Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Western Provincial Administrator on his appointment and challenges

Lawyer Aquila Sampson has been appointed by Cabinet as Provincial Administrator of Western, putting to rest controversy over the position since the jailing of former provincial administrator Modowa Gumoi in Nov 2016.
Sampson was chosen from a shortlist of three names submitted to Cabinet by the Western provincial executive council.
Here he speaks about his appointment and the challenges ahead:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Police to commence operations in Southern Highlands

Acting Commissioner of Police
Chief of Operations 

As you would all have gathered, the Government has declared a State of Emergency in the troubled Southern Highlands Province.

I am now making the following internal transfer directives as the acting Commissioner of Police so that the Southern Highlands issue can be effectively addressed:

  • Assistant Commissioner Kaiglo Ambane is transferred as Commander Southern;
  • Assistant Commissioner Anton Billie is transferred as Commander Highlands Western End;
  • Assistant Commissioner Allan Kundi is transferred as Assistant Commissioner Assisting the Police Commissioner;
  • Chief Superintendent Joseph Tondop’s appointment as Provincial Police Commander Southern Highlands is revoked. He will remain unattached until further notice;
  • Chief Inspector Gideon Kauke currently Station Commander Mendi is appointed Acting PPC SHP;
  • Chief Superintendent Paul Kamuai is appointed as Acting Commander New Guinea Islands.

  These changes will take effect immediately and will be in force until further notice.

In the transition period I have appointed Assistant Commissioner Operations David Manning to take charge of all police operations in the Southern Highlands Province. 

He will be assisted by Assistant Commissioner Sylvester Kalaut, Acting Assistant Commissioner Crimes Hodges Ette and a team of detectives, and Acting Director Special Services Division Superintendent Julius Tasion. 

They will remain in the province until Assistant Commissioner Billie takes up his post.

  As we speak two police mobile squads totalling almost 70 police personnel are now in the Southern Highlands Province together with a contingent of Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers. 

Another two mobile squads are on standby to be sent to the Southern Highlands Province should the need arise.

The police operations will be conducted in four phases and includes:

  • The insertion of the police personnel;
  • Neutralising of threats and restoring rule of law; 
  • Public awareness and appeal;
  • Investigations, arrest and prosecution of offenders.

What occurred in Mendi including the burning of the National and District Court buildings, the Commerce and Industry building, the burning of the Air Niugini Dash 8 aircraft and the torching of Southern Highlands Governor William Powi’s residence are unthinkable acts of violence which need to be addressed immediately.

Two warehouses in Mendi were also broken into during the riot and tonnes of relief supplies looted as well. 

This poses serious concerns about the welfare of people affected by the February earthquake.

These acts of violence and criminal behaviour are clear evidence that there are underlying issues which must be addressed by everyone including the people themselves, and the various levels of leadership within the province.

For the police we are treating these as criminal acts and will be taking appropriate and immediate action upon those who had participated in the destruction and burning of the buildings and the aeroplane as well as the looting of the relief supplies.

I am appealing to the people of Southern Highlands and especially the leadership at the family, clan, tribal, village, electoral and provincial levels to cooperate with police and play their part in the restoration of peace and normalcy into the Southern Highlands Province, and more importantly in arresting those responsible for the destruction and looting.

Thank you.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Papua New Guinea's PM to visit China | June 15, 2018

BEIJING, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill will pay a visit to China from June 20 to 26, as agreed by the two sides, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang announced Friday in Beijing.


Prime Minister O'Neill's visit to China is an important high-level exchange between China and Papua New Guinea this year.

During the visit, President Xi Jinping will meet with Prime Minister O'Neill. Premier Li Keqiang will also meet with him.

The leaders of our two countries will exchange views on China-Papua New Guinea relations as well as other important issues of mutual interest.

Besides Beijing, Prime Minister O'Neill will visit Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong.

Over the past 42 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Papua New Guinea, thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, our bilateral relations have achieved remarkable progress.

Notably, in November 2014, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister O'Neill agreed to establish the strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development.

Under the guidance of this important consensus, the China-Papua New Guinea relations have entered a new stage of rapid development.

 In November this year, President Xi Jinping will travel to Papua New Guinea for the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, which will provide an important opportunity for the further development of China-Papua New Guinea ties.

China is willing to work with Papua New Guinea to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges and interactions at other levels, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in all dimensions, and enhance communication and coordination in international and regional affairs so as to move forward the China-Papua New Guinea strategic partnership.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Declaration of state of emergency in Southern Highlands

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced that the National Executive Council has approved the declaration of a state of emergency for the Southern Highlands Province, and a call-out of the Defence Force in the province.
The National Executive Council has agreed to a course of action that will restore order
in the Southern Highlands, ensure all Leaders with potential involvement in unlawful behavior are held to account, and prevent further unlawful activities.
“The actions of reckless individuals damaging property in Mendi has disgusted the nation,” the Prime Minister said.
“The state of emergency in Southern Highlands Province will be in place for a period of nine months, and Mr Thomas Eluh is being appointed as the controller of the SOE.
“Put simply, I have had enough of this nonsense that has been manipulated by people who would call themselves leaders.
“Police will investigate every agitator, and every person who was involved in the unrest we saw yesterday.
“No person is above the law and all involved will face the full force of the law and answer for any crime they have committed.
“The Southern Highlands Province has so much going for it, so many natural resources and agricultural potential.
“We will not let this potential be undermined by people who have failed in politics and want to cause disruption.
“The Southern Highlands Provincial Government has been suspended, and I will oversee the operations of the Southern Highlands Provincial Government on behalf of the National Executive Council.
“It is important that we place the actions we saw yesterday into context.
“The ridiculous behavior by an unruly group is all about local level politics and attempts by failed politicians to vent their anger over their inability to be duly elected.
“If there is any group who thinks they can continue cause trouble, they will find out very quickly that their actions will not be tolerated.”
The Decision by the National Executive Council includes:
- Suspension of the Southern Highlands Provincial Government with
immediate effect for the duration of the state of smergency.
- Thomas Eluh to be appointed as the controller of the state of emergency,
with powers, duties and functions as prescribed by the Constitution and
Emergency Acts and Regulations.
- Deployment of police personnel, mobile squad and criminal investigators
(CID) to the Southern Highlands Province with immediate effect.
- Directing the Commissioner of Police, and the Commander of the PNG Defence
Force, in consultation with the controller, to immediately develop an operational
order for the deployment of troops (police and military) to Southern Highlands
Province for the SOE.
- Delegation of powers under Section 187E(5) of the Constitution and
Sections 66 and 67 of the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local
Level Governments for the Prime Minister to oversee the operations of the
Southern Highlands Provincial Government on behalf of the NEC.
- Directing the Minister Responsible for Provincial Government and Local Level
Government matters to table a report at the next meeting of the Parliament in
accordance with Section 187E(6) of the Constitution.
- Approval for the establishment of a technical committee under the l
leadership of the Chief Secretary to the Government to coordinate the measures to be taken in restoring the administration of the Southern Highlands Province in
consultation with the acting provincial administrator and the controller.
- Approval of K6 million in funding to enable the SOE mobilisation immediately.
- Direction for all relevant ministries and agencies to take immediate actions to
implement the decision of the National Executive Council.

Veteran pilot:No national pride in Papua New Guinea


As an aviator and a former soldier, I am totally disgusted but also sorry for our nation.
Captain Paul Boga

There is NO national pride and patriotism shown by people who call themselves Papua New Guineans.

Aeroplanes have built this nation and stand to be our flag carrier around the world.

Before we point fingers, we must remember that every problem has a root cause.

After 42 years of Independence, the educated know that our Constitution is nothing but a joke.

Laws are too weak to deal with crime and our natural resources are used against us to kill ourselves.

National security?

Well, we need to open our eyes now.

The shame of a Southern Highlands woman


I am so ashamed to be a Southern Highlander right now.
Jacquelene Tanda

Riots over court decision related to "rigged election" allegations result in the burning down of a plane belonging to our flag carrier.

It begs the question WHY?

Why are we as a province allowing people from two or three districts to engage in acts of terrorism and tar us all with the same paintbrush?

 Why are we acting like Peter O'Neil/Michael Nali/William Powi etc own Air Niugini so we burn it down?

Why are other districts looking at this like a Mendi/Nipa problem and distancing ourselves?

Why do supporters feel the need to burn our historical buildings because their candidate did not make it?

 Are these the kind of leaders we want representing us?

 Plis mi sem ya.

 Yumi tok Souths Pawa na where stap pawa blo yumi? 

We have just declared war on Papua New Guinea by burning the one thing that unites us PNG people.

We need to think hard about our destiny as a people and make some hard decisions.

Time blo sackcloth and ashes lo mekim traipla repent because we are no longer Souths Pawa.

By our complicity and passivity, we have become Souths Pawa-less

Shame, shame, shame!

Air Niugini general-manager reflects on a sad day

Air Niugini General-Manager Commercial

Air Niugini has been in existence for 45 years serving this country with pride.

It has always been for me a symbol of unity, a unifying factor in bringing our country together for the past 45 years.

 For a country with very limited road infrastructure, it was the airline that brought our people together.

 From East to West or North to South, it was PX that brought us together.

When you traveling in from overseas and you board an Air Niugini aircraft in one of our overseas destinations, you get a sense of pride as you see the bird of paradise on the tail of the aircraft and you know you are home.

For over 2000 staff who work day and night to ensure our airline flies and continue to serve our people every day, despite criticism at times and the fact that many routes are non-profitable but we have to continue to operate as part of our obligation to our country, today is indeed a very sad day in the history of our airline and country.
I am saddened to see the picture below and it breaks my heart.

For me after serving our airline for 36 years,  I am in tears.

 I am sure many of our staff who are so committed to this airline and our country are asking themselves WHY?

After the incident of today, our first priority was to get our dedicated crew out of harms way.

Am pleased that no passenger was harmed but the aircraft, WHY?

This post is my personal reflection of today’s event and is not necessarily of the airline acknowledging I hold a senior post in the airline.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

LinkPNG DHC8 aircraft damaged in Mendi civil unrest

Air Niugini

A Link PNG DHC -8 aircraft was damaged during civil unrest at Mendi airport, Southern Highlands Province this afternoon following an election petition decision.

The aircraft has suffered damage when rioters invaded the tarmac, and National Airports Corporation(NAC) has also closed the airport.

Link PNG is suspending flights also to Tari and Wapenamanda until further notice, associated with these developments.

Link PNG regrets the inconvenience this may cause to our customers; however safety is always of paramount importance in our operations.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill condemns Mendi Airport incident

"The actions we have seen today in Mendi are an absolute disgrace.
"A State of Emergency will be declared, and additional security forces being deployed to prevent further unlawful behaviour.
"An emergency meeting of the National Security Council will take place tomorrow at 9am to approve emergency arrangements under appropriate laws.
"Those involved will be detained by police and prosecuted.
"There is no place in in politics for this type of behaviour, and leaders involved with this activity will be held to account.
"All leaders must respect the rule of law, respect decisions of the court and respect the safety of people and property."

59 local community rangers graduate in South Fly District

Australian HighCommission

Twenty-two women are among 59 community rangers from the South Fly District of Western Province who graduated this week through the Building Resilience in Treaty Villages (BRTV) project.
The dignitaries with the rangers following the graduation.

Managed by the Cairns-based Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, the BRTV project aims to build the resilience of the South Fly’s 13 coastal villages by training community rangers in food security, construction, sanitation, first aid and leadership.
Dobrag Done (right) from Sigabaduru village graduated from Phase 1 of the project while Cece Wainetti from Tais village was among the recent cohort. 

The graduation ceremony was held on Daru Island on 11 June and attended by the Western Governor Taboi Awi Yoto and Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta, Minister for Defence Solan Mirisim, Minister for Police Jelta Wong, Minister for Immigration and Border Security Petrus Thomas, the Australian Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, Australian Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Claire Moore and Australian High Commissioner, Bruce Davis.
Monica from Mari Village (left) is one of the 22 women who graduated as a community ranger.

“Papua New Guinea’s South Fly District and northern Australia share a long history of social, cultural and economic connections, formalised through the Torres Strait Treaty which came into effect in 1985,” said Mr Davis.

“It is through these ties that we are supporting a community ranger model for the 13 Treaty Villages in this remote area, which is based on an Indigenous Australian model operating in the Torres Strait Islands.
Following intensive training, the rangers are able to use their new skills to support the delivery of basic services, while also becoming role models and future leaders in their communities.”
The rangers demonstrate how to attend to a snake bite victim, a common issue for villages along the South Fly.

Mr Davis added that there is no separation of roles for male and female rangers, regardless of traditional cultural norms. 

Female rangers are treated equally throughout the training and learn the same skills as men, such as small boat handling, safety and maintenance.
The rangers demonstrate their carpentry skills in building school furniture.

The BRTV program is supported by the Papua New Guinea- Australia Partnership.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New log bridges for Kokoda Track

Australian High Commission

In April, the Australian Government supported Kokoda Track communities to construct two river crossings along the Kokoda Track.
Community members float logs down the river to build the bridge crossing.

 The crossings were at Emuni Creek near Manari village and Eora Creek adjacent to the campsite.

The projects are a part of a regeneration and conservation programme supported by the Kokoda Initiative, a partnership between the Papua New Guinea and Australian governments to protect the Kokoda Track and surrounding areas.

 Rita Sori was one of the women who assisted with the works.
Rita Sori from Manari village sharpens a stick to build support rails on the log bridges.
She said the Kokoda Track was not only an important link for local people to move between villages and the two major towns of Popondetta and Port Moresby, but was also a major source of income through the trekking industry.

 “We rely on the track for money," Sorisaid.

"Our husbands and sons work as porters and guides for tourists coming in, so keeping the track safe is not only important to the trekkers, but to us as well.

" If the track is safe and open, it means more tourists can come in and provide more income for us.”

 Seven similar track regeneration and conservation projects were conducted and funded through the Kokoda Initiative partnership in March 2017.
Community members and track rangers transport a log to Eora Creek as part of the bridge construction.

Upgrade activities include maintaining bridges, building steps and repairing safety fencing.

 The Kokoda Initiative also provides vital education, health and water and sanitation services to local communities.

In addition to service delivery, these activities directly inject funds into communities through paid employment opportunities.

Tari-Pori MP James Marape commends local leaders for working for peace

Tari- Pori leaders are showing partnership and teamwork to bring peace and also arrest of murderers and associates of crime at the community level,says MP James Marape.
Tari-Pori MP James Marape (third from left in front row) with local leaders during one of a series of meetings in the district.

He is back in the district to witness handing over of five suspects of the murder of late Lae Tagobe, a councilor of Ajukali Ward 1 in Pori.
”Real work and effort was put in by the local leadership of other village leaders and youths,” Marape said.
“Other councillors of Pori LLG - Cr Pipe, Cr Agiru, Cr Hebale and Cr Belo - led by local Tade councillor Timothy Lembo and Pori President Charlie Apalu were also instrumental.
“Great commendation to leaders and people of Pori for working for peace in their district.“
Marape is  spending a week  in his electorate linking up with village elders from all over Tari-Pori  who have been working to bring warring factions to the table.
This  includes bringing to police various murderers in the electorate.
“Iam now mobilising elders and youths of electorate who want peace,” Marape said.
" Hulis have traditional dispute resolution methods,yet these are not being embraced in Hela, with fullest working of modern law and justice sector.
"The basic structure of peace resolution in my electorate is to be restored with 79 ward  structures, which should link to modern village courts and higher courts, including ensuring that police and Correctional Service are correctly functioning in Hela."

Monday, June 11, 2018

Oil Search finds new gas in Papua New Guinea

by Daniel J. Graeber,
June 7, 2018

June 7 (UPI) -- A new gas discovery was made in Papua New Guinea and data assessments are now geared toward commercial developments, a key regional player said.

Oil Search announced Thursday it encountered gas in an appraisal well dubbed Kimu 2. The prospect could be linked to other nearby reservoirs.

"Evaluation of the well data acquired has now commenced and will be used to help assess options for the potential commercialization of the Kimu field," the company stated.

Oil Search is a partner in a liquefied natural gas facility in Papua New Guinea. The country is positioned well to take advantage of the growing energy demands from economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Many of the island nations in the region lack adequate domestic reserves, so the super-cooled LNG, which has more options for delivery than piped gas, fills in the gap.

Construction at the LNG facility in Papua New Guinea began in 2010. The facility is expected to produce more than 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over its 30-year lifespan.

Led by Exxon Mobil, the facility marked a milestone with its 100th delivery three years ago. More than 7 million tons of LNG has been shipped from the facility since it opened.

Exxon shut down much of its infrastructure and evacuated non-essential personnel from the areas impacted by major and deadly earthquakes that shook Papua New Guinea in February. Oil Search said some of the transit infrastructure, bases and a refinery were damaged, but "the operating facilities generally withstood the earthquake well, with no loss of oil or gas containment identified."

The company added, however, that while production was disrupted, there was no impact on plans to expand LNG activities. Its insurance loss adjuster outlined an initial estimate for damages to its assets at between $150 million and $250 million.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


MANILA, PHILIPPINES (7 June 2018) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will support over $1 billion in energy investments in the Pacific between 2018–2021, including 19 projects to help countries in the subregion have better access to quality, affordable, and sustainable energy sources, according to a new ADB report.

The Pacific Energy Update 2018 provides a comprehensive overview of ADB’s energy-focused work in the Pacific. The publication highlights the impacts of ADB-supported energy initiatives completed in 2017 and ongoing in 2018, while providing details of ADB’s future plans in the subregion’s energy sector.

“ADB is helping the Pacific region plan for a renewable energy future and improve regional energy systems by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy; maximising access to energy for all; and supporting energy sector reform, capacity building, and effective governance,” said ADB’s Transport, Energy, and Natural Resources Division Director for the Pacific Mr. Olly Norojono.

The report highlighted ADB’s efforts and partnership with governments, communities, private sector, and other development partners to help improve the availability and quality of clean and affordable sustainable power in the Pacific region. It also provides a country-by-country snapshot of various energy projects and technical assistance, which Pacific governments have prioritized for ADB assistance.

Cofinanced by ADB, the European Union, and the Government of the Cook Islands, the Cook Islands Renewable Energy Sector Project will help lower the country’s reliance on fossil fuels by building solar-powered plants on five of its islands and help the government achieve its goal of supplying 100% of inhabited islands with renewable energy by 2020.

Meanwhile, ADB is assisting the Government of Fiji in developing the institutional capacity for regulation of the country’s electricity sector, while developing a sector investment planning framework.

The Yap Renewable Energy Development Project in the Federated States of Micronesia, funded by two ADB loans, supported the construction of a wind farm capable of withstanding typhoons. Grid-connected solar panels were also installed on about five government buildings across the island and new fuel-efficient diesel generators replaced aging ones.

Nauru’s power outlook improved dramatically when the government installed two new energy-efficient, diesel generators—completed under the Nauru Electricity Supply Security and Sustainability Project, with initial grant funding from ADB and the European Union, and later supported with additional funding from the governments of Australia and Nauru.

Together with other ADB-financed renewable energy interventions, ADB is assisting Papua New Guinea achieve its national electrification objectives while promoting a shift to clean energy from power generated from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, ADB’s energy assistance in the Solomon Islands include supporting the country’s drive to tap more of its energy from clean sources, including hydro and solar power.

ADB approved the Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility in June 2017 to help fund a series of renewable energy projects and sector reforms in the smallest 11 Pacific island countries. For instance, a project to help reduce the Marshall Islands’ consumption of fossil fuels and increase renewable energy generation—20% of the country’s energy mix by 2020— received a $2 million grant from the facility in December 2017.

ADB is currently supporting 15 active projects in 11 countries in the Pacific worth $426 million.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

PNG demands new name for Taiwan office

by Stacy Hsu,
June 2, 2018

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed that the Papua New Guinean government last month insisted that Taiwan’s representative office change its name due to repeated pressure from China.

Since late last year, China had taken advantage of its status as the second-largest provider of aid to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to keep pressuring the government to change the name of Taiwan’s representative office and its treatment of the office’s staff, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said.

“Despite the office’s best efforts, the PNG government was not able to withstand China’s carrot-and-stick pressure and eventually demanded a change of name,” Lee said, adding that the name change does not have any substantial impact on the office’s operations.

China’s demands first came to the ministry’s attention in February when Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) praised the PNG government’s adherence to the “one China” principle when responding to reporters’ questions over allegations that Taiwan’s trade office had been asked to rename itself.

The ministry acknowledged at the time that the nation’s trade office in PNG had been asked to change its name, as well as remove its nameplate and diplomatic license plates from its vehicles, but stressed that bilateral negotiations were still underway.

The office, which was previously named the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Papua New Guinea has been renamed as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Papua New Guinea.

It is not the nation’s first overseas representative office to have been forced to undergo a name change due to Chinese pressure.

The nation’s trade offices in Ecuador, Bahrain, Nigeria, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have also been forced to remove the term Republic of China or Taiwan from their designation.

Taiwan and PNG, despite not having formal diplomatic relations, have had close exchanges in the areas of energy, trade and fisheries since the 1990s, Lee said.

“Taiwan has also begun cooperating on agriculture and medical health,” he said.

The ministry understands the situation the nation’s international friends face due to Chinese pressure, Lee said, adding that Taiwan would continue its substantial exchanges and cooperation with PNG to safeguard its dignity and rights.

Friday, June 01, 2018

ALLAN PATIENCE: The serious under-development of Papua New Guinea’s university system

June 1, 2018

There is a crisis in Papua New Guinea’s university system. Universities are devastatingly under-resourced and under-performing. The bizarre persecution of PNG University of Technology’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert Schram, also points to a disastrous governance breakdown at university council level. Can the Australian university sector do anything to help? Yes it can.  

University students in Australia today are often criticised for being self-absorbed and indifferent to domestic and international politics. Some of this criticism is unjust because there certainly are students who are sincerely committed to better understanding their world and they certainly want to help in making it a better place. But quite a few are also uncritically accepting of what they regard as their just entitlements. Their campuses are groaning with extra-curricular facilities – gyms, swimming pools, playing fields, tennis courts, a wide range of food outlets and coffee shops, and a bewildering variety of clubs and societies catering for every imaginable pastime and inclination. All this they take for granted.

Meanwhile, right on Australia’s northern doorstep, there are university students struggling under conditions of the most shocking physical and educational under-development of almost any third world country today. In 2010 Professor Ross Garnaut and Sir Rabbie Namaliu were commissioned jointly by the Australian and PNG governments to report on the growing crisis in PNG’s higher education system. Their report stated:

Papua New Guinea’s universities made a significant contribution to the nation in its early years. They can do so again but, right now, the quantity and quality of graduates is far short of what is needed—due to inadequate resources and a range of governance and general service quality issues.

 They noted that funding for PNG university students had declined to one seventeenth of what it had been in 1975, when Australia relinquished the administration of its then colony to the newly independent state of PNG. The consequences in almost all areas of public policy have been disastrous, including higher education. It is particularly galling that the Garnaut-Namaliu Report has been wantonly ignored by governments in both PNG and Australia for almost the past decade now.

Take, for example, the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) whose main campus is located in the suburb of Waigani in Port Moresby. UPNG is a tragedy. It is under-staffed, massively under-resourced, and very restricted in providing an education for young people to the levels that are badly needed to plan and manage the country’s social, economic and political advancement. Its infrastructure is collapsing around the ears of students and staff. The student dormitories (housing some 90 percent of students, mostly from remote villages, often with several students per room) would be classified as slums in Australia. Many of the toilets and bathrooms are broken down. The so-called recreational facilities are a couple of bare and gravelly ovals, a mess hall that serves food that few Australian students could stomach. Little else. Labs, teaching spaces and offices have broken doors, windows, benches and seating. Library resources are mostly out of date and the library’s air-conditioning breaks down so often that many books, journals, manuscripts and artifacts are deteriorating through tropical mould, inadequate indexing and curating, and everyday wear and tear. Staff and students’ access to the Internet is sporadic and limited.

There are high levels of drunkenness and violence on the UPNG main campus. Rapes have occurred in the past while young women remain vulnerable, especially at weekends when there is so little for students to do, apart from an occasional rugby game on a dusty pitch, or attendance at religious observances. Much of the anti-social behaviour is caused by the sheer boredom of being stuck on a campus without facilities and without leadership and appropriate venues to find better things to do. Many of the guys, and not a few of the women, head out to sleazy dives, to meet “wantoks” (mates, relatives, people from back home) to booze, party, fight and fornicate to pass the time. While this is by no means uncommon on Australian campuses, in PNG the situation has become seriously pathological. Yet no one is doing anything to address the seriousness of it all.

The marvelous thing is that, despite all the educational deficiencies and related problems, there are some excellent students and some very fine academic staff at UPNG. But their contributions to the academic life of the University and the nation are being severely curtailed by lack of resources and lack of proper recognition – both inside and outside the country.

Meanwhile PNG bumps along near the bottom of some of the world’s most reputable international indexes of under-development. Human Rights Watch International has reported on several occasions about the appalling breakdown in morale and discipline in the PNG police force, resulting in numerous human rights abuses across the country. Transparency International annually demonstrates that PNG is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The yearly United Nations Human Development Index shows that PNG rates among the poorest, worst governed countries in the world when it comes to issues like literacy rates (they are declining precipitously), infant and maternal mortality rates remain stubbornly high, disease pandemics (HIV and TB, for example) remain out of control. At the same time there is a population explosion, especially in the Highlands, meaning that PNG governments simply don’t have the capacity to exercise the United Nations mandated “responsibility to protect” their culturally diverse peoples. In so many ways PNG fulfills nearly all the criteria for being considered a failed state.

It’s time for Australian universities and their student representative bodies to look beyond their own creature comforts to lend a hand to their PNG counterparts. For a start, why can’t university student unions in Australia reach out to the student union at UPNG to explore how they might contribute to improving student life on the UPNG campus? For example, if their UPNG counterparts agree, maybe they could commit to raising funds to construct a swimming pool and a decent gym for the UPNG campus? Or whatever resources the UPNG students identify to improve their lives at the University.

Let’s set aside one day in each semester across all Australian universities as a fundraising day, over the next eighteen months. Students from UPNG must be invited (and paid) to attend, to explain about the conditions under which they are forced to study and to advise on what they need to improve their situation. Australian student organisations are very good at organizing and coordinating national university sporting competitions. Is it therefore too much to ask that all the university campuses coordinate just one day of fund raising for their counterparts in PNG? The swimming pool and the gym may be a good start – although this must be subject to advice from the UPNG students themselves. Any hint of neo-colonial arrogance must be avoided if cultivating this special international friendship is to succeed. If it is successful, so much mutual good will and positive international attention could be won for Australian students, while UPNG students will begin to experience a better quality of campus life.

Meanwhile university academic staff across Australia should set up a national organisation to support their beleaguered UPNG counterparts, to work with them to upgrade qualifications and to develop research profiles. In the first instance, seeking their advice, about what they believe they need, would be essential.

ANU has done some good work in this regard, but it needs to be much better and more widely resourced. This kind of engagement could provide opportunities for some senior Australian academics and also for young Australian PhD graduates to work collaboratively in PNG’s university system. They could all be contracted to spend clearly defined periods of time working alongside PNG colleagues, contributing to human capital development in the country, while gaining invaluable experience for the development – and broadening – of their own careers. Given that there is ample funding available in Australia for building wonderful “student precincts”, student unions, student residences and all, surely there could be a joint university pooling of some funds to create an academic exchange program with a university like UPNG, to reinforce the academic strengths of the country as a whole?

It is unjust for Australia’s relatively well-resourced academe to remain indifferent to the plight of PNG’s under-developed universities. It’s time for it to stop its obsessive navel gazing and look out to, and for, PNG – in the first instance. And Australian universities need also to accept that while they have a regional responsibility to help PNG’s universities to lift their game, they should also be thinking about extending real and sustained assistance to other universities across the South Pacific.

Allan Patience is a Melbourne based academic. From 2004-2006 he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Papua Province donates to PNG earthquake victims

People of Indonesia’s Papua Province on Monday last week handed over five tonnes of food and clothing assistance to earthquake victims in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

PNG consul-general Geoffrey Wiri  and Samuel Tabuni with soldiers at the border.

The Papua Language Institute (PLI) handed over the items which were collected from Papuans since March.
They included rice, noodles, tea, coffee, canned fish, sugar, milk, water, clothing, toys and balls.
The donated items being loaded onto a truck.

Institute director Samuel Tabuni said the aid was handed over to the PNG Government in the neutral zone of Republic of Indonesia-PNG in Skouw, Jayapura City, on Monday.
The aid was received by PNG consul-general Geoffrey Wiri accompanied by PNG border officer Ashley Wayne.
Samuel Tabuni presents the items to  PNG consul-general Geoffrey Wiri

Tabuni said the Indonesian military provided the vehicle provided the vehicle to transport the aid to the border.
He asked that the items be transported across the border to the needy people.
He said late delivery of aid to PNG was due to limited transportation facilities, considering the location of the earthquake in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces.
“Three months ago, we became sadly aware of the tragedy that struck the Southern Highland and Hela provinces of Papua New Guinea,” he said.
 “Even the people in Jayapura could feel this heavy quake.
“After checking what went on, we found out that our brothers and sisters at the other side of the border were hit by the natural disaster.
“Because of the close connection between the Papua Language Institute and the Papua New Guinea Government developing an international education programme, we feel obliged to help and support the victims of this tragedy as much as possible.
“Due to help of many Indonesian people of the Papua Province, we were able to collect a serious amount of commodities for disaster relief.”
“We hope our help will be received as a gift from our heart.
“Whenever we are confronted by difficulties, we need to stand together and help each other.
“Although we know that our support is far from enough, we want to express our feelings of concern for all the people who had to suffer from this earthquake.
“All of them are in our hearts and prayers.
"Hopefully, the assistance provided can ease the earthquake-affected PNG." 

Papua New Guinea receive significant investment through ICC Cricket World Cup community facility fund | May 31, 2018

The International Cricket Council (ICC), Cricket Australia (CA), and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in partnership with the Australian Government have made a significant investment into cricket in Papua New Guinea through the ICC Cricket World Cup Community Facility Fund where 48 community cricket facilities will be built in eleven provinces.

The Cricket World Cup Community Facility Fund is a joint legacy project by the ICC, CA, and NZC following the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 to help address the need for more facilities and significantly boost participation rates in cricket.

A total of $400,000 was put into the Fund by CA ($200,000), NZC ($100,000) and the ICC ($100,000) which will result in $800,000 of investment into facilities in the East Asia-Pacific region through fund matching for all projects. To date more than $80,000 has been invested in community facility projects across the region to aid the development of cricket with yesterday marking the roll out of the biggest project yet.

The ‘Cricket Facilities Enhancement Project’ is a collaborative project that will see 48 community cricket facilities built in eleven provinces across Papua New Guinea over the next two years.

The ICC’s General Manager – Development, William Glenwright believes that facilities are crucial in the growth of cricket and that it will provide a significant base for new participants to play the game and that projects like these highlight the power of successful partnerships.

 “I am delighted to see the significant investment into one of our High Performing Members. This joint project between two Full Members, the ICC and the Australian Government shows the commitment across the cricket fraternity to grow the game.

“It also shows the importance of ICC events and their role in the development of the game across all 104 Members of the ICC,” said Glenwright.

Cricket Australia’s Chief Executive James Sutherland is proud to support the project in PNG because it demonstrates the positive legacy of hosting major ICC events in Australia. “This project complements Cricket Australia’s strong support for the Australian Government’s Sports Diplomacy Strategy and sport for development initiatives in the Pacific

“We are committed to supporting the long-term growth of cricket in as many countries as possible, as shown by our strong support for this region over the last 15 years,” said Sutherland.

New Zealand Cricket’s Chief Executive David White was delighted to see such a significant legacy project from the jointly hosted ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 paying such rich dividends.

“NZC supports wholeheartedly the philosophy of growing the world game, and connecting countries and regions through the spirit of cricket. This initiative should go a long way towards boosting cricket in PNG – in terms of both participation and resourcing.

Currently Cricket PNG has over 190,000 boys and girls, men and women involved in cricket programs around the country with a vision to make cricket PNG’s favourite family sport. While the sport is proving immensely popular among school children, the lack of dedicated cricket facilities has made access to cricket competitions difficult in many areas.

For Joe Arua, a 14-year-old school student from Central District province there is potential, passion and love for cricket in the school and community. “One thing that prevents us from playing more cricket is an oval without a cricket pitch. It would be great if we had a cricket pitch in our school to be used by the community as well,” said Arua.

Cricket PNG hopes the project will result in more than 20,000 Papua New Guineans participating in regular cricket competitions.

Cricket PNG Chairperson Helen Macindoe believes this is arguably the biggest infrastructure project that Cricket PNG have been involved in since Cricket PNG was formed in 1973. “Last year we were able to upgrade the Amini Park facilities but this project will help with the development of cricket nationwide, in line with our vision to be PNG’s favourite family sport,” Macindoe concluded.

Construction on the ‘Cricket Facilities Enhancement Project’ will begin immediately in the National Capital District with the first pitches expected to be ready for communities in the second half of the year.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Port Moresby: The City of Buai Stains

Citizen Journalist

Port Moresby is gearing up to host its biggest international event - the APEC Leaders' Summit 2018.
Betelnut spit and rubbish is a feature of Port Mores by.-Picture by REUBEN AOPI

It expects both Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US president Donald Trump to be among the thousands of delegates.
The filth that buai (betelnut) is causing will be a visible sight our visitors will not miss. Irresponsible citizens,  high on the drug,  continue to spit and dispose of the husk in a manner in which only people without a brain would operate.
Betelnut stains can be seen on footpaths, walls of shopping centres, car parks, roads and on the very own teeth of chewers themselves.
With the rising prices of food and commodities in the country, it is not unusual for local folks to chew betelnut during the day to curtail hunger and then eat one big dinner meal at home to save money. 
Aside from controlling hunger, local folks also feel a sense of euphoria throughout the day after they chew. 
In addition, most folks will say that betelnut is PNG’s version of coffee in the morning- an instant eye-opener to start the work day.  Some chew one betel nut at a time intermittently throughout the day, while some chew more than one at a time. 
On average, locals will chew between eight to 10 betel nuts in one day.
Papua New Guineans rely on the sale of betelnut for their livelihoods.
A native cash crop, betel nut is referred to as "green gold".
It is completely untaxed.
Markets often have an area dedicated solely to betel nut vendors.
Prices for one betel nut and mustard stick vary between 50t to K1 dependent upon the location, season and recent growing conditions.
The habit, which is virtually a national pastime, involves chewing the small palm tree nut, which is mixed with lime powder and mustard, before spitting out red-tinged spittle to the floor.
The mixture produces a mild stimulant likened to the rush from cigarettes.
The streets of the capital, Port Moresby, are littered with the red spills and husks.
The spitting of pathogenic saliva increases the spread of disease.
In a country with one of the highest infection rates of tuberculosis in the world, this habit poses huge contamination risks.

About the author

Reuben Aopi was born in Daru Island on Oct 8,  1988.
His father Pala Aopi was a painter, and his mother Sibaio was a retired nurse.
Both have gone to be with our Lord.

China, Papua New Guinea co-build agricultural industrial park

by Hu Pingchao,
May 31, 2018

BEIJING, May 31 (Xinhua) -- China Railway International Group (CRIG) has recently signed an agreement with Papua New Guinea (PNG)’s authorities about the land-use right transfer to support construction of an agricultural industrial park under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Photo: A valley in Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea

Under the agreement, the Chinese company will own the use right of the lands in the Eastern Highlands Province and the Western Highlands Province in PNG for 99 years. The lands cover an area of more than 6,000 mu (15 mu equal one hectare).

The lands are located in the core area of the China-PNG agriculture industrial park under the Belt and Road Initiative, co-built by China Railway Group (CRG), parent company of CRIG, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, and provinces of PNG.

World Environment Day 2018: Governor Parkop and NCDC call for action


Preparations for the upcoming World Environment Day on June 5 are underway by the National Capital District Commissions and the office of NCD Governor.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop has called on city residents to come out of their comfort zones this Saturday to clean the city as part of a commitment to World Environment Day and the city of Port Moresby.
As part of this commitment, the employees of NCDC will be doing a major clean up from Boroko to Gordons on Saturday.
NCDC is committed to transforming Port Moresby to a more liveable, peaceful, and healthy environment as part of a global movement to protect the earth’s natural environments.
Governor Parkop also made a call to the National Government to declare June 5 a National Day of Action to Protect the Environment – making it a public holiday where people can do public clean-ups, beautify the environment and plant trees.
This year World Environment Day falls on June 5 which is next Tuesday, so NCDC has opted to celebrate the day early with Saturday’s cleanathon from Boroko to Gordons. 
This is also part of NCDC’s strong commitment to the environment.
Earlier this month, NCDC committed K150,000 to support the government’s ban on plastic bags and other plastic products through the Ministry of Environment and Conservation under its cleaner city campaign.
With the theme for this year’s World Environment Day being ‘Beating Plastic Pollution’ it is a clear statement on how committed NCDC is towards protecting and saving our environment.
City Manager Bernard Kipit said NCDC is right behind the concept and is excited to be doing the major cleanathon this Saturday to mark the special day.
“We have to keep reminding ourselves as city residents to do all we can in keeping our city clean, healthy and safe and beautiful,’ Kipit said.
Governor Parkop appealed to city residents to join him and NCDC by cleaning their suburbs, villages and settlements - to make them clean and beautiful places to live; and to show our commitment to protect our natural God-given environment.
This Sunday’s Walk for Life will also be themed to promote World Environment Day.
Walk for Life commences each week at 5.30am at Murray Barracks and all Port Moresby residents and visitors are invited to attend, it is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle at the same time supporting an important cause.
An open invitation has been extended to staff and the Board of National Forestry Authority, CEPA, Department of Mining and Energy to also join the cleanathon on June 2 and Walk For Life on June 3 - as these are State agencies who can multiply NCDC’s efforts to protect our national environment.
Other Government Departments and agencies, private sector, churches, NGOs and all other stakeholders are also invited to join NCDC in the noble cause of protecting and saving our natural environment.

NEC appoints heads of missions to China and India

Prime Ministers Office
May 30, 2018
The National Executive Council has endorsed the appointments of Papua New Guinea’s heads of missions to China and India respectively.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the two new heads of
Missions are retired judge, Don Sawong,  as PNG’s new ambassador to China and Secretary to the Department of Communication and Information, Paulias Korni,  as high commissioner to India.
“NEC has endorsed the appointment of Mr Sawong and Mr Korni as the new PNG heads of mission to the Republic of China and India respectively.
“Therefore, NEC has further advised the Head of State to appoint Mr Sawong as the ambassador to the People’s Republic of China for a period of four years effective on and from the date of the publication of the instrument in the National Gazette.
“Cabinet has also appointed Mr Korni as the high commissioner to India for a period of four years effective on and from the date of.publication of the instrument in the National Gazette.
“The Acting Secretary for the Department of Personnel Management has been directed to prepare the contracts of employment for the two new heads of mission in consultation with the Secretary for the Department
of Foreign Affairs for execution by the Head of State."
O'Neill said NEC had also directed the Minister for Public Service to facilitate an acting appointment of the Secretary for the Department of Communication and Information in consultation with the Minister for Communication Information Technology and Energy.
“In the same NEC decision,  the First Legislative Counsel has been directed to prepare the instruments of appointment for execution by the Head of State and the Chairman of the NEC respectively and for
gazettal,” O'Neill said.

Thailand, Papua New Guinea strike deal on fisheries cooperation | May 30, 2018

BANGKOK, 30th May 2018 (NNT) – Thailand’s Department of Fisheries has forged cooperation with Papua New Guinea on fisheries development, with workshops and research projects to be undertaken jointly.

Director-General of the Fisheries Department Adisorn Promthep was joined by Mr John Edward Kasu, Managing Director of the National Fisheries Authority of Papua New Guinea, during a ceremony to sign a memorandum of understanding on fisheries cooperation between the two agencies.

Under the agreement, a joint working group will be set up to develop both countries’ management of fisheries in line with their governments’ fisheries reform policies. There will be exchanges of fisheries knowledge through joint training activities and research, which will be aimed at enhancing the capabilities of related officials, aquaculturists and fishermen.

Mr Adisorn underscored the significance of this cooperation between Thailand and Papua New Guinea, saying it will help ensure that marine animals imported from the latter have been caught in compliance with standard procedures and laws and that no smuggling is involved.

Moreover, the MOU could mean that Thai operators will have a chance to resume fishing activities in Papua New Guinean waters after the country stopped giving out licenses due to the need to overhaul its fisheries management.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cabinet appoints State negotiating team for new gas project development

Prime Minister's Office
May 30, 2018

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the National Executive Council has endorsed the setting up of the State negotiating team (SNT), which will lead project development deliberations with the new natural gas field development proposers this year.

O’Neill said the team would closely look at the
development of three gas fields currently under development in the country.

“This follows Cabinet’s approval of the Papua New Guinea Natural Gas Policy White Paper that is intended to set in place specific policies to maximise benefits to the country by adding value to PNG’s domestic economy" he said.

“The State negotiating team  will be led by the Chief Secretary to Government, Isaac Lupari with the managing-director of Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd as the deputy team leader.

“The other members of the team are the decretaries for the departments of Treasury and Petroleum, the managing-director of Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC), the director for the Gas Projects Coordination Office and the State-Solicitor for legal advice and clearance of gas agreements.

“The three natural gas fields namely, Pasca A, P’nyang and Elk/Antelope are approaching project development

"Two (Pasca A and P’nyang) are in application for petroleum development license (APDL) while one Elke/Antelope) is fulfilling its petroleum retention license 
(PRL) conditions in preparation to move onto making an APDL.

“The State negotiating team will prepare and enter into negotiations with each of the project development proposers and establish a gas sgreement for each of the project."

O'Neill also announced the terms of reference for the State negotiating team as well as an advisory board and a rechnical working group.

“The advisory body will comprise of State agency heads and will also be supported by experts in various petroleum development fields," he said.

"The advisory body will also be further supported by a technical working group.”

"The Government’s Gas Project Coordination office  will providet he Secretariat role to the State negotiating team and to the sdvisory body as well."

The SNT will be reporting directly to the Ministerial Gas Committee (MGC) which will be made of:

  • Minister for Petroleum;
  • Treasurer;
  • Minister for National Planning and Monitoring;
  • Minister for Finance;
  • Minister for Information Communication and Energy;
  • Minister for State Enterprises and Investment;
  • Attorney General;
  • Minister for Health and HIV;
  • Governor for Gulf; and
  • Minister for Environment and Conservation.

The Minister for Petroleum shall be the chairman of the MGC.

“It is important that the State has the best team available to negotiate the best terms possible for our country and the best ministerial team to provide guidance and leadership to realise our national development aspirations" O'Neill said.

“With the policies in place to provide a comprehensive framework to direct the development and growth of the natural gas industry, comes the added responsibility to ensure optimal benefit to the country and its future generation.”

O'Neill said the recent PNG LNG development had made PNG a key natural gas producer in the Asia Pacific region and these three gas developments would add value to PNG’s economy and further boost its reputation as a
world-class LNG producer.

“As we prepare to host the APEC leaders' meeting in November 2018, Papua New Guinea needs to showcase the next lot of world-class developments to LNG customers from within the APEC economies and
secure potential buyers," O'Neill said.

“The Government is committed to concluding negotiations with the developers and I wish to encourage the developers to working closely with the State negotiating team  so the three natural gas projects can be developed to bring benefit to the developers, financiers, land owners and the country as a whole.

“I have every confidence in the State negotiating team which is made up of senior and well experienced public servants to deliver the project that will add value to the economy and the country."