Chinese-owned Ramu Nickel plant spills 200,000 litres of ‘toxic’ slurry into the sea https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-30/chinese-owned-mine-in-png-spills-200000-litres-of-toxic-slurry/11464108
A Chinese nickel mine operator has apologised after accidentally spilling an estimated 200,000 litres of toxic slurry into a bay in Papua New Guinea’s Madang province, turning the water bright red and staining the shore.
Mining authorities in PNG said the spilled material was a mineral-rich slurry that had been piped to the processing plant at Basamuk Bay from a nickel mine site 135 kilometres inland.
Mineral Resources Authority managing director Jerry Garry told the ABC’s Pacific Beat program the slurry was “very acidic”.
“The people from the village they went down to the beach … and they realised the water was contaminated and the colour had turned to red,” Nigel Uyam, a local villager who took the first photos of the spill, told the ABC.
“They are angry … we are trying to control the angry people and we are trying to control the situation.”
Mine pollution at Basamuk Bay… We warned about it 10 years ago https://ramumine.wordpress.com/2019/08/27/mine-pollution-at-basamuk-bay-we-warned-about-it-10-years-ago/
Scott Waide | My Land My Country | 25 August 2019
Ten years ago, a small group of Papua New Guineans made a decision to fight the construction of multibillion kina Chinese owned nickel mine in the Madang province.
The reasons were simple:
1. Land was going to be taken away from its traditional custodians in Kurumbukari in the Usino-Bundi electorate and…
2. the sea, a vital resource for the people’s survival, was going to polluted by the dumping of tailings into the Basamuk Bay.
In 2011, in the course of the campaign, we produced one of several documentaries warning of the destruction that was about to happen. We hoped that in the process, people would be educated and would make the right decision and stop the dumping of tailings or the construction of the processing facility.
While filming the documentary UPROOTED, we travelled to Kumumbukari, where old Benny Mangua, a chief in his own right and chief custodian of the land wept because he was going to lose his land forever. Months earlier, he was told by the Chinese company workers that their village was going to be removed because it was going to become the mine site. They gave him K500 as a resettlement payment.
Months later, his sons were evicted from their village by police. Benny Mangua, didn’t survival long after that. He passed on, a broken man separated from his land. His family was told not to plant food on land that was later turned into a dumping area for the mine.
His son Peter Peter continued to resist attempts by police and the company to remove him. One morning, armed police, acting in the interests of the Chinese mine management, broke down his house and forced him off his land. He died about two years later.
Govt closes Manus refugee centre, stops services
September 3, 2019The National
THE Government has closed down the controversial Manus refugee processing centre on Manus Island and terminated the service of a major Australian government service provider there as of yesterday. The Government through the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) is also looking at transferring all the remaining refugees to the Port Moresby refugee processing centre and process them from there, with the possibility of allowing some to live in the country if they are willing. Immigration and Border Security Minister Petrus Thomas said the decision to end the processing centre follows directions from Prime Minister James Marape.
Hospitals need equipment
September 3, 2019The National
WORKS and Implementation Minister Michael Nali says the government should allocate funds to purchase basic medical equipment for provincial hospitals and health centres.
Nali told Parliament yesterday that health workers and doctors were unable to deliver services due to lack of equipment and facilities.
“We need to allocate some money to buy some basic medical equipment for the hospitals and health centres,” Nali said. “We can train a lot of health workers and doctors but it’s like sending a mechanic to do his job without tools. “A lot of our health workers and doctors were facing challenges of delivering services because of the facilities and lack of equipment.
“They have the heart to serve the people but without the facilities they are unable to deliver services. “For us to send doctors out there without equipment – we can’t blame them.”
Judges urged to use media to talk about sorcery cases
September 12, 2019The NationalNational
JUDGES and magistrates have been asked to speak out on sorcery-related violence and not to keep such cases hidden. PNG Tribal Foundation director Ruth Kissam said majority of the population in the country were not fully aware of sorcery-related cases appearing before the courts. “We need the judges to come out and say something,” Kissam said.
“Use the media to talk about your judgements on sorcery related cases and help educate the public about the law on this issue,” she said. Kissam spoke during a panel session at the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association Conference in Port Moresby.
She outlined the work that Tribal Foundation had done as a non-government organisation (NGO) in advocating about sorcery accusation related violence and other social issues.
“There is a great need for information dissemination,” she said. “We work with the police, student volunteers and other NGOs, but we need to work with the judges and magistrates.
“Most times judges make very important statements in court that only a few people hear about and the statements go down into your files and the public know nothing about it.
“Those statements should go out to the media because that is the only way people will fully know about the law on this issue.”
Mental illness rife in PNG: Doc
September 17, 2019The National
MENTAL illnesses are rife in communities as a result of substance abuse but health facilities lack the capacity to treat them, a doctor says.
Social Change and Mental Health Services director Dr Uma Ambi said it was crucial to develop the capacity of the workforce at the level where the problem started so that early intervention could be made to prevent people getting ill.
The mental health fraternity in Port Moresby and the World Health Organisation (WHO) held a workshop last week based on the Mental health global action plan humanitarian intervention guide and the psychological first aid guide for field workers guide.
Ambi said the guide was used by WHO around the world in humanitarian interventions during natural or man–made disasters where people could develop acute stress, psychosis or depression.
She said anyone sent to a disaster area should have psychological first aid knowledge to minimise issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and grief which would develop later.
At a health facility, she said, a health worker should be able to assess and manage mental, neurological and substance abuse conditions. Therefore, the WHO guide was contextualised to suit PNG setting and master trainers were trained to visit every province and train more people in mental health.
WHO mental health technical adviser to PNG Dr Yasuko Shinozaki said alcohol and drug abuse were causing mental health issues.
Hand-outs to politicians for development purposes are being abused and need to be abolished say Catholic bishop – and many other people
MICHIGAN, USA – The District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) and Provincial Services Improvement Program (PSIP) are both valued highly by members of parliament in Papua New Guinea because they allow MPs considerable discretion in how the money is used.
For the last several years I’ve been paying particular attention to this DSIP and PSIP spending.
While DSIP and PSIP have great potential for development at the same time both programs can suck MPs into corruption.
In a good year, every one of the 111 members, including governors, receive K10 million from the government with the funds intended for development purposes in their respective districts or provinces. Some of the MP’s have used the funds well, building roads and bridges, establishing new primary and secondary schools, purchasing cell phone towers to facilitate communication, that sort of thing.
Other MP’s travel to Cairns or Brisbane and decide to use between one and five million kina to purchase a house or unit down under.
As long as the national government held the MPs accountable, the funds were used well But when the cat’s away, the mice will play.
In the 17 August 2017 issue of the Post-Courier, Gorethy Kenneth wrote a stunning article which can be summarised this way: In 2013 95 MPs acquitted their DSIP/PSIP funds; in 2014 the number dramatically dropped to 50; in 2015 another steep decline to only 30. And it gets worse: in 2016 a mere 11 MPs accounted for how they spent their K10 million.
That’s one billion kina unaccounted for.
The 31 March 2017 Post-Courier stated that in 2016 the non-reporting MPs failed to acquit K1.1 billion. And what was the consequence?
Response to Petition by Joseph Walters. – Letters to Editor Post Courier, 2nd Sept
Those who presented the petition to the Prime Minister on Monday may claim to represent churches with over a million members, but that is still a minority, and some churches, in particular the Catholic Church, would like to distance themselves from the petition and the whole approach to Christianity that the petition represents.
Jesus repeatedly warns that he did not come to bring peace and prosperity as this world understands it, but to open to us the Kingdom and eternal life with God. Jesus died poor and accursed on the Cross; the Bible does not offer us a guaranteed way to the blessings of this life, but invites us to take up our cross and follow Jesus, to set our hearts on heaven where our treasure cannot be stolen or destroyed. This true treasure is promised to us through the new covenant that God made with us through the blood of Jesus; here is our hope, and the power that draws us on.
We do not hope, therefore, in any covenant made with any group or state. We do, of course, acknowledge that the people of Israel were chosen by God long ago as a source of blessing for the world. But that blessing was Jesus the Saviour who came from them. To make a covenant with the modern state of Israel (which is not the same thing as the Biblical people of Israel) in the hope of sharing in material blessings is to reject the real gift that God. We have already received our Saviour from Israel and can expect nothing greater; it is now our turn to be a source of blessing for them as our renewed lives help them to believe in Christ (cf Romans 9-11).
Jesus fulfils the Law and the Prophets; he brings us freedom to rejoice in God for God’s sake. If we follow the Bible for the sake of anything else than being united with God, then we have worshipped the creature rather than the Creator, and we are under the yoke of the law. The Gospel can only work by bringing us freedom. The welfare of PNG does not depend on a particular Bible being enthroned in Parliament House, but on its message living in the hearts of believers.
Nor should the Bible be degraded to the status of a legal text, to be enforced through the threat of police action and prison sentences; St Paul would not have wanted disputes about its interpretation to be conducted in civil courts. The Bible is at work when it sets people free to follow God.
This country will be Christian in reality and not just in name to the extent that men and women of Gospel freedom serve in parliament and the public service. This is how churches truly influence the running of the country, not by having their pastors employed by the Government and compromised thereby. One of the failings of the kings of Israel was to have prophets who were fed at the royal table, who only prophesied good of the king (cf 1 Kings 18:19, 1 Kings 22:5-8, Amos 7:12-13).
There are many matters here that Christians must discuss in open dialogue. We urge the Prime Minister to listen to what other Christians have to say about the true blessings to come, the new and eternal covenant, the Gospel of freedom, and the high calling of pastors that demands their freedom from government office.
– Fr Joseph Vnuk, op
– Catholic Theological Institute, Bomana
Australia should lead through kindness
Fr. Giorgio Licini
Papua New Guinea is a developing country suffering from budget shortages. Still it occupies a central position among the family of nations in the Pacific. As such the government in Port Moresby and the civil society in the country should not hesitate to raise their voice regarding the current most pressing issues. Papua New Guinea stands between Australia and Indonesia when it comes to the West Papua unrest and divisions, both internal and with the central government in Jakarta, which is rejected by many. Our country is also bearing the brunt, and that way highlighting the issue of people seeking asylum and protection far from their place of birth and troubled spots of the world. Six years of Australian off-shore processing center in Manus (and Nauru), however, are leaving behind a legacy of mental health and bitterness among vulnerable people, who rather needed care and healing. The assault on natural resources also has Papua New Guinea defend its portion of last remaining rainforests on the planet and try to resist the first ever experiments of seabed mining in the world right off its coasts.
Political ambition and corporate greed pose the greatest risks to social harmony in the Pacific. The richest and biggest nation, Australia, should rather lead the region through solidarity and inclusiveness. It will not be a military basis in Manus Island to keep people like the Chinese at bay. They are equipped with financial resources and skills, clearly showing industriousness and hunger for new geographical space and financial opportunities for an immensely bigger population, and not completely abstaining from corrupt and unconventional practices to get their way into business and profit. A costly naval facility will not win the hearts and minds of smaller Pacific nations, who may still surrender their natural resources to China in exchange for ordinary budget needs. It will rather further promote the idea of a new West colonial attempt, which relies on estranged military strength rather than empowerment of local human resources and assets.
The people of the Pacific value cooperation, respect and harmonious relationships with fellow humans and the environment. If Australia wants to lead, it can only do so through compassion and kindness. Arrogance and refusal to listen will isolate the big island south, leaving the smaller ones in the vast ocean with no choice but to turn to Asia. Nobody intends to infringe on the rights and boarders of Australia; but their citizens will not be loved if their government keeps on picking on a few hundred refugees on off-shore detention centers; or if they refuse to acknowledge the negative impact of coal burning on the environment; or make access and work in their country difficult for other members of the Pacific family. A true leader supports and inspires, rather than lord it over and show muscular strength.
(PNG Catholic Reporter, September 2019)
– A report has detailed shocking levels of physical violence and neglect
towards millions of Pacific Islands children, sparking calls for better-targeted
aid programs from countries like New Zealand and Australia. The report team, from
combined aid agencies, investigated child-rearing practices in seven Pacific
countries, as well as Timor-Leste. The report found as many as four million
children experience violence at home across the Pacific – a staggering 2.8
million in Papua New Guinea alone.
More than half of all
sexual violence referred to medical clinics involves children in PNG, where
almost one in three parents report beating children “as hard as they can”. The
research also outlines a range of factors that contribute to the abuse,
including Pacific societies with high levels of gender inequality; social
acceptance of physical punishment of children, weak governance, and growing
poverty and inequality.
The report’s authors said
the research shows the critical lack of overseas aid invested in programs aimed
at ending violence against children, and programs by countries like New Zealand
and Australia need to be more targeted.
Carsten Bockemuehl, World
Vision’s advocacy campaigns lead for the Pacific, said violence against
children will make societies less prosperous and will exacerbate risks to
health and criminal justice systems and that there needed to be a “rebalancing”
of aid priorities in the Pacific.
“It’s actually an economic
issue, it makes countries poorer, so that’s why, out of the many competing
priorities in developing countries, we just advocate for violence to be
recognised as a critical development issue.”
committing violence against children will be fined up to K5,000 or jailed up to
two years or both under the Lukautim Pikinini Act, says Community Development,
Youth and Religion Minister Wake Goi. He made the statement following reports
of recent child abuses in Port Moresby.
Three children were beaten and locked up in the cell two weeks ago at Boroko
and last week, four children were stripped, beaten and poured paint on after
they were allegedly caught doing graffiti.
And recently at Gordon bus station, a grade eight student in school uniform was
allegedly beaten by police officers. Samuel Kolas, 18, a grade 8 student at the
Wardstrip Primary School, was allegedly beaten by three policemen while he was
waiting for a bus. Goi said that these reports spoke volumes of negligence,
abuse and violence perpetrated against children.
Under the Lukautim Pikinini Act section 78, for all forms of violence other
than sexual violence the penalty is K5,000 fine or imprisonment not exceeding
two years or both,” she said. “The perpetrators must be arrested and charged
under the Lukautim Pikinini Act.”
THE head bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran church of Papua New Guinea Dr Jack Urame has condemned physical violence and other forms of violence against children in Papua New Guinea, adding that this is a serious issue and a sign of the breakdown of family and societal values. He was referring to a new report on child protection crisis in the Pacific released at the United Nations High-level Political Forum in New York last month. The Unseen and Unsafe: Underinvestment in Ending Violence Against Children in the Pacific and Timor-Leste report shows that over 70 per cent or four million children across eight countries experience violent discipline at home, including a staggering 2.8 million (75 per cent of the child population) in PNG. The report details, for the first time, the shocking levels of physical, emotional and sexual violence, as well as neglect faced by children living in the Pacific and Timor-Leste. “If the report is true about our country, then it does not reflect well on our society, a so-called Christian country,” Urame told The National. “We will face a lot of problems in the future because we are not helping the children, who are the very future of this nation. “I appeal to mothers and fathers to be responsible for their children. “We must change our attitudes when caring for our children.” He called on all churches in the country to speak out on the issue. “The church condemns and does not tolerate all forms of violence and abuse towards children. We must all work together now to ensure our children are given the rightful and proper care they deserve.”
PNG: Look to agriculture not minerals to strengthen economy
LONDON, UK – Papua New Guinea should look to agriculture to strengthen
growth as the economy recovers from a series of external shocks, the World Bank
has said. Structural transformation was needed in the country to bring about
the inclusive and sustainable development that would enable its economy to
become more resilient, the bank suggested in a report. Real GDP growth in Papua
New Guinea dropped gradually from 13.5% in 2014 to -0.5% in 2018. During this time
there was a commodity price shock, a particularly warm El Niño climate cycle
and a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hampered the economy, the World Bank
pointed out in the report, released on Friday last week.
But now, real GDP growth is forecast to be about 5.6% in 2019, and hover
at just over 3% in 2020-21 – a recovery mainly observed in the resource sector,
dominated by liquefied natural gas. Ilyas Sarsenov, World Bank senior country
economist for Papua New Guinea, said: “PNG’s growth outlook remains positive
but fragile due to rising economic uncertainties ranging from the domestic
political economy to the recent escalation of trade tensions between the United
States and China. “To mitigate downside risks to the outlook and better weather
external shocks, it is recommended that PNG authorities adjust macroeconomic
policy and focus on structural transformation of the economy, especially in
agriculture as a potential economic driver for more diversified and inclusive
development.” About 87% of the country’s population live in rural areas, with
three quarters of them involved in subsistence and cash income agriculture –
including fresh foods, coffee, cocoa, palm oil, copra and copra oil.
New Zealand – Pacific island leaders insist climate change, not China, will top
the agenda when they meet in Tuvalu this month as western-aligned nations push
to curb Beijing’s growing influence in the region. Once regarded as a sleepy
backwater of the diplomatic world, the islands are now a hotbed of aid projects
and charm offensives as anxiety over China’s presence grows. Australia has
labelled its campaign the Pacific Step-Up, New Zealand has the Pacific Reset,
and Britain the Pacific Uplift, while the United States, Japan, and France have
also intensified their efforts to court the region. But local leaders attending
the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu from August 13 to 16 are wary their
concerns will be sidelined if they become pawns in a wider power struggle. The
16-member forum mainly consists of small island nations, along with Papua New
Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand. PIF secretary-general Dame Meg Taylor said
the forum, whose members collectively refer to themselves as the Blue Pacific,
was at a pivotal moment in its history.”While we are the subject of the
geopolitical maneuvering and strategies of others, the Blue Pacific collective
remains focused on charting our own destiny,” she said.
The primary concern for
island leaders – many of whom live in low-lying nations threatened by rising
seas – is climate change
PNG needs to depreciate
exchange rate, academic says
Papua New Guinea’s economy showed signs of recovery last year but it has not been sustained this year, according to survey results presented at the 2019 Update PNG Forum in Port Moresby last week. Australian National University director of development policy centre Stephen Howes told the forum PNG needed to depreciate its exchange rate. Howes said PNG was the 10th most resource-intensive economy in the world, reliant on petroleum, oil, gas, coal and minerals, the Saudi Arabia of the Pacific. “In order to recover after the boom, PNG needs to depreciate its exchange rate. “Until it does that, PNG is going to suffer from foreign exchange shortages and that will drag on growth. “The rising salary bill, rising interest burden and revenue is flat which makes fiscal adjustments and management difficult. “The Government cannot pay bills because it has to pay salaries and interest obligations. State-owned entities debt and some of the guarantees were adding to the fiscal stress.”
phones have seen rapid rise in off-grid solar in PNG
— The use of off-grid solar products has skyrocketed over the past five years
in Papua New Guinea, with 60% of households now using solar lighting — up
sharply from just 2% in 2012, according to a new report by the International
Finance Corporation. As a result, PNG now has one of the highest rates of use of
off-grid solar lighting in the developing world, according to the report ‘Going the Distance: Off-Grid Lighting
Market Dynamics in PNG’. Part of this is due to the fact that 87%
of the population — or 7.2 million people — are not connected to the
electricity grid. But the increased use of mobile technology has also played a
major role. The report showed the transition happened at a time when mobile
phone penetration was growing rapidly, but the means to charge phones was
lagging. Off-grid solar products on the PNG market now include generic battery
powered torches and lanterns, as well as IFC quality-verified off-grid solar
products — with many providing the ability to charge a phone. “This is because people need the energy to
charge their mobiles, and there is also an attempt by mobile companies to
launch initiatives for mobile charging. It is important to remember that the
revenues of mobile companies are directly related to handsets being charged.”
Sori: Teachers having sexual
relationship to be terminated
TEACHERS who abuse their position of trust and have sexual relationships with female students will be terminated, Teachers Service Commissioner Baran Sori says. Sori told The National that teachers engaged in sexual relationships with their students was not just a serious offence but also criminal in nature. He made this statement after three male secondary high school teachers in New Ireland were terminated for having sexual relationships with their students. “The three teachers were charged with the offence by a senior provincial school inspector after complaints were raised and the matter was referred to the provincial education board, who recommended their immediate dismissal,” Sori said.
TWO police officers were jailed 18 months by the Waigani National Court yesterday for forcing a woman to chew and swallow three condoms in 2015. Justice Panuel Mogish also ordered Joshua Yawijah and Jacklyn Tanda to be dismissed from the force. “Police officers are supposed to uphold human rights, not abuse their powers,” he said. Yawijah and Tanda, both probationary police officers, recorded a video of the woman’s ordeal of chewing and swallowing the condoms and posted the it on the Internet. “You did not formally arrest and charge the complainant for an offence, but instead you forced her to eat and swallow the condoms,” he told the duo. Yawijah, 25, from Pangia, Southern Highlands has two children and Tanda, 26, from Wabag, Enga, has a three-month-old baby. “Before you commit a crime, always think about your family.”
HEALTH Minister Elias
Kapavore said the issue of shortage of doctors in the country could only be
addressed with a standalone medical university and the training of medical
students at other major institutions. Kapavore said given the current ratio of
one doctor for every 20,000 people, the Government was trying to address the
shortage of doctors in the country and had taken several measures. He had
instructed the new Medical Board of PNG with the support of two Australian
medical professors to visit the Divine Word University next month to assess the
curriculum and its facilities related to the teaching of medicine. Kapavore
said while the DWU medical programme had its critics, the curriculum and
training offered at Madang institution the two professors would be able to give
him a clear understanding what the school needed to produce qualified and
quality graduates. He said based on their report, a review of the curriculum
would be done if needed to ensure the changes were made in order for DWU to
graduate its first doctors in 2021 which he said would double the number of
Marape govt begins to address PNG’s grim cancer battle
PORT MORESBY – We are all susceptible to cancer regardless
of age, sex, race, health and socioeconomic situation. Cancer strikes
indiscriminately. It takes alike the old and young, weak and robust,
eliminating a former common misconception- one of many myths of cancer – that
it is mainly an ailment consigned to the older age bracket.
Unlike death and its
inevitability, cancer can be fatal, but is also avoidable and treatable, given
the right drugs and equipment. And it can be curable as well if diagnosed and
treated at the earliest stage. I was privileged to speak to the late Dr John
Niblett about this in July 2013. At the time this great and selfless man was
director of the Angau Memorial Hospital’s cancer treatment centre.
Dr Niblett (God rest his
soul) died on 4 July 2017 – an especially tragic passing given his cruel
expulsion from the treatment centre by an ingrate National Department of Health
and the Health Minister at the time. In light of the Marape government’s recent
announcement of a sizable capital injection of K60 million into the country’s
two top hospitals to ensure cancer treatment will be available next year, I am
prompted to revisit my enlightening conversation with the late Dr Niblett.
Then a leading cancer
specialist and the only resident radiation oncologist in PNG, Dr Niblett said
given the underdeveloped, underfunded, understaffed and under-informed cancer
response by the health department, early detection was the only hope anyone
afflicted by cancer had to be given a fighting chance to survive. Back in 2013,
the statistics painted an almost hopeless picture of the cancer situation in
the country. Of an estimated 2,000 cancer cases each year, an average of 400
were detected and referred to the cancer centre for treatment management. This
was a mere 40% compared to the outstanding 60% of undetected cases, implying
that some 1,200 unfortunate people suffered in what can only be described as
dreadful circumstances without treatment and without hope.
26 August 2019
Peace in the valley – and it all started in the home
– The air is filled with smoke rising languidly above mounds of black ash.
Women and children hide in the forest, terrified of those who have stripped
their fields and herded away their pigs.
In the distance, a
decrepit school stands idly, empty of laughter or the sounds of teachers
scolding students. A small church, recently filled with sounds of song and
praise, is the only building that is untouched. Over a ridge, a widow watches a
sweet potato roasting on a bed of glowing ash. She is worried. Her hands
tremble. Recently a man in her clan died after a long illness. Some of the
relatives are saying she is responsible.
They huddle together and
whisper. A witch, one says. A sorcerer, says another. A Dracula. For that is
the new word they use for the likes of her. She has done nothing but fears what
will happen when the relatives of the deceased man return to her house.
She is still grieving, for
her own husband died two years earlier, and a daughter died recently in
childbirth. It was too dangerous to go to the hospital.
This was the recent, harsh
reality of life for the 3,000 people of the Guna-Goreku tribe in Papua New
Guinea’s rugged and beautiful Simbu Province. According to Benjamin Kola and
his wife, Agnes, few Guna-Goreku people had gone to school because of constant
fighting for more than 25 years. [See the above url for the full article]
Progress may be inevitable but human dignity should prevail
MORESBY – The fate of about 100 families residing in 64 units of National
Housing Commission flats at Gordon in Port Moresby hangs in precarious balance
as they face eviction from their homes of 20-30 years by a private property
The matter is the subject
of a bitter and protracted legal battle that has taken up the better part of
the last 12 years and is still awaiting a final court decision.
But the political
leadership of the National Capital District (NCD) must be lauded, and loudly,
for standing up for the families who are agitated and distressed about the
future. Governor Powes Parkop and the MPs of Moresby South and North-East have
made considerable efforts to address the adverse effects of physical
developments on affected communities in and around the city.
Moresby North-East MP John
Kaupa recently told the affected Gordon families that, if an eviction is
compelled to happen by law, it will take place, but that it is incumbent upon
leaders to ensure it occurs in a just, orderly and humane manner.
Essentially, the MP
captured and amplified the collective view of local political leaders led by Governor
In the last two years
alone, there have been a number of NCD-sanctioned relocation of entire
communities displaced by commercial developments.
A human rights lawyer
prior to taking up politics, Governor Parkop consistently champions the cause
of powerless people caught in the aggressive cross currents of progress and
development. That is certainly the sentiment of Francis Irai, an elderly man of
about 70, living with his family in a makeshift home constructed of rusted
metal sheet walls and canvas for a roof. The squalor in which the family is
living is shocking and degrading, but the family has no place else and the
future is devoid of hope as far as Mr Irai can see, which unfortunately is not
too far as he is losing his sight. They are victims of progress taking the form
of a brand new four-lane road linking Gerehu and 9 Mile, purportedly to reduce
the traffic congestion on the nearby main highway.
Irai is now a broken man
without a job, without a home and without hope. He sought me out to air his
story in his firm belief that Governor Parkop will heed his plea.
admission of health system failure 10 years overdue
SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My
– For the last five years, I have been repeating the same story: ‘We have a
crisis in the health system.’The rest of the country can see
it. The people who are victims of the medicine shortages all over the country
keep speaking out about it. Health workers have cried while being interviewed
because they simply can’t save lives. And we’re not talking about the expensive
cancer treatment and operations families have to pay for.
It’s the basics that are
lacking. Antibiotics, malaria drugs, family planning drugs and consumables. The
clinics don’t have them. Or even if they have them, the supplies are not enough
for their catchment areas. Personally, I have emailed the health secretary,
Pascoe Kase, about the cancer unit in Lae, the ill-treatment of the late Dr
John Niblet and the medicine shortages. I have called and sent text messages. No
I found that the only
way get the (former) government’s attention was to produce a series of
live videos on Facebook berating the health minister and the ‘higher ups’ until
the issue got discussed on the floor of parliament. It took a change of
government before health workers truly felt free to openly discuss the medicine
shortages. When the new PM, James Marape, travelled to Lae on his second
visit, he came with health minister Elias Kapavore and secretary Kase. We put
the question of medicine shortages to him yet again. The health secretary was
indeed quick to defend saying the medicine shortage was a “broad” assumption
and that the problem was with the area medical stores.He went on further to
state that a lot of the blame lay with staff at the clinics.
I said: “You have to go to
the clinics and talk to staff because the information you are giving me here is
wrong.” (I have the video). It turned into a tense exchange which
we later had to cut short. After more than five years, secretary Kase is now
‘admitting’ that there are problems. I could say better late than
never. But…no. We wanted that admission earlier. We wanted an
acknowledgment of the problem and it is almost 10 years overdue. Senior doctors
like Sam Yokopua, Ludwig Nanawar and Alex Peawi have all threatened to resign
over the unresolved problems that continue to hurt their patients.
PLUS ÇA CHANGE, PLUS C’EST
LA MÊME CHOSE
I liked the last sentence
of Scott’s article. Luckily in my sojourn in PNG I didn’t spend too long living
in the capital but the few years remain etched in my memory-bank.
I can still the recall the
delightful appearance of the Waigani public servants and ministerial
bag-carriers or ‘gofers’.
They looked quite sharp in
their nice clothes complete with an air of officialdom that impressed the
peasants who sought answers in shabby government offices or when these so
called public servants accompanied their ministerial masters often helicoptered
into the sweaty backwaters of the nation and thus avoiding nasty spray from a
dinghy trip or inhaling the road dust and pothole bumps along neglected mud
Having been a mostly rural
inhabitant for my 32 years in PNG I had witnessed the terrible shortcoming of
the Health Department at first hand:
The lovely dental building
at Taskul with no electricity connection and the second-hand dental chair which
would send you somersaulting backwards onto floor as it had a damaged rear
support. Two officers stationed there to carry out 19th century extractions.
Daughter with cut finger
arrived at 1610 so no treatment until next day.
Never ending lack of
correct tablets so aspirin for malaria.
On and on it goes with the
poor old aidposts having rundown buildings with even less medial necessities.
Not even a water supply for some as collecting gutters broken or tank rusted
Reports in PNG media now
in my health file continue to grow and every year appear articles on the
failure of the health ministers and their secretaries to solve the greatest
problem of drug supply in their fiefdom.
011203 Medical drugs run
out in NG Islands region:
INTRAVENOUS fluid, an
essential medical drug, is reportedly running short in the New Guinea Islands
Region. Saint Mary’s Vunapope Hospital paediatrician Dr Pomat told of one
patient, who was very sick and needed IV treatment but hospital staff could not
administer IV because they did not have the fluid in stock and the patient
died. “It is a crisis situation. We are out of intravenous fluids,” Dr Pomat
020624 THE Port Moresby
General Hospital is critically short of drugs There are no anaesthetic drugs
and laboratory reagents.
020102 Goroka needs
steriliser to fight typhoid epidemic
040114 Cancer, silent killer
-UP to 10,000 Papua New Guineans die every year as a result of cancer
060721 Moresby hospital
runs out of drugs
080608 2nd hand cancer
machine that Lae hospital bought in 1979 eventually gave up ghost in 1999
081212 Tari hospital runs
out of drugs
081231 In dire straits
POMGH forced to accept donations to stay in business
090107 Babies miss out as
drugs run out at Well Baby Clinic in POM
091016 Drug supply short
at urban clinics
100223 Drug shortage in
Lae clinics for newborn babies
100520 Last three months
before ART drug supply ceases
119221 The acute shortage
of basic medical drugs in rural aid posts in Madang and Karkar is now into its
second month as the province’s medical store and supplier remains closed.
110722 Drugs shortage
kills nine in Kandrian
111107 A$1.4 million given
to pursue snake-bites study
110130 Papua New Guinea
Health Report – The worst state of health in the Pacific region
120217 No immunisation
vaccines for babies in Lae
120412 Nonga Base hospital
short on oxygen supplies
120418 Wewak General
Hospital is sending away patients seeking X-rays because its machine is not
131201 Internal DFAT
documents identify Borneo Pacific as PNG’s largest provider of drugs from
manufacturer North China Pharmaceutical Group, a known offender in China’s fake
140605 Medical kits here
next week from Borneo Pharmaceutical Company in Indonesia
140722 Hospitals receive
300 second hand beds from John Hunter Hospital in OZ
150331 Shortage of BCG
vaccine for babies at POM G Hospital is unacceptable
151106 PM seems to be
deluded when he says ‘no drug shortages in PNG hospitals’
160413 Critical drug
shortage at POM G Hospital for six months
160415 ‘Hospitals not
short of drugs’ says Secty. Pascoe Kase
160517 Laloki short of
vital mental drug Olanzepine
160623 K50 Millions owed
to suppliers and distributors of medical drugs acknowledged by health Minister
Michael Malabag & his Secty. P Kase
160926 Hospitals lack
170103 Nogat marasin
170315 Lack Of Anti Venom
In PNG A Concern at www. news.pngfacts.com
170320 Shortage of pap
smear tests because of lack of pathologists
170412 Half a million
funding for drugs not enough for 6 months
170609 Drugs crisis being
fixed says Secty. Kase
170808 K15,000 anti-venom
fee will cause deaths says Dr Sam Yockopua
180222 Medicines running
out as supplies stuck without distributor as Sir Puke dithers
180525 Sir Puke Tuma
Health minister NOW admits medicine, needles, gauze, cotton often run out
181031 Oro Clinic serving
2000 people: No antibiotics, no painkillers or other basic supplies such as
gauze, gloves and adhesives.
190319 Ways sought to
improve supply of medicine says Sir Puka Temu
These mere headlines tell
a sad tale of political neglect either from idiots, uncaring or corrupt elites
who turn up to work in their nice clothes but often disdaining to answer the
pleas of the masses crying out for a decent health system throughout the
We are all aware how the
top lot somehow afford trips to overseas hospitals or at the very at least
access private medical care.
Sadly May 2019’s misnamed
‘change of government’ saw O’Neills recent supporters who had just publicly
railed against him happily coalescing into almost the same political swamp
Nothing new under the sun
in politics: ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’
If you’re pregnant, very
unwell, suffering from cancer, TB or with mental illness don’t hold your breath
waiting to see improvements in your rural health facility.
PERPETRATORS of sorcery
accusation related violence (SARV) in Jiwaka are increasingly likely to face
the law after local police received some intensive training. Thirty-two police
officers in Jiwaka were briefed on the latest laws and legal framework
regarding SARV crimes at a recent workshop in Minj. Participants took part in
discussions and activities on efficient ways to identify and charge alleged
perpetrators in sorcery accusation related violence cases.
Constable Alice Bureng, from Banz Police Station, said they attended to SARV
cases on a weekly basis. “After attending the workshop, I now understand that
it is important to attend to minor complaints of SARV such as calling someone a
sanguma (sorcerer) before it escalates into arson or murder,” Bureng said. She
added that witnesses in most SARV cases did not give statements or turn up to
court in fear of retribution, making prosecution difficult.
TUBERCULOSIS (TB) is spreading among prisoners in Buimo
and it is getting worse because of overcrowding, jail commander Supt Judy Tara
says. Tara this said on Thursday in Lae that after the death of an inmate ,
caused by TB, a few weeks ago. “I am calling on the authorities to allow parole
for detainees who are eligible for this release to free up space,” she said.
Buimo prison reduced the number of its inmates by sending some to prisons in
other centres last month.
A CATHOLIC bishop has called on the Government to tell
companies both foreign and local to renegotiate agreements relating to
customary land. Archbishop Francesco Panfilo told the annual Singkai Lecture on
July 5 at the Bomana Catholic Theological Institute that it must be done to
“Take back PNG” which the Government has to do.
Panfilo said most Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABL) were not fair on
indigenous owners who had little or nothing to gain despite the use of huge
portions of their land and the harvesting of its resources.
He urged the Government to push for renegotiation to ensure:
A fair rental
payment for the land;
fair royalties paid
for the export of resources;
devastation is addressed;
policies are in
place to ensure sound environment practices;
the respect for
sacred sites; and,
contribution to sustainable community services by the company
Panfilo said Papua New Guineans as Melanesians depended on
the land as it was their life.
At least 15
women and children killed in tribal massacre in Papua New Guinea
University anthropologist Dr Chris Ballard, who has spent many years living
with and researching the area’s dominant Huli population, agrees with local
observations that the massacre falls outside even the eroded rules of tribal
warfare. Before European contact, these constraints “managed fighting quite
effectively,” he says. “Even in the worst cases of warfare where entire clans
were forced off their territory, casualties were pretty minimal and they were
almost always fighting men.” Given dense webs of social connection and strict
requirements around paying compensation for deaths, random killing were
considered “truly dumb”.“Nobody was interested in mass death. The cost of
having to fork out pigs for compensation for death placed limits on what people
were prepared to even envisage.”
anger over broken promises
Today locals live in
constant fear and Hela is a virtual no-go zone to outsiders despite the fact
that the recent atrocities played out barely 30 kilometres, as the helicopter
flies, from the fortified compounds that are the heart of the nation’s largest
resources project, the $US19 billion Exxon-Mobil led PNGLNG
(Liquefied Natural Gas).
The maelstrom of the LNG fallout, old
enmities, new jealousies, deteriorating basic services and, last year, a devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake,
underwrites a spiralling social
emergency in which tribal fighting has razed villages,
closed schools, displaced communities and caused an unknown toll of casualties.
The old rules constraining warfare have broken down in recent decades, ,
Ballard says. By 2008 – when the PNGLNG building phase was at its height –
Medecins Sans Frontieres installed a surgical team at Tari Hospital because
casualties from tribal and family violence were equivalent to a war zone. Janet
Koriama says traditional protections for women have eroded notably over the
lifetime of the LNG project.
Patients urged to report hospital staff
PORT Moresby General Hospital acting chief executive
officer Paki Molumi wants the public to report any staff, nurse or doctor who
demands fees for services. He said the admission fee for the hospital was K5,
surgery K15 and K50 for CT scan. “However, the charges have been waived for
children and senior citizens. “Doctors may also use their discretion to waive
the charges for those who could not afford to pay,” he said. Molumi said it was
illegal for any staff, nurse or doctor to collect fees for hospital services. “Please
report immediately any staff who demanded payment so that we can make the
system better for our patients,” he said.
Molumi also said a new policy had been implemented for accepting donations to
“Food donations are not accepted due to the risk of contamination while
donation of clothes and toys will go through the Department of Social Works for
“However, charitable donations for pharmaceuticals, equipment or infrastructure
are most welcome.”
A CATHOLIC church priest is calling on the Government not
to consider death penalty as an option for punishment but to fund
rehabilitation programmes to change the people.
Chaplin of Baisu Jail in the Western Highlands Fr Robert Nolie said the
Correctional Services was established to rehabilitate offenders and Government
should focus on that aspect of the penal system. He said the death penalty was
not the solution for penalising law breakers.
Nolie said he supported Prime Minister James Marape for suggesting a way
forward for prisoners. Nolie said everyone made mistakes and rehabilitation
through the state correctional system as well as faith and social programmes
were better alternatives than ending a life.
He said leaders could not impose laws to kill wrong doers but rather help
change those who broke the laws. Nolie said he was currently running
rehabilitation programmes at Baisu and had seen firsthand the positive impact
on a wide range of prisoners including serious offenders.
He said the rehabilitation programmes had prisoners engaged in were piggery,
poultry, goat farming, agriculture and now the Baisu Technical Education
Vocational Training (Tvet) centre.
“After working with the prisoners for six years I can see that they can change
if they are taught to live better lives through the rehabilitation programmes,”
he said. “I make prisoners feel at home, after they leave they go as changed
person, this is why the Government should consider funding these programmes to
help law breakers.”
He said the Catholic church of the Archdiocese of Mt
Hagen was willing to work with the Correctional Services department in
developing and running rehabilitation and reintegration programmes in jails.
Part of the solution or
part of the problem? Private security in PNG
CANBERRA – In a surprise move, Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister,
James Marape, appointed member for Madang Open, Bryan Kramer, as the country’s
Soon after his
appointment Kramer promised to reform PNG’s police force, the Royal Papua New
Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC). The one-time member of the opposition and critic
of the O’Neill government has outlined a range of measures, including providing
more opportunities for women, addressing corruption and improving discipline. He
is also encouraging citizens to report crime and police misdeeds through social
media, which has already resulted in an arrest.
While Kramer’s promised
reforms are encouraging, improving security in what is often depicted as one of
the world’s most dangerous countries will not be easy. PNG’s police force is
massively understaffed, poorly resourced, ill-disciplined and heavily
factionalised. Even if reform were to improve the state’s police force, PNG’s
serious fiscal crisis means that Kramer, and the still-to-be-appointed new
police commissioner, will need to look beyond the RPNGC to find answers to
PNG’s security problems.
One possible place to
start looking will be PNG’s private security industry, which although
intersecting with many areas of public policing has been largely ignored in
policy and development discussions to date. The private security industry has
become the largest provider of security in the country. According to PNG’s
Security Industries Authority (SIA), which is the designated regulator under
the Security (Protection) Industry Act 2004, the number of licensed companies
grew from 173 in 2006 to 464 in 2016, with a total workforce of around 27,709
security guards.These official figures don’t include what are believed to be
the much higher number of unlicensed security companies and personnel operating
in different parts of the country.
The industry is a major
employer, with some claiming that it is now the country’s third largest source
of employment. While available figures are rubbery, the SIA estimated the value
of the industry in 2016 as between K833 million and K1 billion.
New curriculum brings mixed reaction from officers
have been a lot of discussions, including mixed reactions, about the new
curriculum citizenship and Christian values education (CCVE) at the senior
education officers’ meeting in Eastern Highlands this week. However, most of
the participants agreed to the introduction of the new curriculum as a
compulsory subject due to moral breakdown in the PNG society.
CCVC has come about because of widespread concern regarding lack of prominence
in teaching and learning of CCVE in school curriculums. Acting Education
secretary in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Mary Remi raised an
implementing issue on how the department could address teachers with attitude
problems to teach Christian values education. Church education representative
Michael Ova also agreed and said earlier aspects of confusion of CCVE was
cleared during the conference presentation. First assistant secretary
curriculum and measurement with the Education Department Annmarie Kona, when
updating senior education officers about the curriculum said: “CCVE came about
due to evidence in society about the disrespect for law, disrespect and denial
of human rights, disrespect of environment, non-appreciation of cultural
beliefs and values, growing practices of corruption and total breakdown of
civic participation. Kona also shared that Christian religion education that
was being taught currently by church representatives was about Christianity,
unlike CCVE for which teachers are trained to teach.
elites behind brutal Highlands slayings must be targeted
PORT MORESBY – Sixteen children and women slashed to death by warlords
and their tribesmen were laid to rest in Hela yesterday.
And towards the eastern
edge of Southern Highlands in the Kagua-Erave area, a massacre said to be much
larger continues unabated, perhaps 50-100 victims have lost their lives as
warring tribes ransack villages and orchestrate guerilla warfare. With limited
reliable reporting, the number of deaths is likely to be much higher. Roads
have become dangerous to travel and as a result schools, aid posts and other
basic government services have come to a standstill.
With the use of high
powered guns and hired hit men, tribal fights are much more deadly than those
fought in traditional times. In the Highlands where the payback system
and bigman mentality
are still dominant, battles among the elites for power quickly spiral into
all-out tribal and ethnic war. It gets complicated when political differences
and tribal conflicts intertwine. Lurking behind the images of men with guns and
piles of bodies is a battle among the elites for power, prestige and wealth. Money
and drugs are used to procure high powered guns for the foot soldiers who
follow orders from the top. It’s continuing warfare, there’s no sparing the
innocent and there’s no contemplation of peace. As aptly described by one
observer, the situation in Hela and other parts of the Highlands is not just
chaos, it’s organised chaos. The killing of women and children is an emerging
trend in tribal warfare and may reflect a change in the rules of engagement. It
seems warring tribes are after children, especially male children and their
mothers, in the hope of exterminating future threats. However, we all know that
will only lead to a vicious cycle of revenge, death and continuing violence in
leaders, ward councillors, village court magistrates, tribal leaders and police
all have an important role to play in ensuring that peace prevails. The
organising elite must be held accountable. They are the ones bankrolling these
battles and killings. They are responsible and they must act to stop the
PAPUA New Guinea has the highest number of
child abuse cases of the estimated 2.8 million children facing violence in the
Pacific and Timor-Leste, according to Unseen and Unsafe report.
Save the Children acting head of policy and author of Unseen and Unsafe,
Kavitha Suthanthiraraj, says the report reveals the child protection crisis in
the Pacific and Timor-Leste and the devastating lifelong impact this has on
children. “Violence against children has been ignored and there has been
inadequate levels of funds and policy measures to address this epidemic,” she
said. “Children who face violence and abuse often suffer from serious physical
injuries, unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, mental trauma
and even death.”
A research, conducted by Save the Children, World Vision, Plan International
and ChildFund, demonstrated that in PNG:
More than half of all sexual violence cases referred to
medical clinics in Port Moresby and Tari were against children;
27 per cent of parents or carers reported beating their
children over and over as hard as they could;
physical violence against adolescent girls is between 30
per cent and 25 per cent; and,
sexual violence against adolescent girls is between 15 per
cent and 10 per cent.
Scott Waide – As the new prime minister, you have your work cut out for you.
You have to try to get a lot of it done within two years before
the 2022 elections.
That’s a big job. Do what is right by the people. Listen to
their voices through social media. Not all of it is fake news. Take
counsel from those who disagree with you, publicly and privately, in the
interest of your eight million people. Be brave enough to listen to the
criticisms and find the threads of truth in them. Be truthful about the state
of Papua New Guinea’s health system. The people of Papua New Guinea
deserve a Government that tells the truth. There is a severe shortage of
medicine. Puka Temu did a bad job and he did not admit to it as health
minister. Many of our aid posts are closed and our hospitals don’t have
medicine. Yet the media is accused of ‘being political’ when we highlight
these ‘open secrets.’
Be truthful about tuition fee free education. It’s not
working for us. Our schools don’t get the money on time. If we have to
pay for school fees, tell that to the people straight as it is. Papua New
Guineans are resilient and hard working. They do not deserve to be lied
to. Please appoint an education minister who will find out why teachers
continue to have their pays cut when they do not have outstanding loans.
Remove the companies that are benefiting from the cumbersome
procurement processed in the health and education at the expense of our people.
Investigate and prosecute the kaikaiman and kaikaimeri who
suck the systems dry. Send them to jail.
Provide housing for our people. …
Papua New Guineans deserve government that has the guts to dump
the garbage and restore integrity.
SOME prison facilities still being used today were built during the colonial days and badly need to be renovated and upgraded, a senior prison officer says. Correctional Service College commander Chief Supt Kiddy Keko said some of the infrastructures were falling apart including buildings, staff quarters and offices. He called on the Government to increase the Correctional Service annual budget to cater for the upgrading of its facilities. “There are 22 State prisons around the country with over 1000 staff and their families,” Keko said. “In order to rehabilitate convicts like murderers and rapists, officers need proper facilities to use. It is their right to be protected under a proper roof to do their jobs effectively.” He said the Correctional Service was allocated about K166 million annually which was not enough for the rehabilitation process.
TRANSPARENCY International PNG (TIPNG) has urged newly-elected
Prime Minister James Marape and his cabinet to revisit five legislative issues
of national interest to reduce corruption and restore good governance in the
There are five crucial legislative actions that are of national interest that
Transparency International PNG would be urging the Marape Government to take to
reduce corruption and restore good governance in the country:
Establish a fully-empowered Independent Commission Against Corruption, with the power to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of corruption;
pass amendments to the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates to ensure it follows the constitution and is ensures greater accountability in how MP’s conduct themselves;
address the tangible deficiencies identified in TIPNG’s 2017 Election Observation Report through reform of the Electoral Law;
use Open Government Partnership to pass Access To Information Legislation and strengthen accountability in service delivery through civic participation; and,
Establish the outstanding Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) so that benefits from the country’s natural resources can be transparently managed.
pledge of hope & reassurance to the people of PNG
Kumbon – “To all our citizens, we are prepared to work, can I ask of you one
thing? “Give me a good law and order environment, stop crime, stop tribal
fights (my Hela, please), stop torture of mothers and daughters, stop
corruption at all levels, honour time by being punctual, do little things like
stop littering and spitting the red stain of betel nuts. “Let’s all contribute.
I am willing to make few hard calls going forward as the chief servant of my
country, Papua New Guinea.
you who want to work with me please align here or offer me better solution to
make PNG the Richest Black Christian Nation on earth, where no child in any
part of our country is left behind.”
are a modern and effective method of family planning lasting up to five years
and used worldwide for more than 20 years, says Health secretary Pascoe Kase.
Kase made this statement after a group of women called on the Health Department
to provide avenues for them to have their family planning implants removed due
to side effects. More than 20 women called on the Health Department to provide
a safe avenue for them to remove their implants without being turned away or
verbally abused by health workers. Spokeswoman Mary Hulova told The National
that they had been trying to remove their family planning implants since the end
of last year but were turned away by both the public clinics and other partner
service providers. “It’s been five years now, the implants have grown into our
flesh and we have been suffering from all sorts of side effects like migraines,
severe backaches, itchy skin and weight problems,” Hulova said.
“We went to Susu Mamas Clinic at 3-Mile but again we were turned away and told
to go back to the service providers because the implants were placed by them,
so many have given up and have just continued on living with the implants. “We
are now calling on the government to help us and provide avenue for us to go to
and remove these implants,” she said.
National General Elections were “flawed to an unforgivable extent” according to
a published report. Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG)
chairman Lawrence Stephens said the nation had allowed far too many of its
people to be robbed of their basic rights during the election. The report also
stated that voters were not able to vote as their ballot papers were used by
other persons or groups without their permission; many instances of threats and
intimidation and vote buying was observed to have been common place during the
elections. Stephens said that PNG needed to stop making excusing for failing to
honour its own Constitution and laws.
Three years on: Let’s not forget the brave students of 2016
10 June 2016Scott Waide – This week marks three years
since students at the University of Papua New Guinea were shot at a public
gathering. In the days leading up to the shooting they were
belittled, scorned and told their opinions on good governance and corruption
did not matter. The students were campaigning for greater transparency in
government, a stop to overseas borrowing and the resignation of the prime
whose time has come three years later.
mocked them. The public servants told them to go back to school and forget
about politics because they were ‘not qualified’ to talk about what was
happening in the seat of power. On Wednesday 8 June, police shot into a crowd
of students wounding a number of them, some badly. It was fortunate there were
no deaths. Students were chased and teargassed and NBC journalist Rose Amos,
reporting on the protest, was assaulted by police. The university
administration later penalised students for being part of the protest even as
their comrades lay injured in hospital. Some were told they would not graduate
that year. They stood up for democracy when everyone else was too afraid.
Papua New Guinea on the chopping block
Roberta Staley June 10, 2019
Eight members of the Kimadi tribe stand, crouch or sit on
the hard ground, knotty with exposed tree roots, enjoying the relative cool
offered by a verdant canopy of leaves overhead. Just a few metres away, the
quiet clear waters of a Bismarck Sea lagoon, filled with small schools of
striped tropical fish, lap against the grassy bank. The setting is tranquil and
bucolic – but not for the Kimadi, who have travelled from their traditional
territory in Madang province in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific to
consult with an NGO, the Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG). Founded in 1996 and
headquartered just outside the town of Madang, BRG provides consulting services
and advice to Indigenous groups like the Kimadi who are fighting ever-growing
threats from logging and palm oil development on their lands. …
Signs that the Kimadi’s subsistence lifestyle is under
threat first appeared last July when Malaysian company Woodbank Pacific began
logging about 10 kilometres upstream. Roads were cut into the steep, hilly
wilderness to allow logging-truck access. Then, clear cutting began of softwood
and hardwood trees, such as the kwila, which grows up to 50 metres high and is
used in a variety of products, from furniture and musical instruments to
building bridges. But the loggers were cavalier as they felled these forest
giants, letting some logs fall into the waterways and leaving them to rot,
contaminating the water flowing downstream to where the Kimadi villagers live,
says Lawun. “All the communities downstream are being affected.” …
The Kimadi have reason to be worried about the pernicious
ubiquity of logging in their home province. In 2010, Madang province had
2,000,000 hectares of tree cover extending over 76% of its land area. In 2017
alone, it lost 15,900 hectares of tree cover, Global Forest Watch reported.
In PNG, the roots of the
deforestation problem lie with Special Agriculture and Business Leases (SABLs),
which have weakened Indigenous Papua New Guineans’ claims to customary
landownership. Before the Land Act (1996) came into existence, about 97% of PNG
was controlled by Indigenous peoples. However, provisions in the act enabled
the state to lease land from customary owners, then re-lease it to private
companies or individuals. According to Father Philip Gibbs, a professor and
vice-president of research and higher degrees at Divine Word University in
Madang, this “lease-leaseback scheme” has resulted in 10% of the country’s
total land area ending up in private hands. The national and provincial
governments of Papua New Guinea encouraged landowners to enter into the
strategy, giving up their land, often based upon false promises of community
enrichment or employment, Gibbs says.
Kwa: ICAC Bill awaiting endorsement
11, 2019 The
of Justice and Attorney-General Secretary Dr Eric Kwa says the Independent
Commission against Corruption (ICAC) Bill is with the National Executive
Council for their endorsement. “We are hoping that the ICAC office will be
established soon to fight corruption,” Kwa said on Sunday during the Sir
Anthony Siaguru Walk Against Corruption in Port Moresby. “We are ready to fight
corruption and Prime Minister James Marape wants to push through the ICAC Bill
so I want to say that we have cleared the bill and it is now with NEC and
hopefully we will have this organisation to help fight corruption.” Kwa said
the bill was first tabled in 2009.
Plea to Marape: New PM asked to reinstate sacked whistleblower
PORT MORESBY – “Dear Prime Minister,” wrote Martyn Namorong in an open letter on Monday. “Please reinstate Brian Alois or, even better, appoint him as the secretary for works so we taxpayers don’t get ripped off.”
Now in case you don’t recall this matter, Alois was
suspended by the Works Department last year after he blew the whistle on how
the Papua New Guinea government was being cheated on inflated road contracts. At
the time, Alois was the Momase regional works manager and also president of the
PNG Institute of Engineers. Speaking as Institute president at a national
planning summit, he had highlighted how the government was paying well in
excess of what it should for road construction and maintenance projects.
In doing so, he mentioned a 300-metre stretch of road in
the National Capital District which had cost K80 million to construct. In the
audience was works secretary David Wereh and a number of government ministers
and departmental heads. Within hours Brian Alois had been suspended from his
job. More than a year later he remains sidelined.
Paul Barker, director of the PNG Institute of National
Affairs, commenting on Namorong’s letter this week, commended Alois as a “capable
and honest talent that PNG cannot afford to miss out on. “His message on
overpriced contracts must be heeded and addressed,” Barker said.
Can the Marape government reverse PNG’s ‘resource curse’ Paul Flanagan
here to the full version of Paul Flanagan’s latest article
It is too
early to tell whether the new government will make the important and
politically difficult policy changes required to reverse the ‘resource curse’
approaches of the O’Neill government. Recent PNG National Statistics Office
figures confirmed that the PNG Treasury was over-estimating the health of the
PNG economy in 2016. The new figures increase the gap between PNG LNG promises
and actual outcomes relative to if there had been no PNG LNG project at all.
average outcome remains that PNG’s industries were just over one-fifth worse
off in 2016 than if they had simply continued ‘business as usual’ growth prior
to the PNG LNG project. Overall, the PNG LNG project massively over-promised
and then failed to deliver. This is not because of the fall in oil prices –
indeed LNG export returns are higher than predicted. Resource projects should
be good for development – but this requires good policies. The PNG LNG project
induced poor policies under the O’Neill government. These poor policies
overwhelmed potential PNG LNG benefits….
Uphold laws, live in harmony & achieve prosperity, says Marape, 12 June 2019
I am motivated by leaders who refuse to accept money to see change and good governance. They are offered money, they are offered jobs but they stick to their commitment for the good of the people and country.
to Papua New Guineans, the least you can do is to respect your children, the
girls and women amongst us.
respect society by living peacefully, respecting each other despite our ethnic
differences, our political differences, our religious differences.
realise where we are. We need greater incursion into how we harvest our natural
our corporate citizens will feel a little bit doubtful, will feel a little bit
intimidated, a little bit insecure. But you must not feel that way.
is safe, when PNG is secured economically, when PNG is robust and growing,
businesses will flourish and reap deserved rewards.
PNG to be strong, stable, prosperous and wealthy. And that is why I am in the
business of making huge decisions in as far as resource laws are concerned.
We will do
it very slowly. I’m looking at 2025 in which we will migrate to a new
changes we intend to do in the next one or two years will be prospective.
to Papua New Guineans to respect and uphold the laws so the country can prosper
extra kina spent on maintaining law and order could otherwise be saved and
spent on schools, education, health and infrastructure.
to everyone nationwide, especially my people of Hela and the region, to help
transform communities into peaceful and law-abiding citizens who can contribute
to nation-building unabated.
30,000 TB cases a year makes PNG a regional health issue
PORT MORESBY – Investing in health is one of the best ways to build a better future. Healthy societies are more stable and equal and have stronger and more productive economies. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, improving public health is a global common good.
Since the turn of the century, there has
been significant progress in the fight against HIV and malaria in PNG. Investments
by international donors and partnerships with faith-based organisations and
other civil society groups have reduced the number of malaria cases and deaths
through national mosquito net distribution campaigns. The country has also made
big strides against HIV by making lifesaving treatment available to thousands
of HIV-positive people.
However, PNG’s 8.5 million people continue to face very
serious development and public health challenges. We have the highest malaria
burden in the world outside Africa, with the entire population at risk,
affecting primarily pregnant women and children under five. We also have the
highest number of new tuberculosis cases in the Pacific Island region – around
30,000 new cases each year, with TB now the leading cause of death in PNG. We
have alarming rates of drug-resistant TB, a more aggressive form that does not
respond to existing medications, resulting in fewer treatment options and
increasing mortality rates for illnesses that would ordinarily be curable –
PRIME Minister James Marape is getting
up and close with Papua New Guineans by sending messages through social media –
Facebook. He highlighted the target of being economically self-sufficient.
Key economic benchmarks and tasks to
Re-assessment of the 2019 budget and
deliver state of economy statistics to ensure our budget for the rest of 2019
and going forward is anchored on solid achievable numbers;
make redundant lesser priority areas in
budget, including taking control of salary overrun and office rental
stop non-economic stimulant programmes,
including loans to projects of insignificance;
ramp up access to international grant
facilities already open to PNG like the EUs and other global grants available
as well as drawing down on productive loans already secured;
do a forensic audit into all levels of
companies operating in the country to ensure they are all tax and fees
compliant;all resource projects coming up for reviews to be negotiated with the
view to gain now for our country with no more concessions, tax deductions or wavering
of fees etc; and,
Promulgation of policies and
legislations to ensure downstream processing of our natural resources be given
highest order of priority and all resources companies in all sectors that want
to participate in harvest of our resources must come up with clearer and
quicker ways to do downstream processing. Gone are the days when someone was
telling us you can’t do gold bullion in the country or you can’t process timber
in the country or we can’t have petro chemical industries in the country, or we
can’t grow rice and cattle in the country. (These) are some examples of adding
value to our resources.
How decentralised funding became
Centralized funding becomes decentralized corruption. 20 June 2019
Over the years, successive Papua New Guinea governments did well in decentralising power from Waigani. The establishment of District Development Authorities signified the completion of the decentralisation process, and also showed that the distribution mechanism for funds was ready to roll. Disbursements of K10 million each year to the districts was the highlight of decentralisation. These funds not only enabled districts to implement their development goals without having to face the Waigani bureaucracy, it also gave them financial power and, ultimately, the freedom to choose and fund projects and deliver services according to home-grown plans. With this freedom and power, rather unfortunately, followed endless impairments of virtue and moral principles.
million became everyman’s object of envy: district government officials, local
businessmen, village leaders, church pastors, recent graduates, and village
illiterates. In fact every Tom, Dick and Harry. Beyond the scrutiny of
government departments, which themselves are allegedly corrupt beyond measure,
abuse in broad daylight grew.
of this is seen in the half completed classrooms that litter many rural schools
across the country. In addition, many other projects didn’t see the light of
succeeded in obtaining a portion of the K10 million suddenly became household
names and role models. Imagine the impact this connivance and greed had on
children, who are the future of Papua New Guinea. If corruption was bad in Port
Moresby, at the district level it was worse. If corruption was secretive in
Port Moresby, in the district it was in plain sight. Decentralisation of power
had also become the decentralisation of corruption. …And this will continue if
the established system is allowed to continue. …
What life is really like in (very expensive) Port Moresby 21 June 2019
Anyone living in Port Moresby without institutional housing, or support from relatives or parents, knows it’s an absolute nightmare.Port Moresby is the most expensive city in the Pacific. The rental price structure is like that in Australia and yet the wages employers’ pay don’t match the cost of living and housing is skewed towards the high end market. Real estate companies charge a minimum K1,000 – K5,000 a week in rental. The vast majority of Papua New Guineans don’t see that kind of money in a fortnight or even six months. A salary of between K35,000 and K50,000 is next to impossible to live on if you have a family. The figure looks great on the payslip. But it can’t pay rent. You can’t save enough unless someone else is paying the rent or your company pays for accommodation. In Port Moresby, the buying power of an K80,000 a year salary is limited if you pay your own rent. Quality of life diminishes once reality sets in after the first year of work. It’s a painful reality that many young graduates have to face. What appears to be a big salary is ripped to shreds by the reality of big city life. …
Becoming a rich black nation: Are we
not rich already?
Many of us
feel deprived of certain opportunities and privileges and therefore miss or
forget that we are rich already. As a country we didn’t have to struggle to
become an independent democratic nation….Our land holds rich mineral and
natural resources that today, in some parts of the country, have become the
cause of our various divisions and tensions. What we need is to appreciate this
Guinea needs to distribute its wealth equally so that our children can have
free good quality education that is relevant for our sustenance and growth and
that our sick can access good quality health care in our country and at no
rich when our women are appreciated as equals and are free from violence and
our youth are an integral part of our decision making. …
continue to rely on foreign consultants to tell us how to run our country.
are unique, diverse and deep and only we understand why we do things as Papua
New Guineans. We must stop relying on borrowed concepts and ideas.
… We have
adopted a belief system that commands us to look after our God’s creation. And
when our forests, rivers, sea and land are free from abuse and exploitation, we
will know we will be rich forever. We are rich already. We just need to care
more and look at our distribution mechanisms and make decisions responsibly.
Triads threaten new government’s desire
to ‘take back PNG’
While the ‘Look North’ policy introduced by the Wingti government was good for the economic prosperity of Papua New Guinea, a sinister development has hijacked those good intentions. The policy has evolved into a Pandora’s Box of counterfeit goods, gambling, prostitution and drug trafficking.
threatens to negate the bold declaration made by the Marape-Stevens government
to ‘Take Back PNG’ and make it “the richest black Christian nation on earth”.
trafficking is already entrenched in PNG, which is reported to have become a
transit point for international drug cartels helped by poorly policed, open
borders, isolated islands and outdated drug laws.
foreigners experienced how weak our laws were when they were deported last
month after spending just 18 months in jail for drug trafficking and illegally
entering the country. One of the men, Lam Tse Lik, was wanted by Hong Kong
police after his name appeared in Interpol’s international criminals’ wanted
list. Of the others, five were from mainland China and one from Montenegro. They
were caught on Budubudi Island in Milne Bay province in May last year with 55
kilograms of cocaine worth about A$1.5 million (K3.4 million). On Saturday 15
June they left Jackson’s International Airport with broad smiles on their faces
and high-five victory signs. Imagine if they had been caught in Indonesia,
China, Malaysia, Philippines or Singapore where the ultimate penalty for
narcotics offenders was death. People caught in these countries with more than
an ounce of drugs are considered drug traffickers. But in PNG, police enforce
the Drug Act of 1954 which allows a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
Age newspaper, the Chinese mafia has infiltrated and corrupted
the highest levels of PNG’s police force, crippling the nation’s attempts to
tackle law and order problems. The report said an investigation had uncovered
alleged links between 16 of PNG’s most senior police and Asian criminals
implicated in people smuggling, money laundering, prostitution, illegal
gambling, fraud and theft. The police minister at the time, Bire Kimisopa,
refused to discuss the report but acknowledged that PNG faced an organised
crime crisis that implicated senior police.
goes right to the top,” the minister said. “Chinese mafia have bought
off officials throughout the system…. they are operating illegal businesses,
they are siphoning money out, corrupting government officials, colluding with
police and making attempts to kill officials as well.”
organised crime syndicates include groups from Vietnam and Japan (generally
referred to as yakuza or boryokudan), Taiwan and China
(sometimes referred to as triads). They are nothing like the
opportunistic raskol gangs in Port Moresby.
trace their history to secret political societies formed in China during the
17th century to restore the Ming Dynasty to power and who used secret forms of
identification and communication.
North’ policy must be revisited to ensure a more suitable program is adopted to
deal with importation of defective products, prostitution, drug trafficking and
other illegal activities. If not, Asian organised crime syndicates can very
easily cripple this country in its efforts to ‘Take Back PNG’ and make is “the
richest black Christian nation on earth”
KIMBE disaster officers and volunteers are working round the clock
to mobilise the evacuation of some 15,000 people in East Nakanai following the
eruption of Mt Ulawun in Bialla, West New Britain (WNB), on Wednesday morning.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) National Disaster Centre has declared a Category 2
volcanic eruption, making evacuation mandatory for all villagers.
More than 120,000 other villagers staying further away from the volcano are
also expected to be affected and evacuated as Mt Ulawun continues to spew thick
black ash with growing intensity by the hour. Hoskins Airport is reported to be
covered in 4mm of thick volcanic ash and both Air Niugini and PNG Air had
cancelled all flights since the eruption at 7am Wednesday. The WNB highway to
Kokopo, East New Britain, is also closed to traffic due to thick black ashes. Disaster
officers and volunteers and six trucks of food and water supplies have been
mobilised to leave Kimbe town for Barima, Bagara, Mandi and Soi. However, the
supplies would only last for about a week. Governor Muthuvel is also appealing
to opportunists not to take advantage of the situation to loot abandoned
residential houses or business houses.
An appeal to the new government of Papua New Guinea
The Catholic Bishops of Papua New Guinea
appreciate the peaceful development of the political debate on the floor of
Parliament and hope it immediately turns to the benefit of the vulnerable
people, of our society, and our environment:
The rural poor and the urban poor expect
improved public services, better education for children, medicines in the
health centers, farm to market roads, jobs, entertainment and sport facilities
to reduce the impact of alcohol and negative behavior among the youth.
Resources and assets must now benefit the marginalized and the peripheries
rather than the wealthier and the centers.
The illegal detention of asylum seekers and refugees in Manus and
Port Moresby since 2013, at the request of the
government of Australia, is a cause of shame and embarrassment that the new PNG
government must denounce in its first day in office. The Regional Resettlement
Arrangement has proven to be unsustainable with people getting sick, depressed,
suffering mental illness, and dying. Their transfer to properly equipped
Australian on-shore processing facilities has to be effected immediately.
The protection of the environment and the country’s natural
resources needs a legislative review, particularly
of the Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) and agreements with foreign
companies in the mining, logging and extractive sectors. People and communities
come first; capital and business follow!
The legislation to establish an Independent Commission against
Corruption should not be further delayed. The
perception of systemic and systematic corruption in PNG is very damaging to the
image of the nation and to the morale of its citizens. We renew our appeal for
the restoration of the separation of powers so that our MPs can focus on making
good laws and the public servants on the provision of services.
The Catholic Bishops of Papua New Guinea
also ask from the new government an effective partnership in the planning and
managing of the Education and Health sectors in the country. Other Churches
share the same expectation.
It is with the contribution of everybody
and the acceptance of public scrutiny that true wellbeing and prosperity is
promoted and corruption defeated!
May God bless the new executives of
Papua New Guinea and give them wisdom and steadfastness!
The Central Committee of the Catholic
Bishops Conference of PNG-SI:
GIORGIO LICINI, PIME. General Secretary
First public human rights report into
PNG gas industry
BRISBANE – University
of Queensland researcher Associate Professor Nick Bainton has co-written the first publicly available
human rights impact assessment for a proposed gas project in Papua New Guinea.
Dr Bainton and
Nora Götzmann from the Danish Institute for Human Rights were commissioned by
Total Exploration and Production PNG to identify potential impacts on gender,
security and conflict for the joint venture Papua liquefied natural gas
involved extensive desktop research, and interviews and focus group discussions
with key stakeholders in Port Moresby and local communities in the project’s
area of influence in PNG’s remote Gulf Province. The researchers met with some
400 Gulf Province community members over the course of their study, including
about 160 women.
Political meddling & poor training spur corruption in PNG
SARAJEVO – A newly-published discussion paper on corruption in Papua New Guinea’s public sector has found that low-level officials are often poorly informed about laws and regulations. They are also under intense pressure to grant favours to businesses, politicians and clan affiliates, contributing to existing patterns of corrupt behaviour in the developing country.
The paper, ‘Governance and Corruption in PNG’s
Public Service: Insights From Four Subnational Administrations’, was
published this month by the Development Policy Centre, an aid and development
policy think tank based out of the Australian National University in Canberra. Its
author, Dr Grant Walton, drew on interviews with 136 public servants across
four provinces in PNG in an effort to fill the empirical data gap on why public
officials may support or resist corruption and poor governance.
PNG is one of the
poorest countries in the Pacific, with nearly 40% of its population living
below the national poverty line. While the country recently has started reaping
the benefits of oil and gas extraction, its public health system is rapidly
deteriorating—two-fifths of health centres and rural health posts have no
electricity or essential medical equipment, according to the United Nations
is also a great concern among officials, Walton found. In recent years, PNG has
been pursuing a policy of decentralization, and in 2014 the parliament passed
the District Development Authority Act, giving greater autonomy to local
governments over how they allocate resources. However, as members of parliament
are now “often personally involved in deciding how this money is allocated and
implemented,” lower level officials have grown frustrated. “We may plan for
something else but when political interference comes we need to divert our
efforts to suit what [MPs] want,” one senior female public servant said.
While PNG improved its
rating on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index last year,
at 28 out of 100 (with 100 signifying “least corrupt”), it still scored well
below the Asia Pacific regional average of 44.
School suspended classes yesterday because parents feared their children could
be kidnapped for their organs as speculation continued on Facebook.
The school said Grade 12 student numbers had been down since last week because
the fear was real.
Tokarara Secondary principal Gabriel Manga told The National that the school
board had decided to send students away at 10.40am because parents were calling
the school to pick up their children.
Manga said the school would assess the situation and see if the students should
“Many have stayed (home) because of the fear they had from kidnapping –
increased in the city,” he said.
Another Grade 12 student Abel Makele said absent students caused teachers to
delay giving out tests and assignments which was dragging the whole process of
term two assessment schedules.
“Our education is a priority and authorities need to assure us we are
Moresi said the school
had 2,046 students from grades three to eight but only 970 attended classes.
MP Hits 10% Drop
In Living Standard
Post Courier May
Statistical Office (NSO) has revealed that on average, living standards in PNG
have fallen by an extraordinary K516 per person between 2012 and 2018. This was
revealed by Shadow Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey who described it as “a shocking
a 10 per cent drop in living standards in just five years under the incompetent
economic policies of O’Neill’s PNC government,” Mr Ling-Stuckey said.
Minister continues to talk up the economy and keeps promising that things will
get better – but his record simply indicates he cannot be trusted.”
PORT MORESBY – This is my seventh month of complaining about the failure
of the Digicel PNG Ltd telecommunications company to pay the rent money it owes
to the landowners of its digital tower locations. Some Digicel employees feel sorry for us and have said the
people in charge of payments will ignore us and never try to help. The clauses
of the agreement we made with Digicel are clear. No such thing should happen to
any of us landowners. But because landowners are simple people and can easily
be tricked, they continue to ignore us and cheat us. Only a few landowners who
have help from their families and clansmen are now seeking legal advice while
the one hope of the rest of us is to continue to complain at the Digicel office.
But we cannot break through by complaining and therefore are losing hope….
The problem began
when Digicel and its officers did not devise a proper plan for illiterate
landowners to collect the rental payments. At first, Digicel should have found
out who they were the legitimate owners of the land where the Digicel tower
This was not
done. Digicel and its officers never put their feet on the ground to locate the
boundaries and never even asked the people to confirm who the legitimate
landowners were. Some landowners are paid through their bank accounts but not
in full. It is clearly indicated in the agreement signed with landowners that
payments will be made every six months. Digicel and its officer should know
what the outstanding funds are and when they must be paid. To get their unpaid
rental payment, landowners use their own funds to come to Port Moresby or, if
they live in remote places, travel miles and days to reach their Digicel
branch. This is despite the agreement with Digicel clearly indicating that the
lessor will not need to spend funds due to the existence of the tower on their
is that Digicel is supposed to employ four security guards for the towers and
to pay them every fortnight – two security guards should protect the towers for
the night shift and two for the day shift.
But many of the
guards are ghosts who are never seen, security is left to the landowners who
live near the towers. So what happens to this money that would be paid in wages
to protect more than 1,000 towers across Papua New Guinea?
A ST John Ambulance bus
was yesterday robbed by a group of men at Morata Two in the Moresby North-West
electorate. It took place at about 5.40am, eight officers were on board. According
to a statement from St John, the group of men blocked off the main road and
threatened the driver with a gun to the head. They then smashed the window and
helped themselves. They grabbed items including mobile phones, bank cards and
money among other things. Two St John female officers were punched and kicked
several times and indecently assaulted while being dragged out of the bus. They
were ordered to lie face-down outside the bus and left there. “According to our
team, the group of men appeared heavily intoxicated,” the statement said.
“As a result of this, St John will be suspending all services to the suburb of
Morata for an indefinite period until safety of all our St John team can be
St John Ambulance commissioner and chief executive Matthew Cannon condemned the
actions of the gang, saying St John did not discriminate when attending to
patients, whether hoodlums or not, and such actions by a few show a complete
lack of human decency and respect for emergency service workers.
St John in the first
quarter of the year responded to 670 emergency calls from the Moresby
North-West electorate. Three-quarters of the calls were from Morata.
THE Catholic bishops
annual meeting last week heard that legal action is probably needed to prompt
the Government into action to meet its obligations in education through the
“If the demands are not met the following year, there will be an appropriate
legal action taken to protect the rights of the people for quality education
that has been destroyed by the current Government,” Bishop Rochus Tatamai told
a press conference on Friday.
The president of Catholic Bishops Conference from PNG and the Solomons Islands
and Kavieng diocese said sensitive issues discussed at the meeting affected
people and the work the church used to do in PNG and the Solomons.
“One of the issues that really needs to be highlighted is regarding our
partnership with the Government in providing basic services like education to
the people,” he said. “We accordingly call for a fundamental re-orientation of
our attitudes and the institutions of government, commerce, education and
religion towards PNG forms of participation and consensus.
“We also call for a continuous renewal of the responsiveness of these
institutions to the needs and attitudes of the people.
“These are the values that we believe should be the basis of our
partnership with the State in providing education services to our people.
“However, in the past six years, our experience in the field of education is
that there has been no consultation, very little consensus and lack of
participation in decision-making.”
Among many of the issues faced by Catholic church education agencies, Tatamai
Teaching council had not met since last year;
no consultation about the new school structure and cost analysis;
grand in aid to help church agencies with administrative costs not
met since 2011; and,
Mistreatment by the Government and the Education Department of
church schools regarding Tuition Fee Free funding.
In regards to those
issues, Tatamai said that as a church, it is now asking the government to deliver
what it needs to be.
Nurses in rural areas still working despite threats
NURSES in rural areas
continue to provide patient care responsibilities under extreme pressure and
threat from patients due to inadequate drugs supplies, deteriorated facilities
and without enough staff, an official says.
Nurses in remotest Huon Gulf and other districts are faced with difficulties in
drug supplies, rundown facilities and not enough workers.
“Nurses continue to use kerosene lamps and torches at night to treat patients
using local herbs and prayers to stabilise patients,” Paru said.
In Huon Gulf, out of 47 aid posts – 12 were closed, five were in Salamaua and
four each in Wampar and Morobe patrol post. “These nurses walk for days or
travel by dinghies or dugout canoes to buy drugs in Lae. “When clinics are
closed over no drugs, nurses face the consequences being attacked by patients,”
He said complications of pregnant women, critical axe or knife injuries, snake
bites, bows and arrow injuries over land issues or adultery cases were a common
Kenmore Catholics’ trash buys a new boat for Milne Bay priest
BRISBANE – Kenmore parish has furthered its commitment to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home by turning recyclables into foreign aid donations.The parish has collected more than 4,000 recyclable containers like bottles, cans and cardboard, which earn 10 cents per unit under the Queensland government initiative Containers for Cash. The funds collected by the parish were used to buy a boat for a Papua New Guinean bishop. “We had a parishioner come to us last year about helping buy a small boat for Fr Sam Phasz, a priest of the Province of Milne Bay in the Diocese of Alotau-Sideia,” said parish priest Fr Mark Franklin.
“The parish is mainly
water, so it would enable the priest to get around the islands and see his
diocese. “The boat is also used for delivery of food and medical items and
taking people to hospital.” Fr Franklin said he started the project about two
months ago as part of a communal partnership with Kenmore Rotary Club. “One of
our parishioners who is a member of Rotary came to us a while ago about being
in partnership with the Kenmore Rotary regarding (the parish) being a
distribution point for Containers for Cash,” he said.
“There are distribution
points all over the place in the city, but because we’re a bit isolated out
here the Rotary (club) decided to take it on as a collection point in Kenmore.
“The parish keeps 50% of
the funds, which we then hand on to the Diocese of Alotau-Sideia.” Fr Franklin
said the Containers for Cash initiative was a practical way to raise money
while also raising environmental awareness in the parish.
Call for apt facilities for disabled, homosexuals, foreigners
THERE are no facilities and rehabilitation programmes in Buimo jail to cater for people living with disabilities (PLWD), homosexuals or foreigners, an official says. Outgoing Buimo commander Chief Supt Felix Namane said that the government and relevant agencies – Department of Correctional Services, Law and Justice Sector, Community Development and various stakeholders should draft policies to enable apt facilities and rehabilitation services and programmes. He said this in response to the National Court decision in Lae by Justice Frazer Pitpit who sentenced one Steven Bumang, 45, a PLWD to four years in prison. Bumang was charged with raping an 8-year-old girl on Feb 27. “In Buimo, we have no facilities to cater for PLWD, lesbians, gays and foreigners and it is a great concern for lack of such facilities and services in jails,” Namane said. Namane said Buimo had no separate cell block with toilet, shower and kitchens to accommodate various types of PLWD including rehabilitation activities. Namane said a gay who was sentenced to six months in Buimo was accommodated with female prisoners. “However, people may think that accommodating gays and lesbians in a female inmate wing is possible but some of their characteristics varies and never suits normal female inmates”.
A new government must restore confidence in the law
Francis Nii – “Laws must be strong, respected,
upheld and they must work fairly in the interests of every citizen”
FRANCIS NII. KUNDIAWA – Public confidence in the police force and judiciary as independent and impartial state agencies of the state has drastically declined under the leadership of Peter O’Neill.Meddling in appointments and in the operations of the police and hard-to-understand decisions of the courts has raised serious doubts and mistrust in the minds of the people.
independence and integrity of the two institutions are being questioned.
As the political numbers
game in the lead-up to a possible vote of no confidence intensifies and as a
mass exodus occurs of government MPs to the opposition, prime minister Peter
O’Neill had no choice but to relinquish his position.
Whether he actually does
this in favour of Sir Julius Chan or thinks of some other escape tactic, it
will be a last minute do-or-die manoeuvre for his own survival.
That O’Neill has not
resigned but stepped down “for a few days” means he could resume his position
As of yesterday, the
opposition had 63 members and the government 47. There were more defections
expected from those who still remained in the government but the opposition
said it had shut its doors to them.
As D-Day gets nearer,
perhaps today, the formation of a new government looks certain.
Should this occur, one
of its first tasks needs to be the restoration of the integrity and
independence of the nation’s law enforcement institutions.
Under the O’Neill
government, these vital state institutions have been severely impaired
There has been the dismantling
of the corruption-busting Investigative Task Force Sweep and the termination of
its members, Peter O’Neill’s parachuting of Gary Baki into the job of police
commissioner and the Supreme Court’s quashing of the UBS loan case against
There has been the
continuous suppression and eventual closure of the Parakagate affair by O’Neill
and Baki without a proper trial, the storming of parliament by the
‘disciplined’ forces, never properly investigated and a much-promised
anti-corruption commission never delivered.
These are just a few
examples of malpractice that have contributed to the decline in public
confidence of two vital state institutions.
If and when a new
government takes office, one of the first items of businesses must be to
restore the independence, credibility and integrity of the judiciary, the
police and the public service.
This means that all
heads who took political sides and practiced nepotism during O’Neill’s tenure
should be replaced with neutral personnel through proper and transparent
All allegations of
corruption that have not gone to trial must be resurrected and justice meted
Those found guilty must
be punished by law both to restore confidence in the judiciary but also as a
wholesome bid to rid Papua New Guinea of corruption.
To give credence to this
effort is the passing of an ICAC – Independent Commission Against Corruption –
bill into law. The bill must be looked at again to ensure it is totally free of
political interference and manipulation both in the appointment of its
personnel and in its operations.
The unpopular and
unnecessary dual citizenship law must also be repealed to prevent law breakers
escaping from PNG.
If the economy is to
grow and civil society is to enjoy prosperity, peace and harmony, the country
needs a vibrant, independent and impartial justice system and related law
The laws of a nation not
only protect its citizens but they are the compass that directs the course of
the nation. The laws must be strong, respected, upheld and they must work
fairly in the interests of every citizen.
Money politics, the use of criminal elements and the engagement of
security forces are a feature of elections in the Papua New Guinea Highlands,
and have slowly spread into all other regions, most recently into the PNG
Islands and Milne Bay.
“Candidates across the country (in all four
regions) were observed to have spent significant amounts of money securing
support and offering material incentives to voters.
“Though widespread, money politics was of a different order than
in earlier elections, being focused on key officials and those with the ability
to influence. It was mediated by ‘strongmen’ in some communities, and
well-respected leaders in others.
“There was also a significant flow of resources from voters to
candidates, providing an ideal situation for ‘strongmen’ and other community
leaders to consolidate their political influence at the local and parliamentary
Problems with the electoral roll were a feature of voter
discontent. In 2017, all 35 observer teams noted serious defects with it, and
the report finds that “many citizens were not provided genuine opportunity to
register on a non-discriminatory basis, nor were they provided reasonable
opportunity to inspect the electoral roll prior to or during the election.
Overall, very few of the 7,510 citizens surveyed pre- and
post-polling had confidence in the electoral roll, with confidence dropping to
just 10% in 2017.
Two-thirds (65%) of all citizens surveyed post polling
considered the 2017 elections worse than the 2007 and 2012 elections, and fewer
than half (46%) reported being able to freely exercise their vote. (See the full article in the url above).
on 25 years of research into health service delivery and the health status of
women and children in Papua New Guinea, it is distressing to observe the
current catastrophic failures and continued decline in services for women and
children. The anticipated improvements to health services from mining and
liquid gas royalties have not eventuated, and the problems of corruption and
inefficiency in service provision are compounded by the government’s apparent
lack of concern for the health of the population. This has led to a crisis in
public health. Although the budget allocation for the Department of Health has
increased, most interventions in public health remain dependent on foreign aid
agencies. Research assessments of population health are almost all managed or
funded by outsiders.
of financial and technical assistance from the Australian government, other
international donors, and a range of NGOs notwithstanding, the health of PNG’s
population is declining. Diseases that in the past had been brought under
control through immunisation now seem to be reappearing with the reduction in
fully immunised children and the increased difficulty of maintaining a reliable
delivery of vaccines. Tuberculosis (TB) is now categorised as a pandemic, with
PNG one of the worst-affected countries in the world. Health service delivery
to rural areas is increasingly difficult, with a lack of trained staff, low
wages, deteriorating buildings and frequent lack of critical drugs and
all the Millennium Development Goals that were not achieved by PNG, those
specifying improvements in women’s and children’s health are perhaps the most
egregious failures. PNG’s maternal death rate of 215 per 100,000 is the highest
in the Pacific region and among the worst in the world. While infant mortality
has shown a steady decline since 2000, currently it is 37 per thousand live
births compared to 14 in the Solomon Islands. Women’s and children’s health is
disproportionately at risk, particularly in rural areas, and TB is now the
major cause of death of women between the ages of 15 and 44 years.
POLICE have found
pornographic materials in handphones belonging to students in schools.
This is one of the many reasons why there is an alarming rise in the number of
child sexual abuses in Morobe, police commander Supt Alex N’Drasal told The
N’Drasal blamed the rise in child sexual abuses in rural areas on the excessive
use of mobile phones and internet to access pornographic materials.
“In schools, pornographic materials are found in the handphones of students.
They view the materials freely, and practice what they see,” he added.
He said the abuses were happening both within and outside family environments,
affecting girls aged between 12 and 18.
In 2015, the Government
had announced it was to put in place a K2 million internet filter to block
access to porn websites. It followed a report by Google Trend that PNG was the
“most pornography-obsessed country in the world”. It said although PNG had a
population of around eight million and a low rate of internet use, it had the
highest percentage of searches for the words “porn” and “pornography” in
comparison to the nation’s total “searches” online.
THE women’s wing at Bomana
prison in Port Moresby is overcrowded with 54 inmates, including three
children, crammed into a dormitory meant to hold only 35. Senior Inspector
Agnes Kunjil told The National yesterday that some inmates had to sleep on the
floor because there were not enough beds. “There are 31 convicted inmates, 18
on remand to await their court cases and five children below five years old all
crammed into the dormitory,” she said. Because of the lack of space, inmates
are allowed to keep only a few personal items. Kunjil said more women were
being sent to the prison by the courts although there had been no additional
space had been provided to cater for the extra detainees.
Papua New Guinea state fails to wrest control of
The government of Papua
New Guinea (PNG) has lost its protracted battle in the Singapore High Court to
wrest control of an entity with assets worth about US$1.4 billion (S$1.8
billion) that were spawned from a deal inked with the “largest mining
company in the world”. Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy has ruled in favour
of PNG Sustainable Development Program
(PNGSDP) company, saying the state of PNG had failed to prove it had
a deal with PNGSDP’s co-founder BHP Minerals Holdings, for joint control to
develop PNGSDP assets.
It also failed to prove
that there was a charitable trust that allowed the state to intervene.
“I have found that
neither the agreement nor the trust exists. The pleaded breaches of the
agreement and the trust must correspondingly fail,” Justice Vinodh said in
decision grounds on Tuesday.
The outcome means PNGSDP
is free to carry out its objectives under the control of its independent board
according to the 2001 contractual framework, without interference from the
GENDER-based violence is a
cross-cutting and sensitive national issue which many people cannot easily
handle at home.
I met Rose Marai at Port Moresby’s Kaugere clinic during one of my news runs. I
walked into her office nervously when she gave her best smile and I could see
from her eyes that she really wanted to me tell untold stories she had been
dealing with, knowing I was a media personnel.
Being female and knowing that she will be the only one to make changes in her
surrounding communities, she stood with confidence amongst more than 5,000
people in Sabama, Kaugere, Kokeva, Joyce Bay, Horse Camp, Kirakira village,
Kila Barracks, Gabutu, Badili, Korobosea, 2-Mile Hill and Koki market. She is
passionate about change and creating awareness on gender-based violence is
something she does from the heart.
Every day she sees more than 10 women walking into her little room with bruises
and cuts all over their bodies, being physically hurt and emotionally tortured.
She takes them in for counselling and many of them have progressed and have
seen changes in their homes and communities.
Hospital Closes Doors
GOROKA’S water crisis remains unsolved.
As the Goroka General Hospital closed its doors on Sunday and
sent patients away.
Only emergency cases were being treated while general patients
had been referred to the district hospitals while the sick have been discharged
from their wards, some with medical supplies.
Eastern Highlands Provincial Hospital Authority chief executive
officer Dr Joseph Apa said yesterday that patients were sent home after water
in the reserve tanks ran out.
“Water is required for all the operations of the hospital and we
cannot keep patients here for the safety of other patients and to avoid the
risk of other infections,” said Dr Apa.
“We currently do not have the statistics of patients affected by
the closure of the hospital but mothers at the labour ward and new-born babies
will be greatly affected by the situation.”
Dr Apa said the hospital has bought water bottles from shops for
nursing staff and patients to use for washing hands and drinking medicine on
Saturday, Sunday and yesterday as well.
“Patients were also not fed yesterday (Sunday) and we had to
supply patients with biscuits,” Dr Apa said yesterday….
Bus-Stops No Longer Safe For Women and Girls: Commuter
Post Courier, April 9, 2019
WOMEN and girls are harassed, face barriers as a result of these
harassments, says commuter Jean as she speaks of her experience. She said she
witnessed an incident last month and shared her experience in light of the Anti
Street Harassment week that was launched by UN Women NCDC yesterday. She (Jean)
travels the route from Manu Autoport to Koki before changing bus to get to
“According to Jean, a Badihagwa student had his school bag
snatched by a thug in front of everybody. The boy thought he would find safety
inside the busy market place as the public watched without doing anything,’’
Jean felt furious and could not believe what she had witnessed. When
she got out of the bus to transfer, she shouted at the top of her voice to men
loitering with a quick lecture.
“When women are running away, you can understand that. But when
it is a man, a boy, a school student on his way to school, you men watch and do
“And look at you! You’re discussing what happened when you
watched everything that happened before your very eyes, and especially when it
is all over. Did you do anything? No! You all ought to hang your heads in
shame,” she said.
The thugs who rule Koki bus-stop are free to ply their trade and
law-abiding citizens have to protect themselves in a community that does not
“There are good things like the Meri Seif bus (women only safe
bus for women) the good governor organised which is highly successful.
“But for all other city buses, the women go prepared, they carry
some kind of weapon, a pocket knife for instance or a lime bottle for the
betelnut which they hold ready to throw in the face of their attacker to blind
“When they are approaching bus- stops they wind up the windows,”
She is now asking why the police are not doing their job
affectively by patrolling the bus-stops.
Pride of the force – How we grew Lae’s rapid police response unit
Anthony Wagambie Jr
The Lae Police Sector
Response Unit (SRU) was launched to deter criminals who took advantage of weak
policing in Papua New Guinea’s second largest city. Since it was set up, Lae
police command has been monitoring the results. Average response time is now
between five and ten minutes.
LAE – I took a gamble in forming the new unit. We
selected a bunch of very young probationary constables with just over a year in
We put them in with
experienced non-commissioned officers, the majority of whom were former Mobile
Squad and Lae Rapid Response members.
I told them, “You guys
will make it or break it. If you fail and I fail, I will be dealt with!”
We nurtured them, me
being in the field and taking command myself to make sure the SRU operated the
way I wanted. Now my boys are very experienced and everything is in place.
I am proud of all of
them. Yes we have one or two who step out of line. But the guys have done me
It’s like a father
watching his child take his first steps until he can walk unaided.
We took Inspector David
Kumayon, who was Commander Mobile Squad 13, and moved him to command SRU Lae.
We then increased the strength to the current 74 men.
Never before have we had
24/7 police armed response coverage of the city.
Sections of SRU have
also been deployed out of the Lae to Morobe rural, Kurumbukari (Madang), Madang
town unrest, Bogia (Madang) and Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands.
Now I don’t personally
take command of the unit as much as I used to. I do that only for major
incidents or operations.
It gives me personal
pride when I see and hear people praising SRU for all that they do. Yes, they
do extremely well.
SRU has become the
strength of Lae Metropolitan Command and they are here to stay even after I
leave my beautiful Lae City.
Anthony Wagambie is the
Police Metropolitan Superintendent of Lae
Laloki Public Psychiatric
Hospital outside Port Moresby has released 100 patients and closed all its
services to the public as staff members protest over an unresolved chronic
water supply problem.
The hospital staff started a sit-in protest today following the expiry of a
14-day notice by the Department of Health to fix the water supply contamination
The hospital did not have the resources to get Eda Ranu to connect water to the
hospital to replace the water wells.
The staff decision, backed by the hospital management, to stop work comes after
Hepatitis A, a waterborne faecal disease, broke out at the hospital six weeks
The disease affected both staff and patients with laboratory tests confirming
bacterial contamination of the two wells that had been used the past 19 years.
Since the outbreak of Hepatitis A on Feb 27, acute ward manager Sr Dianne Rambe
said six patients and two staff members contracted the disease.
“The management had no choice but to release most of the 80 patients to contain
the disease, not forgetting the high risk these psychiatric patients pose to
PNG, doctors warn botched penis enlargements have become a ‘nationwide problem’
Doctors in Papua New
Guinea have warned of a “nationwide problem” of men injecting foreign
substances, including coconut oil and silicone, into their penises in an
attempt to make them bigger. A doctor at the Port Moresby General Hospital said
that over the last two years his clinic has treated at least 500 men with
penile disfigurement and dysfunction as a result of injections.
“I have seen five new
cases every week for the past two years and these are the ones that have come
forward for treatment. We don’t know how many of them are out there,” said
Akule Danlop, a surgeon at the hospital. “I saw seven today.” The substances
injected include coconut oil, baby oil, silicone and cooking oil and the side
effects are serious, sometimes irreversible.
17 April 2019
media (but not NZ) is missing in action on Bougainville
Bougainville, the autonomous region of Papua New
Guinea which suffered a brutal 10-year civil conflict in the 1990s, was due to
have a referendum in June to decide if it would separate from PNG. But because funding and
arrangements for the plebiscite were well behind schedule, the voting date has
now been postponed to October.
Does this matter beyond
PNG? One would think so.
This referendum is a
celebrated element of the 2001 peace agreement that finally brought the bloodshed
to a close and could result in Bougainville becoming another independent but
under-developed, economically struggling small island state in the Pacific,
with a population of 350,000 people.
If it achieves
independence, this small archipelago just over 1,000 kilometres from Cairns
will have as its legacy a still festering internal debate about the future of
its fabulous mining wealth that was at the heart of the conflict that claimed
around 20,000 lives.
And whether independent
or not, Bougainville remains an area of intense geo-political interest for
Australia particularly as other nations, including China, seek to access that
fabulous wealth. Yet judging by Australia’s recent media coverage of this
volatile rich island, it is just about invisible aside from some reporting in
the business media about Australian mining interests in Bougainville. All this
is doubly strange, given it’s not as though nothing has been happening. In a
year not yet four months old, there has been a flurry of discombobulating
developments already in 2019 in what was already set to be an important year
for Bougainville. These threaten to impact on Bougainville’s ability to weather
the political and massive economic challenges ahead.
TWO police officers were
found guilty of forcing a woman to chew and swallow condoms in 2015. Justice
Panuel Mogish, who found the duo guilty of one count of unlawful deprivation of
personal liberty, two counts of forcing a person to do indecent acts and one
count of abuse of office and set April 25 for sentencing.
“The woman alleged that she was attending a party at Sky 9 Club at Boroko the
previous night and was on her way to catch a taxi home in the early hours of
the morning when she met two men. “They were dressed as civilians and asked if
she had any money. She said she did not have any money. They then told her that
they were police officers and brought her into the station. “They told her to
sit while they emptied her purse and found some condoms. “Yawijah then asked
her if she was a sex worker and how many men she had slept with. He then forced
her to eat a condom and swallow it. She said it was not for eating and she
would not do as they say. “Yawijah then grabbed an iron bar and hit it on the
table and threatened her, so she ate the first one. Tanda did not do anything
to stop it but instead laughed and filmed a video clip. “The woman was then
told to chew and swallow another condom and she did while Tanda laughed and
took videos of her.
Children warned to stay away from Porgera’s open
CHILDREN from the special
mining lease villages surrounding the Porgera mine have been warned to stay
away from the operation areas, especially the open pit.
According to a statement from the Porgera Joint Venture, trespassing by
children continues to be a problem for the mine operation. Of the number of
illegal miners entering the mine in a month, it is estimated that 5 per cent
The mine’s community development section carried out a school outreach
programme recently to educate children on the dangers of illegally entering the
It targeted seven schools. Children enter into the mine area to look for food
or scrap materials.
The four messages communicated were:
The mine is a dangerous place. You can get killed, badly injured
or risk living with a disability for the rest of your life;
not everyone who gets injured on the mine site dies;
the Government has laws to punish parents who do not protect their
children from danger; and
That communities need children who will stay in school and become
good leaders in future.
At the Aumbi Elementary
School on April 10, community development manager Jacqueline Nen told the
children that there were many other options for a playing field and the open
pit was not one of them.
PORT Moresby General
Hospital’s maternity ward is close to collapsing due to lack of maintenance and
support, a doctor says. “The hospital was built in 1955 by the colonial
government when the city’s population was about 50,000 but 65 years later it is
serving more than 500,000,” head of obstetrics and gynecology Dr Glen Mola
Mola said the 24 delivery suites and 100 beds at the postnatal care were not
enough because 40 women delivered each day and mother and baby could not leave
the hospital the next day. He said about 15,000 women gave birth at the
hospital every year of which 5000 cases were complicated and 10,000 were
normal. This meant that daily, about 13 women out of 40 who gave birth faced
complications. A common complication involves a Caesarean birth and Mola said
one in every 10 women needed a C-section to save the baby or mother. He said
they had to do three C-sections in the same evening so “by the time we came to
the third, we were late which resulted in losing the mother or the baby”.
“We have three operating theatres but there is staffing only to keep one
operating theatre working in the night,” Mola said.
pirates attacked a dinghy but left a mother and her baby, a 13-year-old girl
and eight others unharmed. However, two others are still missing after they
were forced to jump into the sea. The terrifying drama unfolded at 3pm on
Saturday when the dinghy, ran into six pirates armed with homemade guns, two
bush knives and two catapults. The pirates ordered everyone, except the mother
and her baby, to jump into the sea near the Kalibobo Lighthouse towards the
After carting away all the groceries that were bought from town, and
handphones, cash and belongings, the pirates left in their boat. The victims
then swam and climbed back onto their dinghy and a head count found that two
other passengers were missing. Moka said the dinghy was running low on fuel and
thus could not conduct a search for the two missing passengers.
Bishop reveals shortage
of medicine causing health emergency
Many health facilities in the country are running out of
medicine, says the president of Catholic Bishops Conference Bishop Rochus
Tatamai. “We have been requesting the Government to purchase medicine because
medicine has not reached clinics, aid posts and health centres,” Tatamai said
“Throughout the country, there are symptoms of a profound public health
emergency: young and old are getting sick and dying unnecessarily, while health
facilities lack basic medicine and equipment. “Many aid posts, clinics and
hospital shelves have no stocks of medicines, there were no antibiotics,
bandages and anything.”
Tatamai said MPs were elected to represent people and the delivery of basic
health services should be a priority when dealing with public funds. He said
when it came to health service delivery, political leaders should always
mandate line agencies to bridge services to the people. “What have we done with
the revenue of our natural resources and the Government funding we get every
year?” Tatamai said.
At least 40 women and children a month flee
their homes in Port Moresby because of sorcery-related violence and incest by
stepfathers and uncles. Haus Ruth Crisis Centre for Abused Women and Children
revealed that cases of sorcery and incest have increased markedly in the past
decade. The number of women seeking refuge in the centre has increased.
China Railway Construction Engineering (CRCE) PNG Ltd showed its support to
these women on International Women’s Day on Friday with a surprise visit. House
Ruth Crisis Centre manager Monica Richards said women between the ages of 20
and 45 years were the largest group seeking help because of forced sex,
jealousy, rape and other forms of domestic violence.
“What we do is accommodate them, give them skills training like sewing and
small business training, so that after two weeks when their term is over, they
have better knowledge to go out and sustain themselves,” she said. Victims get
medical treatment and police and court clearance during their stay. Richards
said many teenagers from high schools escaped from their homes because of
CRCE human resources manager Athena Chow said women’s problems were everyone’s
problems. “It is very important to recognise women on their special day, as it
is the only time we come out to talk about issues that are affecting women in
society,” she said.
“They are very important people in the society.
“They need to be protected, loved and cared for by their partners without
PNG Facing TB Crisis. Ranked 10th in the World
PAPUA New Guinea is facing a tuberculosis (TB)
crisis. This is because PNG is ranked 10th globally for rates of TB, with
35,000 new cases a year, of which 6000 of them are in the National Capital
District alone. This is according to Businesses for Health: Tuberculosis and
HIV project manager Dr Ann Clarke, who says women, while also falling ill with
TB, are largely impacted by social and economic factors that need to change if
PNG is to end the TB epidemic. “Thousands die unnecessarily of TB – drug
susceptible TB, drug resistant TB or TB/HIV co-infection.“ Last year there were
more than 2000 cases of drug resistant TB and drug resistant treatment success
is less than 50 per cent, while only drug susceptible TB is 100 per cent
curable,” she said.
Observing International Women’s Day last Friday,
March 8, Dr Clarke said it was an opportunity for Businesses for Health to
celebrate the contributions of women to the health and well-being of all who
live in PNG. “However, it is also a time to reinforce the actions needed to
speed up gender equality in this remarkable and diverse country.
PNG bishops attack government
over corruption, incompetence
In a public
statement, the Catholic bishops have asked why an Independent Commission
Against Corruption had not yet been established, despite many promises over
many years, and why nothing has been done to end the Special Agricultural and
Business Leases (SABLs) which are said to have led to many illegal land grabs. They
condemned SABLs for continuing to destroy the environment and the livelihoods
of thousands of Papua New Guineans.
also attacked the practice of politicians directly distributing government
funds to the people themselves. The bishops called this “notoriously corrupt”
and said it was an impractical and failed system.
The church is
one of the key providers of education in PNG but the bishops said their
services were increasingly interfered with by politicians and the government.
criticised the government’s so-called Fee Free Tuition as not effectively
implemented and not providing funds and materials to schools.
government is also not adequately supporting Catholic health centres where
staff are not receiving wages and medicines and equipment are not reaching the
clinics. Saying they were talking on behalf of the people of PNG, the bishops
called for answers from the government and said they are expecting change.
Work on resettlement project for Manam Islanders begins
WORK on the land in Bogia allocated for the Manam
resettlement project has begun with machines being moved in, an official says.
Acting chairman of the Manam restoration authority John Bivi said the government
had allocated K6 million for the project. Bivi said the resettlement of the
Manam people fleeing the volcanic eruptions on their island had been an
outstanding issue. The land clearance will begin at Andarum in Tangu of the
Almami local level government.
Manam people have been living in the care centres for nearly 13 years with no
land to grow crops, no sea to fish and no forests to hunt in. Some had died
waiting to be relocated while some had returned to their island.
“The Government allocation of K6 million as mobilisation funds will be
prioritised to help our people,” Bivi said. Manam people were moved to the care
centres at Potsdam, Suaru, Bom, Asuramba and Mangem when the major volcanic
eruption took place in 2006.
Baliau villagers who lived at Suaru and the Dugulava people who lived at Bom
had to return to Manam after clashes with the Bogia landowners. They receive
relief assistances every time the volcano erupts and destroys food gardens. Those
staying back at the care centres survive on what they have.
‘Australia over a barrel’:
PNG official sought K20 million ‘donation’
MELBOURNE – An Australian government contractor on Manus Island was asked by a senior Papua New Guinea official in 2017 for a multi-million-dollar donation to the ruling party of prime minister Peter O’Neill. When the company, which was working for the Home Affairs department on the offshore detention regime, refused the request, the company’s senior managers began to encounter problems with visas for staff to enter or remain in PNG.
The contractor, which asked that its name not be used to protect
the welfare of its Manus Island-based staff, rejected the donation request and
reported it to senior department officials in late 2017. It’s understood more
than one contractor has experienced similar problems.
If the company had made the donation of K20 million to the
People’s National Congress party, it would have likely committed a criminal
offence under Australia’s foreign bribery laws.
While Australian government agencies and departments refer to
PNG as a “difficult environment” to operate in, an internal 2018 AFP report
seen by The
Age and Sydney Morning Herald is more direct and
describes PNG as having “significant corruption issues”.
than K100 million collected by the government from logging companies to fund
community development projects has been stolen or misused. Senior departmental
heads appointed as trustees have failed in their duties and the biggest
beneficiary has been the government itself, which has unlawfully taken more
than K80 million of community funds.
are findings contained in a scathing Auditor General’s report recently released
to the public.
is now well-documented that large-scale logging by foreign-owned companies does
not bring lasting development to the communities who suffer the often
devastating environmental and social impacts. This fact was acknowledged by
government more than a decade ago when the Log Export Development Levy
(LEDL) was introduced.
levy is an additional tax paid by logging companies on every cubic metre of
timber they export. All monies collected
is then supposed to be used by government to fund the agriculture and
infrastructure development projects in communities impacted by logging that the
companies so frequently promise, but so rarely deliver.
government has proven to be no more reliable than the foreign logging companies
in upholding its side of the bargain. Between 2012 and 2015, more than K100
million in levies was collected by government and placed into a trust account.
However, in a devastating set of findings, the Auditor General has revealed how
those funds, intended to alleviate suffering in logging communities, have been
stolen and misused.
Electoral Commission Needs Help
For LLG Elections
Post Courier March 28, 2019
THE PNG Electoral Commission
says that it needs extensive collaboration with provinces to deliver the local
level government (LLG) elections. The PNGEC says it needs collaboration with
all the 20 provincial administrations to ensure the 2019 LLG elections is
conducted successfully. Early this year, the national government made the
decision and asked the Electoral Commission to administer the 2019 LLG
elections in partnership with provincial administrations to pool resources,
save money and promote provincial ownership of the process.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias
Gamato said though it is an exciting potential partnership, the dilemma is that
the commission has yet to conclude agreements with the 20 different provincial
administrations. “PNGEC has engaged in conversations with provincial
administrations since 2018 and has concluded a memorandum of understanding with
only nine provinces in all at this time,” he said.
“This model ensures increased
complexity of implementation as many of the personnel and materials needed to
run the LLG elections do not fall under PNGEC’s control.” Mr Gamato said
PNGEC’s budget for the 2017 national election was K279 million, whereas for the
LLG elections, the total budget line of K100 million is being split between the
commission and provincial administrations.
“I am calling on the national government to
provide adequate resources to PNGEC in a timely fashion for us to be able to
play our role in these important LLG elections.”
rigging of the 2017 election: (1) You were very wrong Australia
Journalist Mark Davis has abstracted the main issues from the
Australian National University’s report on the 2017 Papua New Guinea national
election. Beginning today, we present Mark’s summary in four parts. The ANU
report documents a scandalous election replete with threats, malfeasance and
corruption. You can link to it in full here
The report calls into question the legitimacy of the current
regime of prime minister Peter O’Neill and the future of the nation’s
parliamentary democracy. The long-awaited ‘2017 Papua New Guinea Elections – Election Observation Report’ reveals
the systematic corruption of the election by Mr O’Neill’s ruling People’s
National Congress Party, other parties and candidates, the PNG Electoral
Commission, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, the PNG Defence Force and
other elements of society.
It is an extraordinarily detailed report who’s unique and
invaluable data is based on direct observation by a team of 258 including 32
PNG academics and researchers as team leaders, 31 ANU-based academics and
students, 192 PNG observers and three support staff. It is unprecedented in
detail, scope, and intensity, covering all four PNG regions, and 69 of the 111
electorates, including detailed studies of 44 electorates. Detailed
observations were conducted of 945 of the 10,825 polling stations, and 7,510
citizens were surveyed individually.
Observations were carried out over three months from the start
of the campaign period to post-polling, amounting to more than 6,500
person-days, and were recorded in template journals kept by each observer. The
report is a showpiece of election data and analysis – it is delivered in lay
language and clearly based on a foundation of well-coordinated and
comprehensive field coverage by a qualified and knowledgeable team. It has the
ring of absolute authenticity and it pulls no punches.
The report gives the lie to claims by Mr O’Neill, then
Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and
Australian officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
that the election was free, fair and successful. It was not.
Cult activities taking on satanic character, says academic
CULT activities, which are seen as increasing
more satanic, are so entrenched in our education systems that it will need
everyone to find practical solutions, says University of Goroka Dean of
Education Dr James Aiwa. He was contributing to discussions at a seminar on
cult and generation activities in schools. Dr Kainaro Kravia, a lecturer at the
School of Education, and Priscilla Sakopa, the head of the mathematics and
computing department, also took part.
Kravia said there was an element of “strange happenings” within the dormitories
which amounted to the belief that cult practices and their undercurrents were
rampant at the university and tertiary institutions near it. Kravia said the
initial cult groups were formed as a result of forming “bonds” with each other,
to make the alienated feel part of a social grouping and to have each other’s
interests at heart as a means to survive in national high schools. But he said
all that had changed.
“What we have now are hierarchical groups where generational names are given
and with it comes the attitudes, character and personality changes which affect
the coerced innocent student,” he said. With it comes the expected roles. If
you don’t comply you are punished, most often severely nowadays, but previously
it was a way to bond students and help each other succeed”, he said. Sakopa
said she had been privy to the inside of a cult working some years ago and most
of what happened were satanic and took on the cultist ideology where others
looked up to a “godfather”.
A MAGISTRATE has ordered a mother who sold
her two-week-old son for K800 to pay the same amount to the court as a fine. Mt
Hagen Magistrate Jacinta Doa also ordered the arrest of the husband, and the
woman who bought the child.
She warned mum Yawama Kuna, 29, that she would serve two months in jail if she
failed to pay the K800 fine. The court was told that Kuna was having
difficulties looking after her two children because her husband Amos Hari was
not supporting them.
Kuna, from Sembriki in the Kagua-Erave district of Southern Highlands, was
arrested last Wednesday and charged with selling her son to a woman. She told
the court she had to sell her son because her husband did not provide her and
the two children food and money.
She told the court that her husband was aware of what she did but did not
They continued to live together until last week when he came home drunk and
asked her for money.
She gave him the only K20 she had. The husband lodged a complaint with police
that she had sold their son. Police prosecutor Sam Nili submitted that the
husband was not concerned about the son his wife had sold and had not make any
attempt to get him back until last week. Nili told the court that just because
Kuna’s family demanded that he paid bride price before taking his son and wife
back, he went to the police.
Despite an economic boom led by extractive industries such as mining, an
estimated 40% of people in Papua New Guinea live in poverty. The government has not taken sufficient steps to address gender
inequality, violence, corruption, or excessive use of force by police. Rates of
family and sexual violence are among the highest in the world, and perpetrators
are rarely prosecuted. The government has been the focus of sustained protests,
including student boycotts and acts of civil disobedience, over allegations of
corruption. Reports of mob violence, especially against individuals accused of
sorcery, continue to be reported. Former United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, visited PNG in February 2018 and called on
the government to tackle a long list of abuses, including corruption, land
rights abuses, gender-based violence, and attacks on activists and journalists.
In June, authorities confirmed that the country was facing its first polio
outbreak in 18 years, prompting an emergency vaccination campaign. Chronic
problems continued to plague the criminal justice system in PNG, including
abuses by police. Overcrowding and dire prison conditions led to prison
breakouts. PNG continues to see high levels of violence and political unrest
since the 2017 election, which was marred by widespread electoral
irregularities and violence. In June, in the Southern Highlands, a mob set
alight a passenger plane in an election-related protest.
Many Papua New Guineans
don’t know about the cost of cancer treatment until one member gets sick. The
diagnosis alone is problematic. In rural districts and outstations, many community health workers are not
equipped with the awareness which would trigger a referral to a major hospital.
But that is just one problem.
Take for example, a
place like Baindoang in the Nawaeb District of Morobe province. It is only
accessible by plane. A young mum with the early stages of cervical or breast
cancer will not be able to get the proper diagnosis until the disease is in its
If the community decides
to send her to Lae, they will have to raise at least K2000 for airfares and
treatment in Lae City. It is big money for a village community. There is no
certainty of the time it will take for them to remain in the city. I’ve come
across wives separated from their husbands and children for weeks and months. Many
give up and die lonely deaths surrounded by strangers who become family. Many
are left with no means of talking with their families either because of the
lack of mobile network coverage or no means of buying a plane ticket back home.
There are unclaimed bodies at the Angau hospital morgue. Some came from remote
Today, I learned that a
pack of four vials of morphine costs K100. For a cancer patient the family
needs to spend K100 a day to ensure some level of comfort for their loved one.
That’s K700 a week, K1400 a fortnight and K2800 a month.
Highly Endemic in Southern Region
Post Courier January 28, 2019
LEPROSY is highly
endemic in the Southern region, according to The Leprosy Mission.
Mission country leader Natalie Smith said, at the end of 2017, 587 new cases
were detected in the country where 74 per cent of all new cases were reported
in the Southern region. “The six high endemic provinces reported more than 87
per cent of new leprosy cases in the National Capital District, Gulf, Central,
Western, Sandaun and East New Britain provinces.
“587 cases of leprosy is too many cases in
PNG. “We want the number to come down to zero, so our aim is to fight against
this disease,” she said.
Rapacious loggers & bewildered people – the taking
apart of PNG
In late October 2017 I
was in Kavieng when I was handed a copy of Government Gazette G161 notifying the
gazettal of a SABL over almost 80% of my wife’s island of Lavongai for 99 years
free of any land tax. It was one of three SABL that had been foisted onto
semi-illiterate rural people as a clever trick to get around the tighter legal
requirements of a normal logging permit. SABLs weakened Forestry Department’s
regulation of the granting of leases because their intent was alleged to be
agriculturally motivated. This gave the developers the wonderful opportunity
not to log according to normal forestry rules but clear fell for a monoculture
of cocoa, rubber or most likely oil palm with all the inherent environmental
dangers a single crop can experience. Over the years coffee and cocoa borers
spread worldwide, rhinoceros beetles in Indonesian palm oil migrated into South
Pacific plantations and later banana Black Sigatoka. None of these serious
agricultural impacts ever slowed down the rapacious loggers. …
Corruption of PNG’s political system infects economic
CANBERRA – PNG’s economic statistics have been
corrupted. Even the most basic economic statistic of “how big is the PNG
economy” has been manipulated to tell stories convenient to the O’Neill/Abel
government. An extraordinary gap of 18% has opened between measurement of
the size of the economy (‘gross domestic product’ or GDP) by the PNG government
compared with measurements by independent outside observers, led by the
International Monetary Fund.
The gap in this most
basic economic measure will be 34% by 2023. Specifically, the PNG government
claims the PNG economy will reach K125 billion while the IMF estimates it will
more realistically reach 93 billion in that year. The NSO 2015 GDP figure was
released on 9 March 2018 – a date that marks the clearest point from which the
government started manipulating statistics, although there have been
questionable practices in the past….
Like any PNG town,
Kundiawa is full of unemployed youths, psychopaths, street kids, street
sellers, drug dealers, street preachers, pickpockets, beggars, prostitutes and
the whole town of
Kundiawa has become a market place with rubbish everywhere and town authorities
and police seem powerless to do anything about it.
On street corners and in
public places you can see youths drinking, smoking and gambling. Some sell
plastic bottles filled with ethanol or home brew alcohol for K5 or K10 a
container. You can see youths selling drugs rolled in pieces of newspaper.
Sometimes it’s difficult to identify because marijuana is mixed with tobacco
When youths are drunk,
they demand or steal from anybody: money; mobile phones and other valuables.
You will see youths running to catch a thief but they don’t catch him as they
are feigning. They all cooperate to execute illegal activity. Long hours are
spent in town doing nothing and at night hanging around in front of stores,
beer clubs and night clubs looking for opportunities to steal. A lot of strange
things happen in town; you can hardly believe them.
There is no quick
solution to solve these problems but one way to assist juvenile delinquents is
to avoid labelling them as bad people in society. They are troubled human
beings and imposing tough penalties is not going to solve their problems. We
have to be empathetic and show interest in them as human beings who have the
potential to become people. We need to look at how we can provide options to
change their lives….
A new report by the global watchdog
Transparency International has again classified Papua New Guinea as one of the
most highly corrupt countries in the world.
The 2018 Corruption Perception
Index (CPI), a worldwide examination of perceptions of levels of corruption
suffered by individual nations published by TI yesterday, has revealed that PNG
is highly corrupt with a ranking of 138 out of the 180 countries that were
Under the theme ‘Corruption and the
crisis of democracy’, the 2018 CPI revealed some crucial areas of the public
sector corruption that are contributing to the weakness of democratic
institutions and the stagnation to their performance must be addressed by
responsible agencies like the government departments and non-government
organisations as well.
According to a press statement
released by TIPNG, some of the areas that contributed to the rank of corruption
in PNG are the deteriorating respect for democratic principles.
“Simply said: There is a massive
disrespect for the rule of law,” TIPNG said.
The statement went on to condemn
public servants and citizens’ lack of integrity to adhere to proper processes
and respectful ways of conduct. And taking the 2017 National Election as an
example, the statement expressed great distaste about the way the election was
conducted. This was evident in the 2017 National Elections with discrepancies
and electoral roll inaccuracy, bribery, and intimidation by voters and
candidates, double voting and blocks voting. There was also a lack of
enforcement of laws by official agencies responsible during the election
providing an opening for citizens to disregard measures to ensure a free and
fair election, TIPNG said.
However, when corruption seeps into
the democratic system, particularly at the higher levels of power, democratic
institutions that keep the government in check suffer.
The O’Neill regime is dumbing down a whole generation
PORT MORESBY – High profile journalist Scott
Waide’s recent articleabout the high cost of his daughter’s university
fees highlights a conundrum Papua New Guinea faces in terms of the quality of
its education system. Scott was shocked about the high cost. But let us reflect on
what is a major crisis in the sector. When the O’Neill government introduced
the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) education system for primary and secondary schools,
it failed to account for capacity constraints. Schools were flooded and schools
lacked and continue to lack learning resources, infrastructure and staff
numbers to cope with the influx. Primary and secondary schools in PNG have
essentially become child-minding centers as opposed to centers of learning. In
terms of TFF, the government contribution is K20-K50 a child and it warns
schools not to charge fees. Schools are
then expected to turn this miserly level of fees – five loaves of bread and a
couple of fishes – into something to feed knowledge to thousands of students. Universities
also continue to be grossly under-funded leading to massive fee hikes. However
when one considers the true cost of providing university level education, the
fees are a drop in the ocean.
The member for Menyamya
recently highlighted in parliament the rural-urban technology divide and how
rural students are disadvantaged in terms of securing places at university.
While the predatory
elite in government is dumbing down the general population, their children are
being trained overseas to rule over a dumb population in the future.
The O’Neill government,
whether by design or accident, is increasing inequality and making social
stratification much more pronounced. The constitution of the independent state
of Papua New Guinea calls for integral human development as its first national
goal and directive principle. The way things currently are under the O’Neill
regime, this national goal is ignored.
PNG’s constitution also
calls for equality and participation as another national goal. Whilst the TFF
policy can be seen as being reflective of this, the poor quality of education
means many students leave school unable to equally participate in the economy.
They become a liability.
The rural-urban divide
also means rural students don’t have the same level of opportunity to attend
university, thus furthering social inequality. A poorly educated population
that lacks capacity to engage in the modern economy becomes reliant on
This is a politician’s
dream because, as long as people keep waiting for handouts from politicians,
politicians can control voting behaviour.
Development, Youth and Religion Secretary Anna Solomon has called on churches
in the country to help vulnerable children. She expressed appreciation for the
efforts of two Catholic churches in the Highlands region for partnering her
department to provide “out-of-home care” for disadvantaged children last year.
“The department wants to partner with more churches in the country in taking
care of these children who come from broken families and homes, orphanages or
whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS, sorcery-related killings, and those
living with disabilities,” Solomon said.
“The two care centres that have been given licence in April recognising them as
state partners to care for vulnerable children are under the Diocese of Mendi
in Southern Highlands and Archdiocese of Mt Hagen in Western Highlands.”
Solomon said the Lukautim Pikinini Act has allowed the inclusion and provision
of the out-of-home care centres by churches in partnership with the government.
“The out-of-home care centres are mandated through the licence for removal of
endangered children from within the community and having them given due care in
the temporary shelter until they are returned to a permanent home.
“These two care centres have each assimilated about 15 children and may take in
more as vulnerable children increase in numbers coming from broken homes, or
orphanages whose parents have died and those living with disabilities.
“We have all the data for the churches in PNG, especially seven mainline
The picture of a grieving mum that told a million stories
LAE – A few days ago, I asked Sally Lloyd about the
picture she posted on Facebook of a distraught mother weeping over the body of
her baby who had died. This is the story behind the picture. They are from Fomabi
Village near Nomad. …middle Fly in Western Province. The child got sick with
pneumonia, I believe, and Nomad Health Centre could not help them. The facility
there has been very run down and ill equipped for a very long time.
They then had to make
the long walk to Mougulu health centre for many hours to get further help. Unfortunately,
the child died the following afternoon, and without any helpers with them the
parents had to walk back to their village with the dead child….
“This evening they have the long walk back (6
to 8 hours at least) to Fomabi Village with a very heavy burden – almost too
much to bear. “The father offloaded some heavy food items and we gave high
protein food and fish, a torch and umbrella- it’s going to storm tonight. “God
knows how much we need that emergency vehicle – to bring patients more quickly,
but also for parents who should not have to walk a day (or all night) to get
home and bury their child. “RIP Ezekiel.”
Kieta Flights Suspended
Post Courier February 11, 2019
Air Niugini has suspended its services to Aropa airport, Kieta in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) this week due to removal and theft of the solar panels which power the Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights at the airport. PAPI lights are a visual aid that are generally located beside the airport runway that provides guidance information to help pilots maintain the correct approach to an airport. They are a requirement for jet operations. PAPI lights at Aropa airport were only installed recently, allowing the resumption of jet operations into Kieta in January this year.
Loggers Declaring Losses But Increasing Exports
Post Courier February 13, 2019
A high-end investigative report has
revealed that despite decades of operating in PNG, logging companies barely
declare profits. Furthermore, the report reveals an odd financial contradiction
where loggers have reported doubling their losses while continuing to increase
their exports of tropical timber. In a comprehensive report furnished by
renowned international researching group The Oakland Institute, new evidence of
financial misreporting and grand scale tax evasion in the PNG logging industry
have been unearthed.
Titled “The Great Timber
Heist-Continued: Tax Evasion and Illegal Logging in PNG”, the institute makes
public a host of new case studies that have been ascertained through the study
of sixteen subsidiary logging exporters.
Following a 2016 report of the same
nature which alleged that financial misreporting by foreign firms resulted in
nonpayment of hundreds of millions of kina in taxes, the new report reveals an
apparent worsening of this pattern in recent years.
According to financial records, the
16 studied subsidiaries of a logger that court injunctions hinder us from
naming, have doubled their financial losses in just six years while increasing
their exports of tropical timber by over 40 per cent….
After the decline throughout much
of 2017, the volume of logs exported returned to their upward trend in October.
To date, the abolished special agriculture and business leases which added 5.5
million hectares to the 10 million hectares remains a mystery.
Law Not Understood: Kamit
Post Courier February 14, 2019
FOUNDATION chairperson of the
Coalition for Change (CFC) Incorporated, Lady Winifred Kamit, has expressed
grave concerns regarding the general consensus surrounding provisions of the
Family Protection Act 2013. Lady Kamit made this comments yesterday after
reading media reports which paraphrased a Mount Hagen District Court magistrate
in saying that the new law was “biased towards women” and that it “destroyed
As the head of the organisation
instrumental in the drafting of the law through to when it was passed, Lady
Kamit said she was disappointed that a member of the PNG Judiciary would
express an understanding of the law which was so fundamentally flawed.
“The statement, if true, is not
only wrong, because that’s not what the law is, but it also shows that the
provisions of the Family Protection Act are not understood,” said Lady Kamit.
“The Family Protection Act is a law
which gives protection to both female and male survivors of domestic violence,
who can go before a magistrate for a protective order and other orders which
are sanctioned by the act.” Lady Kamit added that the public needed to have a
better understanding of the law and its role in the protection of oppressed
survivors of domestic violence which was prevalent around the country.
Tower Equipment Torched
Post Courier February 15, 2019
Communications equipment at the
Loloho Digicel Tower situated on the mountains overlooking Loloho was burnt on
Wednesday morning allegedly by disgruntled landowners.
This has now resulted in a total Digicel network outage in Arawa and the
surrounding communities. Although details are still sketchy, the burning of the
tower equipment is alleged to have stemmed from a dispute over the distribution
of rental payments amongst family members of people who own the land where the
tower is situated on. This act of sabotage is the latest of a number of acts of
vandalism targeting Digicel communication towers on Bougainville. This also
comes amidst recent revelations from the mobile telco that it was struggling to
maintain its services on Bougainville due to the frequent acts of vandalism and
burning down of its communication equipment.
“The banks, the easy pay power
system, mobile banking and even EFTPOS machines all depend on the Digicel
network here and people cannot hold others to ransom by destroying vital
communication equipment,” a town resident who did not to be named said.
“Is this the type of behaviour we want to portray to the outside world
especially in the lead up to referendum?”There were long queues at the Arawa
BSP Bank yesterday as people; especially public servants struggled to access
their monies through the ATMs as EFTPOS services in shops have been affected by
the network outage and police are investigating.
On Referendum From NRI Report
PO February 15, 2019
THE final report on the forthcoming
Bougainville Referendum was released yesterday and brought out some broad
successes with a few peculiarities that cannot be ignored.
Authored by Dr Kylie McKenna and
titled the “Status and implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and
implications for referendum”, the research document contained just that. As the
sixth and final paper of a research endeavor conducted by the PNG National
Research Institute into how far the Bougainville Peace Agreement has come and
what remains to be done for a smooth transition, many insights were given.
While the document mentioned that
significant achievements have been made and named a few in the likes of the
implementation of the Weapons Disposal Plan and the successful holding of the
first Autonomous Bougainville Government and subsequent structuring, it also
detailed many troubling realities. Therein, the report identified that progress
on a number of provisions in the Bougainville Peace Agreement have not been
met. It stated that ‘weak collaboration with the National Government’ by the
ABG and the delayed payments of grants had now resulted in the process’ delay.
It also mentioned that there were still an unknown number of weapons still in
circulation and a number of groups and individuals that still posed a threat to
the ongoing peace process. Furthermore, key risks identified that could harm
the peace process included the finding that human and financial capacity was
still not where it needs to be for a referendum. The findings also suggested
that there was inadequate information on autonomy and its outcomes to inform
voter decision-making, continued proliferation of misunderstandings about the
referendum and localised conflict.
Panel discussion organised for refugees to
panel discussion organised by the Catholic Bishops Conference was held in Port
Moresby on Wednesday for refugees to raise their concerns. The panel discussion
was attended by church representatives, media personnel from across the
country, students, and refugees.
The theme of the panel discussion was ‘Listening across borders’. Participant
Sam Kaipu, who summarised the highlights of the speakers, said it was evident
that refugees lived in fear for their lives, and have lost their rights and
freedom. “They have left their countries at great risk to themselves and their
loved ones,” Kaipu said. “They are in search of a better and safer life.
“All the five speakers are young men who have been in PNG for five or six
“Despite being from different countries – a Pakistani, a West Papuan, a West
African, a Sudanese and a Central African – their stories had a very important
decision. “Either risk long imprisonment or even death, or abandon their
beloved country, family and friends in order to find safety and freedom in
another country. “It was not simply a better life they were looking for, but
their very existence as human beings deserving of respect and enjoyment of
their rights and freedoms. “As young men they had made traumatic decisions to
abandon their families and friends and countries and lands. The suspense of
waiting for their cases to be determined for settlement in another country has
aggravated their trauma.”
Our daily bread: How scarcity drives the Mosbi mob
18 February 2019 KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
PORT MORESBY – It was ona Saturday that the
mob stormed into view, alleging that a dog bit a woman on the leg. There were no witnesses
and the incident was not reported to the owner of the dog. The table mamas who erect
stalls and sell betel nut along this stretch of the street did not witness a
dog bite. These table
mamas report everything that happens in the neighbourhood to
those returning from work because they tend their stalls 24/7 to make ends meet
in this unforgiving city. A heavily bandaged woman was carted in a wheelbarrow
escorted by men, women and children to the unregulated hostel in the street
where Kol stayed. A grubby man representing the mob came straight up to Kol,
pointing at his face. He knew Kol was not the owner of the dog but acted as if
“Your dog bite off a piece
on her calf muscle. We took her to the hospital and the doctor said that her
leg will be amputated if not properly treated,” was the line. Kol listened
politely because he was a loner and the mob were ready to devour anybody who
opposed their story cooked up to make some money. There were no medical papers
presented as proof of a visit to the hospital. It was also unusual that the
injured woman was not given an opportunity to tell of her experience. The
leader of the mob resolved that Kol would reimburse the cost of the medical
treatment and compensate them to ‘fan their stomach’, as is part of their
Kol said he did not own
a dog, or a house or land but he was shouted down by the men and women. The mob
insisted that Kol owned the dog and all they wanted was compensation and he
should not divert from that. A neighbour, a leader in the area, endeavoured to
confirm that Kol was not the owner of the dog but the mob told him to back off.
Kol, in his second attempt to defend himself, said dogs being dogs come here to
scavenge in the rubbish but he and others here do not who owns the dog that bit
the woman. In fact, the dog was owned by Gemo who he lived in an adjacent
The mob knew Gemo owned
the dog but decided to hook Kol into the problem so he could partly own the
dog. The primary reason was that Kol came from the same area as Gemo (though
they were not related) and besides, unlike Gemo, he had a permanent job.
Kol and the Gemo were
outnumbered in that stretch of the street so Kol had to raise the white flag of
surrender. Without going to Gemo, Kol contributed K200 and other people living
in the neighbourhood had the courtesy to donate smaller bills adding up to
He handed the K550 to
the leader and the guy took the money and stated that if the woman’s leg
developed an ulcer he would come back to Kol for greater compensation.
The next day, a Sunday,
the thugs went to Gemo, coerced him and got K300 from him.
On Monday morning, the
woman sloughed her bandages, chopped her walking stick and without flinching
marched to town to sell her betel nuts. This mob had felt the sharp pain of
scarcity that makes them insane and unsafe to mingle with and live alongside.
Although a few of them
are law abiding and have a mountain of civic virtue.
Hundreds of families without water supply for five years
Hundreds of families
living in Madang town have had no water supply for more than five years, a
survey report said. Madang’s ward seven councillor Bonny Solomon said most
families had their water supply disconnected years ago and were using other
sources of water for their needs. Solomon said he submitted a report and list
of residents in the New Town area to see if the government would assist them
pay their outstanding water bills last year but nothing happened. Sharon Halo,
living at Kuperu Road, said Water PNG disconnected her water supply yesterday. Halo
said high water bills were incurred by previous residents and she was paying
K1000 every month to reduce it. She appealed to Water PNG to assess the
situation and weigh out reasons before disconnecting water supplies.
Stand their Ground
Post Courier, February 27, 2019
500 homes have been destroyed in an eviction at Gerehu in the Nation’s Capital
on Monday. Women and children were at home when six police vehicles and two
excavators moved into the Red Hills and Goroka Block areas between Gerehu and
Nine-Mile between 9am and 10am.As police
spoke to the families, the two excavators started their destruction of the
homes. In the confusion that followed, houses were destroyed with families
unable to remove their personal belongings before the excavators moved on their
families managed to get representatives from National Capital District
Commission to intervene but 10 minutes after they left, the bulldozing and
destruction of the houses continued. As of yesterday, families had camped
outside their wrecked homes, without electricity and water as many used a
single hose for their cooking, washing and drinking water. School children were
not able to attend schools amongst the issues that arose.
Yambu and Janet Kuso, both from East Sepik province, said that the actions
taken by the person who was claiming to be the landowner was uncalled for as
there was no prior notice of an eviction given to the families. “The landowner
came just before Christmas of 2018 and showed a court order but did not issue
any eviction notice.
violence has continued unabated, with women and girls the primary targets. In
May, in the Southern Highlands, one woman was killed and another two seriously
injured after a mob attacked the women following accusations they had used
sorcery to kill a man. The government’s 2013 Sorcery National Action Plan is
inadequately funded and has yet to be implemented.
In December 2017,
the PNG government announced A$4 million (US$2.9 million) of funding for
sorcery awareness and education programs. In July, the National Court sentenced
eight men to death for their involvement in a sorcery-related killing of seven
people. PNG continued to impose the death penalty, although authorities have
not carried out any executions since 1954.
In 2013, the
Family Protection Act was passed, which criminalizes domestic violence and
allows victims to obtain protection orders. In 2017, the government passed
regulations to implement the law, but enforcement remains weak and
prosecutors rarely pursued investigations or criminal charges against people
who commit family violence—even in cases of attempted murder, serious injury,
or repeated rape—and instead prefer to resolve such cases through mediation
and/or payment of compensation.
There is also a
severe lack of services for people requiring assistance after having suffered
family violence, such as safe houses, qualified counselors, case management,
financial support, or legal aid.
PNG continues to
have one of the highest rates of maternal death in the Asia-Pacific, and the
number of women and girls who give birth in a health facility or with the help
of a skilled birth attendant has reduced in the last five years.
government failed to address abuses by security forces. Few police are ever
held to account for beating or torturing criminal suspects, a common
occurrence. In September, the government indicated it would introduce new
measures to give immunity to police and defense force soldiers on special
operations supposedly to “curb lawlessness.”
ombudsman and police announcing investigations into the 2016 police shooting of
eight student protesters in Port Moresby, at time of writing no police had been
charged or disciplined and neither body had issued a report.
In July, prison
officers shot and killed four men who escaped from Buimo prison in Lae. This
followed a similar escape in 2017, in which 17 prisoners were killed.
Corrective Services ordered an inquiry in 2017, but at time of writing no
investigation had begun, allegedly due to lack of funding.
Police often beat
children in lock-ups and house them with adults, despite a child justice law
that states children should be kept separate from adults during all stages of
the criminal justice process.
In August, a
video showing two PNG police officers brutally assaulting a teenage boy in West
New Britain was widely circulated on social media. Minister for Police Jelta
Wong ordered an immediate investigation and promised to hold those responsible
to account. The two officers have reportedly been suspended and charged under
the Criminal Code Act, but neither had been prosecuted at time of writing.
to education improved from 2012 to 2016 following the introduction of the
Tuition Fee Free Policy in 2012 but was still low, with only 76 percent of
children enrolled in primary school and 33 percent in secondary.
More than 5
million hectares of land has been awarded to PNG-based subsidiaries of foreign
companies on Special Agricultural Business Leases, resulting in loss of
ancestral land and forest for rural Papua New Guineans. The leases represent
over 10% of the country’s total landmass and potentially impact more than
Corruption in PNG
is widespread. In December 2017, the Supreme Court quashed a long-standing
arrest warrant for corruption against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, finding
that the warrant failed to meet a number of requirements and was issued without
That same month,
anti-corruption police arrested and charged the country’s deputy chief
electoral commissioner with corruption for allegedly manipulating votes, for
perjury and making a false declaration.
In April, media
reported that anti-corruption police are investigating the Governor of Port
Moresby Powes Parkop, after a former official revealed the city council was
paying K2.8 million a year to a yoga and health company run by his alleged
About 570 male
asylum seekers and refugees live in PNG, most on Manus Island. Nearly all were
forcibly transferred to PNG by Australia in 2013. Following a 2016 PNG Supreme
Court decision that detaining asylum seekers is unconstitutional, in November
2017, the Australian and PNG government closed the main centre on Manus and
relocated refugees and asylum seekers to other accommodation facilities on the
seekers and refugees suffer complex health problems including mental health
conditions that have been exacerbated by long periods in detention and
uncertainty about their futures. In May, a Rohingya refugee died by apparent
suicide having jumped from a moving bus, the seventh asylum seeker or refugee
to die on Manus Island since 2013.
Department of Home Affairs has acknowledged that medical services have been
reduced since the men were forcibly removed from the main center in 2017. There
have been urgent calls, including by Australian doctors, to improve healthcare
standards on Manus Island.
for refugees’ living expenses but refuses to resettle them in Australia,
insisting they must settle in PNG or third countries, such as the United
States. US resettlement from Manus remains slow, with 163 resettled as of
asylum seekers do not feel safe on Manus due to a spate of violent attacks by
locals in the town of Lorengau and ongoing disputes with the local community.
In January, neighbouring residents blocked access to living compounds in a
protest about leaking sewage. In May, a fire in Hillside Haus forced the
relocation of 120 residents.
Since June, a
12-hour curfew has been imposed on the refugees and asylum seekers in violation
of their freedom of movement, following a car accident in which a woman died;
an allegedly drunk refugee was driving the car. In October, a local man
violently assaulted an Iranian refugee who was hospitalized with serious
injuries to his head and eyes.
following a class action settlement, the Australian government paid K164
million in compensation to asylum seekers and refugees for their illegal
detention on Manus Island.
In July, the
Queensland Coroner ruled that the death of Manus detainee and Iranian asylum
seeker Hamid Khazaei in September 2014 was preventable and the result of
“compounding errors” in health care provided under Australia’s
offshore immigration detention system.
existence of a national disability policy, people with disabilities are often
unable to participate in community life, go to school, or work because of lack
of accessibility, stigma, and other barriers. Access to mental health care is
limited, and many people with psychosocial disabilities and their families
often consider traditional healers to be the only option.
orientation and gender identity
The PNG criminal
code outlaws sex “against the order of nature,” which has been interpreted to
apply to consensual same-sex acts, and is punishable by up to 14 years’
then-Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop visited Port Moresby and met with
PNG foreign minister Rimbink Pato to discuss health and immigration. In
November, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and PNG prime minister Peter
O’Neill signed a joint defence agreement to deepen relations and security
cooperation, partly to curb China’s growing influence in the Pacific.
China is set to
overtake Australia as the largest donor to PNG, though most assistance is in
the form of infrastructure loans rather than aid. China is committing
approximately K13 billion to developing a national road network. Australian
government aid to PNG for the year 2018-19 is K1.3 billion.
In November, PNG
hosted the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum which was
overshadowed by growing tensions between China and Australia for regional
dominance in the Pacific. China provided significant infrastructure
support—including the K82 million convention centre—and President Xi Jinping
invited Pacific Island leaders to a special summit ahead of APEC.
K305 million on security costs for APEC, and provided 1,500 Australian Defence
government drew criticism for its purchase of 40 new Maserati cars for visiting
APEC dignitaries, when the impoverished country struggles to pay teachers and
faces a health crisis. The summit ended in disarray when Chinese officials
physically forced their way into the office of the PNG foreign minister and
refused to sign the final joint statement.
appeal for refugee action in open letter to O’Neill
Fr Giorgio Licini – ‘I appeal to
your sense of humanity and the responsibility of your high office’
FR GIORGIO LICINI |
General Secretary, Catholic Bishops Conference
WAIGANI – Dear Hon Prime Minister: It is with heavy
heart and an intense sense of sadness that I report to you on my recent visits
to Lorengau town in Manus Island and to the Pacific International Hospital in
Port Moresby. At the two locations, I had the heartbreaking experience of
making contact with an appalling level of desperation in which refugees and
asylum seekers live. I am not referring to the logistic conditions in which the
men are kept, which appear to be decent with security, cleanliness, and respect
by national and expatriate personnel. My concern is rather about their fast
deteriorating health status, which is making now acts of self-harm and
attempted suicide a daily occurrence: three cases only for the two days I was
in Manus on 20-22 January.
While travel to Manus
and to the detention centers may prove hard to your busy schedule, I warmly
invite you to make a quick visit to the [Intensive Care Unit] ward of Pacific
International Hospital at 3 Mile.
You will come across
well-kept health facilities and extremely kind and professional personnel, but
you will also meet about twenty refugees and asylum seekers in a deplorable
state of mental health compounded with other ailments affecting their cardiac
and respiratory system, kidney failure, fractured bones, etc.
Hospital and the PNG health system in general cannot cope with these types of
diseases and the men are prevented by their status from seeking independent and
autonomous medical attention elsewhere.
Needless to say, Hon
Prime Minister, that the foreigners hosted in Manus, at Pacific International
Hospital and other locations in Port Moresby have never committed any offense
against the people or the State of Papua New Guinea.
Their detention, mainly
at the hand of the government of Australia was organised between July 2013 and
February 2014 because of their irregular arrival by boat on the shores of that
country and as an attempt to deter additional asylum seekers from taking to the
The people of Manus
expected the offshore processing of those more than one thousand men taken to
their island at Lombrum naval base to last two or three years at the most. Now
half of the initial number of those men are still there after six years.
The uncertainty about
their future, the rejection of claims and applications for resettlement, the
length of the review process has brought to a significant breakdown in their
mental health conditions.
From the information I
gathered the situation has begun to become alarming by September 2018.
Self-harm and attempted suicide, due to depression and hopelessness has now
practically become a daily occurrence.
You may see by yourself
the men admitted at Pacific International Hospital, and there will be no need for
me to supply additional details and information.
I am therefore
appealing, Hon Prime Minister, to your sense of humanity and the responsibility
of your high office.
As you accepted in 2013
to offer help to the Kevin Rudd government of Australia and the refugees
themselves to have their status processed in Papua New Guinea and begin a new
life elsewhere, I am now humbly asking you to give a very close deadline to the
authorities in Canberra for the removal of all refugees and asylum seekers from
our country on the basis of strongly compelling medical and humanitarian
Having achieved the
objective of “stopping the boats” their detention now amounts to cruelty and
plain mental and physical torture.
Without this decision,
the mentally impaired people will grow by the dozens in the next few weeks and
months. Who is going to care for them?
They risk outright
rejection by any third country. They will be unproductive and a burden to
Australia if that government is eventually forced to take them in. It is
unthinkable that they are treated in Papua New Guinea and spend the rest of
their lives here in total abjection and poverty.
Dear Prime Minister, the
photos I attach to this letter are indeed distressing and painting a picture of
the country that may easily appear of complicity, injustice and
irresponsibility. The people of Papua New Guinea, your people, are of a
completely different stock and do not deserve this bad international publicity.
I am sure that everybody
will appreciate you demanding from the Prime Minister of Australia that any
offshore processing in Papua New Guinea is ended within sixty days at the most,
and these men immediately receive proper medical treatment in Australia while
waiting for the final decision on their future in any safe country.
Thank you very much and
may God bless all your efforts!
REV FR GIORGIO LICINI,
Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands
The primary task of the Catholic Church in PNG is to bring
the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of PNG. As such the church adopts no particular
position on political or economic issues except to bring gospel values to this
part of life.
However, since the Catholic Church is known and expected to
speak for those without a voice, and has a reputation for its concern for the
rural poor of PNG, many have asked us for our position on APEC. We have
addressed this issue many times in the past and more recently appealed for a
return to the division of powers that could ensure that political power and eh
equitable distribution of wealth are kept separate.
We share the concern of many about the huge amount of our
limited resources being expended on this event which seems designed to
entertain and impress the rich and powerful.
Given its inevitability, we can only hope for its “success”,
which can only mean that the welfare of the poorest people of PNG will somehow
indirectly be improved. Although we all would like to make a good impression on
our visitors, this cannot be at the expense of the truth.
So we must now look to “life after APEC”. This has to be a
life where we will see a return to the principles and values of our national
constitution and the national goals and directive principles on which our
nation was built. In our 43 years we have seen a serious decline in
implementing of the principle of equity and participation. There is simply not
an equitable distribution of the national wealth to all. Despite all the
rhetoric, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. APEC
seems to be a manifestation of this gap as the whole of PNG watches billions
being spent on appearances in Port Moresby while we experience teachers and
health workers without pay and health centers without medicine, while all
departments are to expect less than 60% of their official budgeted allocations.
It is a fact that many people in the remote areas of Papua New Guinea,
including those in the cites who are still economically “remote”, are suffering
and dying on order to make APEC a “success”.
As we present ourselves to the world as a nation capable of
pulling of major international event, we must still ask ourselves to what
extent we are truly sovereign and self-reliant. We are very much aware, and our
informal off the record conversation with some of our national leaders
confirms, that PNG is now longer in control of its own economic enterprise and
production. Those of us in the forefront of Provinces with extensive logging
and oil palm know exactly how much we have sold out to foreign interests.
The big show of APEC is not the experience of the majority
of Papua New Guineans. Though they may rightly hope to make a good impression
on visitors, they also rightly hope for a return to true normality when it is
all over and we are able to count the cost, start repaying our debts, and
re-establish our priorities, that is to prioritize the rural poor and not the
urban rich. CBC 7 November 2018
It wasn’t meant
to be like this: PNG’s hosting of APEC
When Papua New Guinea (PNG) put up its hand to host APEC in
2013, its economy was booming. Prospects were bright. And reform was underway,
in particular to clamp down on the corruption that has been the country’s
Fast forward five years and the environment could not be more
different. PNG’s highly effective corruption investigator Taskforce Sweep no longer exists. It was abolished by the very same Prime
Minister who set it up, Peter O’Neill, after it started pursuing O’Neill
himself on corruption charges. The anti-corruption effort more broadly has been
undermined via reducing the funding and/or autonomy of the remaining anti-corruption actors, such
as the police fraud squad and the Ombudsman.Econo mic growth has stalled.
Formal sector employment (the only sort of employment that is measured in PNG)
has declined for each of the last four years. Excessive borrowing in the boom years has now come back to
haunt the government following a collapse in
revenue. The government has done well to avoid a debt
crisis, but its economic mismanagement has intensified the downturn. PNG’s
biggest economic problem is its overvalued exchange rate. The value of the Kina is set by the Central Bank, which has
prevented significant depreciation for more than two years now. So far this
year, the official Kina/US dollar exchange rate has fallen only by four per
cent, a fraction of the 20 per cent or more depreciation called for by analysts and researchers alike.
What has really caught the public’s attention is the return of polio, eliminated in PNG about 20 years ago. PNG is one of only five countries
in the world to be experiencing a polio comeback. That the
other members of this club are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Nigeria
and Somalia — all four wrought by violence — shows the extent of the health
crisis that PNG is facing. The most recent symptoms include the resurgence of
malaria and leprosy and reports of worsening drug shortages.
It is hardly surprising then that the hosting of APEC has become
controversial in PNG, with accusations of both waste and corruption. After all, PNG is an extremely poor country. It is the second
most rural in the world. Poverty is high and not falling, and child stunting rates are the fourth highest in the world (every second child under the age of five is stunted due to malnutrition).
The opportunity cost of hosting APEC is high. Much of the financial cost is
being covered by other countries, most notably Australia and China, but the
meeting cycle is a heavy one for any country, and a significant tax on PNG
policymakers, both elected and official….
PNG is one of only four countriesworldwide whose parliament contains no women, a symptombut also a cause of extreme gender inequality. Several years ago, it started tointroduce reforms to ensure female representation, but these have not actually been implemented, nor is there anycommitment to implementing them. [See the url above for the full article.]
2017 election was hijacked; ‘unprecedented violence & fraud’
Analysis of the vote, led by the Australian National University, found failures in the electoral roll, the theft and destruction of ballot boxes, and “money politics” – payments by candidates for votes – on a scale that was“qualitatively different to previous elections”.
“The 2017 elections were marred by widespread fraud and malpractice, and extensive vote rigging,” Nicole Haley, associate professor at ANU and the lead author of the study, told a recent gathering of Pacific scholars in Canberra. The findings, to be published early next year, are based on records collected by258 election observers at 945 polling stations around the country. Many voters were denied genuine choice through block voting, coerced collective voting, violence, intimidation and pre-marked ballot papers in many locations.
third of citizens surveyed reported intimidation, one quarter reported that
they did not vote – significantly higher rates than in 2012. Less than half
reported they voted freely.
fared the worst. Only two in five women reported voting freely, with about the
same number reporting intimidation. Not a single woman was elected in 2017 to
the 111-member parliament.
Call for fast
processing of asylum seekers on Manus
THE Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) of
Papua New Guinea is pushing for a date for Australia and PNG to settle the
remaining 133 asylum seekers in Manus. The CBC said social and health issues
and psychological, moral and physical issues in delaying the processing of
refugees were of concern to the Catholic Church. The CBC and panel comprising
of representatives from the Department of Immigration, United Nations human
rights, human rights lawyer of the Catholic Professionals Society, NCD Governor
Powes Parkop and Fr Clement Taulam, of the Manus Diocese, called on both
countries to properly settle the asylum seekers.
Fr Clement said the process was taking too long for the refugees to be
“Now is the sixth year we are holding them in Manus. Some are getting
frustrated, impatient and had taken their lives and the process is still going
“So what are we going to do?” Parkop said PNG did not have a culture to detain
and confine people. “We helped Australia but she took us for granted and left
the problem with us,” he said.
JIWAKA has confirmed three cases of polio,
bringing the total number of cases detected and treated in the country to 22. The
provincial polio awareness and surveillance team revealed this yesterday at a
review of round two routine immunisation and campaign. Provincial surveillance
officer and field epidemiologist Augustine Kumba said the three persons that
tested positive were two boys and a girl under the age of five. Kumba said the
two boys were aged two while the girl was four. They tested positive in the
Banz 1 catchment area at Dumbola Health Centre in North Waghi.
Kumba said one of the boy had been treated and was now living a normal life.
The other boy was using one side of his limbs while the other had gone totally
The girl was walking on one leg while the other is supported by a walking
The Conference along with the Catholic Professionals
Society of PNG, hosted a panel discussion in Port Moresby last week about the
The panel, which featured about 100 people, including the
governor of Port Moresby and students, teachers and professionals, declared
Australia has a moral obligation to look after all refugees and asylum-seekers.
The secretary of the conference, Fr Ambrose Pereira SBD, said Papua New Guinea
is not able to care for the refugees. “We are hoping for an end to this refugee
situation where all will be sent into Australia or to any other country. But it
needs to be Australia’s responsibility to ensure that this happens.”
would hide behind the fact, saying it is now the problem of Papua New Guinea,
and they also issued a statement before the panel which said, ‘We are ready to
help PNG and this is an issue for PNG to handle,’ but I think what was stated
very clearly was Australia needs to put an end to this because it is an issue they
have, in fact, started.”
Fr Pereira said having the refugees resettled by
Christmas would be a gift for all.
PNGmen find comfort in seeking help from online counselling
Papua New Guinea’s first national telephone counselling hotline has had to broaden its service to cater for demand after receiving more than 15,000 calls over the past year.
hotline was established by the non-government organisation ChildFund PNG as a
service for survivors of gender-based violence, predominately women and
Wesh Siku said more than two-thirds of women in PNG experience domestic
violence.”When the project was actually designed, [it was] designed to
assist survivors of gender-based violence and it just complemented those
services that have already been established,” Mr Siku said. “The primary focus
was to support survivors of gender-based violence, mainly women and even
children.” But he said the service had allowed men to get assistance that
they otherwise would not seek. Now more than half the callers are males who
call as witnesses or perpetrators of violence. “A lot of men do not feel
comfortable talking to a woman in a face to face scenario,” Mr Siku said. “So
when this project was put up, it became comfortable for them to pick up a phone
and call a counsellor for the issues they are going through. He said the
hotline has eight staff on the phones but this may have to increase as the
workload has doubled since last year.
Most advocates of this argument have pointed to anecdotal evidence – high debt
levels in Tonga, the case of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka – rather than to
hard data. In this piece, we look at international debt data to explore: (i)
whether Pacific island countries are in debt distress, and (ii) whether this is
the result of lending from China.
One issue we
consider is whether Pacific island countries are at greater risk of debt
distress than in the past. Using IMF and Asian Development Bank (ADB) risk
ratings, we do see a rise in debt distress over the last five years (see Figure
1). We also see that over 40% of Pacific island countries are now classified as
being at high risk of debt distress (see Figure 2, with countries singled out).
So debt certainly appears to be a problem in the region.
Now for the
second question: is this debt distress the result of lending by China?
answer is “no”. [See url above for the
economy’s suppression driving people into poverty
PORT MORESBY – With recentfigures showing that poverty reduction is decelerating globally, a recent World Bank report urges governments aroundthe world not to slack off in their efforts to combat it. However, critics argue that poverty measurement should not only be confined to the standard $US1.90 a day imposed by World Bank but should also include health indicators, education levels and standard of living.
government’s policy to crackdown on
the informal economy is a classic example of this as it directly affects the
only source of livelihood for the majority of the jobless poor.
implementation of anti-informal economy policies have seen widespread
harassment and beatings of vendors coupled with a substantial loss of business.
The loss of business means families are deprived of income to meet household
needs and improve their wellbeing. Consequently, it takes a toll on people and
induces them into poverty.
time when prices of basic goods and services are
rising and formal sector job opportunities are declining, suppression of the
informal economy can drive many families into destitution. The ramifications
are huge for Papua New Guinea which is estimated to have 85% of its total
population engaged in the informal economy.
said, the government has introduced some reforms into its informal economy. The
national informal economy policy of 2011-15 and its accompanying law (Informal Sector
Development & Control Act of 2004) are landmark achievements
that aim to nurture the positive aspects of the informal economy whilst
tackling its problems.
though, the government has not been able to achieve this fine balance, opting
instead to focus on curtailing the informal economy’s growth.The implication is that, if the government
continues to take a hardline stance towards the informal economy, many Papua
New Guineans will not escape poverty in their lifetime. …
Papua New Guinea Is Rich in Resources
but Poor in Health
MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — Polio was vanquished by the Pacific nation of Papua
New Guinea 18 years ago. Now, as world leaders gather there for the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting this week, polio has returned
— on top of raging drug-resistant epidemics of tuberculosis, malaria and
H.I.V., and deadly flash points of preventable diseases like whooping cough and
over the country, there are symptoms of a profound public health emergency;
young and old are getting sick and dying unnecessarily, while facilities lack
basic medicines and equipment. Doctors and experts say the unfolding crisis is
the realization of their worst fears after years of deterioration and neglect. “We
were expecting something like this,” Dr. Anup Gurung, a public health
specialist with the World Health Organization, said of the polio outbreak at a
news conference in the capital, Port Moresby, in September. He pointed to the
erosion of vaccination rates, which are down to 30 percent in some parts of the
country. “It’s like someone lit a paper castle where everything is on fire,” he
return of polio is a clear indicator of the failures, with Papua New Guinea
accounting for 21 of 109 cases found globally this
and international experts point to three interlinked causes of the country’s
health crisis: the collapse of the medical supply chain; changing relations
with the country’s biggest aid donor, Australia; and rampant corruption….
its immense resource wealth, Papua New Guinea has the lowest life expectancy in
the Pacific at 62.9 years, according to the World Health Organization. And it
may be getting worse. The number of people infected with malaria parasites, for
example, grew almost ninefold to 432,000 in 2017 from 50,309 in 2014, according
to the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research. The survey blames the
lack of treatment drugs in many parts of the country, together with a decline
in international support.
a decade ago, Papua New Guinea was being congratulated for its efforts against
the spread of H.I.V.; now, infection rates are rising. A survey has also
exposed “alarming rates of H.I.V. drug resistance,” said Dr. Angela Kelly-Hanku
of the Institute of Medical Research. This is largely because H.I.V. patients
are unable to secure reliable supplies of antiretroviral medications, she said.
Mola said a colleague with extensive experience in Africa had observed that
while corruption was common there, in Africa “they skim off the cream and still
leave some milk for the people. In Papua New Guinea, they take the lot.”
PORT MORESBY – Ask people inPapua New Guinea about #MeToo and you are likely to get blank stares, but in a country with a reputation as the worst place in the world for women to live, attitudes to domestic and sexual violence are slowly changing.
beatings started before Lucy Sausiniaka was married and didn’t stop even when
she was pregnant with her daughter. Today the gentle 23-year-old and her quiet
doughnut-munching toddler live in a women’s shelter by the shore of Port
Moresby’s Ela Beach.
paint is flaking and old bedsheets are slung as curtains, but the Haus Ruth
refuge is peaceful and, more importantly, it is safe.
would beat me up, even in public” says Sausiniaka, her eyes darting around
as if searching reluctantly for memories. “Usually under the influence of
is estimated that two-thirds of women in Papua New Guinea experience domestic
violence. But behind the shocking statistics and harrowing testimony, attitudes
and behaviour appear to be slowly changing.
shelter’s ebullient manager Monica Richards says 2013 legal reforms — imposing
tougher prison sentences, fines and protection orders — have made a real
or six years ago” the police would not always take domestic and sexual
violence seriously, she said. “That has changed a lot. The police are now
in Port Moresby, trailblazing women are taking the initiative in other ways,
including driving women-only buses. They offer a safer alternative for women
who fear robbery, abuse, harassment or assault. “The city is not safe for
women to get around,” said Gorame Momo, one of four female bus drivers in
the capital. “We provide safe transport for them.”
yet there are scant few Harvey Weinsteins in Papua New Guinea — powerful men
felled for their bad behaviour. But there are plenty of Alyssa Milanos or
Tanushree Duttas, women brave enough to speak out and try to nudge their
Increase in Security
inadequacies of state-provided security, pervasive feelings and perceptions of insecurity, and the economic opportunities
presented to domestic and transnational companies in this field, have driven
the massive growth of private security in PNG over recent decades. Figures from
PNG’s own Security Industries Authority indicate that the number of licensed
security companies increased from 176 in 2006 to 462 in 2014, with a workforce
of around 30,000 guards. While omitting the large number of unlicensed
operators, this number exceeds the combined workforce for the Royal PNG
Constabulary, PNG Defence Force and the Corrections Service. Some estimates
make private security the third largest employer in PNG. The industry has
flourished around elite urban enclaves, the extractive industries and, albeit
PORT MORESBY – After a long morning of organised chaos inside a crowded government compound in Papua NewGuinea’s capital Port Moresby, hundreds of health workers and volunteers are finally wrangled into teams, issued with instructions, and piled into a fleet of hard-worn four-wheel drives. As the first of four mass vaccination waves scheduled over October and November begins to push out across the Pacific nation, emergency teams are rolled out in the capital. The vehicles are loaded up with loud hailers and ice boxes full of oral polio vaccine. Before they head into the surrounding settlements, posters are hastily taped to the windows and doors: ‘Stop Polio in PNG’.
half of PNG’s more than eight million people have access to clean water and
less than one-fifth to a toilet that disposes of waste in a way that it does
not pose a disease risk.
analysis of stool samples taken from the victims reveals the virus has been
circulating undetected for more than two years, Gurung said. “If you have one
case, there would be 200, maybe 500,000 people circulating the virus.”
Waide dumping electrifies & outrages global admirers
NOOSA – Readers of PNGAttitude have joined hundreds of Papua New Guineans and people internationally in voicing strong support for journalist and blogger Scott Waide who was suspended from his senior job with EMTV after the television station management received instructions from the Papua New Guinea government to do so.
was linked to a story broadcast on Saturday 17 November which originated in New
Zealand and mentioned that prime minister Jacinta Ardern would not be
travelling one of the 40 Maseratis imported by the PNG government for use at
purchase had generated great controversy and much criticism in PNG and in the
overseas media. In a message to staff, the state-owned broadcaster said it had
been forced to suspend Waide and told staff not to discuss the matter.
the days before APEC, Waide, with the help of his audience, had investigated
drug and medical equipment shortages in PNG hospitals. During the summit he had
reported on Chinese restrictions on the media.
New Zealand reports that in recent days he wrote about the police minister
assuring disciplinary forces that no action would be taken against personnel
who stormed parliament over APEC related payments, although this decisions has
since been said to have been overturned.
Waide reinstated! People power
gives PNG govt a wake-up call
LAE – Over the last 48 hours, I have been very humbled by the incredible support my family and I have received from people both here and abroad.Support also came from friends in the media, academia, law enforcement, the military and many other circles too many to name. I have since been reinstated to my job as deputy regional head of news at EMTV. …
I was suspended on Sunday 18 November, on the last day of
the APEC meetings. The reasons for the suspensions are now public
knowledge and I do not wish to dwell too much on them. However, I do wish to
make the following points:
Papua New Guinea is a democracy and the media is free to
hold those in authority to account. This means highlighting flaws in policy and
making sure mistakes are pointed out and corrected. It is an essential part of
There should NEVER be any interference at the operational
level by board members. The media is an institution of democracy and must
remain free and independent. It is our constitutional right to report AND
Journalists of ‘state owned’ media are NOT government
public relations officers nor are media organisations PR machines.
EMTV is ‘state owned’ which means the PEOPLE own this
company through their elected government.
Journalism is an art… and art and creativity cannot
operate in an environment of suppression and fear.
Papua New Guinea is a critical moment of its history with
the growth and influence of China, US-China trade tensions and challenges
within our own country.
We are a largely rural nation. Many of our people still
have no access to basic services.
We will continue to promote critical, proactive and
transparent journalism. The people’s voice has to be heard and the media
must remain as the conduit and platform for opinions and debate and those who
cannot accept it MUST step aside and let progress happen.
Note: I will be on leaveDecember and January so the next edition of Social Concerns Notes will probablybe at the end of February 2019. Peace,
This morning, I was informed that a number of teachers in Lae had not received their full salaries. On average, each teacher mentioned had about K200 deducted from each of their salaries over two consecutive fortnights. I didn’t know how bad the situation was. So by 7am, I posted an alert on Facebook asking teachers in Lae to provide some leads. Almost immediately, the Facebook messages and text messages came flooding in. And I am not exaggerating here. Teachers from primary and secondary were sending messages from all over the country telling me that they had pay cuts which affected their families in a big way.
Most teachers don’t get much in terms of a salary. So a K200 deduction can sometimes amount to a third or even half their pay.
A great (but ignored) way to include everyone in development
In cities such as Port Moresby, Lae and Mt Hagen, the growth of informal settlements has been so rapid and pervasive that it has reached a point where urgent action needs to be taken to arrest what has become out-of-control development. It is estimated that by 2030, one-third of PNG’s population will be living in urban centres with an annual growth rate of 1.6%. In Port Moresby alone it is estimated that over 45% of the 700,000 plus population of the National Capital District live in the unplanned areas and settlements. Most of these people will not be able to secure formal jobs and will take up livelihood activities within the urban informal economy to get by. The National Informal Economy Policy for 2011-2015 estimates that 80-85% of the total population is involved in the informal sector. In Port Moresby alone it estimates that about K2 million changes hands every day in the urban informal economy. That is about K750 million a year. In most developing economies, the informal economy has outgrown the formal sector to the extent that governments are being urged to embrace the informal economy to combat rising unemployment. This points to an urgent need for the PNG government to integrate informal economy into its urban development plans and priorities, as it has often been advised to do.
Lifestyle diseases on the rise in PNG
Post Courier, October 3, 2018
PAPUA New Guineans are urged to live a healthy lifestyle because lifestyle change and the prevalence of non-communicable diseases are rising. This was the message that Health Minister Sir Puka Temu conveyed to the United Nations last week. Sir Puka told the UN General Assembly that PNG was experiencing an increase in blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and cancer which is the leading non-communicable disease.
While significant effort has been placed on managing communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and polio, Sir Puka said that effort is also directed at managing con-communicable diseases, including, for example:
• implementing the Tobacco Control Act and developing regulations to support a stronger public response against smoking;
• drafting a Radiation Control Bill to regulate radiation sources in PNG and allow the import of cobalt for our radiation treatments for cancer patients;
• Launching a multi-sectoral plan to help address lifestyle factors in non-communicable diseases;
• undertaking an Organic Law Review, Provincial Health Authorities Review and implementing District Development Authorities, all of which could provide the foundation for a better functioning health system; and
• implementing the Cancer Control Policy and a National Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan 2015 to 2020 for Non-Communicable Diseases.
TB is being keenly felt in PNG and it remains a public health threat and kills more people in the country than any other infectious disease.
Govt’s failure to address poverty is driving TB’s spread in PNG
Post Courier, 03 October 2018
CANBERRA – Tuberculosis is such an old disease, such a normal part of the landscape in many countries, that many governments fail to recognise the extent to which it is a major driver of poverty, with a devastating impact on individuals, families, communities, and the country. In countries with weak health systems, the dangerous symbiotic relationship is even more obvious.
Papua New Guinea is one of those countries where neglect of the disease through the years has caused the number of cases to spiral exponentially and allowed new drug-resistant strains to develop, resulting in many communities being trapped in a vicious cycle at the interplay of poverty and tuberculosis – one driving the other. According to the 2017 World Health Organisation Global TB Report, TB kills more people in PNG than any other infectious disease. There were 30,000 new cases of TB in PNG in 2016. As the numbers continued to increase. The irony is that PNG is resource-rich. Yet it ranks 153 out of 185 countries on the Human Development Index
The longer we wait, more people die
Post Courier, October 4, 2018
“I have been here (national cancer centre) for almost 10 weeks, other patients have been here longer, six months, 12 months and one to two years, waiting for radiotherapy treatment.” These are the heart-felt words of a man-stricken by cancer and no immediate relief in sight. The patient, who refused to be identified, continued: “I have witnessed a total of 11 patients die in the past eight weeks (up to mid-September). “While sitting on my sick bed, I saw four patients who were admitted before I was admitted die and four new patients admitted, replacing the four who had just died. “And I am still sitting here on my sick bed and the four who were admitted died with three other women cancer patients.
“The longer it takes for Parliament to pass the Radiation Safety Bill, patients are dying and will continue dying.” This patient is now living at the national cancer centre at Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, speaking on behalf of the other patients.“We appeal to the government to pass the Bill as soon as possible. “The struggle we face with no radiation treatment available here at the National Cancer Centre is killing patients.
A STUDY has shown that two in every three local women suffer from physical, sexual and psychological violence at the hands of their partners. The Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee of the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council has therefore urged all agencies dealing with family and sexual violence to observe this month’s campaign against domestic violence. The committee’s national coordinator Marcia Kalinoe said domestic violence was no longer a private matter. “(It) is a crime punishable by law. It affects the rights of individuals and restricts their access to wealth, opportunities and privileges in society. It is a social injustice,” she said. It includes punching, slapping, kicking, and use of objects to hurt another person, yelling, swearing, coercion and threats.
Also included is stealing money, stalking, continual texting or phone calls, sexual abuse and degrading someone and making them feel useless and isolated.
The committee advocates for a nationwide awareness this month to end domestic violence in the country. The campaign suggests:
• Standing up for a mother, daughter or sister experiencing violence;
• Telling someone about the 1-Tok Kaunseling Helpim Lain 7150 800, or calling the number to report any form of family and sexual violence in the community;
• Wearing a purple or black ribbon to support survivors and remember those who died as a result of domestic violence;
• Making a donation in cash or kind at a Safe Haus or a Family Support Centre;
• Speaking up for the safety and protection of women, girls and boys.
Thirteen of the confirmed polio cases are affected with limb paralysis and can no longer use their legs, says national coordinator polio response Sibauk Bieb. “The only different paralysis is the one on the nine-year-old boy from Enga who had paralysis in his breathing muscles but lost his life last month,” he said in an update. “We have the 13 remaining.
“For the 13 with paralysis of the leg, the polio virus has affected their lower limbs and sometimes their upper limb and they cannot walk or move their legs easily.”
Serious questions as PNG malaria infections increase ninefold
CANBERRA – A recent report from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research shows almost a ninefold increase in the number of cases of malaria in PNG between 2014 and 2017. The key result of the report is that there has been “an increase in the size of the total population infected with malaria parasites from 50,309 in 2014 to 432,000 in 2017”.
According to the April report, the national prevalence of malaria is now 7.1%. This is up from 5.1% in 2010-11 and a remarkably low 1% in 2014-15. In many ways, the 7% prevalence underestimates the severity of the problem. The national figure is 10% for children under five. Malaria prevalence among all ages is as high as 16% in Madang, 10.8% in Milne Bay, 8.8% in East Sepik and 8.7% in New Ireland. For children under five, some of the reported provincial prevalence rates are terrifying: the highest is 20.5% in Sandaun.
What has gone wrong? We know from international research that success in malaria control can be fragile. In the case of PNG, the report points to three factors: a decline in Global Fund support after 2013; a simultaneous decline in PNG public expenditure in the health sector and the lack of availability of drugs.
It’s pretty simple, although the report also suggests that changes in mosquito biting behaviour (from night to early evening) may have reduced the effectiveness of bed nets.
The earlier drastic reduction in malaria was held up as a PNG success story, as indeed it was.
The reversal raises some very serious questions. These have to be directed first and foremost to the PNG government. Our own 2017 economic survey showed that health funding increased in the years to 2014, but was sharply cut between 2014 and 2016 – by 37% after inflation.
New independent corruption commission has no independence
PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea government’s announcement of a so-called Interim Independent Commission Against Corruption is an insult to the nation and an abuse of the ICAC name. An ICAC must be independent from government and free from any political interference, but what the prime minister has announced fundamentally fails both tests. What PNG urgently needs is a truly independent, full resourced and properly empowered ICAC. It is vital that ICAC is an independent constitutional body with powers to investigate complaints, arrest suspects and prosecute cases of corruption in both the public and private sector while working alongside existing law enforcement agencies. It is over 10 years since PNG ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption yet we are still waiting for an ICAC.
Police Record increase in car jackings
Post Courier, October 10, 2018
AN EVIDENT increase in carjacking incidents around the country has citizens and authorities alike on edge. According to Police reports, a staggering 140 stolen vehicle incidents have been logged since 1 January 2018 around the country. In NCD alone, as many as 76 cars have been reported stolen since January. NCD Metropolitan Superintendent Perou N’Dranou said that the increase in hold-ups and related carjackings was not a new thing and that while the numbers were discouraging, recent policing developments in the second quarter of the year have drastically improved crime stats in general. In Madang, Provincial Commander Ben Neneo told this paper yesterday that Jomba Police station had received over 20 stolen vehicle reports this year, with Lae, Rabaul and Mt Hagen all reporting stats just shy of ten each.
by APEC INSIDERS Insiders at APEC Authority have estimated the following costs to the nation to date over the last 2 years:
1. APEC Haus construction – K300m.
2. Hilton Hotel construction contribution – K200m.
3. Sealing of Jacksons airport (old terminal area) for 767 aircraft to park – K70m.
4. Cruise Ship hires – K90m.
5. Joint Security task force costs including cars and bikes and boats and related cost under Police Comm etc. – K60m.
6. Hire cars – K65m.
7. Hotels and venue hire for all the lead up meetings so far – K90m.
8. Motor vehicles including executive Praods – K50m.
9. New Maserati sports sedans – K40m.
10. Salaries for staff and consultants for staff and foreign consultants for years for both APEC Authority and APEC secretariat – K90m.
11. Travel and allowances for attending meetings etc over 2 years – K60m.
12. Staff accommodation – K30m.
13. Uniforms and attire we see littering Pom – K50m.
14. Banners and flyers and signages by a certain Lady’s company- K30m.
15. Computers and meeting registration software – K20m.
16. Medical Services to PIH for meetings so far- K10m.
17. Work on wharf to accommodate cruise ships – K30m.
18. Water supply piping with Eda Ranu to Motukea for cruise ships – K10m.
19. National Weather Service Upgrade – K10m.
20. PNG Air Safety Ltd equipment upgrade – K20m.
21. Staff meals and allowances during meetings for all State Agencies including Police and govt departmenta- K10m.
22. Fuel and maintenance costs for over 120 vehicles for 2 year – K30m.
23. Cost of hosting several lead up meetings in certain provinces- K20m
23. Other administration costs like mobile phones and internet and stationery etc etc – K40m.
These exclude all aid funded projects like the Poreporena Freeway upgrade for K30m and Convention centre upgrade for K25m.
The Hilton Hotel in Port Moresby was opened last week – string quartets, acrobats, three tenors and other carnivals were there. The Governor of Western Province –made a very good speech apparently. But he ended it with……”as I look at this magnificent building I think about my people in Western sitting around fire, scraping for food, suffering TB and dying of other diseases and with no electricity or medicine”. And walked off the stage.
Citizens react in anger as govt tries to explain Maserati purchase
SYDNEY – Papua New Guineans have reacted with anger at its government importing a fleet of Maseratis to drive international delegates around the APEC conference next month, amid a health and poverty crisis, struggling economy, and ongoing efforts after a devastating earthquake. The PNG government has defended its decision, expressing confidence that all 40 luxury cars will be bought by the “private sector” after the two-day event, leaving the government with no financial burden. The cars, which cost between $200,000 and $350,000 each in Australia, were flown in from Milan on two Boeing 747-8F charter planes this week, with the costs covered by “the private sector”, according to the minister for APEC, Justin Tkatchenko. “Maserati Quattroporte sedans have been secured and delivered, and are being committed to be paid for by the private sector,” he said.
Australia this year announced an extra $16m in aid to address the polio outbreak and assist PNG’s vaccination program. Recently there have also been pay cuts across multiple sectors, including to teachers, and unexplained resealing of Port Moresby roads while rural areas are often inaccessible.
Transparency demands full disclosure on APEC vehicle purchases
PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea chapter of Transparency International (TIPNG) has said the only way to stop allegations of corruption is for the government to be honest and transparent in its procurement processes. Late yesterday TIPNG called for the government and the APEC Authority to publicly disclose the total cost involved in the purchase and import of 40 Maserati and three Bentley sedans and other luxury vehicles which generated controversy in PNG and internationally this week after it was estimated the purchases amounted to at least 40 million kina.
The statement said that the Government had recently passed the National Procurement Act along with other recent public finance reform legislation which was intended to strengthen public trust in procurement. “However it is difficult to see how the general public can have confidence in a system which, in the absence of transparency, is so readily made to support what are seen to be impulsive and extravagant purchases by state entities,” the statement said. It added that this was especially so “in the face of declining service delivery, a depressed economy and severe hardships being faced by ordinary Papua New Guineans”.
Is the clock finally ticking for PNG’s illegal loggers?
A time traveler from 1988 visiting Papua New Guinea’s forestry sector today would find it distressingly familiar territory. Three decades ago, Commissioner Tos Barnett was conducting his Inquiry into aspects of the forest industry, published as a two-volume survey of the corruption and illegalities allowing PNG’s forests to be felled wholesale and exported, to the country’s economic and environmental loss. Barnett’s famous pronouncement that logging companies were operating in Papua New Guinea with the “self-assurance of robber barons” is as relevant now as it was then. (Indeed, hardly a think piece on the industry can be published without repeating the quote.) What has changed in the interim is that those mostly foreign-backed companies have cut and sold off many millions more cubic meters of PNG timber, in a process that has signally failed to bring meaningful development to the country’s rural and forest-dependent communities. PNG’s ongoing crisis in forest governance has been meticulously documented since Barnett’s day, including in a flurry of research published in the last several years. All of it tells the same story. Chatham House estimated in 2014 that 70% of the country’s timber may be produced illegally…. [See url above for the whole article.]
Report highlights govt’s multiple breaches in SABL land grab
PORT MORESBY – The appalling human rights abuses being suffered by the victims of the huge SABL land-grab in Papua New Guinea are the focus of a report published yesterday.
‘The SABL Land Grab: Papua New Guinea’s Ongoing Human Rights Scandal’ highlights the devastating impacts on people living in rural communities and gives a voice to those who have suffered the illegal loss of their land to logging and oil-palm plantations. One of them is Peter Tai, who says people were threatened, beaten and turned away by armed police and the army when they tried to stop the logging and oil palm planting on their traditional land
“When the company uses the police and army, they twist the law and beat us up very badly, to the point where we are afraid to attempt stopping the company again,” Mr Tai said.
It is not only violence that people have suffered. The report highlights how the SABL land grab, as well as breaching PNG’s own land laws and Constitution, has breached a whole raft of international laws and conventions. These include the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and many of the fundamental human rights protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Can family and sexual violence (FSV) be more than the humanitarian concern that we know it to be? The answer is yes. In Papua New Guinea (PNG) FSV has been quantified as a significant cost to business. For example, for one company recently surveyed in Port Moresby the cost was three million kina in one year alone.
The operation of Bel Isi services by Femili PNG, a PNG NGO, will assist survivors and support the existing network of services. So, how does Bel Isi PNG work? Companies pay a subscription fee, and can steer their staff who need help towards targeted individual support such as medical care and counselling, police and legal resources, and shelter if necessary. This allows those experiencing family and sexual violence to better cope with their circumstances and return to work sooner and more focused. Bel Isi services will also assist public clients, with the case management centre open to all. Bel Isi PNG also offers the potential for longer-term, deeper influence, as it gives companies help in drafting and implementing their own policies defining their response to family and sexual violence.
Bel Isi PNG is a potential game changer. It’s a public-private partnership that could bring about real change in PNG and could set a positive example and precedent for the rest of the world.
Letter From Dr. Glen Mola…
Today we heard at our PMGH staff meeting that we have run out of antiretroviral (ART or HIV drugs) medicines. We have many thousands of HIV positive people on treatment in NCD (and several more thousand around the rest of the country) and they may not have any medicine to take unless new supplies arrive in the very near future. People on ART must take their medicine every single day: they they stop and start again they are very likely to breed resistant HIV. This is not only bad (in fact life-threatening) for the patient, but life-threatening for everybody else in the community who might catch the HIV from them.
We also don’t have any Syphilis test kits in the country. Syphilis used to be the commonest cause of stillbirth (babies dying inside their mothers) in our audit stats.- and after we started routine testing of all mothers coming to AN clinics (and treating the positives) we virtually eliminated this scourge from our pregnant mums. But now with no test kits available, the syphilis problem will come back again and many babies will die.
And this week we ran out of Oxytocin, the drug that prevents women from losing too much blood when they deliver their babies. The commonest cause of death when oxytocin is not available is post partum hemorrhage (or excessive bleeding after the birth); so we are probably now going to see a lot more mothers dies even when they come to hospital to have a supervised birth. And we are very short of surgical sutures – the special thread and needle that surgeons use to sew up their patients during and after operations….
What should be the values of the people running PNG?
Martyn Namorong. – At independence, Papua New Guinea adopted Christian values from missionaries who said Jesus was our saviour who would provide for us heaven. Post-independence, the miners and loggers came along with other neoliberal capitalist missionaries from the World Bank, the IMF and other multilateral institutions and told us capitalism was the way to heaven. Our forefathers believed in the message of Christ and gave their land and resources to the churches. Today their children believe in capitalist economic development and are giving PNG’s land and resources to the capitalists.
Whereas Christian missionaries called for repentance and behavioural change to attain salvation, nowadays we talk of foreign direct investment and economic growth to attain deliverance. Who is to say, that if are rid of the O’Neill regime that it will be replaced with something better? We once rejoiced when Peter O’Neill replaced Michael Somare. If the mindsets of those who run PNG now, and who will do so in the future are enslaved by pathological ideologies, we will continue to face the same issues. The challenge now is to change the narrative and articulate an alternative model of development that is relevant to PNG….
Big health donors defraud patients by ignoring corruption
PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s health system is in crisis. Tuberculosis is at epidemic levels, polio has re-emerged, maternal and child mortality rates are among the worst in the world, malaria infections have increased nine-fold in just three years, no radiology treatment is available for cancer patients, rural health clinics lie empty and abandoned….
The list goes on and on. Yet this is a health system that for decades has been financially and technically supported by some of the world’s largest multilateral agencies, the World Bank, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and many others. Why is their assistance so manifestly failing?
This year Australia will provide $572 million in overseas direct aid to PNG, 18% or $103m is being targeted at the health sector. In addition, Australia has just announced an extra K24 million in funding to combat vaccine preventable diseases, starting with Polio.
Australian Minister-Counsellor based in Port Moresby, Benedict David says, “under the leadership of Minister Temu and the National Department of Health, this additional support will help protect PNG’s children from polio and other childhood illnesses”.
Just last week, PNGi revealed a GAVI [the global vaccine alliance] investigation that found NDoH staff engaged in sophisticated and widespread financial fraud.
Now, another report has emerged from the same organisation. It is a program audit of the government’s expanded program of immunisations. The expanded program of immunisations is managed by a unit within NDoH. It was established in 1977. It is considered by the national government to be “an important, cost-effective intervention for reducing the morbidity and mortality of children from communicable diseases”.
The GAVI audit strongly disputes this assessment, labelling the programs overall performance ‘unsatisfactory’ [the lowest possible rating] and concluding its objectives are unlikely to ever be met. The unsatisfactory rating applies across the whole spectrum of the program’s operations. The majority of issues identified in the audit as contributing to the unsatisfactory ratings were deemed to be “critical risk” [the highest possible grading], meaning a failure to take remedial action could result in ‘major consequences’ affecting ‘overall activities and output’. The GAVI audit found that over a two-year period (2014-15) more than 25% (US$720,000) of GAVI funded expenditure by the expanded program of immunisations was misused or wasted and over 250,000 doses of vaccine (worth a further $50,000) were rendered useless through shelf expiry or inadequate temperature controls.
But what is even more shocking is that the audit only examined expenditure funded by GAVI….
Three more confirmed Polio Cases in Madang, Enga EHP
Post Courier, October 19, 2018
THREE additional polio cases have now been reported giving a total case count to 18 in Papua New Guinea. The Health Department of Health announced this yesterday that these three additional polio cases have been confirmed in Madang, Enga and Eastern Highlands provinces. To date, there have been 18 polio cases in the country affecting seven provinces: six in Eastern Highlands, three in Morobe, three in Enga, three in Madang, one in the National Capital District, one in Jiwaka and one in East Sepik.
Delay in Supply of Drugs a Concern for WHP TB Patients.
Post Courier October 24, 2018
Tuberculosis (TB) patients are fearful of their lives. In the Western Highlands Province TB sufferers are now living on the edge due to the delay in the arrival of drugs that were expected two weeks ago. This was the scenario that TB patients were faced with when they fronted up on Monday morning to get their usual dosage. They crowded the TB outpatient ward only to hear from Mount Hagen health authorities that there is a drug shortage and were advised to wait. For many, having to wait and extra day of two for the drugs to arrive from the Department of Health can be dertimental towards their livelihood. This is because if they miss a daily doze for a week it can lead to the development of Multi Drug Resistance TB, which is difficult to treat, and the drug is expensive to buy.
Women as peacemakers much needed at this time, says Momis
Momis – ‘Through women’s joint efforts peace in Bougainville was attained and maintained’
BUKA – The traditional roles of Bougainvillean women have been as custodians of the land and providers of the safety net within the community. In more recent times these roles have been redefined to include peacemaker, to mark their contributions to the post-civil war Bougainville peace process. Bougainville president John Momis congratulated the women of Bougainville during five days of celebrating their social contribution to the autonomous province last week. “Women are an important stakeholder in peace building on Bougainville,” Dr Momis said. “It was through your joint efforts with our leaders, ex-combatants and government that peace was initially attained. “I once again call upon your resilience and unwavering support to continue to play a vital role in preparing our people before the referendum [on Bougainville’s political future] is held next year. “I am of the firm belief that our people will not fail but before that happens we must work hard for it to happen,” he said. He reminded the women that the referendum is a privilege that only Bougainville has in Papua New Guinea. “This means we are a highly favoured people presented with a rare opportunity to decide our own destiny,” he said.
A letter to the prime minister about the women’s cancer ward
PORT MORESBY – Dear prime minister, greetings to you and your cabinet. This morning (Monday 23 October), I visited the cancer ward at Port Moresby General Hospital at 1.13 am. The purpose of my visit was to see and feel the life in this ward. Hon prime minister, the first feeling that engulfed me as soon as I opened the door was similar to walking into a morgue.
There was no life in this building except for the light from fluorescent tubes. I will bring to you the realities of this place. Hon prime minister, if you stand where I stood, you will see a stretch of corridor. If you look to your left and right, you will see curtains hanging lifelessly on the doors. I believe you would vividly know what is behind those curtains.
If you peep through those curtains you will see our mothers, wives and sisters awaiting their deaths. Looking at their lifeless faces, you see Death is inevitable. They expect it to come to them at any moment. There are about 36 innocent patients awaiting their death. Their cancer has reached Stage 3 which requires radio therapy to cure. There is hope in the dimness of their faces – if only they are able to secure K60,000 for radio therapy treatment overseas. This mother of two children has cancer. The only therapy available to her is Panadol. However, from my brief interview, none of them can afford that money. This they just pray with hope that there could be a miracle.
Hon prime minister, these women have no choices in life. Hon prime minister, cancer is curable at our doorstep if only we had these treatments available. The obvious questions are who and why. Who is to provide this treatment for these innocent mothers? If there is someone to provide it, why is it not provided?
Hon prime minister, Papua New Guinea is hosting APEC in a couple of weeks’ time. We talk and walk luxuries from the floor of parliament to APEC Haus and into the settlements. We are forking out millions of kina from the bags and bilums of these suffering mothers, who are on death row, to fly in, all the way from the other side of the world, luxury cars costing millions of kina – Maseratis and Bentleys to be used for only three days.
Hon prime minister, it’s because of our mere ignorance that these innocents are suffering. This is just one hospital I am referring to but let us project it to the entire country. I believe there are hundreds or thousands of people suffering nationwide. Do we have a remedy for them or do we just let them perish where they are? We are very capable of combatting cancer but our ignorance and negligence destroys innocent lives. I fear the Good Lord will hold us accountable for our deeds. Therefore Hon prime minister, please can we just sell two of the 40 Maseratis after APEC and buy radio therapy equipment for our mothers, wives and sisters? I believe this approach would be taken by the men and their sons to save their mothers, sisters and wives. Tomorrow it could be our mothers, wives and daughters who might face the same fiasco. Hon prime minister, please do something to save the mothers of this great nation.