Friday, May 25, 2012

O'Neil in Charge as Supreme Court Backs down

LATEST NEWS ON 'WHO'S IN CHARGE OF THE COUNTRY'




By: Lisa Pagelio/Toa Sime - Port Moresby



The Supreme Court has amended its orders of Monday, amidst much confusion as who's in charge of the country.The judges had advised the court registrar to amend the original declarations and orders today.In the amended order, the one that's been struck out relates to Governor General Sir Michael Ogio recogniz...ing Grand Chief Sir Michael as the legitimate Prime Minister in line with last December's ruling, then later retracting and recognizing the re-appointment of Peter O'Neill as Prime Minister. The court had ruled that this was unconstitutional and invalid in the original order. The other that's been changed is that of the decisions and actions by the defacto government of Peter O'Neill as Prime Minister and any ministers appointed by him between 2nd August 2011 and 20th May 2012, are NOT open to challenge. This means that all appointments will remain. Grand Chief Sir Michael, will continue to benefit from the perks and privileges of a prime minister, but will not exercise his powers.



Source: NBC NEWS PNG

Papua New Guineans say "Namah MUST GO"

Papua New Guineans are speaking online against the recent actions of Belden Namah against the Chief Justice:


Iva Toguri D'Aquino: Ensure we put a spot light on this emerging dictator, who was once a charged with treason; a TRAITOR whom we have empowered and made a hero.



Sally Tadabe: This is no longer about Sir Solamoa Injia. This is now about whether PNG allows it to become "OK" for any Member, if he/she is unhappy about a court ruling to storm into the highest court in the land -... while it is in session - and scream at the head of the Judiciary. This is a precedent that we must ensure is never repreated.

Ganjiki:


A senior lawyer for the ONamah gang emailed me on Wed attempting to intimidate me into silence re my comments on fb, twitter and my blog. I've responded to that lawyer giving as good as I got and maybe one better...that lawyer has not responded any of my followup emails which have been ccd to my Secretary. Perhaps caught up in trying to counsel Namah....


You're dealing with a man who loves this c...ountry more than his job...and is not afraid to lose something for what he believes in and for his loyalty to the Constitution. I'm not loyal to a clientele like you. I'm loyal to my people. I don't intend to stand aside and let my people believe a well-funded propaganda exercise by rogue politicians and their mercenary lawyers and spin doctors.

It hurts me to see an ill-informed public form ill-informed opinions regarding the rule of law in this country. So I make my comments to give people a side to consider: the side of the Constitution.

Social media and the Internet is all we got. We can't pay for full-page ads nor call a press conference because that spineless press will not come because people like me are so ordinary. Those who can draw the press are either spreading their propaganda or are too spineless to speak the truth.

I hope to God that your consciences will burn as you support a messed-up politician drunk with power and self-righteousness.

I love my country too much to be silent.

God Bless PNG...


Ganjiki

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meetings and interviews dominate Sydney trip

I didn't know about the Kokoda Track Foundation till I met the lovely staff [pictured above with me] who work at the Foundation's Office hia long SYDNEY. I must say I'm impressed with the work they're doing and wish them well.

In Sydney I have also had the privlege of meeting some ex kiaps, teachers, broadcasters and military men who have seen PNG from its formation years to its transformation into a Melanesian State. I got a sense of how things were around independence, and learnt of the "D-cell Battery" INDEX for inflation in PNG, which is now at the Grand Sum of 500%.

I had two interviews yesterday. One on SBS World News regarding the political dogfight in PNG between the Judges and Politicians. The other with Philip Adams on ABC RADIO NATIONAL. [click links to view/listen]. Am I enjoying myself? HELL YEAH!

I've also learnt something about Australia's knowledge of PNG and the Pacific: like the USA, Aussies know very little. This lack of knowledge is graphically illustrated by the type of priority ABC gives to it's Pacific Beat program. Forget the website images, visit the PACBEAT office in Sydney and you will realise where Australia's priorities are -NOT THE SOUTH PACIFIC.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Seeing the Darkness of Neon Lights in Sydney





My view of Sydney when I woke up this morning: My tour of Australia begins today in Sydney

What happened to the trees, the creeks, the rivers, the animals, the plants, the masalai ples... a big city is like a cancer, eating up what makes us human. I can now understand what the Constitutional Fathers might have been referring to when they wrote about THE DARKNESS OF NEON LIGHTS.

Indeed as the aircraft descended into Sydney last night I was shocked at seeing the vast stretches of "lights". I know if I say I wouldn't want to see this happening in PNG, I'd be accused of trying to stop progress. But the price Papua New Guineans will have to bay for such cancerous growth is too much.

Perhaps we need to talk to those Papua New Guineans who've "lost" their land to urbanization and ask them what progress feels like. To every Papua New Guineans, LAND IS LIFE. And whatever you do to your land, you as a Papua New Guinean alter your lifestream for generations to come.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

#PNG ELECTION 2012: tis the season to be silly

Campaigning is currently underway in Papua New Guinea with the big guns flaunting their assets today.

There was a spectacular helicopter fly past over the capital ciy of Port Moresby, annoucing the candidacy of Robert Agarobe for the NCD Regional Seat.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Airlines PNG Plane crashes in Western Province #PNG

BY KEVIN DAYONGA

552832_411128468917871_100000621648310_1220205_1235387280_nAirlines PNG crash landed one of its twin otter planes in Sasaremi airstrip, several kilometres away from the main district town of Balimo.

The plane carrying 11 passengers, two of which were experts, representing UN and World Vision while another is the brother of former Milne Bay Governor Tim Neville, a seven month pregnant lady and three kids including the officers from the National Cultural Commission and the two airline crew.

The event unfolded on Tuesday when they were on their way to Daru and Balimo. Eyes witnesses say the the plane was landing to refuel but slipped of the bumpy runway and was about to plunged itself into a lake when it burst its tyres and iron frames holding the tyres dugged their way into the wet clay soil that prevented the passengers going into the lake with the plane.

The airstrip is privately owned by a logging company Vanimo Jaya, but the strip has never been maintained for quite awhile. Small planes go into refuel at this airstrip before heading to other remote destination because there is no fuel in Daru..

Public Accounts Committee HAD slammed Paga Hill Deal

Via ACTNOW

579982_3983128257517_1260032745_33771988_1049883941_nWhile police are continuing to facilitate the forcible eviction of people living on Paga Hill in Port Moresby despite the protests of their local MP*, we should remember the Public Accounts Committee has already found the land acquisition by the developer was completely corrupt and fraudulent.

These are excerpts from the PAC findings as recorded in their 2009 Report to Parliament on the inquiry into the Department of Lands:

Portion 1597 Milinch Granville, FourMil, Moresby At Paga Hill – Grant to Paga Hill Development Company Ltd.

  • P.60: “On the 18th December 1997 Paga Hill Land Holding Company (PNG) Pty. Ltd. Was granted an Urban Development Lease (UDL) over Portion 1597 Granville Port Moresby. This land comprises 13.7 hectares of Paga Hill in Port Moresby – virtually all the hill ... A large number of onerous conditions attached to the UDL – none of which, the Committee concluded, have been complied with by the Lessee”.
  • P.60: “The land was a Gazetted National Park and could not be granted away to private hands. The Committee finds that this land was of great National importance and a prime piece of recreational land for residents of Port Moresby. How the land came to be given to private speculators is a good illustration of the failings and corrupt conduct of the Department of Lands and Physical Planning. The continuing refusal of the Department to recover the land for the State well illustrates the continued acquiescence of the Department in corrupt dealings and clearly shows the extent to which private interests control the Department at the expense of the state and the citizens of Papua New Guinea. The Inquiry was seriously impeded by the Departmental failure to produce any records or documents at all concerning the issue of the original UDL or a subsequent Lease – despite a Notice and Summons to do so”.
  • P.61 “The following analysis of how this National Park came to be in private hands is therefore made with no assistance at all from the Department or its officers”.
  • P.61: “Portion 1597 Milinch Granville, Fourmil Moresby comprising two parts containing a total area of 13,1198 hectares was reserved from Lease by a Declaration in the National Gazette G59 dated the 10th September 1987 for the purposes of “Open Spaces” to be managed by the National Parks Board. In other words the land was preserved for future generations as a National Park. There were good reasons for this to occur. The Land is of considerable historical importance to the nation, containing as it does, Wartime Bunkers, Gun Emplacements, tunnels and, apparently, significant pre-historical sites. Further, the situation of the land in the centre of a growing city offers superior recreational facilities to the occupants of Port Moresby. It is now and will increasingly be a vital recreational area for central Port Moresby ... There is no apparent Gazettal of Revocation of the Reservation of Lease or the Certificate Authorising Occupancy of Land until the National Capital District Physical Planning Board by Meeting 2a/2000 rezoned the land from Open Space to Commercial, Part Residential, Part Public Institutional and Part Utilities by Gazette Notice dated 22nd May 2000. Precisely, how, why and at whose request this was done remains totally unclear in the absence of documents or records from the Department ... In or about 1995, the National Parks Board ceased to exist. There was no management of the Park and it is fair to assume that speculators saw the land as ripe for acquisition. The State, in general, and the Department of Lands and Physical Planning in particular allowed and cooperated in the taking of this National Park [62] from the citizens of Papua New Guinea by profiteers who, subsequent events showed, had no capacity to develop the land at all ... Four applications for grant of this Land were referred to Papua New Guinea Land Board No. 1991 (Item 2) each seeking a grant of a Business (Commercial) Lease over the land – one of which was Paga Hill Land Holding (PNG) (sic). The Land was still a National Park. The Committee can establish that Land Board No.1991 purported to convene on Friday 22nd August 1997 ... It seems that the Land Board No 1991 recommended that “Paga Hill Land Holdings PNG” (sic) be granted a Lease over Portion 1597 Milinch Granville Fourmil Moresby .... [63] An Improvement Covenant is clearly set out in that UDL. It requires improvements to a value of K 300 million to be undertaken in the first five years of occupation ... As of March 2006, there is no development on the land at all. How the Land Board concluded that the Grantee could meet the Improvement Covenant is unknown in the absence of any documentation”.
  • P.65 “The failure to comply with the UDL covenants, particularly the Improvements Covenant, should have resulted in the Department forfeiting the Lease – or at the least, not issuing a Business Lease. More properly, the Department of Lands should have channelled the Lease years ago on the basis that it was unlawfully issued”.
  • P.65 “In 2000, a company called Paga Hill Development Co. (PNG) Ltd was formed”.
  • P.66 “On the 01/09/2000, a Business Lease over Portion 1597 Granville was granted to Paga Hill Development (PNG) Ltd. This Lease was registered as State Volume No. 24 Folio 159. How and why this new Company, rather than the original Grantee, was able to obtain this Lease is unknown. The Lease should have been issued to the same company that held the Urban Development Lease.
  • P.66. “The Department itself states that the UDL has not been surrendered – so two Leases appear to exist over the same land. In a memo to the Secretary for Lands, dated the 18th March 2003, the issue of the Business Lease is described as ‘dubious’”. Notes that the issuing of the lease was illegal.
  • P.67, the rent for the land should have been K250,000 p.a., in a “handwritten notation” it was reduced to K50,000. No one knows who was the offer who reduced the rent.
  • P.68: “This means that with the active collusion of the Department, the state has lost a minimum of approximately K 900,000 from 2000 until 2005 ... “The Committee was advised that the Lessee could not pay even this reduced amount. A Departmental Officer then agreed to allow the Lessee to pay the Land Rent over a period. This Officer had no power to do so.”
  • P.69 – It appears Rommily Kila Pat the Department Secretary was responsible for the rent reduction and extension.
  • P.69 “As if these illegalities were not enough, on the 21st October 2002, the then Minister for Lands agreed to a request from the principal of Paga Jill Development Company limited, to waive all past and future rentals until January 2006. The reason for the request by the Lessee was that the Land Rental could be better used in resourcing international investors to develop the land – a contention with which the Minister agreed” But the Department refused to accept the waiver.

* Read more about the forced evictions:

http://namorong.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/dame-carol-protests-destruction

Dame Carol highlights corruption in Paga Hill Deal

Life at Paga Hill After the damage done by Capitalist thugs

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JEFFRY FEEGER

Prominent PNG Arts, RATOOS and JEFFREY FEEGER will be doing a live painting performance on Saturday (TOMMOROW) out at the round about outside BSP Bank IN DOWN TOWN PORT MORESBY to also help raise some funds for the group of leaders from Paga whom have registered themselves as the Paga Heritage. Under that name they will be defending themselves in Court.

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Freedom from Oppression by Vampire Capitalists

575314_3983119617301_1260032745_33771977_2047987857_nHow do you think I'd be feeling if I was one of those teenage boys looking on while there mothers and sisters were screaming and crying as Policemen protected those wrecking their homes and destroying the few precious belongings they owned.
How we define Justice? How do we define Truth? We begin by recognizing that all peoples are born equal with certain inalienable rights.
It is not the State that grants you those rights. Rather, the State is created by people to protect those Natural Rights.
When those Rights are trampled by the State, All Free People have the Right to Free themselves from that bondage by ALL POSSIBLE MEANS.

EXTRACT FROM THE AMERICAN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

— That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New “Che-style” flyer for Take the Truth to Oz Tour

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TAKING THE TRUTH TO AUSTRALIA

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MY TOUR DATES

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SYDNEY: Monday 21 May, 2pm - Jackson Wells Board Room, Level 2, 81-91 Military Road, Neutral Bay (opp Oaks Hotel). Register here
CANBERRA: Tuesday 29 May, 4pm, Hotel Kurrajong, National Circuit, Barton. To register email Ben Jackson here
BRISBANE: Friday 1 June, 3pm, Sherwood Services Club, Corinda [cnr Browne and Clewley Sts, directly opposite Corinda Railway Station]. Email Murray Bladwell here if you’d like to attend

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Forced Eviction at Paga Hill - A Brief History of Portion 1597 Granville

Dr Kristian Lasslett*

“The [Paga Hill] Estate will promote a way of life not yet seen in Papua New Guinea. A secure environment will be achieved not through fencing and guards, but a sense of community that will be fostered amongst residents and visitors alike”.

- Paga Hill Development Company (2012).

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Image: Displaced Paga Hill residents stand by demolished homes (Source: Jeffry Freeger)

On the 12th of May 2012, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary officers attempted to demolish the Paga Hill settlement in Port Moresby to make way for a hotel and commercial complex being developed by the Paga Hill Development Company (PHDC) – allegedly in partnership with Hilton Hotels (Radio Australia, 14/5/12). Bulldozers destroyed homes, while distraught residents looked on. When opposition leader Dame Carol Kidu attempted to stop the demolition, she was assaulted by heavily armed officers, and frog marched from the area (footage from the eviction can be viewed here).

According to the developer, they have followed due process in obtaining the eviction (Radio Australia, 14 May 2012). Moreover, they suggest their title to the land at Paga Hill is sound. In a press release dated 13 April 2012, PHDC observe: “The Paga Hill Development Company (PHDC) holds a 99 Year Lease over the 13.7 hectare site known as Paga Hill, abutting the Port Moresby central business district”.

In the same press release PHDC also note: “Investigations by both the Ombudsman Commission and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have found no wrong-doing on the part of PHDC, or the associated government entities in issuing the leases over the site”.

This is an interesting interpretation of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigation. In their 2009 report on the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, PAC provides detailed commentary on the Paga Hill site:

1. First, they emphasise the social, cultural and historical significance of Paga Hill: “The land is of considerable historical importance to the nation, containing as it does, Wartime Bunkers, Gun Emplacements, tunnels and, apparently, significant pre-historical sites. Further, the situation of the land in the centre of a growing city offers superior recreational facilities to the occupants of Port Moresby. It is now and will increasingly be a vital recreational area for central Port Moresby”.

2. Despite the site’s public significance PAC observe, “On the 18th December 1997 Paga Hill Land Holding Company (PNG) Pty. Ltd. was granted an Urban Development Lease (“UDL”) over Portion 1597 Granville Port Moresby. This land comprises 13.7 hectares of Paga Hill in Port Moresby – virtually all the hill ... A large number of onerous conditions attached to the UDL – none of which, the Committee concludes, have been complied with by the Lessee”.

3. As a result of this finding the Committee argues “the failure to comply with the UDL covenants, particularly the Improvement Covenant, should have resulted in the Department forfeiting the Lease – or at least, not issuing a Business Lease”.

4. PAC then note that in 2000 a company called Paga Hill Development Co. (PNG) Ltd was formed. “On the 01/09/2000”, PAC observes, “a Business Lease over Portion 1597 Granville was granted to Paga Hill Development (PNG) Ltd. This Lease was registered as State Volume No. 24 Folio 159. How and why this new Company, rather than the original Grantee, was able to obtain this Lease is unknown. The Lease should have been issued to the same company that held the Urban Development Lease”. According to PAC, “In a memo to the Secretary for Lands, dated 18th March 2003, the issue of the Business Lease is described as ‘dubious”. While PAC argues, “the Business Lease related to the entire area and assumed that all the land was zoned ‘Commercial’. This was not the case. There were varied zonings and the Lease was illegally issued”.

5. Like with the UDL, PAC claims the covenants attached to the Business Lease were not complied with “The Lease contained only very basic covenants requiring payment of Land Rent and an Improvement Covenant requiring improvements to a minimum of K 10 million within five years of issue of the Lease – on the 1/09/2000. Neither covenant has been complied with. No attempt has been made to forfeit the Lease by the Department for this failure”.

6. It is also alleged that the proper Land Rent for Portion 1597 was reduced in an improper fashion “On the 24/05/2001, the Lease was changed by handwritten notation which reduced the Land Rent from K250,000 per annum to K50,000”. However, PAC claims it was advised that “the Lessee could not pay even this reduced amount. A departmental Officer then agreed to allow the Lessee to pay the Land Rent over a period. The Officer had no power to do so”.

As a result of these findings, PAC concludes “that the State has been deprived of Rental payments by the illegal expedient of retrospectively changing the Lease condition and by the failure of the Department to recover the land either by forfeiture or by cancellation of the Lease...Why the Lease has not been forfeited is unknown. Land Rent is in arrears and no development at all has taken place. Non-compliance with the Leasehold improvement covenant and/or non-payment of land rent for six months constitutes grounds for forfeiture”.

I will leave it up to the reader to determine whether the PAC has indeed “found no wrong-doing on the part of PHDC, or the associated government entities in issuing the leases over the site”, as the developer claims.

Of course, that is not to say that the settlers at Paga Hill necessarily have a valid title – this is a matter to be determined. Nevertheless, freelance journalist Catherine Wilson (2012), who visited the community in February 2012, reports:

Paga Hill Settlement, home to about 3,000 people from at least nine provinces in PNG, is situated on customary, or traditional land owned by the Lohia Doriga people in a prime location adjacent to Port Moresby’s downtown business district...At Paga Hill, settlers have been given permission to reside on the land by the traditional landowners. [emphasis added]

The article is certainly worth reading in full.

Clearly, there are a lot of complex legal issues being contested in this case. Not helping matters is the systematic corruption and mismanagement at the most senior levels in the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, documented in detail by the Auditor General and PAC. In this light, it is quite surprising to learn that a major hotel chain such as Hilton Hotels has made an agreement with the developers. They certainly must be confident that PAC’s findings are baseless.

*Kristian Lasslett is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Ulster and he sits on the Executive Board of the International State Crime Initiative.

The smelly beast that’s Paga Hill Development Corporation

DAME_CAROL_KIDU_ARREST_THREAT-1.mp4_000107840Ok so maybe if you own a prime piece of property in Port Moresby, you’re freak’n rich. But the latest information publicly available on Paga Hill Development corporation has revealed that its assets were valued at K100 and liabilities also at K100 in 2006, according to its annual returns.

The shareholders of the company are listed as:

Barry James Cheshire, an Australian with a registered address in Queensland

George Hallit, an Australian with a registered address in Port Moresby

Gregory Mark Harrison-Ward, an Australian with a registered address in Port Moresby

Tracy Veronica Kluck, an Australian with a registered address in Queensland

Stanley Liria Kuli, a Papua New Guinean with a registered address in Port Moresby

John Dale Martin, an Australian with a registered address in Queensland

Kwadi Inn Ltd, a Port Moresby based company

The Company Directors are listed as follows; Tau Asigau Fridriksson, a Papua New Guinean and Stanley Liria.

The company secretary is Gudmundur Fridriksson an Icelander .

A Google search of Stanley Liria and Gudmundur Fridriksson FOUND that both have been linked to missing K18 million for Komo-Magarima electorate. 

Mr Fridriksson himself is a colour blind Icelander implicated in the failed publication of Destination PNG 25th Independence Anniversary Book in the mid 90s. The Fridrikssons, who, despite PNG's hard times, pocketed a cool $2.5 million from the PNG Government for the failed book, and fled to Cairns in 1996 after having their assets in PNG frozen by the National Court.

Dame Carol Kidu has also highlighted concerns about the process by which Paga Hill Development Corporation acquired the land. Dame Carol wrote:

The original granting of the Title to Paga Hill Holdings Ltd was deemed to be fundamentally flawed and the 2000 Title issued to Paga Holdings Ltd was cancelled. Paga Hill Holdings then recreated itself as Paga Hill Development Company Ltd and reapplied for the Title. It also requested a reduction in the land rentals owing on the Title from K250, 000 to K50, 000. It is inconceivable that the land rent value of this prime land would decrease between 2000 (issue of first Title) and 2009 (issue of second Title in spite of the 2006 Public Accounts Report).

I question the ethics of the issuing of the second Title.

A change in the PAC Chairperson also resulted in a "review" of the original finds in 2006. The company (Paga Hill Development Company Ltd) has no fundamental rights to this land. Portion 1597 before the issue of what appears to be a fraudulent Title obtained by ignoring Section 67 of the Land Act had several “owners”, including the people of Papua New Guinea in the portion originally gazetted as National Park; the National Housing Corporation and its tenants (primarily public servants) ; the Police Department (portion allocated to Police Legacy).

The Paga Hill BEAST is surely a smelly beast. The People of PNG deserve better. A Commission of Inquiry needs to be set up in relation to this land deal and associated human rights abuses.

PNG’s ROGUE PARLIAMENT dissolves for elections

"We are paying tribute to each other, however some of us will return and MOST of us will not!" - Mr Bart Philemon speaking on the floor yesterday

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328482_235013996568507_100001797260330_546371_663999105_oPapua New Guinea’s most controversial Parliament has been dissolved for the National Elections.

Like the Greeks and French, Papua New Guineans are expected to punish most sitting Members of Parliament in the polls. However unlike the Europeans Papua New Guineans have almost consistently voted out non performing MPs only to have them replaced by another incompetent bunch of knuckle brains.

This begs the question: “if the elections are at the root of democratic government, is democracy failing Papua New Guineans?”

There are growing calls for political reform. Speaking during Media Freedom Day celebrations at Divine Word University, Bougainville President, John Momis called for greater autonomy of provinces.

Throughout Melanesia calls for political reform are gaining momentum. In Fiji, consultations are underway for a new Constitution. In Vanuatu, calls are being made for the Westminster system to be chucked out. It is glaringly obvious that the systems of government imposed by the colonizers on Melanesians have been a monumental failure.

No one will miss PNG’s Rogue Parliament of 2007-2012.

Papua New Guineans however are weary of the cunning tactics developed by this Rogue Parliament, being used again following the polls in June. Political reform is therefore imperative as a maintenance of the status quo will only perpetuate such gross abuses as witnessed in recent times.

Devolution of Powers to the Provinces will reduce the shocks of centralized government making rogue decisions as experienced recently. The new Parliament will have to change the status quo. It is not good enough to just undo the damage done by this Rogue Parliament, without undoing the mechanisms by which they were first created.

The new Parliament will have to seriously consider overhauling national order.

EVENTS IN THE ROGUE PARLT AS IT DISSOLVED

BY REGINALD RENAGI

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has just finished addressing parliament and Deputy PM; Belden Namah is now addressing the floor. BN is thanking everyone who stood with the PM on 2 August last year to facilitate the required change. PNG must be prepared to accept the new changes envisaged under a new leadership and political landscape.

DPM is now giving tribute to Dame Kidu and Sir Mekere Morauta for their long service to PNG politics and wishes them well in their retirement from politics, and other future endeavours. DPM also makes further reference to other elder MPs who needs to also follow these two MPs good example, and not be like dinosaurs by hanging on to their political positions for as long as they can. Could he be referring to the former PM, MTS and to Sir J? DPM also assured the house that he is hoping the government will be returned to power after the polls to initiate certain fundamental political reforms...one change he would like to see is an improvement to our electoral system.

The opposition leader, Dame Carol Kidu is now addressing the floor. The Dame thanks the former PM MTS for making her a Minister in his government when she did not have the numbers like the other MPs had. The Dame also thanks former DPM in the former government for supporting her in her lonely position of being the lone opposition leader as her deputy. She thanks her constituent, the people of Moresby South for returning her to parliament on three terms. Carol Kidu also agrees that while we need good political reforms but we must not do it at the expense of political expediency. Further commendation goes to her former Department of Community Development for its efforts to make the community a safer place for our people. Dame Carol Kidu wishes all her parliamentary peers all the best in the coming elections and welcomes any new players to the People's Assembly after the polls.

Dame Carol Kidu gave a very good and memorable farewell address as the parliamentary opposition leader this afternoon without once being interrupted by anyone.
Thank you for your service to parliament, government and the people of PNG in your many capacities as a state minister and especially to the people of Moresby-South and the Motu-Koitabu communities of Central Province.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

PAPUA NEW GUINEANS SHARE... [unlike greedy Capitalists]

BY SCOTT WAIDE
35895_450182834998100_100000191626032_1887132_1964781520_nSometime ago, I remarked food tastes a lot better if you share it with others.

When I was little, I always wondered why my grandmother would send small parcels of meat or fish to new neighbors who had just moved in two blocks away. Why would she go out of her way in a province so far from her own village to give away food that we could have easily kept for next week’s supper? She shared what she had without any expectation of getting something in return. Several months later, a child (or several children) would turn up at our door step with a small package with the message: mum sent this for you.

Ok. Who’s your mum? And where do you live? In many instances, we did not know who his parents were because grandma gave away lot of food parcels. Life is richer when you share.
Papua New Guineans have great difficulty eating alone. Food, no matter how small the portion, still has to be shared. From an early age, we are taught to share everything we eat even if there is a lot. Eating alone is boring. It’s not about how delicious or tasteless the food is. The act of sharing nourishes relationships and builds new ones.

There’s an old saying that I must be able to see smoke (from cooking fires) from my neighbors’ house. It means I can’t eat and be content knowing that my neighbor is hungry.
Those relationships that my parents and my grandparents built when I was a child still exist today.

I find help and a place to sleep in the most unlikely places and from the unlikeliest of people. They built those relationships with a future generation in mind – my generation and my children’s generation and those who will come after me.

PAGA HILL SCANDAL: NEW VIDEO OF THE AFTERMATH

 

Joe Moses a community Leader at Paga talks about the inhumane demolition of their homes

Community leader Joe Moses explains that when a stay order was requested from a Magistrate, the Magistrate found in favour of the Capitalists. According to Joe, it was the same Magistrate who had issued the eviction order against the settlers.

One would think that in the interest of Justice the Magistrate would have stepped aside from hearing the case.

Joe says that the settlers counsels had then informed the Capitalists lawyers that an appeal would be lodged in the National Court.

Joe says that despite this notice given to the Capitalist’s counsels, the Capitalists demolished the homes of Paga Settlers.

According to Joe, this was a “demolition exercise” not an “eviction”.

The out of touch elite in Papua New Guinea love preaching to everyone else that they need to “change their attitude”. In reality, the most dangerous people in Papua New Guinea are not the squatter settlers but the out of touch elite who love being the compradors of capitalist pigs.

Monday, May 14, 2012

SCREEN-GRAB OF PAGA HILL SCANDAL

THESE IMAGES EPITOMIZE WHATS FUCKED UP ABOUT PNG. THEY ARE SCREEN GRABS FROM A YOU TUBE VIDEO SHOWING THE PAGA HILL HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE SCANDAL

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EXHIBIT 1: THE POLICEMAN DELIBERATELY PULLS ON THIS SETTLERS SHIRT AT PAGA HILL

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HE TRIES TO SAVE HIS SHIRT.. OH YEAH AND ITS GOT THE FLAG DESIGN. THE FLAG THAT THAT THUG IN POLICE UNIFORM HAS SWORN TO DEFEND

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THE THUG IN POLICE UNIFORM PULLS ON THE SHIRT DELIBERATELY TRYING TO TEAR IT UP

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DAME CAROL INTERVIENES, TRYING TO REMOVES THE COP’S HAND FROM THIS ELDERLY GENTLEMAN

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SWEET SUCCESS!!! THE THUG IN POLICE UNIFORM MUST BE SLEEPING IN A TORN HOME HIMSELF, LIKE OTHER POLICE OFFICERS WHO EKE OUT AN EXISTENCE IN RUN DOWN HOMES BECAUSE SOMEHOW THE COPS DON’T REALIZE THEY’RE PROTECTING THE VERY PEOPLE WHO ARE RIPPING PAPUA NEW GUINEANS OFF

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OH SIR, THE FLAG IS TORN… THE COUNTRY IS FUCKED UP AND THE SHEEPLE SOMEHOW THINK EVERYTHING IS FINE

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THIS IS WHAT WE CALL DEMOCRACY… DEMOCRACY PROTECTS CAPITALISTS… CAPITALISTS EXPLOIT PEOPLE… THE STATE AND ITS STATE APPARATUSES ARE MECHANISMS CAPITALISTS USE TO DESTROY YOU SHEEPLE

Environment Dept authorizes DESTRUCTION of Morobeans by CYANIDE

THE REASON VILLAGERS IN MOROBE PROVINCE CONTINUE TO SEE DEAD FISH IN THE MARKHAM RIVER

More dead fish found

IS BECAUSE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION HAS OPTED TO CONSERVE THE PROFITS OF NEWCREST AND HARMONY GOLD SHAREHOLDERS OF THE HIDDEN VALLEY MINE BY AUTHORIZING CYANIDE TO BE DISCHARGED INTO THE WATUT RIVER WHICH IN TURN FLOWS INTO THE MARKHAM RIVER LOADED WITH CYANIDE

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Paga Hill Scandal: Video of Dame Carol’s harassment by Police

via YouTube

Dame Carol Kidu being harassed by Cops at Paga Hill

Documentary Student from Sydney visiting PNG to make a documentary on Dame Carol as an examination piece got more than she expected when the Member of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition was called to a community to help her constituents. Eviction orders had been given to a settlement community and to a public servants housing area. However the matter was still before the court at Appeal Stage when the eviction was ordered yesterday morning. The public servants and the settlers both have challenged the legitimacy of the Title that has been obtained by a company and the ethics of the procedural irregularities in obtaining the Title. With them Dame Carol has consistently maintained that the prime land should not be lost to the State and that a consortium of the State entities involved should be the in-country partner to the foreign developer (believed to be Hilton Hotels) not the present company holding the Title. The relocation plan offered by the company is completely unacceptable. While Dame carol fought to stop the bulldozers the lawyers and leaders for both the public servants and the settlers were busy dealing with the legal matters and eventually obtained a Stay Order on Humanitarian grounds.

Dame Carol highlights corruption in Paga Hill Deal

Carol A. Kidu, DBE, Dr (hon), MP
Member for Moresby South Electorate
Papua New Guinea National Parliament

427809_189345491187854_100003372143384_284580_1186678027_nAbove: Dame Carol being dragged by cops after protesting Human Rights abuse at Paga Hill

This is to state that as the elected Member for Moresby South electorate for the last nine years, I oppose the proposed development of Portion 1597 Milinch Granville (Paga Hill) by the Paga Hill development Company on several grounds.

I do not oppose the development of Paga Hill per se and have an alternate devlopment model for this Prime land that is an asset belonging to the people of PNG and various State entities. I also recognise that the settlement at the base of Paga Hill will have to go (and have always said that to them) but bulldozing a community does not solve any problems and has never worked anywhere in the world - it only complicates things and creates a huge human rights issue. - the Governor and I and the next MPs are faced with hundreds of displaced families (refugees in their own country) who are now sheltering in tents with candles for lights because their power has been disconnected.

There are babies, elderly, sick peole as well as the fit and some very angry young men
who were kicked viciously by police and for many families everything was destroyed - they actually have no food so the others are trying to help them. I watched women being dragged from their homes screaming while bulldozers were ordered to move in until I eventually got the police to stop the demolition because ther lawyers were on their way
with a Stay Order on humanitarian grounds.

Only a few police maintained a hard line throughout - most started to rethink what they were doing , especially when they realised that their own police legacy land was involved. As they withdrew after the lawyers returned with the Court Order many said "Thanks Mum. I hope you would fight as hard for our families if they were in danger).

* Legality of tenure of land.

The said land was subject to a Parliamentary Enquiry in 2006 lead by Hon John Hickey and the results of that enquiry are very explicit as to the multiplicities of failures and illegalities on the part of the Lands Department and other government bodies concerning that land portion. The parliamentary enquiry found that due processes had not been followed in the issuing of a business and commercial lease and that the NCD Physical Planning Board Special Meeting No 2/2000 in March 2000 contravened Section 67 of the Land Act which specifically precludes the grant of a State.

Lease in contravention of the zoning of the land.

The original granting of the Title to Paga Hill Holdings Ltd was deemed to be fundamentally flawed and the 2000 Title issued to Paga Holdings Ltd was cancelled. Paga Hill Holdings then recreated itself as Paga Hill Development Company Ltd and reapplied for the Title. It also requested a reduction in the land rentals owing on the Title from K250, 000 to K50, 000. It is inconceivable that the land rent value of this prime land would decrease between 2000 (issue of first Title) and 2009 (issue of second Title in spite of the 2006 Public Accounts Report).

I question the ethics of the issuing of the second Title.

A change in the PAC Chairperson also resulted in a "review" of the original finds in 2006. The company (Paga Hill Development Company Ltd) has no fundamental rights to this land. Portion 1597 before the issue of what appears to be a fraudulent Title obtained by ignoring Section 67 of the Land Act had several “owners”, including the people of Papua New Guinea in the portion originally gazetted as National Park; the National Housing Corporation and its tenants (primarily public servants) ; the Police Department (portion allocated to Police Legacy).

A portion is also occupied by a community who were given permission to live there by the
Customary Owners of the land during colonial times. None of the present occupants and/or owners were given the right to be heard before the issuing of the 2009 Title. It involves hundreds of families and thousands of people.

In addition the State made little attempt to protect this prime state asset (other than the Manager of the National Housing Corporation who did a press Statement condemning the issue of the Title after I raised the matter on the Floor and the attempts to evict the public servants a couple of months ago.

The details of money paid to landowners when the land was alienated can be obtained from Dirona Lohia who lives at Konedobu around the back of Post Courier. He has documents from his father but I do not have copies of them.

The proposed development has been published as a computer generated concept design with absolutely no details for public scrutiny. I have not been able to source any detailed development plans and when I questioned at NCDC Board level, it appears that full scopes of work/feasibility etc have not been done. I have not seen any documented evidence of the funds that will be provided by the foreign investor.

To my knowledge no approval has been given to the concept design by the NCDC authorities but this is possibly wrong because I believe that Luciano may now be on either Building Board or Physical Planning Board )they need to check it out).

Nomention has been made of the fact that the NCD sewerage outlet at Paga Point is defunct (as is the one at Joyce Bay) and incapable of servicing such a large development.

Has an environmental impact study been done? I doubt it.

The President of the Police Legacy Association, Mr Ila Geno, (former Police Commissioner and former Chief Ombudsman) has already fought for their land in the past and is willing to fight for it again.

I believe that Paga Hill, like Taurama Hill, may have cultural significance in Motu prehistory and it is a modern history heritage site that needs to be restored (WW2 vandalised remains). I believe that the Museum has now also joined the opposition to the development from that perspective and a Paga Heritage Association has been formed (lead by Ratoos and Joe from the Paga Community).

This is not a development of national significance. It is purely a commercial venture by a company that has no fundamnetal rights to this Prime real estate.

If a consortium of groups that have legitimate claim to this land were put together then that consortium could undoubtedly attract an investor who would develop the area with sensitivity to the original purposes of the alienated land allocations and to the aspirations of
Motu ancestry as the traditional owners of this land.

Such a development could also model a win win situation for redevelopment of prime land that is occupied by settlements. The so called relocation plan put forward by the company was disgusting.

Relevant question I put to the Floor follows - PM did not answer but assured me that a written answer would be forthcoming - it never has and when I attempted to question the Lands Minister to request the answers I was gagged by Speaker (not being able to ask same question twice).

My question without notice concerns fraudulent and/or improper issuing of land titles. It is a major problem throughout PNG but I will restrict my question to 4 land matters in my own electorate of Moresby South.

Case 1 concerns the prime land of Paga Hill and the tenure status of Portion 1597 Milinch Granville. This case has a long history which I cannot give in full detail but the documentation is here for the Minister. This portion of Paga Hill included a declared National Park – to remain for future generations of Papua New Guineans; a portion for the Police Legacy Fund; some institutional government housing on it occupied by long serving Public Servants of our nation as well as a small section occupied by long term settlers who were given permission to settle there by the customary land owner of the foreshore area in colonial times.

The said land was subject to a Parliamentary Enquiry in 2006 and the results of that enquiry are very explicit as to the multiplicities of failures and illegalities on the part of the Lands Department and other government bodies concerning that land portion. (summary in
Attachment 1A)

The parliamentary enquiry found that due processes had not been followed in the issuing of a business and commercial lease and that the NCD Physical Planning Board Special Meeting No 2/2000 in March 2007 contravened Section 67 of the Land Act which specifically
precludes the grant of a State Lease in contravention of the zoning of the land.

My questions are

1. Is the Minister aware that not only one lease was issued in 2000 and was found to be illegal by the Parliamentary Enquiry of 2006 but then in 2009 an application was made for relaxation of the covenants and conditions specified in the earlier improper lease and a second lease was issued again contravening Section 67 of the Land Act?

2. Is the Minister aware that the applicant for the original lease was Paga Hill Land Holding Company (PNG) Ltd (registered in 1997) and then it reinvented itself as the Paga Hill Development Company PNG and now holds State Lease 34 Folio 176 for a term of 99 years from April 2009?

3. Is the Minister aware of the composition of shareholders of this company? (The extract from a company search on 27th February 2012 is attached (1B) – it is noticeably overseas shareholders of land that was zoned as National Park for future generations of Papua New
Guineans.

4. Is the Minister aware that this company had not paid the appropriate outstanding land tax to the Government of PNG and yet the Title was issued?

5. Will the Minister protect this land for future generations of PNG? It has cultural significance in Motu prehistory; it has historical significance with war remains.

6. Will the Minister ensure that we do not allow this valuable land asset to leave the custodianship of Papua New Guineans for the commercial benefit of a few?

The follow up question that was gagged is as follows:

These questions expand from my earlier questions relevant to fraudulent Land Titles. Today I want to focus on the impact on people as well as land.

I am glad to see in both newspapers have carried the story today regarding the illegality of the evictions of Public Servants from the NHC flats on Paga Hill. I commend the A Managing Director of NHC that investigations are on-going to return the property and land to its rightful owner NHC. However there is no need for investigations. It is very straight forward:

1. Will the PM instruct the Minister for Housing to direct his Acting Manager to take out an injunction against Paga Hill Development Company to cancel their Title over Portion 1597 Milinch to be cancelled as it was fraudulently issued in contravention of Section 67
of the Land Act?

2. Will the PM also instruct the Minister for Police to take out a similar injunction to protect the land set aside for the Police Legacy fund to be developed to provide a fund for the widows of police killed in the line of duty? The President of the Police Legacy Association
, Mr Ila Geno, has already fought for this land in the past and will fight for it again.

3. Will the PM direct the Lands Minister to also take out an injunction against Paga Hill Development Company to revoke the Title fraudulently acquired by them because sections of the land had already been deemed National Park under Section 49 of Land Act 1996

4. Will the PM ensure that the National Parks Act is enforced and a Director appointed as a matter of urgency? How can we be sure that what has happened to the Paga Hill National Park will not happen to the Sogeri National Park?

5. Will the PM instruct the Attorney General to ensure that the human rights of our people are protected? Yesterday the lawyer, director, and shareholder for the company, Stanley Liria, went to the Paga settlement with a security company and dogs. Dogs !! for law abiding
women and children!! He gave people 3 options:

Option 1. Dismantle your houses and we will take the materials to 6 Mile for you to reconstruct . You will be given K2, 000 hardship allowance and a tent and mosquito nets. So do we simply move a settlement and make a new settlement?? As it is there is no land at six mile purchased by the company and the people at six mile did not allow the Paga people to settle there.
Option 2: Look for your own land to stay on (where on earth would that be!!)and we will give K10, 000 for permanent houses; K5,000 for a semi-permanent houses; and K2,000 for shanties and bunkers.
Option 3: If you do not accept 1 or 2 police will be authorised to carry out an eviction exercise.


6 Is it correct that the company trying to construct the finger container wharf out from Champion Parade (a crazy plan with no backing from the groups I have consulted eg Chamber of Commerce) have access to one and half million cubic metres of land fill available to them.?Could the PM confirm or deny that the said fill will come from Paga Hill –a hill that has both cultural and historical significance?

Certian Ministers on the Floor laughed at me saying Paga Hill again and requested that my question be disallowed because it was repeating an earlier question (in fact it was not - they were new questions).

I have never yet received any answers to my questions on Paga Hill and am grateful to anyone who will also demand some answers.

There is much more information. I believe the Court will deliberate on the Stay Order tomorrow [today] at 1.30pm at National Court (I think to deliberate on Stay Order (not sure) I hope it will not be the hearing of the Appeal that the various Parties have lodged.

If the Appeal is lost then we can kiss Paga Hill goodbye for the ordinary future
generations.

Have much more to say but must get some sleep.

Sincerely

Carol Kidu

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dame Carol protests destruction of homes at Paga Hill

BY REUBEN GIUSU427809_189345491187854_100003372143384_284580_1186678027_n

… Kidu* came protesting n was told to stop interfering n then was threaten[e]d .i took this shot qui[c]kly n then told da [the] two officers to back off.

______________

FROM VARIOUS SOURCES

*Dame Carol Kidu is the only female MP in Papua New Guinea’s male-dominated rogue Parliament. She is currently the Opposition Leader in Parliament and was formerly the Minister for Community Development under the Somare regime.

A company claiming a commercial land title of the Paga hill area began demolishing the houses of over 2000 Paga residence today.

What about all the stake holders, whom should claim portions of this land including NHC, Police Legacy, National Parks, and Kikori settlers being the original Paga settlers whom where given permission to settle in this land by the Motu Koita after the war?
And what of the War memorial Sites? The bunkers and the left over bombs? This is a very real part of our history and should be National Park Land. Utterly outrageous, this land has been fraudulently obtain, no one in their right mind would allow such historical landmarks to be traded in as commercial land.

If we tolerate this kind of forceful action by developers, then we continue to feed this country to the dogs. The past decade has seen some terribly corrupt events, but I'm afraid this takes my pick as one of the lowest. The stakes are so high that human beings lose their sense of care for the rights they trample on. Over 2000 people will be effected, many of whom have spent their entire lives living in that area.

A sad day for human rights in this country!

This is what Economic Growth and Development look like

BY SAM MOKO

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The exercise today was suppose to be an eviction notice serving and time allowed to move but turned out to be a demolition. Cops didn't want anyone to capture what was happening. Police punched me, broke my camera's mic and held my camera for 4 hours. I was covering the demolition of Paga settlement this morning. [in Port Moresby]

That goes to show that proper processes were not followed. It is a urban settlement with 3000 people. They will have to move anyway under a proper arrangement.

Whatever development can take place there but with respect to people who live there for years. The treatment was just inhuman. No time was allowed to pull down houses. Many are now homeless. To make it worse it's raining and where would they go to for shelter. Very sad to women and children rushing around while the excavator under heavy presence of cops push down their houses in front of them.

I regret police forced me to delete all my shots and videos before they gave back my camera. It would show for itself. Thanks to [Dame] Carol Kidu for been there and speaking hard to the cops who eventually gave my camera back.

People before profit is what country should give priority.

WOMAN ATTACKED IN INDONESIAN COLONY OF WEST PAPUA

BY FREE WEST PAPUA CAMPAIGN

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The photo above was taken on Thursday 10 May 2012 outside Nabire Airport.

Selvina Muyapa was hit in the face by the Indonesian Army/Police, causing her to bleed heavily, during a demonstration where the people were opposing measures imposed by the Indonesian Government on Papua.
When you [the Indonesian Government] start hitting a woman, you show your own weakness. When you make her bleed, you show your cowardliness.
Women, see blood every month. You have no idea what you have just done. You are weak, you are a coward. You will have to crawl back under the stone you came from.... very soon.

Stop making buai traders scapegoats

By Guest Writer

clip_image002_thumb[1]There appears to be a systematic crackdown on one of PNG's most economically and socially integral trades, buai.

This blogger reported Assistant Police Commissioner Francis Tokura issued an order last week, May 9, for policemen to remove all vendors from the streets of Port Moresby.

The deep disrespect for the rights of PNG's self-employed was revealed by the heavy-handed, abusive behaviour of the police as they broke up buai markets.

We do NOT commend Asst-Commr Tokura for his "efforts to clean up Port Moresby". If we want to clean up POM, don't look at the buai traders but at the government. PNG street traders are scapegoats of a corrupt system.

Think about it. The litter issue arises through inefficient public administration - isn't the government paying someone for garbage disposal? And if markets are a magnet for crime, it is because too many of our youths are let down by a system that is profit rather than people driven.

The buai sellers and their colleagues in our markets are entrepreneurs, not criminals. If you are making up to K500 a day, you're unlikely to go out and steal handbags afterwards. So why are we treating them as criminals? 

The 'informal' economy appears to be expanding, as more Papua New Guineans shake the delusion that being a buai trader is socially unacceptable. Recent research found urban Papua New Guineans are quitting their 9-5 jobs as they realise the buai trade offers more lucrative prospects and better social security than the so-called 'formal' economy.

As it expands, the market infrastructure struggles to accommodate its growth, resulting in more litter and overcrowded markets (as we examined in this post last week).

But oppressing and removing markets is not the answer, because the informal economy is really the People's Economy, and in light of the absence an even slightly superior alternative, it will continue to grow and thrive. It is also, unlike the formal economy's extractive-obsessed sector, economically and socially sustainable. We know the profits made from using our natural resources stay in our communities. Forget the hype about the LNG-driven 'economic boom': the People's Economy offers PNG (and the Pacific) a sustainable future (just as it has sustained our peoples for 50,000 years). 

The government and police, and all of us, need to change their attitudes to street markets from one of disdain to support. Only with adequate support for our nation's most vital traders will the social debris be cleaned up.

For one example, look at this example in Durban, South Africa. Durban's government provides funding, training and other support for its 'informal' traders. The result is one of the most successful duel economic and tourism ventures in the country.

Change your attitude. Stop looking at buai traders as a problem. They are, in reality, one of the few positive examples in a city and country where corporate greed in the formal economy - the driver for our government and therefore our police - really is turning our streets into ghettoes.

Australia and Melanesia: on bullies and respect

Tim Anderson

Dr. Tim Anderson has degrees in economics and international politics, and a doctorate on the political economy of economic liberalisation in Australia. His current research interests relate to rights in development, Melanesian land and Economic integration in Latin America.

_________________________________________________________________________________

image[43]Instances of Australian lack of respect for Melanesian leaders are many, in our country’s long and sorry racial history. Patronage through aid programs helps prop up these colonial-like attitudes. The cases of Melanesian leaders standing up to Australia are less common.

That is why it is worth noting the actions of Vanuatu Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, in kicking out an Australian Federal Police contingent in retaliation for the AFP’s disgraceful treatment of PM Kilman’s delegation when they transited Sydney airport last month.

Apparently Australian officials made the Vanuatu PM’s delegation fill out immigration forms, even though they were only in transit. Then the AFP arrested Mr Kilman’s private secretary, Clarence Marae, on money laundering charges. Vanuatu responded this week by ordering a resident AFP delegation to leave the country.

Not since the Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare stood up to the AFP and the Howard Government in 2006-07 have we seen something similar. In that case, Sogavare’s government launched an inquiry into the April 2006 Honiara riots, an inquiry which would include examination of the role of the AFP. Australian PM John Howard reacted angrily and AFP officers searched PM Sogavare’s office as they prosecuted government ministers. Sogavare then stood up to Howard.

The heavy handed role of the AFP in Honiara had become an aggravating factor. As Honiara Bishop Terry Roberts wrote, ‘the 'spark' that sent the rioters into central Honiara was the use of tear gas by the Australian RAMSI contingent’. The Bishop said ‘Honiara people have never liked the Australian RAMSI contingent [who are] sullen and hostile. 'Helpim fren' has turned into 'Spoilem fren'.’

In early 2008 I was in Honiara, interviewing a number of well-educated Solomon Islanders about the AFP-dominated RAMSI mission. By then, both the Sogavare government and Howard government had gone. A common thread emerged. Every Solomon Islander I spoke with (including some of Mr Sogavare’s political opponents) agreed with and respected Sogavare’s criticisms of Howard; but hardly any of them were comfortable about it.

Maybe it is a cultural thing, of Melanesians avoiding confrontation; maybe it is the legacy of colonial history; maybe it is the pragmatism of small groups confronting bigger powers; but there has been a profound reluctance in the region to stand up to Australian bullies. Yet bullies, like dogs, never respect people who run away; in fact they tend to chase them.

Melanesians are hardly unaware of Australian racialism. Anyone of them who even travels through Australia has to pass through a visa-linked bureaucratic nightmare, something Australians never face when visiting the islands.

In 2005 PNG’s PM Michael Somare was required to remove his shoes for security guards at Brisbane airport. He complained bitterly about this humiliation. The then Foreign Minister Alexander Downer responded by claiming that it had been a ‘standard operation’ that applied to ‘everybody’.

Not so. When US Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Australia in February 2007, NSW firearms laws were amended, at Howard and Downer’s request, to allow Cheney’s bodyguards to carry their weapons through the airport and onto the streets of Sydney.

Australian arrogance is not just seen in isolated incidents. In 2005 a large scale AFP ‘aid’ program for PNG was aborted when it was legally challenged by MP Luther Wenge, under PNG’s constitution. The A$800m ‘Enhanced Cooperation Program’ was to provide legal immunity for Australian personnel (the kind of ‘above the law’ status the US demands for its soldiers everywhere). PNG’s courts found that the ECP enabling legislation breached citizens’ rights to legal redress and the independent role of the prosecutor.

What was the reaction of Howard and Downer? They said publicly that PNG should change its constitution. Unsurprisingly, that did not happen. Nevertheless, vehicles and rented apartments for the ECP continued to draw down public money and ’gather dust’ for some time to come.

Cancellation of the ECP did not have much impact on PNG. As Aidwatch pointed out at the time, A$734 million of the budgeted A$800m was to be spent on AFP wages and logistics.

During the ‘Moti Affair’ the Howard government had prosecuted PM Sogavare’s Attorney General, Fijian-born Australian Julian Moti, for alleged sex offences in Vanuatu back in the 1990s. This was a transparent move to sideline the person thought responsible for aiming the Honiara riots inquiry at the Australian Federal Police. Charges were eventually laid, Moti was extradited to Australia but the charges were ‘stayed’ by the Queensland Supreme Court in 2009, as an abuse of process.

In the meantime, PNG had avoided an extradition request for Moti as he passed through Port Moresby. PM Somare had avoided PNG’s tight extradition agreement with Australia by privately directing that Moti be sent back to the Solomon Islands. The Howard government used this to attack PM Somare, and the PNG PM became involved in his own scandal, for breaching PNG law. If Michael Somare had openly stood up to Australia, he would have gained substantial public support. Yet, because he tried to do it in a covert way, his domestic problems multiplied.

So there must have been a sigh of relief in Melanesia when Kevin Rudd led Labor into government in Canberra, in late 2007. There was indeed a change of tone in the relationship. However PM Rudd’s first action on visiting PNG in early 2008 was to present a document grandly titled ‘The Port Moresby Declaration’.  This linked into Australia’s policy of ‘Pacific Partnerships for Development’.

However these ’partnership’ ideas had been written in Canberra and the ‘Declaration’ was not signed by any PNG leader. Yet there was no protest from the PNG government; as usual, they just let the Australians ‘do their thing’.

A similar approach was taken to exposure of corruption by one of AusAID’s ‘preferred  contractors’ in PNG. One PNG minister told me they had caught this company laying the asphalt too thin and too narrow. The PNG government then banned the company from any more road contracts; but Australia asked that this be kept secret. Australia cries loud and long about corruption amongst Melanesians, the reverse does not seem to apply.

The Australian approach has changed little. Newly appointed Foreign Minister Bob Carr picked up the great tradition, in one of his first acts, by threatening Australia’s closest neighbour with ‘sanctions’ on the mere rumour of a delay in PNG’s elections. He later retracted the threat. But if no-one stands up to the bully, they keep at it. Maybe the Vanuatu PM’s recent actions will encourage a bit of reflection in the islands?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Daughter of jailed Papuan leader calls for his release

via AK Rockefeller

If Indonesia had a shred of decency they would release Filep Karma immediately and without condition

Amnesty International video:

Former civil servant Filep Karma is currently serving 15 years in prison after taking part in an annual ceremony at which a Papuan independence flag was raised. He was charged and convicted of rebellion on 26 May 2005. Filep Karma is in prison for exercising his right to freedom of expression. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience.

Filep Karma was among approximately 200 people who took part in a peaceful ceremony in Abepura, Papua Province on 1 December 2004. During the event the “Morning Star” flag — a banned symbol of Papuan independence — was raised. Police responded by advancing on the crowd, firing warning shots and beating people with batons.

Filep Karma was arrested at the site of the ceremony. He was reportedly beaten as he was transported to the police station. A group of about 20 people were later arrested at the police station when they went to protest Filep Karma’s arrest. Most of the group was subsequently released, however student activist Yusak Pakage — who had also taken part in the ceremony — was detained. The two men were later charged with rebellion under Articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesia Criminal Code. They were also charged with expressing hostility or hatred towards the state under Article 154 of the Indonesia Criminal Code (Article since repealed). On 26 May 2005 Filep Karma was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment and Yusak Pakage to 10 years. Their sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court on 27 October 2005. Yusak Pakage was released on 7 July 2010 after receiving a presidential pardon.

Filep Karma is known to have been ill-treated in detention and on 28 April 2008 was beaten by prison guards in Abepura prison, Papua Province. He reported the beating to the police, but it is unclear whether any investigation was launched.

456x304xfilep-karma-with-audryne-karma-456x304.jpg.pagespeed.ic.vQ1ssbCahp