Social Concerns Notes – August 2011

Where does one find information on Social Concerns?  One way is to talk with people.  But it is not possible to cover a whole nation or even two that way, so one turns to the newspapers and the blog sites.  We are indebted to Bill Standish for his work on this.  Having downloaded the material one always has to query the perspective and bias of the writer.  I try to select as best I can. I have some sense of what is happening in PNG, but unfortunately that is not the case with the Solomon Islands, so I would need assistance in that regard. I try when I can to provide the source for each article included in these notes.

For those fortunate few with good internet connections, useful URLS include the following.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/
http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php

http://www.pngblogs.com/
http://asopa.typepad.com/
http://www.actnowpng.org/
http://masalai.wordpress.com/
http://bougainville.typepad.com/
http://malumnalu.blogspot.com/
http://pngexposed.wordpress.com/

http://ramumine.wordpress.com/
http://lngwatchpng.blogspot.com/

http://www.islandsbusiness.com/islands_business/
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/
http://www.smh.com.au/
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/

http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

http://www.thenational.com.pg/

http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

Bank: 90% lack accountsThe National 1 August 11

GOVERNOR of Bank of Papua New Guinea Loi Bakani says more than 90% of people in Papua New Guinea do not have access to commercial accounts because of the difficult geographical locations. He said most of these people lived in remote places and travelled long distances to the nearest commercial centres, banks or post offices to cash money. “We would like to encourage what is called financial inclusion through the use of available telecommunications technology nationwide,” Bakani said. He said one of the BPNG’s visions was to get financial services to the rural people and make their lives easier and more manageable. He said Post PNG had made that possible through the launch of its new mobileSMK (Salim Moni Kwik) service where customers could now use their mobile phones to send or receive money from loved ones wherever they may be. “BPNG has welcomed the initiative and encourages that we come up with more partnership approach to improve lives in rural areas,” he said. He said the next phase of the project would be to launch it internationally or have the money transferred on mobile phones from a person in PNG to a relative or friend in another country. “It is good for those who want to avoid fine or fees or higher charges by commercial banks,” Bakani said.

PNG corruption watchdog says commitment to UN treaty had little impact to date. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=62194 accessed 3 Aug

An anti-corruption watchdog in Papua New Guinea says membership of a UN treaty battling corruption hasn’t achieved much so far. The local chairman of Transparency International, Lawrence Stephens, says PNG is still amongst the saddest cases of countries viewed as corrupt, despite being the first Pacific Island state to sign the United Nations Convention against Corruption four years ago.Mr Stephens says cabinet still needs to approve a national corruption strategy based on the convention.

Momis encouraged Bougainvilleans
http://bougainville.typepad.com/ accessed 3 Aug

ABG President Chief John Momis is calling on Bougainvilleans to work together to take up steps that will empower them economically. He said most times people criticized the government for not providing services like education, health and roads but the government has no money available to provide these services. He added monies given by the National government to ABG it’s totally inadequate and cannot provide for the services needed. Mr Momis said funds also given by the Australian government, European Union plus others including the Japanese government in building bridges in Bougainville are highly appreciated but also not enough.
Chief Momis urged Bougainvilleans to break the chain of dependency syndrome to be free and not to ask for money all the time. Mr Momis said people in Bougainville must work together for a common goal that is to develop Bougainville.

Garasu Honoured
http://bougainville.typepad.com/ accessed 3 Aug

The Australian Government has this afternoon awarded Sr Loraine Garasu of the Nazareth Rehabilitation Centre in Chabai, Honor of Australia Award which is bestowed only to Australian citizens. The special award was presented at the Bougainville Administration Conference room by the Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Ian Kemish. In presenting the award, High Commissioner Kemish said that the people of Australia do recognize the work of Sr. Loraine in promoting rehabilitation and reconciliation through her work throughout the years.
In response, Award recipient, Sr Loraine said that she first did not want to accept the award but had to accept the award after talking to many people about it. She said that her work is to work with simplicity and not to ask for any reward as her reward for her work is awaiting her in heaven.In  March 2009, Sr Loraine received the US State Department’s international women of courage award.

Villagers relocated by Bougainville Copper suffer most says peace advisor

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/201108/s3285078.htmaccessed 4 Aug

A leading academic and adviser to the Bougainville Autonomous government says the communities who have suffered most from the Rio Tinto owned Panguna copper mine are those that were relocated from villages at the mine site or from sites affected by mine tailings.
Landowners from the 6 mine lease areas are now going through a process to set up representative organisations to negotiate with the Rio Tinto subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Limited.
Anthony Regan: One of the reasons the landowners wanted to have separate associations for each lease area was because there are special needs, quite distinct needs, in each area and this issue alone indicates how different the needs are in the villages in the special mining lease as opposed to those in the lower tailings lease. So it will be a matter for each association to carefully document the needs and the problems of the people within their lease area and bring those to the table through the umbrella association but, in the process of setting up the associations, the Autonomous Bougainvlle Government, of course, is getting a tremendous window, on the issues that are facing the people, because in these long and detailed consultations the administration is having with the people, their problems are being put right on the table. I was in the tailings lease the special mining lease, in a series of meetings and the people are very clear, they know what their problems are and they are identifying them with tremendous clarity and great emotion. They really feel they have suffered, they are aware that they are the real victims of mining, and they are not opposing mining, for the future for the most part, but they are saying if it is to happen again, then it has to be done very differently and they, amongst others, have to be looked after in very different ways.
hopes of receiving that $40 million soon, are fading.

Ramu mine delivers empty tanks and empty promises

http://ramumine.wordpress.com/ accessed 4 Aug

When the people of Ganglau and Mindre villages agreed to the industrialization of their land at Basamuk, Madang Province, they thought they would get;

  • Good Health care
  • A Primary School
  • Road linkage to Madang Town
  • Water supply
  • Power supply
  • Business opportunities
  • Employment opportunities

The people had good reason to believe that they would enjoy the above benefits as they were promised by the government and miners. Unfortunately, there has been very little progress.

The township that houses Chinese workers has been built in the catchment area of a nearby creek that provided drinking water for Mindre villagers. Sewerage from the township is drained into the creek. The creek has lost its flow and is slowly dying. Fish and eels that once inhabited the creek are gone. Today the villagers of Mindre have to walk about 3 Km to the Yaganon River, to bathe, do their laundry and fetch drinking water. The miners have set up one tank per village, which they connected to their water mains. However, a dispute with the company over monthly fees has meant that nothing flows into the tanks. The people do not want to pay the company for water which they say is being extracted free by the company.

PNG think tank says corruption fighting agencies need more resources

http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=62240 accessed 5 Aug

The head of an independent policy think tank in Papua New Guinea says the police are desperately under-resourced to deal with corruption and need the banking sector to play its part in stopping illegal transactions. The Institute of National Affairs’ director, Paul Barker, says the police’s Financial Intelligence Unit only has a handful of staff and the new government needs to allocate more resources to halt money laundering and financial fraud with public funds.

He says the banks and police must work together to avoid banking becoming a bottle neck to the country’s growing commerce.  “The rules have been to some extent announced by the police, the banks feel that it’s just been a burden thrust on them without consultation and hopefully over the next week or two there’ll be some sort of dialogue that will be opened up.”

Highlands tagged red-zone by police The National 5 August

THE highlands region is tagged the red zone as far as election-related violence is concerned, according to Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie. That is part of the reason the Electoral Commission and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary held a conference this week to discuss key issues to ensure free and safe election. Based on the 2012 election theme on “free, safe and fair election without fear, harassment and intimidation”, other issues discussed at the conference included;
– Security for LNG project site;
– Election dates and logistics;
– Bribery, fraud and corruption;
– Hela and Jiwaka boundary issues;
– Charges to be laid against election-related violence offenders;
– Providing opportunity for people with disabilities to vote;
– Health issues include HIV/AIDS, chole­ra, tuberculosis and water safety;
– Drug and alcohol;
– Women and gender; and
– Security force training.
“Citizen’s attitude and behaviour warrant security. Therefore advance planning to ensure a free, secure and fair election is critical,” Wagambie said.

Women mistreated in logging areaPost Courier 5 Aug 11, feature

Women working at an oil palm plantation in East Pomio are mistreated, paid meagre wages and subjected to sexual assaults, a women leader has claimed. Executive Officer for Wide Bay Conservation Association, Elizabeth Tongne condemned the situation saying our women were being abused by foreigners and called for government intervention. “There is a rise in unwanted pregnancies in the area which again becomes another responsibility for the parents and the community,” she said. “When they get pregnant, then that’s when people start asking questions but usually it is not revealed because culturally rape is something that is not discussed.
“There is also wide circulation of pornographic materials.” She said underage schoolgirls are also victims. She said foreigners are luring them to have sex for money. She said most of the women were forced to work for meagre wages because their land had been taken away and food gardens destroyed. Their only hope to feed their families was to work for the company.

PNG TI warns of social unrest  (accessed 8/8/11)

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/201108/s3288352.htm

Transparency International PNG says it fears there’ll be social unrest in the country if some highly anticipated legislation is not passed before next year’s general elections.

They include the creation of 22 reserved seats for women in parliament and the creation of two additional constituencies of Hela and Jiwaka in the highlands.

President of Transparency PNG, Lawrence Stephens said this while commenting on the sudden change of government in PNG.

One wonders whether they’re actually going to be able to deliver on these things. Clearly the women’s groups are hoping to see this law go through the parliament, but in past experience, when people are deciding the priorities of the parliament, they tend to put something’s last and that seems to have been one of the things that drops off the agenda each time things come up. The new electorate are extremely important, in particular, the new electorate of Hela, because many people who are looking at this as an opportunity for decisions to be brought closer to the people, power to be distributed in other ways and we can expect all sorts of social unrest if things are not handled quickly and carefully. The Jiwaka province is also a potential worry. So these things are all hanging over us. But unfortunately, the reality for Papua New Guinea is that we have many things hanging over us and tend to postpone the important decisions and important actions until things break apart in front of us. We’ve seen this in the past. We had it, for example, with Bougainville many things that needed to be done, that should have been done, that could have been done and simply people didn’t get around to doing their job or parliament was to busy looking at other issues.

From The National Editorial Aug 10, 2011

Yes, there is a multitude of issues crying out to be heard, addressed and resolved but is the period between now and polling day sufficient time to do that? Hardly. Some of those issues on the laundry list include seeing through public investigation into the use of public funds such as the commission of inquiry into the Special Agriculture and Business Leases (SABL), the K125 million worth of treasury bills used to fund development in Kokopo, the probe into alleged corrupt practices at the Department of National Planning and the mooted law changes to accommodate reserved women’s seats in parliament. The elephant in the room is the LNG project and the surrounding landowner equity issues as well as the establishment of two new provinces in Hela and Jiwaka. One would speculate that the real reason for such an abrupt change of government is simply to wrest control of the national purse strings in order to all but guarantee a return to power post-election. This may be a crude and simplistic outlook but the stark reality is that this how elections are won and lost in PNG.

Social welfare will cost PNG K420m The National – Wednesday, August 10th 2011
THE national task force on social protection says it will cost more than K400 million annually to run nationwide social protection services for children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
At a consultative forum on social protection last week in Port Moresby, the task force and stakeholders estimated the K420 million annual costs based on the income per person per household approach. Wrondimi said stakeholders that included government agencies, provincial representatives, including donor and development partners, had suggested four sources of funding for the social safety network in the country. “There were suggestions that the government should meet the costs outright through the sovereign wealth funds, or having joint partnerships between national government and provincial governments, including other partners so that it becomes a shared responsibility. “Another suggestion was to have contributions from the national and provincial government, including the members of parliament through the District Services Improvement Programme (DSIP) funding,” Wrondimi said.

‘10,000 refugees in PNG’Post Courier 10/8/11
WHILE Australia continues to deal with the problem of “boat people”, Papua New Guinea’s situation remains somewhat behind the curtains but it carries a fair share of concern.
JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) Australia, an international NGO, revealed that Papua New Guinea hosts about 10,000 refugees. Most of these refugees reside in Western Province which shares a border with West Papua, including some who were moved there after arriving in West Sepik Province, which lies to the North of Western Province. From the total, about 3,000 of the West Papuan refugees agreed to reside in a relocation centre called East Awin in Western Province and as a consequence, were given Permissive Residency Permits, granting them conditional freedom of movement and allowing them to engage in business activities, enrol in PNG schools and tertiary institutions and access health facilities.  However, other remaining refugees are spread in villages close to the Indonesian border or in different towns throughout PNG, and have not been granted the benefits given to their counterparts in East Awin. One organisation working with JRS in the province is the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga. The diocese has a plan whereby refugee villages are seen as part of Catholic parishes where they receive help from the Catholic Diocese.

Oil palm sucking up soil minerals: Survey   Post Courier 10/8/11

BASELINE data collection into the impact of oil palm in New Britain Island has revealed that the crop has a tendency to absorb all minerals from the soil once it is planted. The survey was carried out in June in Wide Bay area of East Pomio through an Integrated Agriculture Training Program from the University of Natural Resource and Environment, formerly known as the Vudal University. Database and Information Administrator, Leo Darius said that clear felling of large areas of forests made up of premium species of wood to plant oil palm would greatly affect the environment because it would take approximately 20 – 30 years to replant those trees after oil palm is killed off. “Their roots are still firmly stuck into the soil, making it hard for any other plant or tree to be planted after it is killed off,” he said. He said the use of artificial fertiliser, which was usually the case, was having adverse effect on the water system and eventually into the open seas because in most instances, it would drain into the water system and eventually be transported out to sea to affect the marine and water life. “These areas need to be investigated further for the betterment of our environment,” he said. He was speaking in light of oil palm development currently underway in both East and West Pomio.

Hope for category ‘C’ schools
Post Courier 12 Aug

THEY belong to category ‘C’, a term in the language of education in Lae that means they are located in the squatter settlements.
In academic terms, they are at the lower end of the scale when it comes to getting curriculum materials and resources for their education. Around 7,000 children are lumped into this category of education.
Their teachers live in some of the worst teachers housing found anywhere and their classrooms are overcrowded. The classrooms are so old, nearly all of them have never been replaced for more than 30 years. 
There is no reliable water supply system and no proper sanitation system. There is no money in the bank account to pay for new books and resources for teachers to use in teaching. 
Nearly 100 per cent of the parents whose 700- plus children go to Haikost Primary School on the fringes of the notorious 2-Mile area of Lae City are unemployed.
Headmasters have chosen not to pursue unpaid school fees – they just let the children into class and get on with the job of teaching.
There are nine other primary schools in this category.
Being in category ‘C’ means they lack most of the very basic teaching and learning resources. 
All these schools have no school library and their teachers struggle to find teachers manuals to teach.
Yesterday – one week after the 2011 National Book Week – help arrived at Haikost Primary School. The Rotary Club of Lae arrived with a donation of books, desks and chairs for this school.
The Rotary Club of Lae has made a historic decision and committed itself to helping the category ‘C’ schools in Lae over the next five years. The club is committed to finding help for them no matter how long it takes.
Mr Miria urged the children to commit themselves to their education and work hard.

Forestry report launched
Post Courier 15 August.

Papua New Guinea’s forestry sector contributes K400 million to the PNG economy, but sadly, suffers high levels of illegal logging as a consequence of weak legislation.
Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG), revealed this on Friday at the launch of the Forest Governance Integrity Baseline Report Papua New Guinea 2011.
PNG prides itself with 22 million hectares of forest. However, ongoing exploitation of these forests not only threatens the livelihood of 80 per cent of Papua New Guineans in rural areas who rely on the forests for their livelihood, but also threatens the country’s rich biodiversity.
Forest Governance Integrity Program manager, Michael Avosa, said between 2004 and 2006, there has been a high turnover of reports about illegal logging activities in PNG.
“Corruption cannot be separate from bribe. The two walk hand in hand,”

Well done, Electoral Commission
Post Courier 15 Aug.

Dear Papua New Guinea Electoral Commision, I salute you for two things.
Firstly for separating women voters from men voters in Kundiawa Gembolg by-election in the Chimbu province.
 Secondly, for electronic counting and double checking of the votes. 
May I suggest five more issues that will completely stop corrupt practices during election;
* Use a better and proven indelible ink that can not be washed off by any detergent from the shops. 
* Do “whole finger” dipping and not just marking the finger nail.
* Push to gazette the polling days as public holidays in PNG so no one has an excuse not to vote during working days.
* Voters should use some form of ID Cards such as drivers license, passport, work ID (from IPA registered companies, churches, NGOs, etc). Those who do not have any form of identification cards should ask the registered organisations to issue them promptly while we have the time.

New govt must address social imbalances
 Post Courier 15 Aug

While I congratulate the new Government for making a stand to fight corruption and charge those involved in misusing billions of public funds.
Please leaders, honour your words with your actions.
Citizens, be proud of our country, do not fall prey to discriminate remarks on PNG, 
Look at what is happening in western countries like the riot in London, UK, so called civilized society, billions of dollars worth of properties including shops, buses, were damaged, shops looted, Imagine, if this is happened in Port Moresby, how many countries would have released travel warnings, especially our neighbour, so we should be proud of our country, at least with the minimum resources we still could run our country.
Another example is the downgrading of US treasury bills from AAA to AA, at least the PNG Bills are still reliable and sure to be honoured for its returns. 
Believe in PNG, we will progress. I request the new governmentt to look at social imbalances within our capital city, as an ordinary citizen currently cannot afford to own or rent a decent residence.
The truth is that most of the properties in Port Moresby, be it commercial or residential, are all owned by foreigners or foreign companies.
When can we have some equality and as an ordinary citizen of this country, own something in our own land? 
Can we do some thing about it and regulate the property market in the country. 

Naturalized Citizen

Participatory Video on Conservation from the Solomon Islands

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgTqt4qbLhg&feature=player_embedded#at=61

This is a great short movie about conservation in Solomon Islands. From the blurb: “Conservation Story Blong Chivoko” was made by the men and women of the remote coastal village of Chivoko, accessible only by sea on the north-west tip of Choiseul Island, one of the Solomon Islands. Chivoko’s tribal land is one of the last remaining intact and unlogged forests in the Solomon islands. Their reefs are important spawning sites for the grouper fish which come to lay their eggs every year for 2 months around May. Their story is an insight into the problems they are facing with increased pressure from logging companies, increasing population, declining forest and marine resources, and ensuing climate change. They provide solutions which may help other Solomon Island and other communities around the world, to also safeguard the abundance of resources for future generations to come…

Child sexual abuse rampant, says judge.  National 16 August 11

Cases of child abuse and violence against children are becoming widespread in the country, a situation that is said to escalate school drop-out rates, sespcially among girls, Goroka-based acting judge Martin Ipang said yesterday.   Ipang said: “Most incidents of child abuse are carried out by familiar people, including close relatives such as uncles, cousins, bubus and even step-parents. “It is probably this factor that explains why many cases go unreported, withdrawn from police and the courts.  People woud rather keep quiet and shield an abuser, than report him or her, just for the sake of th so-called ‘necessity of protecting family reputation or family ties’,” he said….

Profiting from ‘disaster capitalism’? The National – Thursday, August 18th 2011

NCD Governor Powes Parkop is right to challenge the government’s proposal to reopen the asylum centre in Manus (The National, Aug 15). It is impetuous of Australia to have us believe that the problem of asylum-seekers is a regional issue and the Manus centre is a partnership between PNG and Australia to address this issue. This so-called partnership consists of nothing more than Australia funding the detention centre and PNG providing the location and a band-aid solution to Australia’s problem. In reality, PNG is not particularly worried about the boat people but supports the partnership because it sees the detention centre as a way to boost Manus’ stagnating economy. Profiting from the misery of others is the odious principle underlying “disaster capitalism”, the idea that profit rather than humanitarian concern should be the motive behind disaster ma­nagement. The concept also applies to Australia’s asylum seeker detention centres, which in some cases, are run by multi-nationals such as British firm Serco. The PNG government and the centre’s proponents, particularly Manus Governor Michael Sapau, need to ask themselves this: Will they reopen the centre if there is nothing to gain? Are they supporting the centre for genuine humanitarian reasons or are they profiting from human mi­sery?

Deni Tokunai,New Zealand

IFC cannot shut project  Post Courier 19 Aug 11

THE International Finance Corporation (IFC) has advised that while it can try and facilitate dialogue between the government and landowners on issues regarding the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ), it cannot shut the project.
Speaking during a meeting at Rempi village, just outside Madang, with the landowners from the impact areas of the PMIZ project Vice President-Compliance Advisor Ombudsman-IFC Meg Taylor said she was in the country to attend to the complaint which had been filed by the villagers.
Ms Taylor said the role of her office was to deal with complaints and all those she had dealt with involved companies.
She said this was the first time this office had received one involving government.
She said while the complaint was different, it was also important and during her short visit in the country, her job would be to meet with government, the landowners and the company and to try and bring everyone to a roundtable to try and find a way forward.
“I am here now as an international public servant to hear your problems,” she said.
 
She said the complaint had resulted in her making the trip to PNG.

Malabag backs wage increase  Post Courier 19 Aug 11

PNG Trade Union Congress president Michael Malabag said the union movement is happy and endorses the new Minister for Labour and Industrial Relation’s statement this week to increase the national minimum wage.
Mr Malabag agreed that certain companies are not complying and paying their workers less than the minimum wage rate set of K2.29 hourly agreed on in 2008.
He said although the Employers Federation is complying, certain companies that are not members are not paying Papua New Guineans according to the rate.
Mr Malabag said these companies are mostly from the logging, agriculture and fisheries sector.
“These companies are not members of the Employers Federation and therefore do not feel obligated to pay,” Mr Malabag said.
He said the department needs to take action on these companies.

The climate refugees of the Carteret Islands  Asopa.typepad.com

THE CARTERET ISLANDS in Papua New Guinea are not on most maps of the Earth; they’re just too small to merit inclusion at one square kilometer of total land mass spread among a cluster of coral atolls. But they just might make it big in the history books — as the former home of the world’s first true climate refugees. “The Carterets lie in a circular reef infringed by many reefs in a lagoon, very beautiful but going down really fast through shorelines degradation,” reports Ursula Rakova, a local resident. “Over the last 20 years, [the] Carterets have been experiencing rising sea levels, and our chiefs got together and initiated an organization which could fast-track our relocation.” The islanders may have made a bad situation worse by fishing with dynamite, destroying protective reefs in the quest for food after refugees flooded the islands during Bougainville’s war to secede from PNG in the 1990s. The 1,700 or so Carteret islanders may be among the first people to move. That’s because scientists estimate the islands will be drowned by 2015.

Time frame short for women’s bill Post Courier 23/8/11     

FORMER Minister for Community Development and member for Moresby South Dame Carol Kidu is of the opinion that the women’s bill will not make it through before the 2012 elections.
She said although NEC endorsed it and had the some backing, the time frame was very short.
Dame Carol said so much effort has been put into the women’s bill and the general perception that it is a foreign agenda is wrong. The former minister said she has been accused of bringing foreign agenda into PNG but there are a lot of foreign agendas already in the country, including Christianity. When giving a very brief account of her experiences of her campaign and her overview of the challenges women candidate face during campaigning and elections, she told women trainers at a women candidate training workshop in Port Moresby yesterday that the task now is to use the training and go ahead to train women for elections next year.

 Natschol in, OBEoutThe National – August 24th 2011

NATIONAL scholarship for tertiary students will be reintroduced by January next year, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday. Among sweeping changes the government is introducing for the education sector under its free education policy: The controversial outcomes-based education (OBE) would be scrapped by January; Government to pay all tuition fees for students from elementary to Grade 10; Government to subsidise 75% of fees for Grades 11-12; No drop-outs at Grade 8; and Payment of K350 million into a special trust held by the Education Department by November this year for distribution to all schools by January.

PNG gets low literacy ratingThe National – Wednesday, August 24th 2011

PAPUA New Guinea is placed at 148 out of 182 countries in a United Nations listing on national literacy rates, National Literacy Awareness Secretariat Willie Jonduo says. He said according to census 2000, of the six million people, “43.8% are illiterate”. “These statistics are alarming because when PNG is compared with the rest of the countries in the world, using the United Nations human development index, its placing is 148th out of 182 listed countries,” he said.

PNG landowners risk being swindled under proposed mining law

http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/story.htm?id=43410   24 Aug 2011

A senior academic says landowners will need proper legal representation and guidance if Papua New Guinea introduce proposed changes to the country’s mining laws. The PNG government is reviewing existing laws to revert ownership of resources under the land and seabed to the traditional owners. Professor Spike Boydell from Sydney University of Technology’s Asia-Pacific Centre for complex real property rights welcomes the move to make compensation for landowners more equitable. But he says there’s a risk they won’t be properly advised when dealing with mining investors. BOYDELL: I think a bill like this is very important yes to the mineral rich countries in Melanesia and I know that certainly Fiji with its resources in gold, copper and bauxite. The Solomon Islands recent discovery of reserves in nickel will be looking at this very, very closely. Now obviously some of those states have seen their future in the economic prosperity from their share of mineral resources. One thing we have to remember is that the government hasn’t always seen the most financially viable deal being struck. Now the same could said of customary landowners if they’re not properly represented, but if there is proper representation and the provisions are put in place, then those other countries which will be looking at this very, very closely will find themselves in a situation where they may actually benefit and their customary landowners may actually benefit as well from this sort of initiative.

 PNG loses under current ModelPost Courier 29.8.11    

The PNG LNG Project Business Model is based on existing business, models for oil and mineral development in PNG. Under this model, the State, Provincial Governments and landowners are to participate only at the upstream, by exercising their 22.5 percent rights under the Oil and Gas legislation. Other than that they have no participation or interests in other segments of the Project. Under the current Business Model, the State and the landowners are complete bystanders, with no tangible control and ownership in the Project. This Business Model defeats original Government policy ambition as well as political and economic aspirations of PNG.
The ultimate benefactors of the PNG LNG Project are the developers. As a result, the LNG project will not underpin the economic advancement of PNG. Almost 80 percent of direct revenue from the project will flow out of PNG. No doubt, with current disagreements coupled by landowner related issues and concerns as well as hired workers’ in the various aspects of the Project, people will be demanding a review of the whole agreement and related provisions.

Land Owner threatens to shut down school – Post Courier 30.8.11

THE principal landowner of Notre Dame Secondary School in Western Highlands Province has threatened to close the school for good.
John Doa, who claimed to be the principal landowner, said the parties had early this year met and discussed with the Lands Department and agreed to a compensation payment for the land but no payment had been made so far.
He said the Western Highlands Provincial Government, Provincial Administration, Notre Dame Administration and the Provincial Education must come together to meet his cost that he had spent to battle for the land payment.
Mr Doa called on the Western Highlands Provincial Government to repay his K40,000 with interests.

Solomon Islands could relapse into turmoil within weeks if RAMSI is withdrawn

Solomon Star  31st August, 2011

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that despite the massive aid effort, US officials have approvingly quoted the assessment of key diplomatic contacts in Honiara that if RAMSI departs ”it would only take about a week for trouble to break out again since RAMSI and the Government has failed to address the underlying issues [which caused widespread ethnic violence]. “There are still people out in communities who have not been brought to justice for atrocities committed during the ethnic conflict. These incidents and the economic tensions … continue to fester. As is clear to every observer, over the 28 years since independence, modern government has failed to take firm root,” it was reported.

PNG’s National Repentance Day: reflections of an absurdity  30.08. 2011

http://dreamzmedia.wordpress.com/category/what-were-they-thinking/

A national day of repentance has to be one of the most ludicrous excuses for a public holiday ever thought up. It is an unnecessary waste of time and is yet another excuse for a country with a largely lazy urban population to become even lazier. Whether Biblically speaking or even in a general context, the notion of repentance in a person comes from deep within. Even though influencing factors may be largely external, the conviction that drives a person to alter their lifestyle, change their habit or even to take on a completely new persona stems from deep within the recesses of their conscience through a change of their mindset.

True repentance is a deeply personal matter that will in no way be achieved through any means of coercion or compulsion, much less through the establishment of a public holiday. In fact having this public holiday is a clear case of that popular adage of taking a horse to the river but never getting it to drink. There were no horses last weekend but I can assure you there were a lot more people consuming an insanely copious amount of that amber ale at every tucker box or trade store that happened to be selling it. This is a clear indication of the fact that having this day set aside as a public holiday in essence has robbed it of its significance.

If anything, Repentance Day screams of nothing but religious pomposity. It has all the hallmarks of the workings of what can be compared to that of the Pharisees. A vainglorious attempt by parliamentarians to make them feel good in the eyes of the largely Christian populace; perhaps to get the rest of the Papua New Guineans to share in the guilt of missing one too many parliamentary sittings. What is befuddling to any sane person out there is that Papua New Guinea already has a National Prayer Day which can be put to the same purpose as this so-called Repentance Day without the need for a public holiday. Why can’t we work from there on?

In fact Papua New Guinea already has 4 days of Easter, a day in Christmas in remembrance of the birth of our Lord and of course, New Year’s day, a day widely associated with new resolutions. Throw in 51 Sundays and another 52 Saturdays (Sabbaths) and we arrive at the magic number of 109 days.

That is 109 holidays in any given calendar year for Papua New Guineans to repent and turn over a new leaf with enough to go around for seconds and thirds.  Much like the Parliament has 109 reasons to repent from playing marbles with people’s lives and to stop selling our country short.  Just as much as they need to repent from missing large chunks of parliamentary sittings and to actually stand up on the floor of parliament to carry out sound intellectual debates on pressing issues facing this sovereign nation.  To repent from unnecessary spending that would benefit only a few to actually putting money into where it is most needed so that our people from the urban to the most far-flung rural communities have access to basic services.

That is the type of repentance that Papua New Guinea is yearning for. Not another excuse for a holiday.

Porn makes the rounds in Kimbe   Post Courier 31.8.11

A concerned parent in West New Britain Province is disturbed by the increase in the production of local pornography which was now being circulated in the streets of Kimbe. The parent, who does not wish to be named, said he discovered a locally produced pornography movie on his son’s laptop the other day and immediately recognised the actors who he said were public servants in Kimbe. He questioned his son who was a school student about the pornographic movie and where he had got it from and was told the movie was being circulated on the streets and students had easy access to such materials. The parent said youths, especially students, were walking around with flash drives containing locally produced blue movies and claimed that there were also movies being produced by local females and Asians which involved a lot of money. “As a concerned father, I am very frustrated with this matter as our children are being exploited with these stupid things,” he said.

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