Friday, June 29, 2012

Constitutional Reforms to move PNG Forward

So Namah’s Party aka PNG Party claims to be the Party for Change. Sadly, as seen in he’s latest press release, Namah himself hasn’t Changed.

Activist Effrey Dademo has called for Constitutional Reforms as a way forward. She joins outgoing Opposition LeaderDame Carol Kidu and numerous voices nationwide. She sums up the general reaction towards Namah in this recent post online:

It wasn't the right time to raise the postponement of election issue. Belden Namah had his entire term as an MP in the last parliament to raise the issue. He never did so. He had the chance to sack the EC, he didn't, in fact he along with others renewed the EC's contract. He chose to raise it at time when there was power struggle!!!
 Bottom line, he and others could not be trusted at the time! period!...what's happened here was bound to happen anyway! It's an issue that has NEVER been sold. Election in, election out, we complain about the roll!!!
 It'S time for CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM - a re-look at the systems and procedures we've "adopted"...not ours, not even tailor made to our circumstances, but "adopted"
Politics aside, people got screwed by the Electoral Commission, and Mr Trawen must step down immediately after the elections. The new Government must then work on creating a new system of democratic government that is more responsive to the needs of the people.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sandaun Sniper takes a swipe at Critics


It is a shame that the Prime Minister Peter O’Neil is crying foul when all along he was collaborating with the PNG Electoral Commissioner, Mr.  Andrew Trawen and the so-called Australian expert advisors advising through Australian High Commissioner, Mr. Ian Kemish for opposing the deferral of the 2012 elections. Cries have been received from all parts of PNG echoing and demonstrating that our country was and is not ready to proceed with elections this last week. What a disaster. We have more than two hundred (200) plus Australian advisors working for the PNG Electoral Commission who have assisted orchestrate this disaster. What a shame???
I speak with the weight of facts. In my own Vanimo town urban wards, the electoral rolls there were in shambles. More than 5,000 to 6,000 eligible voters’ names were not on the electoral rolls. This is an urban/town ward. You can expect worse going into the rural districts in the electorates.
The Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections envisages under sections 71 and 72 that Electoral Rolls in all its three forms i.e. ‘Preliminary Rolls, Primary Rolls & Certified Rolls’ must be ready three (3) months prior to the Issuance of Writs.

All along I have maintained the fact that PNG Electoral Commission was not ready for the National Elections as provisions under sections 71 and 72 had not been met or complied with. The PNG Electoral Commission is required to prepare and finalise the Electoral Rolls three (3) months prior to elections. However, this issue and concern was overlooked by the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill and his cohorts.
Peter O’Neill denied supporting the deferral of the elections when he had physically participated and voted for the deferral in Parliament (63 FOR and 11 AGAINSTS).

We had on numerous occasions held lengthy discussions on this issue and made couple of propositions. One that the caucus agreed to adopt was the proposition by Hon. Dr. Sir Puka Temu. Sir Puka actually proposed to work three (3) months back from the date of the return of writs. Which should I believe have given PNG Electoral Commission sufficient time to adequately prepare the Electoral Rolls in their certified forms.
O’Neill openly criticized me during his election campaign on my initial call to defer the elections to allow PNG Electoral Commission time to prepare properly.  This move was to give all eligible voters a fair and equal opportunity to each exercise their democratic rights to vote and elect their leaders.
Peter O’Neill should be ashamed for listening to the PNG Electoral Commissioner and its Australian Advisors. The Unionist turned Politician and wannabe musician Michael Malabag should be ashamed of himself as-well for pushing for elections using the UPNG students and innocent citizens in his capacity as President of Trade Union Congress with his so-called General Secretary John Paska.

If we continue the trend of forever listening to and following foreign advice we will continue face more problems in the future. I have total confidence in our own home grown Papua New Guinean advisors and I am prepared to listen to them. The sad fact is that half of the Papua New Guinean eligible voting population will likely and have unfairly been deprived casting their votes and exercising their democratic right.
We MUST be patriotic and nationalistic in our approach towards decision making for the future of our country. This is a duty we owe to ourselves and our children.

This entire situation could have been avoided had Peter O’Neill stood by his cabinet and parliament resolutions. Peter O’Neill and Andrew Trawen should both be held responsible and accountable for the ill-prepared Electoral Roll and National Elections which are in disarray.
I challenge Peter O’Neill to stop crying over spilt milk. You have done injustice to this country. You have failed the people of Papua New Guinea.
I have always emphasized; “People will criticize me for decisions I make now, but in the future they will look back while they relax in the comforts of their homes and say, THANK YOU or WE SALUTE YOU, Belden Namah.

-- end press release

Shout out to Protesters: why we Occupied Waigani

UPNG Kids demanded restoration of Elections when everyone else was scared shitless to face Namah, Nape and the Rogue Parliament. Well we stood together with the Unions, and with concerned facebookers and we made them restore Elections. And that was Occupy Waigani.... just the foreword. The story is just beginning.

That ink, indellible like the belief i have that my children will not live through the bullshit that Ive lived through

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Campaign against experimental seabed mining gathers strength


The campaign against experimental seabed mining in the Pacific is building up a great momentum, but we still need your support to ensure a positive outcome.
Sign the petition -
The campaign has been boosted by the news the mining company planning to operate the the world's first seabed mine here in Papua New Guinea is suddenly facing an uncertain future and the campaign message has been on prominent display in both Brazil and Canada in recent weeks. In addition, the Northern Territory government in Australia, one of PNGs nearest neighbours, has halted all seabed mining exploration for three years while it investigates the potential environmental impacts.
So if you haven't already signed our on-line petition then now is a great time to add your voice - - or, if you have already signed, please encourage your friends and family to take action.
Our campaign message was on prominent display in Rio de Janeiro last week thanks to the fantastic efforts of a group of female activists from the Pacific. And, on Friday, campaigners in Canada took concerns about experimental seabed mining direct to the people who are financing it - handing out flyers at the AGM of Canadian miner, Nautilus Minerals, in Vancouver.
Nautilus had hoped to start the world's first seabed mine in Papua New Guinea next year but the company has suffered a double blow. The State of PNG has decided not to invest public money in the mine and has instigated a formal dispute with the company, and the German firm building the mine support vessel has withdrawn its financing support. As a result the Nautilus share price has plunged and the company is warning the mine will be delayed and could even be cancelled!!
So now is a great time to add you voice to the call to end this environmentally destructive experimental mining by signing the petition which will be presented to Pacific Heads of State when they meet in the Cook Islands in August.
Please sign the petition - 

Democratic elections producing chaos in #PNG

Governor General Sir Micheal Ogio votes in Port Moresby - pic by Bigg Patt
There are already emerging reports of electoral fraud throughout Papua New Guinea, including in its capital Port Moresby.

Chairman of Transparency International, Lawrence Stephens witnessed double voting at a polling station in Port Moresby. At Gordon's, polling had to be suspended yesterday as mobs of vermin from nearby squatter settlements tried to double vote at a polling station that wasn't intended for them.

City residents in Port Moresby have also warned of chaos at Gerehu today. Double voters from other parts of the city are expected to flock there today.

Reports from Hela Province indicate that all polling has been completed. Around 6 ballot boxes containing 7000 votes, have been destroyed. The remainder are locked in a container at Tari Police station. The situation is said to be tense but then again, that's perfectly normal up at Tari.

The most significant allegations of electoral fraud are emerging from Vanimo-Green electorate where the Returning Officer is alleged to have received a vehicle from an associate of the sitting MP, Belden Namah. However it plays out, should Mr Namah win and be later unseated in the Court of Disputed Returns, will he be willing to accept the Court's Ruling?

Westerners trying to understand why democracy isn't functioning in Papua New Guinea, should read BBC Foreign Corespondent, Humphrey Hawksley's book, Democracy Kills. In it he explains why your western prescriptions don't work. Authoritarian China has taken more people out of Poverty than Democratic India and Socialist Cuba has been doing way better even under US sanctions than democratic Haiti.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

#PNG goes to the polls: SNAPSHOTS OF ELECTION 2012

Prime Minister Peter O'Neil votes at his home village in Kauwo near Pangia station, Southern Highlands Province.
pic  by   Russell  Saigomi

From the Highlands to the coast and throughout the atolls and islands, Papua New Guinea goes to the polls in one of the most decisive moments in its short history. At stake is the questions; “what is the appropriate model of development and who will bring thousands of rural communities out of the stone age into the 21st century?”

Despite various setbacks and hiccups, that have become more pronounced today due to the advent of mobile technology and the explosion of social media, all systems seem relatively normal.

Long queues are being witnessed throughout the nation of 7.5 million Melanesians who live a stone’s throw away from Northern tip of Australia. As is the case with previous elections, some voters have been turned away at the polling stations as their names weren’t on the Voter Register.
Long queue at a polling station in Port Moresby. pic by Belinda Kora

David Williams, a regular commentator on social media site Facebook, noted this anomaly with the voter figures:

“I am intrigued to see that there are 4.8 million PNGians on the electoral rolls for this election (Post Courier, 18 June). According to the 2000 Census, there were 5,190,786 people in PNG, and the average annual population growth rate was 3.2%, which means that the 2012 PNG population could be as high as 7,575,120. Now consider for a moment that 47.98% of the population are under the age of 18 years - and there are ineligible to vote - that's a whopping 3,634,901 children, babies and teenagers. It leaves behind a total of 3,940,219 PNGians who, being older than 18 are eligible to vote in these elections.
So where then, assuming every single person over 18 years of age in this country is indeed properly registered to vote, do the the other 859,781 voters on the electoral rolls come from???”
Elderly gentleman casts his vote in Port Moresby. pic by Paul Barker

Former Trade Union Leader Michael Malabag, who is contesting the seat held by Sir Mekere Morauta, who is retiring, has described day one of polling in Port Moresby as “a bloody  shambles”. Confusion reigned in some parts of the city though senior broadcaster Belinda Kora reported having successfully cast her vote in Port Moresby North East electorate. Paul Barker from the Institutute of National Affairs reported that Port Moresby was supposed to have one day of polling but there is a possibility of voting to continue tommorow although there is no official word on the matter.
Polling in Port Moresby.. pic by Belinda Kora

Meanwhile in the rural areas, the folks in Goilala in the Central Province, have gone full swing into polling with the exception of Tapini Government station. Voting in Abau in Central Province is also fully underway.
Polling in Abau, Central Province. pic by Vespa

Voting in Madang has been slow but progressing. Reports from the hundred mountains of Josephstaal indicate a very tense situation. Polling was well and truly underway at Rempi village in the SUMKAR open seat currently held by Housing Minister Ken Fairweather.
Polling Team 17 MULLG for Madang Open at Polls yesterday.  pic by  Gaunzville

In East Sepik there are reports of Ballot Boxes being destroyed and smashed in Yangoru and Wosera Districts. Otherwise Police are generally in control of the electoral process. Sir Michael Somare, the founding father of modern Papua New Guinea is contesting the East Sepik Regional seat, a seat he has held since Independence during one of the most colourful political careers anywhere on this planet. Sir Michael is credited with bringing together 700 indeginous nations and driving into them a sense of Nationhood and being united under the Flag of a modern State.
Policemen and women guarding the first ballot boxes stored in this container at the Viaq Police Station in Wewak after the first day of polling on Saturday. pic by Gregory M Pegines

These elections for Papua New Guinea’s 8th National Parliament mark the end of the Independence era as it moves into the Post Independence Parliaments fuelled by the $15 billion dollar Gas Economy. A lot is at stake as the country’s elite squabble over power and prestige handed to them by the people’s consent written on a white piece of paper stashed inside a clear plastic ballot box.


MY PAGA HILL: Contemporary Art Show

PNG's prominent contemporary artists Ratoos Haoapa, Jeffry Feeger and children of Paga Hill Community will exhibit work depicting issues surrounding the recent eviction and demolition of the Paga Community. The exhibition raises important questions like what does the future hold for communities like Paga in a time of economic boom and social uncertainty? The exhibition area will also help highlight the loss of the Paga Hill National Park Area and historical WW2 Bunkers, tunnels and Gun emplacements.

Venue: Historical World War 2 Gun Emplacement site. Bottom of Paga Hill Community (See directions below).

The Opening is from 4:30pm - 7:30pm on Wednesday evening the 27th June 2012. Live painting performance by Ratoos Haopa and Jeffry Feeger.Special guest speakers Dame Carol Kidu & Professor Kristian Lasslett.

We hope to raise funds for the Paga Hill Community during the Opening evening through;
* Donations and sale of Artwork
* Drinks & barbeque food
* Auction of Live Painting

The exhibition will also be open to the general public from 9am to 5pm on Thursday the 28th June 2012.

* Directions - While heading up to Paga with Deloitte Tower on your left, turn right, continue around the bend and follow the signs to secure parking.

* Security Concerns - The Paga Hill Community and several town Police officers will ensure your security during the night.

New Essay Competition on PNG's National Goals and Directive Principles

via Our Pacific Ways

What do Papua New Guinea’s National Goals and Directive Principles mean to you?

The five goals and directive principles are inscribed in the preamble of PNG’s Constitution. In 1974, a Constitutional Planning Committee travelled right throughout PNG in an unprecedented attempt to articulate the people’s hopes and needs for the new country.

They asked, ‘what kind of society do we want?’
These goals and directive principles are the result.

However,   37 years since Independence, the universal rights belonging to every Papua New Guinean man, woman and child expressed in the goals are yet to be realised.

As former Constitutional Planning Committee member John Momis said recently, PNG is at an important crossroads in its history []. While it has great opportunities, it also faces extremely grave challenges – customary land is being lost as commercial development increases in PNG, and this threatens our potential to secure the rights expressed in these goals.

So we are asking you to describe what these goals mean to you.
Are the five goals still relevant in PNG today?
And if they are, can they be resurrected and used as the basis for a new discussion about ‘which way for PNG’?

To watch short films featuring John Momis  discussing writing the Constitution, click here and here.
To watch a video about the National Goals and Directive Principles, click here.

Money and Political Capital in PNG

Villagers at Kelerakwa in Abau Open Electorate queing at the polling booth . pic by Vespa
I'm sorta the guy who goes around bashing up egos of people who put themselves on pedestals and well even I'm getting bored with doing that. See, having said that, we're in election mode: err well by 'we' I mean you the sheeple coz I'm not voting.

My name is registered in the common roll for Port Moresby North-East even though quite frankly, i never enrolled myself. So some dodgy folks had my name placed in that list amongst the sheep.

The only real vote anyone can have in this land is a vote with their wallet. The value of your vote is directly proportional to the size of your wallet. Basically, it's a case of the miners having a greater say due to the greater proportion of the national budget being mining revenue.

Now wallet size matters to the elite who live in Waigani and make life miserable for all you sheep. In fact, if the size is right, your will get your goods and services delivered. Now what I'm reffering to isn't bribery as most of you sheep like to think, but BUDGETARY CONTRIBUTIONS.

Whoever contributes the most to the National Budget has greater Political Capital. Thus when a miner calls Waigani, the phone gets answered but when a coffee farmer stumbles half-dead into an office, he's told to 'COME BACK TOMORROW' and as we all know, tomorrow never comes.

Now Back to the Elections: see what makes you think that a lazy job at the polling booth will somehow bring goods and services to your little godforsaken part of the world? The Government will only build roads to your part of the world if there is some economic justification. In fact, if you were contributing a lot to the National Budget, you'd get somewhere.

Now provinces with mines, like Western Province would argue that they contribute via the mine. Well, the truth is you as a province don't have ownership rights to those minerals and you as a province are not involved in commercializing the mineral resource. The State can therefore easily neglect you as it does not feel the need to appease you the way it does to a miner who spends money exploiting the resource and generating revenue for the State.

Thus, it is only the miner who gains political capital for the extraction of mineral resources. One can now see another sinister dimension of those who oppose mineral rights ownership for the People of Papua New Guinea. As long as the People are deprived of their rights to resources, they shall never have political capital and shall never have a direct say in the affairs of their country.

For those sheep who do not know what political capital is; it's basically about whether Waigani bai harim krai bilong yu o nogat.


Weak Governance mechanisms and Institutions mean that there is a lot of stealing. The thieves therefore need a constant supply of cash from which they can steal. Resource exploiters enjoy dealing with these thieves because the thieves, being the parasites they are, need the exploiters to suck on. Whoever supplies the parasites most gets to manipulate them most.

European social democracies, particularly those in Scandinavia have figured how to deal with this capitalist disease.

But sorry to say this sheeple: it ain't gon work here! Well not at this time.

The problem with PNG is called 'DEMOCRACY'. 

Because everyone has a vote, which they have to unfortunately give to a nutcase to represent them, the vote becomes a tool for perpetuating parochial interests over national interest. As long as MPs try to please their table-cats and Prime Ministers try to please their kitchen and bedroom cabinets, Institutions of Governance will be undermined so that the institutions do not keep checks and balances on those in power.

As we have witnessed in recent months; MPs did everything they could to keep themselves in power, even at the expense of those who were Constitutionally mandated to uphold the rule of Law.

All so called strongman and bigmen or vibrant leaders etc.. should remember that they are dust and unto dust they shall return. By undermining the institutions of the state, they become the life support of the state until such time that they kick the bucket and the state crumbles. That has been the experience throughout history in many countries.

Ideally, the financiers of the government i.e. the resource exploiters could call for strengthening of the institutions of the state but that would be bad for profits. In the end, they use the same lame excuse of working with-in the rules set by the government, which they know are meaningless as long as the implementing agencies are weak. This indeed is the perfect environment for the capitalist's neo-liberal economics where there is very little government regulation and oversight.

Papua New Guineans will always be screaming to their government as victims of the lack of development, as long as they continue to be marginalized from the formal economy. As long as they are unable to vote on issues with the tax they contribute to the national budget, their cries will forever be ignored until such times as the National Elections. It is only during the elections that they have political capital; the rest of the time, they will be simply ignored.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Specter of failed elections loom in Hela

Various sources on social media site Facebook have raised the specter of a failed election in the newly established Hela Province. Hela contains the $ 15 Billion dollar PNG LNG project run by Exxon Mobil and partners.

A candidate for Tari-Pori electorate in Hela has been accused of bribing electoral officials and security forces to assist in stuffing ballot boxes.

Police Spokesperson Dominic Kakas has cautioned people about spreading rumors of a failed election in Hela Province. 

"Please I repeat myself for the sake of our country let us not pass our ignorance or bias to the public. I heard in Port Moresby that Hon James Marabe was caught with two filled ballot boxes and guns and ammunitions. I flew into Tari yesterday (Saturday June 23) at about 11.30am with Police Legal Director Chief Superintendent Nicholas Miviri and Director Communications Chief Superintendent Win Jipris. We were met by Commander of Hela Security operations Assiatant Commissioner Thomas Eluh and Hela PPC Superintendent Jimmy Onopia who assured us that no such thing happened. Journalist Andrew Alphonse told us that the rumors doing the rounds in Tari was six (6) ballot boxes. Again, I would caution people against such accusations. Having Being involved in two national elections I am inclined to believe that it is impossible for anyone candidate to bribe even 100 members of the Police, Defence and Electoral Commission officials. All eyes are watching!" 

Mr Kakas stated on Facebook

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that:

"There are 4.6m people registered to vote, and 3,428 candidates vying for 109 parliamentary seats, with no single political party likely to win enough seats to form a government on its own.

There are 4,700 polling stations, 1,700 of which are so remote that they are only accessible by air."

Sent from my iPad

Monday, June 18, 2012

Smart gadgets and Dumb people

This is a stressful mental note to myself. It is a lesson about life: NEVER MOVE FAR ABOVE OR AHEAD OF THE REST OF SOCIETY.

Ever since my ancient laptop crashed, my concept of self as defined by that laptop and the rantings produced on it and spewed online, has been in crisis. That laptop should probably be placed in a museum as a piece of contemporary Papua New Guinea blogging history. Anyway, some folks may be glad it died.

Obviously, that death has, meant that changes were necessary. I sell betel nut, which allows me to make more money than teachers, nurses, security guards, RD Tuna workers and shop assistants but the urge to splurge is so great I am for all intents and purposes broke. So wadayaknow, I needed help with technology. Fortunately, I had help.

Now this is where things get interesting. I am now perhaps one of those rare buai sellers who walks around with an iPAD.

So it's Saturday morning and as I'm ripping off the packaging and examine the tablet device I realize the poor folks who invested in it were ripped off. The device wasn't activated and did not include a micro-sim although it almost cost as much as the Taj Mahal. 

I rushed out of the house in search of a micro-sim in Port MOresby's concrete and barbed wire jungle. 

My first stop was Telikom PNG who as usual were always there to show their faces but lacked substance, i.e. they didn't sell micro- sims despite claiming to run a 3G and 4G network.

Next stop was the Digicel shop. Whilst they were selling tablet devices and smart phones, they weren't smart enough to sell micro-sims.

Sadly, both telcos proved that whilst phones are getting smarter, some folks working for the telcos are getting dumber.

In the end an incision had to be done into the silicon flesh of an ordinary sim card and it's torso excised into a microsim. The PNG made micro-sim was then inserted into the iPAD.

Having dealt with the issue of finding a micro-sim, the next issue was to activate the device. A lot of Internet airtime went into downloading iTunes, installing it on a borrowed laptop and activating the iPAD.

But my woes are far from over. I need an iTunes Gift Card to use in order to activate Apps on the tablet device. I also have to deal with Digicel's crap coverage of my area, which results in a constipated Internet connection.

The iPAD is certainly a very useful weapon of mine but sadly, the rest of society may not have the same level of technological advancement. HIccups are as such inevitable.

I now have to content with ripp-off data rates. Those who use the argument that PNG lacks the economy of scale to justify data price reduction, should look no further than the rates amongst our neighbors.

Sent from my iPad

Development v Anti-development: all in a word

One of the most shocking thing for me was being labelled anti-development during a phone interview in Parliament house, Canberra.

I've been contemplating that label and after much medication on the mysteries of development I've come to the conclusion that 'development' is perhaps a word that is open to interpretation.

If you are a Chinese miner about to dump millions of toxic wastes into the Bismarck Sea and threaten the web of life with toxic heavy metals an carcinogenic substances, those who want to prevent a humanitarian disaster are 'anti-development'. 

One of the 'benefits' of Ok Tedi mine's tailings discharge has been the 'improvements' in the waterways that drain the East Transfly region. The current flooding of this area, which is where I come from, is largely linked to developments in the Fly River due to increased sedimentation due to mine tailings being discharged from Ok Tedi. Some call it development, I call it bag armament.

Now as Abraham Lincoln once famously said, government is "for the people and by the people". The American revolution stemmed from the belief amongst Americans that the British Crown was not acting in their best interest. Now I for one am not suggesting the overthrowing of the State but one should not expect the people to be indifferent to the state if the state continues to fail them. To suggest that Papua New Guineans work with-in the existing mechanisms is like telling the Jews to appeal to the moral values of Hitler, in order to free themselves from concentration camps.

The gestapo elite who flaunt their ill-gotten wealth and status are toasted by those whom they work with to bring 'real development' in PNG. Millions of Papua New Guineans will die, now and in the future, due to the destruction of their traditional livelihoods and the contamination of their natural food sources. I guess that is development. Genocide must then be called development.

Following this general elections, there has to be a general reorganization of social, economic and political order in PNG. I trust that a general consultive process that is inclusive and along the lines of the First Constitutional Planning Committee meetings, will be beneficial for the country. There is a need for redistribution of power and National Wealth.

Unless this happens, the elite will continue to be totally unaccountable and self-serving thus undermining the viability and integrity of the Nation State. Bougainville is soon to gain Independence from PNG and as power struggles continue in Waigani due to the fact that all power is vested in Waigani, it is not unforeseeable that separatist movements would emerge.

There is a limit to the patience of all human beings. It took 20 years of patience until the Bougainvilleans became totally fed up with a system that was basically screwing their lives and giving them peanuts. How long will the patience of the rest of Papua New Guinea be tested? Now here's a development we all don't want to see!

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Outlook on PNG's New Parliament

Papua New Guinea has never really had a bipolar parliament of LEFT and RIGHT or Progressive and Conservative, whichever way you wanna see it. In the next Parliament we see developing now a quassi polarized political situation of ProSomare and AntiSomare.

Looks like we haven't seen the end of the political crisis.

I can't imagine O'Neil and Namah allowing Somare back into power. They and their accomplices risk being thrown into prison if they aren't in power.

The disciplinary forces are already compromised and it is difficult to see whether there will be any impartiality on their part.

Papua New Guinean voters can define their own destiny by not returning all 109 sitting MPs. But I have no faith in the gullible PNG voters. Many have become election whores.

In any case I expect record hits on my blog as this nation run by drunks staggers from one crisis to another.

Top week at the polls folks!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hanuabada: A Big Village with many colours




I read with interest “Motu Koitabu people staring down barrel of a gun” by my very good friend Oala Moi. Excellently written but I had some certain reservations about how the story left me feeling.

In 2007 my clan campaigned for Powes Parkop for NCD Regional in the General Elections. In 2008 my clan campaigned for Miria Ikupu for the Motu-Koitabu Assembly Elections. Both Powes and Miria have failed us. As I write this I risk being quarrelled at in the village by Miria supporters. Well, quarrel all they want but let me say as an educated Motu-Koitabuan living in the heart of the village of Elevala-Hanuabada (not the classy high covenant houses in the mountains but in the environmental disaster zone) that both Powes Parkop and Miria Ikupu made many promises to the Motu-Koitabu constituents, and by and large both Miria and Parkop have failed us.

The view from my house

When talking about politics in Motu-Koitabu we must be weary of creating heroes out of people who have failed the Motu-Koitabu people. I’ll save this rationale for the last part of this piece.

But there is a danger that the truth about Motu-Koitabu, in this age of information, will be forgotten by grand delusions, and grander still generalisations. You have to be in the village, be in the heat of the buai stall nohobou, to understand where I’m coming from. Miria Ikupu promised change for Motu-Koitabu in 2008 in his successful effort to be elected Chairman of the newly legislated Motu-Koitabu Assembly. I remember that powerful rally, where at the end we all sang Eda Tano, and my heart grew heavy with pride; that this was the time Motu-Koitabu would rise. We sang the opening line “Papua oi natumu a haodia…” and I could feel tears in my eyes. It was a plea for the people of Papua to awake and arise. Miria Ikupu, we thought, surely Miria Ikupu was the man who would lead the emancipation of Motu-Koitabu.

By 2011 ordinary Motu-Koitabuans had grown sick of what they saw as the arrogance of a motuan elite, calling the shots as they pleased, to the disdain of Motu-Koitabuans everywhere.

I accept Miria Ikupu’s reasons for running for Moresby North-West. There have been legal arguments made for and against. I did some research and concluded that it was a case of uncertainty against uncertainty, and at the end, it was the gray areas, much to the delight of the legal professionals that were paid handsome sums with the People’s money for their opinions, that skewers the legal arguments in favour of Miria Ikupu. Right now the man is on leave of absence from a statutorily enacted sub-legislative and executive body; a quasi local-level Government. He is on leave from an Office he was elected to represent for 5 years, and he is trying to run for another elected Office.

Hanuabada today. The dubu and the carton

We understand from chatter with members of the Motu-Koitabu Assembly that he will resign the Chairmanship as soon as he wins the Moresby North-West seat. If he loses it will be business as usual at MKA for the Chairman. But insofar as MKA’s relationship with the people in the villages goes, it isn’t business as usual. The villagers are being given contracts to clean the villages. MKA middlemen are on the ground urging people to take care of Motu-Koitabu and remember Motu-Koitabu and that it is important to believe in the Motu-Koitabu dream in Parliament. Turn the clocks back 2 months ago, you wouldn’t see these middlemen preaching the Motu-Koitabu gospel with packets of “contract-payouts” to spare.

I will not support Miria Ikupu just because he is a Motu-Koitabuan; indeed from history I have learnt that someone’s being Motu-Koitabuan doesn’t miraculously make him a defender of the Motu-Koitabu people; in fact what I have mostly seen as a motuan villager is Motu-Koitabuan elites screw their own people over. A riddle from Abisiri Clan where I live: What’s worse than having your land stolen by a Highlander or an Asian or a corporation? The answer: Having your land stolen by another Motu-Koitabuan.

Governor Parkop is no different. He came in through the carnivale that was Governor Wari Vele’s campaign in 2007, and came across as someone sincere and ready to fight for our land rights and to open up business interests. He wasn’t asking us to be the Lakatoi Captain which was Vele’s main plea; he was telling us to think of our little brothers and sisters and our Children. And we did – we ate the cake and the elaborately prepared beef stroganoff from Wari Vele’s 2007 campaign, but we voted for this human rights lawyer who came and campaigned in beat up tip trucks and spoke to the heart of the matter. Since then, we haven’t seen the agenda that he said he would pursue for us be pursued on the floor of Parliament. We saw a giant Turtle at Koki, and we saw a recreational Park where Lakani Toi prepared to give up his life to protect the first London Missionary Society missionairies from Motuan spears and curses.

We haven’t seen a safe future.


Letter to Uncle Murray


Dear Uncle Murray

My Brisbane experience was a deeply personal one and in many ways, I found myself in its rich darkness. Although the last city of my Australian tour, Brisbane was the first overseas city I had ever visited.

Being the first point of contact, it shocked me. I mean, it impressed me so much I was shocked. I can only imagine what the First Contact experience of some native tribes must have been. But I experienced during the hour I spent in Brisbane Airport sums up in many ways what’s right about Australia and wrong with PNG.

What’s right with Australia is that it’s Lowest Acceptable Standard of conduct in society. Firstly I thought, the Qantas staffs at the airport, waiting to greet me, were a bit overdressed. But what I thought was a state of being overdressed was actually standard dress for the type of service being provided at the International Terminal. In many ways, the Lowest Acceptable Standard of dress by staff at the International terminal was higher than staff here at Jacksons.

I also had my ‘Somare sandal moment’ at Brisbane Airport security check. A rather stern voice from an overzealous security woman told me to remove my cap. I wasn’t asked to remove my cap here at Jacksons. The Lowest Acceptable Standard for security checks was obviously higher in Brisbane.

These two moments, as well as the vastness of the terminal and its higher standards of services obviously indicated a general trend of a higher Lowest Acceptable Standard. There is no reason why Papua New Guineans cannot have a higher standard of Health, Education, Commerce and trade as well as a higher social condition.

I do not necessarily think that the regular blame factors like corruption and mismanagement are to be blamed. PNG society in general is too passive and not making the demands that a necessary for the CHANGE that so many wish for. It is not good enough to talk about change but to demand for change through whatever means necessary including where necessary, through the use of violence to make a political point. Of course violence should be of last resort but our people need to seriously consider it as an option as well.

Now, Uncle Murray you did tell me that you were living in a rather well off part of the city and that I shouldn’t consider my experience with you and Jean as typical Australian. However, even during the trip with DRUG-ARM I got a sense that those in urban centers who fall through are kept above water by various social mechanisms. And of course, the meeting with the Toowong Rotary Club gave an insight into what members of civil society do for each other.

Of course, Papua New Guinea already has, to a certain extent, advanced social mechanisms for dealing with social relations. However, what works at the village level may not necessarily be relevant in the urban context although many have adapted into the much despised Wantok System. The multicultural nature of Papua New Guinea has produced diverse responses with varying degrees of success amongst PNG’s different ethnic groups.

We Papua New Guineans don’t have a choice between choosing the past or the present. Our current reality dictates the necessity to choose the best of both worlds and to move forward into the future.

Thanks Murray and Joan for putting up with me those few days in Brisbane. As much as anything I also found out a lot about myself and have had a renewed sense of optimism about my countrys future. No doubt, like the students at Queensland University of Technology, the are many other Papua New Guineans who wanna change the status quo.

Best Wishes


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Not a Happy Gardner: Is Parkop’s man playing dirty?

This is from Simon Merton, who is contesting the Moresby South Open:

clip_image002"I am not a rich business man who has made millions from questionable contracts with the NCDC. I am a working class Papua New Guinean who is exercising my democratic right to contest the national elections for the seat of Moresby South. I have had no problems with any other candidates, all have been running professional courteous campaigns, all except one... In the last week I have lost k5000 worth of banners and posters to the Happy Gardeners paid Thugs the latest been last night right in front of my eyes along Korobesea drive a load of thugs in a vehicle plastered with Justin and Powes posters stopped in the middle road and cut down and stole my banner from the rain tree on customary land that was placed with permission. When they were approached by the security guard at nearby residences they proceeded to assault him all the while chanting Justin Justin Justin. Come on Gardener, clean up your act and try and play fair, do you even know what that means?"

This blogger does not endorse the candidate, jus took pic

Friday, June 8, 2012

The growing greed of PNG’s elite and Political class

Papua New Guineans have shown over the past years of Independence and especially in recent times about how they could probably do well with the Business and Bureaucratic elite and their political masters.

Waigani still has a very small footprint or han-mak in many areas of the country. Waigani indeed has been a source of introduced suffering to rural communities particularly due to mining, logging and large scale agricultural development.

During my recent trip to Australia, I kept highlighting this to my Australian audience. It’s this irrelevance of the bourgeoisie that has prevented large outbreaks of violence amongst the general population in PNG.

As the political turmoil that was generated on the 3rd of August last year unfolded, many people people have taken a pragmatic approach to the new political reality and accepted the status quo imposed by Parliament. People only reacted negatively to the new government when they felt their rights were being threated. Other than that ordinary Papua New Guineans have been very mature in their temperament compared to the immature egocentric ruling classes.

I told an Australian publisher that Namah, O’Neil and Somare were irrelevant to the rest of us Papua New Guineans. All of these men are irrelevant in the everyday lives of buai sellers which pretty much translates into the rest of us Papua New Guineans. It is the elite and the table-cats of these men, who find them relevant as their livelihoods depend on the scraps that fall from their Masters' tables.

When a betelnut seller in Lae was asked about her thoughts regarding the current crisis, replied, "wanem, O'Neil bai baim rais na karim kam long haus blong mi?" [What for! Will O’Neil buy rice for my family?”]

It is not necessarily a statement of indifference but that of prioritizing the most pressing matters in PNG’s citizens. Survival comes first given the greedy accumulation of wealth by the elite at the expense of the rest of society. It is little wonder therefore that when the resources on land and at sea are all gone, the exponentially growing urban poor will have nothing left to feed on but the flesh of the elite.

The growing neo-tribalism amongst PNG’s out of touch elite as a class set apart from the rest of society is typified by a recent Facebook post by a Sandaun Lawyer. In it he posted that on behalf of the elite of Sandaun he was appalled by Mr Namah’s recent antics. It is as if to discount the probability that the non-elite of Sandaun were appalled as well. Such statements give insight into the selfish thought process of PNG’s elite and ruling classes.

The elite and the ruling classes of PNG benefit from the use instruments of oppression left by the colonizers and adopted by the modern State of Papua New Guinea. This model of development has brought pain and suffering to Bougainvilleans and many other First Nations in PNG. There has to be a total deconstruction of the power structures that allow the elite to accumulate wealth for themselves and as a result, fight over those positions of power like street dogs.

Indeed the process of the elite using post colonial power structures to accumulate personal wealth is not a uniquely Papua New Guinean phenomenon. What has buffered the effects of this power grab, not just in PNG but throughout Melanesia has been the ownership rights to customary land. This has created a dual economy where the majority of the population has survived on subsistence agriculture while the elite thrive in the formal economy.

As Vanuatu’s leading political thinker, Ralph Ragevanu recently highlighted, customary land ownership and the subsistence economy ensured that the effected of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis was minimally felt in Vanuatu. Land is social security. Land is life.

Papua New Guinea’s elite, fully understanding the constitutional guarantee of customary land, have failed to recognize customary rights to the wealth therein. Driven by greed, they also fail to inform people that this customary rights are indeed universally recognized rights as described by property law worldwide that states; Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos (Latin for [for] whoever owns [the] soil, [it] is theirs all the way [up] to Heaven and [down] to Hell).

The elite have undermined this universal principle of property law by legislating for state ownership of natural resources. In doing so they now fight over levers that control the wealth generated from these ‘legally’ acquired resources. The current political turmoil is linked to this fight for control of National Wealth. The advent of Gas Economy will only increase and perpetuate this power struggle as more money flows into Government coffers.

The Somare Regime, which has morphed into the current O’Neil Namah Regime, has squandered K60 billion during its reign. You get this figure by multiplying PNG’s K6 billion annual budget by the 10 years the regime was in power. As long as remnants of the SONAMAH REGIME persist following the elections, there is no guarantee of CHANGE. And as long as the power structures that enable the elite to acquire wealth persist, there is NO GUARANTEE of the PEOPLE of Papua New Guinea seeing any of their wealth.

The Change that many people wish for, will only come when Papua New Guineans deconstruct the current power structures and return power from Waigani to the People back in the Provinces, Districts, Villages and Clans.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Enough of your company’s Shit Mel…!

Now Raise your glasses to Mel Togolo. The Papua New Guinean elite in charge of condemning his own people's future. You know how the white colonizers used Native trackers to find people who defended their country from White Colonization. Today mostly White miners use Black cargo bois like Mel Togolo to destroy Black man's land and sea
Mel Togolo works for Canadian miner Nautilus Minerals and is in charge of telling fellow Papua New Guineans that his company's experimental mining of the Bismark Sea is actually good for them. Here’s what people are saying about Mel on Facebook:
Priscilla: “That's news!! Mel Togolo.. I bet there are many more like him out there :/”
Wilson: “Thats the idiot who went and talked to the pipol in my village in new ireland about the deep sea mining..”
Kia: “Seabed mining is only to test a technology that has not been tested anywhere just like the deep sea tailing dumping by the Ramu Nico. Both are not needed and MUST GO!”

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Letter to Linda Koerner


Hi Linda

If there’s one thing you made me realize, apart from the great Victorian beers and buildings, it is that Martyn Lives in Melbourne. Well, you know what I mean by “martyn”, the Papua New Guineans who live amongst the general Australian Population down under. You know, the Wantoks who braved the cold outdoor temperature and rain in Melbourne to attend a Barbie for a buai seller. They are true ambassadors of PNG, silently setting a great example of the dignity of Papua New Guineans.

I was also very conscious of the plight of my West Papuan wantoks. Meeting Ronny Kareni, and listening to his stories of the struggle of our people in West Papua got me thinking of the greater Melanesian story, not just a PNG story.

Clearly, as indicated by the West Papuan experience, we Melanesians are a victim of the colonial legacy. Regional powers like Australia have failed to mitigate the effects of that experience and instead perpetuated it to a certain extent. The type of Political reform being currently undertaken by Uncle Frank in Fiji, would not have been possible without a coup as self-serving politicians continue to bicker over parochial issues. If democracy is neocolonisation of Solomon Islands, illegal occupation of West Papua and the manipulation of Justice by PNG’s Parliament, then democracy is a failure trap in Melanesia.

During my stay with you in Melbourne I didn’t even think of you as Australian, except when you made sure I didn’t keep PNG time for those interviews and meetings.

In terms of landmarks of Melbourne that stick in my head, if say it would have to be that obscure building on the side of the road that had a sign stating “Ladies for Gentlemen.” I probably wouldn’t have gotten myself into trouble had it not been for a reminder about Craig Thomson’s credit card dilemma in Canberra.

And Aunty Linda thanks for the tour of the Crown Casino. I wanted to understand the significance of the Australia-PNG casino relationship as promoted by PNG’s finest examples of bad politicians.

I loved the match at AAMI Park between the Storms and the Broncos. As you already know, I hate both teams but in the spirit of diplomacy, everything was “GO THE STORMS’. I know being intoxicated by alcohol is not an excuse one can use in court but at a rugby match, hope I can get excused for cheering for Billy Slater’s team.

It was also in Melbourne that I did my first live TV interview. Thanks for sharing that experience with me at the ABC studios in South Bank.




I’m sitting near my window

On a cold rainy night as vehicles

Drive past gripping the cold wet bitumen.

I am splashed upon by sound waves

From a loud hailer fixed to his bus


The prostitutes came to his lair

Women, children, men

They came for money, lamb flabs and beer

And sold their souls to a man


He demanded from the poor their wealth

He demanded from the sick their health

He demanded from the children their future

He demanded from the


And he spat at democracy

Like the unelected Bureaucracy

And the unjust Judiciary

He bought them all without mercy


Big men bought for small change

Will never bring change

And so long as Big men become drunk with power

A nations future turns sour

This blogger does not endorse the candidate, jus took pic

Monday, June 4, 2012

Letter to Ben Jackson


Dear Ben

Arriving in Sydney two weeks ago, I wondered if urbanization was inevitable in PNG. My major concern was how customary land tenure would be undermined by it. This may of course be an idealistic position but it does raise concerns based on the experiences of the ‘landless’ urban villagers whose land was alienated under colonial administration.

Sydney was massive. I was drowning in the enormity of its scale and grandeur and somehow managed to keep my head above water. Perhaps, I was energized by the Italian bread and filling you bought at Subway for my first fast food experience.

I guess in thinking about relationships between our two countries, our political elite have tended to forget the human faces of the friendship between our two nations. They fail to realize that it isn’t just about kiaps and Kokoda but the present links that the built by ordinary people who do not necessarily are driven by political ideology and geopolitical interest but by human values of kindness, friendship and empathy.

It is these values that drive groups like the Kokoda Foundation, whom I was privileged to have had a meeting with. They have perhaps done more good and any other organization in the area of their interest. It was therefore fitting that we would later meet the face of the Kokoda Foundation, 91 year old digger Captain Bede Tongs, later in Canberra.

I certainly would have had trouble surviving in the cold in Sydney had it not been for your warm gestures. It is when we begin to deal with everyone around us as an extension of us that we treat them right. When nations see other people the way they see their own citizens, perhaps the world would be a better place for all.

In all of Papua New Guinea’s natural disasters, we have had no better friend to count on then Australia. This is perhaps the only time that Papua New Guinean lives are valued by the political elite of both our countries. The rest of the story has pretty much been an exploitative one exemplified by the destruction of Papua New Guinean lives and livelihood by Australian mining interests.

I hope that as Papua New Guinea’s out of touch elite continue to squabble for power and control of national wealth, the people of Papua New Guinea can count on the friendship of Australia to deal with these traitors in PNG. As I’ve told you and many others including Julie Bishop and Bob Carr’s advisor, the out of touch elite of PNG are exposed to Australia. Australia can exert pressure on these power hungry elite by imposing sanctions targeted at their physical and financial assets and those of their relatives and associates.

As I sit back here at the buai market in Port Moresby, I hope Australia be a good friend. You certainly did not leave me out in the cold in Sydney. I hope Australians do not leave the people of PNG at the mercy of PNG’s out of touch elite.

It is important that Canberra understands this significant role it can play against the elite of Papua New Guinea who squander PNG’s wealth in Australia. The elections will not solve PNG’s political angst. As my hero Che Guevarra once stated, “Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel.”

Cheers wantok