Social Concerns Notes – August 2012

K500m used in national elections

Post Courier 8 Aug.

AN international observer group has estimated that approximately K500 million was used before, during and after the 2012 National Elections by political parties, independents and international financial backers.
In a summary brief the observers, who did not want to be named, also say part of the funds were used by parties for marketing purposes, posters, advertisements, and most of it before, during and after the elections.

Money has been the centre of these election and we are saying these because we have been observing elections for decades and times have changed a lot. PNG is also moving with the times and that also costs money,” the officials reported. “We have spoken to candidates that have spent money to win this election, to those who have drained their businesses and to those who have struggled to get a placing in this election. We have also spoken to some political party leaders on how much they spent to get their numbers home this election and that’s how we arrived at the figure,” they said.
It is now time for the 46 Political Parties to provide their election and party acquittals to the office of the Registrar of Political Parties to CEO Dr Alphonse Gelu and his officers.

Blood bank needs donors

The National, July 31st, 2012

THE blood bank at the Port Moresby General Hospital is making an urgent appeal for blood donations.
National Blood Service manager Dr Merrilyn Mathias said
yesterday the supply in the country’s 35 blood banks was not enough to meet demand.
“We need at least 150 bags of blood a day at Port Moresby General Hospital for the next two weeks on standby for any emergency that may arise and for our in-patients.
“We are appealing to the public to come forward and donate blood
“Please advice that anyone aged above 16 and healthy, not on any drugs or medications and females who are not pregnant can donate blood.” 
They will also receive free blood test and pressure check.

Puppets and Puppeteers August 1, 2012

I watched the blatant abuse of the Constitution at both its spirit and its letter. I watched the sheer cravings to gain and hold on to power mar good politicians. One puppeteer had the strings snatched from him by another, while he was too sick to hold on to it. The puppets moved and voted accordingly; what strings were used on them we can only speculate.

More rushed Acts were enacted than ever before. Authoritarian laws were born way before the people even knew they were conceived. In the GC puppet show at least we debated and protested. But it was in vain because those acts were passed. In the PO govt we didn’t even get the luxury to protest! Until after the fact! The Acts were mostly for political expedience, but were gift-wrapped in the “National Interest”. Did I mention the same puppets who passed laws under the GC repealed them again under the ONamah regime?

We watched in horror as the man who helped found this nation was “removed” from Parliament by a speaker-for-hire who had no legal power to do so. And then that GC was called a “stranger in the house” by a man whom PNG had thought showed wisdom beyond his years.

PNG saw a new style of politics. One that saw the emergence of “straight-shooting”. So much straight shooting Involved misfires and blank-shots, immature, emotionally-charged childishness, folly-filled words. Bordering on arrogance and vanity, and blatant hypocrisy. As money was obnoxiously and illegally thrown around to “fund” campaigns some of us feared that our government had become “purchasable”. That fear lingers… I sure hope we get a leader – one who attracts the following of men and women with dignity, who need not purchase, extort or blackmail their support.

 Cancer on the rise in PNG

The National, 3rd August 2012

A CANCER control workshop in Port Moresby heard that non-communicable diseases like cancer are on the rise and have become a significant health problem.
The workshop was told mouth, cervical, breast, liver and children’s cancers were more common in the country today than ever before.
Participants and speakers from provincial hospitals said there were 10,000-15,000 cases per year but somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 cases were presented to a health facility annually and the numbers were steadily increasing. 
Angau Memorial General Hospital chief executive officer Dr Polapoi Chalau said diagnostic treatment and palliative care services were limited and poorly resourced and manpower needs were insufficient.
“A significant proportion of our population continue to lead lifestyles that exposes them to risks of cancer, which means that we must concentrate a significant effort on public health education programmes for cancer prevention.” Those patients requiring radiotherapy treatment were given options of going overseas at their own expenses, while the majority who could not afford suffered and died in their villages.

Poor upkeep of records

The National, 3rd August 2012

MEDICAL humanitarian agency Medecins Sans Frontieres has called for better keeping of data on domestic and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea, as research shows extremely high levels of domestic abuse in the country.
MSF said specific data-keeping would help address the problem in PNG, which had one of the highest rates of violence against women in the Pacific.
It said about two thirds of PNG women had been abused by their partners.

In Papua New Guinea, they keep good records of medical care, but they include any kind of violence-related injuries as one topic included under accidents.
“In the data you would see someone who was injured from a car accident, someone injured from tribal violence and then someone injured from sexual violence all coming under the same category,” Kaufman said.
MSF said in PNG:
70% of women experienced domestic violence.

Trawen: Elections achieve milestone

The National, 3rd August 2012

ELECTORAL Commissioner Andrew Trawen says the 2012 general election is another milestone achieved in the democratic process of the country.
Speaking on the successes and mishaps during the electoral process, Trawen admitted the main setback was the quality of the electoral rolls experienced throughout the country.
“The main problems have been identified and will be improved for the next general election. The electoral roll being the main one, with works and options in place to improve that,” he said.
He said the general outcome was successful.
Trawen made a run through of election figures.
They are:

3,443 candidates contested;

1,245 endorsed party candidates;

97 party endorsed candidates elected;

2,198 independent candidates contested;

134 female candidates contested (101 in 2007 election);

Three female candidates elected;

65 new elected members (excluding electorates to be declared); and

40 sitting MPs re-elected.

He said the new parliament would have 61% of new members, while 39% were re-elected members.
Trawen thanked the government, Papua New Guineans and Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for their help in the elections.

Changes in Fiji

NZ Herald 6 Aug 2012 Editorial:

Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s regime has shown sufficient evidence of progress towards democratic elections in 2014 for NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully to decide travel bans will be eased and high-level diplomatic representation restored in Suva. Australia has also agreed to start re-establishing old ties, following a meeting between the three nations, the first since 2010, in Canberra. This reflects what appears to be justified optimism that for the first time since Bainimarama’s coup six years ago, the future for Fiji and its people is definitely brightening.

This year, Bainimarama disbanded the Great Council of Chiefs, a leadership tradition that dates back more than 130 years. This was to prevent the council being written into the new constitution. Last week’s imprisoning of Laisenia Qarase, the country’s last democratically elected Prime Minister, on nine charges of corruption was also a conveniently-timed damning of the pre-regime government. Bainimarama has further decreed that the term Fijian applies to all 837,000 people in the archipelago, including the 37 per cent who are Indian.

Homebrew-related deaths rising

The National, Weds August 08th, 2012

DEATHS, fights and accidents resulting from the consumption of homebrew are on the rise in West Sepik, the province’s top policeman says. Provincial police commander Insp Michael Tilae said two separate homebrew-related deaths were reported to police on July 27.
Tilae said police received reports from communities that homebrew was no longer distilled in the bush but in the family home with the knowledge of home owners.
“Adults are involved in this business,” Tilae said.
“This is a serious problem. We cannot enter people’s homes unless we have a search warrant,” he said. Police said there was high demand for the brew in the province, particularly among the youths. Tilae said a small container of brew was selling for K10 while a 500ml Coke bottle of brew was going for K20. He said that probably explained why many households were producing the drink.

Study shows 43 percent of students leave school due to school fees

Post Courier, 8 August, 2012
A STUDY revealed that 43 percent of students in primary and 52 percent in the secondary schools were unable to remain in the schools because of parents’ inability to pay school fees.
That means the Department of Education is losing thousands of students annually.
Manager for Research and Data Analysis James Agigio said this yesterday during his presentation on factors affecting student retention in PNG schools in a Regional Consultative Meeting (RCM) in Kimbe.  The reasons highlighted that prevented students from completing their education include not able to paying schools mainly becuase they come from large families, having single parents, peer pressure, teacher absenteeism, poor counseling services in the schools and family problems. He said the figures have shown that from 2003 to 2009 there were 101,121 intakes in the education system and 279,200 were retained while 153, 340 students left school at some stage. These figures show an annual average loss of 25,557.

Tuition fees yet to reach schools

The National, Weds August 08th, 2012

MORE than 2,000 schools have yet to receive their 2012 first payment from the government’s tuition fee-free and subsidies education policy. A regional consultative meeting in Kimbe, West New Britain, heard there were 1.7 million students in the national education system and that 1.4 million of them had received their tuition fee, while 300,000 students were still waiting.
Education Department acting principal statistician Michael Peter said that was caused by many factors that the department, provincial education administrations and banks could overcome so that all schools received their tuition fees. “A timeframe needs to be set so that all data can come in from all provinces on time, banks should respond faster and schools must send in the correct data and bank details quickly,” Peter said. This year, the government allocated K302 million for tuition fee free payments and an additional K32 million was given by AusAID.
Peter said the rate of distribution by sector for the tuition fee free education was 100% for elementary to Grade 10, 75% for vocational to Grade 12 and a fixed rate for other sectors.

2233 schools may miss out

Post Courier 21 Aug

TWO THOUSAND two hundred and thirty three schools that have missed out on the first payment of K50 million may miss out on the second payment of fee-free tuition and subsidies if the necessary documents are not sent to education department for processing.
These schools missed out because they did not send in school census forms by March of the academic year for monies to be processed and transacted to their accounts.
They have been advised to send the right information in now.
Acting Secretary for Education Luke Taita last Friday said that the Education Department is asking the Provincial Administrators to urge provincial education heads to push schools to have this census forms sent to the department immediately or they will miss out.
School Census Forms are forms that contain information of particular school accounts, school names and school population or enrolments. 
This information is vital so subsidies are distributed accordingly. This information determines how much money a school receives.

K200m subsidy paid

Post Courier 23 August

The Department of Education paid more than K200 million towards the second payment of tuition subsidies yesterday.
All the registered schools which have accounts with Bank of South Pacific, ANZ and Westpac will now get their school fee subsidies.
Minister for Education Mr Paru Aihi officially handed a total of K201,470,951 in cheques to Bank of South pacific, ANZ and Westpac banks. The bank representatives were there to receive the cheques.
Minister Aihi said that elementary schools will get K33,107,635, primary schools K104,679,182, high and secondary K53,060,440, national high K914,523, and vocational schools K9,649,171.
He said that from the report, there are 1.5 million students in the country that will benefit from the money.
He had clarified last Friday that the number of registered schools which have accounts with banking institutions are: Bank of South Pacific 10,846; ANZ 322; Westpac 107 and PNG Microfinance 65.
 Mr Aihi further stated that all the schools must provide acquittals by the end of September 2012 and they must submit their expenditure plans on how they will use the money.
He warned the schools that if no acquittals are provided then they will receive no subsidies for the next year Education.
Minister Aihi said this money is from the K302m budgeted for the second payment. The remaining funds will go to those schools who are yet to submit their accounts.

No ban set on SABLs

The National, August 10th, 2012

THERE is no moratorium on issuing special agriculture business leases (SABLs) even though the national executive council (NEC) said there should be one when it set up the commission of inquiry (COI) a senior official says.
The Lands Department has continued to issue leases to incorporated bodies and companies rather than to the incorporated land groups (ILGs).
Commission secretary, Mathew Yuangu, yesterday cleared the air saying:  “Essentially, the NEC’s decision on a moratorium could not be enforced or implemented because the COI had no power to enforce.
“The authority for declaration of moratorium is with the Minister for Lands and it is a separate issue that is under ministerial power,” he said. 
Yuangu said the commission was tasked under its terms of reference to investigate and inquire into 72 specific SABLS that were individually named.  
“The elections disrupted the commission from presenting its report to the prime minister so this will be done at the end of this month when everything settles down,” he said.

Control children’s use of cell phones 

The National, 6th August, 2012

PARENTS must control the use of mobile phones by young children, a National Court judge says.
Dismissing a rape allegation against a minor, Justice Catherine Davani said allowing children to use mobile phones was destroying their mental aptitude and their vocabulary.
She said that impeded their education in dismissing a rape case involving two primary school aged students from the north coast area of Madang.The boy and the girl used mobile phones to communicate and set a location to meet and have sexual intercourse. Davani said the responsible authorities and, in particular, parents need to control the use of mobiles among young children as the courts were already experiencing and dealing with more underage sexual intercourse cases, where mobile phones were used to set up meetings. “At this juncture, the rate of children using mobile phones is at an alarming stage and if we are not mindful, our community and society will be severely affected and destroyed in the near future,” she said.

Nothing has changed

PNG Blogs, Aug 4, 2012

I find it funny how easily we all are led to believe that something has changed when we hear the word “change”. Papua New Guinea has several parties currently registered, I hear 42 or something like that. Of those political parties, the People’s National Congress has struck ‘gold ‘this time around with others such as Triumph Heritage Party, Papua New Guinea Party and the National Alliance Party tagging along.

My question now really is what has changed? A general observation tells me that all the former National Alliance party members have more or less returned, without some and an addition of others. So tell me, what has changed about the government? Peter O’Neill is now at the forefront but wasn’t he also with the former coalition as well?

The reality is this, we still have issues in our country that are not being addressed! I only want to see issues in my beloved nation being addressed and addressed properly too!

PNG to continue downward spiral

PNG blogs  August 6, 2012

The problem list still stand tall regardless of K76billion spend in the last 10 years….constant power blackouts,  incompetent Telikom PNG with unreliable services, Papua New guineans being paid under colonial pay grade as compared to their expatriate colleague with little experiences, roads system crumbling down. Still no company has found innovation in building tar roads that will last for more than a year. Housing and health care is a problem for all urban areas in PNG and the worst is still in the rural areas. Why do Papua New Guineans recieve cheap bribes from Asians and other foreigners? This is a crime of treason and betrayal of our sovereignty why do people continue to migrate from the villages to the town regardless of the K10million DSIP fund to service the districts and rural areas? Why is 98% of each provincial budget used up as administrative costs and nothing gets left every year to bring and sustain services to the rural areas? Why are so many productive age group youths and people out on the streets selling 40 lus and K1 buai?? Really nothing has changed.

Recognise, involve persons with disabilities, says Kapi

The National, August 07th, 2012

THE inclusion of persons with disability in the election process should be the way forward for recognition and inclusion of this special category of people in the national life of Papua New Guineans, National Board for Disabled Persons chairman Brown Kapi said.
“For the first time, the government has recognised a group of people who were seen as marginalised to participate in this year’ general elections,” he said, “And we are hoping that what has happened is a stepping stone for people with disabilities to participate,” Kapi said.
He also called on business houses and government departments to re-look at their policies and programmes to find out where PLWDs could be taken on board.
“What has happened now is that our rights as marginalised people have been recognised and we have felt that we were empowered for more PLWDs to cast their votes and even contest for the next general election in 2017.”

Disability policy needs improvement

The National, 20th August, 2012

THE National Disability Policy is one of the many agendas that needs special attention to improve, National Board for Disabled Persons chairman Brown Kapi says.
Speaking last Tuesday, he said many issues had not been attended to by the government. 
The national policy covers all people living with disability.
It targets 11 areas in education, training and employment, rehabilitation and assistive devices, legislation and accessibility and communication.
“The lack of realising the policy is a problem that not only is affecting the lives of people living with disability but the country in terms of achieving development,” Kapi said.
Kapi said he hoped to see the policy implemented under the leadership of Loujaya Toni.

Shocking literacy statistics

The National, 16 August.

It has been revealed that 43.8% of Papua New Guineans are illiterate. National Literacy Awareness Secretariat director Willie Jonduo said census 2000 showed that from a population of about six million, only 56.2% were literate. The latest census is only due to be released in mid-2013. Jonduo said the statistics were alarming because when the country was compared with the rest of the world using the United Nations Human Development Index, it was placed 148 out of the 182 listed countries. He said something had to be done and that was why the Education Department, the Office of Library and Archives and the National Literacy Awareness Secretariat have joined forces to strive to improve the national literacy rate every year.

UN Special Rapporteur calls for end to torture and inhuman treatment in PNG

The Royal Papua New Guinea’s Constabulary needs a complete overhaul to effectively protect and promote human rights, according to the UN Special Rapportuer on torture, Prof Manfred Nowak. Prof Nowak said  the PNG  Constabulary is not always in a position to enforce the rule of law due to insufficient human and financial resources, a high level of corruption and unprofessionalism, difficulties in accessing remote rural areas and a lack of political will. “ These deficiencies have led to private security companies carrying out some of the main duties of the police. Particularly worrying is the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary’s lack of capacity to prevent and to investigate crimes relating to domestic violence, tribal fighting and to victims of accusations of sorcery”, he said. “My main concerns are systematic beatings of detainees by the police upon arrest and within the first hours of detention, including during interrogation,” he said “This regular practice of police violence, corroborated by medical evidence, often reaches the level of torture,” added the Special Rapporteur.

He was particularly concerned that “prisoners who escape are subjected to severe punishment, amounting to torture, including through brutal beatings with bush knives and gun butts, shooting detainees at close range and cutting their tendons with axes and bush knives after they are apprehended, with the intent of disabling them. The victims are usually kept in punishment cells, without any medical treatment, which sometimes even led to their death.

Debate on Manus ‘processing centre’

Post Courier, 16 August

IT is unconstitutional to deny or deprive any person, citizen or otherwise, his constitutional right to liberty. Liberty simply means freedom from captivity. 
That’s from former acting Judge and senior Constitutional Lawyer, Nemo Yalo yesterday in relation to the Manus Processing Centre been reopened.
He said “ If the asylum “Processing Center” in Manus will resemble the jails in PNG and if the asylum seekers right to liberty will be deprived or limited or restricted like for those persons in jails throughout PNG, under law it will be unconstitutional under Section 42 of the Constitution if PNG is to build a processing center and keep asylum seekers. In a statement he said “The governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia are currently discussing the possibility of reviving the asylum seekers “processing center” in Manus Province. There is currently public debate for and against the issue. 
Others like the Governor of Manus Province are welcoming the idea and one can only speculate that he may have a shopping list in respect of infrastructure development to present to Rimbik Pato and Bob Carr.

Should PNG government jump to its feet and extend an outdated “yes master” gesture and dance to the dangling carrots tunes oblivious to her sovereignty? Does PNG have the relevant laws that respond to this particular issue? There is currently no law in PNG that deals with the issue.

Settlements must have access to service

Post Courier,

Aug 16

MEMBER for Port Moresby North West Michael Malabag wants settlements in his electorate to have access to services.
He said settlement dwellers do not have access to water, sanitation and electricity because they are not recognised in town planning. 
“Where they are not recognised, this is where major services cannot go through. These are real issues,” he said. He was referring to settlements from Baruni to the public dump site.
Like all MPs who have a lot of plans for his electorate so has Malabag. He plans to have a bypass built at Baruni village and a four-lane road from Badihagwa to the LNG site at Papa and Lealea.

PNG babies dying

The National, 16th August 2012

PAPUA New Guinea, has a high child mortality rate.
One child in every 13 will die before the age of five years, a rate far greater than any other in the Pacific region.

“I have eight children,” one mother said.
But only four children could be seen playing together in the yard.
When asked where the other four played, she answered: “They died.”
 Experts debate the reasons.
Is the cause of poverty lack of knowledge?
Many people agree education plays a big role in bringing people out of poverty.
Regardless of the reasons why Papua New Guinean babies are dying, at least part of the solution is empowering local mothers with knowledge and hope.

In PNG, From the Field to the Rubbish Heap

PNG Blogs, 16 Aug

Agriculture provides a livelihood to the majority of the population in Papua New Guinea. However, the loss and waste of an estimated half of all fresh produce between harvesting and marketing is threatening improvements to food security and local incomes. Yer Kirul, a fresh produce grower and vendor at Gordon’s food market in the capital, Port Moresby, told IPS: “We sell our produce, but not always all of it.  What isn’t sold is either given to street vendors at the end of the day or thrown away. There is a lot of waste.”

The FPDA reports that up to 50 percent of food produced in Papua New Guinea is lost in the post-harvest phase. The agency says quality is a critical issue, with a significant proportion of fresh food not meeting the standards of large buyers and wholesalers, often resulting in produce being sold at negligible prices or thrown away.

“Poor roads and transport infrastructure are a big issue in regard to post-harvest selling in Papua New Guinea,” said Nalau Bingeding, a research fellow at the National Research Institute. “A lot of garden food is produced in rural areas, but due to lack of roads and markets for the produce, the food is either wasted or fed to livestock.”

The Department of Works reports that only 2,609 kilometers of a total road network comprising 8,738 kilometers is rated in good condition and 64 percent of all national roads are unsealed.

Meanwhile, the FPDA, according to a spokesperson, is currently focused on developing the domestic market with many of the country’s food producers not yet ready to supply an overseas market. The agency is training farmers and developing technologies to improve the quality management of fresh produce and developing linkages between farmers and commercial buyers.

NSO Reveals Census Report out Mid-2013

The National, 16 August.

The final census report is expected to be out by mid-2013, National Statistician Joseph Aka said yesterday, Aka, chief executive officer of the National Statistics Office, said they were now working on the final stages of coding all forms and entries for storage and the final report would be released next year.  In April, the office disclosed preliminary figures, which showed the population had increased by 36%. The office said the population was now almost seven million. Aka said the final results would contain migration, labour force, unemployment and other development details. He said data entry into the process started last month where data was fixed into separate tables or categories to give specific information on areas of development. Census data is vital for government funding and planning of social and economic developments in the country. Aka said work was in progress to get the final report out. The preliminary report said there were 3,663,249 men and 3,336,249 women in the country.

Pregnant woman pack raped, dies

Post Courier, 22 Aug

A YOUNG pregnant woman died after she and her two friends were pack raped by criminals in Middle Ramu a fortnight ago.
The incident happened while the deceased and her two friends were travelling from their village in Yamo to Madang.
The three women were on their way to a base camp in Bogia to sell their garden produce and other items at the local market when they were attacked by criminals.
The women’s property, including cocoa beans, betelnuts and food crops, were taken by the criminal before raping them.
He said the women were continuously raped throughout the night until the next day when they were released.
He said the women then got onto their canoe and returned home where the pregnant woman was taken to a Catholic church–run health centre at Kwanga for examination but she died soon after arrival.
“It’s a day to day activity; people are being harrashed, beaten up and even slashed with knives and their goods stolen from them” A villager, speaking anonymously said. “There is no law and order, it’s an outlaw world where innocent people are targeted and people fear for their lives so they can’t report these matters to police” he said.
He claimed that the rape incident was never reported to the police as the villagers are afraid that the criminals will retaliate if they do so.

“There are only two police vehicles in Bogia but both of them are not roadworthy and the police cannot do much because they don’t have the resources,” the villager said.

Parents’ call on PNGEC

Post Courier, 23 Aug

THE parents of Western Highlands school children have called on the Electoral Commission (PNGEC) not to involve community, primary and secondary school teachers in future national elections.
They have blamed the commission for the delay in the resumption of classes in most schools throughout the province for the third school term.
Moge leader and councillor Jacob Wari raised the parents’ concern yesterday in Mt Hagen, saying if the Government was really concerned about the education and future of hundreds of thousands of school students throughout the country, it should direct Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen and his management team not to use teachers in any future national and local level government elections. The primary role of teachers is to teach. They are paid to teach. They do not work for the Electoral Commission,” he said.

Concerns raised over food safety

The National, 22 Aug

Food safety is not being prioritised by the national government, health department environment health manager Rose Kavanamur says. At a food safety workshop organised by EDES yesterday, Kavanamur told participants the food safety division in the health department was underfunded EDES, Greek for eat, is a four-year programme funded by the European Union that aims to strengthen food safety systems based on risk analysis in African, Caribbean and Pacific [ACP] Nations. To check food safety, especially imported food, we have to get tests done at laboratories and these labs charge fees that we cannot afford because there are no funds, she said. She said the division had only two staff responsible for food safety. Kavanamur said the Food Safety Council formed in 2002 had been inactive for the past two years. The council is supposed to meet four times a year but they didn’t meet over the past two years. She said an example was the proposed ban on lamb flaps, which could not be implemented because there was no scientific evidence to prove to the World Trade Organisation that it was a health risk.

Query on SABL inquiry

Post Courier 30 August

A concerned local villager from Hoskins, West New Britain, is querying the Commission of Inquiry into Special Agriculture and Business Leases and is calling on the Government to come out and tell the people of the outcome.
David Kura, Chairman of Rigula ILG of Hoskins, West New Britain, one of the largest oil palm estates acquired under the Lease-lease back system by multi-million kina company, New Britain Palm Oil Limited, said that a Commission of Inquiry has been held nationwide recently. But the aggrieved landowners were still waiting to know of the decisions pertaining to large tracts of their traditional land acquired in dubious means under this land acquisition mechanism.
He said it was obvious the people had suffered loss of their land and blamed the Department of Lands and Physical Planning for facilitating failed land reform evident in continual changes effected on, especially the process of registering Incorporation Land Groups. 
He said that the K50 per hectare monthly rentals was peanuts and the 10 percent monthly ffb (fresh fruit bunch) proceeds was not enough to raise the people’s standard of living in any given society.
He said that the NBPOL needed to come out and do a case study on how the livelihoods of the local people had been impacted by the oil palm industry and produce a realistic report on the whole issue rather than making biased reports.

Repentence Day does not serve its purpose

Post Courier, 29 August

MAY I add my voice to the chorus that you will receive protesting about the imposition of an unclear national holiday? It is supposed to be a Day of Repentance, but it is hard to see how repentance can be achieved by a paid holiday. The only ones doing penance are employers, including mainline churches, who have to find the money to pay their workers for doing nothing on this day! Other victims are the children in our schools desperate to catch up for lost time in the elections, and all the other recipients of our services. It seems to me that this imposition is the result of a powerful lobby of Zionists who do not provide any vital service and represent the majority of Christian’s views.
if the State wishes to recognise the role of Christianity in PNG Beyond the existing Christmas and Easter, and beyond the already gazetted national Day of Prayer associated with the Independence Day Holiday, then they should consult with the wider Christian community through the PNG Council of Churches and the Evangelical Alliance. The churches that have been part of the fabric of PNG society for over a hundred years are better placed to provide advice on this than a relatively new, small, movement within Christianity.

Douglas W. Young, SVD
 Archbishop of Mount Hagen

How you voted

Weekend Courier 11-12 August, 2012
OUT of the 4.8 million eligible voters who enrolled for the 2012 National Election, a total of 3.7 million cast their ballots and 1.1 million of them didn’t vote for various reasons, according to preliminary figures released by the Electoral Commission this week.
Of the 3,571,072 million people who voted in the first preferences, 101,179 votes were declared as informal.
The report provides details for polling from June-July in all the 111 open and provincial electorates, including the two new provinces of Hela and Jiwaka.
The report says that 4,776,096 eligible voters enrolled, 3,672,251 million actually voted and more than 1 million didn’t vote.
According to the Electoral Commission, the preliminary figures for the 2012 polls for each of the provinces are as follows:
Bougainville – 151,793 voters enrolled; 60,797 voted; and 50, 000 didn’t vote.
Central – 153, 439 enrolled; 123,496 voted; 29, 943 didn’t vote.
Chimbu – 257,791 enrolled; 256,122 voted; 1, 669 didn’t vote.
East New Britain – 158,630 enrolled; 92,241 voted; 64, 389 didn’t vote.
East Sepik – 277,524 enrolled; 198,955 voted; 78, 569 didn’t vote.
Eastern Highlands – 437, 139 enrolled; 430,560 voted; 78, 560 didn’t vote.
Enga – 344,501 enrolled; 329,015 voted; 15, 486 didn’t vote.
Gulf – 88,955 enrolled; 62,399 voted; 26, 556 didn’t vote.
Hela – 222,309 enrolled; 147, 831 voted; 74, 478 didn’t vote.
Jiwaka – 206,280 enrolled; 196,741 voted; 9,439 didn’t vote.
Madang – 306,888 enrolled; 206,465 voted; 100, 423 didn’t vote.
Manus – 32, 879 enrolled; 24,391 voted; 7,488 didn’t vote.
Milne Bay – 148,968 enrolled; 108,117 voted; 40, 851 didn’t vote.
Morobe – 416, 850 enrolled; 289,578 voted; 127, 272 didn’t vote.
NCD – 253, 880 enrolled; 107,990 voted; 145, 890 didn’t vote.
New Ireland – 84, 533 enrolled; 57,624 voted; 26, 909 didn’t vote.
Northern – 102, 524 enrolled; 72, 491 voted; 30, 033 didn’t vote.
Southern Highlands – 395,713 enrolled; 371,465 voted; 24, 248 didn’t vote.
West New Britain – 146, 886 enrolled; 92,291 voted; 54, 595 didn’t vote.
West Sepik – 149, 412 enrolled; 111,534 voted; 37, 878 didn’t vote.
Western – 123, 729 enrolled; 73,281 voted; 50,548 didn’t vote.
Western Highlands – 229,952 enrolled; 278,901 voted; 43, 382 didn’t vote.
About 76.89 per cent of the total eligible voters participated in the 2012 National General Election.

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