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92 posts from October 2018

The making and unmaking of Papua New Guinea

Australian attitude (Cathy Wilcox  SMH  VDP)PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Here’s an inescapable truth. Papua New Guinea is Australia’s baby. We conceived it, modelled it and then launched it into the world with ‘Made in Australia’ firmly stamped on its bum.

Our creation was done in the tried and true Australian way known as ‘bush carpentry’. Our lackadaisical administrators pulled together over 800 disparate tribes using fencing wire and odd bits of wood and some rusty tin and called it a dinky-di nation.

We then tossed it the keys and said ‘go for it’.

We weren’t especially interested in who picked up those keys. We just turned our backs and went home. We didn’t even look over our shoulder to see how our cobbled together creation was faring.

Continue reading "The making and unmaking of Papua New Guinea" »

Let us not repeat the mistakes we made on Bougainville

Singirok_Jerry - Gemini News
Ex PNGDF chief Singirok - "I was a seasoned soldier with a future, but a soft target for the government"


MADANG - As Bougainville is gearing up for a referendum in 2019 and as time passes - time being the biggest healer - I reflect on the journey we took from which there are very important lessons to learn.

Firstly we should never have had the Bougainville crisis. The government had no negotiating power against a multi-million corporate giant like Rio Tinto. Collectively we destroyed a province, communities and displaced and disintegrated hundreds of families.

Many mothers are now widowed and raising children without their fathers. Communities are split and deep emotions run through the minds of people affected directly or indirectly.

I was a seasoned soldier with a future in front of me, but I was a soft target for the government to bring more misery to an already broken community.

I was wounded badly at Panguna mine in 1994. I rescued women and children with troops under my command. My troops were human and vulnerable but had a duty, and under the circumstances did what they were supposed to do.

I revolted against a government who did not put people's welfare first. The government was too swift to end my career in 2000. But I made my mark as commander of the PNG Defence Force.

Continue reading "Let us not repeat the mistakes we made on Bougainville" »

Report says Air Niugini crash ‘an accident’ but no cause yet

Air Niugini crash schematic
Illustration of the Air Niugini flight crash site in Chuuk Lagoon. CVR = cockpit voice recorder (FSM Civil Aviation)

KEVIN KERRIGAN | The Guam Daily Post

TAMUNING - The Air Niugini flight that crashed on approach to the Chuuk International Airport on 28 September fell 1,500 feet short of the runway, a preliminary report states.

When the Boeing 737 hit the water, the main landing gear was torn off and the rear fuselage behind the wing "fractured during the impact sequence," the report states.

The report was compiled by the Federated States of Micronesia Division of Civil Aviation with the assistance of the Papua New Guinea Accident Investigation Commission, and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

They classified the crash as "an accident," however their preliminary report reaches no conclusions about the cause.

Continue reading "Report says Air Niugini crash ‘an accident’ but no cause yet" »

Your government is not your country; you are your country


TUMBY BAY - It’s important to differentiate between your government and your country. Neither wholly represents the other and oft times the difference is quite stark.

Whereas your country is consistent and reliable, your government can be quite the opposite.

At the moment, for instance, the Australian government appears to be out of step with its country and its people on a plethora of issues.

Images2If someone suggested that our prime minister and his ministers somehow represent what Australia as a nation is, they would be laughed out of the room.

I have a great affection for Australia and its people but I’m coming to loath the Australian government.

I think the Australian government is, in so many ways, setting out to destroy our great country through a combination of deliberate ignorance and arrogance.

For some inexplicable reason they think what they are doing is what the people want and what the nation needs. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Continue reading "Your government is not your country; you are your country" »

Simbu people plead for a long-awaited road to Karimui

Karimui dancers  Kundiawa Show 1978 (Paul Barker)
People of the remote Karimui region of Simbu - many have never seen a motor vehicle. Karimui dancers at the Kundiawa Show, 1978 (Paul Barker)


KUNDIAWA – “Can someone please get this message to the Australian High Commission or DFAT?”

This is the plaintive cry from Simbu to a country which is not up to listening to plaintive cries from anywhere but its elite.

The 400,000 Simbu people, jammed into the middle of the Papua New Guinea highlands in a province with few resources other than their intelligence and energy, have been calling for a road into the rich Karimui area and its 40,000 people for half a century.

It was a call renewed earlier this year when the European Union committed K340 million for the rehabilitation of cocoa in the cocoa pod borer-devastated province of East Sepik.

Unlike most of Simbu, Karimui is a generally flat region at an altitude of 800-1,500 meters with a climate of moderate to high humidity.

Crops like cocoa, coffee, betel nut, coconuts and others normally associated with coastal areas grow there prolifically. But there is no road linking it to anywhere.

Continue reading "Simbu people plead for a long-awaited road to Karimui" »

OECD auditors to assist crackdown on tax evading loggers

LoggingSTAFF REPORTER | Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - International and national civil society groups have welcomed an announcement that international experts will support Papua New Guinean authorities crack down on tax evasion by multinational companies in the forestry and fisheries sectors.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will send auditors to PNG early next year to work with officials from the Finance Department and the Internal Revenue Commission under its ‘Tax Inspectors Without Borders’ program.

"We are glad to see the government take action on this vital issue," said Frederic Mousseau, policy director of the Oakland Institute and the author of two investigative reports that have exposed financial misreporting by multinational logging companies in PNG.

Continue reading "OECD auditors to assist crackdown on tax evading loggers" »

Top journalist exposes O’Neill-Temu drugs deception

Peter O'Neill and Sir Puka Temu (EMTV)
Peter O'Neill and Sir Puka Temu - their consoling words on drug supplies have been found to be false


PORT MORESBY - Research conducted by prominent television journalist and blogger Scott Waide has revealed that medical supply claims by health minister Sir Puka Temu are false and misleading.

Mr Waide’s research demonstrated conclusively that there is a critical shortage of medicine and other medical supplies across the nation.

It was conducted during the past week and published during a Facebook Live session on Thursday afternoon with further information available on Mr Waide's Facebook page and blog.

His work proves what we all know in our hearts – that thousands and thousands of people are suffering and dying because of the O’Neill government’s corruption, mismanagement and waste in the health sector.

Continue reading "Top journalist exposes O’Neill-Temu drugs deception" »

Could the APEC summit be a PNG white elephant?

International Convention Centre
Interior of the new International Convention Centre in Port Moresby, built by a Chinese contractor with Beijing money

BHAVAN JAIPRAGAS | South China Morning Post

HONG KONG - With weeks to go before the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit – this year in Papua New Guinea - the Pacific nation is putting the final touches on its preparations to host the likes of Chinese president Xi Jinping and United States vice-president Mike Pence.

World leaders had contended that holding the summit on 18 November in Port Moresby with the help of extensive grants would enable one of Asia’s least developed nations to bask in the international limelight as it seeks foreign direct investment.

It is the first time the former Australian colony has hosted the event – and with Xi attending and expected to host a meeting on the sidelines with leaders of Beijing-friendly Pacific nations, all eyes have been on whether prime minister Peter O’Neill’s government would be able to pull off the event without a hitch.

Continue reading "Could the APEC summit be a PNG white elephant?" »

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare – an appraisal

Michael Somare  1974
Michael Somare, as chief minister in 1974, a year before independence, hands out the new PNG flags to school children


Sir Michael Somare is on a protracted farewell tour of Papua New Guinea as the 82-year old inaugural prime minister who led PNG into independence moves into retirement. Chris Overland looks at his legacy....

ADELAIDE - I first met Michael Somare in 1969, when both he and I were much younger and slimmer than we are now.

As I recall, he was chairing a parliamentary select committee seeking the views of the people on Papua New Guinea becoming self-governing and, eventually, independent.

I was a mere Assistant Patrol Officer at the time and thus a person of no consequence at all, so I imagine that our fleeting conversation would have not even registered in his memory at the time, let alone later.

However, from that brief meeting I formed a strong impression of him as a very determined man, certain of PNG's destiny as an independent country and quite unwilling to accept anything less from an initially reluctant colonial power.

Continue reading "Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare – an appraisal" »

10 years of PNG Attitude in the National Library archives

All in the attitudeKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In 2009, the National Library of Australia sought permission from me to “provide public access in perpetuity” to PNG Attitude.

“The Library aims to build a comprehensive collection of Australian publications to ensure Australians have access to their documentary heritage now and in the future,” said senior librarian, Edgar Crook at the time.

“It is [also] committed to preserving electronic publications of lasting research or cultural value. Since [1996] we have been identifying online publications and archiving those that we consider have national significance.”

Mr Crook said the Library would take the necessary preservation action to keep PNG Attitude accessible down the years even with hardware and software changes over time, adding that its national database is shared by over 1,000 Australian libraries.

Continue reading "10 years of PNG Attitude in the National Library archives" »

Your fate is entirely in your hands, Somare tells Bougainvilleans

John Momis presentation to Michael Somare
Dr Momis presents a Bougainville badged replica canoe (a mona) to Sir Michael Somare as the father of the nation farewells the autonomous region


BUKA - Sir Michael Somare has told the people of Bougainville the decision to decide the fate of the autonomous region rests solely with them.

“On 6 June next year the people of Bougainville will be given the privilege to choose whether to remain a part of Papua New Guinea or become an independent nation,” Sir Michael said in a thanksgiving address to mark his farewell visit to the region.

“You have a very experienced leader and statesman in Dr John Momis who will lead you in the right direction and you must be grateful that he is the one leading you, so you must support him,” he said.

“Prior to PNG’s independence, your president and I travelled throughout the country to gauge the views of the people on our path to eventual statehood.”

Continue reading "Your fate is entirely in your hands, Somare tells Bougainvilleans" »

Answers still needed two years on from UPNG shootings

Wounded protester carried to safety
Comrades run away with a wounded protester after the student shootings - it was great good fortune that no one was killed


VERONA - In any democracy, even flawed ones, police or army shooting of university students who are peacefully protesting is taken very seriously. Not so in Papua New Guinea.

After the 8 June 2016 shootings on the University of PNG campus (which also caused great unrest at the University of Technology in Lae where I was vice-chancellor), an inquiry was promised by prime minister Peter O’Neill, who said that the police had only fired warning shots and tear gas.

But nothing has eventuated. It is now 28 months ago, and counting and I am leading the call for the promised inquiries, if they occurred, to deliver their findings.

Oro governor Gary Juffa like Mr Schram has qualms about the delay in investigating the shootings, which he puts down to a lack of police resources.

Continue reading "Answers still needed two years on from UPNG shootings" »

Alexander McCall Smith - role model for the humble writer

The colours of all the cattlePHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When I published the first of my Inspector Metau books about an elderly but shrewd policeman in Port Moresby, a couple of reviewers obliquely compared it to the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.

I had vaguely heard of McCall Smith and the comments prompted me to read his books. I quickly became hooked and have been a devoted fan of Mama Precious Ramotswe and her detective agency in Gaborone, Botswana, ever since.

I am currently reading the nineteenth in the series, ‘The Colours of all the Cattle’.

The series is hugely popular and has sold over 20 million copies in English alone since the first book came out in 1998.

As with many popular book series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency has resulted in many copycats. Thankfully my three Inspector Metau books don’t fall into this category.

As for the writing, I’m way out of McCall Smith’s league in so many ways.

Continue reading "Alexander McCall Smith - role model for the humble writer" »

A Kiap’s Chronicle: 20 - Bougainville landfall

The  Brown family  Michael  Pamela  David & Bill
The Brown family in 1966 - Michael, Pamela, David and Bill


At the author’s request, this chapter is presented out of sequence. The intermediate chapters (17-19) will be published soon

THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES – It was 1966, the family and I had just returned from six months’ leave in Australia and I had resumed duty at Maprik in the Sepik District.

It was then that incidents in Bougainville and a government report changed the course of my career.

The incidents related to opposition to the mining exploration activities of Conzinc Riotinto Australia. The report, on the same issue, related to the January 1966 visit to the site of a possible mine at Panguna by the Director of Lands, Surveys and Mines.

The Director, DS Grove (1), himself a former kiap, wrote that critical problems were not being addressed and that the Assistant District Commissioner at Kieta, Max (MJ) Denehy (2), was over-committed and had no experienced field staff to assist him.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 20 - Bougainville landfall" »

Millions spent on APEC while grassroots struggle continues

Port Moresby prepares for APEC (Koroi Hawkins  RNZ Pacific)JOHNNY BLADES |Dateline Pacific | Radio New Zealand Pacific

AUCKLAND - In the roadside markets of Port Moresby, vendors struggle to earn a living in a city with few job opportunities.

Tau Ligo, a young father selling foodstuffs, said he worries about his kids' future.

"Just because of the APEC, they're doing up the roads,” he said. “We need doctors at the hospitals, schools are not being upgraded. Classes are over-populated, there's not enough teachers. We should be having more teachers in government schools."

Lucy, who is frying lamb flaps on a grill, talked about the improved roads and big new buildings.

Continue reading "Millions spent on APEC while grassroots struggle continues" »

PNG promotes big money APEC; youth builds grassroots resilience

SKILLZ PNG participants during a session (YWCA PNG)
SKILLZ PNG participants during a working session (YWCA PNG)

PAULINE MAGO-KING | Pacific Media Centre

The countdown to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea is well underway. As the PNG government finalises preparations for this high-level meeting next month, instability is growing from pressing development issues. But, reports Pauline Mago-King of Asia Pacific Journalism, some of the youth are committed to strengthening their country’s resilience.

AUCKLAND - The reoccurring theme in bridging various social gaps remains to be sensitisation for young people.

For Papua New Guinea, issues ranging from gender relations to health have worsened over the years, making them a norm for the people.

While the PNG government buckles down for the APEC summit, polio has emerged, tuberculosis persists due to multidrug resistance, and violations of human rights are ever-present as in cases like that of the Paga Hill villagers struggle.

Papua New Guinea’s progress may seem obscure. However, this should not overshadow the mobilisation of young Papua New Guineans at the community level.

Continue reading "PNG promotes big money APEC; youth builds grassroots resilience" »

As he farewells the nation, Michael Somare visits an old friend

John Momis & Michael Somare - builders of the nation
President John Momis greets Sir Michael Somare at Buka airport - both men were architects of the PNG nation


BUKA - Together they united a nation of more than 800 tribes and languages and began a friendship that has lasted for 50 years.

That bond between the father of the nation, Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare, and the father of the constitution, Grand Chief John Lawrence Momis, is close and their friendship today remains as strong as it ever was.

Sir Michael, who is 82, came to Bougainville this week as part of his farewell and thanksgiving to the people of Papua New Guinea.

His political career spanned from 1968 until his retirement from parliament just last year. He was PNG’s first and longest serving prime minister.

Dr Momis, who is nearing 80, was a Catholic priest from 1970-93, He became active in politics and was elected to parliament in 1972. He co-wrote the PNG constitution and, following the end of the civil war, he was appointed Bougainville governor from 1999 until 2005. He has also served as PNG’s ambassador to China.

Continue reading "As he farewells the nation, Michael Somare visits an old friend" »

Cross the APEC bridge

APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko in front of APEC House (Koroi Hawkins)MICHAEL DOM

That bridge you built to span the gap
Does not lead to a better life
You've signed bad loans, your pen a knife
To stab PNG on their map
It's bound to bleed, causing us more strife,
That bridge you built.

But some say "We'll be better chaps"
When APEC come, you play their wife
Go blow their trumpets, play their fifes
Squeeze their pockets, dance on their laps:
That bridge you built.

We'll be watching, ready to clap
Your slum-dog millionaire life
The world will see corruption rife
On instant access mobile apps
We hope it causes you some strife
That bridge you built.

Call for transparency in government's luxury car deals

Lawrence Stephens
Lawrence Stephens - head of Transparency PNG wants government to come clean on APEC luxury car deals

STAFF REPORTER | Radio New Zealand

PORT MORESBY - Transparency International in Papua New Guinea has urged the O’Neill government to come clean on how it procured a batch of luxury vehicles for the APEC summit.

There's been a public outcry over the government's purchase of 40 Maserati cars and other luxury vehicles to use for transporting leaders at next month's summit.

The government says the vehicles have been committed to eventually be paid for by the private sector at no cost to the state.

Transparency's chairman Lawrence Stephens said the government had failed to reveal procurement documents, let alone a list of private sector entities willing to purchase the vehicles.

"We really do need to know what happened," he said.

Continue reading "Call for transparency in government's luxury car deals" »

A letter to the prime minister about the women’s cancer ward


John wrote this open letter to prime minister Peter O’Neill to illustrate the plight of women suffering from cancer. I understand the prime minister doesn’t waste his time on social media. In fact, many in parliament don’t. We all have people we have lost to cancer. Many are mothers and children taken in their prime. It’s a grim reality many families face today – Gary Juffa

PORT MORESBY – Dear prime minister, greetings to you and your cabinet. This morning (Monday 23 October), I visited the cancer ward at Port Moresby General Hospital at 1.13 am.

The purpose of my visit was to see and feel the life in this ward. Hon prime minister, the first feeling that engulfed me as soon as I opened the door was similar to walking into a morgue.

There was no life in this building except for the light from fluorescent tubes. I will bring to you the realities of this place.

Hon prime minister, if you stand where I stood, you will see a stretch of corridor. If you look to your left and right, you will see curtains hanging lifelessly on the doors. I believe you would vividly know what is behind those curtains.

Continue reading "A letter to the prime minister about the women’s cancer ward" »

Momis praises collaboration with PNG on road to referendum

William Samb
William Samb, Minister for Bougainville Affairs


BUKA - Collaboration between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the PNG National Government is gaining momentum as both entities work to prepare for next June’s referendum on Bougainville’s political future, president John Momis said as he welcomed Minister for Bougainville Affairs William Samb to the region.

Dr Momis was adamant that the continued growth in the relationship between both governments would enable the referendum to have credibility as the process unfolded in coming months.

“The Ministry of Bougainville Affairs is the conduit between the ABG and the National Government, and Minister Samb’s arrival shows PNG’s commitment to peace building on Bougainville,” he said.

“The last Joint Supervisory Body meeting was a success that saw both governments consensually agreeing to important issues pertaining to the referendum.

“Paramount amongst these was agreeing to the question to be put.”

Continue reading "Momis praises collaboration with PNG on road to referendum" »

Women as peacemakers much needed at this time, says Momis

Bvile women
Momis - 'Through women's joint efforts peace in Bougainville was attained and maintained'


BUKA - The traditional roles of Bougainvillean women have been as custodians of the land and providers of the safety net within the community.

In more recent times these roles have been redefined to include peacemaker, to mark their contributions to the post-civil war Bougainville peace process.

Bougainville president John Momis congratulated the women of Bougainville during five days of celebrating their social contribution to the autonomous province last week.

“Women are an important stakeholder in peace building on Bougainville,” Dr Momis said. “It was through your joint efforts with our leaders, ex-combatants and government that peace was initially attained.

Continue reading "Women as peacemakers much needed at this time, says Momis" »

With a couple more glasses


If we hang around some more at the bar
On the thirty-first night of December,
Our favourite song might come on again.
The lights might bring out the stars and champagne
And, perhaps, for the last time we shall dance
To Donna Summer's number 'Sweet Romance'.
We'll cling to each other when the song ends,
You between my arms, me locked in your hands.
And we'll whisper into each other's ears
How we want this moment to last many years.

Later we'll hang it like a portrait in our memories,
So Donna can keep on singing while we keep on dancing.

Continue reading "With a couple more glasses" »

Kerenga Kua concerned that APEC laws compromise sovereignty

Kerenga Kua
Kerenga Kua - tough luck if you're killed or injured by these foreign troops during APEC


PORT MORESBY - Shadow justice minister Kerenga Kua has raised concerns over the APEC safety and security act passed in 2017 and amended this year.

Mr Kua, the member for Sinesine-Yongomugl, believes the act hands over Papua New Guinea’s sovereignty to foreign soldiers who will be coming to PNG to enhance APEC security.

He said the Act directs citizens to treat foreign security the same as members of the PNG Defence Force and Royal PNG Constabulary even though PNG was not involved in their screening and vetting.

“Our defence force is the only organisation in PNG that protects and defends our boundaries and our sovereignty,” Mr Kua stated.

Continue reading "Kerenga Kua concerned that APEC laws compromise sovereignty" »

Trail of Woe: Inadequate infrastructure mars the Kokoda Trail

Brown River crossing
Brown River crossing - Adventure Kokoda carriers guide trekkers across a fallen tree 'bridge'


Sixth in a series of articles about the need to improve the conditions and sustainable development of the trek tourism industry along the Kokoda Trail. The articles are drawn from Rashmii’s observations and conversations with Papua New Guinean guides, carriers, campsite owners and communities as she trekked the Trail from 6-17 August

ON THE TRAIL – My guide and carrier DE and I have developed a vocabulary of sorts.

Extending his arm back toward me, low-slung and with fingers splayed, DE warns of a winding navigation of Emoo Creek.

At a standstill facing me, hand elevated and shoulders curled towards his chest, DE’s eye movements map out a path to safely manoeuvre the slime-coated incline of Nauro Lookout.

With short, clear instructions received from over my shoulder, he gently insists on my full concentration when clambering amongst floating logs in swamps and he steadies my balance through light pressure on the small backpack on my shoulders.

Continue reading "Trail of Woe: Inadequate infrastructure mars the Kokoda Trail" »

A future in journalism in the age of 'media phobia'

Journalism is nor a crime
Professor Robie says the journalism profession has rarely been more dangerous than it is today

DAVID ROBIE | Pacific Media Centre | Extract

Keynote address by Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie at the University of the South Pacific Journalism Awards, 19 October 2018, celebrating 50 years of the university's existence. You can read the complete address here

SUVA - For many of you millennials, you’re graduating and entering a Brave New World of Journalism. Embarking on a professional journalism career that is changing technologies at the speed of light, and facing a future full of treacherous quicksands like never before. 

When I started in journalism, as a fresh 18-year-old in 1964 it was the year after President Kennedy was assassinated and I naively thought my hopeful world had ended, Beatlemania was in overdrive and New Zealand had been sucked into the Vietnam War.

Continue reading "A future in journalism in the age of 'media phobia'" »

Australia steps up its Pacific pivot as China lights a fire

ChinaJOANNE WALLIS | East Asia Forum

CANBERRA – The level of Australian strategic interest in the Pacific islands is reaching a height not seen since concerns about perceived state ‘failure’ in the Solomon Islands motivated Australia to lead the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands in 2003.

Fuelling this interest is an escalating number of public references to China’s increased presence in the region.

The Pacific islands region was identified as a priority in the Australian government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

While this included some potentially helpful foreign policy initiatives, defence has largely been overlooked in discussions about how Australia can enhance its engagement with the region.

Continue reading "Australia steps up its Pacific pivot as China lights a fire" »

One of PNG’s great achievers, Sir Henry To Robert, has died

Sir Henry was governor of PNG's reserve bank when the kina and toea were introduced as the new nation's currency


BUKA - I am saddened to hear of the passing of one of the East New Britain great sons, Sir Henry To Robert.

I first met Sir Henry more than sixty years ago when we were contemporaries at Saint Brendan’s College Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia. We were the first Papua New Guinean students at the school.

I still remember the day that we boarded the Quantas flight from Lae to Rockhampton. It was a journey that inevitably forged a friendship that would last a lifetime.

Sir Henry’s passing is a great loss to the people of East New Britain Province and Papua New Guinea. Sir Henry has had the distinction of being the first Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea for 20 years (1973 – 1993). He was also one of the longest serving governors of the Commonwealth.

Continue reading "One of PNG’s great achievers, Sir Henry To Robert, has died" »

Momis calls for Bougainville solidarity & 90% turnout in referendum

President John Momis
John Momis - 'moral and legal obligation to honour peace agreement despite constraints imposed by PNG'


BUKA - Autonomous Bougainville Government president, Dr John Momis, said Bougainvilleans must present a unified front at the dawn of the referendum in order to secure a viable option for self-determination.

Dr Momis said if Bougainville can secure more than 90% of the popular vote at the referendum on its political future next June, it will have the bargaining power to negotiate with the PNG government.

“After the referendum vote we still have to negotiate with the national government before the referendum result is ratified by parliament,” Dr Momis said.

“Securing a majority vote on one option of the referendum question secures support from the international community and proves to the national government that this is what our people have chosen as the new path for our future,” he said.

The referendum question will ask people to choose between independence and greater autonomy.

“Apart from presenting a unified front it is imperative that we implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement,” Dr Momis said.

“It does not matter if the national government is failing to honour the agreement, we must continue to strive to implement it so that when it comes to the ratification of the outcome of the referendum we can proudly say that we implemented it in its entirety,” he said.

Continue reading "Momis calls for Bougainville solidarity & 90% turnout in referendum" »

Aussie company pushes to open PNG's first coal-fired power plant

Coal conference
Talkin' 'bout coal - Sam Basil MP, John Rosso MP and Mayur boss Paul Mulder. Amongst others at this meeting was Dr Ona Renagi, Unitech vice-chancellor

YARA MURRAY-ATFIELD | Pacific Beat | ABC News | Extract

Read the complete article here

SYDNEY - An Australian company is pushing ahead with plans to open a coal-fired power plant and coal mine in Papua New Guinea, despite the recent call from the world's most authoritative climate science body to completely cut greenhouse emissions by 2050.

Australian-based and PNG-focused Mayur Resources is proposing the establishment of an "Enviro Energy Park" in the industrial hub of Lae in PNG's Morobe province.

Mayur has been in talks for the project since at least 2014, but now a new memorandum of agreement (MOA) has been signed between the company, the Lae City Authority, and the Morobe Provincial Government.

The MOA details plans for a new 60 megawatt power station, with the ability to burn coal as well as use renewable biomass, solar energy, and by-product heat.

Mayur Resources' managing director Paul Mulder told the ABC the company was essentially at the stage of being "construction-ready" for the project, which he said would significantly reduce the energy cost for Papua New Guineans.

Continue reading "Aussie company pushes to open PNG's first coal-fired power plant" »

History can be dangerous but historians can find paths to truth

A-lie-gets-halfway-around-the-worldCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Reader Martin Auld has expressed the view that history is written to legitimise those in power and he has concluded that history can be dangerous.

In arguing this, Martin is echoing the words of George Orwell in his novel '1984' where he wrote that “who controls the past controls the future”.

In the novel, the ruling regime was constantly revising history to meet its current needs, even to the extent of fabricating new ‘historic’ records to erase inconvenient truths or falsehoods and replace them with new ‘facts’ that met its political needs.

As Orwell foresaw, we now live in an era where distinguishing between truth and falsehood has become very difficult at times. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are but two examples of leaders who routinely lie to their constituencies.

Continue reading "History can be dangerous but historians can find paths to truth" »

Pacific not cash-hungry; it wants action on climate change

Environment Minister Melissa Price (Lucas Koch)
Australian environment minister Melissa Price

KATERINA TEAIWA | The Conversation

CANBERRA – Australia’s environment minister Melissa Price was trending on Twitter last week – and not for any good environmental reasons.

Price was introduced to the former president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, during a dinner at a Canberra restaurant hosted by Labor Senator Pat Dodson. Tong has brought global attention to his country because of the existential challenges it faces from climate change and rising sea levels.

According to Dodson, Price made what many have deemed an insulting comment to Tong:

I know why you’re here. It’s for the cash. For the Pacific it’s always about the cash. I have my chequebook here. How much do you want?

Others at the restaurant verified Dodson’s version of the incident. For his part, Tong said he has some hearing problems and others closer to Price could better hear what she said.

Continue reading "Pacific not cash-hungry; it wants action on climate change" »

A fable: Kerenga – the faithless chief of the southern end

The late cartoonist Bob Brown was as interested in ethics as the author of this fable, Jimmy Awagl


KUNDIAWA - The sun was about to walk out of sight over the horizon in the western sky as, accompanied by his comrades and cronies Kerenga the chief strolled towards the coffee shop.

As they entered, Kerenga looked into their eyes with a guilty smile. He’d come up with a brilliant idea to steal a valuable asset from a local farmer.

The fish farmer owned many fishponds which produced world class red emperors and earned big money.

Kerenga told his peers that they would confiscate property without the consent of the owner.

“Gentlemen, be bold and confident that we will serve our personal interest.”

“This could be a brilliant concept,” said the albino, “so what is your notion?”

“Gentlemen, the owner is busy constructing a new pond over the range. While he is there we will draw down his huge red emperors for ourselves,” Kerenga said, giving a brilliant smile.

By the next day, the arrangements and logistics were organised and the group set their course for the pond.

The owner believed no one would think of netting fish from an old pond covered with weeds and waterlilies. No-one but wily chief Kerenga, who knew all about the red emperors and their value.

Continue reading "A fable: Kerenga – the faithless chief of the southern end" »

No one asked, no one advised, but PNG Attitude lost its Likes


NOOSA – It all started when Facebook did the dirty on Typepad and made some unconsulted changes which caused the two platforms to stop communicating. I understand FB is known for having that kind of superiority complex.

The worst outcome, perhaps, which has saddened me, is that we’ve lost our Likes feature which enabled readers to offer some kind of applause and writers to get some kind of feedback.

The Likes of every article returned to zero – even those big enchiladas that had over 1,000 (one of Phil Fitzpatrick’s babies was in that elite group).

The most any piece got ever was around 3,000. It was a beautiful but tragic story of a PNGDF soldier killed in the Bougainville civil war.

I had been thinking for some time of making PNG Attitude more smartphone friendly, but knew we would lose the Likes so always resisted the urge. Now it's been done to us. Maybe I'll take the opportunity to look at a new design. Or maybe not.

Continue reading "No one asked, no one advised, but PNG Attitude lost its Likes" »

For PNG’s sake, let’s hope hosting APEC is for the better

APEC Haus  Ela Beach
APEC Haus, Ela Beach


PORT MORESBY - In August, under a headline that read ‘APEC is for you PNG’, APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko said the benefits of hosting APEC would last for many years and would strengthen many sectors in the economy.

The minister’s statement seems to portray APEC as a defining event in Papua New Guinea’s history with its impact to resonate for many years to come.

As the date for the APEC leaders’ forum draws nearer, Papua New Guineans will get a chance to assess whether APEC 2018 lives up to its hype and transforms our fortunes for the better.

Or will it instead become a shadow that will haunt us for many years to come. For PNG’s sake, let’s hope for the former.

Continue reading "For PNG’s sake, let’s hope hosting APEC is for the better" »

Big health donors defraud patients by ignoring corruption

Silver Fox's Den

The Silver Fox's Den - a diagram not directly related to this article but kindly provided by the folk at PNGi to show the network of companies established by David Johnson, the subject of our story earlier this week, Silver Fox goes to ground after APEC intervention goes awry

STAFF REPORTERS | The Tokaut Blog | Extract

You can read the complete PNGi article here

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s health system is in crisis.

Tuberculosis is at epidemic levels, polio has re-emerged, maternal and child mortality rates are among the worst in the world, malaria infections have increased nine-fold in just three years, no radiology treatment is available for cancer patients, rural health clinics lie empty and abandoned….

The list goes on and on.

Yet this is a health system that for decades has been financially and technically supported by some of the world’s largest multilateral agencies, the World Bank, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and many others.

Why is their assistance so manifestly failing?

Continue reading "Big health donors defraud patients by ignoring corruption" »

How China can help save Papua New Guinea’s forests

Governor Gary Juffa
Governor Gary Juffa

GARY JUFFA | The Diplomat

ORO - This summer, my country, Papua New Guinea, became the newest member of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This global program already spans dozens of countries and represents over a trillion dollars of planned investments in infrastructure development.

Meanwhile, China’s aid to PNG is surging: only recently, it committed around $4 billion to developing PNG’s national road network.

These initiatives mean that bilateral trade is set to increase — but if China does not make significant changes in the way it sources raw materials abroad, the outcome is likely to be a bad one for PNG.

PNG’s forests are among our most valuable natural resources. Some 70% of the country is covered in forests that support hundreds of rare and endemic species, making PNG a ‘megabiodiverse’ country.

Continue reading "How China can help save Papua New Guinea’s forests" »

What should be the values of the people running PNG?

Martyn Namorong  2017
Martyn Namorong - PNG's Constitution provides guidance for a clear alternative pathway to the future


PORT MORESBY - At independence, Papua New Guinea adopted Christian values from missionaries who said Jesus was our saviour who would provide for us heaven.

Post-independence, the miners and loggers came along with other neoliberal capitalist missionaries from the World Bank, the IMF and other multilateral institutions and told us capitalism was the way to heaven.

Our forefathers believed in the message of Christ and gave their land and resources to the churches.

Today their children believe in capitalist economic development and are giving PNG's land and resources to the capitalists.

Whereas Christian missionaries called for repentance and behavioural change to attain salvation, nowadays we talk of foreign direct investment and economic growth to attain deliverance.

Continue reading "What should be the values of the people running PNG?" »

Transparency demands full disclosure of APEC vehicle purchases

Three Bentleys, 40 Maseratis and many luxury SUVs are said to have been purchased for the 3-day APEC forum in Port Moresby


PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea chapter of Transparency International (TIPNG) has said the only way to stop allegations of corruption is for the government to be honest and transparent in its procurement processes.

Late yesterday TIPNG called for the government and the APEC Authority to publicly disclose the total cost involved in the purchase and import of 40 Maserati and three Bentley sedans and other luxury vehicles which generated controversy in PNG and internationally this week after it was estimated the purchases amounted to at least 40 million kina.

The organisation also said that the government needs to demonstrate that it had complied with public procurement processes.

APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko MP said the government had procured the vehicles in the expectation they would be later sold to private sector buyers after next month’s APEC leaders’ forum in the national capital.

Continue reading "Transparency demands full disclosure of APEC vehicle purchases" »

Once upon a time in the Pacific


A man controlled by self-inflation
Did bring great sadness to a nation
Bounteous coffers somehow breached
Untold millions to somewhere leached

Many people deprived of future wealth
Cleverly done, probably by stealth
Then, later, it became more rank
When a whole country became his bank

The people’s wealth became his millions
Which soon enough were untold billions
Then seeking praise and lavish fuss
A feast announced for them not us

Continue reading "Once upon a time in the Pacific" »

APEC imbibes our country’s wealth

40 maseratisJIMMY AWAGL

APEC brings beauty to Moresby city
At great expense to the people’s funds
Pay cuts, medicine cuts, budget cuts
Pay for greater glory of glorious leaders
With health and education falling apart

Maserati sedans at excessive cost
Sucking scarce resources of the nation
Government desires to appear classy
To impress a sceptical global elite
Notwithstanding some dubious deals

Continue reading "APEC imbibes our country’s wealth" »

40 luxury Maseratis (& counting), but little effort on climate change

One of the controversial Maserati cars
One of the controversial Maserati cars for APEC 2018. The market value is about reportedly about K229,000 each (EMTV News)

PAULINE MAGO-KING | Pacific Media Centre

AUCKLAND - Early in March, Papua New Guinea began its chairmanship of next month’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit by receiving many senior officials for the opening set of planning meetings.

The lead-up to the APEC summit, expected to become a key opportunity for PNG to unlock its economic potential, has been inundated with talks on trade and investment.

As the smallest and poorest member of APEC, Papua New Guinea has framed its chairmanship as an opportunity to cash in on the digital revolution and its benefits in connectivity and employment.

The chair of APEC Senior Officials, Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu, underlined PNG’s participation in APEC as “leverage” to maintain its domestic policies according to the group.

Continue reading "40 luxury Maseratis (& counting), but little effort on climate change" »

Last week I was a teenager – but just look at me now


TUMBY BAY - About eighteen months ago a friend and I were talking about walking the Heysen Trail in South Australia.

It runs for a mere 1,200 kilometres from the bottom of Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide, through the Mount Lofty Ranges and on to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Range.

It’s not an arduous walk, nothing like the Kokoda Trail, just a bit longer. There is, however, some magnificent scenery along the way and, fortuitously, some great wineries.

Continue reading "Last week I was a teenager – but just look at me now" »

Kramer’s shock allegation: 'The plan to have me assassinated'

Koim exchangeBRYAN KRAMER MP

Sam Koim's response to Bryan Kramer's revelation can be downloaded at the end of this statement

MADANG - Two days ago I was contacted by former chairman of Anti-corruption Task Force Sweep, Sam Koim, to inform me he had received reliable intelligence that individuals with political connections were planning to have me assassinated.

Concerned about my safety Mr Koim went out of his way to contact me so that I would take extra care.

I responded I was banking on it but appreciated the head ups. It was no surprise, when you go after high level corruption it's only a matter time you are permanently silenced.

I accepted that fate a long time ago. The real threat won't come from our corrupt and stupid politicians but the foreign nationals who pull the strings from behind the scenes and profit from them.

I have briefed key members in Opposition that I expect to be killed for doing what I do and it is important they are clear on what to do next when that happens.

I don't normally share this information in the public domain, as any information I do share will only be after I am absolutely certain the information is credible without a question of doubt.

So how is it I never seem to be charged or sued over my reports?

Well provided what you publish is the truth you are protected by the law. However, wrongfully accusing someone, then you face civil and even criminal prosecution.

Continue reading "Kramer’s shock allegation: 'The plan to have me assassinated'" »

Now it's K2.3 million on Bentleys for APEC: but was there a tender?

SPV commercial invoice
Extract of an invoice for 3 Bentley Continental Flying Spurs at a cost of K2.3 million - did this deal go through an open & competitive tender as required?


PORT MORESBY - APEC Authority documents reveal that the K2.3 million purchase of three super-luxury Bentleys for the prime minister, APEC minister and others was carried out through the Malaysian medical supplies company Borneo Pacific.

An invoice for the cars sent to APEC Authority CEO Christopher Hawkins comes from South Pacific Ventures of Kuala Lumpur, which describes itself as a business consultancy and health services provider in Papua New Guinea.

Borneo Pacific and South Pacific Ventures are both controlled by a Malaysian family which is close to prime minister Peter O’Neill and other senior politicians, businessmen and public servants.

The family has extensive octopus-like business interests in PNG, and is currently rumoured to be starting a brewery in partnership with the prime minister.

Continue reading "Now it's K2.3 million on Bentleys for APEC: but was there a tender?" »

Silver Fox goes to ground after APEC intervention goes awry

David Johnson (aka Silver Fox)
David (Silver Fox) Johnson - from his Linked In account


NOOSA – If I may mix a couple of metaphors, it seems that former Melbourne Grammar boy cum rumoured O’Neill government ‘fixer’, David (Silver Fox) Johnson, has gone to ground after setting the cat amongst the pigeons.

On Wednesday last week, PNG businessman Emmanuel Narakobi shared on Facebook a post by airline company, Ajot, about how it had, on behalf of the PNG government, flown 40 luxury Maserati sedans from Milan to Port Moresby for use during next month’s APEC forum.

Their purchase and means of eventual disposal have been subject to conflicting stories from various PNG ministers including the prime minister. Let us just say the whole deal – which involved in some capacity former Sri Lankan cricket great Aravinda de Silva – is very murky.

Minutes after Narakobi shared the article, he was contacted by a person with a Facebook account called ‘Silver Fox’, who messaged: “You must immediately take down posts of Maserati [or] APEC security act will be inacted [sic]”.

Continue reading "Silver Fox goes to ground after APEC intervention goes awry" »

Is the clock finally ticking for PNG’s illegal loggers?

Illegal loggingLELA STANLEY | DevCom Blog

CANBERRA - A time traveller from 1988 visiting Papua New Guinea’s forestry sector today would find it distressingly familiar territory.

Three decades ago, Commissioner Tos Barnett was conducting his inquiry into aspects of the forest industry, published as a two-volume survey of the corruption and illegalities allowing PNG’s forests to be felled wholesale and exported, to the country’s economic and environmental loss.

Barnett’s famous pronouncement that logging companies were operating in Papua New Guinea with the “self-assurance of robber barons” is as relevant now as it was then. (Indeed, hardly a think piece on the industry can be published without repeating the quote.)

Continue reading "Is the clock finally ticking for PNG’s illegal loggers?" »



PORT MORESBY - This poem is intended to inspire those people who are afraid to start writing. It adopts as a title the Greek word ‘grapheiphobia’ - graphei meaning to write and phobia meaning fear. So grapheiphobia means fearing to write based on an innate sense of inadequacy - SD

When you are inspired to write,
You will hear a nagging voice,
Pouring mad ranting against you,
Claiming-you can’t write!

You have two choices left,
For you to make.
Shun the inner critic,
Or be subdued by it.

Continue reading "Grapheiphobia" »

Exams defer national strike until Thursday 25 October


Politicians Juffa  Bird & Kramer
Gov Gary Juffa, Gov Allan Bird and Bryan Kramer - Planning a nationwide boycott for Thursday 25 October

PORT MORESBY – Opposition members of parliament have deferred  a nationwide strike in Papua New Guinea until Thursday of next week because the protest would have clashed with this week's Grade 12 examinations.

The boycott is to protest against the O'Neill government “colluding with overseas opportunists to steal from our people”.

At a meeting last night, the organisers decided to avoid the strike conflicting with the major national exam, which is sat by 28,000 students.

In the wake of the continuing ‘Maserati scandal’, Oro governor Gary Juffa, East Sepik governor Allan Bird and Madang MP Bryan Kramer together with former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta, now an MP, issued a call to people to join in the strike by staying home in a show of a nonviolent defiance.

Their call resonated even louder today when The Australian newspaper revealed that three new Bentley Flying Spur limousines worth a total of over $960,000 (K2.5 million) had been added to the APEC luxury vehicle fleet. The newspaper had obtained an invoice for the Bentleys made out to PNG's APEC CEO Chris Hawkins.

Continue reading "Exams defer national strike until Thursday 25 October" »