Friday, July 30, 2010

Votes of no-confidence and integrity of leaders



Papua New Guinea is back to its old game.

Leaders want power at any cost.

There is no shame for name and fame.

Apart from the period 1972- 1977 and 2002- 2007, there is no other time in modern PNG history where leaders worked for PNG people without fear of no confidence votes.

From 1980 and later years, leaders' war paths were made by love of money.

Money and more of it.

At independence in 1975 our leaders were people's leaders.

People were reason for leadership.

Now we take leadership as a business venture.

Leaders and their advisers see leadership as a means for money.

 People wait while leaders fight over positions for money.

In only 34 years after independence leaders have made our people leaderless.

No leader will be without blame. Love of money has left no leader blameless.

Now more people know this truth.

Nasty politics of leaders are well known.

They are very troubled.

Scandals, lies, deceits and plots are starting to emerge.

Even vulgar language of leaders is paraded.

When a lawyer warned leaders about many bad behaviours leaders went berserk.

Money and more of it was what leaders work for.

Many about-faced leaders will do anything for money.

 In the July 2010 session of Parliament, leaders were at different camps for different reasons but with one purpose; money.

 Lending credibility to this circus-like game was a Deputy Prime Minister of a ruling coalition.

He left his leadership and ran after Prime Minister's position with media hype.

Leaders who left with him are reportedly going back to their vomits.

For the first time leaders are openly parading their lack of integrity.

No more will people let their leaders run wild for money, name, fame and position.

Very soon leaders will face the truth.

Truth is people will not tolerate leaders without integrity.


Papua New Guinea’s prized possession: its people and their way of life

There is an old Jewish saying;  a poor man looks out the window of his house and see the birds, green meadows, clear streams and breathes the fresh air from his cabin. 
A rich man however paints the whole world silver so all he sees is the reflection of him. 
When a dear friend told me this saying, I had visions of the majority of our people.                   
 Poor as they are, they are the happiest people in the country. 
Like their forefathers, they wake up every day looking for inspiration. 
Whether its praying to God, smelling the rich scent of the flora, admiring the might of gashing rivers, yep, its uplifting.  
 Hard working folks they are, they toil the land to conjure a healthy harvest of yams, kau kau and taro, they casted nets for the fishes in the sea, drone the land for abundance of boars, wallabies and muruks. 
 The landscape was indeed plentiful.  
For the past 40 years, our landscape has dramatically changed and so have our values. 
Our simpleton wantoks have learnt that opportunities come not from the land and sea alone but from the shining bright valleys of Lae, Goroka, Hagan, Wewak, Port Moresby etc where education, jobs, crime and prostitution give way for a better life. 
When they go back to the village, they're people are mesmerised by their glittery clothes, hip mobiles and their views on everything. 
They are progressive and they quickly gain respect. 
Church elders want them to be leaders, local school wants them to be on the board, petty gangs give them the lions share of stolen goods, young girls want to be like them as they see the rewards of getting paid to be beautiful. 
Unlike their forefathers, when they wake up to look outside the window for inspiration, they want to paint it silver. 
 So when we see the view of Fairfax Harbor from their plush offices, corrugated iron shacks in Bundi Camp, the ceiling of a motel in Hagen, they want to see themselves. 
Yep, gardens have been replaced with bank balances; artisanal fishing with crime and the hunt is a couple of plastic papers for a screw. 
PNG is a melting pot of the old - new, city - village, highlands -  coastal, kong kong – whiteman, homemade – factory made, pumuk - sex tapes, Christian – non Christian, this is the landscape of PNG.  
So my fellow Papua New Guineans, I ponder what nation we have become. 
 Is the silver landscape reflecting a few, good for our country or are the old days where the land was plentiful? 
 I don't know, but living in the now, I love the challenge our great land demands. 
Oh yeah, it's tough, sleezy and cold but when that smile breaks up in the faces of our people, it's a land of hope. 
A land where a kaleidscope of cultures is in abundance, where tenacious rough neck men pride on their conquests,  beautiful mothers uphold us in prayers, brothers that stand with us when all is lost, sisters that comfort us when we are nothing and our children that look at us as the only important thing in the world. 
We hold the destiny of our nation and it is my prayer we embrace everything our nation has because that is who we are. 
 It is only by doing this; we can begin to ask the difficult questions on how to improve our way of life. 

Kokoda beefed up

Over the next few days, charter flights from Port Moresby will fly into a number of Northern villages delivering building materials and supplies for schools and aid posts in Manari, Efogi, Naduri, Kagi and Kokoda station, The National reports.

 Among the items also are safety cones and maintenance tools for the upkeep of Kokoda Track airstrips.

The assistance is the result of a joint commitment by the PNG and Australian governments’ Kokoda Initiative, aimed at addressing safety issues along the track.



Gunslinger runs amok in Port Moresby

Shotgun and police-issued firearm recovered


A SECURITY guard shocked Papua New Guineans when he stood in the middle of a road and aimed a gun at oncoming traffic in Port Moresby yesterday, The National reports.

He was knocked down by a taxi and was arrested by police in the peak hour morning traffic drama.

At press time, police were still interrogating the guard to determine the reason for his “renegade behaviour” on Sir John Guise Road near the new bus station opposite the stadium.

Police have also recovered a pump action shotgun and a police-issued firearm, but it could not be ascertained if the weapon was loaded at the time.

There was no firing but guard’s senseless action sparked the circulation of an email that spread like wildfire, panicking some of its readers.

The contents of the email, supposedly from an eyewitness, gave an even scarier and worrying account of the drama.

The National tried to trace the source of the email the whole of yesterday but failed.

The email account: “We were attacked by a wanna-be-suicide gunman who opened fire at oncoming traffic and pedestrians just outside the new Vision City and Golden Bowl Freeway bus stop!

“I was in the bus and this madman stood in the middle of the road and was just spraying bullets everywhere!

“When our bus approached, he sprayed down our windscreen missing the driver . . . we all dived for cover and our bus went out of control and hit a dead stop . . . the gunman ran towards us and tried to climb in and opened fire when a taxi driver behind us saw it and, at full speed, smashed the guy, sending him flying in the air . . . the gunman was a Highlander in full police uniform . . . when he landed on the ground, he got up and took out more guns and started shooting again.

“He then jumped onto another double cab driven by a Central woman and child behind us and then smashed the glasses and shot the woman . . . luckily she bent her head and the bullet grazed her eyes . . . when all the men from the PMVs and bus stopped, plus the construction workers from Vision City, ran out to help us . . . the gunman took out grenades and more silencers and shotguns and just sprayed his heart away . . . I managed to smash my window, jump out of the bus and ran all the way to the office as the guy kept running after us and firing . . . he couldn’t be caught and ran off . . . Please all be on alert!

“All the police numbers are ringing out and we can’t get in touch.

“So far, we rang Kalang FM to broadcast the incident as the guy was saying something that he will go to town or walk into a primary school . . . and go on rampage  ... soooooo scary ...”

Metropolitan police operations head Supt Andy Bawa told The National late yesterday afternoon that according to police investigations, the contents of the email were all “rubbish” except for the fact that a taxi had knocked him to the side of the road and was picked up by a police reservist unit of a commercial bank.

“No shots were fired or anything damaged or anyone hurt,” he added.

Bawa said police would be questioning the security firm and also conduct an internal investigation into how a gun belonging to a police officer got into the hands of a civilian.

The police headquarters also appealed to the public yesterday to refrain from spreading unsubstantiated rumours following the email which caused unnecessary panic among city residents.

New laws include life sentence for sex crimes

AMENDED laws for sexual violence and crimes against women and children will see prison terms increasing from five to seven years and a maximum of life imprisonment, The National reports.

According to the Criminal Code Act (Amended) 2003, these penalties covered the crimes of sexual penetration, molesting and indecent acts against children under the age of 16 and women.

Speaking at the conclusion of a three-day regional workshop in Lae, Morobe, on Wednesday, deputy public prosecutor Nicholas Miviri said sexual penetration without consent was deemed as rape and the circumstances of aggravation raised the maximum penalty to life in prison.

Miviri explained that under the amendment, the penalties start from seven years to life imprisonment.

The government had, in 2001, amended the PNG sex offence laws after finding them to be “outdated”.

It consequently passed the Criminal Code (sexual violence and crimes against children) Amendment Act 2003 and the Evidence (Amendment) Act 2003.

Miviri, however, expressed concern that the new laws were not being used by the prosecutors, including the police and social welfare workers.

He said that on many occasions, the offenders got off the hook because they were charged under the wrong laws.

The Lae workshop was aimed at making police and social workers aware of the implications and ramifications of the new laws.

Miviri was optimistic that the awareness would help police use the proper laws to successfully prosecute offenders.



Amnesty wants Papua New Guinea government to act on violence

AMNESTY International (AI) handed over to the Papua New Guinean government a 37,000-signature petition urging an end to violence against women in PNG, The National reports.

AI Australia campaign coordinator Hannah Harborow handed to Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu a huge stack of folders containing the signatures calling for urgent government action to address the extremely high rates of violence against women and girls.

Last week marked a historic moment for PNG women when the PNG government was, for the first time, questioned by the United Nations (UN) committee on the elimination of discrimination against women about the high rates of violence against women, and about government efforts to address the issue.

A delegation of women from PNG also visited the United States to speak before the UN on behalf of their countrywomen and demanded an end to violence.

Harborow, who attended the review session in New York, said: “There were encouraging words from the PNG government when it went before the UN. But it is not enough just to acknowledge that gender violence  is an urgent problem.

“The government must prove it is serious about addressing violence against women and girls. It needs to pass laws specifically targeting domestic violence, provide emergency services for women fleeing abuse and lay charges against perpetrators of violence.

“The women of PNG may take some comfort from their government’s statement to the UN that it hopes in the future to fund emergency services and shelters run by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and churches for women fleeing violence,” Harborow said.

AI said it looked forward to seeing the government fulfill its promise that the UN review session would lead to increased budget for initiatives to rectify the abuse and violence.

The government also pledged that it would use the UN review to raise awareness of violence through the PNG media, including holding a joint media conference with NGOs on the issue.



Kokoda villages get building materials and medicines

THE delivery of 10 tonnes of essential materials over the next few days to Kokoda communities will reinforce the Australian government’s commitment to improve health and education and address safety issues along the track, The National reports.

The materials were being sent on several charter flights from Port Moresby to Manari, Efogi, Naduri, Kagi and Kokoda station. 

The shipment included building materials and supplies for aid posts and schools and safety cones and maintenance tools for the upkeep of airstrips, all key projects under the joint PNG and Australian governments’ Kokoda Initiative.  

“We will continue to work with the government of PNG, the Kokoda Track Authority and local communities to ensure we understand what works best for Kokoda communities and how this should be actioned,” Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish said.

“Through this partnership, we are working together to improve the lives of local people who live along the Kokoda Track corridor, and to improve the trekking experience of those people walking the track.”

Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) chairman James Enage said the delivery of these materials would not only help to bring about further improvements to the lives of people along Kokoda but would keep the track as PNG’s top tourist draw card.

“Improvements to Owers Corner road, better maintenance at local airstrips and improved water and sanitation facilities all contribute to a better tourism product,” Enage said.

“KTA will continue to work with the governments of PNG and Australia to encourage more people to come and enjoy the unique Kokoda experience.”

Some of the materials will go into completing school buildings and aid posts partially erected over the past months in Manari, Efogi, Naduri and Kagi.

The villages also received curriculum materials for schools and medical supplies for aid posts.

Leon Sime, head of Kokoda Hospital, said the Kokoda Initiative was having a positive impact on health delivery in the area.

“The benefits are wide-ranging,” Sime said.

“From fixing the road to the hospital, which creates easier access for patients, through to more regular health patrols, all of these things are making health delivery better,” he added.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A norm worth dying for: Life after Somare


Somare is indeed a shrewd politician and that is a fact.

Commanding calm, respect and power, he steered a formidable and determined opposition. 

Admirers of this man are attracted to him for his reliance, opponents rebuke him of his craftiness and Papua New Guineans are divided in whether he is good for us or not. 

The majority of our people know him as the founding father of our nation and that's that. 

They see him as an old wise man that speaks unquestionable wisdom and when he speaks, it has a power source that mesmerises everyone. 

A Sukundoumu indeed.
Having a rare privilege to brief him once, I was told that my 50-page brief needed to be condensed to five minutes as that is the concentration span of the old man.
I of course jerked at the thought of condensing an important policy position but that was the fact and off I went. 
He picked up one issue where we spent a good 20 minutes on and that was how the people will benefit.   
After consulting his advisors on the matter, he presented the policy position to cabinet.
Clumsy, gibberish and not impressive in articulating the issues, the ministers got the message.
I couldn't help noticing why this was the case, highly intelligent men and women in cabinet subjecting themselves to an ailing old man that although commands respect is woefully overwhelmed with national interest issues.
It was than I realised what PNG politics is, a rhetorical citation of subjecting men and women to a higher form of humility based purely on respect. 
 The cabinet heard crap that day from this old man and why did they entertain it?
  It wasn't fear, it certainly wasn't intellectual might. 
They simply allowed the old man to be what he is because of respect. 
Humility beyond reckoning and it almost has a religious pretext.  
With this power, Somare wheeled good things and bad things. 
Stability is his legacy and tragically, corruption and scandals are also his legacy. 
 Like every PNGean, when we saw the photos of both camps last week, we all couldn't help noticing Puka Temu's Dream Team.
Intellectual heavies, business tycoons, career public servants and acclaimed human rights celebrities. 
This is the government PNG needs.
When we saw the Somare camp, we all agreed they are so overrated and change needs to come.
Built on ethnic lines, family connections, this is a dirty group.    
 But again, the old man prevailed. 
He hijacked parliament, killed the vote of no-confidence and in a split second, has a four-month siesta. 
Why? Because our elected leaders respect him.
When he does leave us and gracefully swims away to the resting place of the Sepik River, PNG will be scrambling for a new political norm.
Intellectual freaks will concoct flowcharts and dissertations of development, business tycoons will speak of making money, crime magnets will be interested in protecting their turf and social advocates will push for improvement in basic services. 
 And in this mêlée of norm setting, billions of kina will be spent on out competing one norm to the other.
Advocates of the norms will become our next Prime Minister but wantoks, is the price of our sacred resources worth a new norm? 
I don't know, but I am comforted by the ever-increasing desire for our men and women to bring change to our country and it is my prayer that as we go into a season of norm making, the righteous norm prevails.

New butterfly species discovered in Papua New Guinea by UK specialist

An expedition by UK butterfly specialist, John Tennent, to the outlying islands of Milne Bay has discovered a number of new butterfly species and highlighted important previously unknown information on the distribution of Papua New Guinea butterflies.

Mr Tennent is halfway through an eight-month British Natural History Museum-sponsored expedition to survey the unique butterfly populations of the islands of Milne Bay Province.

His visits to the Conflict Group, Marshall Bennett, Egum Atoll, Woodlark and the Trobriand Islands have already unveiled a wealth of new data.

“For example, a small blue butterfly previously only recorded from a few specimens found on Sudest Island more than 100 years ago has now been found on Iwa (Marshall Bennett Islands), Kitava (Trobriand Islands), Egum Atoll and the Conflict Islands.

“This kind of new information illustrates just how little we know about the fauna of some of the islands which, although often small and remote, are rich in insects and other wildlife. The fact that the islands are also amongst the most beautiful places on earth is also a real bonus for me,” he said upon his return to Alotau from Woodlark Island.

During his travels, Mr Tennent has discovered several butterfly species and subspecies that have never been recognised before and will spend many months working on bringing them to the notice of the international scientific community when he eventually returns to the UK later in the year.

British High Commissioner to PNG, David Dunn, said the discovery of so many more butterflies in the islands of Milne Bay shows the significance of PNG’s overall standing as a world biodiversity hotspot.

“This is not only the discovery of new butterfly species but a valuable addition to information and general research work already done on the islands.

“The fact these islands have such an abundance of wildlife underlines the need for the world to recognise PNG as a unique guardian of world flora and fauna and do what we can to help the people of PNG to protect and benefit from its unique biodiversity,” he said.

Mr Tennent is working closely with the PNG National Research Institute (NRI) and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).

 His expedition is funded by the Natural History Museum, Royal Entomological Society and the Linnean Society in London, as well as by a grant from National Geographic in Washington DC.

He has just returned from Woodlark, where Woodlark Mining Limited generously hosted his visit and enabled him to go to some of the more remote islands in the region including Egum Atoll, Gawa and Alcester.

Nicole gambles for title

Miss National Gaming Control Board Nicole Jeune was over the moon yesterday after receiving K30,000 from her sponsor to compete in this year’s Miss PNG Red Cross Quest, The National reports.

 Jeune, from Northern, said she was entering the quest to be an ambassador for youth development.

Jeune is the programme producer and coordinator for Haus & Home show and standby presenter with EMTV.-Nationalpic by AURI EVA


Ramu NiCo pursuing nickel project despite lawsuit

DESPITE a court injunction against the proposed deep-sea tailing system for the Ramu nickel project, project owner Ramu NiCo has decided to pursue other construction activities at the mining and refining sites, The National reports.

The full-swing construction activities at the two sites are being bank-rolled by Chinese funds, which already spent more than US$1.2 billion (K3.3 billion).

Ramu Nico president Madam Luo Shu told reporters yesterday the National Court Injunction obtained by the Basamuk Bay landowners has not stalled activities at the mine site, save for the deep-sea tailing system.

With the mine being potentially the biggest project after the Bougainville copper mine or the Ok Tedi Mine, “Ramu NiCo will not let down its stakeholders, especially the National Government, project partners and the community at large”, she said.

“It’s a commitment we have with our stakeholders and the people of Papua New Guinea,” Luo said.

Highlands Pacific’s managing director John Gooding said: “Ramu nickel project is a significant project as it would be the first time for PNG to export nickel and cobalt once it begins production.”

It had the potential to have a greater impact on the country’s economy, he said.

Gooding also said Papua New Guineans could own up to 35% of the company by buying stakes through respective holdings companies.

Luo said up to the end of last year, the aggregated local procurement value involving supplies and provisions was in excess of K200 million, while spin-off businesses worth K80 million had been contracted to landowner companies.

Furthermore, more than K 5.1 million was paid to landowners as environmental and land compensation.


PDM 4 yoyos back to government

FOUR People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) members of parliament, who jumped ship to the opposition during the recent political horse-trading amid a looming vote of no-confidence on the prime minister, have returned to the government fold, The National reports.

The four included deputy party leader and Obura-Wonenara MP John Boito, member for Telefomin Peter Iwei, Jimmy Miringtoro (Central Bouginville) and Jack Cameroon (Kiriwina-Goodenough).

However, Cameroon was away in his electorate and could not confirm if he had also returned to government.

PDM parliamentary leader and Higher Education Minister Michael Ogio told reporters yesterday that the four were neither terminated nor were they part of the opposition.

He said what transpired resulted from a National Alliance party split that caused them to move with the splintered group to the March Girls Resort camp.

The move by the PDM four brings to 10 the total number of “rebel” MPs who have moved back to rejoin the National Alliance-led coalition. Six Southern region NA MPs, who had defected to the opposition, also rejoined government early this week.

The NA rebellious six included David Arore (Ijivitari), Andrew Mald (Moresby Northeast), Alphonse Moroi (Central Governor), Mathew Poia (Goilala) and Pitom Bombom (Gulf Governor). South Fly MP Sali Subam was named but had not confirmed.

“We want to tell the government and the prime minister that the four MPs are still part of the coalition according to the Warangoi Accord,” Ogio said.

“I will stand and PDM will still remain with the grand chief for stability.

“I want him to leave with dignity when he retires from politics.”

Boito claimed that the four of them were misled by the NA faction and would apologise to the prime minister for what had happened.

He also attributed their move to the opposition to the slowness of certain vital issues not being addressed, citing the disbursement of public investment programme funds as an example.



Tuna cannery suspends 400

ABOUT 400 workers of fish processing company, RD Tuna Cannery in Madang have been suspended by the company, The National reports.

The action by the company followed a strike on July 22 over the minimum wage rate of K2.29 an hour which, the workers claimed, the company had not honoured.

RD Tuna Cannery’s failure to apply the minimum wage, which came into effect this year, did not go down well with the disputing members of the workforce who opted for industrial action.

Yesterday, the company confirmed that 400 production workers had been placed on preventive suspension.

It said that on July 22 the production workers on night shift just sat down and refused to work despite explanation and pleas of the management to report to work.

“As a result of their mass action, we sustained losses,” RD Tuna Cannery said in a statement, adding the reason of the mass action was the delayed implementation of the new K2.29 an hour minimum wage rate. 

“In compliance with the Minimum Wages Board Determination, RD Tuna Cannery has implemented the rate of K1.14 per hour and 26 weeks later, RD implemented the mandated rate of K1.72 per hour. 

“However, on the implementation of the K2.29, RD opted to exercise a provision in the determination given to sector/employers with provision for partial wage payment to include payments for housing,   transport assistance etc.”

RD Tuna Cannery said that on Oct 12 last year, it filed a position paper with the director of the National Tripartite Consultative Council seeking, among others, a consideration as “cash wage” the cost of transportation which RD spends to pick up and drop off the workers which was about K120,000 a fortnight or K3 million a year and the cost of meals which RD  provides  the workers at K3 a head a meal.

It said that although the NTCC acknowledged receiving the position paper, it failed to notify the cannery about the status of its claim within 26 weeks as required in the determination.

“As a result of this delay the workers resorted to this industrial action,” RD Tuna Cannery said.

“Just like the implementation of K1.14 and the K1.72, RD has committed to comply with whatever the decision of NTCC on our petition.”

In a meeting between the RD Tuna Cannery management and the Labour Department, the labour provincial officer in Madang declared that the workers did not comply with the requirements of conducting a legal strike under the PNG labour laws and regulations and considered their strike action to be illegal.

 RD currently employs about 1,000 workers in the production area.  With the suspension of a portion of its workforce, RD is taking alternative measures to ensure that operations were not hampered.



SWF best kept offshore: Yauieb

ONE of the main objectives of a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) is to create a broad-based economy, The National reports.

“This will present adverse affects that are usually present in booming oil and gas economies,” Anthony Yauieb, chairman of the SWF working group at Port Moresby’s National Research Institute, said yesterday.

The working group’s recommended model of the SWF was to be a consolidation of three offshore funds:

  • Stabilisation fund;
  •  Infrastructure fund; and
  • Future or savings fund.

One of the reasons of having the SWF kept off-shore is to prevent exchange rate appreciation and the effect which is often called “Dutch disease”.

Dutch disease, in economics, refers to the decline in manufacturing sector due to increase in exploitation of natural resources.

The theory is that the increase in revenue from natural resources affects the country by raising its exchange rate and which will make the manufacturing and agriculture sectors less competitive.

Yauieb said the SWF would be kept offshore because past onshore funds like the Mineral Resources Stabilisation Fund and the trust accounts, were depleted due to inefficient management arrangements. 

Central Bank deputy governor Benny Popoitai, who is the working group deputy chairman, said the idea of the SWF was important with the LNG project promising significant economic growth as well as improving the living standards of people.

Popoitai stressed the importance of properly managing the flow of proceeds from the LNG project.

“Managing the flow from the LNG project is very important.

“If this flow is not sterilised and quarantined then it will lead to high liquidity,” he said, adding that the government in its wisdom had set up his group to work towards creating arrangements that would “assist in insulating and sterilising” the flow of money from the  LNG project.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Handout of DSIP cheques by PM shows arrogance and blatant disregard for the law



The Leadership Tribunal decision in the Hagoria case upheld the legal position that all electoral funds (in that case, the District Support Grant) should be paid into the district treasuries and NOT to any individual MPs.

DSG and the District Support Improvement Program (DSIP) funds are required under Section 95A of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local-Level Governments to be paid directly to the District Treasuries.

The prime minister was dishing out DSIP cheques to individual MPs after the ‘questionable’  election of the governor general in Parliament on Friday 25.06. 10. The PM’s action is in breach of the guidelines and the law governing the disbursements of these funds and sends a clear message of his blatant disregard for the laws of this land.

This is not the only instance of the PM demonstrating his arrogance and total disrespect of the law. The PM has openly defied the laws of this land time and time again. The recent open advertisement by the leader of the opposition, Sir Mekere Morauta raises serious questions about the integrity of the PM in relation to the illegal re-appointment of the GG. Section 187(5) of the Constitution is in no uncertain terms. The vote taken on Sir Paulias Matane was a qualification for eligibility to nominate as a candidate for the post of GG. It is not the election proper. There is nothing complicated about this, yet the PM is not willing to adhere to the law by taking a position that is legally correct to preserve the integrity of Parliament and of government in PNG.

Whether this is sheer arrogance or serious incompetency, the PM must be held accountable to the people of this nation.

The PM is also one of those leaders whose integrity has been brought into question by a leadership tribunal referral by the Ombudsman Commission for alleged misconduct in office. His misconduct relates to the failure to submit annual statements to the Ombudsman Commission as required under Section 4 of the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership. This is a very serious misconduct because it shows a lack of interest to the fundamental principles of accountability. He is a prime minister who has demonstrated that he is above the law and will not be accountable to the 6.5 million people of this country, either legally through constitutional accountability mechanisms like the Leadership Code or personally by being indifferent and evasive to questions and calls by the people of this country for accountability.

His government is full of leaders who have been referred by the Ombudsman Commission for misconduct in office, whose cases are pending before the Courts, yet they continue to hold on to very key public offices and continue to carry on the business of this country with his blessings despite serious questions surrounding their personal and official integrity. Still overshadowed by serious questions of integrity and breaches of the Leadership Code, his government blatantly orchestrate amendments to the Leadership Code that clearly demonstrate their vehement desire to be free from  accountability and have these bills pushed through Parliament without consultation with the people of this nation.

The amendment to the Ombudsman laws shows no intention of strengthening accountability and good governance; instead it reveals a clear will to water down the Leadership Code and to avoid the principles of ethical and moral responsibility that the Leadership Code seeks to instill and uphold for leaders.

The Petromin issue is also one that has been cleverly swept under the carpet with no accountability to the People of Papua New Guinea. The LNG was illegally moved to IPBC from Petromin and now interestingly to another company called Kroton No.2 Limited to avoid accountability by an independent Board.

The insanity continues with the bulldozing through of laws like the Environment Act in parliament, that totally disregards the basic rights of resource holders, stakeholders and the people of Papua New Guinea to express their views on matters that concern their livelihood. There is no freedom of expression when the PM calls his people ‘sadangs’ or ‘demons’ and ‘longlongs’ or imbeciles. His tactics of evading accountability is well known by us all by now.

The PM has time and again, demonstrated that he is not interested in nurturing a culture of open democratic government. He openly flouts the laws of this land and makes no apology for it. His actions must NOW be questioned.  It is time he accepts responsibility for his negligent disregard for the law and relinquishes the leadership of this nation to a more honest and accountable leader that can uphold the law and respond to the needs of the People it represents. PNG needs a PM that is honest and transparent and accountable and one who serves the best interest of his people.

The people of PNG are not blind, deaf or mute. They are already talking and rising up. Its now up to individual MP’s to wake up from their slumber and be true to the election promises of accountability and good governance by making a change to this selfish and corrupt government.

Government is fragmented: Basil

There are strong signs that the Government is fragmented and there are cracks appearing in the coalition despite the prime minister’s efforts to hold his government together, says outspoken Bulolo MP, Sam Basil.

Mr Basil said yesterday that the confusion surrounding the appointments of new Ministers to the Somare-Polye Cabinet is frustrating to the public and especially to foreign investors. He said in the last three days, senior cabinet ministers have been making conflicting public statements and bickering among themselves over ministerial portfolios.

Mr Basil said, “It is obvious that the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare is not in charge of his Cabinet as young aspiring Turks are lobbying intensively among themselves to curry favor and also aspire for the top job.

“This is not good and shows a lack of leadership and contrary to what Sir Michael is saying to raise public confidence, he has totally lost control of his cabinet and needs to move aside and hand over the day to day running of the government to a strong and decisive leader like his deputy, Don Polye.

“The Opposition will support a strong leader like Don Polye as he is willing to make tough decisions and not back away as was the case when he was acting prime minister last week. The time is right for this country to see a young, articulate and vibrant leader take the helms of the political leadership of our country and I will back him to the hilt as I believe this it is time for us to change the old guard.

“The people of Papua New Guinea demand change and they will get it. I strongly urge young leaders from both sides of the house to throw their party allegiance aside and work together to build a grand coalition government that represents the interests of all Papua New Guineans and not just certain ethnic or regional groups in the country as is the case with the current government.”

Mr Basil says Mr Polye is a well-educated and articulate leader and is able to represent the country well on bilateral, multilateral and global issues that are of significant interest to PNG’s national interest.

“For instance, the prime minister’s latest junket to Fiji is farcical and his close association to Fiji and the so-called ‘Melanesian Brotherhood’ is outdated and has no relevance for a modern and globalised Papua New Guinea. And Don Polye will not stand up to these parochial Melanesian grandstanding tactics.

“The Fiji Government is run by a military dictator. We should not be dealing with military dictators one way or another. PNG is a signatory to various bilateral and multilateral organisations that promote democracy and good governance and we should adhere to these international protocols. Therefore, the Prime Minister should not use the shroud of ‘Melanesian Brotherhood’ to confuse our diplomatic relations in the region and on the global arena.

“The days of ‘Sulu diplomacy’ are over and the Prime Minister should not use PNG for his own private grandstanding ‘big-man’ type ruse.

“The deputy prime minister has all the credentials to lead our country and I am sure he will not confuse his own political agenda with that of our national interest. I will support him in his ambition to become Prime Minister.”

Democracy- Does it exist in Papua New Guinea?


 (The following quotes in Italics are taken from the Wikipedia site.)

Having just returned from the original birth place of democracy, in the light of a fellow commentator's postulations, it seemed appropriate to reflect on whether true democracy does or did ever exit in Papua New Guinea. So firstly, what is democracy?

'Democracy is a political form of government where governing power is derived from the people, either by direct referendum (direct democracy) or by means of elected representatives of the people (representative democracy). The term comes from the Greek: δημοκρατία - (dēmokratía) "rule of the people", which was coined from δμος (dêmos) "people" and κράτος (krátos) "power", in the middle of the fifth-fourth century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC. Even though there is no specific, universally accepted definition of 'democracy', equality and freedom have been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times. These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to power. For example, in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no restrictions can apply to anyone wanting to become a representative, and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution.'

Well that seems fairly clear. Democracy exists when:

  1. all citizens are equal before the law and their votes are of equal value, and
  2. legitimized rights and liberties are protected by a constitution.

However George Orwell in his book, 'Animal Farm', highlighted the concept that when some of the animals took over the farm, "some were more equal then others". So are all PNG citizens 'equal before the law' one is given to ask? In many so called modern democracies, it seems the way law is applied depends on a citizen's relative wealth. Given the opportunity, wealth seems to affect the way the law can be applied as expensive legal assistance can often affect the outcome of a court case. Yet even expensive legal assistance can still only be a factor IF a case goes to court. In PNG these days it seems like any legal action involving PNG politicians ever actually gets to court. If the case doesn't get to court, how can there be any justice decided? So it seems not all PNG citizens are 'equal before the law'.

Wikipedia goes on:

'There are several varieties of democracy, some of which provide better representation and more freedoms for their citizens than others. However, if any democracy is not carefully legislated – through the use of balances – to avoid an uneven distribution of political power, such as the separation of powers, then a branch of the system of rule could accumulate power and become harmful to the democracy itself.'

So has a 'branch of the PNG system of government' achieved an 'uneven distribution of power'? Given the performance of the current Somare government where Parliamentary government has effectively been sidelined, the answer would appear to be a resounding "Yes!" It therefore seems that some in the PNG political system have 'accumulated power and become harmful to democracy itself.'

'The "majority rule" is often described as a characteristic feature of democracy, but without responsible government or constitutional protections of individual liberties from democratic power, it is possible for dissenting individuals to be oppressed by the "tyranny of the majority". An essential process in representative democracies is competitive elections that are fair both substantively and procedurally. Furthermore, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are essential so that citizens are informed and able to vote in their personal interests.'

So are 'dissenting individuals' being oppressed in PNG? Given the recent arrangements the Somare government has made concerning local mining and timber industries, many would say 'You bet!'

Are PNG elections 'fair both substantially and procedurally'? Well with the extra financial resources from foreign sources claimed by the Opposition and available to the Somare government and the ability to use all government facilities including publically funded aircraft, it would seem PNG elections are anything but 'fair'.

So has democracy ever existed in PNG? Well that is in the eye of the beholder. What is clear however is that under the definitions listed in Wikipedia, PNG is not currently a democracy and hasn't been for some time.

Why then is Australia still supporting the current PNG government? Elsewhere in the world including Melanesia, leaders of countries who have deposed Parliamentary rule and effectively instituted a dictatorship are sidelined and denounced.

Why then hasn't this happened with the current Somare regime?


Weekly coffee price

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Heart for marine life

With a heart for marine life and the protection of their environment, Miss BSP 2010 Rachel Sapery James is encouraging coastal communities to love and protect natural barriers such as coral reefs and mangrove forests, The National reports.

 To get her point home, she was caught scuba diving off the coast of Kimbe in West New Britain last weekend after doing some humanitarian work in the township. James is an advocate for marine conservation activities and as part of her task in the Miss PNG Red Cross Quest, she will be visiting her home province, New Ireland, to conduct awareness on climate change and issues affecting the environment.

 At BSP, she is employed as social and environmental management systems officer.

James has a masters in science and a degree in international studies of aquatic tropical ecology and conservation, obtained from the Bremen University in Germany.

Sex crimes up

Police say young, even grannies, targeted


SEXUAL assault is definitely on the increase in Papua New Guinea with even minors falling victim, The National reports.

Even grandmothers had fallen prey to sadistic behaviours.

And, one in every two women had been sexually assaulted, police said at a workshop in Lae on sexual violence. They fear the percentage could be higher.

This included married women who were forced to have sex with their husbands against their will.

Officer-in-charge of the sexual offences squad in Port Moresby, Det-Sgt Tinol Pakiapon made the comments during the first of a series of sexual offences workshop at the Bumbu barracks in Lae.

Pakiapon was, last year, recognised by the Australasian Council of Women and Policing in its annual excellence in policing awards for his commitment towards improving the response to victims of sexual assault.

In an incident in the National Capital District five years ago, a man was charged with forcing his penis into the mouth of a six-month-old child. The offender was charged with sexual penetration.

Even men and boys were victims of sexual offences but, according to Pakiapon, because of societal norms that gave rise to the notion “men must be men”, most men do not speak out for fear of being stigmatised.

Very young boys were also forced to take part in or were sodomised and, out of fear, many kept quiet about their ordeal and did not speak up.

Many of the victims, both male and female, were traumatised by these experiences and, just having to go through the process of police interviews and appearing in court, made them re-live these traumas.

According to Pakiapon, the three-day meeting on sexual offences provided police prosecutors, magistrates, public solicitors, health care workers, community-based corrections and medical practitioners with a comprehensive overview of the importance of a coordinated response to victims of sexual assault and a greater understanding of legislative requirements.

The Lae Family Support Centre reported receiving between 30 and 50 cases of sexual assaults a month and attending to more than 5,000 patients since 2007.

Police said they were only seeing the tip of the iceberg, about 10% who reported these matters to them but they believed 90% of cases went unreported.

Officer-in-charge of administration with the office of the public prosecutor Nicholas Miviri said the number of sexual offences was increasing because of its prevalence and prominence on the courts criminal listing alongside murder, wilful murder and robbery.

The focus of the meeting was also to provide better services for victims and to help them to settle back into their communities.

Pakiapon said police attitudes in handling such cases “also need to change” so that more people, who are sexually abused, could come out and seek retribution in the courts.


Treasurer O'Neill focuses on fiscal discipline, growth

NEW Finance and Treasury Minister Peter O’Neill has assured the people that the government’s priority is to maintain fiscal discipline and sustain economic growth.., The National reports.

O’Neill, who is the Public Service Minister, had been given an added responsibility as Finance and Treasury Minister.

He said his immediate priority was to ensure spending was maintained within the budget level and important government programmes were prioritised.

“Key issues that are of government concern are education, health, infrastructure and law and order. These are key areas that the government will prioritise over the remaining part of the year,” he said.

O’Neill said the government’s district service improvement programme would continue as well as other key programmes aimed at empowering and transforming the rural economy.

“We want to maintain stability so that the business sector and investors have confidence in the government,” he added.

“The government will ensure economic growth continues to prosper, creating an environment for growth in the employment sector.”

O’Neill said economic growth was expected to continue at 8%, largely driven by the start of construction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and other new mines.

“The government is mindful of past experiences when uncontrolled government spending caused major economic hardships,” he said.

O’Neill said the budget was framed against the government’s medium-term fiscal strategy (MTFS), the medium-term development strategy (MTDS) and the medium-term debt strategy supported by the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).

He said the government’s adoption and adherence to these strategies underpinned the prudent economic and fiscal management of the economy.

O’Neill, the leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC) party and member for Ialibu-Pangia, is a second-term MP.

Treasury and Finance was left vacant when Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch was suspended by the Supreme Court in May on allegations of leadership breaches.

O’Neill has an honour’s degree in accounting from the University of Papua New Guinea and had served various senior positions in the private sector including being president of the PNG Institute of Certified Practising Accountants, partner in Pratley & O’Neill accounting firm, executive chairman of PNGBC, Motor Vehicle Insurance, Pacific MMI Insurance, Finance Pacific Ltd, Port Moresby Private Hospital Ltd and Remington Technologies Ltd.

He also served in various portfolios when he entered parliament in 2002, including public service and leader of government business and opposition leader.



Historic MoU signed

PAPUA New Guinea yesterday signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a feasibility study to pipe water resources into Australia from Southern Highlands, The National reports.

The project is valued at A$30 billion (K72 billion).

The feasibility study alone is expected to cost A$20 million (K480 million).

The feasibility project was approved by the National Executive Council in 2008.

The MoU for the feasibility study was signed between the Cairns-based project developer Might and Power Australia Pty Ltd chairman Fred Ariel, Department of Environment and Conservation chief legal adviser Ben Pasigan on behalf of the state and Imbonggu MP Francis Awesa on behalf of Southern Highlands government.

Awesa said: “It’s a historic occasion for the project with a billion kina magnitude.

“It’s indeed the single biggest sustainable and economically viable project involving clean energy, especially water resources in the province and PNG as a whole, apart from oil, gas and other mineral and non-mineral projects.

“Oil and the so-called LNG will deplete in the next 30 years, but water will continue to sustain both Australia and PNG as long as this world exists.”

The opposition stalwart said he had discussed with the Australian federal government and the opposition as well as the Queensland, Victoria and South Australian state governments.

“They are very supportive and that makes this project significant,” Awesa said.

Ariel told the respective stakeholders and reporters that the plan to pipe water into Australia was not an overnight thought.