Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vision 2050 is flawed


THE New York Times was very correct.

Its story "Papua New Guinea is little prepared for gas wealth" published October 26, 2010 made it clear that Waigani has no working knowledge of the national economy of our country.

Following e-mail communication with the New York Times I obtained a copy of ‘Endorsed Working Strategic Policy’ on Vision 2050.

The first two pillars are very badly approached.

First, the human development pillar has no linkage with the national goal on integral human development.

Besides, it does not propose solution to lack of human development in the last 35 years of independence.

Secondly, the wealth creation pillar identifies minerals on the economic power house of PNG but it has no solution.

We are actually being taken on same path of development in the last 35 years.

Role of advisers is to advise managers manage and leaders lead.

Vision 2050 has no leader.

Like Vision 2050 the national goals had no leader.

Were leaderless vision achieved anywhere in the world?

Certainly not.

We in PNG are lied to then by Vision 2050 advisors and consultants.

PNG people must be aware that advisers and consultants work for money.

They are not public servants.

No money, no work and vice versa.

Lot of truths are out but advisers and consultants of Vision 2050 did not expose them for Waigani and its bureaucrats to lead PNG to prosperity.

Here I expose some of the issues for the benefit of our people.

"1. Integral human development.

We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others."

The goal was set at independence.

Thirty five years on we are still not aware what to do.

PNG leaders are money leaders.

They vilify our people for money.

That is why goal of integral human development was not achieved.

Money is the reason for Vision 2050.

The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) was to underpin Vision 2050.

Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the two pillars of human development and wealth creation.

Politicians will be nervous when people pose questions.

There are questions already in people's minds.

What we need to do is to jot their memories with history.

Be as it may, dare I say Vision 2050 is dead. This is why.

"5. Papua New Guinean ways

We declare our fifth goal to be to achieve development primarily through the use of Papua New Guinean forms of social, political and economic organization."

LNG is a foreign investment.

It is a money business.

Now LNG has made inflation go high.

In a very short time lives have been lost.

Sowing seed of discontent LNG proponents did not want to follow PNG law.

They wanted their way and not PNG way.

Our leaders obliged and changed our laws.

Now signs of discontent are appearing. LNG's contribution to Vision 2050 will be known then.

Now let us make some truths about PNG's resource development known.

LNG Project and other mineral projects which are of economic importance do not necessarily lead to human development.

Human development is the first national goal in our National Constitution.

 It is about whole person human development.

A person has body, heart, mind and spirit.

According to Steven Covey from USA, each of the components of a person has different function, need and attribute.

LNG and minerals can make money and money can buy basic necessity of the body like food, clothing and shelter.

Money cannot buy love and compassion only the heart gives.

 Money cannot buy vision and passion for service of fellow human person.

These are functions of the mind and spirit.

PNG has many mines.

These are operated by Western mining companies.

Panguna mine was the first.

It ended up causing environmental damage to land, river and way of life of people.

Ok Tedi mine was second.

 It has killed the Ok Tedi River and its environmental damage is going down into the Fly River.

Third is Misima mine.

It operated a deep sea tailings placement and closed shop in 2005.

Then Porgera mine came on.

It has environmental issue on the Strickland River and recently Amnesty International found human rights abuses by police when called in by the government to assist the mine maintain its presence.

Lihir is eating PNG minerals and funding activities of Newcrest mines of Australia.

And now we have Ramu mine with a first Chinese company as majority owner and project operator.

 It has been accused of human rights violations and an environmental law suit has been in court this year that has rocked it a bit.

Kutubu oil fields brought in a lot of money and nobody talks about it these days.

PNG is very vulnerable to manipulation and control by the miners.

Its leaders have been enlisted and disabled. Laws have been tampered with to suit the miners.

Regulations have been put in miners’ hand.

Vision 2050 will see PNG mortgaged to ExxonMobil as its base is the promised money from LNG.

We are racing against time set and dictated by ExxonMobil.

It is our country but we are not in charge.

James Wanjik
Papua New Guinea
27 October 2010

Well-known Papua New Guinea bird scientist dies


Papua New Guinea’s first ornithologist (bird scientist) Paul Igag –internationally renowned for his work  in the Crater Mountain area of Eastern Highlands province - died suddenly last Friday night in Goroka.
Paul Igag…a lifetime passion for birds

Details of his death were not immediately available today, however, the scientific community in both PNG and overseas is mourning the death of Igag, PNG’s first national expert on birds from PNG, who held a PhD
From Madang province, he was one of the first scientific staff at the young Research and Conservation Foundation of PNG, became one of the first scientific staff at the Wildlife Conservation Society PNG Programme, and then became a founder of the PNG Institute of Biological Research.
Igag was a leader in PNG's movement toward greater scientific autonomy.
Dozens of students and his co-workers affectionately called him "Uncle Paul”.
Close friends and scientific colleagues have created an online memorial in memory of Igag, which they hope will create a good profile of his life and a last record and tribute of all of his accomplishments.
“Paul (Igag) was PNG's first home-grown ornithologist,” said longtime colleague Dr Andrew Mack.
“He bridged the world of village PNG and Western academia. 
“In the field Paul worked well with local assistants and he always trained up a good team of young men and women to help with his various field projects. 
“Back in town, Paul collaborated with top ornithologists worldwide.
“Paul's research covered many topics, but his real passion was large parrots. 
“He made important discoveries about palm cockatoos and vulturine parrots that have and will continue to help guide conservation of these threatened species.
“We all grieve, but we should also celebrate how lucky we were to have been in the presence of such a wonderful man.”
Igag had worked on the conservation biology of various species at Crater Mountain since 1999 with the support of the Wildlife Conservation Society (New York).
With generous support from the Pacific Biological Foundation, he came to the Australian National University in 2001 to study for a Masters degree under the supervision of Rob Heinsohn and Sarah Legge.
The aim of Igag’s research was to outline the breeding biology and likely causes of threat to three species of large parrot found in the New Guinea rainforest.
Palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) and Pesquet’s parrots (Psittrichus fulgidus) are threatened by over-exploitation for food and the thriving trade in their feathers, and along with Eclectus parrots (Eclectus roratus) are threatened by loss of habitat.
In January this year, the work of Igag and PNGOBR colleague Miriam Supuma, was featured on a high-acclaimed BBC documentary by international environmental icon David Attenborough on the increasingly-rare birds of paradise.
The documentary followed Igag and Supuma as they went about researching how killing birds of paradise for feathers for ceremonial headdress was endangering rare species.

Friday, October 29, 2010

APEC Ministers to tackle new socio-economic growth

Issued by the 8th Telecommunications and Information Industry Ministerial Meeting


Okinawa, Japan, 29 October, 2010 – APEC inisters will focus on development of broadband infrastructure and advancing information and communications technology (ICT) in critical areas such as education, health, energy and the environment when they meet here this week.

 At the October 30-31 meeting, Ministers will also address ongoing efforts to develop free and open markets in the Asia-Pacific region for the telecommunications and information technology industries, including regulations that encourage increased competition and investment in APEC economies.

 Meeting under the theme ICT as an Engine for New Socio-Economic Growth, Ministers will turn to initiatives aimed at developing and sharing best applications of ICT to address problems such as energy and resource constraints and environmental degradation, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of emergency preparedness in the region.

 “APEC is developing next broadband goals and initiatives aimed at using ICT to address social-economic challenges in areas such as the environment, emergency response, medicine, education and energy efficiency,” said Yoshihiro Katayama, Japan’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, who is chairing the meeting.

 Measures to strengthen cyber security, including effective policies to protect personal information and security of networks as well as efforts to protect vulnerable groups from online threats, will also be addressed by the Ministers.

 APEC Cyber Security Awareness Day will be held in conjunction with the meeting to highlight the importance of sharing information between member economies on this issue and collaborating on region-wide efforts to address cyber security.

 The meeting is expected to prove crucial to shaping APEC’s long-term growth strategy which will be finalised for Economic Leaders at their annual meeting, to be held next month in Yokohama.

The strategy includes promoting economic growth across the region through fostering innovation and a knowledge-based economy.

 Telecommunications and ICT have, throughout the years, revolutionised the way the region’s citizens communicate, do business, interact with governments and educate and inform themselves.

 Internet broadband subscriptions have increased from .2 per 100 inhabitants in the region in 1999 to 10.8 in 2009.

Similarly mobile phone subscriptions have rocketed from 10.5 in 1999 to 76.6 per 100 inhabitants in 2009, according to data from StatsAPEC, an extensive database showing economic performance in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Ministers are committed to achieving an ambitious goal, set in 2008, of universal access to broadband in the APEC region by 2015.

APEC economies have achieved the goal of tripling internet access in the region, and largely achieved the goal of universal internet access by 2010 in terms of ICT infrastructure.


                                                  # # #


For more information, contact:  Trudy Harris +65 98983710 or

                                                       Michael Chapnick +65 96474847 or




A satirical look at how rugby league politics has affected the Papua New Guinea Kumuls!


 Albert Veratau and Garry Juffa represent two clashing ideologies. 
Veratauism consists of building the code by forging strong relations with a major partner who will provide financial and technical support.
 It reached the echelons of our relations with Australia when former PM Rudd pulled strings to get the ball rolling on the NRL contemplating a 2015 entrant for one of our teams. 
Even at the operational level we saw a mass injection of technical assistance. 
Whole bunch of blokes flooded our shores bringing goodies. 
The Pacific Cup saw a full team of dimdims in everything. 
From setting up the PA system, touch judges, promotion and marketing consultants and even water boys.
Why even the great Adrian Lam looked far and wide in the great southland for Kumuls.  Recruiting them from the north all the way to the south and boy they put on a show.
 Trashing every pacific country that came our way. 
It was something and Veratauism had prevailed in bringing the code much needed attention.
However, the flaw in Veratauism and one that persists in PNG foreign and investment relations is its inability to be absorbed and sustained in national institutions. 
Whether during or after the initial phase of the development assistance or investment.
 In this case, PNGRFL’s inability to sustain human and financial capacity in these investments. 
So when the assistance comes, it’ll be mostly spent on consultants from down under and the four million evaporates.
 The support services will likely all come from Australia, will have no long-term capacity-building developments and the PNGRFL staff and management. 
When continuous recruitment of big boys from Australia to play for the Kumuls, local talent is denied and therefore there is no exposure.  
In all, collapse is eminent but more so, a nationalistic intervention is attractive. 
And that is exactly what Juffaism brought: nationalism + discontent = takeover.
With whispered neglect of affiliated associations all over the country, Juffa funded a meeting in Lae in 2009 which voted him as president.
 It mattered little to the affiliated members of Rudd and Somare’s ‘rugby aid’ multi-million dollar sponsorships or Lam’s predominantly southland Kumuls. 
At the end of the day, all that mattered to the voters was associations were not progressing and even for some, their boys were been denied a Kumul jumper.
In true Juffaism, Veratau’s pale crowd was chased out and Lam’s “southland” kumuls flew away. 
But has this improved our game? 
I don’t know but what is clear is that there are no winners. 
As much as Juffa wants to bang the nationalistic drum, he needs technical assistance in management, commercialising the game and training programmes to enhance the code.
While credit must be given to Veratau for bringing these activities, developing long-term programmes, recruitment of local-based experts in formulating marketing, and plans must be in full and genuine consultations with PNG counterparts. 
There are examples all over our country on why development assistance collapses and it is largely due to blueprints brought from Canberra and stamped into Waigani without input from PNG officials.
Veratau or Juffa, Lam or Gene, win or lose, one thing is for sure, one thing is for sure: the Kumuls are an instrument of inspiration and change. 
Kids sit around the fireplaces in Kabiufa talking about the mighty Lahanis, boys paddling down the Fly River chatter about the Kumul speedsters, school yard fights over who should be David Mead,  and supporters like me, go nuts looking for Kumul memorabilia.
Sport is capable of great things. 
Jesse Owens defied the irrational Nazi propaganda of the Aryan superiority, Mandela and Pienaar united a nation on the brink of civil war and who can ever forget what Pini gave PNG. 
PNGRFL and the Kumuls don’t need wins, they need leaders! 

How Sepiks ended up in Bulolo


Exactly two years ago, in October 2008, I travelled around Bulolo with local MP Sam Basil, checking out various projects in his electorate.
Upper Watut warriors of Bulolo
At Manianda in the Upper Watut local level government, along the road to Menyamya, Wau-Bulolo mayor and long-time Sepik settler, Jack Nawie, sent a blunt warning to criminal elements that there must be “zero tolerance” of crime in these two towns.
Happier days…Wau-Bulolo mayor Jack Nawie (left) with Bulolo MP Sam Basil in Upper Watut… ‘zero tolerance’ of crime in Wau and Bulolo

In retrospect, looking back at what Nawie said that day, I can only say that he has must have had a crystal ball in hand.
I say this in light of the recent ethnic clashes in Bulolo between the local people and Sepik settlers and, to a lesser extent, that between the Watut and Biangai people last year.
Nawie said that fateful day that the two historical gold mining towns were once again experiencing a boom and mining and exploration activities and their “cowboy town” tags must be disposed of to attract more investment.
Aerial shot of a gold dredge in Bulolo. The rivers and creeks around Bulolo and Wau abound with alluvial gold
“As the manager of these towns, I will not tolerate these criminal activities anymore,” he said.
“There will be ‘zero tolerance’ of criminal activities.
“As manager of these towns, I want companies to come and invest here.
“We don’t want the ‘cowboy town’ image of Wau and Bulolo to come back and haunt us.
“We will work closely with all companies already here and those who want to come in as they are bringing services and we want to support them.
“I also want to raise the level of the two towns from urban level 2 to Urban Level 1 because of the current boom in mining and exploration.
“I will work closely with Bulolo MP Sam Basil and other LLG presidents to push for development in these two towns.”
Nawie is originally from East Sepik but, like many others, was born and raised in Bulolo and calls it “home”.
“This is my town and this is my place,” he said.
“My heart lies where I was born.”
 Unfortunately, starting in April this year, fighting in Bulolo started to escalate with more than 5,000 villagers taking part in the raid on Sepik settlers.
Local villagers have been walking the length and breadth of Bulolo armed with guns, knives and bows and arrows in open defiance of police.
Surrounding Sepik settlements including Cement Bridge, Maramba, White House, Biwat, Tambanum, Kapriman, Aitape and Sangriwa have been razed.
The situation has affected the operations of all major companies in Bulolo such as PNG Forest Products (PNGFP), Bank South Pacific, post office, schools, health centre and University of Technology Bulolo campus and retail outlets – forcing all to close.
More than 2,000 settlers have been using the PNGFP camp site as a care centre, having lost everything except the clothes on their backs, and have sought police protection as locals try to penetrate the area.
Amidst all this gloom and doom, it must not be forgotten that the Sepiks of Bulolo are no ordinary settlers.
Their great grandfathers, grandfathers and fathers were pioneers of Bulolo, coming in with the first white men to Bulolo Valley.
They were brought in by Bulolo Gold Dredging, forerunner to the current PNGFP, according to Michael Waterhouse’s brand new book on the Wau-Bulolo goldfields titled Not A Poor Man’s Field.
“Nor did BGD neglect its indentured labourers,” Waterhouse writes.
“Most came from villages in the Sepik district and were recruited for two or three years, usually as general labourers for which they were paid six shillings per month.
“They were used to unload planes, to clear jungle ahead of the dredges and as assistants to the many different tradesmen at Bulolo, telephone switchboard operators, messengers, waiters, labourers, personal servants, cooks and houseboys.
“BGD realised at the outset that, allowing for normal turnover, it would need many labourers, and that it would be more successful in attracting them if they returned to their villages happy that BGD had treated them well.
“The huts were located within compounds, which had electricity, running water and showers and a septic tank sewerage system.
“Close by were gardens containing kaukau, taro, corn, paw paws and bananas.
“There was also a trade store, where goods could be purchased and which distributed food rations and clothing.
“BGD paid particular attention to the health of its labourers.
“They invariably arrived from their villages in a fairly-debilitated condition.
“Within a short time, however, good food and exercise filled out their physique.
“They had access to a high standard of medical services, Bulolo having the best-equipped hospital in the Territory.
“As a result, their mortality rate was considerably less than elsewhere on the goldfields.
“It is hardly surprising that there was never a shortage of villagers from the Sepik and elsewhere lining up to work at Bulolo.”
Indigenous labour was pivotal to the success of the goldfield, and this was provided by a highly-organised indentured labour system.
“An indentured labour system had been developed by the Germans, and this was maintained by Australian military and then civil administration,” Waterhouse writes.
“Labourers were recruited from villages in areas previously opened up to European influence and transported, often over long distances, to where they were needed.
“They signed contracts, at first for one or two years, but in the 1930s more commonly for three, during which they were indentured to specific employers.
“Whereas villagers in New Britain and New Ireland who otherwise lacked access to the cash economy tended to work on plantations, those from the Markham Valley and elsewhere in the Morobe district naturally  gravitated towards the goldfields.
“But as the growth of mining outstripped the district’s capacity to provide the labour needed, many labourers were recruited elsewhere, particularly in the Madang and Sepik districts
“In 1926, there were no Sepik labourers on the Morobe goldfields, but by the late 1930s they accounted for 30% of the total.”
The reason was summed up by researcher Richard Curtain: “The Sepik River and its numerous tributaries provided a unique opportunity for labour recruiters by making possible deep penetration into an unproductive but densely-populated interior.
“The main river is navigable for at least 1,000km for vessels up to 200 tonnes,
“The lack of alternatives cash-earning opportunities meant a readily-available workforce once initial resistance had been overcome and the relative attractiveness of work conditions on the Bulolo goldfields known in the mid-1930s.”
Gotokwa Bengo was about 18 when he went to work for BGD, leaving his village in the Keram River area in the Sepik when he heard that young men were wanted to work on the goldfields, and was taught to operate a pump, near Wau.
“In the morning, the bell would be rung at about 6am and we would get up and set off for work, in that very cold climate,” he says in Not A Poor Man’s Field.
“When I touched the water, it was just like ice.
“At about 12 noon, the bell would go again and we would come back to our quarters for lunch and then go back to work at 1pm.
“The work finished at 6pm and we returned to our quarters to meet our friends.
“Every working day was the same.
“The weekends were the most-exciting times, when we went down to see inter-tribal soccer games, or went down to Salamaua to do our shopping.”
And that ladies and gentlemen, in a nutshell, is how Sepiks settlers came about to Bulolo.

BSP hikes service fees, introduces new ones



BANK South Pacific customers are to pay new and additional fees for kundu saver account, smart saver account, personal cheque account and ordinary business cheque account, The National reports.

BPS, in an unofficial circulation of the notice of fees to be effective on Monday, will see customers pay extra and new fees for previously free services.

The notice said for kundu savings account, K3 monthly fee would be charged for dormant accounts, teller service fee for deposit and teller service fee for EFTPos, while K4 would be charged for every withdrawal.

For the automatic teller machine (ATM) services, 50 toea will be charged for ATM balance enquiry; 75 toea for ATM withdrawal, ATM phone top up and ATM funds transfer-withdraw.

The bank will also charge K15 for ATM withdrawal using visa card and K1.50 for ATM balance enquiry for visa card.

Fees for other services with kundu account range between 50 toea and K3.

For smart saver account, the monthly and dormancy fees are K2, while teller service-deposits is K3; deposit-withdrawal is K4.

Other services range from 60 toea, with K50 as the highest penalty fee for early withdrawal outside December and January in any year.

Asked for reasons behind the new fees, the BSP management in an email said: “As part of BSP’s commitment to improve and enhance the quality and quantity of banking services to the majority of Papua New Guineans and recover the true costs of providing banking services, it will increase its fees effective  on Monday, Nov 1, 2010.

“BSP advises that all branch staff and branch managers throughout its 36 branch network will be more than happy to provide information on the increase and also advise customers on how to reduce the costs of banking through products and channels available such as SMS banking, ATM and EFTPOS.  

“BSP remains committed to enhancing the quality and quantity of banking services nationwide.”



K10m given to redeploy police at three LNG sites



A 30-STRONG police squad will be redeployed at three LNG project construction sites today to ensure work continues on schedule, The National reports.

The national executive council met in an emergency session yesterday afternoon and approved the immediate release of K10 million for security operations.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki said last night that police from Port Moresby would be sent at first light to Gobe in Southern Highlands and Gulf’s Kikori and Kopi where construction of facilities were underway for the laying of the pipeline from the gas fields to the coast to Port Moresby.

The police redeployment was to quash fears among investors, especially developer ExxonMobil and its construction contractor Clough Curtain Brothers Joint Venture (CCBJV), of growing landowner opposition over employment opportunities, working conditions and outstanding land pay issues.

Infrastructure activities at Gobe, Kikori and Kopi included camp construction and site clearing, wharf and laydown at Kopi and bridge and road works on northern and southern logistics routes.

Baki said he gave a briefing on the security situation to the NEC which was chaired by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who had flown in from Cairns, and attended by Internal Affairs Minister Sani Rambi, who had also flown in from Brisbane, Finance Minister Peter O’Neill, Arthur Somare (Public Enterprises) and Paul Tiensten (National Planning).

The meeting was called about 4pm amid growing concerns that investors were seriously considering their options in the multi-billion-kina project, which was scheduled to begin production in three years.

The construction phase had been targeted by the burning of equipment belonging to CCBJV at Kopi, strike at Komo airfield construction site and last Friday’s stop-work by 108 employers at two pipeline sites.

Baki said police personnel from the Port Moresby-based task force division would be deployed for an indefinite period.

Police had withdrawn from selected sites during the year because of lack of funds.

Rambi confirmed Baki’s statement, adding that the K10 million would be drawn from the K101 million set aside last month for special police operations, including resource areas.

He said police presence was to restore law and order and, secondly, to instill public confidence in the project, especially among the expatriate workers.

The NEC intervention yesterday was forced by events of the past week when villagers stopped early construction work on pipeline from Kopi to Kaiam and Mubi crossing.

The villagers, many of whom were employed by CCBJV, had petitioned the prime minister to address their grievances such as poor salary and bonuses, among others.

So far, ExxonMobil had not commented on the strike.



G4S drivers protest pay and conditions



DRIVERS of international security service company, G4S, protested yesterday over what they claim was low pay, unpaid allowances and other entitlements, The National reports.

There was a commotion at the Pacific Corps car park in downtown Port Moresby when disgruntled drivers smashed cartons of tinned fish and biscuits meant to be their lunch.

They are engaged with G4S as drivers for both nationals and expatriates working in the PNG LNG project.

The drivers questioned their pay and demanded answers from G4S administration.

A driver, who requested anonymity, said: “We work as security guards and drivers, yet our pay does not show we are working for a multi-billion dollar LNG project.

“Hau na ol security long Tari kisim moa lo mipla? Mipla wokman blo LNG tu (How is it that guards at Tari get more than us? We are LNG workers too).”

It was observed that the guards wanted to speak out on the matter but feared repercussions and decided to remain tightlipped when approached by reporters to speak.

At one instance, some guards got so worked up that they threatened to remove their uniforms and walk off.

The National was told to stay outside the fence of the premises, with G4S staff saying it was a “minor issue” and a consensus was being worked out with no need for publicity.

After some convincing, the striking workers gathered the remains of their scattered lunch and peacefully resumed work.

G4S fleet manager Brendan Bakani, when contacted, said he was not aware of the incident.

He later said a meeting had been held by concerned stakeholders in the morning.

Esso Highlands Ltd’s government and corporate affairs manager Miles Shaw, when contacted, said ExxonMobil operation was not affected.

Shaw said it was a matter between G4S and its drivers.

He also said ExxonMobil had a contract agreement with G4S to provide drivers for its operation, and nothing was affected yesterday.



Western villagers angry over alleged land-grab

VILLAGERS in Western are angry their government has allocated more than a million hectares of pristine forest for “special agricultural leases” – which they describe as a land-grab for logging, The National reports.

At a landowner meeting in Kiunga this week, hundreds of disgruntled villagers said their land had been given away without any informed consent or notification.

Western now has half of PNG’s allocated 4.3 million hectares of “special purpose agricultural and business leases”, after the government gazetted Tosigiba Timber group and North East Timber 1.25 million hectares on Sept 23.

Last year, the government allocated 853,420ha to companies in the province for special leases in areas such as the contentious Kamula Doso forest that had a court order preventing any forestry activity.

The build-up of “special leases” had enraged green groups, NGOs and numerous government officials to raise their concerns that PNG’s forests were under threat by oil palm or “logging by stealth”.

North Fly MP Boka Kondra, who addressed the landowners on Wednesday, said it was a grave concern.

“They are giving away the land but we do not know what the future is or the implications,” he said.

“It is a surprise to see this, I will talk to the ministers concerned to find a possible solution because a lot of people on their land will see this as taking it away.”

Western Province Land and Resource Owner Federation chairman, Paul Katut said landowners had been duped.

“It is unprecedented the government gives one million hectares,” he said.

“We have members of the companies here that all say they did not agree to the deal.”

The Lands Department grants the “special leases” to companies to develop, for example, oil palm plantations but, in the past, unscrupulous players had used the leases to bypass laws and cut down the forest, export the logs and then leave.

Greenpeace forest and climate campaigner Paul Winn said increasing special leases was another example of PNG’s disregard for its purported climate change policy and indigenous people’s rights.

“These leases will never result in agricultural benefits to PNG. They are just a way of sidestepping the logging laws,” he said.

Agriculture Minister John Hickey and the Lands Department could not be contacted for comments. – AAP

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Provincial pollies fed up with Waigani red tape


Two former provincial politicians who have been wandering the corridors of Waigani awaiting their outstanding entitlements are demanding answers.

Former Morobe provincial speaker Isaac Narol and his Madang counterpart Tonny Sauba say they have been going to Waigani day-in, day-out, only to find evasive public servants.

They are now calling on acting chief secretary and secretary for provincial affairs and inter-government relations, Manasupe Zurenuoc, to come clean on this as the payout decision was made at cabinet level.

“The national government appropriated K30 million to settle outstanding entitlements for former provincial assembly members, whose term of office was terminated as a result of the reforms in the previous provincial government system in 1995,” Narol said.

“We were assured by Zurenuoc that our payments would be ready in July or the second week of September.

“To date, there are no signs of cheques being printed, and there is confusion within the Department of Provincial Affairs as to when the payment will be forthcoming.”

Narol said lawyer Emmanuel Bearion was responsible for organising payments, however, seemed to be deliberately avoiding frustrated former provincial politicians by staying out of his office.

“The inability of the Department of Provincial Affairs to release payment of K39m from the 2010 national budget is one good example of public servants not serving the interests of the executive government,” he said.

“I call on Zurenuoc to sack the officers responsible.

“If this is not done, then he himself should resign and to save face because his actions speak loud and clear of his bad leadership.

“The Prime Minister, through cabinet and the minister responsible for provincial affairs, must all the responsible officials for disobeying lawful orders of the executive government of the day.”


MMJV admits "high" sediment in Watut River


One of the joint venture partners in the just-commissioned Hidden Valley gold mine in Morobe province has admitted that there are “higher-than-expected” sediment levels in the Watut River.
South African company Harmony Gold Mining, through its chief executive officer Graham Briggs, made the announcement in a letter to stakeholders – published on its website ( – on Tuesday this week.
Harmony CEO Graham Briggs

Briggs admitted that this was causing “serious concern within and outside the company” and a change in the course of a section of the lower Watut River, resulting in die-back of vegetation.
The admission came about as Morobe Mining Joint Ventures, made up of Harmony and Australian partner Newcrest, started paying compensation to affected villagers along the Watut River and as Bulolo MP Sam Basil called on villagers not to accept the payouts.
“The higher-than-expected sediment impacts in the Watut River in PNG have given rise to serious concern within and outside the company,” Briggs said.
“The mine’s environmental impact statement (EIS) predicted sediment loads in the Watut River during construction but, as it has taken longer than expected to reach hard rock at the mine which will be used to construct the interim waste dumps, the construction of stable waste dumps has been delayed resulting in a continued high sediment load in the Watut River.
“Construction of the interim waste dumps has been prioritised, with specific resources allocated to the project to ensure speedy progress.
“This will reduce the sediment load in the river, and allow the current sedimentation to flush out.
“In addition, mining activities which contributed to the increased sediment load have been stopped.
“The MMJV commissioned further impact assessments so that we could better understand the impact of these sediment loads on the river.
“These studies show that the increased sediment load in the Watut River (of which the mine is one source) has resulted in a change in the course of a section of the lower Watut River, and a die-back of vegetation in that area as a result of flooding.
“Although these changes in the river course occur naturally over time, the mine's contribution to the sediment load in the lower Watut River has speeded up this process.
“The MMJV has committed to expanding its monitoring programme to quantify the impacts coming from the mine and other sources, taking remedial action wherever possible, and working with the government to assess fair compensation for those affected.”
Hidden Valley mine was officially commissioned on Sept 29 by Governor General Sir Paulias Matane at a ceremony which also marked its opening.
The new gold project is a joint venture between South African miner Harmony Gold (70%) and Newcrest Mining Ltd (30%), the largest gold miner in Asia-Pacific.
MMJV plans to invest a total of K1.25 billion over a 10-year period, with the outlay to go towards wages and salaries (K800 million), royalty payments (K200m) and revenue for the provincial and national government (K250m).
The Hidden Valley mine is projected to produce an estimated 2.9 million ounces of gold.