Previous month:
June 2017
Next month:
August 2017

107 posts from July 2017

At this critical time, PNG needs greatness to step forward


THE declaration of Sir Mekere Morauta’s success in the seat of Moresby North West brought a big sigh of relieve to citizens across Papua New Guinea eager for the formation of a new government.

There are good reasons for the PNG people to have great hope in Sir Mek, given he has an impressive track record in instituting economic reform.

Many Papua New Guineans will recall the difficulty the nation faced when he became prim minister. It took great courage to introduce painstaking reforms to bring the health of the economy back to a stable condition.

As a result, his leadership had its fair share of controversy but we can leave that to history and God to judge. If there is anything to learn from that trying time, it is that now we need courageous leadership.

Continue reading "At this critical time, PNG needs greatness to step forward" »

Book cooking and the PNG election

Paul Flanagan 2PAUL FLANAGAN | East Asia Forum | Extract

ON 9 July, Papua New Guinea’s Election Advisory Committee resigned in a devastating blow to the credibility of the country’s 2017 election.

The failure of the O’Neill government to provide this high level constitutional committee with factual electoral information suggests deliberate efforts to obstruct the truth.

The three-member election advisory committee is appointed by the governor general and is comprised of the chief ombudsman commissioner (or his nominee) and two other persons — a nominee from the Transparency International board and a retired judge or lawyer.

In its resignation letter, the committee indicated it was ‘prevented from performing its constitutional duties and roles’ because it has not been provided with baseline data and information nor been party to regular reporting.

Continue reading "Book cooking and the PNG election" »

The oppressive depressive state of PNG


HAS anyone else noticed that there have never really been any good news stories on social media in Papua New Guinea, or is that just me being negative?

There’s plenty of comedy, usually at someone else’s expense, and while it can garner a chuckle it’s never uplifting, quite the opposite. About all that gets a good run is regretful irony.

The closest I’ve seen to a good news story on social media in Papua New Guinea is about success in sport – the Papua New Guinean bum sniffers have trounced the bum sniffers from some other remote Pacific atoll, for instance.

Papua New Guinea doesn’t even contribute anything towards the cute animal antics videos on Facebook for goodness sake.

Continue reading "The oppressive depressive state of PNG" »

Alliance says it’s on verge of forming a new PNG government

The Alliance arrives in KokopoPETER S KINJAP

THE Alliance group seeking to establish itself as the new Papua New Guinea government, and led by the Pangu Party and National Alliance, is gaining numbers and momentum.

The Alliance said from Kokopo Sunday morning that it had 54 members, just two short of what is required to form a government, and six more MPs are expected to join it in Kokopo including defectors from the PNC ‘camp’ at Alotau..

Pangu Party leader Sam Basil welcomed newly elected Sohe MP Henry Jons Amuli as a new member of Pangu and thanked him.

Continue reading "Alliance says it’s on verge of forming a new PNG government" »

PNC accused of attempted abductions of 3 new MPs


THE attempts to kidnap three newly-elected members of parliament in Papua New Guinea are a sign of desperation by People's National Congress leaders.

Failed PNC candidate David Arore (pictured) sought to manhandle the new Ijivitari MP at Port Moresby airport this week in an attempt to kidnap him.

This came as the National Alliance-Pangu group increased the number of politicians opting to join it to form a coalition government when parliament begins next week.

Prime minister Peter O'Neill denied failed PNC MP Arore and other men were acting on behalf of the PNC in the Port Moresby kidnap attempt.

But today there were two further incidents of attempted kidnaps by PNC party elements.

Continue reading "PNC accused of attempted abductions of 3 new MPs" »

Gordon Dick, PNG agriculturalist with an aversion for authority

Gordon Dick & Christmas bellsPETER DANIELS | Port Macquarie News

GORDON Dick, who has died in Port Macquarie aged 82, lived a life consumed by learning and a willingness to push back the boundaries of acceptance.

His early schooling – with brother Wal – was with the St Agnes parish and it’s fair to say they were not the most popular of students. His family believes this was the birth of his lifelong aversion to authority figures.

By age 13 he joined the seminary at Springwood in the Blue Mountains. Eight years of study, sport, bush walking and bird watching followed.

After obtaining a Commonwealth scholarship, he entered university to study agriculture or forestry. Three years later, in 1960, he graduated, married the girl from across the university benches and became an agricultural officer in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

The expected two years in PNG rolled into 20. Daughter Merrianne was born during a posting at Kerowagi in the Simbu.

Continue reading "Gordon Dick, PNG agriculturalist with an aversion for authority" »

The story of my new book, ‘Survivor: Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’

Julie  never before seen the ocean  & DanielDANIEL KUMBON

I WROTE in a recent article in PNG Attitude that election violence in Wabag town in the last few days reminded me of scenes I describe in my new book ‘Survivor: Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’, which will be published shortly.

Here’s an extract from one of the book’s chapters.…

I will never forget Monday, August 4, 2003 when two gunshot explosions knocked the daylights out of me. It seemed as if my spirit had abandoned my body. All around me there was fear and confusion as the echoes of the murderous shots could be heard reverberating in the surrounding hills.

I panicked like every other public servant in the new Ipatas Centre administration building. I stumbled across to the office window and looked outside.

Continue reading "The story of my new book, ‘Survivor: Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’" »

Bougainville’s payroll thieves are put on notice


THE Autonomous Bougainville Government will take action against public servants systematically manipulating its payroll system for personal gain.

Public Service Minister Robert Hamal Sawa (pictured) said he will not tolerate such behaviour and is placing all public servants on notice that those found to have engaged in illegal practices will face the full weight of the law.

Mr Sawa’s statement followed evidence gathered by the Bougainville Administration that some public servants were manipulating the payroll system to pay themselves at levels they are not entitled to.

Continue reading "Bougainville’s payroll thieves are put on notice" »

Pacer-Plus agreement a failure says Australian economist

Dr Patricia RanaldMATANGI | Tonga Online

PROMINENT Australian economist Dr Patricia Ranald (pictured) has said the Pacer-Plus Pacific regional trade agreement has failed agreement it excludes Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

The three countries rejected the deal earlier this year while 11 other Pacific islands nations signed up last month.

The agreement calls for greater economic ties and cooperation between the Pacific Islands and Australia and New Zealand.

Despite the majority of Pacific Island countries supporting the agreement, Dr Ranald said Pacer-Plus had failed as a regional agreement because it excluded Fiji and Papua New Guinea, the two strongest economies in the Pacific that could realistically compete with Australian and New Zealand exports.

Continue reading "Pacer-Plus agreement a failure says Australian economist" »

From cusp of defeat, O’Neill’s stunning attempt to seize election

O'Neill & cohorts at government house (A Rheeney)KEITH JACKSON

THE headlines variously read ‘O'Neill 'invited' to form government’, 'O'Neill gets tap to form government' and ‘People's National Congress invited to form PNG government’,

Naive headlines that gave a hint of legitimacy and respectability to what occurred in Papua New Guinea Friday.

But the day had witnessed the most breathtaking ploy yet in what has been a national election liberally laced with fraud, deceit, bribery, violence and manipulation.

With counting in 23 of the 111 seats still incomplete, electoral commissioner Paulias Gamato – already under a cloud for his conduct of the election – advised the governor-general that Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress commanded enough seats to form a government – a palpable lie.

Continue reading "From cusp of defeat, O’Neill’s stunning attempt to seize election" »

This is not the kind of country we want for our people


THE democratic system of government that we have today, had its origins during the French revolution.

The people revolted against the monarchy and sought to establish a new government that respected human freedoms, including freedom of thought and speech.

Democracy was seen as an alternative form of government against the monarchical power that ruled much of Europe.

Democracy was established to do away with the divine right of kings and diminish absolute power which corrupted those who wielded it.

Continue reading "This is not the kind of country we want for our people" »

Arson, violence, kidnapping & attempt to steal Sir Mek’s seat

Sir Mekere Moraura speaks at his declarationERIC TLOZEK | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

THE final day of Papua New Guinea's election counting saw buildings burned, an alleged kidnapping attempt and a confusing declaration of two winners for one seat.

Election authorities in the capital Port Moresby were left bewildered after a returning officer went missing, then privately declared the third-placed candidate as the winner of a seat instead of a former prime minister who opposes the current government.

The seat was won that morning by the former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta — a strident critic of sitting Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and key player in the moves to unseat him this election.

Sir Mekere was declared the winner in the tally room in front of officials, senior police and the media, but the returning officer for his seat of Port Moresby Northwest, Moka Havara, went missing without signing the writ.

His superiors were told he was in hospital.

Continue reading "Arson, violence, kidnapping & attempt to steal Sir Mek’s seat" »

Constable Jimmy’s last words: “I’m 4 u PNG & die as PNG”

Constable Glenn Jimmy (EMTV)ELIZAH PALME | Asia Pacific Report

DUTY called for two police officers and other members of Papua New Guinea’s Mt Hagen Mobile Squad 6 last weekend.

It took them out of the Tambul area in the Western Highlands province to provide security for the 2017 national election in neighbouring Enga province.

Obeying their call, constables Glenn Jimmy, Alex Kopa and their team served in Enga until fate met them at the front gate of My Kids Inn, Sangurap residential area, last Saturday morning.

And Constable Jimmy had left behind some poignant words on Facebook for his fellow PNG citizens.

The officers started off a new day preparing to tackle the usual struggles – the heat, crowd control, monitoring the counting area, officials and unexpected events.

Continue reading "Constable Jimmy’s last words: “I’m 4 u PNG & die as PNG”" »

Until they invent a pill, I want Tomato versus Cucumber


HUMAN beings seem to have an insatiable appetite for knowing what is going on around them, be it with their neighbours or the world at large.

It is almost as if curiosity and the information that feeds it are as necessary to life as the fundamentals of food, sex and shelter.

You only have to look at the mass media to see the proof. So-called news, lots of drama (especially where there are pictures) and, amidst all this, interminable cooking and lifestyle programs.

The ‘news’ that feeds this apparent fundamental hunger for information ranges from pure gossip through seriously skewed opinion pieces and, if you’re lucky, a bit of objective reporting.

Continue reading "Until they invent a pill, I want Tomato versus Cucumber" »

A petition to establish ICAC within 100 days of new parliament


COMMUNITY advocacy group Act Now has launched a petition calling on newly elected MPs to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) within 100 days of parliament resuming on Friday week.

You can read and sign the petition here:

“Everyone knows corruption is a massive problem in Papua New Guinea," said campaign coordinator Eddie Tanago (pictured). "People are dying unnecessarily every day because of the rampant stealing and mismanagement.”

Act Now says a well-resourced, permanent and politically independent ICAC is desperately needed.

Continue reading "A petition to establish ICAC within 100 days of new parliament" »

The days of the district commissioner: another thing not to forget


FOR some reason the discussions about Papua New Guinea’s elections and references to the decline in democracy and the possibility of a dictatorship remind me of some district commissioners I once worked under.

Prior to independence, the provinces were called districts and they were run by district commissioners. When I first arrived in PNG, they were all Australians but by the early 1970s there were a few Papua New Guinean DCs.

My first posting was to Mount Hagen, where district commissioner Tom Ellis (pictured) ruled the roost, some said with an iron fist.

In those days the Western Highlands was the star district. It was developing rapidly and had huge potential. Some people put this down to Ellis’s influence.

Continue reading "The days of the district commissioner: another thing not to forget" »

Global watchdog condemns media election crackdown in PNG

Martyn Namorong not talking Namorong gaggedKEITH JACKSON

THE international watchdog on media freedom and journalists’ rights, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has condemned “the many media freedom violations” that it says have occurred during the current Papua New Guinea general elections.

In enumerating a number of specific cases of media restriction by government officials, the organisation points out that journalists covering the elections in Madang were denied access by police and the now notorious electoral commission and that media were not allowed to film or take photos in Port Moresby’s main tally room.

RSF also said that “amid many reports on social networks of vote-buying and violence” authorities also took alarming measures against citizen journalists.

It cited the case of blogger and political commentator Martyn Namorong who referred to electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato as ‘Tomato’ in one of his many posts criticising election process.

Continue reading "Global watchdog condemns media election crackdown in PNG" »

Diary of an election: death & destruction in Enga

Vehicles and store burning in WabagDANIEL KUMBON

I AM terribly sorry I cannot I attend the Sunshine Coast international readers and writers festival.

Even if my new book, ‘Survivor – Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’, a collection of three true stories about women in Enga Province, had been published on time, I would not have been able to travel to Australia.

My family and I have been confined to our house for the last few days due to shocking election-related violence, death and destruction in Wabag town where I live.

The violent scenes I witnessed many years ago and described in my new book were played out again in Wabag last Saturday.

Three political supporters and two policemen were shot dead. A third policeman was airlifted to Port Moresby for treatment. The assistant returning officer for Kandep and two other people are in critical condition in Wabag hospital. Returning officer, Ben Besawe narrowly escaped death when the vehicle he was travelling in was sprayed with bullets.

Continue reading "Diary of an election: death & destruction in Enga" »

New MPs must understand the people’s mandate is not for sale


THE counting and declaration of winning candidates in the 2017 elections is nearing completion and lobbying leading to the formation of a new government has begun.

This will intensify in the coming days and, while this horse trading continues, elected members need to bear in mind that the people’s mandate is not for them to sell or for others to buy.

Indications are that the battle will be between a Pangu-National Alliance led grand coalition, assembling in Goroka, and a group led by the governing People’s National Congress who are camping in Alotau.

Peter O’Neill will definitely be the prime ministerial nominee for the PNC-led Alotau team.

Continue reading "New MPs must understand the people’s mandate is not for sale" »

‘Walk to Equality’ story continues at Oz literary festivals

My Walk to Equality CoverRASHMII BELL

THE milestone anthology by Papua New Guinean women writers, My Walk to Equality, will be showcased at two international literary festivals in Queensland in the next two months.

The book will be discussed in special panel sessions at the Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival in Coolum on 11 August and at the Brisbane Writers Festival on 8 and 10 September.

The book of evocative essays, short stories and poems was written by 45 Papua New Guinean and published by Pukpuk Publications to coincide with International Women’s Day this year.

It was launched at companion events were held in Port Moresby and Brisbane and has since become a landmark publication.

Continue reading "‘Walk to Equality’ story continues at Oz literary festivals" »

Election in the Highlands

Wardley Barry at workWARDLEY BARRY

The songs in the hausman are gone;
the candidate is left alone.
There are no more mumus to feast;
open arms have become clenched fists.
The excitement has given way
to disgruntlement and dismay.

You lied, I listened and I lost.
If you win, you win at a cost.
I'll take your daughter so you will weep;
I'll burn your house so you can't sleep.
Because of you I lost a seat,
so I'll make sure your win ain't sweet.

During the campaign we have fine leaders;
after election we have lawbreakers.

Corruption everywhere, & the journalist's job is to report it

Big BrotherA guide by Transparency International for journalists throughout the world has been written to help protect their work and fulfil their mission. KAYLEE FERREIRA reports. The guide can be accessed here

MANY veteran journalists, and younger journalists too, surely notice that we are being bombarded again with mentions of Watergate.

Books like George Orwell’s 1984 are on display in bookstores and an air of danger to freedom of speech and freedom of the press is spreading slowly like a dark cloud over the Western hemisphere, raising old fears.

Continue reading "Corruption everywhere, & the journalist's job is to report it" »

Gamato should resign after failed ‘ghost-busting’ defence

Patilias Gamato (The National)PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics

ON Friday, the Papua New Guinean electoral commissioner, Patilias Gamato, issued a media release responding to claims made about the inadequacies of the 2017 voter common roll.

In the release, Mr Gamato (pictured) seriously misrepresented my earlier analysis (see articles here and here).

More intriguing, he seriously misrepresented what he himself tried to demonstrate in his media release.

Firstly, on the ludicrous claim that one cannot compare the 2017 electoral roll with the 2011 census (claiming that they are apples and oranges), he himself had made this exact same comparison on 9 April:

Continue reading "Gamato should resign after failed ‘ghost-busting’ defence" »

I am appealing to you for your help....


To say Marlene Potoura has had a run of bad luck is a terrible understatement. The writer and educator is a single mother who in recent times has seen her pre-school business collapse and been evicted after her flat caught fire and was ransacked by thieves. Marlene has experienced the very worst of what Papua New Guinea can be. A few of her friends have assisted with funds but now I am widening this to include PNG Attitude readers. After you read Marlene’s story, if you feel you can assist, please donate to her at: Marlene Potoura, Account 1006258444, Bank South Pacific, Port Moresby. Marlene’s address is c/- Sylbeez Learning Centre, Lae, Morobe Province. This is an urgent and legitimate plea for help - KJ

AS YOU read this, I take this moment to ask for your kind help.

On 11 October 2016, my son Martin, 12, lit a candle at 9pm during a blackout, went to the toilet, came back, placed the candle on top of a computer CPU in our room and went back to bed. My daughter Darhlia, 8, and I had long gone been asleep.

The candle burned into the CPU and a fire started, giving off thick black smoke and setting alight the curtains and louvres. Luckily the door to the room was open.

Continue reading "I am appealing to you for your help...." »

PNG writers to share views & struggles at writers festival

Rashmii BellSTAFF REPORTER | Sunshine Coast Daily

FOR the first time in publishing history, female writers from Papua New Guinea have had their voices heard about their daily struggles in life with the compilation of the women's anthology, My Walk to Equality.

This evocative anthology will have its Sunshine Coast launch at a panel presentation at the second annual Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival on Saturday 12 August in Coolum Civic Centre.

The evocative anthology is a collection of more than 40 essays, short stories and poems which capture the daily challenges faced and positive contribution made by the women of PNG to improve community and nation.

The anthology was edited by PNG writer Rashmii Amoah Bell (pictured) and published by PNG's Pukpuk Publications.

Continue reading "PNG writers to share views & struggles at writers festival" »

War experts discover secret jungle road on Kokoda Track

Matthew Kelly and John SterenbergSTAFF REPORTER | Northern Territory News

WAR experts have made a stunning discovery along the Kokoda Track — a secret jungle road built by the Japanese.

Australian archaeologists found ‘Jap Road’, as the locals call it, while unearthing the mysteries of the ‘lost battlefield’ of Etoa.

It is invisible from the air due to the impenetrable tree canopy, as is another pathway dubbed the ‘Jap Track’.

The battleground, where up to 70 undiscovered bodies still lie, is a treasure trove for officials investigating the Kokoda Campaign, which began 75 years ago this weekend and was part of Australia’s first genuine fight for survival — the brutal World War Two conflict in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "War experts discover secret jungle road on Kokoda Track" »

99% chance PNG election was biased: O’Neill & Gamato’s shame

Ghost voters hugely favour PNCPAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics

As foreshadowed in his last article, Paul Flanagan has undertaken additional & sought independent statistical analysis on the strength of bias towards the Peter O’Neill’s ruling People’s National Congress in Papua New Guinea’s 2017 election, in which counting is slow and still only about one-quarter complete. “Possibly there is some cause other than the electoral commissioner not performing his duties to the standards expected by the people of PNG,” Paul writes in a note. “To clear his name, he should release more information, the type of information he should have given to the electoral advisory committee before it resigned” - KJ

PAPUA New Guinea’s election has unquestionably been biased in favour of the O’Neill government.

The army of 300,000 People’s National Congress ghost voters - over 6,000 for every PNC electorate on average - is almost a statistical certainty. It is a level of gross manipulation that even surprised me.

My last article indicated some extraordinary differences in the numbers of “ghost voters” (or “excess electors”, or “inflated rolls”) when comparing PNC electorates to non-PNC electorates.

Continue reading "99% chance PNG election was biased: O’Neill & Gamato’s shame" »

Kerenga Kua says he will work for Peter O’Neill’s ouster as PM


KUNDIAWA in Simbu Province came to a standstill yesterday as supporters of popular Sinesine-Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua celebrated his re-election with chanting, singing and dancing throughout the Four Corner Town.

Sinesine-Yongomugl was the first Simbu seat to be declared after two weeks of laborious counting.

In the afternoon more than 5,000 loyal supporters of Kua gathered to witness his declaration and victory speech.

Kua is parliamentary leader of the revived PNG National Party and party executives led by David Yak were at the scene to witness his declaration in a ceremony beginning with a powerful prayer from Pastor Elias Wemin.

Michael Robert, a leader of the Tabare local level government and who paid Kua’s nomination fee, offered opening remarks.

Continue reading "Kerenga Kua says he will work for Peter O’Neill’s ouster as PM" »

PNC's Pundari may join grand coalition to form new government


PEOPLE’S National Congress will be in for a big surprise if re-elected Kompiam Ambum member John Pundari aligns himself with the grand coalition that might form the next government of Papua New Guinea.

Pundari (pictured) is presently being counted among the PNC candidates who have won seats so far.

But during campaigning he never used official PNC tee-shirts, caps and posters supplied by the party. He opted to print his own election collaterals.

Pundari was never an original member of PNC but joined the party later along with Enga Governor, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipatas, and Wabag MP Robert Ganim.

These three Enga-based members dissolved their own PP party and incorporated it with PNC.

Continue reading "PNC's Pundari may join grand coalition to form new government" »

When a government brutalises & deceives, true patriots arise

Kerenga Kua shows the crowd the Ku High School Anthology 2014FRANCIS NII

AS A citizen of this beautiful, rich poverty-stricken country of Papua New Guinea, I congratulate Kerenga Kua for his re-election as the member for the Simbu seat of Sinesine-Yongomugl in the tenth national parliament.

It is the heartfelt desire of the Simbu people and most other Papua New Guineans across the country that Kerenga Kua (pictured) along with other patriots Sam Basil, Gary Juffa, Bire Kimisopa, Allan Marat, Bryan Kramer, Mekere Morauta, Don Polye, Belden Nama and others be elected so they can lead a team who can rescue our country from its current predicament.

In Simbu, this desire was manifested in the huge support for Kerenga in social media, at meetings and through other modes of communication during the campaign period.

Thanks to the people of Sinesine-Yongomugl for being kind in returning their paramount chief and Simbu’s favourite son for a second term as national member of parliament at a time when the government is hell-bent on colluding and engaging in high level corruption.

Continue reading "When a government brutalises & deceives, true patriots arise" »

Sir Mek invites new MPs to join friendly parties & not PNC


I URGE all newly-elected independent members of parliament to join the independent team or friendly parties in opposition, but not People’s National Congress.

Peter O’Neill and PNC have tried every possible trick to rig the election.

Despite this, opposition candidates have made strong gains – witness the sweep Pangu is making in Morobe - while other opposition parties and independents are leading in most seats.

These MPs-elect have fought strong campaigns against the odds and won. PNC is out-numbered 2-1 in the declarations so far. Opposition parties have joined together to provide a very clear alternative to Peter O’Neill.

Continue reading "Sir Mek invites new MPs to join friendly parties & not PNC" »

Supporters on arson rampage after Speaker Zurenuoc’s defeat


VENGEFUL supporters of defeated parliamentary speaker Theo Zurenuoc have burned down three schools and a police station at Gagidu in the Finschhafen district.

The violent mob also attacked police and bystanders and forced the returning officer to flee and hide in dear of his life.

Zurenuoc (pictured), notorious for ordering the removal of heritage artefacts from parliament house on the grounds they were “demonic” and causing disruption, lost to the Pangu Party’s Rainbow Paita in a Pangu revival which swept through Morobe Province.

The PNG Post-Courier reported that three elementary schools and a newly built police station were burned in the rampage. Vehicles belonging to the church were also stolen, allegedly by Zurenuoc supporters.

Continue reading "Supporters on arson rampage after Speaker Zurenuoc’s defeat" »

Who will be Papua New Guinea's prime minister?

ProfileJOHNNY BLADES | Radio New Zealand International

AS Papua New Guinea's lengthy and troubled national election nears a climax, lobbying to form the next coalition government is intensifying.

For those who have enjoyed watching the action so far, the shambolic polling period giving way to a testy vote counting process that is still underway, don't fret: the election never really ends.

Typically, following PNG's five-yearly election, dozens of petitions end up in the court of disputed returns, taking years to be processed.

It's clear that this time, there will be many petitions, given the surfeit of flaws in the election, even if some of them are perennial problems.

Continue reading "Who will be Papua New Guinea's prime minister?" »

Camelot in the Wahgi Valley


Anna: My life from a coffee plantation in Papua New Guinea to the shores of Byron Bay, by Anna Middleton, published by the author 2017, ISBN: 978-00994555298. Available from the author for $29.95

WHEN I arrived in Mount Hagen in 1967 the coffee and tea plantations of the Wahgi Valley were well-established; the years of hard work, struggle and privations were mostly in their owners’ past.

What I saw was a largely privileged and powerful group of people, well off, with big houses, very comfortable lifestyles, situated in an ideal climate and with plenty of spare time to pursue a variety of leisure activities.

To my mind, and probably that of many others, they were a kind of aristocracy with a reputation something akin to that enjoyed by the early squatters in Australia.

They probably didn’t think of themselves as special but simply hardworking.

However, like any privileged group they stood out. And they had their fair share of eccentrics who were hard drinkers and uncompromising in their pursuit of the good life.

Continue reading "Camelot in the Wahgi Valley" »

PNG govt & local MPs drag feet on B'ville referendum readiness

Leonard Fong Roka  October 2014 H&SLEONARD ROKA

AN Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) paper entitled, Motion setting out the process to declare Constituency Referendum Ready, dated 7 September 2016 states in Paragraph 1 that the leader of government business wants all members of the House of Representatives to declare their respective constituencies ‘Referendum Ready’ by the 31 December 2018.

Paragraph 3 highlights that each members obligations (prepare for the referendum, fulfill the requirements of the Bougainville Peace Agreement etc), then report back to the Bougainville Parliament.

Then, throughout this year and next, the House of Representatives will get individual MPs to declare the status of a number of important issues: weapons disposal, reconciliation and unification; implementation of autonomy; consultation and referendum matters; and public awareness of the process of conducting the referendum.

Continue reading "PNG govt & local MPs drag feet on B'ville referendum readiness" »

Australia & PNG: let’s hold the education system up to scrutiny


I BELIEVE I can shed some light on why the Australian media doesn't properly report on Papua New Guinea.

I'm a PhD student and lecturer at a Bond University in Australia, having spent most of the 1990s attending high school in PNG.

I still follow PNG affairs, and greatly enjoy learning more about the country.

In fact, since coming back to university for my PhD, I've been really excited to find many books about PNG history in the university library. It's interesting to read about pre-colonial PNG, the German and Australian eras, and the road to independence.

Continue reading "Australia & PNG: let’s hold the education system up to scrutiny" »

Bougainville announces historic revenue & tax summit

ANTHONY KAYBING | Office of the President

BOUGAINVILLE president John Momis has announced Bougainville will convene an historic revenue and tax summit to investigate ways of improving the autonomous region’s financial outlook and the government’s ability to fund services.

The three-day summit in September will bring together national and Bougainville leaders together with financial experts to discuss the current financial situation, tax and revenue laws and the pressing need for better cash flow to fund improved services.

“Governments need money to pay for the services we all use, like roads, schools and health centres,”Dr Momis said. “This comes from tax and revenue collected from citizens and businesses.

“Under the Bougainville Peace Agreement we have strived towards fiscal self-reliance whereby Bougainville can stand on its two feet.

Continue reading "Bougainville announces historic revenue & tax summit" »

How to stop PNC from forming the next government


THERE is a possibility to stop Peter O’Neill and the People’s National Congress Party from forming the next government after writs are returned, however it is up to all other parties and independent candidates-elect to take a united stand to ensure this can happen.

In Papua New Guinea, no single party has ever mustered an absolute majority of winning candidates in an election so it could automatically assume power.

From the results so far of the current election, history is going to repeat itself when all the seats are declared.

PNC might muster more seats than other parties but it will certainly not reach an absolute majority of 56 elected members to assume office in its own right.

Continue reading "How to stop PNC from forming the next government" »

Last remaining copies of Kevin Parer’s memoirs made available

Parer - A Time B4ROB PARER

MY cousin Kevin Parer is same age as me and lived in Wau and Wewak before World War II.

His father, also Kevin, owned and operate three aircraft in the Parer Air Service which was based in Wewak. The photograph below left is of him after a flight into the highlands.

Kevin flew many of our Parer family members from Wau to Port Moresby in late December 1941 as Japanese forces threatened New Guinea.

And so many of us came to be evacuated to Australia on the mine sweeper MV Katoomba – a very slow voyage as the ship had to also search for mines along the way.

There were hundreds of people sleeping on the decks and the kids had to wear life jackets in case the ship hit a mine.

Continue reading "Last remaining copies of Kevin Parer’s memoirs made available" »

Sorcery blamed for missing votes in Sepik election count


ALLEGATIONS of sorcery may have forced a recount of votes in some Papua New Guinea electorates.

Reports fromthe Angoram and Yangoru-Saussia electorates in East Sepik Province indicated a recount was ordered after various candidates' teams alleged sorcery might have been used to remove ballots from boxes.

In Angoram the lead petitioner for the recount, Timothy Yangmari, claimed his votes were disappearing as the result of sinister forces.

Similarly, in Yangoru, candidates asked pastors and priests to pray over ballot boxes to keep them safe as the counting process in Papua New Guinea's general election inched forward.

Continue reading "Sorcery blamed for missing votes in Sepik election count" »

"I don't look like a tomato, I'm a human being,” says Gamato

M Namorong - statement of claim by GamatoSTEFAN ARMBRUSTER | SBS World News

A PAPUA New Guinea newspaper has published the full claim for a gag order by the country's electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato against an anti-corruption campaigner to stop being called "Mr Tomato".

"He is not a vegetable," states the claim to restrain Martyn Namorong "from further writing (printing) or causing to be written (printed, broadcast) or otherwise publishing of the plaintiffs the alleged, or any similar libel".

Mr Gamato is seeking punitive and aggravated damages for "stress, anxiety and loss of reputation" and a costs order.

National Court Justice Collin Makail last week ordered the Statement of Claim be published in newspapers and the case return to court on 25 July, when election writs are due to be returned.

"He made some defamatory statements and also called my surname, which is Gamato as 'tomato'," the ABC reported Mr Gamato as saying at a press conference in the capital Port Moresby.

Tomato"I don't look like a tomato, I'm a human being. He put a big tomato on my head, what if he did that to you?"

Election turmoil in PNG has seen Mr Gamato criticised on social media for the conduct of the election.

“On or about 27 June 2017 in the (sic) Defendant wrote or published in his tweeter (sic) account by calling the Plaintiff as (sic) Mr Tomato, the defendant maliciously wrote and published in his tweeter account and these (sic) has gone viral on social media in particular Facebook by tarnishing the surname of the Plaintiff (Gamato),” said the statement of claim signed by Kemno’nga Robin Kawat of Kawat Lawyers published in The National newspaper.

“The publication ... by calling him Tomato has tarnished his reputation in the way of his occupation, profession and office the Plaintiff occupies and in relation to his conduct therein) (sic) the following defamatory words.”

Five tweets are reproduced in the statement referring to “Tomato”, “#ELECTIONfraud” and the discovery of K184,300 (A$73,000) on returning officers, “revenge politics” over students being denied “the right to vote”, ties to the incumbent prime minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress party and calls for him to resign.

Mr Gamato claims he was defamed by being called unqualified, accused of mismanaging the elections, politically compromised and that he “conspired to rig the elections”.

Namorong gaggedMr Namorong has posted photos on his social media accounts of him gagged or drinking beer.

After initially posting he needed a lawyer, in a recent comment on Saturday Mr Namorong states: "I'm fine".

A Commonwealth election observer's report last week said “all aspects” of the election process needed to be reviewed, reporting "widespread" electoral roll irregularities, late starts to polling and other issues.

It added the observers were “disappointed” recommendations made after the 2012 election had not been implemented.

Tomatoes are botanically not classified as vegetables.

  Martyn & beers

Western powers anxious as crisis around elections deepens

Sir Anand SatyanandJOHN BRADDOCK | World Socialist Website | Extracts

FOLLOWING the resignation of Papua New Guinea’s electoral advisory committee last week, the crisis surrounding the country’s parliamentary elections has intensified.

Polls closed on 8 July, ending a two-week voting period dominated by widespread reports of vote rigging, incomplete electoral rolls, ballot box tampering and bribery.

The three members of the official watchdog collectively resigned, accusing the electoral commission that is running the poll of not allowing them access to basic information.

The members—chief ombudsman nominee Richard Pagen, Transparency International nominee Richard Kassman and lawyer John Luluaki—declared the committee was “prevented from performing its constitutional duties and roles.” It had not been equipped with “baseline data and information, nor have we been party to regular reporting.”

Continue reading "Western powers anxious as crisis around elections deepens" »

Incumbency in Papua New Guinea: the minuses & the pluses

Standish_BillBILL STANDISH | Devpolicy Blog

THE prolonged vote counting in Papua New Guinea’s election provides a slight hiatus to consider political incumbency – the benefits of holding office and its potential disadvantages.

Counting is complex and hazardous, subject to delays by staff and security forces demanding allowances.

The scrutiny of each electorate involves thousands of transfers of preferences from losing candidates to stronger ones until one of the last few candidates garners a majority of the remaining live votes.

Apart from possible arithmetical error by exhausted officials, it is a phase when deliberate fraud has occurred in the past. Tensions can erupt in violence.

Continue reading "Incumbency in Papua New Guinea: the minuses & the pluses" »

Mantra of Solace

The candidatesFRANCIS NII

This verse is offered as a consolation for the many candidates in the 2017 Papua New Guinean national election who have been physically affected and psychologically hurt by its challenges and traumas - FSN

The tireless drudgery will end
There shall be leisure

The agonising scramble will end
There shall be no more insomnia

The sore throats will heal
There shall be tranquillity

Continue reading "Mantra of Solace" »

UPNG students struggled to have voices heard at election

Elizah PalmeELIZAH PALME | Asia Pacific Report

UNIVERSITY of Papua New Guinea students have spoken through the ballot box in spite of being provided with 2,000 ballot papers less than required and discrepancies in the electoral roll.

But some 3,600 students of 5,000 eligible voters were deprived of the right to vote.

One of their representatives, Gerald Peni, was a scrutineer to make sure their votes were counted in Port Moresby.

Scrutineers for a number of candidates raised concerns regarding the ballot boxes, claiming a breach of electoral process.

Some said many students used their identification cards to vote, which is unconstitutional, hence the votes should be declared informal.

Continue reading "UPNG students struggled to have voices heard at election" »

Jackson is right – this election can yield positive outcomes


LIKE Keith Jackson, I believe there will be a lot of positive outcomes from this election.

Reading the different messages on social media and the reported cases of citizens standing up for what is right is a great sign and makes me confident that the 2017 election will go down in history as a turning point for Papua New Guinea.

The ordinary citizen will have learnt more about transparency in voting, more about political party systems and more about the accountability required between leaders and citizens.

Social media will have played a major part in shaping unity from diversity. I read about young people expressing themselves like true Papua New Guineans and not based on regional groupings.

Continue reading "Jackson is right – this election can yield positive outcomes" »

PNG drives away its Australian friends as a result of this election


AS the revelations about the 2017 elections keep rolling in, I’m finding myself reluctantly agreeing with those observers who are labelling it the worst ever election in Papua New Guinea’s history.

Paul Flanagan’s analysis of ghost voter numbers and mathematical impossibilities coupled with the information from Jimmy Awagl and Francis Nii seem to provide indisputable proof that a concerted effort to game the results has been carried out by Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress, probably with the collusion of the electoral commissioner.

What I find most incredible are the crude methods used by the PNC and its supporters. They are so childish the perpetrators must have known they would be quickly exposed.

Continue reading "PNG drives away its Australian friends as a result of this election" »

Is western civilisation in decline?


I HAVE just finished reading J H Breasted's magisterial work Ancient Times: A History of the Early World, first published in 1916. In this book, Breasted traces the rise and fall of a succession of powerful kingdoms and empires that constitutes the ancient history of what we now describe as the western world.

In the course of Ancient Times, the reader comes to understand that, thus far at least, all civilisations have risen and fallen when certain historic conditions are fulfilled.

For example, the nation which first masters a particular technology may achieve enough military and economic power to expand its borders and dominate its neighbours. Thus, through the mastery of the smelting and working of iron, the Hittites were able to create an empire which, for more than a century, dominated much of what is now the middle-east.

However, once this technology was mastered by others, their advantage was lost and, in due course, the Hittite empire fell to a better organised and more determined foe.

Continue reading "Is western civilisation in decline?" »

Election-related corruption originated from electoral commission


THE title of this article may raise eyebrows but I believe I have evidence to show it is factual and I suspect that electoral commissioner Patilius Gamato is likely to be knowingly involved.

The first indication of manipulation came with the printing and circulation of an extra five million ballot papers above and beyond the number of eligible voters. It will be interesting to learn how Gamato [pictured] accounts for this.

As reported by Jimmy Awagl in a recent article in PNG Attitude, after pressure from candidates, scrutineers and general public, the Simbu election steering committee demanded from electoral commissioner Gamato that all boxes of ballot papers sent from Port Moresby be opened and verified against the eligible voting population in each ward.  

Continue reading "Election-related corruption originated from electoral commission" »