Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mutiny changing PNG’s political dynamics

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Col Yara Sasa doesn’t have the political baggage that the Somare’s have. He has now entered a debate that was pretty much confined to the political elite. Sasa is now a political figure and not just a military man. He has a following amongst people who believe what he did was necessary to restore Constitutional order.

With the involvement of the military we now have polarization of both disciplinary forces into the different sides of politics.

Before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, Papua New Guineans had a form of social networking known as the Wantok System. The Wantok System is still alive and well and as other actors like Sasa get embroiled in the political saga, the Wantok network that gets dragged into the impasse enlarges.

The question of whether each side presents it’s case with sound legal arguments, now takes the back seat to social alliances. As the main protagonists drag on with their tortuous tango, more Sasa’s are likely to enter the fray as ordinary people become increasingly frustrated with the impasse.

The lack of leadership and statesmanship displayed by both sides opens the arena for third parties who do not have the political baggage of the main protagonists. Such third parties would have a greater claim of legitimacy than the main protagonists. And with the entry of third parties a growing number of people become politicized as they subscribe to the views of those third parties. This has been the case with the involvement of the mutineers.

The debate now seems to be heading beyond legal definitions of right and wrong and into the social inclinations of right and wrong based the social circle one subscribes to. This development brought about by the mutiny is dangerous as the issue becomes personalized, and individuals start defending the views of their social circle against the views of the opposing social circle. What began as a political issue is fast becoming a social issue and threatens social order throughout the country.

Perhaps it is fair to say that the nation is now more unstable than it ever was. More people are becoming politicized, polarized, and pissed off. It is imperative that fresh elections be held soon to diffuse the situation.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Calls for a comprehensive investigation of the Tumbi Disaster

 

By Dr Kristian Lasslett*

(Originally posted on the International State Crime Initiative Website and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences Blog, University of Ulster)  

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At around 4am last Tuesday morning, a landslide 1.5km along swept through Tumbi, in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands, while residents lay asleep. Reporting from the ground, Andrew Alphonse conveys a scene of devastation:

The sound of wailing fills the air around the legendary Gigira mountain in Tari as mothers openly shed tears as they go about trying to locate their loved ones in one of the worst landslides ever recorded in Papua New Guinea. Clad in mud and weeping and wailing, the mothers are joined by other villagers, lucky to be spared by the tonnes of mud, huge limestone slabs and debris that came down suddenly on the sleeping village at the foot of the mountain. (Post-Courier, 25/1/2012).

While the death toll remains unknown at this stage, it is expected that up to 60 villagers may have perished.

People’s first thoughts have, of course, been for the victims and their families. Nevertheless, questions are beginning to be asked about the cause of the landslide. In particular, concerns have been raised over the potentially destabilising effects of a local quarry, which was developed for a $US15.7 billion liquefied natural gas venture, headed by ExxonMobil.

Bill Yomba, from Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Office told CNN: "We are still trying to find out the cause but at this stage we believe the gas project run by Esso Higlands Limited [ExxonMobil subsidiary] was a contributor because they had been digging for limestone in the area" (CNN, 25/1/12).

Yomba’s concerns are shared by Sir Alfred Kaiabe, a former member of parliament for the region, who informed ABC Radio that this sort of landslide is unprecedented in the area (ABC Radio, 25/1/12).

Local residents have also raised questions. The ABC’s Liam Fox reports:

There are people - locals are already drawing some links. How correct that is, we're not able to say yet. But they believe that the quarry next to the landslide site caused the landslide. That blasting in the past has, quote, 'softened the ground' as they have said. And that quarry was used by the LNG site for its operations. (ABC Radio, 25/1/12)

Given these serious concerns, calls are being made for an independent investigation into the disaster. The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neil, having inspected the affected area, has promised to appoint an independent investigative team (PacNews, 26/1/12). This is a welcomed step.

Too often in Papua New Guinea local knowledge is ignored. Indeed, one of the factors contributing to the country’s greatest crisis to date – the Bougainville conflict – was the dismissal of local concerns over the Panguna mine’s environmental effects, as ill-informed conspiracy theories.

Landowners, NGOs, and local politicians have come out in support of the Prime Minister’s proposal. Speaking on the Pacific Beat program, member for Komo-Magarima claims:

At the moment, people have their own views on what has caused the landslide, but we will wait for the investigation to happen and that investigation is most welcome by myself and all the members of parliament from Southern Highlands as well as the landowner leaders and landowners and the people themselves. (ABC Radio 27/1/12)

Local NGO LNG Watch has also rallied behind an independent investigation, claiming that it could prevent further tragedy:

Mount Gigira, it’s a kind of range; people are sleeping along that place all the way to Hides 1, 2, 3 and 4 (numbers refer to Petroleum Development License areas) and then down to Komo. So that thing (the landslide) might happen again. So to stop that incident happening in the future, I want these people to come in and do the investigation. (Radio New Zealand, 27/1/12)

However, if local concerns are indeed to be adequately addressed it is essential that the investigation is conducted in an open and transparent manner, using a range of experts, who consult closely with those in the devastated region; landowner knowledge of the local environment must be given its proper due.

The investigative team should also have the resources to independently study the region, without over-reliance on datasets produced by ExxonMobil or its subsidiaries/contractors (unfortunately, there may be a dearth of independent data to draw on, which will make matters difficult).

Furthermore, it is not enough to send in a team of natural scientists. While earth science specialists will of course be critical, the literature on disasters is clear, complex social factors mediate these types of events. Co-Director of the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), Prof Penny Green observes, “it is not the climatic or geophysical hazard which kills – rather it is the political, economic and social structures which determine population vulnerability that bear responsibility” (Green 2011). Consequently, if the right research questions are to be formulated, social scientists with relevant expertise must be utilised.

In the interests of transparency and independence, civil society should be centrally involved in overseeing the inquiry. Indeed involving NGOs, scholars, and community groups, would be a healthy step in ensuring the investigation is robust, vigilant, and unafraid to ask difficult questions.

The parameters of the study must be wide also. In particular, critical questions must be levelled at the national government, in addition to ExxonMobil. While the O’Neil government is proving more resilient in the face of demands by major resource operators, we know from revelations involving the recently ousted Somare regime that the Papua New Guinea state has over the past two decades viewed itself primarily as a business partner of resource operators (Dateline, 26/6/11). This attitude has had a debilitating effect on the nation’s regulatory apparatus. Consequently, we saw most recently a waste disposal method banned in China, the US and Canada, approved for the Ramu Nickel mine, without adequate data on the serious social and environmental consequences of this decision.

At present efforts and resources should rightly be focused upon stabilising the landslide area, and housing the displaced. Nevertheless, for landowners who have already raised serious questions about the equity of the LNG operation, it would be provocative in the extreme, if this tragedy became the subject of a whitewash.

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THIS BLOGGER WISHES TO THANK Dr Kristian Lasslett for permission to publish the article

*Dr Kristian Lasslett is the Papua New Guinea Coordinator for the International State Crime Initiative and is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Ulster. He can be contacted at kak.lasslett@ulster.ac.uk

Friday, January 27, 2012

BISHOP BLAMES EXXON MOBIL FOR DEATHS

By Elias Lari via PNGEXPOSED BLOG

DSC04880A CHURCH leader has accused developer Exxon Mobil and the government for failing to resettle landowners resulting in the loss of lives at the project site, reports The National.

Rev Wai Tega is the chairman of the Hela council of churches and Bishop of the United Church in Hela. He said the landslide which buried scores of people on Tuesday morning was man-made disaster – not a natural disaster as many had claimed.

He said Hela had a relationship with nature and ExxonMobil, the developer of the multi-billion kina PNG LNG gas project, had totally destroyed the environment which was not right in the eyes of the landowners.

The developer and the state should be held responsible for the deaths because many issues regarding the project had not been solved. If the landowners had been relocated, lives and properties would not have been lost.

Tega said the Lai Tepo-Hides gas was a spiritual fire foretold by their prophets but the government and ExxonMobil did not show any respect for the customary faith the people had. He forecast it was a first warning of what would come later.

The churches are calling on the government and Exxon Mobil to treat people with respect.

MUTINY, TREASON, SEDITION - a plesmahn's legal opinion

 

BY EDEBAMONA BLOG

15 minutes of fame followed closely by a decent into the deepest recesses of deep shit... this is the Yaura Sasa story. I feel sorry for him. How can a man of his calibre be bullshitted into leading what was clearly a suicide mission? A suicide mission is a mission with no retreat plan. "Beyond the Rubicon" there is no turning back. When Sasa and his band of in-subordinating soldiers overpowered Guards at Taurama Barracks and placed the Commander-in-Chief of the PNG Defence Force Francis Agwi under arrest, that was the end of the mission... No really; the mission ended before it actually began. 

You see Sasa is a civilian. He has been for 2 years. His objective to depose Agwi and ascend to the top of the Military ranks was flawed from the very beginning. Now in the absence of immediate ambition I imagine there was some kind of monetary incentive at work. Believe you me, no amount of money is worth the 'White Soup' of Bomana.
Here's how it will pan out in the next few days. If the O'Neill Gavman chooses to charge Sasa for anything besides sheer stupidity, it will probably be  a Division 2 Offence of the Criminal Code which concerns SEDITION. Section 44 of the Criminal Code Act 1974 for sedition states:


44. DEFINITION OF SEDITIOUS INTENTIONS.

Subject to Section 45, an intention–

(a) to bring the Queen and Head of State into hatred or contempt; or
(b) to excite disaffection against–
(i) the Queen and Head of State, the National Government or the Constitution as by law established; or
(ii) the Parliament; or
(iii) the administration of justice; or
(c) to excite the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea to attempt to procure the alteration of any matter in Papua New Guinea as by law established otherwise than by lawful means; or
(d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea; or
(e) to promote feelings of ill-will and enmity between different classes of the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea

Contrary to popular belief he will not be charged for Mutiny pursuant to Section 55 of the Defence Act which states:

55. MUTINY.
(1) A person subject to the Code of Military Discipline who takes part in a mutiny is guilty of an offence.

Penalty: Imprisonment for life or for a lesser term.

(2) A person subject to the Code of Military Discipline who, knowing that a mutiny is taking place or is intended–

(a) fails to use his utmost endeavours to suppress or prevent it; or
(b) fails to report to an appropriate authority that the meeting is taking place or is intended,

is guilty of an offence.

Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.


Why won't he be charged with Mutiny? Simple. Sasa is not a member of the Papua New Guinean Armed Forces. He's a retiree. Lol!

Sasa's friends who led the raid and arrest of Agwi are all members of the Armed Froces and are liable for Section 55 of the Defence Act.

Somare and his Cabinet are all liable for inciting mutiny pursuant t s41 of the Criminal Code Act 1974 which states:

41. INCITING TO MUTINY.
(1) A person who advisedly attempts–
(a) to seduce any person serving in the Defence Force by sea, land or air from his duty and allegiance; or
(b) to incite any such person to commit an act of mutiny or any traitorous or mutinous act; or
(c) to incite any such persons to make or endeavour to make a mutinous assembly,

is guilty of a crime.

Penalty: Subject to Section 19, imprisonment for life.

(2) A person who has been tried, and convicted or acquitted, on a charge of an offence against Subsection (1) shall not be afterwards prosecuted for any other offence against this Division in respect of the same facts.

This blogger does not have energy to go into other criminal offences like kidnapping and assault and treason which is punishable by death. 

When the matter does end up in Court, Somare and Company will play their legitimacy card. They will take out the Supreme Court Reference of December 12 2011 and claim they acted in their capacity as the legitimate Government of Papua New Guinea. 

Sasa can weave the same bullshit but it will be with difficulty. His appointment was never gazetted and none of the formalities necessary were followed to legitimize his appointment. Contrary to the clown Andrew Kumbakor's statements on EMTV, gazetting and all other formalities are not unnecessary; they are part and parcel of the appointment process. 

As for Sasa's men who are current enlisted Defence Force personnel, they have betrayed their chain of command in the most outrageous way imaginable; they kidnapped their Commander-in-Chief.

26/01/12 .... a date which will live in stupidity.

And Happy Australia Day/YAURA SASA DAY

CURSE OF LAITEBO: EXXON MOBIL caused Landslide

BY LNG WATCH

We have now all learnt that tragedy has struck residents living near ExxonMobil's  Southern Highlands operation. A large landslide 1km long has destroyed dozens of homes. Sadly, the death toll could reach 60.

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Our first thoughts must go out to the family of the victims. However, given the scale of this tragedy it would be remiss if we did not consider whether there was a causal link between the landslide and ExxonMobil's operations. When asked by ABC Radio, Exxonmobil denied the link. Nevertheless, disturbing evidence is beginning to emerge.

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For example, in the Namorong Report it was reported that United Nations PNG Coordinator has pointed the finger at Exxonmobil's operation. However, perhaps most damningly Bill Yomba from the National Disaster Office made the following remark to CNN:

"This is a very huge landslide that covered a 1 kilometer area. We are still trying to find out the cause but at this stage we believe the gas project run by Esso Higlands Limited was a contributor because they had been digging for limestone in the area".

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According to the ABC's Liam Fox similar accusations are being levelled by villagers near the landslide:

"There are people - locals are already drawing some links. How correct that is, we're not able to say yet. But they believe that the quarry next to the landslide site caused the landslide. That blasting in the past has, quote, 'softened the ground' as they have said. And that quarry was used by the LNG site for its operations. But Exxon Mobil says that's not the case anymore and hasn't been for about six months."

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The Post-Courier is relaying similar views from the ground:

"Locals blamed international contractor Clough Curtain Joint Venture (CCJV) for not developing the Tumbi quarry including proper safety procedures that resulted in the loose rocks and soil from the top of Gigira mountain range to cascade causing severe destructions on its way down."

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In a move that may seem insensitive in light of the tragedy, ExxonMobil has resumed work in the affected area - whether this risks further destabilising the site we are not sure. ExxonMobil's spokesman Rebecca Arnold has informed investors and customers this event will not prevent it from meeting its corporate targets.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Coup through the eyes of a buai seller

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A police vehicle drives past Murray Barracks late in the afternoon. The situation is eerily calm like the atmosphere at a graveyard.

As I walked along the Murray Barracks fence I came across a street vendor. Jenny from Wabag selling buai outside Murray Barracks near the main gate and bus stop. Business was good today…. yep mutineers were good customers. She was looking IMG10914forward to staying up tonight if the mutiny continued.

On the other side of the road soldiers eyed the mutineers, according to Jenny, who watched the eyeing contest as it progressed all day.

As I was chatting with Jenny, one of the mutineers came over to buy buai. He warned us not to venture IMG10916from our homes tomorrow. Even if the coup is over, recent history has shown how soldiers from Taurama can go on a rampage. The owners of a service station at Manu will have memories of that experience.

As I walked back home I saw a convey of the mutineers driving back in civilian vehicles, all Toyota Hilux 5th elements with guns mounted on top.

Col Yaura Sasa, Somare Puppet

BY CRITIC PNG

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SOMARE’S COUP IN CONTEXT

The beast that is the Independent State of Papua New Guinea now suffers from Multiple State Organ Failure Syndrome. The condition developed about ten years ago when in his bid to maintain political stability Sir Mekere Morauta inserted a virus into Parliament: Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties.

The virus infected the Somare regime as the National Alliance Party came into power in 2002. Papua New Guinea then achieved unprecedented levels of Political stability and Somare became the first Prime Minister to serve a full term in office. This achievement though came at the expense of Parliamentary democracy. Debates were gagged and Parliament became a rubber stamp to decisions of the Executive arm of Government.

As growing resentment of the Somare regime grew over the years and as the 2012 elections approached, greater social networking and mobile phone penetration increased political awareness. However the straw that broke the camel’s back was the Supreme Court’s declaration of certain portions of the Organic Law on Political Parties unconstitutional. PNG’s notorious flip-flopping Members of Parliament rebelled against Somare and overthrew him as Prime Minister in a Parliamentary Coup, while he lay in is hospital bed.

Somare came back to PNG only to be humiliated in Parliament by the Speaker who did his bidding for the past decade. His own political party colleagues had colluded with the opposition led by PNG Party leader Belden Namah, to overthrow him. Speaker Nape then had him removed as a member of Parliament after Parliament revoked it’s decision to give Somare Leave. Somare’s demons were back to haunt him.

The East Sepik Provincial Government then filed a Supreme Court Reference on the question of the legality of Peter O’Neil’s election as PM. The Court handed down its decision in favour of Somare, finding O’Neil’s appointment illegal.

However, on the day the Court was handing down its decision, Parliament was sitting. Parliament amended the Prime Minister and National Executive Council Act, effectively disqualifying Somare based on an age limit it placed on the PM. Parliament also re-elected Peter O’Neil as PM the day the Court annulled his earlier election.

The tussle for power continued with both sides appointing there Cabinet Ministers and Departmental Heads. This created a bit of confusion and the Governor General, Michael Ogio, was brought into the fray. Initially Michael Ogio recognized the Somare regime. After Parliament suspended him and appointed Speaker Nape as acting Governor General, Michael Ogio flip-flopped and recognized O’Neil.

Somare was placing his hopes on Fred Yakasa getting him into power but the Police force seemed to have rallied behind Commissioner Kulunga and the ONeil-Namah Government. With the Yakasa case frustrated in the legal process Somare has hoped that an obscure military officer would change his fortunes.

Until today Papua New Guinea never knew Colonel Yara Sasa ever existed. At 3:00am this morning, Colonel Sasa staged PNG’s first ever military coup, ousting the Head of the Defence force and seizing Command.

Deputy Prime Minister, Belden Namah, a military hero of the Sandline Crisis however showed who is in charge of the country by ordering Air Niugini to suspend flights to Kiunga, Madang, Lae and Wewak in order to prevent rogue army officers from coming to Port Moresby. Police have set up road blocks around the Murray Barracks and some mutineers have been arrested. Mr Namah has heavy security detail and has issued an ultimatum for the mutineers and their leader Colonel Sasa to surrender pronto.

All indications are that Namah and O’Neil will still be in power and the Somare regime may face High Treason charges for trying to overthrow the state. But hey this is the fucking land of the unexpected and I'm just a drunk blogger writing this nonsense for you with loud music in the background. OMG, just ran out of alcohol. Maybe PNG also has ran out of sanity.

Somare’s Coup underway in PNG

Former Prime Minister Somare has appointed the elder brother of a member of his former cabinet to carry out a military coup in Papua New Guinea today. In the early hours of this morning Col. Yara Sasa the commanding officer of Charlie Company of the 1st Royal Pacific Island Regiment, stormed the military headquarters at Murray Barracks and held the Defence Force Commander General Francis Agwi under house arrest.

Col Sasa claims to be enforcing the Supreme Courts ruling that the election of Prime Minister Peter O’Neil by Parliament on the 3rd of August 2011 was illegal. He claims therefore that his actions do not constitute a coup.

However, Attorney General Allan Marat has filed a Supreme Court reference seeking to clarify the legality of the O’Neil Governments existence following Parliament’s decision to re-elect ONeil. As such the legal issue about who has legitimate claim to the throne has not been fully settled. The actions of Col Sasa at the behest of Somare therefore constitutes a military coup.

PNG COUP: FINGERS POINTED AT SOMARE REGIME

BY Jay Paiva
It seems the Somare regime has made a move while O'Niel is distracted by the Hides Disaster in the Southern Highlands Province.
Word out is that Colonel Sasa is now the Commander appointed by the Somare regime in place of Colonel Agwi.
Factions from Taurama & Murray Barracks have caused this. There is also word that Kulunga is next then they make their way to the parliament...

SUMMARY OF PNG MILITARY COUP EVENTS

BY KEITH JACKSON, PNG ATTITUDE

0915 - Peter Kranz reports from Twitter sources (unverified) that soldiers are being organised to enforce the orders of the Supreme Court to reinstate Sir Michael.

Weapons have been released and orders given for the O'Neill/Namah cabinet and police commissioner Kulunga to be arrested.

An unnamed sources is quoted as saying: “We are now under military edict. Anyone resisting arrest will be shot. Orders have been issued to that effect.”

Martyn Namorong says that the former defence attaché to Indonesia, a Colonel Safa, has now declared himself PNGDF commander.

0845 - Peter Kranz reports from Twitter sources (unverified) that soldiers are being organised to enforce the orders of the Supreme Court to reinstate Sir Michael.

Weapons have been released and orders given for the O'Neill/Namah cabinet and police commissioner Kulunga to be arrested.

An unnamed sources is quoted as saying: “We are now under military edict. Anyone resisting arrest will be shot. Orders have been issued to that effect.”

Martyn Namorong says that the former defence attaché to Indonesia, a Colonel Safa, has now declared himself PNGDF commander.

A possible attempted military coup is underway in Papua New Guinea with top military officers reported to be under house arrest.

The mutinous troops are operating under the name Operasin Strongim Konstituson[Operation Support the Constitution].

Among other officers, Francis Agwi the Defence Force commander, and Kyrie Eleison, the Commanding Officer of Taurama Barracks, are said to have been placed under house arrest by around 40 soldiers this morning.

Trade union leader Michael Malabag has commented: “Just what is going on now is the evil hand of politicians infiltrating the Defence Force of PNG. I am very concerned about this latest development.”

Radio Australia says supporters of former prime minister Sir Michael Somare are believed to have staged the raid on Murray Barracks early in the day.

A report just in from the ABC's PNG correspondent Liam Fox says: “At about 3:00am today a group of between 12 and 20 soldiers are believed to have raided the defence force headquarters at Murray Military Barracks and placed the head of the army, Brigadier General Francis Agwi, under house arrest.

“The ABC understands that a new commander has been sworn in. The raid on the barracks is believed to have been peaceful.”

PNG MILITARY MUTINY UNDERWAY

“CO of Taurama Barracks was surrounded by 40 armed soldiers very early this morning n is now under house arrest. PNGDF Commander [Francis Agwi] I am told is also under house arrest at Murray Barracks HQ.It appears Murray Barracks,Goldie n Taurama are closed to the public.Just what is going on n is the evil hand of politicians now infiltrating the Defence Force of PNG.I am very concerned about this latest development.” Michael Malabag, Trade Unionist

OPERATION STRONGIM CONSTITUTION is currently underway. It is not clear what the aims of the soldiers are however the name of the operation suggests that they may be seekig to have Somare installed as Prime Minister following the Supreme Courts decision in his favour.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

UN COMMENDS BLOGGER FOR RAMU MINE STORY

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United Nations Resident Coordinator, David MacLauchlan-Karr presented a certificate of commendation to this blogger earlier today. The award was presented in recognition of this blogger’s efforts to expose the injustices suffered by indigenous people affected by the Ramu Mine.

In presenting the the Award, Mr. MacLauchlan-Karr expressed grave concern for the people of Madang whose lives will be affected by the dumping of toxic mine wastes into the Bismarck Sea. He also encouraged this blogger to continue writing about the plight of the people of Papua New Guinea.

Meanwhile Mr. MacLauchlan-Karr also stated that the UN will be sending a team to asses the landslide in Southern Highlands. According to him, the landslide was triggered by construction activity related to the LNG Project.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UPDATE: 40 FEARED DEAD IN SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS LANDSLIDE

BY SCOTT WAIDE

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Everyone living near the road and on the hills got swept away. Two PMV buses packed with passengers that were travelling back from Komo was also swept away this morning when this tragic natural disaster occurred. The safety and Rescue team are still retrieving corpses from the site, so far 40 unidentified bodies have been pulled out and more are still being retrieved. Transportation and logistics for the LNG project has put on hold due to this incident. All work on site here has been stopped, everyone from nearby villagers' and also here in Komo have left for the site in search of relatives' and friends. The landslide is the biggest ever, judging from the pics it seems that the whole mountain came down. Witnesses claim from the site today that the landslip on the road is about 150 meters high.

MASSIVE LANDSLIDE STRIKES LNG PROJECT

via PNG NEW PAGE

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Above: First Photo of the Landslide between Hides 4 and Nogoli base of the LNG Project

Scott Waide reports that a massive land slide has hit the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project area in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Esso Highlands, the LNG project operator has pulled out some staff from the affected area. There are no reports of deaths and causalities as yet.

The area is geologically unstable and lies in the shadow of the ancient volcano of Bosavi. Mud flows are known to be a major geohazard in the area. It is not known what triggered the landslide but the area is known activities associated with the extraction of oil and gas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Supreme Court decision on O’Neil’s election

BY SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

supremeThere were 5 judges on the bench – Chief Justice Injia, Deputy Chief Justice Salika, Judge Sakora, Judge Kirriwom and Judge Gavara Nanu.

The decision was essentially 3/2 – meaning Chief Justice Injia, Judge Kirrwom and Judge Gavara Nanu decided one way, and Judge Sakora and Judge Salika the other – this was on the question of MTS’ removal as member and as PM – and on the election of O’Neill.

Judge Sakora’s judgement is not here as it has not been provided for publishing.

I actually prefer the reasons for decision from Judge Salika.  I think it is just a great judgment. None of you have to/need to agree with me – if fact – I’d prefer if you all read it and make up your own minds !!!

To see when the judgement is effective from – we look at the words of the decision. The Chief Justice says that it is effective from 12 December 2012. I have copy/pasted his words from p66 of the case below – and underlined the important bits.

“I would issue the orders set out below and those orders take effect forthwith from this day . The orders are:

(1)The decisions of the Parliament made on 2 August 2011 to declare a vacancy in the office of the Prime Minister held by the Honourable Sir Michael Somare purportedly under s 142 (2) and Schedule 1.10 (3) of the Constitution and to appoint the Honourable Peter O’Neill as the new Prime Minister purportedly under s 142 (3) or (4); and which decisions were given effect to by the Head of State and gazette in the National Gazette, are declared unconstitutional and therefore invalid, effective from the date of this Judgment..

(2)The decision of the Speaker of Parliament the Hon Jeffrey Nape to inform Parliament that the Hon Sir Michael Somare ceased to hold office as the member for East Sepik Provincial seat is declared unconstitutional and therefore invalid, effective from the date of this Judgment..

(3)That the Hon Sir Michael Somare is restored to office as the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea forthwith. “

As you will see further in the written decision, Judge Kirriwom and Judge Gavara Nanu agreed with CJ’s decision and judgment and also gave further reasons.

So my friends – any claim that decisions by the O’Neill/Namah government from 2 August 2011 to 12 December 2011 are somehow invalid IS WRONG.  Read it for yourselves. The orders of the decision ONLY take effect from the date of the decision.

You can see why can’t you – otherwise there would be a complete mess in government and the public service.

It concerns me that statements are being made by the Somare camp that the acts etc are invalid – do they want to destabilise the country when the Supreme Court has actually clearly legitimised the decisions from 2 August 2011 to 12 December 2011 ????

I send this out as it is important for those who are interested enough to think about these things to be able to make informed decisions on this.  This is a published decision of the Supreme Court so it is not confidential or private – it is a judicial precedent. I don’t care whose side you are on – Somare’s or O’Neill’s or your own – everyone should make sure that they are properly informed !

_______________________

BLOGGER’S NOTE:

IF YOU WOULD LIKE A COPY OF THE SUPREME COURTS DECISION SEND ME AN EMAIL. MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS ON MY FACEBOOK BADGE LOCATED ON THE RIGHT PANEL OF THE BLOG 

Juffa condemns Tuna deal with US

FORMER Papua New Guinea Customs Commissioner Gary Juffa has condemned the recent announcement that Papua New Guinea would return to talks related to the South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT). Mr Juffa described its as one of the many worse deals Papua New Guinea’s ruling elite continue to enter into on behalf of the country.

“The year has started with the selling of our natural resources for far less then what its worth....then we gloat over this event and congratulate ourselves about how intelligent and successful we were...last week it was our fish...the media (foreign owned) gushed with how smart our leaders where in negotiating a deal with the USA for our tuna...we imagined ourselves great experts in international trade and we marveled at how such the great economy was brought to the negotiating table and heard us out and agreed to our terms and conditions...but let us take a closer look at the facts that surround this situation....firstly, who are the developers or investors that benefit? Who owns the fishing companies and the canneries?” Mr Juffa stated yesterday on Facebook.

The SPTT came into force in 1988 and allows the United States UNLIMITED ACCESS to Tuna stocks in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Pacific Island Nations in return for the tiny sum of US$ 18 million in the form of Aid to 14 Pacific Island Nations. You gotta admit Pacific Island Nations are run by crack addicts or something if they can accept such a BAD deal.

Papua New Guinea withdrew from the Treaty last April after 24 years of being the United State’s bitch. However a phone call between US Secretary for State, Hilary Clinton and PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil has led to PNG rejoining talks.

Mr Juffa added that the scenario in the Tuna industry is being replicated in all other resource sectors.

“This picture is replicated in every natural resource industry...forestry, minerals, oil, gas....tax and duty exemptions galore, lack of enforcement and monitoring, capital flight and marginalization of locally owned companies in preference to foreign investment.....we have happily carried our pigs to the market....we have sung with much joy and dizzy excitement at the fact that our buyers have exchanged with us for our pigs, rats...we have feasted on these rodents happily, still singing and fed them to our children, squabbling and bickering whilst regaling each other with tall tales of our prudent bargaining prowess and we have convinced ourselves that this was a great deal....shame and shame and more shame, the very people we have placed as guardians at our gates, have let the enemies in...they have done so for a piece of the spoils of war...and we worship them yet, carry them on our shoulders and go weak at the knees when they walk in our presence...meanwhile our children stand by ready to take up begging pans and stare into a tattered and grim future....ready to be subservient and slaves for the children of the new colonial masters that are here upon us...and we let them...” he said.

Meanwhile, the Namorong Report revealed last year that Papua New Guinea receives only about K100 million in taxes, fees and spin off benefits from its K 2 billion tuna industry.

Friday, January 20, 2012

O’Neil-Namah Govt Repeals Chinese amendments to Environment Act

 

Chinese Miners (MCC) and their lawyer face the Press outside the National Court in Madang Chinese Miners (MCC) and their lawyer face the Press outside the National Court in Madang

When Justice Catherine Davani handed down the only dissenting Judgment regarding the Ramu Nickel case, she suggested that the Environment be protected. At paragraph 111 of SCA 84 of 2011, Louis Medang v. MCC she stated:

“I find that Environmental damage is imminent; that this damage will be substantial and irreparable and finally, that violation of the appellant’s rights is inevitable. The Quia Timmet injunction must be awarded to the appellants.”

Yesterday Minister for Environment in the O’Neil-Namah Government, Hon Thompson Haroquave carried through on his promise to the People of Papua New Guinea and ensured that Parliament repealed amendments to the Environment Act made in favour of Chinese miner MCC.

The former Somare regime bulldozed amendments to the Act in July 2009 to deny landowners the right to question damaging activities on their land. According to Mine Watch blog, the amendments were drafted by Allens Arthur Robinson at the behest of Chinese miner MCC as it faced a legal battle over its plan to dump toxic mine waste into the Bismarck Sea.

Lawyer Tiffany Twivvey who had represented Madang Landowners in the case against the Chinese miner MCC was ecstatic about Parliaments decision. Posting on Facebook she wrote,

“Thankyou Thompson Haroquave, the Minister for Environment and also the NEC who approved Thompson’s submission and all MPs who voted in Parliament today. Thank you for caring about the people’s land and their survival into the future.”

As the news filtered through social networking site Facebook, many pundits expressed satisfaction with Parliaments decision and praised the O’Neil-Namah Government for putting the interests of the people first. Of course some were cynical of this move and commented that it was the same MPs who voted in the amendments at the first place. However those views were quickly rebutted by others who said that the MPs were bound by sections of the Organic Law on Political Parties, to vote with former Prime Minister Somare. Now that those sections of Law have been seemed unconstitutional, MPs can vote freely and yesterday they expressed that freedom by repealing the Somare/Chinese amendments.

Meanwhile, text messages were been sent to the people along the Madang coastline from Basamuk to Bogia, informing them of this latest development in their FIGHT against the Chinese miner. Many expressed satisfaction with the ONeil-Namah Government for its bold decision.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Portrait of a mother in Port Moresby’s Erima settlement

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Above: Pauline and her sons Marcus (L) and Mark (R) standing at the porch of their home

Pauline Nelson lives in a rather large property fenced by metal sheeting and timber. Located at the foot of a hill the property measures around 20 meters by 5 meters. Inside it Pauline has small shack, a chicken coop and two wrecked sedans. Around her are shacks belonging to various other settlers of the Metere section of Erima Settlement in Port Moresby.

His proud Southern Highlands mom has a broad smile on her face as she shakes the hands of her visitors. I get a hug from Pauline. I have accompanied a Russian photojournalist and a community worker with the local charity Women and Children at Risk (WECARE) to meet Pauline

Pauline is a volunteer carer and teacher. Since 2009 she has opened her home to children who come from troubled homes in her community. “I started off by sharing some of the surplus food I cook with my neighbors’ kids,” she tells me in Tok-Pisin as we sit on some wooden planks near her shack. “Back in 2009, I need get any assistance from outside but my faith in God kept me going,” she continues.

Pauline tells me that she makes a living by selling cold water, ice blocks and chicken. When she isn’t selling chickens, cold water and ice blocks, she runs an informal school for the settlement children. Pauline has been caring for around 40 children from her neighborhood. Many of these children come from broken homes or have are the result of teenage pregnancies where the man has sown his seed and vanished.

Last year her efforts were recognized by WECARE and the charity has been supporting her since.

Pauline showed me inside her modest home. Inside a single, dimly lit, rectangular area measuring 4 by 2 meters served as the living and sleeping room. The walls were covered in posters and clippings of models from women’s magazines. At one end she had two chest freezers. Parts of the wooden floor are covered with colorful floor mats.

Inside one of the chest freezers she had her ice blocks, and water bottles for sale. She sells the ice blocks for 20 toea and the bottled water for 50 toea. Pauline is one of the fortunate few who have electricity and a freezer. She has used her good fortune to help others in her community.

With the support of WECARE Pauline now assists women and young girls in her community who suffer from violence. Her informal school is about to receive support from Mobile operator Digicel to set up a proper Child Learning Center. She acknowledges a lot more needs to be done including training for herself to be a better teacher.

But I reckon she is indeed a very good teacher and that by her actions she’s teaching us about how we can solve our problems if Papua New Guineans choose to do so.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Out of the frying pan and into the Faia Rais

faia rais – tok pisin derogatory slang  roughly meaning ‘she’s been fucked - many times’

I f the word on the blogs is true Mr Namah is essentially killing any chance of PNG Party making it in the upcoming elections. PNG Blogs was the first blog to post allegations that Indonesian swindler and International fugitive, Djorko Tjandra was on board the Falcon jet with Mr Namah when the plane was intercepted by Indonesian fighter jets. Just Google Djorko Tjandra to find out more about this fugitive.

It now seems to be the case according to the PNG Rice blog, the “local” firm set to become the rice monopoly of PNG is actually owned by Tjandra. Now lets hope Tjandra wasn’t in PNG to get ‘citizenship’.

Mr Namah’s alleged association with this fugitive now taints his image and that of the Party he leads. Perhaps his major blunder was to bitch about the interception of the Falcon. Now eye brows are being raised and questions asked about the behavior of the Deputy Prime Minister.

It seems PNG got out of Somare’s frying pen and jumped into Namah’s fire. Of course the Pro Somare National Newspaper aka the Daily Log has been having a field day with Namah providing it with fodder.

Now that someone gave an International Fugitive Rice monopoly, Trukai Industries has been TAKING OUT FULL PAGE Newspaper advertisements, reminding us of how much it cares about us. Come on Trukai, you’ve been here for millennia and continue to import rice na nau someone wants to grow rice na yu six-four. But even if Trukai doesn’t give a damn about this country, having a rice monopoly isn’t good , even if the rice is local. Kinda like PNG getting out of Somare’s frying pan and into Namah’s fire.

Why is a rice monopoly bad? Its like Bmobile before Digicel came – VERY EXPENSIVE.

Now that rice is involved in controversy, we could call the Independent State of Papua New Guinea a faia rais* State. The Australians “used” the State at Panguna and Ok Tedi. The Americans are “using” the State with the LNG Project. The Malaysians have “used” the State to unsustainably log the country. The Chinese “used” the State to dump toxic mine waste in Beautiful Madang. The Filipinos “used” the State to get the Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone in Madang. And now an Indonesian Fugitive has “used” the State to get himself a rice monopoly.

Tru tumas, PNG em faia rais stret!

___________________

*faia rais – tok pisin derogatory slang  roughly meaning ‘she’s been fucked - many times’

Which way Big Women?

Women gather at IPA HALL to discuss Reserved Seats for women 

The legislatively changes needed to enable the creation of women’s seats has hit a snag. Prime Minister Peter O’Neil snubbed a meeting hosted recently in Port Moresby by activist women. Dame Carol Kidu, the only female MP in the current Parliament was the only MP present at the meeting.

Once I met a representative of the National Council of women and we had a chat about the creation of reserved seats. I asked her if any study had ever been done to establish why women don’t vote for women or men don’t vote for women for that matter. No one has objectively defined the impediments to women in being elected into Parliament.

With this lack of clarity about the election of female representatives, pundits come up with various ideas. The most common being the Big Men mentality, lack of financial resources, vote rigging, and the status of women in society. The problem with speculating is that there is no dominant culture or society in PNG such that what one observes in one part of the country may be totally irrelevant elsewhere.

What I find interesting though is that the current push for reserved seats is actually coming from women who may be referred to as petty bourgeoisie. For example, Janet Sape is a pretty empowered woman who is successful in running her own businesses. Various other women who support this push for reserved seats are also successful career women. What this does say is that women can be successful in PNG under current circumstances so why aren’t they doing so well in Politics.

There are many men out there who are therefore very cynical of the moves to create reserved seats. They see this as just another power grab by elite women. It is hardly surprising from a historical point of view that the bourgeoisie would be seeking political power and that is the perception amongst some observers.

How does one then bring into the debate the argument of Affirmative Action? The fact that the democratic process has failed to produce fair representation by the female population demands such action as the creation of Reserved seats. Note here that it is about representation of electors by women and not the representation of women, as in a democracy, women may choose to have a man represent them. It isn’t so much about women having a voice in Parliament as it is about having female voices in Parliament.

The argument for Fair Representation by Women has been lost in the debate largely because the proponents of this electoral reform have failed to articulate the issue better.

I’ll leave you with images of women at Hanuabada village in Port Moresby. While the petty bourgeoisie women were discussing politics on Sunday, the women at Hanuabada went about their daily routines.

WOMEN DOING THE DISHES AT ELEVALA

A MOTHER PREPARES DINNER FOR HER FAMILY

GRANMA RELAXING ON THE BRIDGE

MOTHER AND CHILD AT HANUABADA

 

WOMEN BUYING AND SELLING BETELNUT

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hanuabada: UP CLOSE & PERSONAL

Yours truly at HanuabadaI am sitting at the table going through the photos I have taken earlier at Hanuabada. I’ve made myself a cup of sweet black coffee and filled a glass of cold water to cool myself down after drinking my coffee. My phone buzzes and I check the message. My friend in Lae sends a message quoting Aristotle. I’ve never read Aristotle so I send back a rather confused message and browse through the photographs.

Dubu - four totem poles stand in contrast to the power poleThere are the four Dubu – totem poles set up to signify the beginning of Hanuabada village including Elevala although proud Elevalans obstinately prefer being identified separately from Hanuabadans. The four Dubu form two gates facing each other. The gates remind me of the Sun gates to eternity found in Oriental and Mayan cultures.  A power pole stands rather abusively close to the four poles.

Nou (foreground) and Vlad (background)I’m at Hanuabada with my buddy Nou, a brilliant blogger and law student, and Vladislav, a Russian freelance photographer. Vladislav wanted to photograph the Wanigela houses at Koki but I told him I could arrange for something at Hanuabada since I don’t know any Wanigelas at Koki. In any case I thought we’d get a few shots of the signature houses on stilts and leave. Well, Nou gave us a grand tour of the Big Village and Vlad found many interesting subjects to photograph as I tagged along beside these two larger than life characters.

Houses built by allied forces after World War TwoThe Big Village gave us the Nation’s Capital and is perhaps the cradle of nationhood given the fact that Erskine declared British Dominion here and the Colonial Government set up shop nearby. Hanuabada encapsulates in many ways, the contrasts and contradictions of Papua New Guinea. Even with its rusted tin roofs and close proximity to the CBD, it has wobbly bridges linking homes stilted above water and is a very traditional conservative Motuan village. Brand new vehicles drive past rusty old homes built by allied forces after World War II. And after over 200 years of Colonization/urbanization I heard Motu being spoken at Hanuabada.

A villager resting on the BridgeThe villagers are very friendly. On a warm sunny Sunday afternoon they sleep peacefully in their naturally air conditioned homes and on the bridges . The cool sea breeze provides respite from the scorching Sun albeit with a touch of olfactory nuisance from the garbage piled under the homes.

Garbage from elsewhere being deposited at ElevalaThe buildup of garbage is related to the changing onshore currents as the shoreline of Port Moresby Harbour is modified by reclamation of land from the sea. These land reclamation projects have caused deviations in the onshore currents thus causing deposition of wastes at Elevala instead of sweeping them out to sea. Obviously, Nasfund isn’t going to dig up Harbour City but its project may be causing the tort of nuisance to the people of Hanuabada if it can be proven that the extension of reclaimed land has modified onshore currents leading to the creation of a Public Health Hazard.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sheeple here can learn a thing or two about negotiating from these Fijian villagers

Via Mine Watch

412612_212502168833336_132232873526933_480831_629035198_oIn another unprecedented meeting that took place yesterday in Waivaka Village, Namosi, Government officials led by the head of Mineral Resources Department (Malakai Finau), got gob-smacked by very clear, strong and bold Namosi landowners. Having prepared for the meeting by putting their daily chores on hold, the entire Waivaka village of some 200+ waited patiently for the arrival of the MRD delegation to start the meeting at 10am (time set by the visitors – who arrived after 11.45am). Present at the meeting were - MRD (Malakai Finau), Lands, Fiji Police Force, Provincial Council, PWD Engineers and the Villagers of Waivaka. The visitors were met by the community protest banners flying proud and high in their village – ‘NO MINING’, ‘SAVE OUR PARADISE’.

The agenda was set by MRD on the behest of global mining giant Newcrest under Namosi Joint Venture – the issue: the blocking of access to NJV by the landowners pending grievances that have not been resolved over the past 12 months. The community hall was packed to capacity with men, women and youth (and children) ready to hear from MRD With regards to the lifting of the ban, and why it is important for landowners to play ball – by letting NJV continue access for their work. What happened was nothing short of awesome and inspiring on the part of the non-formally educated landowners who took the delegation to task from the word go – literally.

In a tag-team effort, the landowners intercepted the agenda, hijacked it and left the delegation looking askance and uncomfortable - again.

First off, the spokesman, demanded to know why the delegation was late. That as villagers, there is a lot to do in a day rather then sitting around waiting for a delegation who set the meeting time and they were told that if they say 10am then be there at that time and have some respect for the villagers.

From the response of the engineer who was there (the bridge that they crossed needed surveying) the agenda was thrown out the window and the landowners had a field day dictating the direction of the meeting. Not happy with the response from the engineer, the spokesman then turned to the Provincial rep berating him for jumping to NJV’s whining while it is them who have the real greviances. The Provincial rep was asked ‘who do you work for?’ to which he of course, hung his head in shame. At this point, the Hall began emptying with villagers not wanting to waste anymore time listening to flimsy excuses and further lies from those who are now seen to be doing NJVs’ bidding.

In an attempt to salvage their meeting agenda and one supposes, their collective pride, the delegation then handed over the meeting to the police rep (who hid his badge number) for him to bring out the main gun – lift the ban or be taken to jail. It was noted that the police rep spoke strongly about the illegality of the ban put in place by the landowners. But he was speaking strongly to a steadily emptying community Hall.

The final comment of the day came from the Turaga-ni-Mataqali or the clan headman, an old catechist with a lot of passion and growing confidence who straightened himself up to sitting position, looked coldly at the police officer and said to him ‘I am the landowner, are you threatening me? If you want to remove the ban, then you remove it. But hear me today – we are not going to remove the ban and allow access, not today not ever. You want to take us to jail, go ahead and take all of us. You say that what we are doing is illegal – what about what NJV is doing to us – their lies, their illegal activities that has breached our agreement; is that legal? Why are you not arresting them, why do you come here to us?’.

After this statement to which he needed no response, the old man stood up and left the meeting Hall to go and have lunch.

And here is the kicker – in a Fijian village, the visitor is hailed and feted and if they are from Government, the more effort is put in. Yesterday, Malakai Finau, Head of MRD in Fiji was made to look a fool with his Government friends. At the end of the meeting, all that was left in the previously filled Hall were the Government delegation and two school-boys who were kind enough to stay and taki their kava. The rest of the villagers – having waited and heard nothing but threats and more NJV strong-arming, went back to their homes and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.

Overheard by one villager was the NJV rep asking the police rep, on their way out, about the success of the delegation in getting the Company access again. The villager overheard the police rep saying ‘no, not now’.

The war rages on.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In defense of Buai sellers

 

clip_image002Wanpla sis salim buai long Madang. Mi kisim piksa blong em na em givim mi fri buai

Apparently, according to some people I’m the spokesperson for street vendors. I am a street vendor but I’m not sure if I’m a spokesperson. In any case there is a need to articulate the cause of street vendors – more commonly referred to as buai sellers.

Buai, betelnut or areca catechu is a nut of a palm tree found throughout the lowlands of the Asia Pacific region. It is a mild stimulant with the active ingredient arecholine known to have effects such as increased perspiration and salivation as well as a heightened sense of well being.

It is perhaps the most commonly consumed drug in Papua New Guinea. Sales of betelnut run into the hundreds of millions of kina nationwide. It is big business and is largely in the control of average Papua New Guineans.

Unfortunately, the country is being run by colonized minds who do not appreciate this economic empowerment of Papua New Guineans through the sale of betelnut. Furthermore, the sheeple who have gone through a disempowering education system have been brainwashed by their teachers not to become buai sellers. And out of touch middle-class kids whose parents slave for foreign companies, love to poke fun at buai sellers.

The consequence of this perverted mindset is that the Government of Papua New Guinea is more than willing to bend over to foreign exploiters and facilitate their entry but it clamps down on street vendors – its own citizens.

The Government of Papua New Guinea was more than willing to clean up the mess after the miners fucked up at Tolukuma and Ok Tedi yet it doesn’t want to spend a small amount of money cleaning up buai stains and husks. The Government of Papua New Guinea can allow Chinese miners to dump millions of tonnes of toxic mine waste into the Bismarck Sea but it gets pissed off with a little bit of buai rubbish.

Whereas money from mining disappears into thin air above Waigani, money from selling betelnut gets into the hands of many rural Papua New Guineans. The profits made by foreign companies go overseas to their shareholders but the profits from selling betelnut stay in Papua New Guinea. It seems to me that the only true Papua New Guineans are the buai sellers while the rest of the sheeple who despise them are suckers to foreigners.

What is the cost of cleaning up the mess foreigners create compared to the cost of cleaning up the pipia from buai sales? I’m sure you will find that you sheeple’s government loves cleaning up foreigners shit like they did on Bougainville.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Namah Drama a real-life thriller

 clip_image002

Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah came out in Public yesterday to call on Prime Minister Peter O’Neil to resign his post. Namah's spat with the PM comes amidst controversy over the incident in Indonesian airspace between the Falcon jet carrying Namah and an Indonesian Fighter jet.

Mr. Namah was incensed with what he perceived as the lack of support he was receiving from the PM regarding the incident. Mr. Namah was expecting full blown diplomatic sanctions against Indonesia while Prime Minister O’Neil was content with sending a diplomatic protest not to the Indonesian Ambassador.

By late yesterday evening speculation had increased with some quarters claiming that Prime Minister O’Neil had sacked Mr. Namah from his post. Blogger Nou Vada tweeted yesterday evening about the sacking. Mr. Vada claimed his source to be a lawyer who just happened to work for a law firm associated with Somare.

As the chatter on social networking site Facebook increased to epic proportions, Lawyer Tiffany Twivvey smothered the flame. Posting regarding the rumor about Namah’s sacking Ms Twivvey stated;

“Not true. Rubbish. O’Neil/Namah govt stronger than ever – despite plot by RH owned/pro Somare National beating up a story to try and destabilize them.”

The National Newspaper aka The Daily Log is widely known to be Somare’s cheerleader. The fact that Mr. Namah was on the Falcon with Oil Palm executives also highlights why RH has a conflict of interest over the matter. RH’s Gilford Oil Palm operation in Pomio has recently come under scrutiny. Mr. Namah’s Oil Palm SABL in Sandaun hasn’t had such negative publicity.

Many believe that Mr. Namah and his business associates pose a threat to RH’s business interests as it now moves into the Oil Palm Industry following its unsustainable depletion of forests resources in Papua New Guinea. It should now become obvious to the sheeple of Papua New Guinea that RH has moved into areas like retailing aka Vision City because it has unsustainably logged much of the forested area.

Meanwhile, one analyst has linked the recent protests outside the Indonesian Embassy, to NCD Governor Powes Parkop. Mr. Parkop is a human rights Lawyer and known West Papuan Sympathizer.

According to the analyst, the Protest Leader, Mr. Michael Tataki, is an associate of Governor Parkop. In an email sent to the Namorong Report, the analyst stated:

“Ok so what this means is Parkop is supporting Namah. And the problem with Parkop is that he is still surrounding himself with the ole Melsol boys – Michael Tataki – oh dear. Parkop told his boys to go picket. No doubt told Namah he could get some people to picket. Well he succeeded.”

The protestors are demanding K430 million compensation from the Indonesian Government for the incident involving Namah and the Falcon.

The Namah Drama is turning out to be a power play that even Shakespeare would be envious about. With a powerful cast and crew, whatever will transpire remains to be seen. Our Hamlet has a lot on his plate.

“To be or not be, that is the question: whether ‘tis Nobler in mind to suffer The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or take Arms against the Sea of troubles.” [Hamlet, by Shakespeare]

Monday, January 9, 2012

Survival guide for 2012

 

clip_image002Youth from Rempi village, Madang Province, attend a training program on mobilization in response to Globalization.

When I was in grade 10 I bought a book about Charles Darwin and read a bit of it. Then, I learnt about Natural Selection and competition between species. I also figured that the most powerful weapon a person had was his or her brain.

One thing I understand about myself is that my body is just a shell that contains genetic material that wants to be transferred. Decisions about self preservation and feeding and ultimately reproduction are all geared towards ensuring the transmission of genes. Nature demands that those GENES be transferred before the shell (body) becomes useless, i.e. dead.

Competition amongst humans like elsewhere in biology is to ensure that the weak get eliminated and only genes from good stock get transmitted thus ensuring better chances of survival of the species.

It would be nice to think that by some act of God or magic, people would become more caring and have respect for their fellow citizens. The reality is that such thinking is wishful thinking. It aint gon happen in this country. It aint gon happen in this world. People are governed not just by human constructs of social norms but by their innate biology.

The blunt truth about life in Papua New Guinea is that it is based on very basic, primordial survival instincts. If the person seating next to you leaves their phone for 10 seconds you pick it up and go and sell it and make a few bucks. If you are handling public funds you help yourself with those funds. You help your friends and families while the rest stay in the queue waiting to be served. There are numerous other examples.

Now don’ expect me to say senisim pasin coz I aint interested in changing anyone. I am just highlighting the need for those who are vulnerable, to adapt. There has to be a nationwide adaptation given the circumstances we are being presented with. No, humans aren’t living like animals we are just being what we are biologically –ANIMALS.

Around us changes are happening to our environment and therefore affecting our daily lives both positively and negatively depending on the type of change. Those who are weak in society are being exploited and/or killed. Thus the more competitive in society are on the top of the game.

Now, by competitive I don’t necessarily mean competitively evil. For example, someone who is health-conscious is perhaps more competitive because he or she might live longer or have access to resources and opportunities.

The competitively evil are those who steal from the public purse and get away with it such that they may afford private hospital fees for their children while a 10 year old boy dies. Greedy loggers, being the competitive animals that they are, are ripping off people for the resources on their land. Greedy miners, being the animals they are, are ripping of indigenous communities. Greedy politicians are ripping off voters. Greedy public servants are ripping off everyone. Greedy buai sellers are ripping off their customers. It’s all working according to nature at all levels of society.

Throughout the fossil record one finds animals that are now extinct. Many of them failed to adapt to the changes happening around them. Individuals and communities around PNG need to adapt to the changes facing our country. By adaptation I am NOT implying blanket acceptance of what is imposed but also increased resistance just as in molecular biology genetic mutations provide various species defence mechanisms resist disease and/or cope with ecological changes.

What I’m going to discuss further may disgust you a lot more...

Let me start with the adaptative responses of our people from the Hela region. They seem to be doing well by threatening foreign workers and the State in order to extort money. I wonder if our Koiari friends will shut down water and electricity to Port Moresby to get a few hundred thousand bucks from NCD. The Sinivit landowners shut the mine to negotiate for compensation. So far these techniques have been far more effective way for resource owners to gain benefits. Perhaps resource owners need to increase their threats and extortions.

Our law and justice sector has a very weak record in holding crooks accountable. There is an idea floating around influential circles, of having Death Squads to deal with corrupt crooks. I think such death squads would be more effective adaptation compared to an impotent legal system.

You’re probably really pissed but seriously do the sheeple have to continue turning the other cheek while their mothers and sisters get raped. The Morobeans had enough of the crap in Lae and they solved a crime problem that the Police and Churches were utterly incapable of sorting out. Perhaps we need more Lae riots to sort out the issues with settlers if relevant institutions fail to address settlement problems.

Good MPs like Parkop and Sam Basil have done a lot for their people. In this year’s elections, Vote good leaders and maybe things will change. If that doesn’t work do what the Helas did to Somare and his delegation. Roger Haofa will tell you the story of how the Hela Province came into fruition after Somare was welcomed with stones.

Given the difficulties faced by individuals and societies as vulture capitalism unleashes itself throughout PNG, adaptation is imperative. Basically, to survive in our ever changing world we need to understand that every one of us is a competitor for resources. Natural ecosystems maintain a balance because all competing interests cancel out each other in a natural order.

Melanesians societies once maintained a natural order but this has been disrupted. Today Melanesians and their communities are coming under increasing pressure from various dominant exploiters from with-in and with-out. Melanesian societies must adapt or become extinct.

The most powerful weapon we have is our brain. Innovative ideas and technology need to be harnessed to augment the threats to survival of indigenous peoples throughout PNG.

Facing Western Province’s TB crisis

 

clip_image002People travelling on a sailing canoe in the South Fly of Western Province

TB is an airborne opportunistic infection. It is associated with HIV/AIDS as one of the opportunistic pathogen that infects an immune-compromised individual. But HIV alone cannot explain why TB cases are HIGHER in Western Province. Addressing issues such as nutrition and improving access to healthcare may also reduce the prevalence of TB in the communities.

The rise of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) TB poses greater risks to the population. MDR-TB arises when treatment regimes are not adhered to. However the latest indications are that MDR-TB is now transmitted with-in the community. MDR-TB is very difficult to cure.

This has made Tuberculosis a major Public Health nightmare in the Western Province. One could almost classify it as an epidemic. The spillover effect is being felt by Health Authorities in Queensland Australia.

However, there is very little, if any epidemiological data about the natural history of the disease. The problem with the lack of epidemiological data is that one therefore cannot devise targeted strategies aimed at eradicating the disease.

The Center for Disease Control defines epidemiology as such:

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of this study to the control of health problems.

There are two ways such data can be collected; (1) is a hospital-based data collection based on clinical records and the other is (2) a population based data collection done by screening specified populations.

With the advent of mobile coverage over more than 90% of the population, there exists a potential for crowd-sourcing public health information including that of TB. While there may be discrepancies in the information provided by the public, the information can be used to compare with clinical statistics to get a picture of the extent of the problem.

Mathew Morris from the Development Policy Center of the Australian National University has u mapped out road problems in PNG based on sms reports. Such crowd-mapping can be used to pinpoint cases of TB throughout Western Province. This visual representation of the geographical distribution of TB can then be used by Public Health authorities to rationalize the allocation of TB drugs, staff and resources to various Health facilities in the province.

Toxicology studies also need to be done to determine whether mine wastes discharged into the Fly and Strickland Rivers, are poisoning the people of Western Province and compromising immunity to disease thus allowing TB to thrive.

It is a disgrace that a resource rich province should be so poorly led and incompetently managed. The Governor of the Province is a medical doctor yet under his nose, the province has suffered the most in the domain of Public Health. Public Health authorities in the Province are also equally culpable.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Darkness of Neon Lights

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Above: Remnants of a lamb flabs and buai stall at 5 mile

The recent demolishing of the street stalls at 5 mile is blow to those of us who believe its better to make our own money than to beg for handouts. To me the 5 mile markets were fast becoming a cultural icon as they where redefining the city nightscape. They were a means of people from various parts of the city connecting with each other.

The street vendors in various parts of the city are respected by the youth in those suburbs because they help them out when these young people don’t have enough koins long baim buai na smuk. Indeed, one of the reasons I feel safe walking the streets of Port Moresby is the luksave I get from the street vendors. As a buai kastoma I feel protected by the influence of the street vendors over the youth in the suburbs. Ol i save lukautim kastoma blong ol.

The fact that he 5 mile buai market operated 24/7 also indicated that the area had a low crime risk. Indeed, that’s exactly the case at 3 mile area around Port Moresby General Hospital. Spots like the 5 mile buai market and the 3 mile bus stop canteens are a night oasis where city residents feel safe to venture out at night.

If indeed Governor Parkop was genuine about residents of Port Moresby reclaiming the nights, it will come from community initiatives like the 5 mile buai markets as opposed to the tokenism of NCD’s Jack Pidik Park garage sales. It is a fallacy to think that such night markets fuel crime. Let’s face it; if crime was prevalent, customers would be deterred and no vending could occur.

There is also an important consideration of the economic empowerment of so called unskilled Papua New Guineans who for various reasons are unable to participate in the formal economy. The informal economy allows them to participate in the prosperity of Papua New Guinea. The unchecked population growth and burgeoning urban youth demography pose serious threats to stability and security of our nation. To prevent this vulnerable demography from participating in the informal economy is to fuel the growing sense of disenfranchisement amongst the youth.

Indeed, the recent Lae riots highlight the disenfranchisement felt by Morobean youth. The Morobeans felt that their opportunities to participate in the informal economy were being undermined by the deals made between Chinese shop owners and nonMorobean street vendors. This growing sense of disenfranchisement coupled with a growing crime rate and the lack of political will to address these issues, fuelled the rioting in Lae.

With current inflationary pressures being created by the LNG Project, many urban families need to participate in the informal economy; in order to make ends meets. No doubt, the families at 5 mile did so via their street stalls. It was therefore an economic injustice to have their stalls destroyed and thousands of Kina worth of goods lost.

I’m sure the policemen who did the damage would relate to the plight of these 5 mile families. I recently bought fried lamb flabs and banana from the folks at Gordons Police Barracks opposite Wardstrip Primary School.

I must say also that I do have a rather sentimental attachment to the 5 mile buai markets. I’ve been a street vendor myself these past couple of years after dropping out of school. I saw the 5 mile markets as the epitome of street vending; a class of its own whose splendor and elegance at night shone in proud contrast to that of Governor Parkop’s water fountain. Indeed, in my opinion it was an enhancement of the 5 mile nightscape albeit with betelnut husks strewn along the sewage-filled footpath.

I nicknamed it the 5 mile buai Market “Bangkok” because at night it reflected one of those night markets one would see in South East Asia. I’ve never been to South East Asia, I’m just drawing about hours of Television viewing. It was my little piece of overseas just as in the darkness of the settlement nights; the settlers of Kaugere refer to brightness of the Touaguba lights as overseas.

5 mile Bangkok was to me an antithesis to the commercialized image of the Governors water fountain. We the ordinary people’s (The 99%s) practical response to the capitalist’s (The 1 %s) expensive water fountain of little practical value to the ordinary citizen other than a purely ascetic function. Perhaps the money used to maintain an expensive water fountain could have been diverted to assisting street vendors at 5 mile keep the vending area clean.

The benefits of a water fountain are not easily quantifiable but the benefits of assisting street vendors keep the city clean are numerous. Betelnut markets are a meeting places for many city residents and a lot of friendships a formed there. People discuss politics or local gossip and indeed a sense of community develops around the buai market. It is more of a social networking experience than a commercial one. Street vendors humanize what is a dehumanizing, commercialized city experience that ekes out an existence in a concrete and steel jungle.

Unfortunately, street vendors have a major image problem – Litter. Littering is definitely an issue that is difficult to resolve. There are some snobs who dedicate their Facebook status updates to bashing the buai sellers and chewers for olgeta buai spet that tarnishes the glorious concrete and corrugated iron structures of modernity.

I walked past the 5 mile road on Tuesday 3rd of January. The place just doesn’t feel the same. It’s as if life has been sucked out. I may go as far as to say that 5 mile without its street markets is like Romeo without his Juliet –dead. I hope Governor Parkop brings back the 5 Mile’s Bangkok. If not permanently, just open it one last time for old time’s sake. Mr. Parkop as a Social Democrat should be concerned about putting people before profits.