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75 posts from December 2019

Corruption & climate change

TiNEWS DESK
| Transparency International | Extract

BERLIN - Solving the climate crisis is possible, but vested economic interests and a lack of political will stand in the way.

Today is International Anti-Corruption Day. The climate crisis cannot be tackled without tackling corruption.

International funding for climate adaptation and mitigation measures will reach over K340 billion in 2020. Even more - around K2,000 billion - will be spent from national budgets.

Continue reading "Corruption & climate change" »


Bougainville voting ends, what next?

Flags and flutes on Bougainville (Asahi Shimbun)
Flags and flutes on Bougainville - the exhilaration of the feeling of freedom (Asahi Shimbun)

AVREET KAUR
| Foreign Brief

MELBOURNE – Yesterday marked the last day of the independence referendum in Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.

The referendum provided citizens with two choices: the enhancement of current autonomy arrangements or independence.

Continue reading "Bougainville voting ends, what next?" »


B’ville votes & prays for independence

Francesca Semoso  women’s representative and deputy speaker of the ABG House of Representatives  on the opening day of voting (Leanne Jorari  The Guardian)
Francesca Semoso,  women’s representative and deputy speaker of the ABG House of Representatives,  on the opening day of voting (Leanne Jorari, The Guardian)

LEANNE JORARI
| The Guardian | The Pacific Project

BUKA - In the coastal town of Buka a solemn procession of people makes its way from the Catholic church to Bel Isi park, where worshippers kneel before a makeshift cross.

There is one subject that dominates the prayers in Bougainville today. “We are gathered here this morning in Bel Isi Park to ask you to bless the referendum. May it be peaceful and successful,” says the priest.

Continue reading "B’ville votes & prays for independence" »


Quest for national sovereignty

A jubilant voter casts his ballot in Bougainville's referendm (Post-Courier)
A jubilant voter casts his ballot in Bougainville's referendum (Post-Courier)

LISA HÄNEL
| Deutsche Welle

BERLIN - Bougainville, an island of just 250,000 inhabitants, belongs to Papua New Guinea — but it may not be for long.

The tiny Pacific island has held an independence referendum and, according to experts, Bougainville's residents look set to overwhelmingly back the nonbinding vote. The results are expected soon.

While independence movements like those in Catalonia and Scotland have made headlines in Europe lately, independence referenda and movements are much more widespread in Oceania and the surrounding area today.

East Timor, previously annexed by Indonesia, was the first country in the region to gain independence in the 21st century.

"There is one thing that unites all pacific island states: namely their colonial past," said Hermann Mückler, a professor of social and cultural anthropology at Vienna University.

Some states, he added, were even colonised by more than one power.

The Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Japan, Spain, Portugal, France and the US — there was hardly a powerful state that did not colonise parts of the south-western Pacific.

To this day, Oceania remains of special geopolitical significance to global powers like the US and China.

The US was keen on expanding its influence in this area especially during the Cold War era. These days, however, both the US and China are vying for power in this region, with Beijing seeking to win over Pacific island states with a lending splurge.

Some of these states, however, recognise the self-governing island of Taiwan as an independent nation, even though Beijing considers it part of its territory. And this is a matter that China finds hard to stomach.

The Pacific region's colonial past and its geopolitical importance have caused conflicts and dependencies, as illustrated by the case of Chuuk State, one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Chuuk has a population of only 49,000 and has been striving for independence since 2015. Its referendum has been postponed again and again but is now planned for March 2020.

Chuuk, however, depends on the millions of dollars the US pays to keep military bases there. If the island does become independent, the US will cease its payments. 

Mückler says apart from this, the region lacks economic independence. "All of these island states can barely exist on their own, they rely on money coming in mainly from Australia, the US and the EU — and most recently China," he said.

The reason for their reliance on foreign money is that they are in remote locations and have barely any natural resources.

Any goods they do produce are too costly to sell due to the significant transport costs involved. And so effectively, these states remain reliant on large states even though the colonial era has passed.

Even so, many regions yearn for independence. This has to do with the fact that many ethnic groups feel their rights are not being respected, which becomes clear in West Papua, the western half of the vast New Guinea island, an area that is rich in natural resources — particularly copper.

After the colonial era, West Papua became part of Indonesia, a Muslim majority country, which waged a violent campaign against the local, Christian minority. "A civil war has been raging there (over Papuan rights) for decades, but it has been largely overlooked by the global community," said Mückler.

The odds that Indonesia will grant the resource-rich area independence are very slim, he added.

In Oceania, the combination of a colonial legacy, geopolitical interests and suppressed minorities has spawned numerous independence movements.

Yet Mückler says this cannot be applied to understanding independence movements elsewhere in the world, as each is unique. Some emerge over current conflicts, while others date back to arbitrarily drawn borders in the colonial era, stretching back hundreds of years ago.    

Mückler says these Oceanic independence movements could "set an example" if they manage to strike a balance between respecting regional dependencies while also maintaining their cultural identity. But, he says, "Right now it does not look like they will achieve this."

"Many global independence movements exist for a good reason," Mückler said, but adds that these are also often hijacked by charismatic leaders with an axe to grind.

This, he says, leads to old dependencies simply being replaced by new ones, without bringing the freedom and independence that supporters had hoped to see come to fruition.


Witness tampering: Gamato in custody

Gamato
Patilias Gamato - threatened to sue writer Martyn Namorong for defamation during the 2017 election when Namorong satirically compared him with a tomato

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea's electoral commissioner, Patilias Gamato, was remanded in custody at the Boroko police cells in the national capital on Thursday after an alleged breach of his bail conditions.

Gamato was arrested in October and charged with corruption in relation to an incident in Port Moresby during the 2017 general elections.

Continue reading "Witness tampering: Gamato in custody" »


A pioneering approach to birthing

Prof Mola and first ‘baby bundle mother’ in Gogmei  Simbu
Prof Glen Mola, the first 'baby bundle' mother (and baby) and the baby bundle at Goglme in Simbu. The bundle encourages mums and dads to seek a supervised birth

PROF GLEN MOLA
| UK PNG Church Partnership

PORT MORESBY - I have spent much of the 50 years of my professional life trying to improve health outcomes for women and their new-borns in Papua New Guinea.

Research over the last 30 years has been very clear, that supervised birth in a health facility and family planning are the two things that can make the difference between life and death for women and their babies.

Continue reading "A pioneering approach to birthing" »


That’s all you get, says Buin

Buin
Buin is a truly beautiful part of the world but local leaders are angered by the actions of the Autonomous Bougainville Government

ANTHONY KAYBING

BUIN - The collective community governments of Buin District have petitioned the Bougainville government not to extend its term in office.

Chairpersons of the community governments claim the Bougainville government led by president John Momis has acted unconstitutionally and deprived the people of their right to democratically sound process.

Continue reading "That’s all you get, says Buin" »


I am not to be silent

Nursing staff
Nursing staff and children in Oro Province, c 1970s

LINDSAY BOND

BRISBANE – Mine is a truly sorrowful and even frightening story and I am motivated to write it after reading a PNG Post-Courier article by Nathan Kuman.

I follow Rostrum’s motto “not to be silent when I ought to speak”.

Four weeks ago I spent three nights at Kokoda, staying at a guest facility run by the family of Henry Amuli MP, which is located nearby the Kokoda Hospital.

Continue reading "I am not to be silent" »


Australia leaves refugees to madness & death

Hamid Kehazaei
Iranian refugee Hamid Kehazaei died in 2014 after contracting a leg infection in Manus that eventually left him brain dead

SIOBHÁN O'GRADY
| Washington Post

WASHINGTON DC - For the past 10 months, asylum seekers held in Australia’s controversial offshore processing centres in the Pacific islands have been able to seek transfers to Australia for urgent medical treatment.

Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton claims the policy has helped people migrate into Australia “through the back door.” Physicians and refugee advocates say it has saved sick asylum seekers’ lives.

Continue reading "Australia leaves refugees to madness & death" »


Marape urges patience over Porgera

Landowners
Porgera landowners protest against Canadian company Barrick Gold Ltd

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand | Edited

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape has urged patience while negotiations continue over the contract for the Porgera gold mine.

Canadian company Barrick Gold Ltd, which operates the mine in Enga Province with China's Zijin Mining Group, is pushing to renew its contract.

Continue reading "Marape urges patience over Porgera" »


Success through endless struggle

Roselyn Sakias
Roselyn Sakias and her girls

ALPHONSE MEK

ENGA - Roselyn Sakias, originally from Enga, had a dream to become high school teacher. Life was rough and Roselyn faced a lot of challenges getting educated.

Many times it seemed her dream would just be that – a dream. But she completed Grade 12 at Pause secondary school in 2008 and was selected to attend the University of Goroka. That was a big step forward.

Continue reading "Success through endless struggle" »


ADB helps Kina Bank improve services

Kina
Kina Bank's equity boost from the Asian Development Bank will help promote its lending to small business customers

NEWS DESK
| Asian Development Bank

PORT MORESBY - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has made a $10 million (K34 million) equity investment into Kina Securities Limited, a fast-growing financial services company in Papua New Guinea.

The investment will help to increase the availability of sustainable financial services and support growth in PNG.

Continue reading "ADB helps Kina Bank improve services" »


Voting ends in Bougainville

Upe_boys-in-wakunai
Giving Upe hat- wearing youths a chance to vote at male-only polling stations was one of many referendum firsts

NEWS DESK
| Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — They voted in highland villages and on remote atolls. Even 15 youths, living in the jungle and wearing bright Upe hats as they underwent traditional training to become men, had the chance to vote.

All across Bougainville, people have voted in a historic referendum to decide if they want to become the world’s newest nation by gaining independence from Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Voting ends in Bougainville" »


God the writer

The 404 year old King James Bible is ceremonially borne into the PNG parliament
The 404 year old King James Bible is ceremonially borne into the PNG parliament

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The world is awash with self-help books. No matter what the subject, they promise you advice that will solve all your problems.

Self-help literature is an industry in its own right. The motives of its authors range from the naked desire to make a buck out of gullible suckers to a genuine desire to be helpful.

Continue reading "God the writer" »


This strange compulsion

James
Clive James - of all the things that made him famous, he preferred to be known as a writer

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I’m not sure about the antecedents of Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media platforms but it is easy to trace the ancestry of the modern day blog.

The first blogs appeared in the mid-1600s as a product of the debate leading to the English Civil War.

Continue reading "This strange compulsion" »


Clive James wrote me a poem

Sally
Sally Jackson on Clive James - "At some point he wrote me a poem...."

SALLY JACKSON

SYDNEY - Sad to hear Clive James has died ... I loved his books.

My Clive story: I got to interview him once a long time ago at his favourite cafe in Circular Quay, and we got on like a house on fire, talking about reading and low carb dieting.

And went on to have more lunches.

Continue reading "Clive James wrote me a poem" »


Something fishy about MRDC deal

Mek
Sir Mekere Morauta - "Foreign consultants have been boasting of their potentially dominant market power "

SIR MEKERE MORAUTA | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Arrangements between two foreign consultancies and the Mineral Resources Development Corporation to build power plants might be treating PNG landowners as fronts to ship out millions of kina.

Under arrangements I’ve been made aware of, the interests of foreign companies seem to have been given preference over a cheap and reliable national power supply and financial returns to the PNG LNG landowner groups who have invested in MRDC’s power-generation plans.

Continue reading "Something fishy about MRDC deal" »


A soul in need of nurture

Marlene Potoura cropped
Marlene Potoura

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Marlene Dee Grey Potoura is a very talented writer. Whether her stories and books are aimed at adults or children they invariably land in exactly the right spot.

She can write about tragedy with deep feeling and about humour with a whimsical mischievousness. In short she is an accomplished and skilful writer.

Continue reading "A soul in need of nurture" »


The fears of Luluai Tsike

Tsike – the Tsengelap clan leader burdened by the problems of looming Independence
Tsike – the Tsengelap clan leader burdened by the problems of looming Independence

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA, UK – I look at the two images accompanying this essay and ponder upon how rare it is that photographs in a random collection show the same man in such contrasting postures.

Luluai Tsike of the Tsengelap clan, which has its seat at Talu near Banz on the north side of the Wahgi Valley, is deeply troubled in the image at right and smiling and joyful in the one below.

Continue reading "The fears of Luluai Tsike" »


Debt repayment: Tough year 2020

Ian Ling Stuckey MP
Ian Ling Stuckey - During the O'Neill regime “every year the average living standard of every person went backward by over K100”

SCOTT WAIDE
| EMTV Online | Edited

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea government is projecting a  tough year in 2020 as it contends with a shrinking economy and a K4 billion budget deficit.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has handed down a K18.7 billion budget whilst issuing a scathing attack on former prime minister Peter O’Neill for what he described as the “mismanagement of the PNG economy”.

Continue reading "Debt repayment: Tough year 2020" »


PNG – we can’t go on like this

Nhc
In the National Housing Corporation corruption is rife. The stench from those who feed off the misery of evicted  Papua New Guinean families is sickening 

SCOTT WAIDE

LAE - All the systems we put in place must serve the people.

We can pull our people out from the quagmire of poor health and low literacy. We can educate more women, reduce violence, build great infrastructure, strengthen our internal and external security.

We can be a learning hub for our Pacific neighbours with world class university campuses that use the research and the skills to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Continue reading "PNG – we can’t go on like this" »


The kiaps: After dedication, melancholy

Oates
Paul Oates at Pindiu in 1970 with Papua New Guinea Administration colleaguesa

CHIPS MACKELLAR

Small Steps along the Way, by Paul Oates. Download it free here

WARWICK QLD - With Small Steps along the Way Paul Oates enters the pantheon of kiaps who have recorded their experiences in Papua New Guinea during the years of its prelude to independence in 1975.

Collectively they fill the void eschewed by mainstream historians, and for good reason.

Continue reading "The kiaps: After dedication, melancholy" »