

He was engaged on a routine task, revising the census in Baira village, when he heard about tribal fighting in which two people had been killed.

Accompanied by his small detachment of five police, he crossed to the left bank of the Lamari River to Atiera village, but by the time he got there the death toll had increased.

Four Obura and two more Atiera warriors had been killed.

That evening, Burge tried to convince the Atiera men that they should accompany him to Obura village to make peace. The next morning, when they refused to do so, he arrested the luluai and another man.

All hell broke loose; the Atiera warriors launched a fusillade of arrows at the patrol and the police returned fire.

Burge then made his second mistake.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 10 – Incident at Obura" »

Academic calls for probe of media coverage of student protests


A PAPUA New Guinea media educator has called for an investigation into coverage of the two months of protest at the nation’s universities, including last month’s incident when police opened fire on peaceful students.

Emily Matasorosoro, leader of the journalism strand at the University of Papua New Guinea, was critical of students protesting against the media earlier in the period of unrest for burning the two national newspapers, PNG Post-Courier and The National, on campus.

But, she added, they did this to “show their frustrations” over how they viewed the media as taking sides in the dispute.

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PNG internet services looking at era of rapid improvement

Rural communicationOxford Business Group | Edited extracts

INCREASED investment in telecommunications infrastructure is set to improve Papua New Guinea’s internet capacity, extending coverage across the country and paving the way to roll out 4G LTE (long-term evolution) services.

With low fixed-line internet and telephone penetration rates last year – at 9.4% and 1.9%, respectively – connectivity in PNG is mainly being driven by mobile phone ownership, with penetration rates standing at 49% earlier this year.

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Pacific regional update conference starts at USP today

2015 Pacific Update conferencePETER SOLO KINJAP in Suva

REGIONAL policymakers, academics and development practitioners gather at at the University of South Pacific in Suva today for the 2016 Pacific Update Conference.

The event has been described as providing an opportunity for Pacific countries "to walk in tandem with the rest of the world".

For the next two days they will present research and discuss the latest economic and social developments in the region.

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O’Neill govt attacks defector Micah & says it has the numbers

James Marape (Post-Courier)JAMES MARAPE | Media Statement

Finance Minister James Marape (right), speaking for the O’Neill government caucus which is meeting in Alotau, has said government numbers are strong in the lead-up to the return of parliament on Friday….

I ASSURE all our investors, business community and citizens that our government numbers stand with People’s National Congress at 59, National Alliance at 14, United Resources Party at eight and a number from PPP, NGP, SOP, POM and other independents.

We have 91 members of parliament in the government as we speak. Contrast that with the 17 members who were with the opposition in parliament on Friday.

Whilst it is their democratic right to exercise section 145, the unstable image of the country being portrayed continues to derail work and development and investment in this country.

I ask all political party leaders, to come to the parliament with your numbers, and to stop ringing my members offering inducements like money and ministries.

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Official enforcement group to crack down on 'threats'


THE hard men of Papua New Guinean politics have established their own gang of enforcers to intimidate people they assess as posing a threat to their authority.

They have appointed controversial police commissioner Gari Baki to command what they call the National Joint Security Taskforce (NJST) which joins NIO and NASC in the alphabet soup that is PNG's response to perceived threats from its citizens.

The nominated role of NJST is to investigate and prosecute people seen as a threat to the country's internal security.

But its brief is broad and seems aimed at coercing citizens, including politicians, whose activities are perceived to be a threat to the O’Neill government.

In an extraordinary move, elements of the PNG Defence Force will participate in the taskforce in the rank of special constables.

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Separation of powers. Why do Powes & Theo worry now?

Powes ParkopPAUL OATES

IT WAS an interesting development when Friday’s vote of no confidence in prime minister Peter O'Neill was postponed for seven days.

Now the vote will be taken next Friday – putting it even closer to the end of the July when the ability to move no confidence expires because of the provision it cannot be done within one year of a national election.

In the meantime, Ben Micah and his People’s Progress Party (six MPs in all) have moved to the opposition benches as have three Next Generation Party members.

According to former opposition leader Belden Namah, many others are about to jump ship.

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