Social Concerns Notes – May 2015

Baki sets sights on police brutality

Post Courier 26 May, 2015

Police Commissioner Gari Baki has sounded his strict zero tolerance on police brutality and extra-judicial killings, warning police personnel not to step out of line.             He said corrupt, abusive and lazy policemen had no place in the constabulary. “If I have to sack half of the current numbers within the constabulary for corruption and or abusive behavior, then so be it,” Mr Baki said yesterday, adding that as an outsider for the past five years he had come to realize that the public fear of the police force was “very real”.

“Alleged police corruptions, abuses and cases of brutality would be swiftly addressed,” Mr Baki said. He added that policemen and women would been charged forthwith, and they would have to provide statements, witnesses and evidence clearing them of any misconduct, abuse or corruption charges. “I will now be placing the burden of proof on members of the constabulary in cases where they have been accused of being corrupt, abusive or simply failed to take necessary and appropriate action.”

Mr Baki said discipline, command and control, which were his priorities for providing leadership, must be maintained in order for the constabulary to perform to the expectations of stakeholders. “Absence of discipline and command and control will see poor to nil delivery of policing services to the public. “Policemen and women are doing as they please with no regard for the due processes and the law. “I will ensure the constabulary’s disciplinary processes are strengthened and strictly observed by all.”

Marat queries lack of probe into serious crime

The National 27 May, 2015

Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat yesterday questioned the Government about the lack of investigations by police into serious crime cases. “There is a very dangerous trend developing in our country today where major crimes are committed, taken to court and are dismissed because police investigators do not carry out their job. “What step is your government taking to address this problem?” he asked Attorney-General Ano Pala. Marat said he was referring to willful murder and rape cases that were thrown out by a committal court due to lack of police investigations.

Doctors short

Post Courier, 25 May, 2015

MORE than three million Papua New Guineans do not have access to a doctor, but the figure is estimated to be higher. President of PNG Society for Rural and Remote Health (PNGRRH) Dr David Mills said only 39 of the 88 districts surveyed have a doctor, but added that not all districts that stated they have a doctor have one based in the districts. “Some of the districts get marked “doctor present’’ when really they are only in the capital, example Vanimo- Green River gets marked as yes. “Then there are those where there are doctors at the mines but who are not really out and about in the community, for example, Lihir in Namatanai and Hidden Valley in Bulolo.’’

The implications of these statistics are many and include PNG continuing to have high maternal and child mortality rates and a large number of people dying from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and malaria. Lifestyle diseases, once a largely urban-based problem, is gradually becoming a problem in rural areas as well, he said.

A number of churches providing health services in rural areas face many challenges, including lack of doctors to serve in their respective facilities. A large number of missionary doctors had left since Independence and were never replaced, resulting in the closure of some facilities. St Barnabas Hospital at Dogura in Milne Bay Province is a classic example. It now operates as a health centre, but it was a busy hospital pre-independence days and was renowned for its service for people .

Report prompts doctors debate

Post Courier 26 May, 2015

News media reports on the critical shortage of doctors in rural areas, and the plans for Divine Word University to set up a rural doctors program starting next year have drawn mixed reactions from the medical fraternity.

One of the common arguments was the need for infrastructure such as roads to be built before doctors could go to serve in rural areas. A senior doctor, for example, said doctors could not be expected to work in the rural areas where infrastructure had decayed due to negligence over the years. He said unless these were improved, there was running water, electricity and workable equipment and there were drugs, doctors could not go out and work in rural areas.

However, doctors were not the only ones who struggled in the bush because of lack of facilities, housing, equipment, and basic services like water, says PNG Society for Rural and Remote Health president Dr David Mills. Dr Mills, who is the medical superintendent of Kompian Hospital in Enga Province, said while doctors wanted things to be done for them first before they go out, there were nurses, community health workers and teachers who were working in the rural areas often went without these basic comforts so they could make a difference for their people. He said when he went to Kompiam in 2000, they had to work by a kerosene lantern at night, had no x-ray laboratory, almost nothing in theater and there was only one staff house. “It was very, very basic. There was no school for my kids. My wife had to do it all by correspondence,” he said. He said doctors had traditionally carried a lot more influence and power and could use their positions to build up the services and lobby for change and resources. Furthermore, he said, there were also hospitals in rural areas with good facilities but did not have doctors to work there.


Highly paid medics shun rural postings

Post Courier 29 May, 2015

Doctors are among the most highly paid public servants earning between K80,000 and K295,000 a year, it has been revealed. The better pay in better equipped urban hospitals had been highlighted as reasons why doctors could not go and work in rural hospitals. A doctor querying the notion of training of more doctors to help address the scarcity of doctors in rural areas said this would be a problem as the doctors were the most highly paid public servants and the Government was unable to pay up their entitlements. He also wanted to know who would be paying the new doctors who would be graduating from the new rural doctors program that the Divine Word University in Madang was starting next year. He queried who would be paying salaries and entitlements of the newly graduates because the hospitals are currently struggling to employ doctors. “There must be means and ways where we can efficiently utilize what we have to maximize benefits and results.”

Education sector fares better than health: Prof

The National, 27 May, 2015

The education sector is faring better than health sector because of the funding mechanisms in place and good management, according to a report. The National Research Institute report covers the period between 2001 and 2012. Professor Steven Howes, director of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University, revealed that during the Henry Kila Memoral address as par t of the Australia-Papua New Guinea business forum. He said the average school had more and better classrooms, teachers’ quarters, text books, clean drinking water, electricity plus improvement in the ration of female students and teachers to male students and teachers. “There were some 89 per cent more children enrolled in the average PNG primary school in 2012 compared to 2001, in part because of free education,” Howes said.             “The number of teachers grew further through the decade, the number of ghost teachers who were claiming pay but not actually working, fell dramatically.“But not everything was positive in education. There was a lot of overcrowding in classrooms because of increased in enrollments, absenteeism went up and maintenance was a problem.”

In the health sector, the norm was the unavailability of drugs, many clinics not performing basic functions and only one-third conducted patrols.

Tribe hands over suspect

The National, 27 May, 2015

Members of a tribe in the Southern Highlands have handed over to police a man who allegedly killed his wife last Sunday. The tribesmen are from the Karinz local level government in Mendi-Munihu District. After the incident, the man fled to the Lai Valley Local Level Government and later headed to the border of Enga and Southern Highlands . His tribesman apprehended him at Injua village near Kandep. They handed him to police on Monday. “The tribesmen did not wait for the police to make the arrest. Embiap has done an excellent job by organizing youths and pursuing the suspect all the way to Enga,” he said. “The people of Karinz LLG have set a good example by making a citizens arrest and other leaders in their respective communities must do the same to support police.”

Disabled left out in city footbridge designs

Post Courier 27 May, 2015

The two new overhead foot brides, at Hohola and Koki iPort Moresby, should have ramps for use by the disabled, says a group of people living with disabilities (PLWDs). The group, made up mostly of amputees and those on wheelchairs, said fair consideration should be given to them and laws must be in place for future public facilities to be user-friendly for PLWDs. “Accessibility of basic services and infrastructure development still remains a concern for people with disabilities,” they said in statement. “The transport system, most schools, tall buildings, private or government agencies must create a conducive environment for people with disabilities,” they said. They suggested that the review policy on disability that was before Parliament, the Government and service provider strategy must go beyond a focus on inclusive education and explicitly identify actions across the breadth of human rights areas prioritized by children with disabilities.

Children with disabilities still facing challenges

Post Courier 26 May, 2015

More than 408,000 Papua New Guinean children with disability under 15 years experience significant disadvantage, a researcher has revealed.           According to the World Report on Disability, these children were less likely to start school than children without disability, had lower rates of retention and advancement in school, were less likely to gain employment, earned less when they were employed, were likely to live in households experiencing greater poverty and material hardship and had inadequate access to health care.

In a training session held yesterday on inclusive research for children with disability, Dr Kevin Murfitt, who is a vision impaired from Deakin University, said the precise number of children with disability in PNG had not been established but, using the World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates of 15 per cent of world population of disability, there were estimated to be more than 408,000 children with disability under 15 years. “These conditions mean that children with disability are frequently denied their human rights mandated in the Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities (CRPD),” he said.

Freida Mine Update

PNG Blogs 27 May

By the close of Business today –May 27th 2015 Guandong Rising Asset Management [ GRAM] of China will have taken over 86 % controlling interest over the small Australian Mining Company Pan Aust Ltd which does not have the Financial resources to  fully develop the Frieda River Deposit in the West Sepik Province.

So, Now What does the Future hold for PNG and the Frieda Project in view of the Chinese take over of Pan Aust Ltd ?  See reference to PNG Blogs above.

Porgera’s new joint owner has a terrible record in China

Chinese Zijin Mining has bought a 49.5% stake in Barrick Gold’s already troubled Porgera mine. The new owner has a terrible environmental and human rights record in China… See url above.

LOs call on PM to stop marine park

Post Courier 27 May, 2015

About 2000 landowners have signed a petition presented to Parliament yesterday calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to stop the PMIZ project until proper consultations with all stakeholders.

Sumkar MP Ken Fairwather read out the petition calling on Prime Minister O’Neill and Madang Governor Jim Kas to stop the PMIZ project in Madang. The petitioners also called on the Madang Provincial Government to immediately use its administrative powers to stop all survey, construction and any other work associated with the PMIZ development at Vidar. They also called on the Ombudsman Commission to conduct a full investigation into the expenditure of K30 million (budget approved) and any other funds by the National Government or its agencies on the PMIZ development so far. Mr Fairweather told Parliament that the local community leaders, representatives of people of the Bel Villages and Madang people during a meeting at Riwo Village on May 4 unanimously agreed to call on the Government to close the PMIZ.

Woman accused of sorcery reportedly hacked to death

The Guardian 27 May 2015

A woman accused of sorcery for the second time has been hacked to death just months after she was saved from “death row” in a remote village in the Hewa region of Papua New Guinea. The woman, known as Mifila, was killed last week, allegedly “chopped” to death by a number of attackers from another village a week’s trek away through the highlands jungle. …

Last month four people in the village of Kaiwe, near Mount Hagen, were accused of sorcery and allegedly tortured by other villagers. Two women were allegedly taken by drunken youths and tortured until they gave up the names of two men. The four were accused of witchcraft and tortured, before family and police intervened. One woman went back to her home community, but fears remained for the other three, particular the young woman.

Two chopped to death

The National 26 May, 2015

Two women were chopped to death in a sorcery-related killing in Gembogl, Chimbu, last Thursday, police say. Acting provincial police commander Chief Superintendent Albert Beli confirmed that they were looking for a Grade 10 student at Mt Wilhelm Secondary School to be questioned over the killings. The body of the first woman was thrown into her home at Irugl village near the Denglagu Catholic Mission before it was set on fire. The second woman was taken to Kundiawa Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. Beli said the student’s father passed away recently after a short illness.           He said the son accused the two women of practicing sorcery. Police forensic unit officers are investigating the killings. Beli is appealing to the student to turn himself in to police.

Opposition leader Don Polye recently condemned sorcery-related killings as primitive. At least six people, including two children, were killed in Madang after a group of 500 men went on a sorcery hunt in the province early this year.

PNG man gets 50 years for burning wife to death

Papua New Guinea Today 24 May, 2015

A Papua New Guinean man who poured petrol on his wife and set her alight has been jailed for 50 years. The decision was handed down by the National Court Justice Iova Geita in Wewak, East Sepik, Papua New Guinea. Justice Iova Geita jailed 40-year-old Genesis Simba of Nuigo in Wewak for killing his wife after a domestic argument at their home. The incident happened between 9pm and 10pm on Tuesday, December 16, 2008. The wife suffered 80 per cent burns to her body resulting in her death a day later at the Wewak General Hospital. Geita handed down the sentence in a packed courtroom last Thursday. Geita said domestic violence appeared to be on the increase despite new laws such as the Family Protection Act 2013 coming into play.

Govt helps settlement church

Post Courier 15 May, 2015

The All Saints Catholic Church at the once notorious Bumbu settlement in Lae received K80,000 for its social development programs. Morobe Governor Kelly Naru presented a cheque for the amount to parish priest Father Greg Domilies at the Tutumang yesterday. The money will be used to assist the church run its education, health and other social programs it runs. Mr Naru said K50,000.00 will go to the church run health clinic in Bumbu which assists the Butibam Health Centre in providing health care to the parishioners and also helps the health centre’s TB programs.   K10,000.00 each will go to the pre-school or kindergarten, elementary school and the church proper. Mr Naru said the funding stems from a visit he made to the church late last year and he was impressed with the church’s social programs in helping the government to tackle law and order issues in the settlement. “We are pleased with your commitment and you are working in difficult zone but your results are really impressive and of course you have the holy spirit protecting you and the results are there for all to see,” Mr Naru said.            He said the good work is paying off in the reduction of law and order problems. The children in the area do not have far to walk as their schools are within the area.

PM tells Widodo: We will support West Papua

The National 12 May, 2015

Papua New Guinea will work with Indonesia to “improve the lives and well-being of the Melanesian people in the Papuan provinces,” Prime Minister O’Neill says. He told visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a dinner in Port Moresby last night that there were “contesting views” on the Papuan issue. “We appreciate that there is a great deal of passion and emotion in these discussions,” he said. “But it is a matter for which everyone deep down wants the same outcome – there to be peace, calm and understanding between PNG and the Papuan provinces.” PM O’Neil said, “We want to welcome to welcome our Melanesian brothers and sisters from Papua and West Papua into the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and we have to do this responsibly. He thanked Widodo for “understanding PNG’s approach to the issue.”

Health indicators improving

The National 11 May, 2015

An increase in the capacity of local health workers to manage and deliver primary health services through training and education is gradually improving health indicators in New Ireland Province, says chairman for health and Murat LLG president Herman Sole. Poliamba is now an excellent facility, with experienced staff and is becoming very self-sufficient, he said. Sister Eddie and her staff are running an excellent health centre at Kabanut, Sr Rulyn at Lambom with good clinical skills and Sr Cathy Bulu at Lamassa, are a few to name who are proactive in providing quality health care in their areas. These, among others, were achievements highlighted in recent integrated health patrol reports by the Australian Doctors International (ADI) to the very remote health centres and aid posts in the East Central New Ireland and Konoagil, in the Namatanai District. Despite the lack of efficient medical supplies – triggered by the continuously deteriorating state of public sector service delivery by the National Government – rural health workers in New Ireland are demonstrating commitment in improving the situation within their respective local communities.

Miner helps to address violence

The National 05 May, 2015

Gold mining company, Barrick (Niugini) Ltd is contributing to address family and sexual violence by training male advocates against violence in Porgera, Enga. The company initiated Restoration Justice Initiative Association (RJIA), partnering the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and PNG/Australia Law and Justice Partnership (PALJP) to run the workshop. The two-day training last month was the first of three sessions that would have some participants undergoing further training to become male advocate trainers, capable of rolling out training and awareness to the wider community in Porgera. More than 35 people, including police, village courts officials, RJIA civil society group, council of churches, non-governmental organizations and several Barrick employees were trained by PALIP/RJIA FSV adviser Laitia Tomata, FSV experts Tevita SEUILUMI, Isi Oru, Inspector David Kila and RJIA chairman John ToGuata. Chief executive officer of RJIA Julian Whayman said the association’s partnership was a good example of how development sectors – public and private entities and the community – could come together and contribute for better development outcomes.

Woman, daughter killed in raid

Post Courier 04 May, 2015

A 15-year old girl with disability and her mother are dead following a dawn raid by neighbouring villagers in Madang last Thursday. The death toll stands at three with one seriously injured and recovering at the Modilon General Hospital. The disabled teenager had been raped in a similar attack last month.

Killing of disable girl condemned

The National 05 May, 2015

A group of people living with disable persons in Madang has condemned the murder of an innocent and defenceless eight-year-old girl colleague last week.            Sumgilbar women’s leader Ruth Arek, who worked with the group, said it was a sad story that a weak and defenceless member of the group was killed. “The girl was totally innocent and very helpless and defenceless,” she said. “I appeal to police to use all the power and strength it has to arrest the man who killed the sick girl so that her death can be justified,” Arek said. Madang police have yet to arrest suspects involved in the girl’s murder. She was killed along with her mother during an ethnic clash between two villages in Amele area outside Madang.

PM: 129 refugees offered residency

The National, 15th of May, 2015

THE Government is offering 129 asylum seekers on Manus “the opportunity to live in the country”, according to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. He told the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney yesterday that more than 400 asylum seekers “have voluntarily left PNG”. To date, 129 applicants have been deemed to be genuine refugees and are being offered the opportunity to live in PNG. “Our Government has the job of explaining that to our people and the genuine refugees will be welcomed by our people in their respective communities,” O’Neill said. “We are currently undertaking extensive public awareness and stakeholder engagement in areas where refugees will be resettled.”

80 houses in city settlement demolished

The National 04 May, 2015

More than 80 houses along 2-Mile were demolished last Thursday to make way for a reoad before the Pacific Games in July. Francis Tokai, one of the community leaders of the 2-Mile settlement area said they were not sure where to go or what to do. “What about our right?” he asked. “We have been living here since the early ‘60s when our parents first settled here. “We ourselves grew up here, had our children here, now our children are all married too and we have grandchildren.” Tokai said the Government gave eviction notices and said that they would be relocated but they were still waiting to be relocated when their houses were demolished last Thursday. However, NCD Governor Powes Parkop said that the relocation plan that was pursued by the local MP was delayed when settlers took the matter to court after receiving the eviction notices. “This project will not be ready for the Games as a result of all the complex problems,” he said. “NCDC (National Capital District Commission) had no option except to move the settlements by force as no one listened to the notices. Parkop said there would be no compensation for the illegal settlers but he would work with the Moresby South MP Justin Tkatchenko to relocate the people to either 6-Mile or Gerehu.

PM warns: Run drugs at your own risk

Post Courier, 4 May, 2015

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has warned Papua New Guineans who may be tempted to get into drug trafficking to think twice because their lives could be at stake. Speaking yesterday on the aftermath of the Bali Nine drug gang executions and fears by PNG families that their relatives in jails in Jayapura may also face the death penalty. Mr O’Neill said he a simple message for these people. “Anyone considering transporting illegal drugs must be prepared for the consequences, and these consequences are serious,” he said. The Prime Minister admitted that there were Papua New Guineans facing drug charges in Indonesia – some failed in Australia for drugs and others in the Philippines while others were being questioned in other parts of the world. Currently there were two PNG men facing drug charges in Sentani and had been jailed in Doyo while others, believed to be numbering 15, would be facing the law because of this. He said PNG would be providing consular support to those who had been arrested and would continue to monitor the situation. More and more people carrying larger quantities of marijuana have been caught at land and sea checkpoints in recent months at the common border between PNG and Indonesia. Mr O’Neill said the Government was working through law enforcement agencies and with community organisations, including churches, to deal with these issues.

Sex crimes ignored in settlements

Post Courier 04 May, 2015

There has been a staggering increase in the number of sexual abuse cases reported in urban settlements and villages in Morobe Province this year. Angau family support centre executive Dr Lincoln Menda revealed this while speaking to the Kamkumung community in Lae over the weekend.

It was previously seen that much of the sexual abuse cases were committed outside of the family circle but much of the sexual abuse happening these days, occur in people’s own houses and the perpetrators are often blood-related relatives,” Dr Menda said. He said many of the victims are children and their cases are often ignored because they are viewed by families as unimportant to the older perpetrator. According to Dr Menda the centre deals with an estimated deals with an estimated 20 to 30 patients every day, and many of them are seen to be women and children, who reside in the urban settlements and villages in Lae. “The number has increased to about 50 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous years and it continues to increase every single day. “Sexual abuse in the family shouldn’t be ignored because it is a criminal act and it is treated similarly to the ones that occur outside the family circle,” he added.

Firm Gives Tent, Food Items To Homeless Children

The National, 5th May, 2015

Two tents and some food and clothing were donated to Life PNG Care by Industrial Sales and Service in Port Moresby to house homeless children. They were received by Life PNG Care national director Collin Pake. “With the tents, we will be able to cater for 70-80 homeless street kids, this will bring short-term solution in line with the National Capital District Commission’s plan of trying to get the homeless kids off the street in preparation for the Pacific Games and other international events,” Pake said. He said giving hope to one child was better than doing nothing. “So our aim is to at least send someone to school and create a family environment.“Give them a home and let them live in a family environment, be part of the family and grow up so that they can become a good parent. Without a family, we will not have a strong community and without that we will not have a good nation. Family is the fabric of our society, when the family falls apart that is when we see social issues and problems arise. “We can provide short-term accommodation for the homeless kids but they have to go back into the streets after the Games.”

Businesses chip in for homeless kids

Post Courier 04 May, 2015

One organisation is responding to the National Capital District Commission’s plan to take children off the streets during the July Pacific Games, but this may be a temporary solution. Life PNG Care founder Collin Pake and his wife Freda are willing to shelter 60 to 70 street children in addition to the 22 who live with them in their rented home at Gerehu in Moresby Northwest. They said they could not take in anymore due to limited resources. On Saturday, a business executive came to their aid by donating two tents, bags of clothing and cartons of food valued at K5,000.00. ISAS director for sales and marketing John Stanson was accompanied by like-minded friend to deliver the donation.

Mr. Stanton did not have much to say, thanking the Pakes for their selfless work in helping the unfortunate children. His friends Bill May, from Logistics International Ltd, and Peter White, a former policeman, works with the Australian High Commission, hut is also the director/secretary of the Royal PNG Constabulary Legacy Inc that fundraises and puts to school orphans of policemen and women.

The three men said they hoped that the Government would see this and do something to help the street children. “We hope the government sees what we are doing and come on board and support,” said Mr May. According to Mr Pake, there are about 5,000 children living off the streets in Port Moresby.About 60 to 70 of them come at nights to sleep at LPC home and will be using the two tents that are donated by Mr Stanson. Mr Pake also confirmed the recent Post Courier report that the NCDC had plans to remove kids off the streets in the lead up to the Pacific Games and had called a meeting with a few service providers to find out how they can work together in the program. However, LPC and the City Mission have both reported that they could not stretch their limited resources to take any more kids.

Opportunity to return to death penalty debate

Post Courier 01 May, 2015

The execution yesterday of the Bali Nine – Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran as well as six others in Indonesia – has again turned the international spotlight on the death penalty.

The reaction from Australia yesterday to their execution has been instantaneous with Canberra recalling its ambassador to Indonesia for consultation and international condemnation continuing as the immediate families of those executed come to terms with their loss. The Papua New Guinea Government has been watching the developments on the other side of the border with interest with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill indicating last month that his Government could review its policy on capital punishment, which it introduced in 2013 in response to public outcry over deadly violence targeting women as well as increasing corruption. There are currently 13 Papua New Guineans who are on death row, pending behind-the-scenes work by the Department of Attorney General & Justice to put in place an appropriate method of state-sanctioned executions. …The focus on the execution of the Bali Nine opens up a window of opportunity for the PNG Government to reengage with Papua New Guineans to discuss a way forward

Solomon Islands police wary of Bougainville gun running: commissioner

Solomon Star May 07,2015, Story courtesy of ABC Radio Australia

Police in Solomon Islands are investigating the source of a gun that was recently found in the capital, Honiara, in the possession of a group of men from Bougainville. It’s alleged the home-made weapon was brandished by the men after the car they were travelling in was involved in an accident. While the origin of the gun is not yet clear, the issue of firearms being smuggled across the PNG border from Bougainville to Solomon Islands is an ongoing one. Solomon Islands police commissioner Frank Prendergast says his officers are becoming more active in the border region.

Push to fight against violence on children

21 May 2015

The visiting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG), Marta Santos Pais along with the Solomon Islands Government are pushing to fight against violence against children.The visit into the country supplemented this effort, urging the government on a five year programme on eliminating violence against children.

“It is key for the protection of children from violence that the Child and Family Welfare Bill is enacted and implemented, and the Family Protection Act effectively enforced,” said Ms. Santos Pais. She added, this is important in preventing and ending violence against children and strengthening government services, especially the social welfare department services to secure child protection.

Student Boycotts Are Reasonable Responses To Decades Long Government Coverups On How Bad PNG School have Become

See at May

PNG development is ‘nomadic’

Post Courier, May 12,2015, 06:00 pm

Successive governments have approached national infrastructure development programs “like nomads” where there was no sustainability and maintenance of what was built, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said in Madang at the weekend. “We have been behaving like nomads in the last 40 years, where we kept building new infrastructure that we failed to maintain,” Mr O’Neill said. “We cannot go on like this,” he said. Mr O’Neill was speaking at the opening of several infrastructure projects at the Divine Word University campus last Saturday. He said the country cannot continue to operate in the nomadic mode and his government was ensuring that run-down infrastructure is being upgraded and new ones being built are of high quality that would last.

Free Education Sees More Girls In School

Post- Courier 07th May 2015

More girls are now attending schools throughout the country since the introduction of free education, National Planning Minister Charles Abel said yesterday. Minister Abel shared this as a PNG experience at the opening of the first APEC High Level Policy Dialogue in Port Moresby. “In the area of education we decided that the Government had to get all children into school so they can prepare for brighter futures. As such we delivered a policy of fee free education and now the National Government pays all fees. This policy has nearly doubled the number of children in school to almost 2 million. Importantly girls in our families are benefitting from the free education policy. Because, before we had fee free education, often it was the girls of poorer families that missed out on school because of cost. Now primary and secondary schools are free and children have the opportunity, indeed they exercise their right to attend school,” Minister Abel said. He said the implementation of this fee free education also has its own challenges. “Nearly doubling the number of school students in the space of a few years has placed pressure on student-teacher ratios. But this was a choice that we made so that we would increase opportunity through education sooner rather than later. We are working to overcome these challenges with an increase in teacher education places in our universities and colleges, and we are building new schools and classrooms,” Minister Abel added.

PNG’s settlements – beer, loud music, drugs & gambling


IT’S another Friday evening and a short distance away from our house a bass speaker can be heard pumping music at force into the airwaves.

The screams of drunken ecstasy and sound of beer bottles smashing on the road send shivers along our spine as we sense that trouble is just around the corner…. So on Friday our family knows that the coming weekend will be agonisingly long for us as we have to weather the nuisance that starts early in the morning, peaks in the evening and continues until Sunday….

For full article, see the url above.


Our disabled people too often find there’s nothing to live for

By FRANCIS NII 20 May 2015 Source

IN Papua New Guinea, people with a disability – people like me – are marginalised and neglected. They experience misery on daily basis. Chauvinism and poverty are the two killers of disabled people in our society, particularly paraplegics and polio victims. Public ridicule and stigmatisation are the worst forms of chauvinism, creating social barriers that deter disabled people from exercising their freedom of movement and participating equally in programs and activities. People make mock them and call them names when they see them in public places. Hence, in fear of being ridiculed and stigmatised, disabled people isolate themselves in the seclusion of the home. …. For full article, see the url above.

Aid to PNG: a long game

By Stuart Schaefer on May 11, 2015

As the former head of aid in PNG, I was often asked, “why are we still giving $500 million a year in aid to PNG”? To put Australia’s aid to PNG in perspective, the ACT government spends more than the whole PNG aid budget on our public hospitals alone ($900 million in 2012-13). As many Devpolicy readers know, PNG’s population of 7.5 million (around 20 times that of the ACT), is spread over rugged and unforgiving terrain around twice the size of Victoria.

For full article, see url above.

Church helps prisoners

The National, Friday May 22nd, 2015

THE Catholic Church in West Sepik is conducting a spiritual rehabilitation programme for PNG citizens serving time in Doyo prison, Indonesia. Father Valencius from the Waromo parish in West Sepik has been visiting prisoners at Sentani in the Papua province to help in their rehabilitation.

Valencius said the aim was for them to contribute positively to their communities after serving their terms. “We visit to comfort them on behalf of their relatives and to make them feel that PNG still cares for them,” he said. PNG Ambassador to Indonesia Peter Ilau had earlier said there were 15 PNG prisoners serving various sentences including for marijuana smuggling. Two more were detained for smuggling marijuana in Jayapura two months ago. A source in Vanimo, said that Dojo prison was mainly for drug smugglers and political prisoners. “The rehabilitation programme is good.  “The prison officials will identify your skills and will include you in their rehabilitation programmes,” the source said. “You will be invited to pass your skills to other prisoners. You can pass your skills to the surrounding communities.”

Bishops renew call to oppose death penalty

Post Courier 01 May, 2015

The Catholic Church has renewed its opposition to the death penalty in the wake of the execution of the Bali Nine drug gang in Indonesia on Wednesday. Among the church’s opposition to the death penalty, was the likelihood of making a mistake and convicting and executing someone who is innocent. Research had shown that in the United States, 140 people were executed, who later were discovered to be innocent. The Church, through the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and the Solomon Islands, noted in a pastoral letter that many countries had abolished the death penalty.The Conference president Bishop Arnold Orowae described capital punishment as an “extreme act of violence performed in the name of the people.” “We, the bishops of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, strongly oppose the use of the death penalty,” he added. “It has no place in a Christian country where true justice and mercy should prevail. Where executions are performed by the State, the people develop the attitude that it is acceptable to respond to violence with violence. “We pray that the rejection of this form of public violence will set an example and lead to a rejection of domestic violence and all other forms of violence in our society and open the way to a lasting peace.” Bishop Orowae said Pope Francis had recently pointed out the diference between defending one’s self against an attack and killing someone who had been rendered harmless and is incapable of attacking you. Among the church’s opposition to the death penalty, was the likelihood of making a mistake and convicting and executing someone who did not commit a crime and is innocent.The bishop said research had shown that in the United States, between 1900 and 1985, 140 people were executed, who later were discovered to be innocent. “The death penalty is final. Once someone has been executed his or her life cannot be restored. It can be fair and just to impose a life imprisonment on someone for a very serious crime.”

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