Thursday, September 29, 2011

PM Sacks Police Commissioner

 
By Calvin Caspar via Sharp Talk
imageThe National Executive Council has terminated Anthony Wagambie as Police Commissioner.

Mr. Wagambie will be replaced by former Deputy Commissioner, Tom Kulunga, who will act in the position until a substantive appointment is made.
Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill says Deputy Police Commissioner Operations, Fred Yakasa will also be replaced.
Announcing this late this afternoon in a media statement, Mr. O'Neill says the decision was regrettable, blaming the Somare Government for leading Mr. Wagambie into the situation.
Mr. Wagambie's appointment was found to have been made without the mandatory consultation process with appropriate authorities.
He was found to have gone over the compulsory retirement age of 60-years for Heads of State departments.
Mr. Wagambie's appointment was also found to be for only 14 months, which expires in July 2012, which is against the Police Act, which requires an appointment to be for four years.
The Prime Minister claims there is no politics involved in the changes, adding that the move is to ensure the Royal PNG Constabulary is stable when the country goes in for the National General Elections.
Mr. O'Neill says, the Government will ensure Mr. Wagambie does not suffer any financial loss because of the premature termination.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunset Merona: When Darkness fell on W/Papuan Refugees

 

BY DAVID FEDELE

This is what happens when Papua New Guinean hoes bend down to their masters in Jakarta.

For nearly 50 years the people of West Papua have suffered under brutal Indonesian colonial rule and up to 400,000 civilians have lost their lives in Indonesian military operations.
Thousands have fled across the border to seek sanctuary in Papua New Guinea.
This footage was taken on Wednesday 16th February 2011, in the jungle near Vanimo, Sandaun Province, Papua New Guinea, less than 50km from the West Papua border.
It shows West Papuan refugees returning to their village for the first time since it was burnt 3 weeks earlier by special operation “Sunset Merona” led by Papua New Guinea Police and Defence Force.
The men came out of hiding in the bush to talk to me, and the women were able to leave for only a couple of hours where they were being held, as they told their captors they were looking for food from the garden.
After I left the men went back into the bush to hide, and the women returned to where they were being held.
Now 6 months later (July 2011), these refugees were still unable to return to their village and remain hiding in the jungle, on the run.
This footage is clear evidence of contravention of the UN Charter for Refugees by Papua New Guinea, and also raises major questions about the legality of special operation Sunset Merona and the alleged involvement of the Indonesian Government in pressuring the Papua New Guinea authorities to undertake these raids.

For more information please visit http://www.freewestpapua.org

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Sorcery in East Kerema, Gulf Province

BY BONZ MERI

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This is called Measiri also known as Puripuri or Sorcery. These items [pictured] were discovered last week buried at the foot of my bubus [granny’s] grave. My family went back home to East Kerema to erect a headstone at my granddad's grave and discovered these items.

They were all wrapped individually tightly with copper wire. A total of 68 individual wrappings were found, each containing a little piece of human bone with an item of clothing, hair, buai [betel nut] skin, etc... belonging to 68 people who have either died or have been very ill.

Sorcery is real and this how it is done in my village. This wrappings are the first of their kind to be discovered in my village.

_______________________________________

Note

Preamble of the Sorcery Act 1971

There is a widespread belief throughout the country that there is such a thing as sorcery and that sorcerers have extraordinary powers that can be used sometimes for good purposes but more often for bad ones, and because of this belief many evil things can be done and many people are frightened or do things that otherwise they might not do.

Some kinds of sorcery are practised not for evil purposes but for innocent ones and it may not be necessary for the law to interfere with them, and so it is necessary for the law to distinguish between evil sorcery and innocent sorcery.

There is no reason why a person who uses or pretends or tries to use sorcery to do, or to try to do, evil things should not be punished just as if sorcery and the powers of sorcerers were real, since it is just as evil to do or to try to do evil things by sorcery as it would be to do them, or to try to do them, in any other way.

Sometimes some people may act, or may believe that they are acting, under the influence of sorcery to such an extent that–

(a) their conduct may not be morally (and should not be legally) blameworthy; or
(b) actions that would ordinarily be regarded as customary offences may, in traditional social groups, be regarded as excusable or capable of being compensated for.

There is a danger that any law that deals fully with sorcery may encourage some evil-intentioned people to make baseless or merely spiteful or malicious accusations that their enemies are sorcerers solely to get them into trouble with other people, and this is a thing that the law should prevent.

People stand to lose in airline Monopoly

 

clip_image001The Government of Papua New Guinea recently announced its approval in principle for the merger of state owned airline Air Niugini with the privately owned Airlines PNG. A merger between the two airline sets to create the largest airline in Papua New Guinea.

Airlines PNG is Air Niugini’s only real competitor on certain National and International. Nationally they both compete on the Mount Hagen, Lae, Tabubil and Bulolo routes. Internationally they compete on the lucrative Australian market. In fact, the increased competition as a result of Airlines PNG expanding its routes has seen a decline in prices.

Many pundits are therefore weary of the proposed merger. The matter has been subject to much discussion on blogs and social networking sites. On Facebook for instance, a post by Essential Meri PNG on Sharp Talk racked up over 120 responses. Cuma PNG summarized the general sentiment with the statement, “Lack of competition will never benefit the people.”

Perhaps the most well reasoned out arguments against the merger, come from former IPBC Minister, Arthur Somare. In 2010 when Airlines PNG wanted to merge with Air Niugini, Mr. Somare immediately ruled out talks. Here are his reasons as reported by the Post Courier on the 23rd of August 2010:

1. Airlines PNG suffered big losses in its two years as a company listed on the Port Moresby Stock Exchange and, if it is now enjoying robust growth, that is good for future competition;

2. Publicly available information suggests APNG’s improved performance is due to charters with the PNG LNG Project and others, but this has little benefit to the wider travelling public;

3. The then Transport and Works Minister Don Polye said the Government’s “open sky” policy could lead to more competition and he cited the case of Virgin Air. This argument does not hold now since an Air Niugini merger with APNG would kill off Virgin’s code share arrangement with APNG,”

4. Air Niugini has enjoyed an accident-free history since its formation in 1974; a merger with APNG would ruin this reputation and result in payment of much higher insurance premiums;

5. The higher insurance premiums would result in higher costs and higher airfares;

6. The APNG air crash in Kokoda in August last year could result in expensive litigation once official reports are concluded. There is no reason for this burden to be passed on to Air Niugini.

7. Rising inflation is one of the biggest concerns of Bank of Papua New Guinea and the National Government. Do we want to take a backward step and allow airfares and airfreight charges to rise again?

8. Air Niugini was able to reduce international airfares by 20 per cent to 50 per cent to different international destinations in recent years and domestic fares had fallen by an average of 20 per cent.

9. The practical implication of the merger is that a single individual, John Ralston Wild, will become the biggest private shareholder in Air Niugini with a stake five times bigger than Nasfund, APNG’s second largest shareholder.

Unfortunately, if one looks at the media release by the Prime Ministers Department, there’s a lot of speculation and very little of substance. The media release does not address any of the substantive matters highlighted by Mr. Somare.

The Prime Minister’s biggest blunder in that press release was to state:

“The proposed merger of the two airlines provides a solution to this problem. It is an example of Public Private Partnership in practice, not the flowery words of the former Minister Arthur Somare...”

Actually Mr. O’Neil’s press statement was full of ‘flowery words.’ The Prime Minister said that the major result of the merger would be a significant expansion of services. Well we all know what Bank South Pacific did in Kerema. Private businesses will not be bound to Cabinets or Prime Ministers wishes.

Furthermore, this isn’t a Public Private Partnership as defined under the Governments own Public Private Partnership policy, a copy of which is available on the IPBC website.

The Prime Ministers press statement is full of speculations about what could result from the merger. However, business decisions are made based on value to shareholders

The critical question here is that, “why does APNG want to merge with ANG?”

“Why merge with Air Niugini instead of another airline, based locally or overseas?” Well if Airlines PNG were to partner with another airline, competition would make it less profitable. But by merging with Air Niugini, there is consolidation of the airline industry and increased profitability due to the existence of a monopoly in PNG. The shareholders of Airlines PNG stand to gain more out of this merger while the shareholders of Air Niugini [the people of Papua New Guinea] stand to lose by having to deal with a monopoly.

Once again, just look at the contempt BSP treats its clients with. Making them stand in endless queues and overcharging stupid fees. Who’s to say that the people won’t have to deal with another corporate monster? It’s not just about the price we pay for tickets but the hidden costs associated.

Not everyone thinks it’s a bad idea though. Some see the wisdom of getting these State assets like Air Niugini out of the sticky fingers of Politicians. Many Papua New Guineans loathed the use of the infamous Falcon jet like a private family car, costing taxpayers millions.

I must conclude by adding that personally, I would like to see Air Niugini taken out of political influence – privatized. However, merging it with Airlines PNG, a company with a terrible safety record, is plain stupidity. That is apart from the fact that a monopoly is clearly not in the best interest of MOST Papua New Guineans but of the corporate fat cats who own shares in Airlines PNG.

Sir Mek, sell Air Niugini to someone else instead of going to bed with Airlines PNG!

Further Reading

IPBC Media releases http://www.ipbc.com.pg/ipbc_media_releases.html

Airline Merger Not on: Somare (PostCourier,2010) http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20100823/business01.htm

 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When it comes helping fellow citizens: WE’RE HYPOCRITES!

 

I wish to share a post from Facebook that has really got me fired-up! It was posted by prominent lawyer Tiffany Nongorr. Tiffany was writing in response to comments made by out of touch Papua New Guineans who claim to be in touch. These out of touch Papua New Guineans wouldn’t want to see the Governor of NCD spend money on providing drinking water to people who live in squatter settlements.

It is these people in squatter settlements to do the manual labour jobs that pay crap wages. They clean offices, homes and streets, or work as security guards, shop assistants and construction labourers. Yet many out of touch Papua New Guineans still believe that they are a liability to society.

imageThey don’t steal millions from trust accounts. They don’t take out court injunctions to suppress investigative processes. They don’t fly out of the country when wanted by police. Instead they are beaten, tortured and killed by the police force.

 

While we are more than willing to accept tax holidays for major multinationals who already have too much money; we bitch about helping our fellow citizens.

I’ll leave the rest to Tiffany:

“A society should be judged by the way it treats the most disadvantaged in its society. As a government, it has to look after ALL the people not just those who are capable of earning and paying taxes.

Mineral resources boom and yet hundreds of thousands of people have no access to water in Moresby. I went to a settlement at the bottom of 2 mile hill, but on the top side. There was one water tap for 100 families - and the young adults I met were 3rd generation settlement dwellers - no language no village - just the settlementimage.

People, particularly women were trying to make a better life but it was all just so hopeless, just so tragic. I couldn't believe that this was PNG. We went there to provide outreach - free medicals from susu mamas for mums and bubs - and I could not believe the entrenched poverty and hardship with no end in sight.

The ONLY way forward is access to water, free quality education and free medical service - we give Ramu Nickel a 10 year tax holiday - but we can't give these people access to water !!!!

A Christian country ??? You gotta be kidding me!"

Father John Glynn on Corruption and the Youth II

 

…Continued from yesterday

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In this, the second part of Father Johns talk, he focuses on the Youth Against Corruption Association (YACA). YACA is an association that aims to give to be a forum for youth voices on Corruption and to enhance their leadership potential as well as their personal integrity.

It was founded in 2003 by Father John, and remains the only group that is run by students for students, with Father John as its Patron. There are challenges that the group faces in terms of organizational leadership but it survival throughout this years is testament to the desire of young people to have a forum to debate and discuss issues that matter to them.

I was a member of YACA during Secondary School and led the association while in my first year at university. The three core values that underpin YACA, are HONESTY, INTEGRITY and GOOD CITIZENSHIP.

Perhaps the most striking statement in the discourse below is what Father John sees as mere tokenism when current Leaders refer to young people as so called “Future Leaders”. He states;

When Leaders speak to groups of young people such as YACA members they love to call them ʻleaders of the futureʼ, knowing full well that they are not the leaders of the future - they are the sheep of the future. As sheep they will continue in ignorance and complacency to tolerate and ignore the serious illnesses in our society that give our leaders the freedom to be corrupt, and to exploit the resources of our country for their own benefit.”

And so it is with this in mind that I present the rest of what he had to say:

“YACA - the Youth Against Corruption Association - has a basic aim. It is to empower young people - to fill the vacuum created by a corrupt system that has nothing to say to young people, and that has nothing to offer them or to teach them. Members of YACA have a starting point for principles and a philosophy that can lead to the empowerment of Youth. It is the YACA Pledge. By turning your back on all the attitudes that empower our corrupt leaders, and by refusing to join in their corruption, you are undermining the basis for their freedom to practice corruption.

YACA provides an opportunity for young people to educate and inform themselves on the issues that affect us all so much; education, health, law and order, poverty and unemployment, the principles of democracy, good governance, civic responsibility, and all those similar topics that are not spoken about by leaders, and are not taught in schools.

YACA has always been seen as something for school kids - not to be taken seriously by tertiary students or young adults. When Leaders speak to groups of young people such as YACA members they love to call them ʻleaders of the futureʼ, knowing full well that they are not the leaders of the future - they are the sheep of the future. As sheep they will continue in ignorance and complacency to tolerate and ignore the serious illnesses in our society that give our leaders the freedom to be corrupt, and to exploit the resources of our country for their own benefit.

It is my prayer and my hope that one day soon some young persons will come along who have a clear vision of our country and its ills, and who will take ownership of YACA and use the organisation as a means to inspire, motivate and empower our youth and set them on a pathway to change.

I strongly urge all of you young people to take hold of YACA - to take ownership of YACA - to be inspired by the principles enshrined in the Pledge and to get organised. Your organisation and leadership is the only hope that this nation has for a continuing free and democratic society.

Your country needs you!”

Lost in PNG time

 

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I’ve been giving the Capitalists a hard time on my blog and perhaps rightfully so. And yes, around the world Capitalism seems to be having a hard time that’s unless you are a banker receiving Government bailouts. These are indeed tough times.

The Western concept of time is that it is linear. The West borrowed this concept from its Judeo-Christian roots. Most societies elsewhere around the world have always had a circular view of time. Thus the Mayan prophecy that the cycle of time ends in 2102 has been fuelling speculation amongst those with a linear view of time that the World will end.

If you have a circular view of time – every ending is a new beginning. Then one cannot waste time or have limited time because time is always available. Every ending also creates new time. But of course these aren’t the views of the modern Western-centric World.

Because of its concept of time as being linear, the Western World does not have patience for Papua New Guinea Time. PNG time is as Papua New Guinean as tribal fights and betel nut. PNG Time can described as regularly regular ‘lateness’ and ‘delays’ or ‘cancellations.’

A friend of mine recently described typical examples of the application of PNG Time. Scot described a typical village meeting where people (mostly men) are given the opportunity to express their opinion. The meeting would start later than initially intended to. Men would debate and discuss the same point, repeating the same point, and describe the same matter until everyone was satisfied that the single point had been analyzed thoroughly before they move to the next agenda. Some impatient people call this “beating around the bush” but it’s the Melanesian Way based on the idea that time is not linear.

Of course, foreigners don’t have the patience for PNG Time and understandably so. It is one of the most frustrating experience for many. Time is money as the westerners say.

The clash of cultures that arises from these parallel concepts of linear and circular time manifests in the resource sectors. In their rush to exploit PNGs natural resources, Capitalists take short cuts to getting consent from indigenous tribes. In their slowness to respond to the forces of change, indigenous people take their time in adapting to change. The end result is the endless litany of so called ‘landowner issues.’

Proper social mapping and genealogy studies as well as consultations and communal agreements would normally take years or decades to settle. Businesses with a linear time that has schedules and deadlines do not have the patience for PNG Time. They therefore look for people whom they can work with against those who are in a time warp. Many self described genuine landowners thus feel left out and moan about it in the media.

An example of this situation is the dispute over the ownership of Moran Oil field in the Southern Highlands. The State and Oil Search continue to exploit the resource but have parked payments to locals in trust accounts pending settlement of land ownership rights. This situation has persisted for years now, and it seems no one is in a hurry to address the fundamental issues.

The violence between Boera and Porebada villagers over ownership of land at the LNG site also highlights the dark side of sitting on issues.

Delays in legislative and policy decision making also creates uncertainty amongst Capitalists. This uncertainty prevents businesses from making investment decisions. The fact is that the private sector creates jobs and job creation depends on investment decisions. Uncertainty therefore stifles expansion of the private sector and reduces employment opportunities.

One such piece of legislation is the Public Private Partnership Bill. This Asian Development Bank (ADB) sponsored Bill has been gathering dust since last year although the consultation process began earlier. The PPP Bill should see businesses investing over K50 million on infrastructure, utilities and services in partnership with the State. The legislation has already been drafted by Gadens Lawyers and is in the hands of the PPP Task Force headed by Ms Juliana Kubak.

On this critical issue of time, I’m siding with the Capitalists and the Western World. Our people need to shift how they frame their world in time and space. They must abandon the cyclical view of time. Their failure to do so has been responsible for some of the failures experienced by the nation. In addition, their failure to shift to linear time has made them vulnerable to exploitation.

We can’t sit around discussing and debating fundamental issues for eons. For as long as these issues persist they are a source of division in our communalities. And it is along this fault lines that foreigners enter into our society, divide us and walk away with our resources while we’re squabbling amongst ourselves over rice grains.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Sir Barry Holloway

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One of the writers of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea turns a year older today. In response to my birthday wishes and word of thanks regarding the Constitution, Sir Barry wrote on Facebook regarding the Constitution;

“ Thank you Martyn. You now nurture that creation to maturity for the future and it's survival is now just as important as the creation itself.”

The Namorong Report pays tribute to Sir Barry with this Scott Waide video that examines the National Goals and Directive Principles.

Recently, there have been voices calling for these National Goals and Directive Principles to be made Justiceable – i.e. enforceable by law.

In 1974, a group of visionary Papua New Guineans began writing the constitution - a document that would later become the corner stone of a young nation. Their wisdom and vision is conveyed in five goals set out in the preamble in the National Goals and Directive Principles.- A film by Scott Waide

Father John Glynn, OL: on Corruption in PNG

 

imageIf you ever bump into a tall young handsome Irishman at Jubilee Catholic Secondary School, that could be Father John Glynn, OL. Now in his late 70s Father John has been a mentor, chaplain, counselor and fortress for many Papua New Guineans.

I came across Father John during my Secondary School Years. Well everyone of us at Jubilee Catholic Secondary School, did and still do. Everyone has their take on Father John, and I’m sure the majority loved him but were mostly asleep during his classes.

For me personally, his influence still defines my life and world view. He is to me a mentor and a friend. His ideas on youth empowerment and leadership plus he’s example on addressing issues of social justice have shaped my thinking. While we may have difference of opinion on how to deal with certain controversial social issues, we both believe in a fair and just society.

Currently, Father John is the school chaplain at Jubilee Catholic Secondary School and regularly celebrates mass at various parishes in Port Moresby. He is also a board member of the Digicel Foundation and the Patron of WeCARE and Youth Against Corruption Association.

He recently made a presentation to students from various schools around the Nations Capital on the topic ‘Corruption and Youth.’ Here is what he said:

Corruption is rottenness

- it is when something goes bad - food, an infected sore, anything! Corruption is when people go bad - lying, stealing, cheating

– especially in areas of Government and Administration. Corruption extends from top to bottom in PNG society.

When someone buys a stolen phone on the street they are just as corrupt as the businessman who falsely gets money from a Government Department, or as a politician who diverts public money into his personal account or as a School Principal who accepts money to give a Grade 11 place to an undeserving student.

Corruption affects youth when it denies young people their rights to education, care, a safe and supportive life. Corruption affects youth when their elders give their children the example of dishonest behaviour and encourage them to behave in the same way.

When parents are corrupt - when teachers are corrupt - when education personnel in the Department are corrupt - then what chance have the young people of avoiding becoming corrupt themselves?

We have schools in the NCD that suspend children for not wearing shoes. We have schools that lock children out of school for coming a few minutes late. Our schools are not designed to meet the needs of the children. Instead we demand that the children must meet the requirements of the school. This effectively discriminates against the poor, the vulnerable, and those children who belong to dysfunctional families. It teaches the children that cruel and punitive treatment by adults against youth is normal.

When Leadership is corrupt the country is in grave danger. Corrupt leaders use the countryʼs assets for their own enrichment. In order for them to do this they need to be given the freedom to be corrupt. There are two ways they can get this freedom. One is by being dictators - controlling the Police and the Military so that the people have no choice but to accept their leaders and let them do whatever they want. This is how Colonel Gaddafi controlled Libya. This is how the military regime controls Fiji. This is what could very well come to happen one day in Papua New Guinea.

The other way is to keep the population in ignorance, and to make the idea of corruption acceptable to the people. It is of great benefit to the majority of our elected political leaders to have an electorate that is dominated by men who are - for the most part - minimally educated or not educated at all, and who have no real concept of democracy, or of the responsibilities and duties of elected representatives to a democratic parliament.

Our Government promises free education for those lucky enough to get into school, but half of all the children in our country are denied the opportunity of any schooling at all, and our Government does nothing to develop universal Primary Education. We need classrooms and new schools, and free or subsidised Primary Teacher Training. But providing the infrastructure for universal education is not even on the agenda for discussion. An ignorant and illiterate population is easy for unscrupulous leaders to delude and manipulate.

A recent report suggests that no more than 15% of our people are functionally literate. In New Ireland the level of literacy is rated at 25% and this is after almost 100 years of Primary schooling in that Province.

If very many people in society practice stealing, lying, misappropriating what does not belong to them - and if it is seen as all right to take for yourself whatever is not guarded from you - then Leaders are free to practice corruption. We become a society where the rule is ʻEveryone for himselfʼ, ʻIʼm all right Jackʼ, or ʻWari bilong yu!ʼ

Our children grow up in a society that accepts and tolerates corrupt behaviour, and that sees no shame in being someone who steals, or in being someone who borrows money with no intention of ever paying it back, or in being someone who is violent and abusive towards his wife and family. We accept and tolerate people in positions of authority and responsibility whom we know are themselves dishonest and corrupt.

In Papua New Guinea it is this widespread acceptance and tolerance of corruption and dishonesty of all kinds, combined with a population that is largely uneducated and unknowing, that gives our leaders the freedom to practice corruption on a grand scale.

When we look at our 109 MPs we see that each one of all those Members is for himself first and foremost. Yes, they form parties - but the parties are not based on an agreed and accepted philosophy to which every member is committed. The party is based on self-interest. The result is that members can switch parties easily - whatever is best for me is the rule. Every member is, at the lowest level, the enemy of every other member and they unite only out of ʻwhat is best for meʼ.

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare is old, and weak, and vulnerable. So many of those who have been his ʻfriendsʼ and ʻsupportersʼ for many long years have turned against him to bring him down and get rid of him in the most shameful manner. It is reminiscent of a school of sharks in the ocean. If one shark is wounded, or incapacitated, all the others turn on it and rip it to shreds.

The most powerful Members in Parliament are those with money, and with the authority to make appointments to senior positions that give access to huge slices of the national budget. These are the ones who can attract support from the other Members. The support that they give is not based on any common philosophy, or set of principles, or on jointly held convictions about what is best for the country. It is all a matter of self-interest. Sir Michael was very powerful for a long time, but his illness and long hospital stay in Singapore reduced him to the status of ʻwounded sharkʼ, with inevitable consequences for him.

In other democracies parties are based on philosophies, principles, agreed ways of looking at things, agreed attitudes towards social issues, shared convictions on what is right and what is wrong, and general agreement on how to deal with the nationʼs problems.

Parties may be based on commitment to social issues - Socialism; or to wealth generation and resource development - Capitalism; or to environmental issues - Greens, etc. In Papua New Guinea there are no political philosophies. There are no well thought out high ideals and principles. Our leaders show no signs of having any knowledge, or of being committed to any of the ideas of the great political thinkers of recent history.

In most countries Political Parties have a Youth Wing. That is an organisation created and run by the Party that young people can join and in which they can get an education in the principles and the philosophy of the Party. They can learn all about politics, and about political leadership. The Youth Wing provides young people with a voice - they can actually have an influence on the policies of the Party. And they have a pathway for entry into politics for themselves.

In PNG none of our Political Parties can have a Youth Wing. This is because they have nothing to offer to young people. They have no message for youth – no political philosophy or principles to teach, no long term strategies for future development.

The Party exists only to enrich and empower its Members and their supporters. Party membership does not mean very much in PNG. There is nothing to differentiate one Party from another, apart from personalities. Senior Party Members have no interest in young people because they can see no personal advantage in doing anything for Youth.

The result is that our Youth see politics exactly as our Leaders portray it - it is first and foremost a pathway to personal enrichment, power and privilege.

….to be continued

Pic of the Day: Beer drinking baby?

 

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Found this picture on Facebook. It’s an empty can. Baby wasn’t drunk.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Madang Community establishes Conservation area

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Above: A village elder (foreground) is assisted by Mr. Poin Caspar (Chairman of Bismarck Ramu Group) during the signing of the Derin Conservation Deed.

The Kulumu, Koromala, Galogein, Beu and Boding clans of Derin village in the Trans-Gogol local level government area of Madang Province signed a Conservation Deed yesterday that will see the creation of a 2500 ha Conservation Area. The community gathered at Warakalap hamlet, to witness the signing ceremony. Villagers have created this Conservation area in response to the threats to their environment posed by nearby Forestry activity by JANT Ltd.

JANT is a wood chip company that has been operating in the Trans-Gogol area since the early 1970s. In 1975, the tropical rainforests of the Derin people was clear felled by JANT under a Timber Agreement (TA) with the Government of Papua New Guinea.

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Many villagers feel betrayed by the State. They said that the ignorance of their fathers was used to acquire the forests leading to an environmental disaster. “Before JANT came, everything was good. Today the soil and waterways have been destroyed,” Golu Kuyerir, a local villager said. He also stated that the community fears that the regenerated forests will be targeted by Forestry Companies. He said that by giving legal protection to certain areas, the community hopes to conserve land and resources for the future generations.

The path to Conservation was set in by the bitter experience of losing their entire native forests. The people of Derin therefore approached local NGO, the Bismarck Ramu Group, to facilitate the process of creating a conservation area. In 2009, the NGO sent in Community Facilitators to begin the formal process of setting the Conservation zone.

After years of consultative meetings and identification of landowners and demarcation of land boundaries, the area was surveyed and the Deed formalized.

Chairman of the Bismarck Ramu Group, Mr. Poin Caspar challenged the villagers to adhere to the rules of the Conservation Deed. He said that the real work has just begun and that the success of Conservation activities will depend entirely on the goodwill of the community. These sentiments were also expressed by Trans-Gogol LLG President, Mr. Morris Bann who was present to sign the Deed on behalf of the local government.

Friday, September 23, 2011

HOW DID THESE CRITTERS LEAVE THE COUNTRY?


NINEMSN NEWS reports that a strange critter seems to be baffling zoo keepers in China.
If you click the above link to see the critter – guess what, em wanpla kapul!
The Kapul or Cuscus is native to the Island of New Guinea. It is a possum-like mammal that lives in trees.

You will find the kapul on the back of Papua New Guineas local currency - a 10 toea coin.
So the question is, how did kapul end up in China?


Errr… well that isn’t kapul just another political critter that's gone missing in action. 

These just show that we don’t seem to have a clue about the movement of people and animals in and out of the country.

Well perhaps we do, we just let these critters slip out of this country via international flights and shipping vessels.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Police ATTACK villagers in Madang

 

clip_image006[4]On the 17th of September, just one day after the Independence Day celebrations, villagers at Tokain were allegedly attacked by a Police Mobile Squad team. Men and women were rounded up and beaten while food gardens and property were destroyed.

The Police retaliated after youth from the area attacked an officer who had fired on them. The officer was responding to an earlier attack on a Toyota Hilux by the youth. The youth had attacked the vehicle because they suspected its occupants to be kidnappers. Last month villagers in Madang had been warned by Police to be aware of kidnappers who a supposedly harvesting organs for transplants.

It seems one piece of misinformation about organ transplant has led to the destruction of an entire community. Police have demanded twelve pigs and cash as compensation for the attack on their colleague. Villagers are also contemplating a civil case against the State to demand compensation for the damages.

If only our Police could beat the crap out of all the REAL THIEVES who are destroying our environment, stealing our land and resources and bribing their way through. If only, the Police could protect villagers and whistleblowers like Dr Nadile instead of harassing them. If ONLY...

IN PICTURES

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Above: Household items destroyed

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Above: Villagers sift through ashes of a burnt out home

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Above: Traumatized live-stock

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Above; Traumatized villagers gather amongst the destruction

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Above: Traumatized village elders

 

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Above: Man wearing blood stained shirt

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Above: Man with hand in a sling

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Above: Crops destroyed

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Above: Food gardens destroyed

Its one thing to talk about Fighting Corruption…

 

TWO POSTS FROM PNGexposed Blog.

If the Government and Civil Society Organizations are serious about fighting corruption, they MUST show their support for whistle blowers!

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If O’Neill is serious about corruption he must protect whistleblowers like Dr Nadile

September 21, 2011

Prime Minister O’Neill’s vow to tackle corruption and the misuse of public monies is not going to bear any fruit unless the government moves to protect whistleblowers like Dr Rhona Nadile. Nadile has been sacked from the Department of Labour, where she was a senior officer, for exposing gross misappropriation and inappropriate use of trust funds..

One case involved the drawdown of K241,000 to cover the travel costs for Secretary George Vaso and his staff to travel to Fiji for an extended stay of 18 days to attend two conferences which were only for 8 days. Another case involved the use of K500,000 from the Work Permit Trust Account so a delegation could attend an ILO conference in Geneva.

“Enough is enough”, wrote Nadile in a memo to Vaso, “I have witnessed numerous occasions of gross misappropriation and inappropriate use of WPTA funds”.

As a result of her questioning of the payments Nadile was suspended from duty and charged with gross insubordination and has now been dismissed

Meanwhile a report outlining specific cases of abuse of funds have been given to new Minister for Labour, Martin Aini but he has failed to make any public statement on the matter.

George Vaso, who made the decision to charge, suspend and then sack Dr Nadile was himself appointed to his post by Peter O’Neill when he was Public Service Minister.

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Whistelblower Nadile has car seized in late night police raid

September 22, 2011

By a Special Correspondent

Whistleblower Dr. Rona Nadile, suspended and then sacked from the Department of Labour for revealing misappropriation and misuse of Trust Funds, has had her official vehicle seized by police in a heavy-handed and humiliating late-night raid.

Dr Nadile was at fellowship at home with church fellowship when at about 10 o’clock at night a Police vehicle (ZGC 978) with at least five policemen from Waigani Police Station arrived at her house. And if that wasn’t enough, the police vehicle was accompanied by a private registered van (CAX 179).

There were about 14 people in all, cowards and bullies, ever so big and strong and ever so brave to commandeer Dr. Nadile’s vehicle, which was her right to hold.

Dr Nadile was allowed no representation and was forced to hand over the keys

to the vehicle. Not one of the police would disclose his name. The perpetrators who organised this outrage should be brought to account immediately.

How demeaning is this and what intimidation for any citizen of Papua New Guinea let alone a professional like Dr. Nadile. The person(s) responsible for this must be so nasty and mean that he/she is not fit to hold any responsible position.

For the sake of the country, there should be no waiting around this time with the saga of never ending donkey processes.

Not with standing this trauma Rona Nadile, and always with a heart and commitment to the country, was given a lift by a friend and was there as the sun rose over Independence Hill today to bless this nation for a better future.

More than words

 

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They say thoughts become reality. But in order for thoughts to become reality, they have to be articulated. We use words to communicate ideas. Words can either be expressed in speech or signs. They can be heard or felt [as in Braille].

Words are powerful. Powerful words change lives, transform nations and shape history.

For those of us whose words are taken seriously, there is a responsibility to ensure that nothing sinister is implied. I am acutely aware of the risk of creating Frankenstein’s Monster out of this blog.

Many readers are alarmed by my stance on various issues. It is as if I have a problem with certain actors in society. They think my words are dangerous. But many of them would not think the other way and ask the opposite question – what if I’m right and the actors they support are wrong.

I have been very critical of the Churches in Papua New Guinea and that has certainly annoyed many. Let me state that I have nothing against Christianity but everything against the evils of Churches. I see a difference between Churchianity and Christianity. Thus I refer to some people as Christians and others as Churchies.

Churches have been very good to many Papua New Guinean communities and terribly evil to others. The Churches have in many instances disenfranchised people off their land, culture and identity. Many people suffer due to the social teachings of Churches, particularly on divorce, homosexuality, gender, prostitution, condoms, family planning, etc...

We all know that words from the Bible have been used to justify all sorts of evil acts – what some people call mistakes or errors. Well actually they weren’t mistakes or errors. They were deliberate acts of misleading the public to achieve secular or religious objectives of vested interests. Yes the Bible may be good BUT not the institution of the Church which is man-made and therefore serves the interests of Powerful men.

I like to think that I am criticizing the Men who Create god rather than the God who Created men.

The other significant matter is the use of the words ‘developers’ and ‘development’. Miners, loggers, Agribusineses, Oil and Gas companies, etc... are routinely referred to by the media and by mere mortals as ‘developers’ of natural resources. Their activities are subsequently referred to as ‘development.’

Tell me, is the destruction of the Fly River what we call ‘development’. Bougainville Copper Limited was a good ‘developer’, wasn’t it? Is the dumping of mine waste off the Rai Coast, ‘development’? Let’s call them what they are – exploiters and exploitation?

Foreign exploiters come and exploit our resources and destroy the environment and social fabric of communities. They divide communities by buying off support and play one group off against the other. And yet we continue to refer to them as developers and their activities as development.

WAKE UP!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Former Opposition MPs MUST DELIVER NOW

 

FROM ACT NOW

Papua New Guinea has a new government and this creates an excellent opportunity for us to press for the reversal of controversial amendments to the Environment Act that undermine PNG’s National Goals and Constitution and which were bulldozed through Parliament in May last year.

The changes removed the rights of PNG citizens to challenge large resource projects and prevent them seeking damages for environmental problems caused by foreign corporations.

In June last year more than 18,000 ACT NOW! supporters signed our on-line and paper petitions calling on the previous Somare government to reverse those amendments. The Somare government may not have listened to us, but several prominent Opposition MPs did, and they are now Ministers in the new government.

New Deputy Prime Minister, Belden Namah, described the changes as "against the national interest", "undemocratic" and "scuttling the rights of Papua New Guineans". He even launched his own legal action against the amendments challenging their constitutional legality.

New Minister for National Planning, Sam Basil, said the changes "have done injustice to my people... I call on MPs... to come together and... repeal this law for the good of our resource owners".

New Minister for State Enterprises and former Prime Minister, Sir Mekere Marauta, said a new government “will correct the amendments to the Environment Act that was shoved through Parliament and took away landowners' common law and Constitutional rights". 

New Minister for Housing, Ken Fairweather, resigned from the previous government over the amendments, saying "“It is a controversial law. Procedures were not followed. I do not want men and women 70 years down the line to state that their forefathers did not do the right thing by them,”

The amendments are oppressive and dangerous. They remove landowners legal and customary rights; remove democratic rights; give immunity to foreign companies and undermine PNGs National Goals and Constitution.

We need to remind the new Ministers of their promises made when in opposition and urge them to immediately introduce legislation to reverse the Environment Act amendments

SIGN PETITION AGAINST ENVIRONMENT ACT AMMENDMENTS

 

FROM ACT NOW

 

We urgently need your signature on the Environment Act email action

If you haven't joined the new email action on the terrible 2010 amendments to the Environment Act, please follow the link and ACT NOW!

www.actnowpng.org/action

There has been already been a good response and we have raced past 200 signatures - which is a great start, and a BIG thank you if you have already signed - but we still need another 300 signatures to reach our target.

It is really important we send a loud and clear message to the new government that we are watching their every move and they have to match their rhetoric with action.

The amendments to the Environment Act bulldozed through Parliament by the Somare government take away landholders rights to be involved in decisions about what happens on their land and give immunity to foreign companies for any environmental damage they cause.

The amendments are bad law, undemocratic and unconstitutional.

Four prominent Ministers in the new government publically denounced the amendments when they were in opposition and you can send emails to each of them now, reminding them of their commitment to reverse the amendments.

www.actnowpng.org/action

It is really quick and easy to do.

If you have already taken action then please tell all your friends and colleagues that they need to sign as well. Send them the link in an email or post it on your Facebook profile.

It we can reach our target of 500 emails the government will know they have to live up to their promises and that YOU are watching and waiting for action from them on all their promises.

Go on, ACT NOW! and be a part of the change you want to see 

www.actnowpng.org/action

Your ACT NOW! team

WHAT HAPPENS ON FRIDAYS?

Dedicated to Gary, who encouraged me to write this

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This week like other weeks before and the weeks to come; like months before and months to come; like years before and years to come; some kids are getting drunk on Friday. Many will have to starve themselves just to save up their lunch money in order to ‘koins koins na baim bia” [contribute to buy alcohol].

A couple of years back when the Squatters Band of Morata Squatter Settlement sang Take Me to Paradise, it became a hit.

It didn’t make sense to me, why a song with what I thought were meaningless lyrics, seemed to strike a chord with the mere mortals.

I was at medical school and socially illiterate. Of course, being a Medical Student, I thought I knew between that which was cultured and what was plainly mediocre. It wasn’t until I was out of Medical School and selling betelnut on the street, that I became socially literate. And the punch line of that song; “wik i kam pinis em wiken nau. Taim bilong kisim wara wantaim ol poroman’ [It’s the beginning of the weekend so get drunk with your friends]says a lot about what happens on Friday.

Just in case you think this is just an urban phenomenon, think again. Last month as I travelled on Friday along the North Coast Road in Bogia District, I saw adolescent males; totally drunk and carrying generators, extension cords, speakers and light bulbs to set up somewhere in the coconut plantations. It was an eye-opener for me.

Indeed the mantra that is faithfully recited each weekend is – kisim wara, kisim laif na pati [get drunk, get sexed, get partying].

For many, em normal ya – it’s become a routine.

I have had discussions with friends here in Madang and the obvious question was “WHY?” It isn’t an easy question to answer but here’s a summary of the suggestions put forward.

One of the interesting connections that my friend Gary made was that there may be a link between what is happening with the Australian Aborigines and what’s happening here. Now with that in mind I had an interesting discussion on religion with another friend of mine, Barry. Barry said that it was not wise to take away someone’s faith in Christianity without replacing it with something good or else the person would resort to alcohol.

BOOM! IT HIT ME! What experiences do Aborigines and Papua New Guineans share? Colonization!

Colonization wasn’t just a secular process but a religious one as well. Many Churches destroyed cultural practices that were deemed unchristian and perhaps justifiably so in some case but not all. So animism was replaced by Christianity/Capitalism.

Christianity and Capitalism are two sides of the same coin. You either worship God every Sabath or your worship Alcohol every Friday or do both.

Spirituality is about relationships from self, through the world we live in, to the Universal Being. Those who are spiritually void find comfort in alcohol, religiously observing Friday or Saturday as the day of worshiping alcohol. Many have left the Christian Churches and have no Traditional/Other religion to fall back to, thus they fill their void with alcohol.

Instead of giving an offering to the Christian God they sacrifice their lunch money to the gods that own the alcohol factories.

Yes, this is the modern nation of Papua New Guinea – a country that is spiritually void. First we lost our gods to the Christian God, now we’re losing our World [our land and the resources/environment] to Capitalists, AND in doing so we are losing our lives to alcohol.

Remember, spirituality is about the relationships between – SELF (individual person), THE WORLD (land and environment) and THE UNIVERSAL BEING (GOD or gods or Powers).

The Aborigines of Australia have lost their land, their traditional religions and are now losing themselves to alcohol to fill that spiritual void. That is exactly what’s happening on Fridays, in PNG.

The nights belong to us

 

SAM_1027

Poor men rule the nights of Port Moresby

The rich are scared shit of koboni

Look at their barbed wire fences

And their various defenses

For while they live like prisoners

The nights belong to us

 

It is only during the day

That they come out to play

Like bullies in a school playground

They try to trample us to the ground

Yet when the days come to pass

The nights belong to us

 

We are the homeless of 3 mile

We are the vendors of 5 mile

We are all free men

We are all free women

We are the ones you love to cuss

Because the nights belong to us

 

We shall never be your slaves

Nor shall we be like animals in fortified enclaves

We fear no evil on earth

As we walk through the shadows of death

For the Sun, the Moon and the Stars

And the lonely Mosbi nights belong to us

 

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Koboni – evil sprit, ghost

Mosbi – Port Moresby, Capital of Papua New Guinea

Sunday, September 18, 2011

DO YOU NEED A REALITY CHECK?

 

REAL FREEDOM IS FREEDOM FROM FEAR... Aung San Suu Kyii

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He’s a hotty isn’t he ladies? I can assure you I wasn’t pervin on him. For those of you whom time has shrouded in darkness – that’s the most coolest singer in Papua New Guinea... well according to me!

He’s name is Holly Isaac and he’s the lead singer of PNG’s most popular boy band- Jokema. I met Holly at the departure lounge at the domestic terminal of Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby. I was on my way to Madang while he was headed to Tabubil for a gig.

Ok so I have to admit I’m a huge fan of Jokema so when saw him I thought I might get out my writing pad and have him sign. I bought a soft drink at the cafeteria and headed to my seat, then picked up the pad and walked over to ask for an autograph. He gave me a signed CD instead, which was like sooo freaking kool my teeth almost feel off from over-grinning... if there’s such a thing?

Honlly left University to live his dream of being an artist. And he has become extremely successful. Perhaps here is an example of what life should be. It is about living your life the way you want it and not what your parents or society, through education, has indoctrinated you live by.

Indeed Honlly is now he’s own boss. He decides for himself as opposed to having someone else decide and dictate to him. He is a free man.

When he asked me what I was doing, I told him I was out of medical school and had become a successful blogger. Of course I told him I wasn’t earning big bucks like him but I had just been awarded the Sir Vincent Eri, Crocodile Prize. He thought it was kool and so did I.

clip_image003This kinda led us to discuss the joys of living a meaningful existence dictated by ourselves. There are many out there who for the fear of their parents, or the societal pressures, take up studies or careers that they do not want, deeply inside of them. These people end up doing what an Anonymous writer referred to as the “bullshit they could care less about simply to make a few bucks.” They don’t have time to pursue their own dreams and end up being time slaves of others.

Honlly has gigs all over the country and overseas and gets great satisfaction out of doing what he does currently. I’m sitting by the window typing this blog post and watching waves crashing on the shoreline of Jais Aben Resort after having pizza and fruit for lunch. Isn’t this what life is about as opposed to waking up and going to work early, coming home late and having a few hours to rest before waking up to continue ‘doing the bullshit you could care less about.’

I reckon this is why a lot doesn’t get done in the Public Service. People aren’t living the lives they really want. They therefore don’t have the passion and drive to deliver goods and services to the people. They just do a lot of bullshit at the workplace just so that they could get paid.

Now I was at the Medical school and about to become a doctor. [By the way, I don’t like people calling me doc coz I aint one]. Tell me which sounds better, the labour ward or a sea side resort?

An Anonymous writer wrote;

Today I recognize this system for what it is – ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT! Today I identified within myself what life should be rather than what is simply accepted... Are we really here to be born into this world, raised as a child and molded into conformity?

Taught what is to be normal. How to think! What to say! How to live!

We begin our young lives with constant indoctrination under the guise of education. Only to grow up with higher expectations from all the garbage society shoves into our minds.

Is this what we’re here for? To be shaped into molds, told to consume until the day we’re put into the ground... Do we even know ourselves anymore? Do you like what you see with-in yourself? Are you happy with the life you have [AND] the struggle of your daily life and the lives of others around you?

Can you honestly justify that because things are going well for you at this present time nothing needs to be done to change this world? To end the struggling and suffering of millions!

And so, I told Honlly that my writing has all been focused on articulating the issues of the grassroots of PNG. I also mentioned to him that while he was a really kool guy, the fact that he was travelling to Tabubil on a Ok Tedi Mine Charter, meant that he was enjoying something at the expense of all the people whose environment has been destroyed by the Ok Tedi mine.

CHANGE TODAY, CHANGE TOMORROW, CHANGE THE SYSTEM

Monday, September 12, 2011

WILL THE ENGINE ROOM START FUNCTIONING

 

Doctors are failing health

Planners are failing Planning

Lawyers are failing Justice

Educationists are failing education

Etc...

It's time to turn the spotlight onto the people who are really running the country or rather doing is bad job at running it.

Politicians cop a lot of flack and the squatter settlers do as well but then who really is in the engine room of the country. Who runs the health system or the education system, etc...? And are these people doing a good job at running these institutions/arms of government?

The only thing that’s been consistent is the absence of justice. Why? Because the mechanisms that are supposed to maintain the integrity of government systems and processes have failed to provide oversight and remedy faults.

This failure of governance has been partly driven by politicians and mostly by collusion of parties within the executive arm of government. There also seems to be very high tolerance of this dysfunctional state of affairs, amongst the general populace. It is in this ecosystem that corruption and inefficiency thrives.

Politicians get lampooned in the media. Grassroots have foreign aid being handed to them to change. But who addresses the inefficiencies and deficiencies of the professional class.

If change is to happen in this nation, it has to come from within the epicenter of this chaotic system. It has to come from the professionals in government and/or business. To expect it to be driven from the top or from the grassroots is to ask for something Hegelian - the creation of order out of chaos.

An approach that would be less violent is for the professional classes to deliver on what they have been largely failing to deliver on. It is about making a choice to change direction and to challenge the status quo.

PNG is at the cross roads. We can allow the current exploitative relationship between all classes or work towards building a fairer society. I believe that push into the right direction will have to come from the engine room – the middle class. The alternative is to let conditions deteriorate and the oppressed rise up with fire and brimstone.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

INDEPENDENCE MESSAGE TO PAPUA NEW GUINEANS

 

imageREALITY BITES

This week Papua New Guinea celebrates 36 years of Political Independence. Amongst the euphoria and celebrations, I thought I’d throw in something more sobering. Something for you folks to think about whilst you’re dancing and feasting.

Papua New Guinea is an independent state that consists of the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and about 600 smaller islands. The interior of the mainland is rugged terrain consisting of mountain ranges that span the length of the island. Its coastal environment varies from the swamp plains of the Sepik and Western Province, to the large tracts of tropical rainforest that carpet the rest of the island.

There are over 800 different indigenous languages and three official languages; English, Pidgin and Motu. The diversity of language also corresponds to diversity in culture, beliefs, diets, and societal organization.

Papua New Guinea received political independence from Australia on the 16th of September 1975. It is a democracy modeled on the Westminster system of Government. The reigning monarch of the United Kingdom is Head of State. It has a unicameral Parliament with 109 seats. A Prime Minister elected by Parliament, heads the executive arm of government along with Cabinet Ministers.

The legal system is inherited from the colonial Masters and is headed by the Chief Justice. The Constitution of Papua New Guinea is the Supreme Law. Common Law and Underlying Law principles are recognized by the legal system. There are three levels of the courts; the lowest being the District Courts and the Highest being the SUPREME COURT. Most serious civil and criminal matters are heard in the National Court.

Papua New Guinea is a resource rich poor nation. It natural resources include, oil and gas, gold, copper, timber, fisheries and agricultural products. Its GDP has grown from US$ 3 Billion in 2000 to US$ 9 Billion in 2010. Yet despite this economic growth, the number of people living below the poverty line has increased from 37.5% in 1996 to an estimated 53.5% in 2003.

The standards of education at all levels have deteriorated significantly. Literacy levels have dropped from 72.2% in 1998 to 59.6% in 2009.

Health indicators have also taken a sharp nose dive. Rates of Tuberculosis infections are on the rise and the system cannot cope with the numbers. Maternal mortality is at an alarming rate of 773 mothers dying per 100 000 live births. Delivery of health supplies is disgracefully inefficient and constipated.

Corruption, crime, violence and substance abuse are at epidemic proportions. In 2010 PNG was ranked 154 out of 178 countries by Transparency Internationals Corruption Perception Index, making it one of the most corrupt nations on earth. Another recent survey also rated Port Moresby as one of the worst livable city on earth just ahead of Harare in Zimbabwe.

There is a resource grab currently underway under the pretext of development and economic growth. Over 5.2 million hectares of customary land has been alienated with immediate suspension of customary rights for 99 years and without any payment of rent or compensation to the customary landowners. The Environment Act has been amended to allow miners to dump their toxic offal into the pristine environment. A very heavy presence of Police at the LNG Project site seeks to quell any landowner dissent over the $14 billion gas project.

Papua New Guinea is on SALE and not necessarily to the highest bidder.

WAY FORWARD

We need to deliberately work towards bringing to the surface the latent nationalism that exists with-in the masses. One only sees this outpouring of national pride around independence celebrations or when the Kumuls are playing. I believe most Papua New Guineans are disappointed by the many failures of the nation - not just the loses of the Kumuls.

However, somewhere under the ‘I don’t give a damn about this country’ attitude, there is a sense that things need to improve. Herein lies the potential to mobilize the citizens of this nation to improve our current situation.

How would I bring positive change in the lives of the citizens? Before I outline my plan let me set out the context of that plan. I will use as my guide the factors that the Chinese General Sun Tzu identified as crucial for consideration. In The Art Of War Sun Tzu writes;

The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

These are: (1) the Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) the Commander; (5) method and discipline.

Let me now consider each of the factors with-in the PNG context.

1. Moral Law

Sun Tzu is referring to the Bases of Legitimacy as identified by Max Webber i.e. legitimations of the sovereign state based on tradition, charisma/faith and by legal statute.

Taken with-in the PNG context the idea of the Moral Law would refer to the legitimacy and relevance of the State in the lives of the citizens. No-one in PNG questions the relevance of the state. That is evident in statements typified by ‘gavman mas wokim dispel samtin’, etc… where there is lacking, people assume that by default it is the states responsibility to fill in the gap. This is consistent with Edmund Burke’s statement that “the state is a contrivance of human wisdom for the fulfillment of human needs”.

By acknowledging the existence of the ‘gavman’, do the people therefore legitimize its existence? I beg to differ. In my opinion, the people question the legitimacy of the state. For example, there is a difference of opinion over the common law principle of crown ownership of natural resources. For a Papua New Guinean, wanem samtin stap antap o aninit lo graun blo mi em blo mi. This is the basis of the conflicts between the state and the people beginning with the Bougainville crisis and currently manifested in the Southern Highlands. The defiance of court orders and the lack of social cohesion and social order illustrate the crisis of legitimacy.

The crisis of legitimacy arises from the fact that the basis of legitimacy of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is what Max Weber described as ‘domination by virtue of legality.’ In the words of Buri Kidu in Supreme Court Reference No 2 of 1976

“The Constitution came into effect on 16th September 1975, and cannot have a retrospective operation; it created a new order…”

Therefore, the basis of the legitimacy of the new order is the Constitution since it is the Constitution that created the new order. The state is legitimate so long as the people are willing to obey the Constitution… see my blog article titled The Seventh Parliament.

2. HEAVEN & 3. Earth

Heaven and Earth signify the environmental variables that influence progress or the lack of it. Papua New Guinea is a geologically young country having being formed 12 million years ago by the collision of the Australasian and Pacific plates. It is a tectonically active region due to the subduction of the Pacific Plate by the Australasian. It is subject to atmospheric conditions generated by changes in the Southern Oscillation Index resulting in La Nina and El Nino weather patterns. Being located near the equator it has a tropical climate – equatorial towards the north and monsoonal in the south-western region. It is biologically diverse and environmentally challenging. Warm tropical seas host multiple coral reefs and tuna spawning grounds. There are massive flood plains surrounding the Fly and Sepik rivers with a large delta region in the Gulf of Papua. Tropical islands are scattered along the Louisade and Bismarck archipelagoes. A central spine of mountain ranges runs along the major island of New Guinea.

Development plans must take into account these realities. Geological forces and geographical features of the land and sea will influence development outcomes. It is not just about preserving the environment as directed by the Fourth National Goal and Directive Principle (Natural resources and environment) but also the consideration these variables when venturing on any developmental project.

4. COMMANDER

What Sun Tzu is referring to is the Tok Pisin term “Pasin”. Pasin does not just refer to attitude rather more importantly it stresses values. It isn’t a moral code but it concerns social etiquette. For example, if a Highlander/New Guinean does a big favour for you he expects no less ‘compensation’ than a pig. If you do not give him a pig he would say ‘em nogat pasin yah, pipia man/meri’. Luksave is also a social etiquette term. Yu mas luksave lo ol lain. It is about acknowledgment of people.

In order to motivate and mobilize the nation these social skills must be utilized by agents of the State. The aspirations of the people and the general will must be expressed in policies and plans. Papua New Guineans are currently treated not as citizens but subjects of the state by agents of the state.

The treatment of teachers by the Education department illustrates the lack of luksave lo wok ol tisa I mekim na wankain tu lo Helt department na pasin em mekin lo ol dokta.

These Papua New Guinean ways are called for by the Fifth National Goal and Directive Principle (Papua New Guinean ways)

The State missed the plot in Bougainville when it didn’t understand the social/cultural context of the people, especially the fact that land is passed along matrilineal lines. The state continues to fail in its understanding of traditional Melanesian Pasin. It isn’t because the agents of the state are culturally illiterate although some may be; it is largely due to greed and pursuit of individual ambitions over the common good.

5. Method and Discipline

Sun Tzu said;

If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.”

That is the nature of the problem with this nation. A poorly educated population is unable to meaningfully participate in the modern state. Being disenfranchised, there is a tendency towards chaos and disregard for the commands of the state. The general is to be blamed because the orders do not resonate with the masses.

Bringing Change to the lives of the citizens

In my article The Political economy of Everything that is wrong in developing Papua New Guinea, I argue that the education system disempowers many by not providing the necessary tools for survival in either the cash economy or the subsistence economy.

I was surprised to find out recently that actually, this was pretty much what Adam Smith talked about in the first few paragraphs of the introduction to his work titled AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND CAUSES OF THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. Adam Smith states that

“Whatever be the soil, climate, or extent of territory of any particular nation, the abundance or scantiness of its annual supply must, in that particular situation, depend upon those two circumstances.” 

1. “The skill, dexterity, and judgment with which its labour is generally applied”

2. “The proportion between the number of those who are employed in useful labour, and that of those who are not so employed”

We need to ensure that education up to Year 12 is free and compulsory. There wouldn’t be any grade 8 and grade 10 exams, however students would have to pass an end of year exam set by the school in order to move to the next grade or else they repeat a year. By the end of Year 12 each student should have a trade certificate along with the Higher School certificate. The aim of educating the population would be to prepare them to meaningfully participate with-in the modern economy and society.

In order for Papua New Guineans to meaningfully participate in social, political, employment and business opportunities they must be adequately trained by the education system. The current lack of participation of Papua New Guineans in all these areas stems from the capacity constraints they feel as a result of being insufficiently educated.

Secondly, improve the communications systems and infrastructure. In 2009 the Lowy Institute published a paper concerning economic issues and poverty in PNG. The paper highlighted amongst other things the need for better linkages between centers of economic activity and the rest of the population. Poor transportation networks are a hindrance to trade and labour mobility. Rural people have enormous difficulty moving goods to and from markets and accessing essential services such as banking and healthcare. The type of transportation each region needs would depend on the geographical particularities of that region.

Having access to accurate up to date news and information is also vital. Access to Market news, health/educational information, financial services, etc… depends on a cheap, efficient and reliable communications network. This also improves the data collection capacity of state agencies ensuring far more accurate information about the country. There needs to be more competition in the mobile phone and internet market to ensure this becomes reality.

A sound and efficient communications network serves as the plumbing for the movement of labour, capital, goods and information as well as the mode of transmission of power and influence of the state.

Thirdly, investing in good governance by enhancing the capabilities of institutions of Accountability will restore order in the current chaos. Funding is needed to enhance the capacity of the Law and justice sector to ensure the upholding of the Law. As I mentioned earlier, the modern state of Papua New Guinea is a product of the Law called the Constitution. The legitimacy of the state is therefore dependent on obedience to the law. It is therefore imperative that there be investment in the institutions, techniques and instruments that ensure subjugation to the law.

Thus investments in education, communication and governance are important empowering tools that enable the population to participate in the social, economic and political life of the nation. Every other function of the state depends on the governance/security of the state, the communications network and an educated workforce to discharge the duties of the state. I am aware that the major disincentive for government services reaching the vast majority of our people is the remoteness and isolation of the communities and the lack of security.

Through education we empower more people and by ensuring non-corruptible government systems we ensure equal opportunity for everyone. Good communications networks ensure people have the necessary information to make good decisions and are able to move to seek better opportunities in life.

Having said all that, Clausewitz warns:

“All things in war are simple but even the simplest things are difficult because of the concept of friction”.

In PNG, FRICTION arises as a result of conflicting parochial interests. For Sun Tzu, friction is avoided by militarily eliminating the cause of the friction. In a democracy, politics doesn’t work like that. But this can be overcomed in what Weber describes as a process of “… striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state.”

 

happy independence olgeta!