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

Association secretary Dr Sam Yockopua said all three must be achieved by Thursday 4 August or it will be down scalpels and swabs and doctors will walk off their posts.

Yockopua added that NDA is supported by other medicos including the Nurses Association, Community Health Workers Union, Allied Health Workers Association, Health Support Workers Association, Health Extension Officers Association, Medical Laboratory Technicians Association and Health Inspectors Association.

Not wanting to let the prime minister down gently, Dr Yockopua described him in clinical terms as a "mad drunk driving the bus at 200kph".

Meanwhile, political commentator Deni ToKunai (@Tavurvur), tired of airline executives constantly saying all their birds were in the air, tweeted that people “shouldn’t believe Air Niugini's PR spin re services returning to normal and passengers being a priority.”

Services were far from back to normal and passengers were abandoned without assistance all over the country – including mothers who had been at a conference and their young kids.

And New Zealand journalist Johnny Blades quoted minister Justin Tkatchenko saying that, under O’Neill, MPs had been “doing unbelievable things with district funds." Which was sufficiently ambiguous for Oro Governor Garry Juffa to respond that the government claimed to be investing in all districts but “really the funds are campaign funds for their members, never monitored and grossly mismanaged.”

What is unbelievable to Tkatchenko is slush for the rest of us.

Meanwhile the government MPs in Alotau (where the 81 may have shrunk further by now, perhaps to 71) were in ‘camp’ at what one of our readers named as a luxury hotel where doing it tough means having to use your own toothpick.

Sir Michael joins the opposition campBack in Port Moresby, the opposition spent a quietish day counting the 16 members the Post-Courier said they had but constantly coming up with 30 until, in the afternoon, morale and numbers were boosted as Sir Michael Somare formally joined the group (left).

Has the 80 year old still got the pulling power to get some of those younger MPs taking a chance on his judgement about who deserves to be in charge?

Earlier in the day, before The Chief had landed, People’s Progress Party Leader and Kavieng MP, Ben Micah, who had defected to the opposition on Friday and split his party in doing so, fired an idle volley at prime minister O’Neill, telling him to “stop the arrogant game and step down”.

He then thoroughly confused radio listeners and me by saying, “I’d rather prepare to be on the side of right but the cry of the eight million people of this country is what I prefer to listen to rather than fooling myself to be with a government that is not putting the people first.”

He added that the Opposition “can be powerful in the last minute because anything can happen.” I think that meant he wasn’t entirely giving the game away. Then The Chief turned up.

Let me now introduce Bire Kimisopa MP, his confidence at joining the opposition boosted by being called “prominent” by a journalist.

Kimisope said he and his three New Generation Party MPs were peeved with the state of the economy, peeved by nationwide protests and peeved by the prime minister's evasion of a corruption investigation.

"It's a culmination of a number of things,” he said of his group’s defection. “Political, social and just the complete disrespect for the rule of law and also, I think, a move by our citizens right across the country demanding that there is a change of political direction."

"So our party has decided that it needs to heed the call from our people and make that move appropriately," he explained.

Isaac Lupari (The National)That was good stuff. But no account of yesterday’s events would be complete without revisiting the scene of chief secretary Isaac Lupari’s National Security Joint Task Force, or NaStI. That's Isaac speaking at right.

Postings on social and mainstream media will be monitored, he said. So, welcome to Attitude, Isaac. Enjoy.

He also said threats on Facebook and blog sites were becoming “prevalent”. “Without checking the facts and your report is a threat,” he said. (I hope I got that right.)

“Any politician who issue threats through press conferences, petitions by landowners – those are potential threats to national security - and they will come under the scrutiny of the task force now established.

“You can’t take the law into your own hands because the Constitution provides you that liberty.

“You have to respect, and if you don’t respect those liberties, then you are abusing and have gone beyond the boundaries of those laws. That then becomes unlawful.

“There are those citizens who attack me, destroy public property, just because of this notion that the Constitution gives them the right to do this. This is absolutely wrong.

“The law gives you the right, but the right is a qualified right. You must operate within the laws of this country. You have to respect the liberties and rights of every citizen of this country.”

Phew, I’m glad the chief secretary cleared that up before I got to the end of this piece.

Dihm_WilliamMeanwhile, the National Security Advisory Council (NACd not NaStI), has, according to foreign affairs secretary William Dihm (left), received threats to people, leaders and public assets.

So Dihm has made it his job to “find out whether there are external linkages working in collaboration with people making the kinds of threats against the state of PNG.

"We have stepped up work early this week and discussion has taken place."

So it’s all happening on the security front in PNG. It must be nice to live in a country where so many people are looking out for you amongst all those threats.

And looking after themselves, too, of course.


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Bernard Corden

Just finished watching the ABC Foreign Correspondent program.
You can blow out a candle but you can't blow out a fire.

Paul Oates

The ex Attorney General MP Kerenga Kua is reported in today's PNG media as saying that '... the PNC-led Government’s enticement of Members of Parliament now camped at Alotau is an act of bribery.'.

If that is so, what would happen if someone made an official complaint?

William Dunlop

Ah well, so we now have William Dhim finding anti-State villains to order. He should bear in mind Ali Baba O'Neill and his band of thieves all centralised in Alotau.

Arthur Williams

Hi Keith - Wonder when you'll get a midnight knock on door. If Erdogan had been ousted he could have come over as an ex-spurt on security matters for embattled O'Neill.

I'm awake because one of my daughters woke me - it's two in morning. I had sent some cash to her and for a second day running Westpac was unable to issue it ....'system down' both days.

MoneyGram on i-net shows money ready to be collected in Kavieng. They told her to wait couple of hours again today. I just wonder if it's anything to do with BPNG shortage of reserves etc.

Calls cost K5 a minute using old system because she hasn't got WhatsApp or similar. Such is life. Bloody well don't feel like sleeping now.

Watch your back and keep us informed as always.

PNG is pretty much out of foreign reserves. Those of us owed money, and my company is amongst them, know that only too well. As for my back, they're bloody welcome to it - KJ

Lindsay F Bond

Lessons for this week:
A canvas tent is probably not much of a house
A cycle (bi, tri, etc) is probably not a motorised vehicle
A canoe is probably not steaming ahead
A comment among people is probably not much more than friendly
A canvassing 'speak' is probably not more than democracy requires
Lessons for next week:
Love the weak...

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