Social Concerns Notes – July 2015

Bishop: Sports builds bonds and unity

Post Courier, July 01,2015, 02:49 am

WITH the Pacific Games a few days ahead, the Catholic bishops offer a reflection on the value of sports and ways Papua New Guinea can benefit from it. Catholic Bishops Conference PNG and the Solomon Islands president Bishop Arnold Orowae said the church recognises sports as one of the great institutions of our society. It helps individuals realise their human potential and builds up the bonds of the community, fostering communal initiative and responsibility. Bishop Orowae said sports contributes to physical and mental health and wellbeing of the players. “It teaches people, particularly young people, skills and resilience. When youth become involved in sport, they devote their energies to teaming together in a healthy environment, forgetting about antisocial activities such as violence and crime,” he said. “Sports bring people together in new ways. Parents and teachers volunteer their time to organise events. Women may be spectators in many public events, but with sports in the village, in games such as volleyball and basketball, they play equally along with males.

[See the full statement as the last item in these Social Concerns Notes]

Pacific games: A time to reflect on our attitudes for the better

Post Courier, July 22, 2015,

The Catholic Professionals Society of PNG said the 2015 Pacific Games have brought about attitude change among the people across the nation. The organization further stated that the Games should be used to reflect on the people’s attitude for a better society in the future.

President Paul Harricknen said …the government, the security personnel, organizing committee, the people and the thousands of volunteers are to be congratulated for the successful and peaceful events ever staged. He said one of the notable observations from the events is the positive attitude of the people. He said the event brought PNG together as a nation and just about every person wanted to show case the quality and character of the people and country. “We have proven that our people are capable of rising to bigger and higher occasions. On this note I wish to add my congratulations to our people with confidence, prayer, and hope that this Pacific games which preceded our 40 years independence celebrations on 16 September 2015 can be the platform and the start of change in the mindset, hearts and attitudes of our people where we can assert our place and sovereignty as people and nation.

‘It also means that we must be weary of attitudes and ideologies which can undermine our beliefs and values which have been built over centuries and decades of our existence. We must be prepared to say no to ways and ideas that go against our beliefs, our history, our identity and character as a people. We must not repeat the mistake of altering our National Anthem for example. We must not replace our history and legacy in meddling with the names of our founding Fathers such as happened to the name of Sir John Guise Stadium during the games for reasons of mere money and fame”, he said.”

“Our nation is built on the foundations set by our forefathers, and foremothers who drew from the riches and blessings of our Melanesian cultures and traditions and the Christian beliefs we have adopted. They are our identity. Let us embrace them with joy and hope for a better people and nation as we celebrate our 40 years of nationhood within the global society, Harricknen said.

The Real Cost …

(Lawrence Stephens – Facebook)

We are assured that the new Pacific Games facilities, built at the cost of life saving medical equipment and much more, will be well maintained. Seeking approval to bury a 15 year old girl whose life would probably have been longer if we invested more readily and honestly in life sustaining facilities, I was put through the incredible paper chase, starting at around 9am, with the luxury of my own vehicle. From Waigani, where we learnt that the sign identifying the Coroner’s Office was out of date, to the new office in Boroko and a delay of only an hour and half until the coroner’s burial permission was printed out, back to Waigani (imagining the stress to families on foot and public transport following the same confused process) to the cash office of the city authority who directed us to the Burial’s Office, down the road, to have an invoice issued, then back to the Cash Office to pay for a spot in the graveyard, finally reaching this door towards the end of the day. (Photo shown of a rather dirty entrance) …It is the official office of several city authorities including that of the “Burials Clerk” and health officials. If the city authorities can’t keep the office clean what hope do we have of them keeping the new sporting facilities maintained? If indeed we can hope that they have the funds and commitment to maintain them, what will it cost? And will this also be a cost, which may in fact not actually translate to real work, met by diverting funds away from the public health budget and other urgent social needs around the country?

Grace Waide‪ (facebook) A friend of mine lost her life while waiting at the A& E for well over 3 days without being seen to.. so it makes me very very angry that we are patting our own backsides about the games when many are dying for lack of the most basic health and paitent care in the main Port Moresby Hospital..if this is the situation at Pom Gen, what hope is there for all others in other centres?

Govt to pay millions of kina to PNG winning athletes

Post Courier, July 7, 2015

The PNG government is about to fork out some more millions of kina as incentives to PNG athletes who win Gold, silver and bronze medals in this year’s XV Pacific Games. Minister for Sport and Pacific Games Justin Tkatchenko said the incentives was only for the athletes and not the respective coaches, manager or trainers including team officials  for that matter.

The minister said this after inviting PNG open women’s touch football team after their tremendous golden victory over Samoa to take a photo with the Prime Minister’s wife, Lady Linda Babao at the Bisini sporting oval. I think these incentives will help the players to work ahead and this has been approved by the NEW, “the minister said. Recently the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said teams or a player that wins a medal during the Pacific Games will be rewarded. He said for every gold, an individual athlete will get K20, 000 while the silver gets K10, 000 and bronze K5000 respectively

He added that many tend to forget that unlike many other countries, our local athletes usually go about unsponsored and in need of funding. “The least we can do for their personal efforts and sacrifice in putting us on the map and giving the country prestige is to at least give them something in return.”

Incentives for athletes but what about the injustices of our country

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has announced that athletes who did not win any medals during the 2015 Pacific Games will each receive K2,500 as an incentive for their efforts. Well, I congratulate Mr O’Neill for the initiative and the plan to develop sports in Papua New Guinea. Through sport the government will be able to combat increasing crime. But, before the honourable prime minister does this, could his government locate sporting facilities in every district of PNG down to village level so we can develop the best and most talented sport men and women to national and even international level? Millions of kina were spent on the 2015 Pacific Games. While watching the Games live on EMTV, I was proud of my country men and women competing against the neighbouring Pacific nations. But, while the Games were going on, at our hospital mothers was suffering in labour. One from remote Finschhafen district of Morobe Province; another from the remote Ambunti district of East Sepik. Could the same effort involved in developing the Pacific Games be put into our remote area health services where people desperately need them? The prime minister said some people were “too blind to see the sacrifices” of the athletes even though their eyes were open. What about sacrifices and hardships faced in remote areas in regard to basic government services: health, education, road infrastructure and the rest? Is he too blind to see these sacrifices. Is this not an injustice?

Individuals inclined to remain silent on corruption

Post Courier, July 02, 2015

A STUDY which involved more than 1800 interviews in nine of 21 provinces also showed that growing distrust in anti-corruption bodies meant individuals were inclined to remain silent in the face of corruption. According to Australia’s Pacific Beat, researcher Grant Walton, from the Australian National University, said the PNG Government’s recent attempts to wind down anti-corruption bodies in the country appear to have had wider ramifications. “The more educated people are the more likely and willing they are to report corruption. “What we’re finding is that formal education and awareness raising efforts about corruption are really important, but what’s also important is the role of the state in addressing corruption,” Mr Walton said. Papua New Guinea has recently rolled back a number of corruption-fighting measures, including defunding Taskforce Sweep and cancelling contracts of corruption fighters. Such moves have seen public enthusiasm for reporting corruption weakens, the researchers say.

For the full report see:,%20Grant%20Papua%20New%20Guinean%20interpretations%20of%20corruption%20

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SHP forests under threat of logging

Post Courier, July 01, 2015

The huge forest in East Pangia forest management area in Southern Highlands Province is under threat of being logged. This is after 86 incorporated land groups from the area, which is of dense tropical rain forest, said they have heard of logging in the area. The chairmen of the 86 ILGs during a gathering last week in their area said they have heard of logging companies having an interest in logging in their forest which they said they do not want. The spokesmen of all the chairmen Alex Kaima, Peter Arome, John Conlay, Kondowa Kelupai and Mobia Lome, from the West Kambia side of the forest said during the gathering that they have declared their forest as preservation and conservation area and the office of climate change have recognised it. “Our ILG certificates were collected by the Office of climate change for the engagement of our forest in carbon trade,” Mr Arome said. “We do not want any logging company to come and do logging in our forest and disturb the environment and ecosystems.” The 86 ILG chairmen of East Pangia forest management said they have heard of reports that a Madang based logging company is taking interest in logging and said they do not want that to happen.

Catholic church delivers rural services

Post Courier, July 01, 2015

The Catholic health services is a major partner in the delivery of health & HIV responses for the government of PNG and Australia is proud to support its work in Port Moresby and across the country. Australian Deputy High Commissioner to PNG Ms Bronte Moules said on Monday during the opening of the St Paul’s Clinic at Gerehu Stage 6 in National Capital district. Ms Moules said the church health services reach settlements and rural villages across the country through 65 sites in 20 Provinces. She said the church health services also delivers broad range of programs, including maternal and child health, communicable disease, counselling, prevention and support and community engagement. Ms Moules said the opening of the clinic demonstrates the commitment by both the Government of Australian and Government of PNG in investing in the health of the people of PNG.

“Today we are opening a clinic that will significantly improve the access to health care for the people of Gerehu. “The clinic that is being opened today is the result of an investment by the Australian and PNG Governments of nearly K1.5 million. “It is a worthwhile investment,” Ms Moules said.

Hope for young Mums

The National, 1st July, 2015

Teenage pregnancy should not be covered up anymore, a father of four daughters said. He said he knew it was a sensitive issue that needed addressing in the open to cushion its stigma. Purago Marabe, an artist from Eastern Highlands, was thankful to the Safe Motherhood Alliance or Small PNG organisation for using his artwork to portray young women in fear and anguish when undergoing unplanned pregnancy. “As a father of four girls, I am honoured to be part of this project called ‘Blooming Teens’ to paint and feel the situation young girls face and help raise awareness to prevent teenage pregnancy,” he said. Marabe said at the launching of belly casts modelled by young women in their third trimester pregnancy, which Marabe and seven other artists would paint to tell the story behind each cast. Another artist, Tony Evennette, said that his involvement in casting for teenage unplanned pregnancy was a way of saying sorry on behalf of men and to contribute to the society through the project. Organisation patron Dame Carol Kidu, who opened the project last Friday in Port Moresby, said it was interesting to see that most of the painters were men. “This in itself it’s a good turnout as male painters will have to connect with each cast and story that they paint so they feel and understand the situation of the young girl. It’s sad when young women are so desperate that when they have a pregnancy, they consider taking their own lives. I encourage families and communities to take care of girls who fall pregnant early,” she said. Programme development manager Catherine Fokes said they were casting 12 young women who each had a story of anguish to tell.

Midwifery Trainers Needed

The National, 1st July, 2015

The country needs more midwifery trainers to teach midwives how to prevent and reduce child and maternal mortality cases in the country, according to a consultant. Heather Gulliver, a clinical midwifery facilitator with the University of Technology in Sydney, has been involved in the auditing and proof-reading of the midwifery curriculum for the Bachelor of Midwifery Programme at the Divine Word University campus at St Mary’s School of Nursing in East New Britain. She had worked in Eastern Highlands, Madang and East New Britain. She said challenges in reproductive health in PNG were universal and there was a big shortfall in health workers. “Community health workers are holding up maternal health services across PNG.  Another area where there is a shortfall in PNG is educators that are in the position to offer midwifery education,” she said. Gulliver said this was an issue at the other four institutions offering bachelor programmes in midwifery, which had struggled to recruit staff. “We are here to build capacity and it is quite difficult when we do not have adequate staff,” she said. However she said the foundation of the midwifery programme at St Mary’s School of Nursing was very strong as it was the first institution to offer child maternal health in 1958. The midwifery programme was funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It has been developed in conjunction with the Department of Health, World Health Organisation, University of Technology and the PNG Nursing Council.

Woman tortured

The National, July 6th, 2015

A WOMAN from Chimbu was tortured and slashed with bush knives in Madang on Saturday after her relatives suspected her of practising witchcraft. The tortured woman identified herself as Baby Nebare, 45 and from Goi village in the Nemane-Karamui area in Chimbu. Nebare said she had seven children and left them with her husband at home to go to Madang to buy betel nuts to sell in Chimbu.

A relative, Robert Bomai, said Nebare purposely went to Madang to kill him over issues related to land ownership. Two other women allegedly conspired with Nebare. Bomai said he found out about the woman’s intention through a dream he had last Wednesday. He said it was known in Chimbu that women practicing witchcraft targeted people on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of each month. He claimed he was to be killed on July 14. Bomai said he questioned Nebare about her intention but Nebare denied it. He said she admitted it when other relatives at the Baglau settlement  gathered and threatened to kill her. “I am not a sanguma (witch), I falsely admitted I am one because they wanted to kill me, they will kill me if I don’t admit,” Nebare said. Bomai’s male relatives slashed Nebare with bush knives and beat her with sticks.

Liquor ban lift turns sour

Solomon Star, 30 June 2015

AS the liquor ban was lifted in Honiara on Saturday, the capital has experienced a noisy and disturbing atmosphere as drunkards patrolling the streets and communities causing public annoyances.

Reports reaching this paper said, that pubs and bottle shops in Honiara were very busy with people buying alcoholic beverages after the lift of the liquor ban. The ban was effective as of Friday 19th June as Honiara hosted the 20thMelanesian Spearhead Group leaders’ summit.

An officer from the Central Police station confirmed to the Solomon Star yesterday that the police custody is filled up with mostly drunkards compared to the past weekends. He added that, he cannot confirm the number of arrests made but it is believed most of the arrests were alcohol related. This came after the liquor ban was lifted over the weekend.

Staff of the National Referral Hospital’s Emergency ward also confirmed a number of cases where people are taken to the hospital to receive medical attention throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning. This paper understands that the liquor ban was also questioned by pub and bottle owners as well as the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) the peak representative of the private sector in Solomon Islands saying that the loss of business to small business owners is their concern. However, the lift of the ban turned sour as people ended up in police custody and also at the hospital with matters related to alcohol.


Winds of change: Are they blowing PNG good or bad?

WHEN the Communist Bloc started to crumble in the latter part of the 1980s, these climactic events were said to have been triggered by a “wind of change” blowing across the USSR and Eastern Europe at that time. In the same sense Papua New Guinea’s development and economic progress in the last decade or so can be said to be the result of a similar phenomenon of rapid transformation. Favourable international economic conditions have enabled Port Moresby to transform into a thriving city, a symbol of what prime minister Peter O’Neill recently said was an endeavor to transform PNG into the “most powerful nation in the Pacific”. National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop has described these enormous developments as the result of the “wind of change” blowing through PNG.

While such statements may provide a glimpse of the future of the national capital and PNG at large, unfortunately they are far removed from the reality on the ground. The wind of change may well be blowing but for most folks in remote villages and urban settlements they mean little. Most people view the government with suspicion and distrust.

Whilst things may look positive on the outside, on the inside many people are confused and anxious about the future. For too long they have been tricked into believing in policies that brought no tangible change to their lives. Perhaps we can hope that these recent developments are signs of better things to come. Perhaps, like every law abiding and patriotic citizen, I hope that the massive infrastructure development in Port Moresby will instill a sense of responsibility and pride in the minds of our people.

In saying that, I am mindful that for most people the daily struggle poses a major barrier to change. The sight of mothers and youths selling their meagre possessions under the sparkling new flyover bridge is a daily occurrence.

Not far away from PNG’s first flyover is a small messy area recently taken over as a market. It is buzzing with betel nut vendors. This filthy place has already drawn the attention of city authorities and, as the Pacific Games kicked off, the sound of teargas canisters thundering into the locale could be heard for miles around. It was a reminder that, for most of our people, change is not so personally transformational. While the government has injected massive amount of money into building world class sporting facilities for the Pacific Games, the main source of energy, electricity, is still a big problem for most settlements and villages in PNG. This important marker of modernisation is not accessible by most Papua New Guineans. Access to it is so difficult and costly where I live that most settlers resort to illegal connections. … Transforming Port Moresby into a modern city is commendable, however its development has come at a high price for other provinces. It has also resulted in an influx of migrants from rural areas. We are experiencing rapid rural-urban migration such as we never saw before. …

[For the full article, access the url above]

Log exports reach new peak despite government promises June 29, 2015

Papua New Guinea’s raw log exports reached a new high in 2014 despite numerous government policies on sustainable development, increasing downstream processing, ending round log exports and canceling the SABL leases. Much of the increase in log exports has come from clear-fell logging in Special Agriculture and Business Lease area – something the Commission of Inquiry described as illegal and which the government promised to stop in 2013.

In 2014 log exports reached 3.8 million cubic metres, after growing steadily from 2.3 million in 2005.

In all 30% of log exports were from areas logged under Forest Clearance Authorities issued under SABL. The logging in these areas is being allowed to continue despite the clear evidence these land/resource deals were illegal, particularly as as they are not based on the approval of the customary land owners, and there was certainly no free and informed consent. Nearly all the logs, some 88% or 3.34 million cubic metres, was shipped to China for domestic use and re-export as processed timber and finished products. Taun is the timber with the largest export volume recorded (around 16% of the total) followed by kwila (8%). West New Britain is the largest source of logs exports – accounting for 23% of the total – followed by East New Britain (18%, largely from SABLs). Then West Sepik (17%).

The largest single logging project, by far, is Rimbunan Hijau’s Sigite Mukus operation, in East New Britain. This is an SABL/FCA under the company name Gilford Limited.

Australian Officer Donates K3,000 to Centre

The National, 7th July, 2015

An Australian police officer with the help of family and colleagues has donated more than K3000 to Life PNG Care (LPNGC). Detective Sergeant Michelle Harris, who is part of the Papua New Guinea-Australia Policing Partnership, went to LPNGC centre at Gerehu last Friday and made the presentation. The money came purposely to assist the centre in its fundraising drive to buy a bus for the 22 children going to school. Harris was motivated to make the donation because her grandfather Keith Wilson, who recently passed away in Australia, was an orphan. Her grandfather was pleased when he heard that she has been in contact with some disadvantaged children, who were in the care of LPNGC. Instead of taking flowers to the Wilson’s funeral, the family decided to take money so they could donate it to a nominated charity. “Now the families say ‘please don’t bring flowers and if you want to do something, you donate some money. We ask them not to bring flowers but money to give to you (children at LPNGC) so the friends and families, and some colleagues here helped me to donate the money towards the efforts in buying a bus,” a delighted Harris said.

Envoy: PNG to Miss Goals.

The National, 10th July, 2015

A diplomat has warned that Papua New Guinea will not meet any United Nations millennium development goals because living standards in rural areas have not improved. United States Ambassador Walter North said: “There is still more domestic violence and poverty in PNG.” He was addressing a women’s leadership symposium in Kokopo, East New Britain yesterday. North, therefore, urged educated PNG women to take the lead in assisting women in the rural areas. “Educated women in PNG have the tools to assist their families and communities. I believe that women in PNG have the power to make that commitment and drive the change needed. I know that women in this country will not lose hope. They will keep on learning. They can transform this country from the land of the unexpected to a better place.”

Used Clothing a Profitable Business

Post – Courier, 9th July, 2015

Used clothing is a very profitable business, that is yielding for its operators very high returns in Papua New Guinea. This is according to a market research conducted by the National Development Bank (NDB). NDB Managing Director and Chairman for NDB investments limited Moses Liu highlighted this during the opening of the Style Stret shop yesterday in Port Moresby. “We found that while most store goods are controlled items meaning the markup you can charge on them is fixed; used clothing on the other hand is very different. Bales of clothing were sold by weighting kilograms and inside each bale would be several hundred or thousands of pieces of clothing.” He said the used clothing industry is booming in PNG and many locals who started in this humble business have gone on to be very successful. Even though it is not as glamorous as other businesses it is a cash cow and has higher returns than most other businesses that operate.

TB biggest health test

The National, July 10th, 2015

MANY deaths in health facilities in Simbu are related to Tuberculosis and HIV, according to the provincial disease controller Steven Show. He said TB was the biggest health challenge in the province and country and was causing deaths in hospitals and health centres. Show revealed this following three days of intensive health facilities performance quarterly reviews in Chuave district.

“TB/HIV are causing many deaths according to the reports from the six districts of Simbu,” Show said. “We are now embarking on a massive TB/HIV awareness campaign in the districts starting with Chuave and Kundiawa,” Show said.

Mission offers care, shelter to poor youth

The National, Monday July 13th, 2015

City Mission, a charity non-governmental organisation, provides more than 1000 meals daily and accommodates 400-plus underprivileged, mistreated youths through its new life-skill training centre, an official says. Executive assistant of the charity home, Dorothy Koch-Waluta said the organisation had opened its doors in 1993 with a broad aim to house, feed and offer spiritual direction to troubled young men on the streets of Port Moresby. This quickly expanded with the addition of Mirigeda Farm where the young men could get away from the temptations of the city. “This farm is now the facility for new life-skills training focusing on training and rehabilitating the young men spiritually, mentally and physically,” Koch-Waluta said. She said about 320 young men were involved in the programme in Port Moresby and Lae, the only two operating centre. “About 50 per cent of these young men have no formal education, 10 per cent have made it at least to school while 40 per cent had a little bit of education but through this programme they were able to acquire skills training to sustain themselves.”

She said following successful operation in the nation’s capital, City Mission started in Lae with the opening of the Suambu New Life Plantation in 2006.  Buablung Hostel complemented the new life plantation by offering transitional housing for the young men who found work in town.

Oral cancer rising: Surgeon

The National, Tuesday July 14th, 2015

THERE has been an overwhelming increase in oral cancer patients in recent years and the statistics are alarming, a doctor says. Health Department’s chief of dentistry Dr Matupi Apaio, who is the only oral maxillofacial surgeon in the country, said they were now seeing at least a case per week – a worrying trend. “The number of cancer patients has dramatically increased especially mouth cancer patients in the country,” he said. “Previously, only one or two (cases) will come in months at a time.

“Many referrals around the country don’t get sent in because they are at the late stages. Only the cases that are manageable are sent to Port Moresby.” He said the negligence of proper oral hygiene and poor dietary changes were to be blamed for tooth decay and poor gums. They eventually led to mouth cancer and other diseases of the mouth. “We are at a stage were lifestyle diseases are killing people in the country so we should all have to be cautious about what we eat,” he said. “Refined sugar will not only cause tooth decay but it will draw other medical problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. “So diet is the most important factor to regulate and maintain our health.”

Gold Ridge mine: Toxic tailings dam on the brink of overflow; environmentalists fear mass contamination ABC News.

As heavy rain continues to fall in the Solomon Islands following Tropical Cyclone Raquel last week, fears the Gold Ridge mine’s toxic tailings dam will overflow are starting to intensify. The local government declared the area a disaster zone, but experts fear hardly enough precautions are being taken to prevent looming disaster to surrounding communities. The Gold Ridge tailings dam contains millions of tonnes of hazardous chemicals like cyanide and arsenic, and was purportedly not designed to accommodate overstrain. An overflow would heavily contaminate the water supplies for the many people living downstream from the site whose livelihood depends on the same water supply. The damn now sits at 20 centimetres below maximum capacity.

Lawrence Makili, the Earth Island Institute’s Solomon Islands director, said while some landowners were aware of the rising situation, the majority were not even aware anything was happening or the danger they potentially faced. “Only those who are aware of the risk or the dangers of what is going to happen are preparing at the moment,” Mr Makili said. He said the majority of those living around the mining dam were rural and farming communities who live directly off of the same systems of water.

A mass contamination would be catastrophic, and as of yet, there has been no major precautions taken outside of the announcement that the dam might overflow. Australian miner Saint Barbara sold off the mine to the Gold Ridge company in May, after production was suspended for over a year in the midst of disputes over rejected recommendations that the polluted water needs to be released.

Youths want death penalty out

The National, Wednesday July 15th, 2015

CATHOLIC youths in the Highlands region staged a protest march against the death penalty last week. During their Highlands Regional Rally at Laiagam in Enga, the youths called on the Government to throw out the law on death penalty and replace it with maximum jail sentence.

The youths marched for 3km from Wanepap to Laiagam Station with banners highlighting that the death penalty was against Christianity. The Catholic Church has a petition going against the death penalty. Representatives from churches, Laiagam–Porgera district administration staff, Caritas Papua New Guinea and police watched the protest last week. The youths addressed issues about drugs, homebrew, tribal fights and other activities, adding that they contributed to destroying life.

Ale Asa, from Wabag youth and chairperson of the organising committee, described the death penalty as unhealthy for the nation. He said they were reminding the Government that it had to look at other ways to deal with the rising law and order issues. “This will not do us any good. It will destroy our Christian faith and the Government must look at ways to stop it,” Asa said. “This nation will progress and see good things if only it operates on God’s principles.”

Calls to scrap live broadcasts of State of Origin matches in PNG

STATE of Origin contests have long been famed as arenas epitomising physical aggression and tribal combativeness. However, that aggression is spilling over the sidelines with horrifying consequences.

There have been calls to ban live broadcasts of Origin games in Papua New Guinea because of violent outbursts that are erupting after matches, resulting in deaths. Speaking to the ABC, an Enga police spokesman said the interstate matches drove people into a frenzy, and that the only way to eradicate this behaviour was to ban all live coverage.

“The way people watch the Origin matches are going crazy nowadays. We’ve got so many deaths…there’s a lot of killing in places because of State of Origin matches,” said the spokesman.

“When it’s on live, the people watching it, they go crazy, I don’t know for whatever reason.

“It’s a game where people normally watch and enjoy themselves but nowadays it’s not that, it’s changing, supporters of the Blues and supporters of the Maroons, they’ve started to hate each other, argue…it’s throughout the country. “I call on the government of Papua New Guinea to ban the live coverage of Origin matches in Papua New Guinea.”

Drunken celebrations caused the deaths of at least three people during this year’s series, while violent altercations between rival supporters reportedly break out after almost every encounter. Houses and business were also ravaged by angry fans during the latest series. Local media reported that supporters clashed outside Wabag after the third and deciding game last Wednesday, pelting each other with rocks. While this particular incident didn’t result in any deaths, it was part of an alarming trend.

Australia/Papua New Guinea: The Pacific Non-Solution

Two Years On, Refugees Face Uncertainty, Restrictions on Rights

(Sydney) – More than 850 asylum seekers and 87 refugees are detained indefinitely in poor conditions on Manus Island two years after Australia announced it would process and resettle “boat people” in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Law Centre said today.

Since January 2015, PNG and Australian authorities have transferred 40 men found to be refugees to a transit center, but they are still prevented from leaving Manus Island and are denied opportunities to work and study.

Mental Health Impact

Asylum seekers and refugees report that conditions inside the detention center are overcrowded and that the protracted and indefinite nature of detention is causing significant mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Service providers acknowledged that lengthy periods of time in detention is detrimental to mental health and makes the eventual transition of refugees into PNG society even more difficult. Some refugees transferred to the transit center rarely leave their rooms, apparently still traumatized by their experience in detention.

“In detention you become domesticated. Like an animal inside a cage – you think they are fine, they look fine, they seem healthy, but they could not survive in nature. That is like us now,” said one refugee. Speaking about the mental state of others, he added, “Mentally, they are not fine. The mind doesn’t work very well. They read, but they can only read a page and they forget. They lose concentration. They won’t leave their rooms. They have lost the ability to live.”

“In Burma the government shoots us,” said a member of the persecuted Rohingya minority. “But here they kill us mentally.”

[For the full article, see the url above]

The Plight Of Long Islanders In Madang

Post Courier, July 20, 2015

Basic government services are reportedly non-existent in Madang’s remote Long Island and concerns have been raised by the lone health worker there for urgent intervention. The calls are from Mathew Salung and following another boating mishap between the waters of Madang and Morobe over a week ago in which 15 people have reportedly been missing and now presumed dead by authorities. Of the 15, six were locals from Wasu who were headed for Rai Cast for a sporting tournament while of the nine from Long Island, four were patients who were making the trip back to Long Island with their guardians. Salung lamented in an interview with the Post-Courier that this was not the first time men, women and children from this remote island had perished out at sea while in search of basic government services. He said back in 1996, 11 people-among them several school children had perished, neither the boat nor their bodies were found. Yet again in 2014 another motorised dinghy carrying about seven people including students also went missing. The only trace left behind was the dinghy they were reportedly travelling in which had been washed ashore. “This is the third time people have actually gone missing but there have been numerous other instances of mishaps. All these ought not to have happened if our health centres and schools were up and running. Services ground to a halt in 2007 and there has been little effort by our politicians and authorities in the provincial administration to restore normalcy. Even communication is non-existent. There are no mobile phone towers on the island. The only mode of communication which was the health radio which was installed by Former Madang Governor and Health Minister Sir Peter Barter but this was pulled out also in 2007 leaving the island in complete darkness.

Immunisation Coverage Remains Low: Medic

The National, 22nd July, 2015

There is low immunisation coverage where more than 25 per cent of children under the age of five die from sicknesses that can be prevented by vaccines, an official says. Technical officer of the expanded programme of the immunisation (EPI) for the Health Department, Johnny Arava said the two leading common causes of deaths were complications of pneumonia and measles. He said the country was not reaching its national immunisation coverage of more than 90 per cent despite special immunisation goals being developed in the national health plan (2011-2020) and immunisation coverage remained stagnant. “For example, the percentage of measles vaccine coverage from 2009 to 2013 in the country was below 60 per cent,” Arava said. That prompted the Health Department to introduce an integrated routine immunisation exercise into the national immunisation programme.

Risky Chopper Journey To Save PNG Jungle Triplets|

Post-Courier, 20th July, 2015. Story courtesy of Radio New Zealand International

A woman who gave birth to triplets in a remote village in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe province took six days to reach a hospital in Lae, after tribal fighting stopped her from reaching medical help. Gile Sayiyong gave birth to the triplets last week without any medical assistance, because she couldn’t reach a nearby health centre as two groups of people were engaged in fierce fighting, cutting off access. Unable to get to the medical centre, Ms Sayiyong relied on a helicopter evacuation, but that proved a challenge in itself. The helicopter’s pilot Jurgen Ruh says it took two attempts in poor weather and mountainous terrain to reach the village, but he eventually made it. “I followed the river very close to the surface and as I got further in the rain got heavier and the clouds got thicker, so I was unable to have safe visibility. I turned around and then I tried to go over the top and then I tried to get in from the north and I tried to come from the east. Then three hours later the fog had lifted and I was able to come in under the cloud.” Jurgen Ruh says the mother and triplets are still in hospital for observation, but are otherwise doing fine.

Slave Boats in Papua New Guinea

See the story at:

Statement by Catholic Bishops Conference – The Contribution of Sport

With the Pacific Games coming soon to Papua New Guinea, sport will be a topic of interest for many people. At this time your Bishops wish to offer a reflection on the value of sport and ways that we can all benefit.

The Church recognises sport to be one of the great institutions of our society that helps individuals realise their human potential and builds up the bonds of the community, fostering comunal initiative and responsibility.

Sport contributes to physical and mental health and wellbeing. It teaches people, particularly young people skills and resilience. When youth become involved in sport, they devote their energies to teaming together in a healthy environment, forgetting about antisocial activities such as violence and crime.

Sport brings people together in new ways. Parents and teachers volunteer their time to organise events. Women may be spectators in many public events, but with sport in the village, in games such as volleyball and basketball, they play equally along with males. Sporting contests often provide special facilities for disabled athletes – a consideration that could well be matched in other spheres of life.

Sport opens us up to the wider world. Many of us eagerly watch the “State of Origin” being played in Australia. Back home, how many of us feel proud when one of our athletes wins a medal in international events such as the Commonwealth Games. Athletes such as Dika Toua or Stephen Kari have become household symbols of our achievement in the eyes of the world.

When interactions offer fun, competition, skill and goal-setting, there is a fertile environment for personal development. Sport builds character. It teaches us discipline as we learn to play by the rules. When sports teams promote fairness, firmness and moral courage, there exists a wonderful space in which to help young people grow into adulthood: a form of initiation where the “elders” (coaches or teachers) set goals and boundaries in a safe, caring and no-nonsense setting. In such settings the benefits flow not just to the local community, but to the nation as a while.

But there is also another side to sport that can bring sadness rather than delight. We should keep in mind that special events come and go but normal life goes on. It is important to keep a balance between the value of sport and sporting events and other goals of society. Some countries have been so keen to project a good image on the international stage that their people have been left suffering and paying bills for years afterwards. Let us make sure this does not happened to PNG

Sometimes there is violence on the field or among spectators. On occasion there is gambling and betting and associated abuse of drugs and alcohol. We must guard against such antisocial activities that ruin the good name of sport. Also we are saddened to see some sports events scheduled on Sunday mornings, which are a time that most Christians devote to Sunday worship. We ask that sports managers try to keep the Sunday holy, having in mind the words of St Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor 9:25) “Every athlete concentrates completely on training in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever.”

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