Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Happy New Year

A Happy New Year 2009 to all readers and followers of this blog from all corners of the world.

Thank you for your support in 2008 and I look forward to that continuing in 2009.

I would like to have more feedback from you readers so that I can make this blog even bigger and better in promoting Papua New Guinea.

Thank you and God Bless You All Real Good!


Malum Nalu

Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea


PS: That’s me in the red shirt and the bushy beard which I’ve been growing since Easter Sunday this year, when my wife Hula passed away so suddenly and tragically, leaving me and the four young children all alone. On my shoulder is my eldest son Malum, aged eight,   and to the right in the background is my only daughter Moasing, aged four. The other two children Gedi, six, and Keith, one, are not in the picture.

The year of Barrack Obama while in PNG, the Chief celebrates 40 years in politics

Brrack Obama on Capitol Hill...the first black man in history to be elected UP President
Sir Michael Somare and two 10-year-old Manus twins watch the first screening of National Television Service on Independence Day - September 16, 2008, in Wewak - East Sepik province.

Editor In Chief
The National newspaper

A number of political events make the 2008 political calendar worth another peek before we turn our back on the year that has been, and look to the promises 2009 hold for each of us.
2008 had its ups and downs, and its share of forgettable and most memorable moments.
At home Prime Minister Sir Michael celebrated his 40 years in politics, an achievement unrivaled in the Commonwealth. The nation celebrated this milestone achievement by the chief, culminating in the launch of a local TV station Kundu, a gift from the Chief to his beloved people.
The year also saw Australian Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visit PNG. Relationships between PNG and Australia had reached new lows with the Howard Government before Rudd took over at Kiribili house in a landslide election victory.
Embracing Somare in Parliament House during his visit in March, Rudd announced his new deal for the Pacific, and presented the Chief a Brisbane Broncos Rugby league jersey to mark the start of a new era in relationship. The Howard and Downer ways were gone.
The man at the centre of the soured relationship between the two countries, Julian Moti, is now answering sex charges in Australia.
The findings of a PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry into how Moti escaped from Port Moresby to Honiara in a PNGDF plane on Oct 10, 2006, and who gave the orders at the political level has been released.
But it cannot be published or its recommendations implemented because of a judicial challenge by Sir Michael which is pending in the Supreme Court. Somare has reportedly been implicated in the Inquiry’s final report, but many believe those he trusted and appointed to senior positions within government betrayed him and did not tell the truth about the whole affair.
Another issue that will stick with the PM heading into the New Year will be his referral by the Ombudsman Commission for alleged misconduct in office, which is being challenged by his lawyers in the Supreme Court. The alleged misconduct relates to his annual returns dating back some 15 years. This case is expected to be resolved this year.
The grand old man of politics leaves public life in 2012, and the question being asked is who takes over. There have been a lot of speculations in the media, but as the year draws to a close the chief has not appointed a successor.
Within his National Alliance party, there are four deputy leaders who include Patrick Pruaitch, Don Polye, Puka Temu, and Paul Tiensten. One of them could take over, and whoever it is, the NA convention will decide when it meets to deal with this agenda.
There has been talk the Chief could hand over the baton to his son Arthur, the Public Enterprises Minister, but this scribe is reliably informed Mr Somare is not interested in the job at this stage of his political career.
Then there is Peter O’Neill, the leader of PNC, who has forged a close working relationship with Sir Michael even as Opposition leader in the last Parliament. He has a close relationship with a good number of NA members, including Pruaitch.
United Resources Party leader William Duma and party founder Anderson Agiru are also on the radar. It would be foolish to rule anyone out in PNG politics, so Bart Philemon and Sir Mekere Morauta, who are in the Opposition, must also come into contention.
The 18-months grace period protecting the Prime Minister from a vote of no confidence expires at the end of February next year. That’s the time even the most protected specie constantly look over his shoulder in case someone, even from within the camp, is lurking in the dark with that dagger.
With 85 MPs in Government, its unlikely Somare five-year term will be interrupted, unless his seemingly impregnable coalition implodes from within.
When he walks away into the sunset, he leaves behind huge shoes to be filled.
But let there be no doubt 2008 belongs to Barrack Obama.
Americans turned to Obama with a sweeping mandate at a time when the global financial crisis spurred by the sub prime mortgage crisis in the US is crippling economies around the world.
Who would ever forget that evening of Nov 4, when Obama stepped onto the podium in a stadium in Chicago to deliver a powerful speech, accepting the calling of the American people to serve them as their first ever black President?
Obama has a huge task on hand. The US and other major global economies are in recession, and his job is to turn that around. He has work to do to improve US relations with a lot of countries around the world, especially countries that resent Bush foreign policies, and his administration’s attitude to the two wars and global warming.
Papua New Guinea stands to gain a lot from the Obama Administration. We believe the government can capitalise on the Clinton influence in the White House to expand existing bilateral relationship, gain access to resources available in the US to fight the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic, and tackle global warming, an issue Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has spoken keenly about on various regional and global forums.
As 2008 pass, let’s look to build on the promises we know are abound in this beautiful country PNG.

Armed robberies and Sir George murder leave an infamous scar

William Kapis' accomplices at the Boroko Police Station Cell.
William Kapis in custody at the Boroko Police Station cell after being caught and shot on July 18 this year.

Sir George Constantinou (left) with his young family before his brutal murder, which shocked Papua New Guinea and the world.

Armed robberies of Bank South Pacific branches in Kerema, Madang and Kimbe and the killing of Sir George Constantinou has made an infamous scar for this year.
Papua New Guineans will never forget these incidents, just like the Americans will never forget the assassination of their President John F Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
These separated incidents were done by intelligence criminals (for BSP robberies) and just petty criminals (for the late Constantinou’s murder)
The robberies of the BSP branches have woken Papua New Guineans up to face the latest trend of violent crime involving armed robbery.
This trend involves kidnapping and demanding ransom.
The trend is also made easier by the use of the latest communication technology to mobilise manpower, resources, and logistics to execute shrewd tactics –that is the use of the mobile phone.
Currently, the main suspect William Kapis Nanua and his associates are facing various charges in connection with the robberies before the court, and are being remanded at Bomana prison outside Port Moresby.
This review will not detail the robberies of Madang and Kimbe but only for Kerema as it was the first branch to be hit.
Also similar tactics were used to organise the other BSP branch robberies.
Gulf police suspect that the former Kerema branch manager, who has now been charged, was involved in robbing K830, 498.45 last May 17 from the bank.
Noah Karo, 49, from Hula village, Central province was accused of the robbery by organising with Kapis, Jack Frost Kivare and Ivan Kaini for his daughter, grandson, son-in-law and three sons to be picked up at Five-Mile and to be kept as hostage in an undisclosed place in Port Moresby last May 15.
Police alleged that Nanua, Kivare and Kaini then flew to Kerema on May 16 and were picked up at the airport by Karo.Karo, threatened at gunpoint, then proceeded to give in to the demands of the accused and his accomplices or else they would “kill his children”.Police said that on Saturday, May 17, between 7am and 9am, Nanua and an accomplice got into a branch vehicle and went to meet loans officer Gabriel Ori inside the bank premises.A short briefing was held among them including Mr Karo.Mr Karo was instructed to go and get the safe combination numbers from his deputy’s house.The deputy, against her will, was taken to the bank and used the combination numbers to open the safe, with Nanua and his accomplices allegedly helping themselves to K825, 714 in cash.Nanua and his accomplices then escaped by boat to Sapeaharo Bridge where they got on a vehicle and came to Port Moresby to proceed on to rob Madang BSP on June 5, 2008, using similar tactics.
He was later recaptured by police along the Magi Highway enroute to Aroma in the Central province at about 2.30am last July 18 and allegedly shot in both feet’s.
In another infamous incident, one of the nation’s leading citizen and businessmen Sir George Constantinou was killed by just petty criminals outside the notorious Tete settlement at Gerehu on December 16 after inspecting his timber yard.
These opportunity criminals just made up their mind to rob and kill the 78-year-old knight only at that moment by just seeing a Whiteman coming their way in a vehicle.
They commit this incident using the old crime trend by using homemade gun and lethal hard objects.
Police have now detained and charged seven suspects.
The late knight came to PNG in 1954 and ventured into building and road construction and hotel industries.
These industries provided employment for thousands of locals to contribute to the national economy for almost 55 years. And it will still be doing so for years to come through the Constantinou group of companies.
In retaliation, police went in and demolished the settlement to fulfil what the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had warned about in November 2003.
Sir Michael had warned that one more killing would have this settlement removed.
Sir Michael issued this warning after 15 people were killed in the settlement .It was after the killing of his fellow knight that his warning was fulfilled.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quotation of The Day

Faith is the force of life.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

Wet, wet, wet Christmas 2008 as waves strike

Giant waves hit Vanimo, West Sepik (Sandaun) province

Refugees in Wewak flee their homes in Wewak, East Sepik province

Damaged house in Wewak, East Sepik province

Vehicle drives through seawater-covered road in Wewak, East Sepik province

It was a wet, wet, wet 2008 Christmas for over 30, 000 struck by severe sea swells in the maritime provinces of Papua New Guinea.
Severe sea swells were reported in New Ireland, East Sepik, Manus, Bougainville, West Sepik, Morobe and isolated parts of Madang.
A majority of the affected populations were found in Manus, East Sepik, New Ireland and Bougainville.
New Ireland reported 118 internally-displaced persons when the population on Tench Island had to be evacuated to neighboring Emirau Island with some Tench islanders, especially students, taken back to Kavieng.
New Ireland also reported the most number of houses damaged or destroyed.
This year will be the second year in two years when disaster struck at about the same time.
In November 2007, Tropical Cyclone Guba devastated Oro province, leaving thousands homeless with major infrastructure including roads and bridges washed away.
The maritime provinces are not an isolated case as parts of the Highlands region also had their fair share with landslides along the Simbu section of the Okuk Highway, which cut off supply routes to Western Highlands, Enga and the Southern Highlands.
Unlike the Oro experience, no state of emergency was declared in the maritime provinces.
In fact, this event and its aftermath were managed as a national disaster under the auspices of the Disaster Management Act.
The Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) coordinated disaster response activities through the National Disaster Centre in Port Moresby and the respective provincial disaster centres.
Minister responsible for disasters Job Pomat MP, chairman of the national disaster committee Manasupe Zurenuoc, and acting director of the National Disaster Centre Martin Mose were instrumental in coordinating GoPNG, donor, and both NGO and INGO assistance.
Provinces coordinated disaster response activities in partnership with the National Disaster Centre and through their provincial disaster centres, and under the leadership of their provincial administrators.
A majority of the response agencies worked through the provincial disaster centres.
Disaster response activities were supported by UN agencies, AusAID, USAID, NZAID, and JICA. Response agencies included provincial administrations and provincial disaster centres, the PNG Red Cross, and national and international NGOs such as CARE, WVI, SC, Oxfam, ADRA, and Caritas PNG.
All agencies were also involved in undertaking damage and needs assessments.
On December 17, 2008, Mr Zurenuoc expressed confidence in the way provinces had managed their response activities and hinted to the media cease of the response phase sooner than expected.
At a small ceremony on December 22 to receive emergency relief items from the Japanese Ambassador H.E. Hajime Hishiyama, Mr Zurenuoc announced the end of disaster response and encouraged partners to shift to early recovery.
Although this year’s sea swell disaster was short lived, its effects were extensive as can be seen by the demand for rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in New Ireland and Manus.
As soon as sea swells hit, the National Disaster Centre received firsthand reports on December 9, 2008, from witnesses in Kavieng, Buka, and Bogia in the Madang province.
Each province has a provincial disaster committee with the provincial administrator as chairperson.
In some provinces, this committee went to work immediately and operated out of its provincial disaster centre.
The National Executive Council met on December 11, 2008, and approved up to K50 million, with which K20m was to be made available for disaster relief, response, and recovery purposes.
The K20m was released to the Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs on December 14, 2008.
This amount was later transferred to the National Disaster General Trust Account after scheduled closure of all government accounts on December 16.
Affected provinces have now begun drawing down on this funding, and in close consultation with the National Disaster Centre.
Provinces have done so after providing extensive damage and needs assessment reports together with an expenditure budget.

Quotation of The Day

It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.

Sophocles (496 BC-406 BC)

The Year in Pictures - The Burning Down of Best Buy (Burns Philip) Lae

Best Buy Shop in Lae, one of the city’s landmarks, went up in flames at about 12am on Monday, December 8, 208,  and the fire was finally put out by 4am.
This was the site of the historical Burns Philip store which was an icon of Lae for many years.
By about 1am looters were already drunk and looking for more liquor till daybreak.
Before the fire reached the rear where the liquor shop is, looters were already breaking down the windows and doors and helping themselves to anything they could lay their hands on.
They included street people to security guards.
Lae town streets were chock-a-block with people that particular morning.
Many of them were drunk from the cold and boiled beer.

An eventful year for Papua New Guinea

And this blog helps to bring the news – good or bad – to you

Whether you spent 2008 with your nose buried in the politics or business section of your favorite newspaper, there were some major headlines on the front page that no one missed.

From the series of BSP bank robberies around the country to the atrocious murder of businessman Sir George Constantinou at the notorious Tete Settlement, Gerehu, it’s been hard to tear our eyes away from the life-changing events unfolding before us.

This is particularly in relation to the development of the massive gas, petroleum and mineral deposits of this country.

Are we going to be the ‘Arabs’ of the Pacific?

It is, however, a paradox that we are a rich country and yet are so poor, and our women and children continue to die for want of better health services as well as education.

I hope all of you, the many thousands of readers of this blog from all corners of Papua New Guinea and the world through the wonders of the Internet, have had a wonderful Christmas with your families and all the best for New Year 2009.

I had a quite Christmas period with my four children, watched VCDs, and read a lot of literature classics by Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities and Hard Times – to refresh my mind for 2009.

I am an avid reader of the classic works of literature, which I read over and over again, because it helps in a lot in my work as a journalist and editor.

 The year had a little something to offer everyone.

Maybe you were reading about the stock market's rocky trajectory and a massively flailing global economy - or that of Oshen’s career.

Perhaps you scanned the news for the latest updates on the LNG project, or you might've been focused on the US presidential elections.

The 2008 Paralympics event marked a significant new era for PNG as disabled athlete Francis Kompaon won the country’s first-ever silver medal at such an event and a K250, 000 bonus from the government.

The country’s first ever medal in an Olympic event was like setting foot on the moon – “one small step for a man but a giant step for PNG”.

Ryan Pini he made PNG proud with a brilliant performance in the 100m butterfly finals by splashing stroke for stroke alongside a  host of super stars including probably the world’s greatest-ever swimmer and record-breaking American Michael Phelps.

Pini was the flag bearer for Papua New Guinea at the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Pini ranked first in the third heat of the men's 100m freestyle, but did not make a qualifying time for the semi finals.

He also competed in heats for the 200m freestyle.

Pini competed in the 100m butterfly, where he was Papua New Guinea's most-widely anticipated chance at attaining a first Olympic medal.

He competed in the finals, and finished eighth overall, in a tough line-up which included American big fish Michael Phelps, who took gold.

Pini was the first Papua New Guinean ever to swim an Olympic final.

Remember how the Kumuls raised our pulses by leading Great Britain at one stage of their World Cup rugby league game in Australia but gave it away?

They continued to win hearts with commendable performances against eventual winners New Zealand and Australia.

Every year has its share of memorable news stories, but in 2008, many events transpired that'll have history textbook editors scrambling.

And if you haven't been keeping news clippings for your scrapbook, you might've forgotten what happened earlier this year.

That's where this blog comes in.

We're not just daily ‘bad news’ stories about rapes, murders, bank robberies, so on and so forth about.

We're ‘good news’ harbingers too – about the many positive developments in the country.

From Asia to Europe, North America to Africa, and even the land down under, the world was humming with activity.

And Papua New Guinea was no exception.

So pour a cup of coffee, settle into your most comfortable chair and read about some of the many memorable moments from 2008 that'll be recorded in the annals of history.


An eventful year for Lae

Captions: 1. Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG Head Bishop Dr Wesley Kigasung...his death brought together a fragmented church, city, province and country.2. Dr Kigasung's body is hoisted by six PNG Defence Force pall-bearers at Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.3. The sad remains of Best Buy, formerly Burns Philip, store in Lae. It was burned down earlier this month, bringing an end to a part of Lae history.
By conservative estimates, half of its residents would not be able to recall the garden city that was Lae.
This was a city, and before that a town, that was lined with flower beds running along its residential, business and industrial zones’ streets. The beauty of the streets gave Lae the glamour and serenity of a metropolitan city by the harbour of a sprawling valley that retreated for miles into the Madang and Eastern Highlands mountains, a feeling unlike any other.
Now an incongruent mosaic of industrial establishments, potholed streets, bushy over growths, and semi-permanent houses, clustered around concrete edifices, and colonial architecture, Lae has become a huge urban settlement of more than 300, 000 people.
In a nutshell Lae is a city of contrasts.
Throughout the year, the events that have happened in the city have shown the attitude of a people who are living in the computer age and practicing Stone Age beliefs.
To start the year off, the indigenous Ahi tribe’s local level government area was gripped with fear of a man-eating alien. The Komodo dragon, native to the Indonesian island of Komodo, could never have left its home except for the imaginations of several old women and the marketing skills of journalists.
There was much consternation and fear fuelled by newspaper images downloaded from the internet that irrelevantly, the military was called in with much media hype. Furtively, scientists from the Department of Environment and Conservation slipped into the bushes of Kamkumung, Butibam and Yanga and declared: “Nothing.”
The entire episode was a hoax. It showed the frightening scale a rumour could gain.
Perhaps because of the high level of ethnic mix of blue collar workers for its many factories, most of whom are at best semi-literate and ill-informed, what is more but not relevant is read into a situation.
Only last year, immediately after April 1, the entire population of Lae panicked when rumours spread that the sea at the end of the old Lae airport had retreated. Its return would flatten Lae – and Top Town, nearly 100 metres above sea level!
Thousands of school children ran away from classes. Several primary school teachers hopped on PMVs and headed for the Highlands.
Years before, in 2000, a similar incident sent people packing their belongings and heading for the mountains in droves.
No contrast was more obvious than in the attitudes of people. It was disconcerting to see the medieval practice of burning witches at the stake being carried out when a woman was burnt at the stake and her tortured body left for police to remove to the Angau Memorial Hospital morgue after it was claimed that she had kept the tongue of a youth salted in a banana leaf near her bedside fireplace at Tent City on the outskirts of the city.
To contrast that heathen ritual, the people showed a sign of religious fervour unlike any ever displayed in Lae when Dr Wesley Kigasung, head bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, died in May. Symphathisers lined the 50km from Nadzab airport to the church headquarters at Ampo.
That unity in religion had come off the back of an ethnic clash that clearly showed the fracture in the neighbourhoods. Eastern Highlanders had fought with Engans at Kamkumung and Morobeans fought with Sepiks at Malahang.
All throughout the year there were sporadic unrelated clashes and towards Christmas, the Western Highlanders and Eastern Highlanders closed the violent aspect of the year.
The ethnic and cultural melting pot that is Lae, coupled with the level of education and the economic status of each individual, has given the city its peculiar problems.
In town, the graduate engineers, doctors and accountants, the cream of university graduates catch a rickety old PMV bus to work. They can’t afford to buy a vehicle because of the high cost of fuel and the even higher cost of overhead charges on vehicle parts that are rendered by the potholes.
While waiting for the K50 million road works to be completed, the educated and the uneducated masses have to live in settlements at Hunter, Malahang, Bumayong, Kamkumung and the Miles areas. There virtually is not enough affordable housing in Lae.
The professionals, according to the PMV bus conductors, can not read. So they shout in their faces: “Eriku, Boundary, 1, 2, 3, 4.”
In the meantime, local Ahi landowners, have to fight for claims to the Lae land. It is a bitter dispute that divides clans and families.
One of the major disputes is over the land at the old Lae airport which has been divided into urban development leases.
Another development, that of the US$100 million Lae port, awaits start.
Here settlers are still waiting to be reestablished in other areas in Lae or be repatriated to their villages, particularly in the East Sepik and the Highlands provinces.
Economic developments in Lae and Morobe province in general have been enhanced by the rebuilding of the old Bulolo airport to cater for flights to the former gold town that would be the hub for the operation of the mine at Hidden Valley in Wau and the exploration at Wafi in Mumeng.
The Bulolo district is now rising to its old heights with the election of a young Member of Parliament who is showing the way for leaders throughout the country.
Exceptionally young and very inexperienced politician, businessman Sam Basil clicked into action barely a week after taking his oath of office as a Parliamentarian in Sept 2007.
 Now, he is the toast of the entire Bulolo district, and the envy of all Morobeans, after putting water supplies in his rural villages, linking them by road and telecommunications, building police house, and then demanding and being given 50% of the provincial government’s cut from the Hidden Valley Gold mine.
He was aiming to improve the lot of his people.
The economic survival of the worker was touted by students at the country’s premier technological institute. Students at the University of Technology through their representative council and its umbrella organisation the National Union of Students boycotted classes to push the government into establishing the Minimum Wages board hearings, whose report will be tabled to the government in the second week of next year.
While the students did well for their parents and working relatives, and their future, they could not help but get back into the ages old practice of ethnic rivalry. It seemed an end-of-year routine when the fight between Sepiks and Highlanders disrupted classes and left one dead and many unable to sit for their final examinations.
As the year raced to the end, nature took its toll, as a tidal surge left 5000 Siassi islanders and Sialum villagers without homes, food and water. Their lives are slowly being rebuilt.
What can not be rebuilt though is the epitome of trade and all things good and European, and a hallmark to the legacy of the colonial era, the former Burns Philp department store, which lay in ruins.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yellow Poincianas light up Port Moresby

It's that time of the year again and all over Port Moresby, Yellow Poincianas are lighting the city and showering them with petals.It’s a beautiful sight, and at Gerehu where I live, even more so when I take my children to the playground.Yellow Poincianas come into bloom around November and last into the early New Year.

Information below from


Yellow poinciana is a very showy flowering tree up to 50' tall, with wide-spreading branches that form an umbrella-like crown up to 25' across. The stems and twigs are rusty-red tomentose (fuzzy). The leaves are bipinnate (twice compound), about 2' long with 8-20 pairs of 3/4"-long oblong leaflets. The fragrant flowers are clustered on upright stalks (racemes, actually) about 18" long. Each flower is about an inch and a half across with translucent yellow, strangely-crinkled petals. The flowers have conspicuous orange stamens and each petal has a reddish brown mark in the center. They are followed by purplish brown, flattened, oblong seed pods, 3-4" long, which remain on the tree until the next flowering season.


Yellow poinciana is native to coastal areas from Sri Lanka through the Malay archipelago and Indonesia to northern Australia. It has escaped from cultivation and established itself in disturbed areas in southern Florida and Hawaii.


Light: Does well in semi-shade, but can tolerate full sun if well-watered.

Moisture: Needs moist, but well-drained soil.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 11.

Propagation: Propagation of yellow poinciana is by seeds that must be treated before they will germinate. In nature, the seeds would have passed through the gut of a bird or mammal before germinating in a pile of rich "compost." We simulate that process with scarification (use a file or sandpaper), or a two-minute immersion in dilute acid or boiling water.


Yellow poincianas are usually planted as specimen trees or as shade trees. They are used as street trees in tropical cities, and commonly planted for shade in tropical and subtropical gardens. They are fast-growing and vigorous, but they cannot tolerate frost.


The name poinciana also is used for three other showy subtropical trees or shrubs in the bean family: Royal poinciana (Delonix regia), also called flame tree or flamboyant tree; dwarf poinciana (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), also called Barbados pride or peacock flower; and another dwarf poinciana (C. gilliesii), also called bird-of-paradise bush.



Business activity blossoms in 2008 despite tough conditions

Captions: 1. World class Process Plant at Lihir Gold Mine in New Ireland province. Picture courtesy of LGL. 2. Aerial view of Porgera Gold Mine. Picture courtese of Porgera Gold Mine. 3. Gas...the future of Papua New Guinea. Picture courtesy of Oil Search Limited.

Papua New Guinea poised for greater heights with gas, mining and petroleum


Nearly all sectors of the economy from building-construction, mining and petroleum, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, both formal and informal sectors have experienced increased activity.
This has had a flow-on effect that has trickled on to other sectors like wholesale, retail, the hotel industry, housing and land.
Business performance would have been more if it had not been for the world financial crisis in the latter half of the year that has resulted in many major economies now facing recession and world commodity prices fall with declining demand.
But yet PNG has managed to enter the FEED stage in the nation’s undertaking of its most ambitious and biggest investment project ever –the US$10 billion PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project.
The LNG Project has placed PNG on the world map and has captured the attention of the world’s leading mining and petroleum companies and large financial and banking organisations.
There were comments made during the recent 10th PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference in Sydney, Australia that amid the world crisis PNG is one of the few shining lights in the world.
Interest in PNG’s mining and petroleum sector was evident in the record 800-plus participants at the conference where
Minister for State Enterprises Arthur Somare said the PNG LNG Project had the potential to positively change the nation’s economy and improve the living standards of its six million people.
 At its peak the project will generate revenue between US$600-800 million annually.
Many speakers during the Sydney conference including PNG LNG Venture Manager Peter Graham all echoed similar sentiments.
Recently Nippon Oil Exploration (NOEX) of Japan through its affiliate Merlin Petroleum Company acquired AGL’s gas assets in PNG for US$800 million.
Being one of the joint –venture partners this has cemented confidence in the progress of PNG LNG Project.
The acquisition sees Nippon improve its stake in the project from 1.7% to 5.3%.
The formal announcement of the acquisition by AGL earlier this month was described by Government ministers and Joint Venture partners as a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone. That confirmed the widely-held view of the high-level of certainty that the PNG LNG project will proceed.
President of NOEX Makoto Koseki expressed hope that the firm can further contribute to PNG’s economic development through the acquisition through its expertise and role in two other LNG Projects in South East Asia.
“The deal imposes viability and sends a strong message of confidence in the project,” he said.
This is all amid uncertainty with the world’s financial and commodity markets.
The issue of concern is transparency and accountability and having the right policies in place.
The Government needs to explain to the people how they will benefit.
One of the few remaining major hurdles of the project is the Benefit Sharing Agreement which is planned for March 2009.
This will see the Government, developers and landowners agree on the benefits to landowners.
 Landowners have expressed desire to have an increase in royalty considering that the project will impact about 100, 000 landowners.
Record world commodity prices and good economic performance last year, windfall revenues that were rightly placed in trust accounts and the fact that our financial sector is insulated from the direct effects of the global financial market turmoil saw PNG less affected by the crisis.
According to Bank of PNG Governor Wilson Kamit this is because banks are funded primarily by domestic deposits and along with financial institutions do not have large exposures to external investments.
But the effects are starting to be felt with the latest victim being Nautilus PNG announcing less than a week ago that it would delay its seafloor mining venture in PNG and cut staff by 30% until the global economy stabilises.
There are also unconfirmed rumors that a major logging firm has sent staff home on three-months of forced-leave due to a fall in demand for its log exports in the region.
There are many mines in construction phase including the multi-billion Ramu Nickel mine while the Hidden Valley mine in Morobe province is scheduled to be in operation next year.
With the arrival of competition both Air Niugini and B-Mobile have improved performance as customers enjoy cheaper rates.
Despite a good performance the year was overshadowed by the world financial crisis and the unnecessary and brutal killing of pioneer PNG businessman and philanthropist Sir George Constantinou.
The World Bank, The Asian Development Bank and the Institute of National Affairs all cited the need for better regulations.
They raised concern on political uncertainty despite the current stability, law and order, instability in laws and regulations, corruption and poor infrastructure and public services.
Recommendations have been made to promote public-private partnerships, simplifying the system of licenses, taxes and regulations, promoting competition and the financial markets and formalising private and public sector consultation mechanisms.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Development is yourself

A thought just came to my mind this morning with New Year just a few days away.

All too often, Papua New Guineans are very quick to point fingers at the government, for anything that goes wrong.

Papua New Guinea just celebrated 33 years of independence on Tuesday, September 16, 2008, and it is now time to look at ourselves rather than forever pointing fingers at the government.

Sure, the government isn’t made up of saints, and politicians and public servants have committed so many sins since September 16, 1975.

Development, I have always believed, is yourself.

If I develop myself, my neighbour will emulate my successes and so on, a never-ending circle of success.

Papua New Guinea, however, will continue to wallow in the depths of despair if we continue holding on to our bad habits.

They are, to name a few:

1.      Consumption of alcohol

2.      Smoking

3.      Chewing of betelnut

4.      Laziness

5.      Criminal activities

6.      Use of drugs, in particular, marijuana

7.      Gambling

8.      Beliefs in sorcery

9.      Wantok system

10.  Procastination


If you would like to add to this list, you can make a comment at the bottom or email me at


You know you're a Papua New Guinean when:

*You can have cordial for breakfast.

* You have buai for Lunch.

* You still live with your parents even though you're 30.

*You bring your boyfriend/girlfriend to the house and everyone's concluded that you are married!

* You wear board shorts to cruise in town even though you are not going for a swim (KBS 2 the max!).

* You share one cigarette with five other people.

* Your Mother gives your father Black eyes.

* You have about three families living in one house.

* Still keep drinking even though you can barely talk and walk.

* At any major function, instead of a plate, your food comes in a plastic container.

* You run into a mountain of slippers blocking the front door.

* Your staple diet is rice and tin fish or Ox & palm.

* You have a huge gap between your first two toes, (excessive thong wear...).

* Swimming pool is filled with people wearing t-shirts, (Females).

* You can sprint barefoot on sharp stones and rocks.

* You wake up and go straight to work or classes.

* At crossings, you are supposed to wait for the car to stop before crossing, not the other way around.

* Your first and last names are the same. (John John).

* You have a perpetually drunk Uncle who starts fights at every family gathering.

* You call a friend - (squad).

* Every time you greet someone he says "YOU"?

* You have sat in a four-seater car with up to eight other people.

* You can speak with your face - eg. Twitch like a rabbit to ask, Where you going?"

* Your Grandmother thinks Vicks Vapo-Rub is the miracle cure for everything> (including broken bones ....).

* You're getting a hiding and your parents yell at you as to "Why you are crying for?" ("you karai lo wanem ah ......").

* You've been shamed and belted up by your Mother in front of schoolmates at the Supermarket.

* You're a tycoon on your payday by shouting everyone and scab money off people till the next fortnight.

* You invite people over for dinner and your family all of a sudden says the grace.

* You've had an afro at some stage in your life (boys AND girls) and thought you looked cool.

* You're at your Aunties and see your six-year-old cousin doing household chores.

* Your Aunty visits and she's talking to you at the same time as looking in your pots for food...

* You go to your village rich and come back poor.

* You have laplaps for curtains in your house.


Hope you had a Wonderful Christmas

And now we all look forward to a Happy New Year


I hope all of you, the many hundreds of readers of this blog from all corners of the world; have had a wonderful Christmas with your families and all the best for New Year 2009.

Thank you, on behalf of my four young children, for all the support and kind words you have given me since the untimely death of my wife Hula on Easter Sunday this year.

We missed her terribly in this, our first Christmas without her, however, we have come to accept that life must go on.

I had a quite Christmas period with the four children, watched VCDs, read a lot of literature classics by Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities – and am now back at work.

I am an avid reader of the classic works of literature, which I read over and over again, because it helps in a lot in my work as a journalist and editor.

I can assure you of a lot more quality articles in this blog next year.

Thank you once again for all your support and keep those comments rolling in so that we can make this blog even bigger and better.

Take care and God Bless you all real good.


Malum Nalu


Somare in no rush to exit


THERE’S no hurry by or even a signal yet from the Prime Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to retire from active politics. Somare is in no rush to exit. The grand old man of PNG politics has a knack of keeping everyone guessing. He’s not throwing in the towel just yet. He did not start the rumor. Others did for their own selfish reasons. Despite such a reality that favorite pastime of our politicians has reared its ugly head again. Several of them – from within the governing coalition’s own ranks and elsewhere -- want to be the next Prime Minister. They want the job during this term of Parliament. The message implied in this latest move is that there are some in the Grand Chief’s own governing coalition who think he is either not doing a good job as head of government or that at his age he should be spared all the pressures, heavy workload and the long hours that go with the job as Prime Minister. The aspirants want Sir Michael to retire gracefully and sooner the better. The people who are spreading this kind of aspersions are not from the National Alliance Party. They are people cared for and made an integral part of the government by the good grace of the man they seek to destroy and dethrone. It’s a case of people seeking to chop off the hand that feeds them. It’s sad but true that many before them have unsuccessfully tried similar tactics to fulfill their ambition to be Prime Minister by short-cut methods and not through electoral mandate over the years since independence. Many could not take their failures calmly and have actually died or dropped into the political wilderness and have become “no names”. The flipside of Sir Michael not stepping down from the top job voluntarily sooner rather than later is that those ambitious aspirants vying for the top job are also planning to use Section 145 of the National Constitution to move a Motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minister at the “appropriate” time. The appropriate time is when the 18 months grace period of the government to remain unchallenged in office expires at the end of February in early March. Should such a motion proceed, it will be a tall order for success for the perpetrators of the move. The government is solidly entrenched to thwart such a challenge. It is foolish of those seeking to destabilise government and politics for the sake of wielding political power. Okay, it is granted that there are many potential Prime Minister material among the present crop of MPs. A few standouts include current Deputy Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu, Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch, State Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare, Transport, Works and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye, Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill, Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru, Opposition Leader Sir Mekere Morauta and Deputy Opposition Leader Bart Philemon. PNG-style politics is heavily dependent on numbers and money. One must have plenty of both underpinned by a great deal of charismatic influence to succeed as a candidate for Prime Minister. Every MP is qualified – by virtue of being a Member of Parliament – to aspire to be Prime Minister. But when you do not have your own extra money, the numbers and the influence to outsmart other aspirants, just forget about trying for something you cannot have. The job will never be handed to anyone a golden platter. It’s a job for very special and talented people with vision and humility and are God-fearing servant leaders. What more do our MPs want? The Somare-led government has looked after them extremely well in terms of pay and perks. The present MPs get very good pay and millions of kina for electorate development as opposed to predecessors who served up to around 1992. All those seeking to be Prime Minister ahead of Sir Michael’s announcement of his retirement from active politics sometime in the foreseeable future will not succeed. There shall be no change of Prime Minister any time between now and 2012.  Any change will happen at the pleasure of the incumbent. And the reshuffle of Ministers recently mooted by the Grand Chief will be a “small one” affecting only three or four ministries. All speculation to the contrary on these two issues is just that – speculation spun by uninformed political opportunists. Sir Michael will announce changes to the ministry after he hosts the special meeting of leaders the Pacific Islands Forum states in Port Moresby in late January. It’s most likely that the merit-based changes will be made before he flies out on a State Visit to New Zealand and Australia in March. Sir Michael will make the changes at his pleasure and not hurriedly as consequence of coercion and pressure put on him by individuals within NA and by his coalition partners. The prime ministerial change and leadership succession of National Alliance Party are two different issues. Under Section 142 (2) of the National Constitution the Prime Minister is appointed by Parliament at the first meeting of Parliament following a national general election and otherwise from time to time as the occasion for the appointment of a Prime Minister arises, by the Head of State acting in accordance with a decision of the Parliament. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of a political party. The emergence of a new National Alliance Party leader is an in-house matter. The party’s National Convention comprising its parliamentary wing, its national council, and regional executive and foundation members shall elect the new party leader. Right now no vacancy exists for a Prime Minister and for NA’s parliamentary leader. Sir Michael and his ruling National Alliance Party will determine the appropriate time, place and space for Sir Michael to step down as party leader and Prime Minister. Everyone -- including NA’s coalition partners -- who’re seeking to accelerate the National Alliance leadership succession before the end of the present parliamentary term by April 2012 shall have to wait. There is no leadership succession problem within NA at present. The last thing that the rank and file of NA wants is hang their dirty linen out publicly. NA’s four regional organisations at peace with each other and are committed to the resolve that the party will collectively decide what is good for them in terms of appointing a successor to take over from Sir Michael when he chooses to retire. Until such time is at hand, there is no leadership vacancy in NA.  Sir Michael deeply respects his parliamentary wing MPs who have been loyal and supportive of his tenure as party leader and as Prime Minister since August 2002. He is not going to keep his party’s national executive and his parliamentary wing members guessing for ever. The Grand Chief is very passionate about the party and will always stand in support of his loyalists. No one in PNG politics should be discourteous about forcing the grand old man of PNG politics and the Pacific’s eldest statesman out of his active role as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and parliamentary leader of National Alliance Party. Sooner or later he shall give the signal for his retirement. When that happens appropriate provisions of the National Alliance constitution, the Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties, the Standing Orders of Parliament and the National Constitution come into play – firstly for the appointment of a new NA leader and secondly for appointment by Parliament of a new Prime Minister.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sir George laid to rest in Brisbane

MORE than 600 people, including Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, attended the funeral of slain businessman Sir George Constantinou in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday, The National newspaper reports.

There was standing room only at the Greek Orthodox church of St George as Brisbane’s Greek community joined a large contingent of PNG civic and business leaders, and others, for the service.

Hundreds, many bearing flowers, signed condolence books outside the church, below both Greek and Australian flags, before moving into the ornately-painted church. After the funeral ceremony, conducted in Greek, Sir George’s family and other mourners filed past the coffin.

A large funeral cortege followed the hearse to the Mt Gravatt cemetery for the burial, then returned to Brisbane’s Greek Club for a wake.

Sir Michael, who attended with his whole family, said he and the nation had lost a wonderful friend. “I’ve known him for more than 33 years,” Sir Michael said.

 “He’s been a great man, very visionary, (an) innovator, and all his investment was in PNG.

 “He expanded, done his business, employed a lot of Papua New Guineans and I think everyone of us will miss him.

“This tragic incident had ended his life, but for those of us who remember him, he was a great man.

“He’ll be really honoured and I think he’ll have a special place in our record books in Papua New Guinea as someone who came from nothing some 54 years ago and built himself till now.

“We lost a great man in George Constantinou.”

Brisbane architect and businessman Tony Dempsey said Sir George was dedicated to PNG.

“If ever a guy was more impassioned about PNG, you’d be hard-pressed to find one,” Mr Dempsey said.

He said one of Sir George’s main concerns was to ensure employment for his PNG workforce.

Apart from PNG, Sir George also had business interests in the Solomon Islands and in Queensland, Australia.

He established Papuan Welders in 1954 and proceeded to build a business empire in PNG that employed thousands of Papua New Guineans, until his murder last Tuesday near Tete settlement at Gerehu. – AAP


Suspects charged

7 accused remanded at Bomana


SEVEN suspects allegedly involved in the killing of pioneer businessman Sir George Constantinou last week have been charged with wilful murder and remanded at Bomana prison outside Port Moresby, The National newspaper reported today.

NCD metropolitan commander Supt Fred Yakasa yesterday said the suspects were expected to appear in court later this week.

Out of the seven suspects arrested by NCD police last week, six were said to be from the Goilala district of Central province while one was from Morobe province. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

Supt Yakasa also dismissed rumours swirling in Port Moresby in the last few days that two of the suspects were ill or injured and were taken to Port Moresby General Hospital for treatment.

“All the seven suspects are detained at Bomana police cells, which has to be confirmed with the Correctional Institute Service officers. None of them were admitted to hospital while in police custody,” Supt Yakasa said.

He said the reactions against the demolition of Tete settlement by various authorities and members of the public were noted, but he questioned who would do the job if they did not.

“It (killing) has portrayed a bad image of the country. Police have done it in the best interest of the nation. It’s a wake-up call for everybody,” Supt Yakasa said.

He again defended the police action at the settlement, which has now been restrained by an order from the National Court at Waigani.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem Twas the night before Christmas also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822. It is now the tradition in many American families to read the poem every Christmas Eve. The poem Twas the night before Christmas has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of Twas the night before Christmas St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers! The author of the poem Twas the night before Christmas was a reticent man and it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was that the author of Twas the night before Christmas was to remain anonymous. The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry. Clement Clarke Moore came from a prominent family and his father Benjamin Moore was the Bishop of New York who was famous for officiating at the inauguration of George Washington. The tradition of reading Twas the night before Christmas poem on Christmas Eve is now a worldwide institution.