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80 posts from October 2017

Art & song forge closer bonds between Australia & PNG

 EDITOR | Visual Arts Hub

Ritual Kinuwai dance ceremony (G Kakabin)
Tolai men perform a kinawai dance ceremony with sacred tubuan objects at dawn on a Bit Na Ta, Blanche Bay

a Bit na Ta: The Story of the Gunantuna at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum, until- 4 February 2018; ticketed

MELBOURNE - Although Papua New Guinea is Australia’s nearest neighbour geographically, it has traditionally been held at a cultural distance.

Shared projects are rare and relatively few Australians have experienced the cultures of this vibrant nation.

Museums Victoria is challenging that distance through the multimedia installation and exhibition, a Bit na Ta: The Story of the Gunantuna, a collaborative project re-imagining PNG through language, colour and symbolic imagery.

a Bit na Ta ('the source of the sea') incorporates video footage, photographic works and collection objects, and celebrates the resilience of the Tolai people of East New Britain, who have survived the disruptions of shifting colonial powers, war, volcanic eruptions and independence struggles.

The work is the outcome of a 30-year friendship between internationally renowned Tolai singer George Telek and Aria-winning musician and composer David Bridie.

Continue reading "Art & song forge closer bonds between Australia & PNG" »

Jim Sinclair OBE, recorder of PNG's colonial history, dies at 89

Jim Sinclair & Pami  Lake Kopiago  c 1952
Jim Sinclair and Pami, Lake Kopiago, c 1952


NOOSA – James (Jim) Sinclair OBE, 89, the famed post-war kiap and prolific author of Papua New Guinea’s history, especially that of colonial times since World War II, died just after midnight yesterday at Sunshine Coast University Hospital in Queensland.

He had contracted a severe form of influenza which was subsequently compounded by pneumonia and other complications.

James Patrick Sinclair was born in Dubbo, NSW, on 18 April 1928. He attended Dubbo High School, Sydney Grammar School and the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) in Sydney.

In November 1947, he joined the Department of District Services and Native Affairs in the Administration of what was then the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

After attending an orientation course at ASOPA he travelled to PNG in August 1948 as a cadet patrol officer and served on many outposts as he progressed through the field officer ranks.

Between 1969 and 1974, he was the last Australian district commissioner presiding over what is now Eastern Highlands Province.

Continue reading "Jim Sinclair OBE, recorder of PNG's colonial history, dies at 89" »

Is the Konebada Petroleum Park Authority a scam?

| PNG National Research Institute | Extracts

The Motukea facility including PNG dockyard & international wharf 

You can read the complete article here

PORT MORESBY - The use of State-established instruments and institutions to legitimise scams is becoming an increasing trend in Papua New Guinea.

Recently, the Manumanu land deal has become a national scandal for the current government.

Two past examples with similar outcomes are the Special Agriculture and Business Leases (SABL) and the Taurama Valley.

In both cases, State instruments and institutions have been used to legitimise land grabbing at the expense of landowners and developers alike: SABL by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning (DLPP) and Taurama Valley by the Office of Urbanisation.

In this article, we want to bring to the attention of the public another possible large scale scam that affects land belonging to the customary landowners of Tatana, Baruni, Roku, Kouderika, Porebada, Boera, Papa, and Lealea, and the business community along the Fairfax Harbour, starting with Puma at Napanapa on the West and ending with Motukea and the Edai Township towards the PNG LNG Site.

Continue reading "Is the Konebada Petroleum Park Authority a scam?" »

Sixth Manus death signals system in chaos as Oz exit looms

Rajeev Rajendran
Rajeev Rajendran - his suicide "speaks volumes about inadequacy of Manus health services"

MICHAEL KOZIOL | Fairfax Media

CANBERRA - The sixth asylum seeker to die on Manus Island under Australia's watch registered barely a ripple.

Rajeev Rajendran, a Tamil refugee who fled Sri Lanka, died in the early hours of Monday last week, apparently by suicide.

Police in Papua New Guinea confirmed details of the death, but it went unremarked upon by the Australian government, which retains it is a matter for PNG.

The case is unpleasant and murky, and highlights several important points of dispute about the plight of refugees on Manus Island and what they face when Australia leaves the island at the end of this month.

Rajendran, who experienced mental illness, was charged with raping a minor earlier this year in the township of Lorengau. He was released on bail and awaited trial, but it was a charge likely to rule him out of consideration for resettlement in the US.

The rape charge was also at the centre of escalating unrest between townsfolk and the asylum seekers on Manus Island. In part, it is what Dutton referred to in April when he said there was an "elevated mood" on the island and controversially suggested a riot at the processing centre was linked to community fears about the safety of a five-year-old boy.

Continue reading "Sixth Manus death signals system in chaos as Oz exit looms" »

Election 2017: ‘Fraud, violence, intimidation & corruption'

Dr Joe Ketan


NOOSA – Far from being a celebration of democracy, Papua New Guinea’s recent general election provided a toxic banquet of malfeasance, deception, connivance and deadly violence.

Now Western Highlands-born academic Dr Joe Ketan, who spent four months intensively observing the election, has delivered what the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has termed “a scathing assessment” of what transpired.

Dr Ketan, a political scientist and former head of PNG Studies and International Relations at Divine Word University, concluded the election showed PNG “descending into community dictatorship” which "compromised the principles of democracy".

PNG’s democracy had been eroded through malpractice, fraud, violence, intimidation, bribery and corruption, he said.

Continue reading "Election 2017: ‘Fraud, violence, intimidation & corruption' " »

PNG fails health check: now E Asia’s worst performing economy

Fig 1 - Worst-growth-in East Asia
Not a position of honour - PNG worst economic performer in its region

| PNG Economics

CANBERRA - The World Bank recently released its update on economic prospects for countries in the East Asia and Pacific region.

There was some very sad news for the people of Papua New Guinea.

PNG, for each year from 2017 to 2019, is expected to have the worst economic performance in the region (see this table from the report). Papua New Guinea is coming last.

And with economic growth of 2.1 to 2.5% and population growth of 3%, it means the economy is going backwards in per capita terms.

Continue reading "PNG fails health check: now E Asia’s worst performing economy" »

Law & order crisis besets Madang - once the pearl of the Pacific

Beautiful Madang turns ugly (Samuel Roth & Claire Joshua)
Madang, once known as the pearl of the South Pacific, is experiencing a worsening crime crisis

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country | Edited

PORT MORESBY- This needs to be said. There is a break down in law and order in Madang town.

It is a crisis that needs to be addressed urgently. Unlike the Southern Highlands and Enga, it is not election related. It is a break down in the moral fibre of society. Crime is affecting the daily lives of ordinary people.

There is a general feeling of fear. Women are being harassed in public with others too afraid to act.   There is a general feeling that police will not act on the petty crimes if reported.

People are being harassed and attacked near their homes. My wife’s younger brother was attacked a on the road less than 10 meters outside the home where my family lives. He wasn’t drunk. He was just sitting on the roadside along on an early evening. He had every right to do so.

Continue reading "Law & order crisis besets Madang - once the pearl of the Pacific" »

A kiap, the Biami people & the construction of an airstrip


NOOSA – There’s a wealth of visual material (both video and still images) on the internet derived from Papua New Guinea’s colonial days.

YouTube in particular yields much of value and I reckon there’s a useful retirement job there for some worthy to assemble, classify and develop a compendium of all that there is.

Quite apart its obvious utility as an archive and educational aid, such a guide would be of great use to Papua New Guineans who have lost touch with their own, even quite recent, history.

Continue reading "A kiap, the Biami people & the construction of an airstrip" »

Kiaps meet again on Sunshine Coast – a most durable body of men

Peter Salmon and friend
Peter Salmon & colleague - old kiaps never die, they just go ape


NOOSA - “Are you going to stray from your lofty editorial cyber-perch and grace us with your presence at the next reunion?” said the email.

It was impertinence normale from onetime pikinini kiap Peter Salmon. A missive of characteristic disrespect.

As soon as they put on their broad brimmed military-style hats, these young turks of pre-independent Papua New Guinea thought they sat at the feet of god. Which in a sense some did.

Vale nambawan kiap Tom Ellis.

Peter and I were contemporaries in Chimbu in the 1960s – him a kiap, me a tisa - before we both went on to other careers and other lives.

Since 2001, Peter has been publisher of the valued and historically valuable Ex Kiap website (if you haven’t seen it, catch up here). He is a communicator after my own heart – keep the channels open, the debate free and duck for cover as required.

Continue reading "Kiaps meet again on Sunshine Coast – a most durable body of men" »

Women’s dress & violence: All that’s changed are the standards

Jakub Majewski
Jakub Majewski


GOLD COAST - Was there really no violence against Papua New Guinean women in the time before?

When I read accounts of missionaries in the 1930s, who worked and lived even in areas still beyond the reach of the patrol officers, I get the exact opposite impression.

It would be utterly ridiculous to argue that women are now worse off than they were then.

Sexual violence may have been more specifically channelled, for example rape would probably be limited to raids on another village and to one's own wives, as it certainly would not have been acceptable for them to refuse their husbands regardless of circumstance - but it would hardly be less common.

I suspect that for many women, covering up their breasts seems like a small price to pay for the enormous, enormous advancement of their social position that Christianity gave them.

Continue reading "Women’s dress & violence: All that’s changed are the standards" »

Violence against women a major economic issue in Pacific

Gender-equality (Guardian)REPORT | UN Women

You can read the more detailed report here

SUVA – “Violence against women is a significant economic issue which carries high costs to individuals, households, the public sector, businesses and society,” says Abby Erikson.

“However, we cannot lose sight of violence against women as a violation of human rights - women have a right to live a life free from violence, beyond any economic justification for it,” adds Ms Erikson, manager of UN Women’s ending violence against women program in the Pacific.

She was speaking at last week’s triennial conference of Pacific women held in Suva in which panellists highlighted the connection between violence against women and women’s economic empowerment.

The Pacific region has some of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, with two out of three women reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by a partner – double the global average.

Continue reading "Violence against women a major economic issue in Pacific" »

Remove Peter O'Neill before he does irreparable damage


Belden Namah
Belden Namah - 'too many mistakes, time for O'Neill to go'

VANIMO - As in the game of chess, Peter O'Neill’s assumption of power as Papua New Guinea prime minister was indeed truly remarkable because people like me made it possible.

While he did not take us to the moon it was still a remarkable ride. But two major losses he has suffered recently may perhaps lead to the beginning of his end game.

They are both of his own making.

First, by dragging his feet on an electronic election with the hope of influencing the outcome in 2017, O'Neill woke up when the election results started coming in to see his majority in parliament decline from 60 members to 23.

We saw, for the first time under his leadership, an unprecedented level of election-related violence in all the highlands provinces with very many deaths and millions of kina in loss and damage to property.

Continue reading "Remove Peter O'Neill before he does irreparable damage" »

Women’s dress & violence – is there a relationship?


Phil Fitzpatrick - 'women do not invite attacks'

TUMBY BAY - For the last couple of months I’ve been writing a memoir about growing up as a young migrant child in Australia.

It’s one of a couple of writing projects that have been occupying my time.

The period I cover in the memoir is the 1950-60s, which was an extremely conservative time in Australia. This was particularly so with regard to sexual and moral matters, and I’m sure it had a detrimental effect on my upbringing.

In the process of delving into this repressive era I couldn’t help thinking about what happened when I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1967.

This was just before the great social changes that swept the western world in the late 1960s.

In those days Papua New Guinea was a much earthier place. Among other things people didn’t wear too many clothes, especially in the bush, but also in the towns. Men and women in traditional dress was the rule rather than the exception.

Continue reading "Women’s dress & violence – is there a relationship?" »

Diver & planter Harry Brutnall dies at 97: Man of energy & action

Harry BrutnallMARTIN KERR | Ex Kiap Website

CAIRNS - With moving tributes from family and friends, former sailor and shipowner Harry Brutnall was interred at Ravenshoe Cemetery on Friday 29 September. More than 120 attended the graveside service with military honours coordinated by the RSL sub-branch.

Born in England, Harry Brutnall came to Ravenshoe in 1926 and briefly attended Ravenshoe State School. He milked cows and at 14 worked as a blacksmith’s nipper on the Tully Falls Road, enabling him to purchase his first motor cycle.

Harry then went tin mining before joining the navy in 1938. On HMAS Perth he visited New York just before the outbreak of war. He later served on HMAS Swan and HMAS Adelaide.

In 1942, as an able seaman, he was selected for diving school. Quartered at HMAS Kuttabul, Harry was in Kings Cross when the vessel was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Without a diving suit, he retrieved bodies.

Continue reading "Diver & planter Harry Brutnall dies at 97: Man of energy & action" »

The refugee deal - land of the free, but only for a few

Asylum on Manus Island (Eoin Blackwell)
Asylum seekers on Manus Island in 2014 (Eoin Blackwell)


SYDNEY - Last month, after more than four years of suffering, 25 excited and nervous male refugees left Papua New Guinea's remote Manus Island for a new life in the United States.

Left behind are another 800 men - refugees and asylum-seekers - who are wondering if they too will be rescued by the US government or remain in a dead-end limbo while exposed to violence in Papua New Guinea.

"We didn't know if the US deal was real or fake," a refugee from Pakistan told me. He has completed his US interview but is not among the 25 who left for the US.

"Now we know, but I am still so worried. How many will the US take and when? And who will be left behind?"

Continue reading "The refugee deal - land of the free, but only for a few" »

Our absolutely unbelievable fracturing of language 😠


TUMBY BAY - I’ve had enough! The next person who says, ‘Oh my God!’, ‘Absolutely!’, ‘At the end of the day’, 'The bottom line is …’, ‘Unbelievable!’ or any one of the other overworked clichés that I’ve got stored in my verbal hate locker had better look out.

The same goes for the next person who sends me an email with the acclamation ‘LOL’ at the end. And that goes doubly if it is accompanied by one of those excruciating little circles with a happy face or some other silly symbol in it.

And if any of those people also happens to be wearing a baseball cap the wrong way round, have underpants sticking from the top of their pants or is sucking a lollypop with the stick hanging out of their mouth, who knows what will happen.

Not that I’ve got anything against mindless clichés or silly fads.

Continue reading "Our absolutely unbelievable fracturing of language 😠" »

The Commandment Bridge

Happiness (jjyoung11)WARDLEY BARRY

Thou shalt not love more than one woman,
Neither can you love more than one man;
When you do you cease to be human.

Thou shalt not lie with another man
As you would with a proper woman;
When you do you cease to be human.

Thou shalt not love another woman
With the love meant only for a man;
When you do you cease to be human.

Thou shalt not change sex if you're born man,
Neither can you if you're a woman;
When you do you cease to be human.

Continue reading "The Commandment Bridge" »

Where are you Peter O’Neill? Mendi is burning

Mendi burns (ABC)
Mendi burns as post-election violence continues (ABC)


PORT MORESBY - Real leaders emerge when there is a breakdown in civilian control and the soft power of the courts mean less and the police are powerless.

Mendi is burning and we have heard not one word from the prime minister directed at ending the cycle of violence that has enveloped his once beautiful provincial capital

Prime minister Peter O’Neill and electoral commissioner Patiliu Gamato now responsible for over 30 election related deaths in this area and millions of kina in losses and damage to property.

It is my view that both must eventually be held accountable and charged with treason. The prime minister must be removed from office immediately before the Mendi contagion spreads to the rest of Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Where are you Peter O’Neill? Mendi is burning" »

BCL says re-opening Panguna will be a long & costly project

Panguna (Loop PNG)
K19 billion & 10 years to get Panguna mine operating again


PORT MORESBY– Panguna’s copper and gold mine will take about 10 years to re-establish at a construction cost of up to K19 billion ($A7.7 billion), a Bougainville Copper Ltd chief has told a tax summit in Buka.

And no decision will be made to re-open the mine until BCL is convinced of the viability of the project and has conducted a ‘bankable feasibility’ study, said BCL company secretary Mark Hitchcock.

Mr Hitchcock said a realistic timeline for Panguna would see the mine operational around 2025-26 and potential tax revenue had to be viewed as a longer-term prospect with no short-term, direct tax generation

Continue reading "BCL says re-opening Panguna will be a long & costly project" »

The passionate wildlife vet whose career kicked off in PNG

Dr Howard Ralph
Dr Howard Ralph


NOOSA –Dr Howard Ralph is an eminent Australian wildlife vet who on Monday night featured on ABC-TV's Australian Story, which told of his epic and self-sacrificing commitment to Australia's bush creatures.

Howard Kenneth Ralph, we knew him as ‘Howie’ but I doubt this was his preferred mode of address, taught in the highlands of Papua New Guinea in the mid-1960s and has for many years now been known one of Australia’s best-known, most reclusive and most revered wildlife vets.

Howard trained as a cadet education officer at the Australian School of Pacific Administration in 1962-63 alongside me and other worthies who had committed some years of our youth to the then Australian jointly administered territories of Papua and New Guinea.

We arrived in PNG to start our new careers in November 1963, a week before President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Continue reading "The passionate wildlife vet whose career kicked off in PNG" »

Warlords take over Mendi; rampaging mob attacks O’Neill car

Southern Highlands Province (map - ANU)JOHNNY POIYA & JEFFREY ELAPA | Pacific Media Watch | Extracts

Read the complete story here

PORT MORESBY - A rampaging crowd has attacked Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill’s official vehicle and business interests in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province.

The Toyota LandCruiser V8 vehicle was stolen, and construction and mining logistics company Wildcat Construction base looted and torched, on Saturday afternoon.

South West Air’s airport hangar was ransacked also although its fleet of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft had earlier been moved elsewhere.

O’Neill’s LandCruiser was among 10 vehicles, including an excavator, backhoe and grader, stolen by a rampaging crowd that had ran amok through the town.

Continue reading "Warlords take over Mendi; rampaging mob attacks O’Neill car" »

Naïve opportunist - the real story behind Basil joining O’Neill

Sam Basil & Peter O'Neill (ABC)
Sam Basil - once thought to be the incorruptible great hope, now waiting for Peter O'Neill to fail


LAE - On 1 September, I posted an article confirming rumours of a split in the Pangu Pati in which eight members, led by the party leader Sam Basil, made the decision to cross the floor of parliament to join prime minister Peter O’Neill’s government.

Seven other members, including me, decided to remain with the opposition.

The decision had been made at a secret meeting convened at the Lae International Hotel the previous day.

When contacted by the media about what had happened, I replied that the best person to answer that question was party leader Sam Basil and the members who supported the decision to move.

In other words I wanted to hear his response his before I made mine.

However, when Basil was contacted to confirm or deny the rumour, he refused to comment saying, “If anything [happens] we will call a media conference".

Continue reading "Naïve opportunist - the real story behind Basil joining O’Neill" »

Sr Cecilia Prest, the nun who saved Tim Flannery’s life

Rob Parer  Sr Cecilia & Marg Parer at St Anna Plantation
Rob Parer, Sr Cecilia Prest & Marg Parer


BRISBANE - I received an email last Friday from Franciscan missionary Sister Cecilia Prest Mfic who has spent 15 years at Woorabinda, an indigenous community town 180 km south-west of Rockhampton in Queensland.

Previously Sr Cecilia was in the Aitape Diocese of Papua New Guinea for 28 years - most of the time in charge of the health centre at small mission station of Fatima near Lumi.

She told me that Fr Bruno Pokule was visiting Woorabinda for a few days, adding that she had delivered him when she was based at Sissano. Sr Cecilia remembers she was up all night as it had proved to be “a very difficult delivery”.

Continue reading "Sr Cecilia Prest, the nun who saved Tim Flannery’s life" »

West Papua independence petition is rebuffed at UN

Benny Wenda - "My people want to be free”

BEN DOHERTY & KATE LAMB | Guardian Australia | Extract

Read the complete article here

SYDNEY - The UN’s decolonisation committee will not accept a petition signed by 1.8 million West Papuans calling for independence, saying West Papua’s cause is outside the committee’s mandate.

In New York last week, the exiled West Papuan leader Benny Wenda presented the petition – banned by the Indonesian government, but smuggled across Papua and reportedly endorsed by 70% of the contested province’s population – to the UN’s decolonisation committee, known as the C24 and responsible for monitoring the progress of former colonies towards independence.

The petition asked the UN to appoint a special representative to investigate human rights abuses in the province and to “put West Papua back on the decolonisation committee agenda and ensure their right to self‐determination … is respected by holding an internationally supervised vote”.

Continue reading "West Papua independence petition is rebuffed at UN" »

PNG eyes new era of trade – “more autonomy and control”

Leaving Port Moresby (Oxford Business Group)ECONOMIC NEWS | Oxford Business Group

LONDON - A new trade policy looks set to shift Papua New Guinea’s focus towards the development of bilateral ties and away from multinational agreements as part of broader efforts to create a more balanced trading environment.

Launched in early August, the National Trade Policy (NTP) 2017-32 sets out guidelines for the country’s trading future, with a strategic implementation plan, currently in draft form, set to follow.

Commenting at the launch of the NTP, Charles Abel, deputy prime minister, said that future trade policy would focus on securing market access for local products through the signing of free trade agreements with countries that welcomed the participation of PNG businesses.

Continue reading "PNG eyes new era of trade – “more autonomy and control”" »

Intrust Championship: Hunters won’t let down PNG & Queensland

PNG Hunters celebrate their finals win
"For at least one day, the Hunters will be Queenslanders"

RIKKI-LEE ARNOLD | The Courier-Mail

BRISBANE - WHEN COACH Michael Marum talks about what Sunday’s Intrust Super Championship means to the PNG Hunters, it’s not just another chance to win for their country, but also for their state.

Marum’s team made history last weekend, when they claimed their first Intrust Super Cup premiership.

Today they represent the entire Queensland competition as they come up against the winners of the NSW competition, the Penrith Panthers.

For Marum, this means that for at least one day, the Hunters will be Queenslanders.

Continue reading "Intrust Championship: Hunters won’t let down PNG & Queensland" »

Rugby league rising: the Papua New Guinea Hunters

PNG Hunters 2
“We will put up a fight for you. We’re gonna do it, and we will never back down”

| Extract (read the full article here)

TODAY: PNG Hunters v Penrith Panthers: 2.40pm (Queensland time) at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Watch the game live on Channel 9

PORT MORESBY - “We will put up a fight for you. We’re gonna do it, and we will never back down.”

Those words from their team song are enough to tell you what the PNG Hunters are all about. A loyal following behind them, they are the only non-Australian based side in the whole of the National Rugby League, and they are out with a point to prove.

Four years after their formation, they were crowned as the first non-Queensland side to win the Queensland Cup (reserve grade) after defeating the Sunshine Coast Falcons in a dramatic final.

Today they have their biggest clash so far, against NSW Cup champions the Penrith Panthers in the In-Trust State Championship blockbuster.

Continue reading "Rugby league rising: the Papua New Guinea Hunters" »

Supplementary budget reveals O’Neill v Abel political powerplay

Abel and O'Neill
Charles Abel & Peter O'Neill - serious contradictions in views about cash hand-outs to MPs

PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics | Edited extracts

You can read Pauls’ detailed analysis of the supplementary budget here

CANBERRA – On Wednesday Papua New Guinea’s new deputy prime minister and treasurer, Charles Abel, presented the promised 2017 supplementary budget to parliament. It is a very mixed document.

There are positive messages about medium-term paths for getting fiscal policy back on track, including a worthy attempt to target a more reasonable budget deficit of 2.5% of GDP in 2017 relative to the excessively high 4.6% in 2016.

Some key expenditure priorities are being protected and there are sensible cash-flow fixes (such as pharmaceutical drugs, office rentals and interest costs) and small initiatives (such as funding the coffee berry borer disease response).

Continue reading "Supplementary budget reveals O’Neill v Abel political powerplay" »

Concern over O’Neill's reappointment of sidelined ministers

William Duma & Fabian Pok - with the election over, stood aside ministers resurface

MEDIA ROOM | Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY - Transparency International PNG has grave concerns about prime minister Peter O’Neill’s commitment to integrity, given recent remarks justifying his dramatic change of mind in making two key ministerial reappointments,

These effectively acting against his own earlier decision which, in accordance with principles of good governance, was to protect the investigation into the K46 million Manumanu land deal by sidelining William Duma and Fabian Pok until such time as it had been completed.

Last Tuesday, responding to questions in parliament by Peter Isoaimo, Member for Kairuku Hiri, and James Donald, Member for North Fly, the prime minister is reported to have justified his controversial decision to re-appoint Mr Duma and Dr Pok to ministerial portfolios.

Continue reading "Concern over O’Neill's reappointment of sidelined ministers" »

PNG should be wary of returning Bougainville to conflict of 1990s

John Momis
John Momis - enough problems without Peter O'Neill playing games with a volatile Bougainville

GRANT WYETH | The Diplomat

SYDNEY - Tensions between Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) have again arisen concerning Bougainville’s independence referendum scheduled for June 2019.

PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill has informed the national parliament that the criteria established in the Bougainville Peace Agreement of 2001 — which would enable the region to hold a referendum — have yet to be met.

According to O’Neill, the region has yet to establish a solid rule of law, maintain functional government structures, nor has it fully disarmed the island’s militias.

However, the ABG has been arguing for some time that the PNG government has failed to live up to its financial obligations to allow the ABG the resources to fully implement the required conditions.

That the PNG government earlier this year had the power cut to government buildings due to unpaid bills, and lost its vote at the United National General Assembly because of a failure to make its annual contributions, could indicate that the ABG may be justified in its complaints.

The guarantee of referendum over Bougainville’s sovereignty was one of the primary requirements of the 2001 peace agreement that was brokered by New Zealand after a civil war that had been waged for most of the 1990s.

Continue reading "PNG should be wary of returning Bougainville to conflict of 1990s" »