Comment & opinion Feed

Is greed natural? Is O'Neill real?

Phil Fitzpatrick at mic
Phil Fitzpatrick - "In PNG rural communities still operate as consensus driven entities ruled by the common good"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - In the 1987 film, Wall Street, the central character, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, famously says: “… greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.”

The 1980s was the era of the ‘yuppies’ (young, upwardly-mobile professionals) during Ronald Reagan’s conservative presidency and the reign of his British equivalent, the ‘Iron Lady’, Maggie Thatcher.

Continue reading "Is greed natural? Is O'Neill real?" »


I don’t listen to opinion traders

Opinion
"Those poor dumb bastards haven’t the faintest idea about what life is all about, so why should I listen to them?"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Over the years I’ve learned that the opinions of certain people are best left ignored.

These include the opinions of shock-jocks, celebrities, reality and lifestyle television hosts and most politicians. They all carry biases that are subjective, value-ridden and sometimes positively dangerous.

Just lately I’ve started to include people from the so-called professions, including doctors and medical specialists, and people in certain trades, like motor mechanics. Many of these people now seem driven solely by a profit motive.

Continue reading "I don’t listen to opinion traders" »


Vanuatu gets nasty on journalism

Dan_McGarry
Dan McGarry -  After 16 years in Vanuatu, the highly respected Pacific islands journalist was harangued by the prime minister for “negative reporting” then had his work permit revoked

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – If a government is ever involved in something, anything, and it looks like a stitch-up, then you’re right to assume it is indeed a stitch-up.

And here at PNG Attitude we assume that the Vanuatu government is guilty of trying to remove Daily Post newspaper director Dan McGarry from his job and from the country on a pretext.

Why? Because the government knows his journalism is  telling the truth.

Continue reading "Vanuatu gets nasty on journalism" »


Brutal reaction to handout of luxury cars to MPs

Marape
Oops, prime minister, you just blew up your credibility in one crazy decision. Or will Mr Ngangan take this one himself on behalf of the team?

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Last Thursday, when James Marape despatched his bureaucrat Ken Ngangan to advise the public through the Post Courier newspaper that all 111 members of parliament will get vehicles from the APEC fleet “for their electoral duties”, he must have anticipated there would be a strong reaction.

After all, the purchase of the vehicles a year ago had triggered a story that travelled around the world a few times before hitting the ground as yet another example of the greed and excess of the O’Neill government – which Marape and his brothers deposed in May bringing hope to the nation.

Continue reading "Brutal reaction to handout of luxury cars to MPs" »


For his credibility, Marape needs to gaol O’Neill

O'Neill and Marape in happier times
O'Neill and Marape in happier times - Phil Fitzpatrick writes that now Marape needs to act against O'Neill to preserve the credibility of his own leadership

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When politicians make a commitment to the public, whether at an election or in the course of governing, they are essentially laying their credibility on the line.

Even if the commitment is something they know will be hard to deliver, it still reflects on their credibility if they fail.

And, if this happens, a shrewd politician will admit to the failure and ask the public to understand that they tried.

Continue reading "For his credibility, Marape needs to gaol O’Neill" »


Secular or religious, ethics remain key

ClarkePHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Social evolution, just like biological evolution, doesn’t proceed in straight lines, there are stops and starts, divergences, reversals, regressions, regional differences and sometimes dead ends.

Just as we are not on a path of natural evolutionary improvement neither are we on a natural path of constant social improvement.

Continue reading "Secular or religious, ethics remain key" »


No meek, no rich: The gospel according to Phil

Gospel
“Blessed are those with dirt under their fingernails and no bank account, for they shall inherit the earth” (Phil 1:1)

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Among its multitudinous and often conflicting predictions, adages, sayings and slogans the bible includes the curious assertion that “blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

In typical chauvinistic fashion it defines meekness as a solely human attribute, preferably confined to the male gender. In the ‘good book’, women and girls, as well as dogs and cats, don’t get a guernsey when it comes to leadership.

Continue reading "No meek, no rich: The gospel according to Phil" »


The opportunist who came & now must go

Shila Yukuli Paia
Shila Paia - "Is O’Neill above the law? None of us is above the law. We call on him to be prosecuted and to comply with legal proceedings"

SHILA YUKULI PAIA

ADELAIDE - I am a proud Papua New Guinean who will always stand very tall and speak boldly, loudly and clearly knowing that PNG is one of the best democracies.

In this context I have some observations to make on the saga of the attempted arrest of former prime minister Peter Charles Paire O'Neill, another critical moment in the history of PNG’s political development.

Continue reading "The opportunist who came & now must go" »


Tribal conflicts burden wild west Enga

Porap Gai
Porap Gai - "If the judiciary punished the guilty more honestly then there would be less or no violence"

PORAP GAI

LAIAGAM - The Papua New Guinea government needs to establish firmer law and order.

I am not a politician, I am a pastor. I have the pastoral responsibility for the innocent lives so often lost.

Lack of discipline is of concern due to the wantok system. There must be better rule of law in place to allow everyone to live in security.

Continue reading "Tribal conflicts burden wild west Enga" »


Sharing culture with foreign friends

Kumbon - PNG flag in NYC
“Nothing makes me happier than to lift up the glorious flag of a thousand tribes here in the heart of New York City"

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - My mind was blown away to see the young man display the Papua New Guinea flag on Times Square in New York City during recent independence day celebrations.

The choice words he used to express his genuine love for this country truly touched my heart. And he was a foreign national.

Continue reading "Sharing culture with foreign friends" »


MPs should not condemn Marape’s dream

Alphonse Mek
Alphonse Mek - "Marape is our country’s prayer answered – the leader who emerged after eight years of dejection"

ALPHONSE MEK

ENGA - Since James Marape, this son of a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, became prime minister of this blessed nation, there have been many criticisms, denunciations as well as condemnation on the subject of his theme to make it “the richest black Christian nation in the world.”

The theme is not new, because God has already blessed this nation more than the rest of the Pacific island nations as well as at a global level.

Continue reading "MPs should not condemn Marape’s dream" »


Panguna people & the money syndrome

Gold dust
Digging for gold near Panguna - "We dig for gold everywhere. And those who can't dig watch like eagles"

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA - There is no other place in Bougainville I can compare with us, the Panguna people, when it comes to loving and dealing with money.

We in Panguna have eagle sharp eyes and razor sharp claws to catch and attack money.

We make peace with money and we destroy harmony with money. Money is us.

Continue reading "Panguna people & the money syndrome" »


Is moral capitalism even possible?

Moral capitalismPHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Leonard Fong Roka has suggested that rather than being exploited by domestic and international forces an independent Bougainville needs a form of moral capitalism to succeed and achieve its destiny.

Is such a thing as moral capitalism possible or is it too late in the day to create the conditions where such a thing might exist?

Continue reading "Is moral capitalism even possible?" »


Rich paradise or poor third world nation?

Apprehensive boyJEFFREY FEBI

LUFA - There's disagreement about whether Papua New Guinea is rich or impoverished.

Many people, including leaders like Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and current prime minister James Marape, support the view that we are in fact rich.

Many others, including myself, differ. We believe Papua New Guinea is a poor nation.

Continue reading "Rich paradise or poor third world nation?" »


There cannot be peace without justice

Albert Schram in POM
Albert Schram - "The human spirit craves for liberty and justice. Both have a strange way of being unstoppable in their paths"

ALBERT SCHRAM

The last of three articles based on Chapter 4 of Dr Schram’s memoir, ‘Experiences of a Vice Chancellor in Papua New Guinea’. Link here to read the full chapter

“Our lives are a battlefield on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it; those who strive to build a protective wall around it, and those who wish to pull it down; those who seek to mold it and those committed to breaking it up...." (Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenyan writer and academic)

VERONA - Despite the disastrous economic situation in Papua New Guinea while I was UNITECH vice chancellor from 2012 to 2018, and the far from propitious operating environment, we were able to produce many positive changes at the university.

Continue reading "There cannot be peace without justice" »


PNG’s odd racialised post-colonial morality

Albert Schram's OK
Albert Schram's doctorate was four times  legitimised - by the awarding entity in Europe, twice by independent inquiries in PNG and once by a PNG court - but its veracity was constantly questioned by political enemies who wanted him out

ALBERT SCHRAM

The second of three articles based on Chapter 4 of Dr Schram’s memoir, ‘Experiences of a Vice Chancellor in Papua New Guinea’. Link here to read the full chapter

“There are some people, be they black or white, who don’t want others to rise above them. They want to be the source of all knowledge and share it piecemeal to others less endowed” (Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenyan writer and academic)

VERONA - People have asked me if standing up against corruption and speaking truth to power was difficult. For me it never was. We all know what is right and what is wrong.

Continue reading "PNG’s odd racialised post-colonial morality" »


Delusional O’Neill's calamitous legacy

Albert Schram and graduates
Albert Schram and graduates - 50% of highlands' university students are unable to pay their fees on time

ALBERT SCHRAM | Edited

The first of three articles based on Chapter 4 of Dr Schram’s memoir, ‘Experiences of a Vice Chancellor in Papua New Guinea’. Link here to read the full chapter

"We think of politics in terms of power and who has the power. Politics is the end to which that power is put" (Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenyan writer and academic)

VERONA - I want to thank my more than 7,000 followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for their encouraging comments on this series, and Keith Jackson for publishing the short versions.

Continue reading "Delusional O’Neill's calamitous legacy " »


Bougainville: If it’s to be capitalism, let it be moral

Roka - Leonard on the shore at Kangu
Leonard Roka on the shore at Kangu - looking across to the Solomons triggers thoughts of the small friends who helped Bougainville achieve its post-crisis peace

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA - The population of Bougainville is around 300,000 so, when looking at other small Pacific island states and their standard of living, the province’s development does not need a mine operating at the scale we knew at Panguna before the Bougainville conflict.

All of us know that the Papua New Guinea government does not clothe us, it does not feed us and it does not protect us.

Continue reading "Bougainville: If it’s to be capitalism, let it be moral" »


A decent education is a human right

Classroom at Pakura Primary School
In the classroom at Pakura Primary School

SHILA YUKULI PAIA

ADELAIDE - Every now and then I frantically try to write something that will provoke educated discussion. And what better a subject than Education itself.

Nelson Mandela - a great man of wisdom, charisma and grace - taught us that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” What did he mean?

Continue reading "A decent education is a human right" »


Contrarians & writers needed more than ever

Non conformPHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Bernard Corden, in commenting on Chris Overland’s article about neo-colonialism, made an interesting point about indoctrination as a function of education.

For the ruling classes in any political system - be it democratic, autocratic or totalitarian - inculcating an ideology in the young is an invaluable tool in exercising and retaining power.

Continue reading "Contrarians & writers needed more than ever" »


Pressure on MRDC to come clean on LNG revenue

Isaac Lupari
Isaac Lupari chairs MRDC where "everything it does is shrouded in secrecy"

MEKERE MORAUTA
MP for Moresby North-West and former Prime Minister

PORT MORESBY - The Mineral Resources Development Corporation (MRDC) needs to publish up-to-date audited details of its group finances since PNG LNG gas production began in mid-2014.

MRDC manages landowner equity interests in both mining and petroleum projects and is chaired by chief secretary Isaac Lupari.

Continue reading "Pressure on MRDC to come clean on LNG revenue" »


Neo-colonialism: It’s not personal; it’s just business

Not personalCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The sanctions imposed upon Iran by the USA are causing a huge amount of damage to that country’s economy.

The people of Iran, as distinct from the ruling regime, are suffering a great deal as a consequence.

What surprised me was that an apparently quite closed and tightly controlled economy like Iran’s was so susceptible to the influence of the US government’s edicts.

Continue reading "Neo-colonialism: It’s not personal; it’s just business" »


O’Neill continues to deceive on district funding

Peter O'Neill
Peter O'Neill has been been exaggerating the value of funding he provided for district development

ERIC SCHERING

MICHIGAN, USA - Former prime minister Peter O’Neill seems slow to understand the implications of the reality that he is no longer the leader of Papua New Guinea.

He thinks that when new prime minister James Marape attempts to pass legislation that he disagrees with, that he can tell the untruths he was able to get away with during his seven years in power.

Continue reading "O’Neill continues to deceive on district funding" »


Did 'presource curse' just deliver a pile of dung?

Continue reading "Did 'presource curse' just deliver a pile of dung?" »


Can PNG become the 'richest black Christian nation on earth'?

Black Christian Countries (Source Devpolicy Blog)
Black Christian Countries (Source: Devpolicy Blog)

ANDREW KORYBKO | Eurasia Future

MOSCOW - The new prime minister of Papua New Guinea only entered office a few months ago after a long-running political scandal led to the resignation of his predecessor, Peter O'Neill.

But he’s already making waves with his ambitious vision of turning this resource-rich but poverty-stricken island country into “the richest black Christian nation on earth”.

James Marape made his Trump-like nationalist proclamation in late July during his visit to Australia, which was his first foreign trip since assuming his position.

Here he also spoke about his plan of one day “participating with Australia looking after smaller island nations”.

Continue reading "Can PNG become the 'richest black Christian nation on earth'?" »


Increasingly hysterical Australia is bad news for PNG & the region

Illustration by Dionne Gain (Sydney Morning Herald)
Illustration by Dionne Gain (Sydney Morning Herald)

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Australia watchers in places like Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands will have noticed that in the last few years a profound cultural change in their southern neighbour is in progress.

The main driving force of this change is a kind of paranoia driven by a largely politically orchestrated national fear.

One of the effects of this hysteria is that we Australian people seem to be sacrificing our basic liberties and, more profoundly, our humanity.

This is well illustrated by our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers but is also manifest in our trampling of the sovereignty of some of our neighbours and the moves to shut down the freedom of our own press and media.

Continue reading "Increasingly hysterical Australia is bad news for PNG & the region" »


Wild Cat: A fraud uncovered & in dire need of investigation

Eric Schering
Eric Schering - time for something to be done about a K30 millon fraud

ERIC SCHERING

WEWAK - By April 2019 prime minister Peter O’Neill was clueless about the depth of opposition to his leadership of Papua New Guinea.

He genuinely believed he would win a vote of no confidence hands down.

In the 3 May 2019 issue of The National newspaper, the title of one of the leading articles had O’Neill saying, “I’m Safe”.

The article quoted him saying that the opposition had “no hope of being successful with a vote of no confidence.” One month later he was out of office and sitting on the back bench.

O’Neill had badly miscalculated the level of support within his own party as well as the backing of his broader coalition.

One of the earliest MP’s to abandon O’Neill was Governor Philip Undialu. In the 28 April 2019 issue of PNG Attitude, Undialu says, “Since the first shipment of gas [LNG] in 2014, over K70 billion has been earned but O’Neill is not telling the country where the money was parked.” K70 billion!

Continue reading "Wild Cat: A fraud uncovered & in dire need of investigation" »


Colonisation will not cut it any more in our beloved islands

Corney
Corney Alone - "It was crystal clear that Australia’s attempted bullying was sponsored  from the pouch of the coal and fossil fuel industry"

CORNEY KOROKAN ALONE

PORT MORESBY – They were very strong words from the Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama: the sentiments of the rest of the Pacific Islands leaders captured in his views.

“China never insults the Pacific," Bainimarama said. "They don’t go down and tell the world that we’ve given this much money to the Pacific islands. They don’t do that.

"They’re good people, definitely better than Morrison, I can tell you that. The [Australian] prime minister was very insulting, very condescending, not good for the relationship….”

My own prime minister, James Marape, upon returning from Tuvalu acknowledged that "there is a climate change crisis in the region".

He further stated that he "will be vocal about it when he attends the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September this year".

Australia, or any other so-called leader of the free world, must know that Pacific Islands people value relationships.

Continue reading "Colonisation will not cut it any more in our beloved islands" »


Breaking the hearts of our Pacific friends & neighbours

Enele Sopoaga
Enele Sopoaga - "We are already crossing the red lines to keep, to save, the small island countries"

EMAIL | The Australia Institute

CANBERRA - Last week the Pacific Island Forum made clear that new coal mines were a 'red line' issue.

Its final communique made clear to the world what the Pacific nations require of its neighbours, including Australia: the survival of Pacific Island nations requires no new coal mines.

While Pacific Island leaders deserve congratulation for their vocal call for no new coal mines, it is a disappointment that Australia has bullied any language of a ban or limitation of new coal out of this week's 50th Pacific Islands Forum communique.

Australians cannot underestimate the importance of taking climate action, particularly in the Pacific. As the UN Secretary-General has said, “if you can save Tuvalu, you can save the world”.

Continue reading "Breaking the hearts of our Pacific friends & neighbours" »


Climate change - & the deafness of those unwilling to face reality

B&w Overland
Chris Overland

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - What passes as the climate debate seems to me to typify what is happening in our world today.

Those who occupy what might broadly be described as a conservative political position seem unwilling or unable to grasp the scale of the problem or its probable consequences.

As a result, they are quite unwilling to contemplate the economic and lifestyle trade-offs required, especially in the so-called developed world, to ameliorate the worst effects of the change process that is clearly and unequivocally occurring now.

Those who have what is called a progressive political outlook see the oncoming disaster but are apparently incapable of galvanising sufficient public support to induce governments to do anything meaningful.

Partly at least, this is because the progressive forces often are also the proponents of the sort of identity politics around sexual preferences, ethnicity, and so forth that have so material assisted the resurgence of ‘white nationalism’ that they despise.

Continue reading "Climate change - & the deafness of those unwilling to face reality" »


More than a belief in miracles to get out of this climate mess

Phil Fitz
Fitzpatrick - "For Morrison and many of his cohorts empirical science is something they view with scepticism"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but if the people of the Pacific believe that the Australian government will do anything meaningful about climate change they are sadly mistaken.

Australia currently has a conservative government with an undeclared core of climate change deniers in its ranks.

If that isn’t discouraging enough it is also led by a prime minister who is a committed Pentecostal Christian who believes in miracles and God’s will.

One of those miracles enacted by God was letting him win the last unwinnable federal election. He is now prime minister because God put him there.

Roughly translated this means that he believes that climate change has been imposed on the world by God for unexplained reasons that should not be questioned.

For Morrison and many of his cohorts empirical science is something they view with scepticism.

Continue reading "More than a belief in miracles to get out of this climate mess" »


Kase’s admission of health system failure 10 years overdue

Pascoe-kase (post courier)
"I said to Pascoe Kase (pictured) 'You have to go to the clinics and talk to staff because the information you are giving me here is wrong'.   It turned into a tense exchange"

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE - For the last five years, I have been repeating the same story: ‘We have a crisis in the health system.’

The rest of the country can see it. The people who are victims of the medicine shortages all over the country keep speaking out about it. Health workers have cried while being interviewed because they simply can’t save lives.

And we’re not talking about the expensive cancer treatment and operations families have to pay for. 

It’s the basics that are lacking. Antibiotics, malaria drugs, family planning drugs and consumables. The clinics don’t have them. Or even if they have them, the supplies are not enough for their catchment areas.

Personally, I have emailed the health secretary, Pascoe Kase, about the cancer unit in Lae, the ill-treatment of the late Dr John Niblet and the medicine shortages. I have called and sent text messages.

Continue reading "Kase’s admission of health system failure 10 years overdue" »


Sir Salamo not the right person to head UBS loan inquiry

FRANCIS NII

KUNDIAWA - Prime Minister James Marape is to be commended for the appointment of a commission of inquiry to investigate the UBS loan affair, however the appointment of former chief justice Sir Salamo Injia to head the inquiry is dubious.

This is already a compromise of the outcome of the inquiry before it has even started and is not a good sign for the Marape government in its announced campaign of fighting corruption.

If Marape is serious about cleaning up PNG and ridding this country of corruption, the multi-billion dollar UBS loan is a classic case to start with.

This is an issue that has brought so much pain and misery to the country and its people.

It is essential for people who want the whole truth that no stone is left unturned in pursuing exactly what happened and who was responsible for it.

Continue reading "Sir Salamo not the right person to head UBS loan inquiry" »


The real people of Papua New Guinea

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - There are many good people in Papua New Guinea. We often hear their stories on PNG Attitude. They are a welcome respite from all the doom and gloom that otherwise reaches our ears.

Papua New Guinea is a Melanesian society that is founded on the concept of community, as opposed to the concept of the individual, and one shouldn’t be surprised by these stories.

These good people exist in most communities. They are working quietly and without any expectation of reward in all sorts of ways and in a huge variety of different fields.

Teachers work in remote communities without resources and sometimes even without a salary. Aid Post orderlies and health clinic workers toil under similar conditions in many areas.

Sometimes we forget about all these good people and concentrate too much on what we hear is wrong with Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "The real people of Papua New Guinea" »


PNG needs principled leaders to guide us to a better state

SIMON DAVIDSON

SONOMA - Cultivating leaders with moral principles is a societal responsibility to fill the leadership void in every age.

The story of Daniel in the Bible provides a template for how leaders with moral principles can be cultivated, to become a beacon and a moral force in a world washed in moral decay.

Another historic example who fits this mold is Abraham Lincoln who was raised in humble circumstances, developed a passion to learn and taught himself law, philosophy, rhetoric and mathematics.

One of the many books Lincoln devoured was the Bible, and the precepts found in that ancient book transformed and elevated him to become the president of America. His most memorable speech - the Gettysburg address – opens with a quote from Psalm 90.

The lives of these two moral giants show that leaders with principles can be cultivated.

Continue reading "PNG needs principled leaders to guide us to a better state" »


Caution needed in dealing with Australia’s police authorities

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I think Papua New Guinea’s police minister Bryan Kramer really needs to be careful.

He says he will reach out to the Australian Federal Police for assistance in restructuring PNG's fraud squad.

While a lot depends on the kind of assistance he is seeking, he should be very wary of inadvertently falling into a trap.

The AFP has close links to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

All these agencies are secretive and immune from freedom of information requests in Australia.

The ASD’s main function is listening in on communications domestically and in other countries which may be of interest to the Australian government.

Given Australia’s newly discovered interest in the Pacific region it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a request made by Kramer would be seen as an invitation to engage in a little extra-curricular spying.

Australia, after all, has lots of skin in this sort of game. Just ask Timor Leste, where Australian spies laced listening devices in the cabinet room.

It’s also interesting to consider why Kramer thinks the fraud squad needs outside help.

In the recent past the fraud squad has shown itself to have a team of professional and incorruptible officers. Peter O’Neill will vouch for this fact.

The fraud squad will know exactly what needs to be done to make its work easier.

First, quarantining them from political interference.

Secondly, guaranteeing them a decent budget so they have the resources they need to be effective.

Once they’ve got all that it’s just a matter of letting them loose. They know who the crooks are and where they live.

One of the things they don’t need is dragging some AFP characters around with them hindering what they do.

If the AFP is happy to sit in the Airways Hotel propping up the bar and occasionally wandering over to the smorgasbord, well and good.

But if they want to get in the way things won’t work as well as the minister expects.

If the minister insists in getting outside help, he should look elsewhere for the expertise he seeks.

His own backyard might be a good place to start.


Economic segregation: let's get rid of racist advertising for a start

Expat neededEMMANUEL NARAKOBI | My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - So let me backtrack. Economic segregation has been practiced for a long time in Papua New Guinea.

The so called ‘expat’, as defined legally for the private sector, was someone supposed to train local talent where relevant experience did not exist in an organisation.

But there is no foreign worker license which then perpetuates the ‘expat’ policy and attitudes. In other words we have institutionalised economic segregation.

When the Bougainville copper mine was established, the company did not just set up a mining project.

It set up an entire town with schools, hospitals and leisure facilities. Everyone, both Papua New Guineans and ‘expats’ lived and worked together in Bougainville with their families using the same facilities.

Continue reading "Economic segregation: let's get rid of racist advertising for a start" »


Let's try to work out who the authentic politicians are

Marape Morrison
James Marape and Scott Morrison - what image do they want us to see? And how closely does it relate to the real leader?

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – Keith’s now in London and getting a first hand experience of Britain’s transition to the rule of Boris Johnson and it will be interesting to watch how Boris the new prime minister progresses.

I'm not quite sure what image of himself he is trying to project and what he hopes will capture the minds of the credulous voters of the United Kingdom.

It is also still a mystery what sort of image Papua New Guinea’s James Marape is trying to project.

On the one hand he is trying to establish himself as someone who will not tolerate being leaned on by Australia while he has also projected an image of a transparent communicator with a strong bias against corruption.

I don't think anyone since Michael Somare has managed to manufacture a persona with such wide appeal in PNG and I'm not sure Marape (unlike Bryan Kramer for instance) has the charisma to do it.

One of the most appealing aspects of Michael Somare, at least when he was younger, was that he would actually answer questions put to him. This was very refreshing and quite unusual. He was a bit like Bob Hawke in this respect.

Continue reading "Let's try to work out who the authentic politicians are" »


Governments we deserve, but not governments we need

Scott Morrison and James Marape
Scott Morrison and James Marape - beanie clad and doing the populist footie thing

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Strangely, while politicians as a class are seriously on the nose across the democratic world, individual politicians appear to remain popular within their own electorates, even if they clearly are not people of the highest moral or ethical character.

The former Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce immediately springs to mind as an example of this.

Papua New Guinea has all too many examples of ethically-compromised politicians who remain very popular in their electorates. It must be the beer and lamb flaps effect at work.

More pragmatically, I put this phenomenon down to the fact that politicians, in their day to day work, spend a lot of time helping ordinary people navigate the labyrinthine byways of the government bureaucracy, thus building a reservoir of goodwill that they can draw upon when elections come around.

Continue reading "Governments we deserve, but not governments we need" »


Kramer investigated for cyber-bullying. But is Mr Kalaut serious?

Kalaut
Sylvester Kalaut - looks like overzealous assistant police commissioner is on wrong side of the law

BRYAN KRAMER

PORT MORESBY – About a week ago, The National newspaper published an article under the headline, ‘Kramer Investigated on Allegations of Cyber-Bullying’.

The article, authored by Clifford Faiparik, reported that assistant police commissioner Sylvester Kalaut had confirmed that I, as police minister, was being investigated on allegations of cyber-bullying.

The allegations related to a Madang-based National news reporter who filed a complaint against me in June 2018 in relation to an article I had published on social media.

The article was critical of her biased reporting and having been paid K3,000 from district development grants by the former Member for Madang.

It appears Mr Kalaut has found himself on the wrong side of this issue. Perhaps he should have first taken the time to investigate what the law defines as cyber-bullying.

Continue reading "Kramer investigated for cyber-bullying. But is Mr Kalaut serious?" »


Did police mobile squad’s decline contribute to Hela killings?

Mobile-squad
The police mobile squad's effectiveness is argued to have been compromised by LNG camp security duties

DAVE EKINS

RICHMOND, TAS - Prior to the commencement of the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (PNG LNG) project, the Police Mobile Squad was an extremely feared entity in the Southern Highlands and later Hela Province.

Their Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary’s mobile squad had a modus operandi that at times was brutal – including rape, destruction of crops and livestock and burning of houses.

However, they did stop the fighting and brought most of the criminals to heel.

The very threat of their deployment made clans think twice about fighting and payback. Not only would compensation have to be paid between warring clans, but the mobile squad’s collateral damage usually had to be compensated for as well by the fight ‘owners’.

Early in the construction phase of PNG LNG there was a fight going on adjacent to one of the camps and some of the combatants jumped the perimeter fence when they saw a couple of people from another clan working in the camp.

Continue reading "Did police mobile squad’s decline contribute to Hela killings?" »


People, stay alert. The world has given us hopeless leadership

Phil 2015
Phil Fitzpatrick - "The old adage, don’t vote for them, it just encourages them, strikes a chord with many people"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Politicians all over the world are on the nose. In some places they rank in popularity below street thieves and lazy public servants.

The most popular politician in Australia is New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

We don’t know who the most popular politician in Papua New Guinea is because nobody conducts surveys.

Right now it might be prime minister James Marape, who is still in his honeymoon period. But it could be Bryan Kramer because of his unflinching habit of doing the right thing and also communicating directly with people on social media.

In places like Australia people tend to select their favourite politician depending on their own right or left wing biases. In PNG it is more likely they would be selected along tribal and clan lines.

It would be interesting to turn the whole question on its head and ask people who is the most unpopular politician. I suspect that would attract a much more enthusiastic response.

But it’s in so-called Western countries that the biggest problems are seen – the US, UK, Australia, Italy, Greece and elsewhere.

Continue reading "People, stay alert. The world has given us hopeless leadership" »


Is Marape crabwalking away from anti-corruption legislation?

Editorial cartoon  The New Times  Rwanda
Editorial cartoon, The New Times, Rwanda

KEITH JACKSON

AARHUS, DENMARK – Once again we have a Papua New Guinea government that feels it needs to have another look at much-required legislation that PNG governments have been having a ‘hard look at’ for years.

And after each hard look they have made a bunch of promises and never have those promises been fulfilled.

Now the freshly-minted James Marape government is set to have a hard look at two desperately needed pieces of legislation that could be introduced tomorrow if the prime minister had the will.

I refer of course to whistleblower protection and anti-corruption laws.

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Ad hoc aid: A great way to waste money & encourage corruption

Phil Fitzpatrick at mic
Phil Fitzpatrick

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - More often than not Australian aid to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific seems to lack direction. In specific cases it can actually appear to be random, opportunistic, ad hoc and decidedly vague.

What on earth, for instance, does providing aid money for ‘good governance’ mean? This has been an Australian favourite for years but the evidence seems to be that it has been a complete flop.

Where did the ‘good governance’ aid money go? Did it end up in the pockets of the politicians and boomerang consultants? One could be forgiven for thinking that is the case.

Over the years various attempts to target aid has met strong opposition from recipients, who maintain that they have the right to decide where the money should go.

This assumes the recipients have plans that prioritise where aid money should be spent.

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Don’t join the race to the bottom: Call out racial stereotyping

RacePETER KRANZ

MORRISET - Does race exist, and if so what is it? The answers are many and vary over time and geography.

The only thing we can claim with certainty is that we are all members of the human race. We are all one species, as opposed to say horses or dogs.

Unfortunately the term race is used in such a loose and ideological way as to have become meaningless. There no white or black race, just as there is no American or Australian race.

Sure there are different ethnic backgrounds and ancestry which can be measured according to genetics and sociology.

But such explain diversity and culture, not superiority or degrees of 'civilisation'. These are value judgements.

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The appeal of the regions & the richness of being poor

Phil Fitz
Phil Fitzpatrick - "Generation after generation have stayed in the towns until it has become impossible to escape"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - It’s estimated that about 80% of the people in Papua New Guinea are subsistence farmers.

A subsistence farmer is by definition someone who only produces enough to satisfy their basic or primary needs.

It is unclear who actually made the above estimate and what definition of subsistence they used.

As economic anthropologists have shown there is no such thing as a true subsistence economy because in every type of economic system there is nearly always surplus production.

In PNG’s old days this surplus was used in ritual or prestige consumption, communal use or for exchange.

In modern PNG the surplus has become part of what is known as the informal economy, much of it in the hands of women.

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PNG’s millionaires & zillionaires & the people who pay the price

8 point planGARY LUHRS | Ex Kiap Website

WUNDOWIE, WA - Forgive my scepticism at this latest expression of honesty and integrity from yet another Papua New Guinea prime minister.

James Marape is pledging to rid the country of corruption and espousing the intention of establishing an honest and dedicated public sector devoted to the development and well-being of his people.

Do you remember the first such declaration from the Pangu Party in the mid 1970s? In reality, the country’s first declared political manifesto.

The famous five-point plan that was going to address the neglectful shortcomings of the departing colonial administration and create Utopia for the oppressed peoples of Papua New Guinea.

The newly emerging intelligentsia from UPNG and the wider academia as well as the Public Service embraced the ideals with a vengeance.

Alas the famous five-point plan fell far short of its objectives, although it did attract foreign carpetbaggers by the plane load who offered their goods, services and financial incentives to those Ministers of the Crown who were eager to be wined, dined and regaled with lavish gifts.

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Oh Bougainville, my Bougainville, sorry I caused you pain

Gonol_Danny
Danny Gonol - "Marape, if I were in your position, I would apply my brakes and re-look at the whole Bougainville issue"

DANNY GONOL | Edited from an Open Letter

MT HAGEN – James Marape rose to the top of our country nearing the 44th anniversary of its independence.

He boldly announced he would consider himself a failure if by 2029 he had not made Papua New Guinea the richest black Christian nation on earth.

The world’s social and economic indicators puts our country in the Third World. Some say it is a developing country. Others say it is a poor country. Still others say it is a rich underdeveloped country.

Our country does not top the world in commerce, in military strength, in politics. But it tops the world in the number of languages our eight million people speak. What unity in diversity.

The last time l was in the land down under, a white man was heard speaking.  "This man comes from the nation of a thousand tribes,” he said, pointing at me.

I was at ease with this. He said to me, “Your country is like no other. You are a nation of nations.”

Oh, what a great feeling of patriotism flowed through me. I shed tears of joy.

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The hard task of striking a balance in our views of PNG

Garry
Fr Garry Roche - "Can we proclaim the many good things happening in PNG and at the same time not close our eyes to the many difficulties"

GARRY ROCHE

DUBLIN - Phil Fitzpatrick has raised the important question of the legitimacy of his views on Papua New Guineans or Aboriginal Australians, since he is ethnically neither of those people.

“This fact has occasionally been used to criticise what I write,” Phil has told PNG Attitude readers, “and I admit that such an argument has relevance.

“I don’t know what it’s like to be a Papua New Guinean or an Aborigine. All I can do is use what I see and hear, and guess what it feels like," he said. "Some people might say otherwise, but I don’t think this invalidates what I write.”

My own view, having lived in PNG for very many years and now back in Ireland, is that perhaps our criticisms of PNG would be better received if it is clear we also see the good in PNG and we acknowledge the good achieved.

I personally think PNG Attitude does achieve a balance between the negative and the positive, but it is an issue that has to be noted.

The current social and political scene in PNG has given rise to plenty of comment that has been generally somewhat negative.

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