ON 8 FEBRUARY THIS YEAR, the vice-chancellor of the University of Technology in Lae, Albert Schram (pictured), was deported from Papua New Guinea. No justification was given for this precipitate action and, since then, Dr Schram’s requests for a both a new visa and an explanation have been ignored.
It seems certain that the reason for this bloody-minded act (when he was deported, Dr Schram had just landed at Port Moresby airport after a medical visit to Singapore) is rooted in corruption and incompetency that he had uncovered in his new role as vice-chancellor of Unitech.
And it says a lot about PNG today that, instead of being regarded as a hero for trying to clean up the mess he inherited, the vice-chancellor was subjected to a malign whispering campaign and then to the covert exercise of power that reached to the very top of the political process.
On Thursday, there was something of a minor breakthrough in this case, as Dr Schram explained to PNG Attitude.
“We won a small victory,” he said. “My position as vice-chancellor was again endorsed by Council.”
The Unitech Council had been vacillating on this issue, and there will be much pleasure amongst Dr Schram’s many supporters that the Council has shown the strength to support his position.
But, as Dr Schram says, “ it is up to the government to give me a visa” and, to achieve this, more public pressure is required.
There are two internet petitions circulating in relation to this issue – and you might consider adding your name to one or both of them.
There is a petition here to prime minister Peter O’Neill to reinstate Dr Schram.
And perhaps a more controversial petition here to stand down hifher education minister David Arore, whose handling of this matter has left so much to be desired.