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« Failure to honour agreement causing tremors on Bougainville | Main | »

02 March 2019

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John Dagge

The timing of these particular chronicles is exquisite. Set for October with "your man" Bertie at the “head of the force”. Hopefully the present day locals will get to read this.

As always the detail and the captured mood is flawless. Memories and the anti-bureaucratic angst are surging - I’ll have a red and settle down.

Phlegmatic indeed - after a rain soaked visit to Gregory Korpa's hamlet and rebuttal of anything we had to offer, we trudged back down followed by a few women haranguing - Sepik Senior Constable Yimbin in his broken English remarking, “Black bastards”.

Mark Davis

What a magnificent and important rendition.

Chips Mackellar

Superb story, Bill. With reference to your description of the 500 strong CRA workforce who flocked to the bar each Saturday with nothing else to do except get drunk and brawl, I remember when I was the District Court Magistrate at Kieta. One Sunday morning I was strolling around Kieta. A police land rover stopped beside me and the Australian uniformed police officer asked if I could hear a bail application. As it was a Sunday, I was dressed like most Aussies off duty there on such a day, T shirt, stubbies and thongs. I told the officer, "I am not properly dressed for a court appearance." The officer said, "You are not propely dressed, Sir? You should see the defendants. They were all covered in vomit and piss and shit till we hosed them down." And he explained that the cell was so overcrowded with CRA drunks that they had all rolled around on the cell floor covered in each others vomit and urine and faces, so that to prepare them for their court appearance, the police had to use fire hoses to hose the now sobered drunks clean. "Then we lined them up in the sun to dry them off, Sir," the officer continued, "so if you are ready we will bring them up to the court house now." So with as much decorum as I could muster when clad only in T shirt, stubbies and thongs, I presided over a solemn bail application by the most mottley collection of disreputable defendants you migh ever see at one sitting. But at least they were then clean.

Chris Overland

Thank you once again Bill for a marvellously detailed explanation of what was really happening at this critical time in Bougainville's history.

Once again, you are pointing to some obvious lessons from history for those now advocating to restart mining at Panguna. Whether they can or will be heeded is likely to have profound implications for any nascent independent state and PNG more generally.

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