Kovave (how it all began) & poems by familiar names
Could there be a Free West Papua on the horizon?

Can extractive industry transparency help save PNG?

SilKELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

PAPUA NEW GUINEA IS RICH IN NATURAL RESOURCES such as oil, gas, timber and mining but tends to underperform economically. It is also inundated with corruption.

People suffer from poor governance because the multinational corporations, politicians, government bureaucrats and leaders of landowner groups conspire to make huge gains by diverting funds elsewhere.

The common people are consequentially suffering and vulnerable to all sorts of socio-economic ills which naive foreign journalists lump together to describe PNG as a ‘shithole’.

You find only one or two well-nourished, well-to-do humans among the masses of dirty and undernourished bodies in Port Moresby and they tend to be from Tari, Kutubu, Porgera and Mailu. 

The thugs one sees running around Gordon’s Market in Moresby are mostly from the resource rich provinces.

Had the duty bearers managed the royalties properly, these thugs would not need to fly or walk into the scourging sun of Port Moresby to make ends meet and end up looking through rubbish in dippers and bins.

They would be cashed up in their own districts, living in good homes with happy families.

Some of the poorest of the poor in Port Moresby, that bundle up around Gordon’s Market from dawn to dusk to prey on Papuan women and rape grandmothers in public, are mineral resource landowners. 

These thugs literally stink to the core while their leaders chest-beat and run around hotels in Port Moresby with ill-disciplined teenage girls.

Let’s look at one example.  The Amazon Bay Local Level Government area in Central Province is blessed with enormous rainforests.

It earned its name Amazon Bay from Luiz Vas De Torres when he sailed to Mailu in August 1606 thinking that Mailu was the tail end of the Amazon rainforest in Latin America.

The Amazon Bay rainforest in Central Province has been felled indiscriminately by Pivot, Rimbunan Hijau and Mecca PNG since 1979. Mecca PNG is still cutting timber in Amazon Bay (Sabiribo) today.

God! Save the Amazon Bay people!

After 33 years of continuous cutting by these three companies the LLG is the least developed in the whole of PNG. The airport has been closed. There is no medicine in the Magarida Health Centre. There is no medication for anything, including sexually transmitted infections. The patients sleep on cement.

The schools have fewer teachers than ever before. There are no students from Amazon Bay studying in any of the higher learning institutions in PNG. Their only access to Port Moresby is via motor powered dug-out canoes, which days to sail on the treacherous ocean.  And, of course, people pay K200 as the fare to take this risk.

Maybe the people are partly to blame for being timid and not speaking up against the exploitation of their rainforests by their puerile leaders - who, like Emperor Nero who burned Rome to ashes and blamed the Christians, or like the other Caesars who were obsessed with wine, orgy and more wealth - forsook their primary duty of good governance.

The politicians and the leaders of landowner groups should be cursed for kneeling at the rear of the multinational companies to fan their farts.

They should have negotiated with the greedy multi-billion dollar corporations seeking raw materials to bring basic services so people have access to markets and other government facilities and rightly remain in their native lands to cultivate their soil and make ends meet.

The Bank of PNG continues to forecast and inform everyone of the good times ahead, just as it has done for the last 10 years. It is all rhetoric, it seems.

The well-being of individuals has not climbed an inch if you go around the country. Life is just gloomy and indistinct.

Basic infrastructure is falling apart and the population of drug addicts has soared. Cash flow is at its lowest among the ordinary people. It is unsafe to travel far and wide into the districts without police escorts.

Our neighbours, the Australians, are willing to travel to Bali and risk death from underworld crime rather than come to PNG and smell the farts and odour of poverty and rundown infrastructure.

There is, however, some hope for the more equitable distribution of the proceeds from the exploitation of PNG’s natural resources.

In May this year, Treasurer Don Polye gave a speech saying that the Government of Papua New Guinea has affirmed its commitment to implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at the EITI Global Conference in Sydney.

The landowning people can now hope that, by December this year, PNG will get acknowledgment from the EITI governing body that PNG is an EITI candidate.

The masses know the Ombudsmen Commission has no teeth and Sam Koim’s Task Force Sweep is snowed under with caseload.  The Sovereign Wealth Fund is vulnerable to abuse.

Therefore, to protect the collective wealth of the masses from the mining, oil and gas sectors, PNG EITI candidature is vital.

PNG’s EITI candidature will encourage greater transparency in these resources and some of the potential negative impacts can be mitigated.

Government revenues are expected to increase due to the US$19 billion PNG LNG project, with the first LNG deliveries scheduled to begin in 2014, it is crucially important for our candidature status to be finalized before that happens.

Once PNG goes through the different stages of the EITI and demonstrates compliance the investment climate will improve by providing a clear signal to investors and international financial institutions that the government is committed to greater transparency.

EITI will also assist in strengthening accountability and good governance, as well as promoting greater economic and political stability.

PNG will complete the four sign-up steps soon and by December it will be an EITI candidate. The people whose land foreigners dug up with impunity and siphoned resources away from to share with a few henchmen should welcome the desire of PNG to be a member of EITI.

Comments

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Elizabeth Geita

Tim Geita Lothian. Under what evidence do you have to disrespect my father Iava Geita. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing false information with no proof of evidence to the public to read.

My name is Elizabeth Geita. I am Iava Geita's first child. Our whole family and clan including your mother witnessed your grandfather Madi Geita signing his possession and rights over to Iava Geita to take care of the land issues.

Your family has nothing to show because your very own first cousins sold all Madi Geita land without for personal entertainments and greed. Now you are part of it too because you eat and drink from the money they get from selling the little bit of Madi Geita family land at Taurama Valley.

I wish to clear my dad's name here. Over a period of time, Madi Geita family would sell land and whenever they get into trouble they came crying to my dad to help them clear their names.

The truth is customary land is not for sale and cannot be subdivided to sell. Customary land can only be leased. Tim and his cousins have been trying to get power and leadership that their grandfather passed down to my father in the eyes of the clan, families and leaders of Kirakira village.

Tim's grandfather saw the greed in his own children & grandchildren's eyes and what they could do to his legacy. Tim's grandfather Madi Geita is tossing and turning in his grave in shame because of what his children and grandchildren have done to Madi Geita land. The rest of the Geita family land has not being sold.

Now Madi Geita children have come back to the village because they have no land to build their houses for their children and children's children. They leave in shame because of their actions.

My father is the reason why we still have the rest of the land left. Babani Maraga is a joke as we all know. Self promoted and self claimed name using his position at the government to claim land that doesn't belong to him. But Tim, I am not impressed with you. It's a shame you never mentioned Taurama Valley how you families sold all that land. Without proper papers and proper approvals.

My only advice is that my dad can only say one word and all those houses will be bulldozed down meaning every penny taken by your family is to be given back to the innocents who bought land blind eyed. You my big bro will have to find money to reimburse all those settlers at Taurama Valley because you also participated in eating and drinking that unauthorised land sales money.

Next time don't go spreading rumours without finding the truth. Next time you wanna degrade my father I suggest you start by telling the truth about the illegal deals and unauthorised land issues your family created. Start by talking about the damages your family created. Then finish the paragraphs on how my father keeps digging your family out of the mess they get themselves into.

Next time find out the truth before publishing false information to mislead the public. Thank you.

Tony Askul

"Publish What You Earn" is more like it. Now the governments, unions and people will know how much the extractives make, and how much they pay, and how much the CEOs earn.

Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin

Mr Lothian, I am just a pleb seeing a problem and flagging it, assuming that true dignified leaders and duty bearers will do the right things so everyone move forward together using the resources we have.

I am hoping for a national hero to come forward and redistribute what has been hoarded by a few faceless people with the masses and downtrodden.

Yep, only through the criminal justice system and by patching up loopholes in the laws and policies.

Francis Sina Nii

Good, Sil and Martyn. We should all continue to carry out awareness and educate our people not only on internet and print media but at every possible opportunity to educate our ignorant populace of all these evils that are eating into our economy and sustenance.

The more they become aware of what is happening around them, they will become agents of change.

There will a come a time when the masses will rise up and say enough is enough and that time is not far off. Keep planting the seed.

Leonard Roka

We hate being radical for the betterment of the people and that is why nothing will change for the good of the people.

There is no hope for the good under the bigger PNG but with further draw-down of state functions to regional blocks as states or provinces gaining for autonomous, there is hope.

Tingting tasol.

Martyn Namorong

I wrote about this issue earlier this year. I don't think the EITI will sort things out. The issue is about how wealth is being channeled to a few elite at the local, provincial and national level.

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/02/predatory-elite-the-problem-namorong-tells-canberra-the-guy-who-tells-png-like-it-is-is-back-amongst.html

Predatory elite the problem, Namorong tells Canberra

PAPUA NEW GUINEA’s failure to capitalise on its natural resource boom has been described by award winning blogger Martyn Namorong as the curse of the rent seekers.

Namorong highlighted this today when he presented a paper at the Australian National University in Canberra stressing that corrupt behaviour has resulted in many lost opportunities for PNG.

Namorong was critical of the way those entrusted with the nation’s wealth have not created opportunities for the participation of broader society in the resource boom.

“If you look at the system we have in place,” he said, “the wealth of a nation of six million is controlled by a few powerful individuals and entities.

“In theory these parties are supposed to distribute the wealth equitably but that has not been the case.”

Namorong said that what transpired was the creation of a predatory elite class who capitalise on the general population’s apathy and ignorance to squeeze out the nation’s resource rent.

“This predatory elite does not just exist in Waigani but also in the provinces where natural resources are being exploited,” he said.

Namorong suggested that the way out of the curse of the rent seekers was for broader economic development, particularly focussing on empowering the rural majority through smallholder agriculture.

Tim Lothian

My name is Tim Lothian. I was born in Port Moresby and grew up in Kira Kira village. My grandfather was Madi Geita and I am the first born grandson (my birth name is Tamarua Timlock Geita) and I’m known as "Timlock".

I am writing this as I’m concerned for my Motu Koitabu clan to see if there is a way you can guide or help me in some way.

My uncle Mika Madi should be controlling the land but he is incapable to do so hence others are taking advantage of the situation, my uncles Yava Geita and Babani Maraga.

Yava Geita has sold more of Boroko with the help of some of my cousins and will keep doing if no one stops them. The courts are much too slow.

I was in POM three times last year trying to get evidence that the government still owes rent, royalties and compensation to my clan and on one occasion I had to speak for my uncle Mika in court because he wasn’t there.

I also attended the PNG National Urban Land Forum held in Waigani on 22-23 October 2012 where Babani Maragi of the same clan who was the main speaker.

He said, I believe falsely, that he was the first born of my grandfather and he wouldn’t let me speak when I put my hand up. I would’ve got kicked out if I spoke up but I needed to learn more so stayed patient for that time.

If you understand, sir, I’m very concerned and at wits end of what to do now as my funding isn’t enough to do what I need to do to follow my course.

I do not want to give up on this urgent matter of helping my clan but don’t know what other steps to take. Please can you help in some way.

Thank you so much for reading this.

If you need to contact me, my phone number is 0404 900 789 or +61 4090 0789.

Tony Flynn

Absolutely spot on. The people who ran Hitler's propaganda machine live on in spirit in PNG.

I have fond memories of spending a 1960's Christmas period at Mailu in Aruai's house in the village. They had been relocated by a Kiap from their traditional area to a sandspit backed by a swamp.

Gardening for them was a canoe trip and a walk. They were one of the greatest sea faring people of PNG.

A Kiap Fitz*** told me that he saw them out near the Carterets; the double canoe was longer than the government workboat. They just came out for a look!

I saw the end of a small canoe; it was higher than a table.

That people with such a great tradition should be brought so low. Brought low by some of our respected leaders who cannot be named, at least by me.

Resource owners table marketeers bring trouble to most towns of PNG. People forget that they were not always there; they were facilitated by the Informal Business Act promoted by Lady Kidu.

A classic case of the operation of the Law of Unintended Consequences!

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