Monday, November 30, 2009

Two more Kumuls head to the UK

Caption: British Deputy High Commissioner to PNG, Colin Glass, shows the visas which were issued to the PNG Kumuls Larsen Marabe and Jessie Joe Parker outside the British High Commission office in Port Moresby


The British High Commission has issued visas to two Papua New Guinean rugby league players to play in the United Kingdom.

Larsen Marabe and Jessie Joe Parker will play for the UK second division side Featherstone Rovers and depart Port Moresby this week.

“We are very happy to be given this opportunity to play in the United Kingdom and we will strive to do our best on the field as well as be ambassadors for our country,” they both said after receiving their visas from the British High Commission.

British High Commissioner to PNG, David Dunn, praised the duo for being able to secure contracts with Featherstone Rovers and alerted them to the 2009 success of colleague Kumuls Menzie Yere, Charlie Wabo, Nico Slain and Michael Mark.

“Menzie Yere, Charlie Wabo, Nico Slain and Michael Mark have been able to stamp their mark in the UK with Menzie and Michael winning awards from their respective clubs. Menzie in particular was shortlisted for the Co-operative Player of the Year award that shows the potential of PNG rugby league players when exposed at the international level. Their experience shows that there are no international barriers when it comes to playing rugby league and I wish them well,” said Mr Dunn.

UK-based PNG league veteran Stanley Gene, who was instrumental in marketing Marabe and Parker to the Featherstone Rovers, thanked the British High Commission for issuing visas to Marabe and Parker and said it was their chance to experience life as a footballer in the UK.

“It's an opportunity for these players to see the other side of the world, experience different cultures and make a living out of it. They will be coached and trained by the best people and play a high standard of football – which will only help the PNG Kumuls in the future. Lastly I would like to appeal to the boys to take this opportunity, enjoy their time in the UK and always remember that they are representing PNG both on and off the field,” he added.

The departure of Marabe and Parker now brings the number of PNG Kumul players in the UK to 10. The others include Gene, Makali Aizue (both with Halifax RLFC), John Wilshire (Salford Reds RLFC) and Jason Chan (Celtic Crusaders RLFC).



Exciting developments on beautiful Nago Island

Captions: 1: Unspoilt white sandy beach on Nago Island. 2: Brand-new staff houses on Nago Island. 3: Visitors on the new wharf on Nago Island. 4: National Fisheries College principal Hugh Walton points out new developments on Nago Island. 5: Visitors check out the new research facilities.-Nationalpic by MALUM NALU 6: Nusa Island Retreat vehicle working on developing new tourism facilities on neighbouing Nago Island. 7: Nusa Island Retreat owner Shaune Keane (centre) at his new workshop on Nuga Island. 8: Pretty as a picture…new facilities on Nuga Island under swaying coconut palms.-Pictures by MALUM NALU

An innovative and exciting development is taking place off Kavieng, New Ireland province, on beautiful Nago Island.

The National Fisheries Authority is building a new research facility on Nago together with housing for its staff and researchers, as well as other associated facilities, at an estimated cost of K6 million.

In June, NFA managing director Sylvester Pokajam signed an agreement with the management of neighboring Nusa Island Retreat for the development of a new tourism facility on Nago Island to sit alongside the new NFA Nago Island Mariculture and Research facility.

“Under this agreement,” he explained, “Nusa will provide the operational services to NFA to allow us to concentrate on the core business of the new facility: the facilitation of research and development in marine resources and culture fisheries.

“This facility will also add a major component to the training and education resources of the National Fisheries College.”                                                                                                                           Mr Pokajam had hoped to open and commission the new facility last Friday, to coincide with the inaugural fisheries and marine resources degree graduation; however, this has been deferred to the New Year.

Last Friday, he took guests and other visitors on a guided tour of the new development, which is a classic example of the much talked-about public-private partnership (PPP).

 NFA principal High Walton told me on Nago that the property development would consist of two houses, one storage shed, an office complex with meeting room, a main research facility with 36 culture tanks, a wet laboratory, a laboratory/office, a workshop, a storeroom, a generator shed, a seawater reticulation system and a fresh water reticulation system.

“Essentially, there is a memorandum of agreement signed between Nusa Island Retreat and NFA,” he said.

“The terms are that we sub-lease half of our site to Nusa to build a resort.

“And they pay us rent for that.

“In return, they provide us all functional services like electricity, diving, grounds security, waste disposal, etc.

“What happens is they give me a bill for service for one month and I give them a bill for rental for one month.

“The advantage for me is that I can just concentrate on the key activity, which is research and facilitating research.”

Mr Walton said National Fisheries College students would have the advantage for a first-class international research centre.

“They’ll do their learning in the aquaculture centre,” he said.

“The advantage for sure is that it’s secure title because it’s State lease and also because it’s another attraction for guests.

“It’s a very attractive place.

“It’s attractive to visting researchers.

“We can offer services to visiting researchers that we can’t offer on our own.

“I think it’s very good to see a statutory authority like the NFA being innovative.

“This is the first of its kind in the country.

“Jais Aben in Madang was doing something similar; however, the difference is that it was an NGO.

“This is a government statutory authority.”

Nusa Island Retreat owner Shaun Keane told me that his company would cater for accommodation for visiting researchers as well as provide services such as a restaurant and bar.

“We’ll initially start with 10 rooms,” he said.

“After five years, there’ll be 30 rooms.”

National Fisheries College sets high standards

Captions: 1: Auditorium of the National Fisheries College.2: A ship’s anchor on campus. 3: Well-kept grounds of the National Fisheries College. 4: Dining hall at National Fisheries College.5: Dormitory at National Fisheries College.-6: Another dormitory at National Fisheries College. 7: Signboard at National Fisheries College, Kavieng.

The National Fisheries College in Kavieng, New Ireland province, is setting the standard for other tertiary institutions in the country with its well-kept campus.

Situated just outside Kavieng, the college, owned and operated by the National Fisheries Authority, prides itself on its high standard of facilities.

The students have good dormitories, the campus is kept spic and span, messing facilities are excellent, and high-speed broadband internet ensures that the students are kept up to date with what is happening around the world with regards to fishing.

Last Friday, the first batch of fisheries and marine resources degree graduands, under the programme run by the University of Natural Resources and Environment, received their scrolls from Chancellor Sir Rabbie Namaliu on campus.

NFA managing director Sylvester Pokajam said the college was an institution his organisation was proud of.

“We are the only fisheries agency in the region that has a fisheries college as one of its operational divisions,” he said.

“This makes us unique in the region but it also provides us with a significant challenge to gain a cost benefit from our investment in education and training.

“ I wish to say that, looking about the buildings and grounds of the National Fisheries College, I am proud of the manner in which these facilities are presented and maintained. “It conveys an air of professionalism and organisation and is a tribute to the commitment of the National Fisheries College services team and our collective contractors.

“I thank you for this.

“It is also a tribute to the commitment of the NFA board to support to the programmes of the National Fisheries College and the associated services and maintenance.

“We all have a collective responsibility to ensure this support is recognised by all concerned through the continued delivery of high quality and cost-effective training and education here at the National Fisheries College.”

National Fisheries Authority and University of Natural Resources and Environment continue relationship

Caption: NFA managing director Sylvester Pokajam (left) signs the MOA with UNRE Vice Chancellor Prof Philip Siaguru


The National Fisheries Authority and the University of Natural Resources and Environment have signed a memorandum of agreement to continue their relationship in the fisheries and marine resources degree and diploma programme for another three years.

The MOA was signed in Kavieng last Friday by NFA managing director Sylvester Pokajam and UNRE Vice Chancellor Prof Philip Siaguru.

The NFA owns the National Fisheries College in Kavieng, the only one of its kind in the Pacific, and works together with UNRE to teach students about fisheries and marine resources.

“NFA is a progressive and forward thinking organisation and we are proud of the partnership we have developed with the University of Natural Resources and Environment for the development and delivery of this programme for a further three years,” Mr Pokajam said,

“This also paves the way for collective approaches to infrastructure development in support of the programme.”

Mr Pokajam said earlier this year, the NFA board reconfirmed its commitment to this programme through the endorsement of an extended work experience scheme for third-year student within the various operational divisions of NFA.

“We also announced the establishment of a new graduate trainee development programme within NFA, whereby selected graduates will be hired on an internship basis to gain work experience within the NFA,” he said.

“This is a challenge for implementation by NFA in 2010.”

Momentous occasion for Papua New Guinea fisheries

Caption: Pioneer degree graduates Liu Robinson, Christopher Binabat, Jane Wungen, Priscilla Warambin and Joseph Kendou after their graduation last Friday


Five young people, including two females, have made history by becoming the first-ever to graduate with bachelor’s degrees in fisheries and marine resources from PNG University of Natural Resources & Environment (UNRE), formerly University of Vudal.

The university’s fisheries and marine resources (FMR) programme came of age at the National Fisheries College in Kavieng last Friday when UNRE Chancellor Sir Rabbie Namaliu conferred bachelor’s degrees on five fisheries and marine resources pioneer graduates: Christopher Binabat, Joseph Kendou, Robinson Liu, Priscilla Warambin and Jane Wungen.

The graduation marks a new era in the higher education sector of Papua New Guinea as it reintroduces into the workforce, fisheries and marine resources graduates.

The country’s last strictly-fisheries degree graduates graduated in 1983 from the University of Technology in Lae.

The programme then became a part of the University of PNG’s marine biology curriculum; hence, last Friday’s graduation marks a milestone achievement for higher education and paves the way forward for the fisheries industry, both in PNG and the South Pacific.

National Fisheries Authority (NFA), PNG UNRE, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), University of Bremen’s Centre for Marine Tropical Ecology (ZMT) and the Office of Higher Education (OHE), all contributed in their various capacities towards the successful establishment and administering of the academic course.

Guests at last Friday’s graduation in Kavieng included New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan, NFA managing director Sylvester Pokajam, Sir Rabbie and UNRE Vice Chancellor Prof Philip Siaguru.

Ms Wungen, on behalf of the graduands, gave a vote-of-thanks to all who had contributed towards the programme.

“You have done a tremendous job to bring this programme into existence, that will help the country and the citizens of this nation,” she said.

“With the knowledge that was gained in this programme, the students graduating with degrees in fisheries and marine resources now have the ability to assist the government and NGOs to manage marine resources that are becoming scare in many parts of our country, and bring back benefits to our local communities.”

Sir Rabbie said the graduation augered well for the future.

“I believe it is a very good sign for things to come, because we all want to see UNRE become the premier institution of higher learning again in the Pacific Region in the fields of agriculture, fisheries and livestock among other things, just as its distinguished precursor, Vudal Agricultural College, was able to offer in its heyday,” he said.

“Fisheries and marine resources are a vital source of food and vital source of income for our peoples and countries within our region.

“Recently, our government announced a 2050 vision plan for development for PNG in the next 40 years, in which human capital development is one of the main features.

“The government also announced a new marine park in the Madang province where our fisheries and marine resources can be commercially harvested and processed on a sustainable basis to meet the domestic as well as international demand for food and other products.

“Both undertakings will stimulate a growing demand for technical and professional skills and training for which UNRE, in conjunction with the Kavieng Fisheries College, can play a pivotal role in producing graduates.”

Sir Rabbie said several years ago, there were critics and skeptics who questioned the viability and wisdom of introducing the diploma and degree programme in fisheries.

“I am pleased that today’s ceremony, after last year’s ceremony for our first diploma graduates, will put these concerns firmly to rest,” he said,

“I wish to thank PNG UNRE and its staff through the Vice Chancellor, together with the National Fisheries Authority through the Managing Director and GTZ for their foresight and for their efforts in putting this course together.”

 Prof Siaguru said at a time when sweeping and significant changes were occurring in the South Pacific, the fisheries and marine resources programme would be a blessing for many people, not only in this country but throughout the Pacific, with the university increasing its intake of international students.

“Today, we have witnessed the beginning of a new dawn for fisheries and marine resources sector in Papua New Guinea,” he said,

“For the first time, after more then 20 years, five students have finally made it through to register themselves as the pioneers of the fisheries and marines resources degree programme.

“This profession has truly come of age.”

Also graduating on the day were 16 students who were awarded diplomas in fisheries and marine resources by Sir Rabbie.

They are the second batch of diplomats under the programme, the first group of seven students graduating in the inaugural fisheries and marine resources graduation ceremony last year.

Kavieng businessman sponsors fisheries internship

Caption: Kavieng businessman Douglas Tsang congratulates fisheries and marine resources degree dux Jane Wungen, who will be spending six months as an intern with Wildlife Conservation Society

Kavieng businessman Douglas Tsang has made an innovative three-year commitment to fund a six-month internship for the dux of the fisheries and marine resources degree programme.

Mr Tsang, through his company Bisi Trading, has committed K5, 000 for 2009 dux Jane Wungen to spend six months as a research assistant with New Ireland-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

“It is a great honor for us to do something like this,” he said.

“I want to do something for New Ireland as this is where I was born and bred.

“We’re really excited about the National Fisheries College and its future here in New Ireland.”

National Fisheries Authority managing director Sylvester Pokajam commended Mr Tsang and WCS for their support of the degree programme.

“This is an exciting innovation to the degree programme and will, I am sure, provide a major incentive to degree programme students to excel in their studies,” he said.

“My thanks also to WCS for their assistance in providing the work opportunity.

“I am hopeful that this type of innovation can be strengthened in future years to provide valuable work experience for our graduates.

“My thanks are also due to the other business houses of Kavieng that have shown their support to the college and the programme through the sponsorship of prizes for both the degree and diploma courses.”

Pioneer women fisheries graduates set the trend

Pioneer women fisheries and marine resources graduands Jane Wungen (left)  and Priscilla Warambin are proud to be trendsetters in their profession.

Ms Wungen, 23, from Winge in East Sepik and Ms Warambin, 24, from Turubu also in East Sepik, were all smiles when they spoke with me after graduating in Kavieng last Friday.

“I’m very happy and proud to be a pioneer of this degree programme,” Ms Wungen, also dux of the degree class, beamed.

“The knowledge that I have gained from the last four years can be used for the befit of our maritime provinces.”

Ms Wungen, who is interested in maritime conservation, will be taking up a six-month internship with Wildlife Conservation Society in New Ireland province,

“We want to encourage more women to take up this programme,” she said.

“It’s a very-challenging course but very rewarding.”

Ms Warambin concurred with Ms Wungen.

“I’m also very proud to be one of two females graduating with degrees in fisheries and marine resources,” she said.

“It’s been very challenging and I’m very proud to have come this far.

“I’m also hoping to get into marine conservation.

“I think it’s very important that we start conserving our marine resources, given the way our population is increasing.

“We tend to increase our exploitation of marine resources.”

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cartoon of the century!

New Ireland makes a comeback

Caption: Children playing on the waterfront in Kavieng, New Ireland province.Picture by MALUM NAlu


New Ireland province is making a comeback from the setbacks of the last few years, according to Governor Sir Julius Chan.

The former Prime Minister said in Kavieng last Friday that he had rehashed the political system and totally realigned the public service.

Although Sir Julius did not mention it, it is understood that he was referring to his predecessor Ian Ling-Stuckey, whose illegal financial and administrative system known as the “Limus Structure” brought about massive problems during his tenure.

An investigation into the financial dealings of the New Ireland provincial government between 2002-2007 has found instances of systemic and blatant abuse of financial and administrative process, gross misuse and misappropriation of public funds totaling over K64 million in five years.

According to the report, the illegal Limus Structure was organised by Mr Ling-Stuckey and Kavieng MP Martin Aini.

 It was a pyramid-type structure where Mr Ling Stuckey was positioned at the top followed by the two open MPs from the province (Kavieng and Namatanai) then the district coordinators, local level government coordinators, ward coordinators then down to segments of the community then onto individuals.

Tabling the report in the New Ireland provincial assembly on Sept 9 this year, Sir Julius recommended for the Ombudsman Commission to carry out a detailed investigation into the leadership culture perpetrated under Mr Ling-Stuckey’s administration.

During the five-year period over K64m of public investment funds belonging to  Papua New Guinean taxpayers were unaccounted for.

The New Ireland provincial executive council,  through its decision number 11/2008,  appointed an independent investigation to be carried out by RAMS Business Consultants supported by Loani Henao of Henao Lawyers to investigate the financial affairs of the New Ireland province from 2002-2007.

The report strongly recommends for appropriate criminal, civil and leadership action against Mr Ling-Stuckey and former provincial administrator Robinson Sirambat.

Sir Julius said at last Friday’s graduation at the National Fisheries College that he was determined “to transform New Ireland province into a self-reliant, autonomous part of PNG that is efficient, market-orientated and internationally-competitive”.

“We are fully aware that to make the Malangan Declaration real – bold and visionary leadership at all levels, from Members of Parliament, Governor, public service and local government councilors,” he said.

“Already, we have rehashed the political system, totally realigned the public service, making it more operational, effective, transparent and accountable, rejecting self-interest and weed out all forms of cronyism and corruption.

“Our mission is to be a force for positive change, to inspire others to greatness through being a catalyst for action – always striving to continually invent the future out of our imagination.

“Ours is not a fixed period or a 40-year strategic plan but a spiritual, living document of hope – clinging to the unchanging principles but adjust to changing times.

“Unlike our sick and stifled Parliament, we insist on full participatory democracy in that the people of New Ireland, however remote, come together to dedicate and commit themselves to create a society in which the powerful and weak, rich and poor, work together to extend the benefits of development to all the people; promote unity, peace and a common resolve so that the province will realise its full potential and that no-one shall be left behind in the development of the province.”


Entertainment a'la New Ireland

A singsing group from Tabar Island, New Ireland province, peforming at the National Fisheries College in Kavieng last Friday after the inaugural graduation of degree students in fisheries and marine resources.


Beautiful Nago Island, New Ireland province

I had the privilege of visiting beautiful Nago Island off Kavieng, New Ireland province, last Friday. This is where the National Fisheries Authority is building a research centre for international researchers as well as students from the National Fisheries College in Kavieng. The NFA is working in partnership with beighbouring Nusa Island Retreat to also build a resort for tourists. This is a beautiful part of paradise Papua New Guinea.

Where to from here?

From PAUL OATES  in Queensland, Australia

Hi Malum,
Compliments on a good report on your blog today about what Sir Julius' said in his speech. Together with the Governor General and many other intelligent PNG people today, they have finally had the guts to enunciate how it really is.
The answer however is not to keep saying what everyone knows is the problem.
The real question is why no one appears able to do something about the problem?
Where is Governor Wenge who trumpeted how smart he was to effectively send the Australian Police support packing?
Where is the Deputy PM? Drinking champagne at the arrival of a luxury private jet?
Where is PM (Empty Promises) Somare when innocent little children in the Highlands are being chopped to pieces with axes and women raped and men shot at illegal road blocks?
No one seems to be able to get their head around reality. It appears that no one can apparently grasp that PNG is no longer governed. Those who believe they are governing the country are actually living in a fantasy world of their own making.
Reality is that PNG has reached that point where the country is unable to be governed in many places. Hitherto, anyone saying this would be castigated and denounced as being ill-informed and unduly negative. Those claims must
now be seen for what they are: An 'Empty' excuse from those who are responsible to try and divert attention away from the mess they have created. Those responsible for PNG woes clearly do not know how to fix the problem. Buying political favours at K2m each member will not prevent the lawlessness from growing. PNG leaders are leading the way but it clearly isn't in the right direction. Corruption and waste are now so rampant that no one seems to know where ethical behaviour ends and corruption begins.
With the PNG Parliament now not meeting again until March 2010, the country has another four months to slide further into the morass without any
competent leadership. If the messages currently rocketing around PNG about burning Asian businesses on New Years Eve actually eventuate, exactly what will the PNG government do about this threat to law and order? Ask Australia to send another RAMSI force? I don't think so.
Wantok, husat inap long stretim displa hevi?


Sunset over Nago Island, New Ireland province

I caught this beautiful sunset over Nago Island, off Kavieng, New Ireland province, last Friday.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Papua New Guinea goes backward since 1975

From MALUM NALU in Kavieng

Papua New Guinea has gone backwards since 1975, according to one of the country's founding fathers and former Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan.

Sir Julius admitted to graduating students, including the first-ever fisheries and marines resources degree students, from the University of Natural Resources and Environment in Kavieng last Friday (Nov 27).

He said all that he and his fellow visionaries had worked towards at the time of independence in 1975 had been destroyed overnight.

This contradicts what the government, through Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu, said on Sept 16 this year that the country had developed over the last 34 years.

"Today, I stand before you 34 years after the creation of our country and say to you that we have not lived up to the promises we made in 1975," Sir Julius admitted.

"We have not brought the improvement in the quality of life of our people that we hoped to bring.

"We have not provided the health care, the education, the infrastructure that we should have provided.

"There is no sense in trying to avoid this unpleasant conclusion.

"If we cannot be honest with ourselves, then we have no hope of doing better.

"Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, and I refuse to think we will repeat our mistakes."

Sir Julius said some people, especially national government, continued to insist that PNG had made progress and had become a better place for the people since 1975.

"That is not true," he said.

"I am here to tell you that we need to do better.

"I am here to tell you the truth so that you – the young people of our country – can do a better job than we have done to this point.

"It is unfortunate but true that since independence, Papua New Guinea has consistently failed to improve the health care of our people.

"According to the World Bank, we have fewer aid posts open today that we did at independence.

"And we know the condition of those that are still open – they have not power, most have no clean water supply, and many have no housing for our health care workers.

"Likewise, we have failed to improve access to education for our people.

"We just have to look around us.

"Our primary and elementary schools are falling apart.

"We do not have basic textbooks in the schools, we do not have decent toilets for our children, we do not have decent teachers' houses, and often we do not even have the teachers because the housing is so bad that they cannot live in it.

"Look around.

"We all know that this is true.

"And our infrastructure is not better.

"We used to have roads that we could travel on, but they have not been maintained for 10 or 15 or 20 years.

"Our roads have 'gone bush' and our people cannot get to market to generate income.

"Our children have to walk so many kilometers every day just to get to school, and when they get there, they have no books, no toilets, and sometimes no teachers."

Sir Julius said this was the real situation in PNG that the national government failed to admit.

"We have had huge amounts of wealth taken out of the country," he said.

"We have had reasonable macroeconomic growth.

"But our people have not benefited, they have actually suffered.

"That is not development.

"That is not progress.

"That is failure, pure and simple.

"It is a failure of our national institutions to provide the basic services that they should have provided.

"And it a failure we can no longer accept!"

'Don't believe in government'


From MALUM NALU in Kavieng


Young people of Papua New Guinea have been told to no longer believe in the government but in themselves if Papua New Guinea is to develop.

Former Prime Minister and New Ireland Governor, Sir Julius Chan (pictured),  gave this blunt message to graduating students, including the first-ever fisheries and marines resources degree students, from the University of Natural Resources and Environment in Kavieng last Friday (Nov 27).

And he urged them to get rid of the government if it didn't perform to their expectations.

He said it was no secret that PNG had gone backwards since 1975 and the largely-corrupt government was to blame for this.

Sir Julius, after taking the students and crowd through a lengthy talk on corruption in PNG, told them that the old guard like himself were going out and they were the ones who would have big shoes to fit in.

"The young people of the world are a force for good and a force for change," he told them.

"You have the potential to become an army of reform, a force that says, 'we will not accept corrupt and inept government any longer.We insist that the wealth of our country benefit the people – all the people – of our country'.

"So go forth to your homes and spread the message.

"Spread the message of responsibility, of hard work and of hope.

"Spread the message that government must tell the people in clear and unequivocal terms what it is doing to improve the lives of the people.

"And if it does not keep its word, spread the message that it will be cast out and replaced with those who will.

"The time of the free ride is over.

'Either provide benefits or get out!"

Sir Julius said the corruption perception index compiled each year by Transparency International spokes volumes about the level of corruption among public servants and politicians.

"Papua New Guinea has only been rated for the last five six years," he said.

"But in this short time, the country has been perceived as increasingly-corrupt and a very difficult environment in which to do business.

"In 2004, PNG was rated as 102nd out of 145 countries.

"We were two-thirds down the list; there were 43 countries considered as more corrupt than PNG.

"By 2006, PNG was rated 130th out of a total of 163 countries, so by then, only 33 countries were considered more corrupt.

"And in the most-recent year, 2008, PNG had slipped all the way to 151st out of 179 countries, so only 28 countries were considered more corrupt.

"Any rational observer would have to say that this is a major contributing factor to the failure of the state to ensure that the fruits of development are shared by the people of the country.

"/though I do not like saying it, the evidence is that PNG has a shell of democratic institutions, it has had macroeconomic growth, but beneath this thin cover is a system that is working for the benefit of a few and not the masses.

"We know that wealth is distributed very unevenly, and that the public officials and politicians are seen as among the most-corrupt in the world.

"So is it any wonder that the benefits do not get to the people?"

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lae poem brings back memories of another day

Bernard Oberleuter…his heart is still in Lae and PNG
Lae boys…Bernard Oberleuter and Tony Strachan

A heart-warming poem written about Lae and Papua New Guinea in its glory days brought tears to the eyes of many former Lae residents who gathered for an emotional Lae-Markham Reunion get together in Brisbane last month.
The 2009 Lae-Markham reunion at Broncos Leagues Club, Fulcher Road, Red Hill, on Sunday, Oct 4 was a resounding success - an absolutely magical day – which brought together 350-odd people.
Many people present hadn't seen each other for 40 years or more, and the auditorium echoed with cries of recognition, accompanied by heaps of hugs and occasional happy tears.
The 2009 guest list reads like a who’s who of Lae and PNG.
As they listened to the magical words of New Guinea, a poem written by Lae boy and now Brisbane resident Bernard Oberleuter so many years ago, there was not a dry eye in the Broncos Leagues Club.
It brought back memories about a place they called “home” – that since 1975 has deteriorated from the beautiful “Garden City” to the "Pothole Capital” of PNG.

New Guinea

By Bernard Oberleuter

I know a verdant island fair, with forests, ferns and flowers rare,
Where mountains tower to the sky, and lovely fertile valleys lie.
Where flit the gaudy butterflies and hum the birds of paradise.
Where summer holds eternal sway; her people live so free and gay.
New Guinea, gem of the southern sea, what wondrous charms you hold for me.
One place upon our friendly strand is treasured more than all this land.
Tis Lae, my home on Huon shores, so fondly called the open door,
The open door to hills that hold vast quantities of richest gold.
Our buzzing dromes, our wharves, our shops With busy life forever throbs.
Our jungle nooks to hikes invite, our pools and brooks with tempting sights.
The ancient hills, the ocean blue, what grandeur great presents to you.
God bless our lovely isle and Lae, and make us more her own each day

Mr Oberleuter, a good friend of mine, admitted that he too had tears in his eyes as he heard his poem being read by another Lae boy Tony Strachan, son of Arthur Strachan, founder of the famous real estate company of Lae by the same name.
He recalls that he was getting ready for his Grade 6 external exams for a government scholarship to study in Australia when he wrote the poem.
“It was at St Mary's Primary School, opposite Lae Bowling Club,” he remembers.
“I was asked by the nun-in-charge, Sr Marinoma, to read it out to the class, who applauded me with a standing ovation.
“That year, I also excelled in my external examinations by coming second in over 1,200 students, in TPNG, only missing out by 2% in my maths tests to equal first place.
“Previous to that, I was at the old St Mary's School, next to the old Morobe Bakery.
“This school site is now where the famous Lae Rugby League grounds sit, where I use to play my junior rugby league, coached by Barry Orchard and Bill Doherty of PWD (Public Works Department).
“They both played for the mighty Comworks RLFC.
“Mr Jack Amesbury was instrumental in starting me to play rugby league, soccer, hockey and Aussie rules. I played all over the back line, including fullback. I was the youngest player to represent Lae at the senior level.
“My dad worked for Public Works Department as a builder.
“My mum did freelance dress making and then she was in charge of the Melanesian laundry facilities.
“My dad built the very first Markham Bridge.
“We later transferred to Finschhafen, where I went to Gagidu Primary T School.
“He was posted there for a couple of years, built and maintained government housing and also built the first Nasigalatu Bridge near Dregerhhafen.
“I was born at the old Malahang hausik (hospital), near the feisty waters of the Busu wara.
“This WWII hausik then moved to uptown where Morobe Pharmacy is now situated.
“Then another move further just to the left of Steamships on 8th Street and opposite the Lae Coronation Primary 'A' School.
“Mr Tony Sadgrove was headmaster then.
“The hospital made a final move down town opposite to the old Lae airport to its final resting place, where it stands today.
“I have very fond and good memories of my childhood upbringing.
“I could walk anywhere, anytime, in Lae...hail, rain or shine, any hour of the clock.
“I use to do my training by running from Rotten Row Rd, behind the Hotel Cecil, to the athletics oval and back again, every morning during the footy season.
“We were living in Chinatown near the old Lae pumping station, close to Bumbu River.
“I remember walking from Butibum Village to Kamkumung.
“I use to go swimming at Voco Point, and at the mouth of the Bumbu River.
“We used to walk along the beach all the way to Sipaia, where the old Japanese warship was beached and rusted.
“We use to climb onto it and play hide and seek.
“The old Tanyo Maru was still protruding and visible at the end of the Lae airport runway, where Crowley Airways and MAL hangared all their aeroplanes.
“We use to go in a canoe to catch the pigeons that nested on the exposed bow of the warship.
“I enjoyed my growing up in Lae, Mumeng, Bulolo, Wau, Kaiapit, Finschhafen, Madang and Port Moresby.
“I treasure those fleeting moments and memories.
“I lived and loved for my home Lae as a child growing up to 12 years old.
“I, unlike all the other ex-Territorians, have no desire to return to PNG.
“I only want to remember it, the way it was, when I left it.
“You see, the writing was on the wall for people like myself.
“We would become second-class citizens and those in the power of politics would ensure that their very own kin or clan would rise in the hierarchy, in the scheme of things to follow, after 1975.
“The proof is in the pudding.
“See for yourself now after 34 years of independence.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

First pictures of the controversial Falcon jet of the Papua New Guinea government

Pictures by EKAR KEAPU of The National, Papua New Guinea's leading daily newspaper.

Fisheries programme comes of age in Kavieng

Caption: PNG UNRE Chancellor Sir Rabbie Namaliu congratulating Augustine Galuwa, who graduated last year with a diploma in fisheries and marine resources


I'll be travelling to beautiful Kavieng, New Ireland province, tomorrow to witness the first fisheries degree graduation of University of Natural Resources and Environment students. Below is a preview of the event


By UNRE Public Relations


“I, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Chancellor of Papua New Guinea University of Natural Resources and Environment, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the statutes, regulation and by-laws of the university, now confer the degrees, to those who have successfully completed the academic requirements of their course as laid down and duly prescribed by the academic board and approved by the council, and today, their names included in the 2009 roll of graduates of the university.”

These are the words that will signify the coming of age of the university’s fisheries and marine resources (FMR) programme on Friday Nov 27, 2009 when UNRE Chancellor Sir Rabbie Namaliu confers bachelor’s degrees on five FMR pioneer graduates – Christopher Binabat, Joseph Kendou, Robinson Liu, Priscilla Warambin and Jane Wungun.

While the moment will no doubt be a proud one for the five and their families, it will be a prouder moment for the university, National Fisheries Authority, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), University of Bremen’s Centre for Marine Tropical Ecology (ZMT), Office of Higher Education and all those who collectively contributed to making the academic programme a success since its inception in 2006.

Many challenges including the lack of funding and teaching staff faced the programme designers when it was on the drawing board in 2005, but with determination and perseverance; and the strong professional will to bring into the higher education training a much needed skill that was lacking, they overcame these.

The fruits of their labour are the two female and three male students who will go down in history books as not only the first degree graduands of the programme but also as the first fisheries degree graduands in the country after more than 20 years.

With the world now focusing more and more on the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources and environment, the introduction of this course could not have come at a better time for the fisheries sector in the country as well as the South Pacific and the world as it provides a skilled and better qualified workforce for an industry that is rising internationally as a mainstay in the economy.

Meanwhile, also graduating on the day will be 16 students who will be awarded diplomas in fisheries and marine resources by Sir Rabbie.

They are the second batch of diplomats under the programme, the first group of seven students graduating in the inaugural FMR graduation ceremony last year.

Since the first 20 students were admitted in 2006, there has been an increase in applications from students throughout the country wanting to gain entry into the programme.

This year’s first year students also include seven Solomon Islands students who applied for the programme to help develop their country’s fisheries and marine resources.

They move to UNRE’s affiliated campus, National Fisheries College, for their second year of study.

UNRE expects to take in more Solomon Islanders for the same course next year.

For now, however, all eyes are on the five degree pioneers who will make history for the fisheries and marine resources programme, higher education training and the fisheries sector.

Unitech agriculture functions transfer to University of Natural Resources % Environment

By UNRE Public Relations

University of Technology’s department of agriculture will be transferred to University of Natural Resources & Environment (UNRE).

This is the word from Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science & Technology Michael Ogio.

Mr Ogio made the announcement when officiating at a graduation ceremony for more than 100 farmers in Maprik last Friday.

According to Minister Ogio, the department would be placed at UNRE’s Sepik Central Campus in Maprik, East Sepik province, and urged the people of Sepik, particularly Maprik, to look after the college and state assets.

“The Agriculture Department at Unitech will be transferred to UNRE and will be moved to Bainyik (Maprik) but you must look after the campus and be proud that you will have an institution of higher learning at your doorstep once again,” he said.

Minster Ogio said by transferring the agriculture department, Unitech would have room to develop the gas and petroleum engineering training which it now has on the drawing board.

The move is also consistent with a National Executive Council Decision of 1996.

The 105 farmers who graduated received certificates for training received in sustainable livelihood, land use and soil fertility management and basic record and book keeping under UNRE’s integrated agriculture training programme (IATP).

They are the first group to receive the training outside the New Guinea Islands region.

Minister Ogio challenged the farmers to practice what they had learnt.

“You have received the training, now the challenge is for you to implement this and make a difference in your families and communities,” he said,

“We Papua New Guineans have a tendency to dream of big things but that is not necessary.

“If everyone collectively makes small changes and improvements in our own families, that is special and will go towards the development of this country.”


New vegetable project for Tambul

Photo caption: Farmers enjoying tubers of potato from NARI's research in Tambul.-Picture courtesy of NARI



A major vegetable development project will be launched on Friday at Alkena in the Tambul district of Western Highlands.

Vegetable growers in the district will celebrate and witness the official ground breaking ceremony of MKL Vegetable Farming Group and launching of a project titled “Developing a Sustainable Potato and Vegetable Production in the Tambul Valley – Western Highlands Province”.

The programme starts tomorrow with church activities.

The MKL Vegetable Farming Group is a newly-established community initiative involving farmers led by Maktol Oke, a specialist potato seed grower from Aiyaka tribe in the Upper Kaugel area of Tambul.

Mr Oke, who is also the chairman of the MKL group, said the initiative was an “impact project” for the 68, 000 people of Tambul Nebilyer district which aimed to enable farmers to  increase their potato and vegetable production for cash and food to improve their livelihoods.

Mr Oke said the project received overwhelming support from Tambul/Nebilyer MP Benjamin Poponawa, Mt Giluwe local level government, district administration, Lutheran Church, local leaders and the farming community.

He said Mr Poponawa - who supported the launch preparations with K6000 - and Western Highlands Governor Tom Olga would officiate at the historic occasion.

The initiative was developed with the involvement of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA).

 “The Alkena Lutheran Church has provided vacant land, which has been developed into a central resource centre for seed multiplication and distribution to farmers throughout the district, province and other potato growing areas in the country,” Mr Oke said,

“The centre will also be used for farmer training, demonstration and information sharing by service providers such as NARI, FPDA and provincial division of primary industry.”

Mr Oke said the development was a collaborative effort involving the community, government agencies (NARI and FPDA) and the church and stood to benefit the entire Tambul community.

He added potato was an important food and cash crop for high-altitude areas like Tambul but the industry was thrown into chaos due to the emergence of the late blight disease.

 The project is anticipated to produce clean and certified seeds to be distributed to farmers.  

Tambul district has climatic conditions favorable for vegetable production.

 It is the major producer of potato and temperate vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots in the country and the major supplier of the renowned Mt Hagen market in terms of fresh produce.