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74 posts from January 2020

Generosity is what counts

The handover
Ordinary Simbu people and some business people have donated money to the bushfire appeal, saying this is one way of repaying Australia for all she has done for them


KUNDIAWA - In a critical economic situation like now in Papua New Guinea, when even a single kina matters a lot to many families, the generosity shown by the Simbu people toward the Simbu for Australia bushfire fundraising appeal is amazing.

Simbus from all walks of life poured their hearts out for the fundraising effort to help the people of Australia affected by devastating bushfires.

Continue reading "Generosity is what counts" »

OAM for ex kiap Bill Biscoe

Bill Biscoe with his Police Overseas Medal (Stuart Taverner)
Bill Biscoe with his Police Overseas Medal (Stuart Taverner)

| Barossa Herald

ANGASTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA – Bill Biscoe, a former kiap, who spent some years in Simbu in the 1960s, said he was shocked, surprised and filled with humility to receive an Order of Australia Medal for his service to the Barossa community.

Since moving to the wine region 23 years ago, Bill, who resides in Angaston, has become a pillar of the community.

Continue reading "OAM for ex kiap Bill Biscoe" »

Rebellion, chaos and mysticism

The Sandline debacle was a political scandal and a defining moment in the history of PNG, particularly influencing the Bougainville civil war


Operation Kisim Bek Lombo by Baka Barakove Bina, Independently Published, 2019, ISBN: 97819744332366, 350 pages, my copy cost AU$34.28 from but there’s an eBook that costs US$4.94.

TUMBY BAY - We are probably all familiar with the term ‘alternative facts’. It is part of the bizarre tableau of language that has emanated from Trumpian America and sits alongside other questionable expressions like ‘fake news’.

Similar expressions are commonly found in literary fiction, particularly historical fiction. Historical fiction seeks to fill in the gaps between known or accepted facts to flesh out obscure and fuzzy periods in the past.

Continue reading "Rebellion, chaos and mysticism" »

UBS – the unnecessary loan

David Kitchnoge - explains the loan should never have been


PORT MORESBY - As the infamous UBS loan inquiry commences here in the national capital, let's take a quick look at how we got here.

The Papua New Guinea government had a 17.6% interest in Oil Search when Oil Search merged with Orogen Minerals in 2002.

When the PNG LNG project crystallised in 2009, and the final investment decision had to be made, the government's legislated funding obligation kicked in.

Continue reading "UBS – the unnecessary loan" »

Addressing racism’s toxicity

Giselle Wakatama and Archie
Giselle Wakatama and Archie - abused by some ugly Australians. Unfortunately we have too many of them amongst us


MORISSET - I was shocked to see a recent story on ABC Television about the racism experienced by one of their presenters in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle.

This was particularly disturbing as it is our neck of the woods. Hey that can’t be happening here!

To their credit, the local council took some action. You can find the story here, ‘Why I will never forget the day I was racially abused in front of my young son’.

Continue reading "Addressing racism’s toxicity" »

Is sustainable forestry a fantasy?


PORT MORESBY – I’ve been reading about guys in the forestry business and thought I might share some of my own experiences.

Cloudy Bay Timbers, owned and operated by the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program before the expropriation of Ok Tedi Mine, was a perennial loss-maker although it was operated with all the right intentions and using 'industry best practice'.

Continue reading "Is sustainable forestry a fantasy?" »

Life after going finish


Life on a Coral Atoll: Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands by Paul Oates, 2020, ISBN: 9798602004854, 174 pages with heaps of b/w photographs, US$4.90 + postage paperback or US$2.00 eBook, available from

TUMBY BAY - There is now a slim but veritable genre of kiap memoirs available in print. Some of them have been published by mainstream publishers but most are self-published.

The simple fact behind the preponderance of self-published work is that the general public, in Australia at least, is not especially interested in the subject.

Continue reading "Life after going finish" »

Why are all these people so happy?

Brenda Samson and Lilly Be'Soer of Voice for Change (Gemma Carr)
Brenda Samson and Lilly Be'Soer of Voice for Change (Gemma Carr)


TUMBY BAY - One of the most striking things about Papua New Guinea is the profusion of happiness and laughter.

I noticed this when I first went to the then Australian colony in 1967 and the picture hasn’t diminished over the years.

Whenever I arrive at Jackson’s Airport in Port Moresby I am greeted by happy, smiling faces.

Continue reading "Why are all these people so happy?" »

Will the longest plea be heard?

Koro Rot
The Kana people of south Bougainville call this the Oruru Road. Not trafficable at all in the wet season it is their only connection to the outside world and a huge constraint on economic development


PANGUNA – “When election times comes around,” a Kanauro community leader exclaimed, “I see our three sitting members in parliament are really friendly to us.

“But when they are in power, they are really angry looking. “I fear them.

“So how can I tell them that the Kana people of Paubake need a trafficable road?”

Continue reading "Will the longest plea be heard?" »

Freda’s trip of a lifetime

Freda Duma
Freda Duma and her mum - on their way to Texas for life-saving heart surgery


SYDNEY – Friday was the end of a long journey in our quest to help a young Kokoda schoolgirl, Freda Duma, have a lifesaving heart-operation in Texas, USA.

A chance sighting of one of our Facebook posts by Dr Amyna Sultan at the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby, and the coincidence of having an American specialist working with her at the time, led to an agreement to perform the operation free of charge in Texas.

Continue reading "Freda’s trip of a lifetime" »

The great unwashed take charge


TUMBY BAY - I was very interested in art when I was at high school and in my final year visited an advertising agency as part of a school careers program.

It wasn’t a work experience program, just visits to places where people worked in careers that interested us. I was intent on talking to the commercial artists in the company.

Continue reading "The great unwashed take charge" »

The 2019 Asia Pacific Corruption Index

| Transparency International

BERLIN - A regional average of 45, after many consecutive years of an average score of 44, illustrates general corruption performance stagnation across the Asia Pacific.

Despite the presence of high performers like New Zealand (87), Singapore (85), Australia (77), Hong Kong (76) and Japan (73), the Asia Pacific region hasn’t witnessed substantial progress in anti-corruption efforts or results.

Continue reading "The 2019 Asia Pacific Corruption Index" »

Me & corruption – a true story

Leonard Roka holding coconut
Author Leonard Fong Roka - "Why should I vote for the political leaders under which this rot is happening"


PANGUNA - I re-entered the service of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in May 2017 after a short stint in late 2014-15.

My desire was a permanent career in the Bougainville Peace Agreement and Implementation Department’s referendum directorate. But, as the bosses said, I was kicked out for non-performance.

Continue reading "Me & corruption – a true story" »

Sam Koim’s new appointment

Sam koim
Sam Koim - former corruption buster, now the new Commissioner-General of PNG's Internal Revenue Commission

| New Head of the Internal Revenue Commission | Edited extract

PORT MORESBY - My vision for the Internal Revenue Commission [IRC] is: “building the foundations of a robust, modern and efficient tax administration”.

Albert Einstein once said “intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them”. It is logical, not necessarily genius, to find lasting preventative measures instead of costly and repetitive firefighting solutions.

Continue reading "Sam Koim’s new appointment" »

PNG defends human rights effort

Davis Steven
Deputy prime minister Davis Steven says NGO has been premature in its judgement of PNG's human rights and change is now very close (PNG PM Media Unit)

| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea's government has defended its efforts to protect human rights.

This follows a damning international NGO report into the state of human rights in PNG.

Human Rights Watch's annual summary on PNG says little was done in the past year to tackle corruption, police abuses and domestic violence.

Continue reading "PNG defends human rights effort" »

The world is teeming with cyber crooks


TUMBY BAY - My next door neighbour and his wife are in their eighties. He’s a tough old cereal farmer and she’s a retired hospital matron. They are trying to live out their twilight years as happily as possible.

Not a week goes by, however, that they don’t come over to ask me about a concerning telephone call they’ve had or a strange email they’ve received.

Continue reading "The world is teeming with cyber crooks" »

Deputy takes over health hot seat

Dr Paison Dakulala
Dr Paison Dakulala

| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND – A new appointment has been made to Papua New Guinea's embattled health department, after the former health secretary's contract expired this week.

Dr Paison Dakulala will take over on a three month contract after Pascoe Kase's contract expired on Monday and was not renewed.

Continue reading "Deputy takes over health hot seat" »

Warlords enter 2020 striving for peace

A faction arrives for the peace ceremony
A faction of warlords and fighter arrives for the peace ceremony


PORT MORESBY – People using the Okuk highway that ploughs through the New Guinea highlands know only too well the frequent tribal skirmishes that have caused fear to the travelling public this past 20 years.

The fighting has erupted violently and unpredictably at Ganigle in the Kerowagi district of the Simbu Province.

Continue reading "Warlords enter 2020 striving for peace" »

Bougainville govt to change name

| Papua New Guinea Today

BUKA - The Autonomous Bougainville Government is set to change its name to the Bougainville Constitutional Transitional Government to reflect the people’s vote for independence.

Bougainville’s post referendum minister Albert Punghau told The National newspaper that because 98% of Bougainvilleans had voted in favour of independence in last year’s referendum, the Bougainville government felt the need to change its name to reflect the overwhelming result.

Continue reading "Bougainville govt to change name" »


ContemplationMARIE-ROSE SAU

There are moments in time when I wonder
if I am ever really true to myself
That’s when I look at the skies, the clouds,
the touch of the wind, the sun kissed rays
The feel of the leaves, the sound of the birds,
tasting feelings that swirl all around
Nature is the lover’s muse, if I may say so
Offering feelings so raw and explicit
Yes, wonderful and frightening
Testing, making me falter in awe
Craving and yearning with burning desire
to see more and feel more and want more
Yet, when rain falls and thunder claps and lightning strikes,
we quiver and shy away

Continue reading "Contemplating" »

Emotion at Simbu bushfire appeal

Cheque handover
(L-R) Greenland managing director Andy Siure, provincial administrator and patron Michael Temai, appeal fundraising chairman Mathias Kin, Greenland co-owner Josephine Siure and fundraising committee member Augustina Gary


KUNDIAWA - In an emotional presentation on Saturday, a Kundiawa company operated by brother and sister Andy and Josephine Siure, Greenland Limited, has presented a cheque for K5,000 to the ‘Simbu for Australia Bushfire Appeal’.

Appeal patron and Simbu provincial administrator Michael Bal Temai received the cheque on behalf of the fundraising committee.

Continue reading "Emotion at Simbu bushfire appeal" »

Rotarian's generous donation

Bound for Oro - the former Australian Defence Force Mercedes Benz four-wheel-drive truck

| The Standard (Warrnambool)

WARRNAMBOOL - A Warrnambool man has purchased a four-wheel-drive to help volunteers in Papua New Guinea give residents access to fresh water.

Ian Watson, a team of the Rotary Papua New Guinea Project Group, has taken part in four volunteer missions and discovered the team's biggest challenge was moving the team and its equipment.

Continue reading "Rotarian's generous donation" »

The view from down here

Philip Kai Morre
Philip Kai Morre - "Culture is meant for change and we are in a global village adapting to new ways of doing things"


KUNDIAWA - As a son of a Stone Age man, and having experienced the beauty of cultural heritage, I tried to hold back in my naturalistic fallacy of retaining good cultural values, norms and a belief system in the traditional mode. But conditions did not, and do not, allow.

So I go with the current cultural, economic, political and ideological changes and embrace modern science and technology.

Continue reading "The view from down here" »

PNG must change its spending systems

Allan Bird
Governor Allan Bird - "Right now the only real check and balance is the individual"

| Governor, East Sepik Province

WEWAK - Our country is overrun with corruption because we do not have effective checks on power.

There is a complete lack of checks and balances in the system. In fact I would say that there aren’t any checks and balances at all.

We negotiate for an opportunity to spend money. Everyone spends public money, from the prime minister all the way to the local level government presidents, ward members and public servants.

Continue reading "PNG must change its spending systems" »

The 2019 kiap reunion

'The Remnants of Reunion'. Photo taken late afternoon by Harry Redmond. Kiaps still happily chatting when everyone else has gone home. (L to R) Bob Hoad, Chips Mackellar, Ian Thompson, Peter Salmon, Dave Young, Dave Agg, John Blythe and Graham Watts


In honour of those kiaps who went on their Last Patrol between the 2017 and the 2019 Reunions. May their beers be cold, and may their camaraderie continue up there in that big Patrol Post in the Sky

WARWICK, QLD - It was a joyous gathering at the Kawana Waters Hotel that day, but the years have taken their toll, for the fact is that many of us who attended our last reunion did not make it for this one.

And we have to face it, some of us won’t get there for the next one either.

Continue reading "The 2019 kiap reunion" »

A nation without literature

Literature 2
Daniel Kumbon's open letter to prime minister James Marape was published in the PNG Post-Courier yesterday. Will this finally open official doors to the glory of Melanesian literature?


WABAG - “A country without literature and without history is not a country, it’s a collection of disparate people who happen to inhabit the same space,” says Anna Porter about her passion for Canadian literature and her prolific career as one of the country’s most influential publishers.

Imagine Christianity without the Bible, Judaism without the Torah, Muslims without the Quran, Hindu without Bhagavad-Gita, Ramayana and Veda.

Continue reading "A nation without literature" »

Barrick Gold forges ahead

| Reuters | Extract

MELBOURNE - Barrick Gold is set to elevate its troubled Papua New Guinea mine to its top-tier assets, despite landowner and government demands to cede a larger stake and deteriorating security at the joint venture with China's Zijin Mining.

With a 20-year lease renewal application in the balance, Barrick has faced backlash from PNG landowners and residents.

Continue reading "Barrick Gold forges ahead" »

The enigma of James Marape

An elderly aunt in Indiana (not Phil Fitzpatrick's)


TUMBY BAY - I’ve got an elderly aunt in Indiana, USA, who thinks Donald Trump is wonderful. She was a volunteer in his 2016 election campaign and is thinking about doing it again this year.

My aunt thinks Barack Obama was the worst president that America ever had and that the Democrats are socialists who will destroy America.

Continue reading "The enigma of James Marape" »

The iconic patrol box

Patrol boxes (Graham Forster)
"Their endurance was awesome. Since the moment they could walk they had been trained to overcome every discomfort" (Graham Forster)


NORTHUMBRIA, UK - Patrol boxes are embedded within the memory of every kiap and, indeed, anyone who went “on patrol” in pre-independence Papua New Guinea.

In difficult country they could be awkward, even brutish, burdens but nevertheless were toted, uphill and down dale for mile after endless mile by village carriers without whose help patrolling, a keystone kiap activity, could not have taken place.

Continue reading "The iconic patrol box" »

Regulating private security in PNG

| Devpolicy Blog

CANBERRA - As anyone who has visited Papua New Guinea in the past 20 years can attest, the private security industry is booming.

Office buildings are often only accessible by passing by rolls of sharp barbed wire, pointed fences and uniformed guards with large caps.

Continue reading "Regulating private security in PNG" »

Under Marape, rights getting worse - report

James marape glum
"PNG has not really worked to dig itself out of the hole it was in, and it is only getting worse"

| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - A human rights organisation has released a damning report into the state of Papua New Guinea, where a change of prime minister has done little to tackle rampant violence and corruption.

Human Rights Watch's annual report reveals rates of violence, domestic abuse, corruption and foreign debt haven't improved over the past year, where weak enforcement and a lack of accountability fostered a culture of impunity and lawlessness.

Continue reading "Under Marape, rights getting worse - report" »

Bougainville ‘dictatorship and suppression’?

John Momis
President John Momis - a Bougainville hero, but is he pushing too hard to assert control or do the difficult times need him?

| Pacific Beat | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

MELBOURNE - Three proposed amendments to the Bougainville constitution are set to be tabled in the provincial parliament, and one in particular is causing consternation in many quarters.

That change would allow the current president, John Momis, to run for an unprecedented third term at the election later this year.

Continue reading "Bougainville ‘dictatorship and suppression’?" »

Australia deceives Pacific – again

The deceit began with 19th century 'blackbirding'  of slave labour to work in Australia - and it continues to this day in the form of denying climate change impacts on the Pacific

| Guardian Australia | Extract

CANBERRA - The Australian government is fighting to keep secret draft versions of its strategy for helping the Pacific deal with climate change, prompting concerns it may be hiding changes that weakened the final report.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released its climate change action strategy in November, detailing how the foreign aid program would be used to help developing nations – particularly those in the Pacific – deal with global heating.

Continue reading "Australia deceives Pacific – again" »

Missionary sisters expect miracles

Villagers near the town of Bereina in Central Province
Villagers near the town of Bereina in Central Province

| Catholic Leader

BEREINA - When the villagers of impoverished Bereina need to quell their famine, they reach for the noxious betel nut.

In the town of Bereina, in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea, the addictive seed, which is prohibited in Australia, is often the only food source for the local villagers.

Continue reading "Missionary sisters expect miracles" »

Young Tess’s Pacific predictions 2020

Tess Newton Cain (2)
Tess Newton Cain

| Devpolicy Blog

BRISBANE - As we enter not only a new year but a new decade, there is much to anticipate in the Pacific islands region.

Elections and domestic politics

A number of countries in the region will have elections during 2020: Kiribati, Niue, Palau and Vanuatu.

The lingering discontent in Kiribati surrounding last year’s switch in diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China may have an adverse impact on the incumbent government.

Continue reading "Young Tess’s Pacific predictions 2020" »

Cash crunch as debt repayment soars

James marape
James Marape and Australian high commissioner Bruce Davis - PNG's problems are bound to be Australia's problems too

| Reuters

SYDNEY & WELLINGTON - Papua New Guinea’s annual debt repayments to China are forecast to increase 25% by 2023, new budget figures show, at the same time as the Pacific nation falls to its largest ever deficit.

The resource-rich country, which is at the centre of a diplomatic tussle between China and the United States, has blamed extravagant spending by the previous administration for its souring finances, which will require the government to borrow even more to pay the bills.

Continue reading "Cash crunch as debt repayment soars" »

Pacific needs more than Morrison's thanks

Kundiawa bushfire rally
'Simbu for Australia' bushfire appeal rally in Kundiawa last week led by author Francis Nii in his wheelchair

| Guardian Australia | Extracts

SYDNEY - When Scott Morrison thanked governments of the world for their assistance with Australia’s bushfire crisis, he particularly singled out “the loving response from our Pacific family”.

Across the Pacific region – a collection of developing and least developed nations that are themselves almost uniquely at risk from climate-induced catastrophes – the response to the Australian bushfires has been immediate and generous, but it also reveals something of the problematic fraternity that Australia has with the rest of the region.

Continue reading "Pacific needs more than Morrison's thanks" »

Sarawak loggers deforest PNG

Extreme loggingAZRIL ANNUAR
| Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian companies from Sarawak are allegedly trespassing while carrying out logging activities in Papua New Guinea and contributing towards deforestation in the island nation, says Sarawak Report.

The online investigative portal accused Sibu-based Rimbunan Hijau Group (RHG) and WTK Group as well as Amanab 56 Timber Investments Limited as among those stripping the resources of PNG.

Continue reading "Sarawak loggers deforest PNG" »

On managing cross culturally

Albert Schram VC
Dr Albert Schram when vice chancellor of the PNG University of Technology

| Extract

VERONA, ITALY - Despite having lived in four different developing countries outside Europe for more than 12 years, when I became president (vice-chancellor) of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology I realised I faced many challenges in trying to understand how and why people there were behaving in specific manners.

It turned out to be almost impossible to eradicate traditional concepts of leadership which revolve around status, rather than working together towards concrete objectives and a vision.

Continue reading "On managing cross culturally" »

China tests Pacific’s fragile democracies

China-South-Pacific-InfluencePHILIP CITOWICKI
| Foreign Policy | Extracts

Link here to read the complete article

WASHINGTON DC - A decade ago, then-US president Barack Obama billed himself as the “first Pacific president” and announced, several years later, a foreign-policy “pivot to Asia.”

But the pivot proved largely illusory, and the region only grows more complex. The growing challenges faced by Pacific island countries requires significant reassessment as the region becomes one of the tensest political battlegrounds in the world.

Continue reading "China tests Pacific’s fragile democracies" »