Social Concerns Notes – February 2014

Kepari remembered

The National, February 7th, 2014

A CAMPAIGN to outlaw sorcery and eradicate it in traditional communities is gathering momentum on the first anniversary of the torture in public of a mother-of-three in Mt Hagen.Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the torture and burning alive in the capital of Western Highlands of Kepari Leniata, a 20-year-old mother who was burnt to death after being suspected of sorcery. Philma Kelegai, the founder of the Leniata Legacy, said her death could have been avoided and the fear associated with sanguma (sorcery) as apart of PNG culture must be removed. “Kepari Leniata was a victim of a fear that has been indoctrinated culturally,” Kelegai said. “This systematic form of abuse is not a force that can be controlled or regulated. It has been manipulated to suit individual and group agendas. “It has resulted in countless unnecessary injuries, exiles and deaths. The culprits of these heinous crimes have received next to no punishment and instead are celebrated for their part in the maiming and killing of others.”

PNG: No justice for woman burned alive in “sorcery” attack

Post Courier, 6 February, 2014

The failure of the Papua New Guinea authorities to bring the killers of a woman who was burned alive to justice, underlines their complete failure to address “sorcery” attacks, Amnesty International said on the first anniversary of her death. Twenty-year-old Kepari Leniata was stripped, tied up, doused in petrol and burned alive by relatives of a boy who had died following an illness in the city of Mount Hagen. The attackers claimed Kepari had caused the boy’s death through sorcery. “One year since Kepari’s murder made international headlines, it is shocking that those responsible for her torture and killing have yet to be brought to justice,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher. “Given the high number of reported sorcery-related attacks, particularly against women, it’s clear the authorities need to do much more to deal with these abhorrent crimes. This type of violence is destroying families and communities in Papua New Guinea.” Amnesty International has received reports of girls as young as eight years old being attacked and accused of sorcery, and children being orphaned as a result of one or both their parents being killed after accusations of witchcraft.

Tortured elder dies

The National, February 7th, 2014

AN elderly man accused of sorcery died after he was tortured by a group of villagers in Taguru, Pangia, Southern Highlands, according to police. Provincial police commander Chief Insp Sibron Papoto said the seven villagers tortured the man after accusing him of killing a clansman through sorcery. He said two of the men had been arrested and charged with murder while five others were on the run. Papoto said the old man went through great pain and eventually died of burns and wounds on his body. He said the old man was buried on Monday at his village. “I will send more policemen into the area to arrest five others still at large,” he said. Papoto warned people against taking the law into their hands and that they should stop these sorcery-related killings. “The Government has changed the law and imposed the death penalty on sorcery-related killings,” he said.

Asylum deal setback

Post Courier 30 January 2014

ASYLUM seekers detained at the Australian-funded Manus processing centre have equal rights like any citizen to challenge their detention. That was the view of the Supreme Court yesterday after it queried whether asylum seekers flown in from Australia know that they have a right under the PNG Constitution to apply to the courts for alleged human rights abuses. A five-man bench said this when deliberating on an application by Opposition Leader Belden Namah, which found that he had standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Manus processing centre.

MP: Refugee processing has started

The National, February 13th, 2014

A POLICY framework will be developed to determine whether asylum seekers in Manus will resettle in the country or elsewhere, Parliament has been told. Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato said the process to determine the refugee status of asylum seekers in Manus had started. But as to whether any of them will or will not resettle in PNG has to be worked out in accordance with a policy framework. “Because Papua New Guinea has come into this sort of activity for the first time trying to exercise leadership on a regional issue, we have not yet had the opportunity to have the relevant policy put in place,” he said. He was responding to a question from Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin on the matter in Parliament yesterday.  “Cabinet has recently decided to appoint a group of eminent Papua New Guineans who will be assisted by expertise from the United Nations (UN), Australian government and other relevant stakeholders to come up with a responsible policy framework,” Pato said. “There is a process under the UN framework under the convention relating to refugees that will come into play. “As a consequence of that, should these people not be able to settle in PNG because they do not meet our policy or requirements, then they can be settled elsewhere.”

Manus asylum seekers call on Aust for answers

The National, February 20th, 2014

THE asylum seekers detained at the Manus Island refugee processing centre have sent the Australian government a list of questions they want answered on their welfare and future. The questions are:

-Is there a process (on our refugee status)? What is it?

-How long are we going to be here?

-When will we have our freedom?

-Will transferees who have been deemed refugees in another country be given priority in processing?

-Why is there no PNG partnership?

-Some of the transferees have been interviewed some time ago.

-What is happening with our process?

-What is the hold up?

-Who is responsible for us here in Manus – PNG or Australia?

-And refugees that arrived from Darwin, why won’t Immigration allow the media to come and interview us?

-Will the Australian Government take responsibility for our mental health problems?

-The Play Fair lawyer said there was a third country option.

-Why can’t we be sent to this other country?

-Why are our human rights not respected?

‘PNG solution’ turns to nightmare on Manus Island

Victoria Stead of Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation The Age (Melbourne) 20 February 2014

The “PNG solution” is unfolding with sickening predictability. When Kevin Rudd announced the bilateral resettlement arrangement with Papua New Guinea in July last year, many of us forecast that the policy would be disastrous. It paid no attention to the cultural and political environment of PNG. It seemed bound to fuel resentment among locals who would witness the huge influx of funds needed to finance the punitive incarceration of asylum seekers while their own access to basic government services remained minimal, if it existed at all. It relied upon depictions of PNG as a poverty-stricken, malaria-ridden hellhole that were deeply insulting to Papua New Guineans. For asylum seekers, meanwhile, it promised punishment in contravention of international law, denial of access to Australian legal processes, and indefinite detention in a country that was far from a hellhole but which also lacked the capacity or infrastructure to successfully process and resettle asylum seekers. Dame Carol Kidu, an Australian-born Papua New Guinean who was a prominent politician for many years and remains an important public figure in PNG, commented at the time that the Regional Resettlement Arrangement was not a “PNG solution”, it was an “Australian solution”. Seven months on, and what a cost is being paid for it.

It’s difficult to know exactly what has happened at the Manus Island facility over the last few days. There have been widespread reports of protest by asylum seekers following a meeting with PNG government representatives. What we do know is that one person is dead, and at least 77 others injured. Whatever has happened, the situation is rapidly becoming a nightmare. If hostility does exist between asylum seekers and Papua New Guineans, this is equal parts heartbreaking and maddening. The reality is that this spectacularly ill-thought-out policy has put both groups in an impossible position. As the Australian government refuses to provide clear, transparent information about the operations of its asylum seeker policies, as the PNG government fails to move on processing the claims of any of those detained on Manus Island, and as it remains in doubt whether resettlement in PNG will even take place – and if so in what form – both asylum seekers and PNG locals are being hung out to dry. Neither knows how they will be affected. The promises made to locals about benefits and jobs have not materialised, while asylum seekers are threatened with detention without end. When the PNG solution was first announced last year, the response to the policy on Papua New Guinea social media and blogs was overwhelmingly one of anger. People perceived the policy as an expression of Australian neo-colonialist attitudes, and indicative of the bullying behaviour for which our country holds a reputation in the Pacific Islands region. …Australia is throwing its weight around in the region, flouting international law, implementing cruel and punitive detention regimes, spouting bigoted vitriol about asylum seekers and encouraging derogatory depictions of our nearest neighbour. Both asylum seekers and Papua New Guineans are the victims of this disastrous policy, and both have been made into the targets of each other’s frustrations. A very Australian solution indeed.

We created the Manus Island Danger

Sydney Morning Herald 21 February 2014

… We created the Manus Island danger. We absolutely know that when a different cultural group encroaches on the space of a people, which defines itself by location, religion or visible similarities such as language, dress and attitude, tension is an inevitable result. We cannot pretend we did not notice. Nor can we be apologists for the ‘necessary’ peril we created with these concentration camps, as Shadow Minister for Immigration Richard Marles did on the ABC on Wednesday. We created this risk, intending it to ‘deter’ both boat people and people smugglers. As a consequence, we have created racial conflict in PNG, and the collapse of the rule of law in Nauru. Now we know, it is surely a duty to re-evaluate a policy that leads to mental illness, destruction of property, hope, imagination and civil society, and death. I think we have a duty to refugees, because we are descended from refugees and may be refugees ourselves, one day. This is a moral responsibility of thinking persons. Spiritual leaders have a duty to act.

Reconsider Death Penalty Plan, UN says

Radio Australia,

The United Nations is calling on the Government to refrain from implementing the death penalty, saying that once it is imposed, it will be irreversible. United Nations resident coordinator in Papua New Guinea, Hemansu-Roy Trivedy said the world body was deeply concerned with reports that the country was considering implementing the death penalty. Trivedy said: “Resuming the death penalty would be a major setback for human rights in Papua New Guinea. Evidence globally shows that the death penalty has not proven to be a more effective deterrent than other forms of punishment. Miscarriages of justice have occurred in even the most robust justice systems. The imposition of a death sentence is particularly troubling in the context of reports of weakness in law enforcement and the judicial system in PNG. The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. It lies at the very heart of international human rights law.” “Since 2007, the UN General Assembly has adopted four resolutions which call on States to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view of abolishing it.”

Editorial: The tide is turning on the death penalty

NCR Editorial Staff   12 February 2014

The number of prisoners condemned to die [in USA] steadily increased during the 20 years following the death penalty’s reinstatement in 1976. From the peak in 1996, when 315 prisoners were sentenced to death, the decline has been precipitous — only 77 and 80 new death sentences in the last two years. The number of executions per year is also on a downward trend: from a high of 98 in 1999 to 43 in 2012 to 39 last year. Maryland abolished the death penalty last year, the sixth state in six years to do so. Delaware and Colorado, both of which came close last year, may pass similar legislation soon. Thirty-two states now allow the death penalty, but last year death sentences were handed down in just 15 states. Only nine states carried out executions last year; nearly 60 percent of those were in Texas (16) or Florida (7).

Public support for capital punishment is also diminishing. In its annual survey at the end of last year, the Gallup organization found 60 percent of Americans say they favor the death penalty for convicted murderers, the lowest level of support Gallup has measured since November 1972, when 57 percent were in favor. Given a choice between execution and life in prison, less than 50 percent of respondents favor the death penalty, Gallup found. A similar survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found most Catholics opposed the death penalty and those who attended church at least once a week were even more opposed (57 percent to 37 percent favoring life without parole). A survey conducted last summer by Barna Group found that only 32 percent of Christian millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) agree that “the government should have the option to execute the worst criminals.” Support drops to 23 percent among “practicing Christian millennials.” The bishops of Louisiana explain the moral foundation for Christian opposition to state-sanctioned death: “This position is based on consistent Church teaching which is rooted in affirming life. … [Capital punishment] will neither enact justice … nor will it provide true healing, reconciliation, or peace to those involved.”

Social scientists, however, point to a more prosaic interpretation of the changing public opinion: People recognize the system doesn’t work. Two-thirds of Gallup respondents say the death penalty isn’t a deterrent to serious crime, and Gallup found that respondents worry that innocents might be executed. (One hundred and forty-three death row inmates have been exonerated since 1973, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Another 30, though not exonerated completely, have been cleared of their capital offense and moved off death row, the center adds.)

Reacting to the Barna data, Heather Beaudoin of Equal Justice USA, a national organization working to reform the criminal justice system, told Religion News Service that it confirms what she sees: a growing desire among younger Christians to abolish the death penalty. “The question for them is no longer ‘Is it right or wrong?’ ” Beaudoin said. “They are seeing how it is actually functioning in our country — the race issues, the risk of executing the innocent, the fact that if you can afford an attorney you’ll probably not end up on death row — and they are changing their minds.” As a nation, we’ve reached the point where the barbarity of the death penalty can no longer be denied.

Vele: Focus on Service, not funds.

The National, 11 February, 2014

The focus of all levels of government should be on providing services and not on the lack of funding, acting Secretary for Treasury Dairi Vele says. Vele said: “Money is not our problem. It is our ability to efficiently spend the money which is our problem. Having more money is not going to fix our problem. We have to focus on implementation issues.” He encouraged the leaders to focus on their shortcomings on implementation and if revenue was unavailable, they should find ways to cut costs. Vele was responding to comments by some department heads last week that they were unable to implement their three key priority projects because of lack of funding.

Bad Drugs Rife in PNG

Post Courier, 31 January 2014

An investigation led by the National Department of Health and the Institute of Medical Research has discovered poor quality anti-malarial and antibiotic drugs at all levels of the supply chain in Papua New Guinea. The investigation concluded that the largest number of failed samples collected by the inquiring team came from PNG hospitals (37.8 per cent) and health centres (27.0 per cent). Area medical stores, which are run by the Department of Health, also had a proportion of high failed samples (22.7 per cent).

A copy of the report titled “Quality of Antimalarial and Antibiotic Medicines in the Public Sector in Papua New Guinea – Report of an Investigation of the Health Facility Supply Chain in 2011” was obtained by the Post-Courier and puts the spotlight back on the quality of drugs that are sold and served over the counter in the country. The 2011 investigation was the country’s most comprehensive drugs survey to date, according to medical experts, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and should compel the Government to revisit the issue following the controversial awarding of a multi-million kina contract recently to a PNG-based pharmaceuticals company to supply health kits nationwide.

State to probe high bank fees

The National, 14th of February, 2014

THE Government will closely monitor and manage fees charges by commercial banks to ensure they are affordable to the people, Treasurer Don Polye says.
“There are too many taxes charged by the banks,” Polye told Parliament yesterday.
“Every time you want to make a transaction, a fee is always charged and this is ridiculous.
“Not long, the banks will charge the air we breathe inside the banks because they seem to charge every service they are providing.”
The matter was brought up in parliament yesterday by National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop, who strongly criticised the way commercial banks were taxing people on almost all transactions and services provided.
Polye said a Financial Services Review Committee had been set up to look into the foreign exchange rates and fees imposed by banks on customers. “After the review, the committee will make a submission to Cabinet based on their findings and recommendations,” he said. 
“By the end of the year, all fees charged by the commercial banks will be manageable, affordable and justifiable.” He suggested that Polye should seriously look into the matter and ask the banks to consider a fee-free savings arrangement for people earning less than K10,000 annually.
“Where will our people go if the banks continue to tax them on all their transactions?” Parkop said
New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan supported Parkop’s statements and suggested that since the commercial banks were making “super” profits, the Government should charge them “super” taxes.

Village Court Bill passed, officials praised

The National, 14th of February, 2014

VILLAGE court officials have been commended for being at the front line in maintaining law and order at community level.
Members of Parliament praised these public servants in the rural areas after Justice Minister and Attorney-General Kerenga Kua tabled the Village Court (Amendment) Bill 2013. It was unanimously passed.
It will give village court magistrates, councillors, peace and land mediators greater roles to play in their communities.
There are 1,490 village courts operating in the country, with 16,194 officials who sit as magistrates, peace officers and clerks to maintain law and order at their local levels.
Kua told the House that the National Executive Council decided last year to include these officials on the public service payroll from this year.
“It is therefore timely that we redefine the jurisdiction of the village courts and increase their roles so that while they get their salary on a fortnightly basis, we get more value for the money that we pay them.
“Village courts are the most accessible and cost effective means of justice administration.”

SABL land to be returned: Maru, 16 February

The people of Yangorru-Saussia have been promised that any land taken under the guise of the Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) will be returned.
Yangorru-Saussia MP and Minister for Trade Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, said this in a media statement recently.
Maru who is a member of the Ministerial Committee reviewing the report of the SABL Inquiry, said landowner groups in his electorate are claiming ownership of land issued under the SABL.
“How can anyone even claim taking over the land under SABL. Many SABL deals are outright, scams and fraudulent land grabs which will be reversed by the Government,” said Maru.
He said the people are crying foul everywhere for land being stolen from them under the SABL including the vast stretch of land in the Sepik Plains of the Yangoru-Saussia District.
Maru has assured the people that the land will be returned to the rightful landowners.

Country susceptible to fraudsters

Radio New Zealand International, February 17, 2014

Papua New Guinea’s resources boom could leave the country more susceptible to fraudsters and ponzi schemes, according to new research by the Australian National University.
John Cox has been studying the effect of fast money schemes like the U-Vistract scheme a decade ago, and why PNG’s educated middle class has paid over US$208 million to such schemes since 1998.
He says the resource boom is creating high expectations of wealth that could create a sense of mistrust that people will prey on.
“So what I’m hearing from the people that I speak to is ‘PNG’s a rich country, we shouldn’t need to have aid programmes, we shouldn’t have poor people here, there’s something wrong with our system’ and they often blame it on corruption, but more often it become what we call a negative nationalist account. They say ‘we’re under-developed, it’s because our politicians are corrupt’.”
John Cox says the system and government corruption is often used by ponzi operators in PNG as an excuse for why money has not shown up.

Govt urged to be clear on orphans

Post Courier, February 13 2014

NCD Governor Powes Parkop has called on the national Government to come out clear on its policy on homeless and orphaned children. Mr Parkop said during Question Time in Parliament that NCD and other provinces would like to know as there are requests for funding of these organisations to look after homeless children and orphans. “In the city NGO and churches are setting up orphanages. What is the government policy and do we have to support orphanage or not. In the Lukautim Pikinini Act, there is no law that covers this area,” Mr Parkop said. Community Development Minister Loujaya Kouza in response said the Lukautim Pikinini Act does not specify orphans but that issue can be taken up by relatives and cultural social security networks should be encouraged and not the setting up of institutions like orphanages. “But the reality on the ground is that there is no legal framework yet of orphanages but churches and private individuals are setting up safe-haven for abused children and not necessarily orphanages,” she said, adding this is evident in Port Moresby and Lae.

Parliament passes Juvenile Justice Bill

Post Courier, February 14 2014

Parliament has passed the Juvenile Justice Bill that is aimed at giving alternative punishment to children outside of imprisonment. Attorney General and Justice Minister Kerenga Kua, who introduced the Bill to the House, got an overwhelming 75-0 votes to pass the legislation.

Mr Kua said the purpose of the Bill is to address the special needs of the children coming into conflict with the law thus addressing law and order and maintaining a peaceful society.

“It is aimed at minimising the use of formal court proceedings,” Mr Kua said.

“It encourages the involvement of parents, the victims and the community in holding juveniles accountable for their actions and requiring them to do something to repair any harm that they may have caused.”

He said the Juvenile Justice Bill promotes;

-Diversions and mediation, drawn from traditional Melanesian and restorative justice values as an alternative to imprisonment;


-Fast tracked police processing of juveniles cases and the reduction of unnecessary pre-trial detention;

-The prevention of abuse of juveniles within the criminal justice system;

-Increased monitoring of juvenile conditions within Police lock-ups and CIS facilities through regular inspections by Juvenile Court magistrates; and,

-Training juvenile police officers and voluntary juvenile court officers.

He said the emphasis of the Bill is centred upon a community based and restorative approach to juvenile offending.

Why Private Sector Minimum Wage-Earners are Missing Out on Resource Boom

By Dr. Odongo F Odhuno NRI Commentary

PAPUA New Guinea (PNG) is one of the fastest growing economies in the Pacific region. And in terms of the country’s current and future economic growth, PNG workers too expect to have a fair share of the benefits associated with the accelerating pattern of growth.

Ever since the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project was conceived more than five years ago, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has changed, from economic stagnation in the 1990s and early 2000 to above 5 per cent (%) rapid Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth on average. Although this growth is expected to slow down as the PNG LNG project construction phase winds down. Civil servants got their 7.5% per year pay rise agreement signed in December 2013 and is being implemented as reported since January 2014.

But low paid workers miss out The low-paid semi and un-skilled workers in the private sector, are, however, still missing out on the country’s resource boom, thanks to the delay in the 2013 minimum wage determination. A recent article in The National newspaper dated 22 January 2014, indicated the GoPNG is yet to present its submission to the 2013 Minimum Wages Board (MWB), which consists of representatives from the GoPNG, employers, employees, the community and church.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) recommends that the minimum wage rate should be reviewed regularly, preferably annually to keep pace with inflation or with average wages in the economy. This recommendation was followed in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1992, following neo-liberal advice from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the MWB stopped indexing the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which indicates the cost of a basket of goods purchased by a typical Papua New Guinean household.

Let us remind them that the plight of the “working poor” in PNG is an important issue that the MWB ought to be addressing when setting or adjusting the minimum wage rate in 2014. Let us also remind them that businesses in PNG, like businesses in America during the time of President Franklin D Roosevelt, have the moral obligation to increase workers’ wages just as they are intent on maximizing profits.

One of the most important changes to the country’s economy expected in 2014 therefore, is a decision of the Board to boost the minimum wage which has remained stagnant (at K2.29 per hour) since 2010. Ideally the minimum wage rate should be raised in consideration of the high and rising food prices and their effects on poor low-wage workers.

Text message boost reading  7 February

A daily mobile phone text message to Papua New Guinean elementary school teachers has boosted children’s reading ability. Papua New Guinea and Australia have trialed sending text messages to elementary teachers in two provinces to improve the skills of students. Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) conducted the SMS Story trial in partnership with the Department of Education. A group of teachers received 200 text messages over 20 weeks containing stories they wrote on the blackboard and lesson plans designed to help them introduce children to reading English. At the end of the trial, the reading ability of more than 1000 children in Simbu and Madang provinces was significantly higher than other elementary school children. Minister (Development Cooperation) at the Australian High Commission, Stuart Schaefer, said the trial provided strong evidence to help Papua New Guinea to tackle illiteracy. “Poor literacy ruins lives and leads to poverty.

Ipatas’ mobile warning

The National, 19th of February, 2014

ENGA Governor Peter Ipatas has been urged to ban the use of mobile phones by students in the province.
Waipu villager Larsen Kekae Poporau in Wabag said by phone that many students in primary and secondary schools had easy access to mobile phones, which contributed to their poor academic performance.
He said students spent most of their time on Facebook and other social media sites instead of studying.
“Young girls are lured by money for sex,” he said.
“Students are using Facebook to have relationships that eventually lead to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancies.
“The use of alcohol, home-brew and marijuana has increased because the Facebook users in the  name of fame and glory would pose with these illicit substances to show off to their peers.
“The use of phones in schools has badly affected education.”
Village youth Yapokon Timothy Lus said he had seen children from a nearby primary and secondary school viewing pornographic videos and pictures on mobile phones.
“I see some students from my village viewing pornographic videos and pictures.

Violence rise prompt awareness

Post Courier 18 February 2014

THE increase in cases of family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea have prompted more awareness to be conducted within communities beginning at the family unit. One of this organisations is the family and sexual violence action committee (FSVAC), which spearheaded a campaign starting last Friday to address these issues on family and sexual violence. The theme of the campaign was one billion rising for justice. It was launched in a small but significant ceremony held at the Jack Pidik Park at Five Mile in the nation’s capital with a slow turn up of people even though important issues were addressed.

A strong advocate of women’s rights, Susan Setae, said the campaign’s objective is for men, women and young people to rise up and fight for justice, seek for justice and for justice to prevail in all the family and sexual cases. Mrs Setae said PNG men are amongst the violent and aggressive in the world and she urged men to change their behavior. “One billion rising is changing the mindset of how we think and do things to stop violence in our society and communities,” she said. “PNG men are intelligent people, well built and handsome, and why should you be considered to be as people who are violent, who always fight women and abuse them as well.”

New law to ban guns

The National, February 17th, 2014

CABINET will propose a new legislation to ban guns in the country except for use by officers involved with security.
It is one of the recommendations in a report instituted by former police minister and current Goroka MP Bire Kimisopa which was tabled in Parliament in 2011.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament last Friday that it was  recommended that there should be control over the issuing of gun licenses in the country.
“My aim is that nobody should own guns in this country,” he said.
“We are not at war with anybody. 
“Why should we be allowing individuals to carry firearms around the country?
“We need to have confidence in ourselves that we are able to maintain peace and good order in our communities.”
O’Neill said the legislation would ban police officers from carrying high-powered guns in public as it was unnecessary. 
He said it would restrict guns to senior police officers only.

PNG class warfare: the predatory elite & its ‘willing’ prey

Martyn Namorong

I USED to have the opinion that Papua New Guinea’s middle class offered a solution to the growing gulf between the haves and have nots in PNG. Lately that view has been changing. Despite the activism of some, and many Facebook conversations, only a handful of people meet together and take action on issues. Are we seeing the rise of the predatory elite and people/prey who do not seem to mind being exploited? … One sees these workers in Port Moresby for instance, looking dusty, worn out and exploited yet turning up to work only because it gives them status in their community. A lot of these poor workers are also poorly educated or illiterate. There are many workers in PNG who do not earn a living wage and, as such, cannot be said to be working to sustain livelihoods so much as maintaining egos. For them, getting a job has more to do with status than survival because their pay alone couldn’t possibly sustain them. Contrasted with this exploited class of people are PNG’s predatory elite and their equally predatory offspring, growing obese on the fat of other people’s natural resources. Papua New Guinea’s predatory elite does not have a social conscience. But, to be fair, neither do a lot of other ordinary Papua New Guineans. For many people, social conscience does not extend beyond one’s own social circle.

Concern over illegal mining in Pogera

Post Courier February 21 2014

A member of Parliament has called on Barrick Gold, the miner of world class gold mine in the Enga province to stop illegal mining and associated deaths and injuries. Laigam Porgera MP Nixon Mangape said many lives have been lost and the injuries sustained by illegal miners are a result of ignorance and lack of action by the developer to take appropriate action like the resettlement process. He said illegal mining is a concern for all stakeholders including the state and the developer while many lives have been lost as they fell into mine pits or have been hit by rolling stones but nothing much has been done to address it. Mangape said the best solution to addressing illegal mining is for the company to implement the URS consultant permanent resettlement report. He said as per the 1989 agreement, any landowners living within the special mining lease areas were to be permanently resettled elsewhere but to date no attempt has been made by Barrick to resettle the landowners from the SML areas. He said the URS report is a comprehensive report done after consultative with 24 landowner agents and was presented to Barrick. He said Barrick should immediately implement the report by carrying out a permanent resettlement exercise and recommended other options. He said the other solution to minimise the illegal activity is for the developer to make accommodation available for local employees like all national and expatriates employees. He said illegal miners are relatives of employees side living with them within the SML areas and the surrounding areas. ”Every employees, from the cleaner to the General Manager should be housed at the camp site by the company as they are employees of a world class gold mine and not plantation working as labours. If employees are accommodated on site then no relatives around the SML areas that would resort to illegal mining,” he said. Mr Mangape further called on Barrick to set up entry and exit points mend by security guards.

40,000 homes for POM

The National, February 21st, 2014

THE National Housing Corporation will build 40,000 new homes in Port Moresby to address the massive housing problem in the city, managing director John Dege says.
Dege told reporters.
“(The National) Housing Corporation, through its own internal survey, has confirmed that there is a huge shortage of housing, not only in Port Moresby but elsewhere in the country. The findings of the 2013 BHC and Hay Group Paynet Remuneration Survey on the housing shortage were presented to members of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week by Concept Group managing director Brendan Coombs.
Coombs said the survey found that more than 50% of the 70 organisations questioned provided a housing allowance to their employees, 28% rented or provided accommodation, 14% provided nothing and 7% (including Government) offered home ownership.
Dege said yesterday the Government had been able to secure two urban development leases at Durand Farm, outside Port Moresby, and at the back of the National Research Institute in Waigani.

Where are the millions?

Solomon Star 18 February 2014

Dear Editor – I was brought up as child in the 70’s in the rural area. There are three things which I first sensed during those childhood days which serviced me and is still servicing the people today. They are a clinic, water supply and a school. These are very important infrastructure I don’t know who actually built and installed in the village. For sure during those times our members of the legislative Assembly or council were not educated and do not have funds like our current MP’s. For sure, NPF was an idea initiated by a very less educated member, so as Solomon Taiyo, CDC now known as GPPOL plus the roads and other infrastructures we are enjoying today. Those though not educated, they had the passion for this country. They wanted to see people having access to better services.

Today, it is rare to said that this mini hospital, wharf community high school or air strip is built by the MP for the constituency with the millions of dollars in his pocket. Funds have flatted the MPs that they don’t know what to do in their constituencies and so start buying rice, noodles, sugar etc for the people with public funds. No wonder, MPs houses always filled with their supporters as this is their source for free hand outs. Our past leaders though not educated, they have the wisdom. With the very little money they got in the budget, they always ensure that the people benefited. Today, we don’t know, may be after they lost the election and start building their palaces we will then see the usage of the millions – our money.

John Aonima 

Let’s Fight Corruption in Solomon Islands

Solomon Star 11 February 2014

FORMER Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Monday said its time to fight corruption in the country.

It’s a problem which is causing a lot of problem in the country and slows down development from taking place. It was also described as a cancer to the development of the society, eating away the resources of the country through dirty dealings and bad decisions. …This nation had suffered enough from the hands of some of our leaders who failed to see the need to serve the country but rather their own pocket. Some of their decisions and actions have resulted in development failing to happen. …The country has received so much funds which should have developed this country, but the actions of some of our leaders have remained an obstacle…. The fight against corruption should be the responsible of each and everyone of us today for the good of our nation in the years ahead.

Red Cross promotes proper policing methods for riot police

Post Courier, February 25 2014

The International Committee of the Red Cross is conducting a three day workshop for members of the Police Mobile squads aimed at promoting proper policing methods in Papua New Guinea. Selected NCOs from McGregor Police Barracks are attending the seminar which will primarily focus on proper methods of policing in the areas of arrest, detention, search and seizures. At the officially opening today at Police Commissioner Toami Kulunga said the public were afraid of the police because some members of the Constabulary abused their powers by violating the rights of citizens. Commissioner Kulunga said PNG was poorly rated by international observers because of such incidences and therefore police personnel should participate in such workshops to enable them to change their behaviours. The Commissioner said the initiative by the ICRC was a step in the right direction and will hopefully pave the way for police to readopt and practice correct methodologies of policing when arresting a suspect, detaining a person, searching a person or seizing firearms or contraband from people who come in conflict with the law.

Sellers clean streets

The National, February 25th, 2014

YOUTHS doing their sales at the Mt Hagen City main market bus stop turned out in numbers last Friday to clean up the area and patch potholes there.
They used their own money to hire a dump truck to collect rubbish that has been piling up for more than three weeks.
The youths bought gravel to patch potholes at the  main bus stops.
They said they had been doing their sales regularly at the main bus stop and decided to clean the place. 
Spokesperson Honi Mafo said because they normally did their sales at the main bus stop they decide to clean it up because no one was going to do it for them.
“We have contributed from our own pockets to clean this place here. On many occasions our sales have been destroyed by police and city authorities but we are doing this to show the authorities that we are playing our part to keep the city clean and safe,” he said.
“We have decided to educate the public on how to keep the place clean and look after their rubbish.”

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