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Literature petition update: getting round the roadblock


PORT MORESBY – Here’s a brief update about our bid to petition prime minister James Marape to promote literature in Papua New Guinea.

Since being in the national capital I have met with petition organisers Caroline Evari and Betty Wakia for the first time.

It appears that the petition had reached an anti-climax, if not a full stop.

Betty was told that prime minister James Marape was busy so she left it at that.

Caroline was given a quotation for over K8,000 by one of the national newspapers if the petition was to be published as an advertisement.

I felt both women may have approached the wrong people and, during our discussion, we resolved to try again to get the petition to Mr Marape.

I said that I would deal with trying to make an appointment to see the prime minister and also approach the two dailies to see if they will publish the petition without cost.

Caroline and Betty will seek to approach the Chinese Embassy to see if it can be of help to PNG’s struggling writers.

We will meet again this Saturday to see where we have reached.

We felt at least one Port Moresby-based writer, perhaps Jordan Dean, could make himself available if he had the time.

We thank the more than 300 PNG Attitude readers and other supporters of PNG literature who put their names on the petition.

We also thank Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick for their unwavering support in our cause.

Tenk yu tru.


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Jimmy Awagl

Thanks for every one involved in it. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Daniel Kumbon

I returned from Kerema last night at 3am and could not respond to your comments yesterday.

The good news is that my local member, Dr Lino Jeremiah Tom, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, agreed to introduce us to prime minister James Marape.

I will convey the same message to Caroline, Betty and Jordan this Saturday

I think the prime minister will make time available to us.

But if that fails, the last resort will be to get the petition published in the papers.

All comments, and the poem by Michael Dom, are noted with thanks.

Michael Dom

"You can only really build true, genuine relationships through shared language, shared culture and understanding."
Dr Anna Powles, Massey University

Francis Nii

My observation is that the message has not reached Marape yet.

Only if the message has reached him and a decision or message is received from him, any other option be put on halt.

Since Daniel is with the two ladies, all effort should focus on reaching Marape. I strongly feel that Marape will have time for us but if he is too busy, we can present the petition to the Deputy Prime Minister instead. My take.

Kenny Pawa Ambiasi

Thank you for the update.

The drop in literature in PNG is a concern and all stakeholders including business houses must step in to assist where necessary.

Only writers can see the importance of writing. So instead of going direct to see prime minister James Marape, why not see people like Gary Juffa, Ivan Pomaleu and others who have seen the importance of reading and writing and have experience of writing and publishing.

Just a thought.

Michael Dom

There was a young leader named Marape
Who served in O'Neill's bagarapment
But when push came to shove
And he had had more than enough
He took back PNG without foment

If the aim now is to keep taking back
I don't know why we are being so slack
Because Beijing doesn't care
And Canberra won't dare
Tell us how to be Christian, rich and Black

And where are those God fearing leaders
Who bowed and scraped for the APEC bleeders?
Seems Jehovah is least on their minds
When they sign for more logging, more mines
They keep selling us all down the river

Since the last PM taunted our laws
And sold everything behind closed doors
All those riches we can't take back today
So better to stop giving them away
And treating our people like paupers

Now when we say take back PNG
And cheer Independence with glee
There are difficult things we must do
Ask with sincerity, who really are we?
And how is it we keep our Black history?

Stop taking and give back PNG.

Philip Fitzpatrick

It may be that the Chinese, and indeed other embassies, especially the US embassy, may be willing to make an approach to James Marape.

Perhaps the message that Caroline and Betty should take to the Chinese embassy is that help is needed to lobby the PNG government. That would be a more positive approach rather than the usual begging for money.

James Marape may be more inclined to take notice of such approaches than if it came from mere writers off the street.

Tingting tasol.

I do not believe this would be a good move. If successful, it would place the prime minister in a difficult and embarrassing position. He could not be seen to be bending to the influence of a foreign power on a domestic matter. For the same reason it is highly unlikely the Chinese would buy into this - KJ

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