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94 posts from July 2019

New police minister acts to respond to devastating tribal war

Bryan Kramer at Karita village
Bryan Kramer at Karita village


PORT MORESBY - Yesterday, I returned from Tari Electorate in Hela Province following a one day trip to assess the situation following the horrific killing of 23 women (two of whom were pregnant) and nine children in the worst payback killing in our country's history.

In my capacity as Minister for Police, I represented the Marape-Steven government to be on the ground to pay respects to those killed and prepare and provide a brief to the prime minister on the circumstances behind the incident - what, who, when, how and why.

Tribal fights are not new in PNG and in recent years they have become more prevalent in the highlands region, one may argue they have been going on since the beginning of time.

However since that time the rules of engagement have always been that the elderly, women and children have been off limits.

Continue reading "New police minister acts to respond to devastating tribal war" »

The events of 29 May 2019 inside & outside parliament

"For two months, I woke up seeing these people already out in the fields working the land"

| An entry in the 2019 Crocodile Prize Award for Essays

PORT MORESBY - It’s been about six weeks since Peter O'Neill resigned as prime minister of Papua New Guinea on Wednesday 29 May.

The day itself has a significant story behind it that I want to share with you.

I first moved into my little hide-out in Games Village halls of residence at the University of PNG situated towards the Morauta swampland and bush.

On that afternoon of 15 February 2019, I sat alone on my balcony and watched as the last ray of sunlight touched upon the horizon.

Continue reading "The events of 29 May 2019 inside & outside parliament" »

There’s a new look at the top of the PNG police force

Francis Tokua  David Manning  Joanne ClarksonKEITH JACKSON | NBC News/PNG Today

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s acting police commissioner Francis Tokura says he will provide the leadership required to address law and order issues in the country.

Mr Tokura has been appointed for a period of three months pending the announcement of a permanent choice by the National Executive Council.

David Manning has been appointed acting deputy commissioners operations and Joanne Clarkson acting deputy commissioner administration.

Mr Tokura said he is aware of stood down former commissioner Gary Baki's intention to challenge the appointment process, saying it is his right to do so.

Continue reading "There’s a new look at the top of the PNG police force" »

Rant Supporting Scott Waide & PNG's Journalists

An entry in the 2019 Crocodile Prize Award for Poetry

I took my camera, my notepad and my biro
So I could write about today's news
I took my camera, my notepad and my biro
So I could interview the women at the hospital

I took my camera, my notepad and my biro
So I could listen to the views of the teachers
I took my camera, my notepad and my biro
So I could tell the world about the volcano at Manam
and the ignorance by my government
in setting up a permanent care centre

Continue reading "Rant Supporting Scott Waide & PNG's Journalists" »

Focus on PNG culture as writers’ petition moves to final stage

Emil Tammur
Emil Tammur - "“When the oil and gas and minerals dry up, it is our cultures that can sustain us”


PORT MORESBY - Two prominent Papua New Guineans have called for a cultural revival in Papua New Guinea at the same time as PNG’s writers put the finishing touches on a petition for prime minister James Marape.

“Papua New Guinea’s cultural heritage defines who we are,” said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Emil Tammur launching the National Cultural Commission’s corporate plan.

“Without culture and tradition we have no identity, no soul.

“If you look at some of the more successful economies of the world – Japan or China or Korea – behind the economic success story there lies a social and cultural background that is the heart and soul of that nation,” he said.

“Culture is what makes them different, what makes them proud and what gives them an identity.”

Similar words have been used by the authors of the literary manifesto that PNG writers intend to present to Mr Marape soon.

Continue reading "Focus on PNG culture as writers’ petition moves to final stage" »

Airways Hotel

"dark and cool / spreading out under / an old DC3"


Lyrics of a tribute to one of Port Moresby’s favourite hotels, along with
another great six new Simon Jackson songs you can listen to in full here

caught the drillers plane
from Lae
bumping down onto
a white hot
Mosbi runway
still looks just the same
but no one's at the gate

didn't think I'd ever be
coming home again
I get the strangest sense 

past the wires
drooping in heat
think I remember this street
into the

Continue reading "Airways Hotel" »

Australia should help end tribal violence in PNG

ArmedMITCHELL THOMAS | Organisation for World Peace | Edited

HOUSTON, USA - The remote highlands regions of Papua New Guinea has recently been the subject of international attention in the wake of a brutal massacre.

The remote village of Karida saw an outbreak of tribal violence last week as part of ongoing conflicts in some of the country’s most remote provinces.

While tribal conflict and warfare have historically been an issue for PNG, the rate and escalation of violence has increased in recent years.

This is due in a large part to the provision of high-powered weapons that has led to a marked change in the way conflict has unfolded.

Continue reading "Australia should help end tribal violence in PNG" »

Women who died in Karida massacre were community anchors

Charred remains (Scott Waide)
Charred remains of a Karida village hut where the atrocity took place (Scott Waide)

SCOTT WAIDE | Asia Pacific Report

KARIDA, HELA - On Wednesday, some of the bodies of 18 Papua New Guinean women and children were buried by the roadside in Karida Number One village.

They were the latest innocent victims of a 20-year tribal war driven by local warlords in the Tagali local level government area of Hela Province.

Karida Number One was not directly involved in the fighting that initially left seven people dead in neighbouring Munima village.

But they were accused of harbouring an in-law involved in the attack.

And the women and children paid the price.

For the older generation of Hela, the killing of women and children has broken the traditional protocols of tribal fighting.

Continue reading "Women who died in Karida massacre were community anchors" »

Huge response to petition to strengthen PNG literature

FlagAt last count, 315 people from around the world have signed a petition asking the Marape government to make home-grown literature in Papua New Guinea a powerful cultural & social force. 

Many of PNG's best known writers have shown their support and have been joined by supporters of a strong PNG literature from within PNG, across Australia and around the world.

These people understand the struggle of PNG's authors, short story writers, poets and commentators to have their books and magazines available especially in schools, universities and libraries.

Prime minister James Marape will be asked to help bring PNG's talented writers to the world and, more importantly, to the people of Papua New Guinea.  

Download Petition & Names here

Continue reading "Huge response to petition to strengthen PNG literature" »

Power elites behind brutal Highlands slayings must be targeted

The cocooned remains of the women and children who were victims of the Hela massacre - beyond the foot soldiers are the elites


PORT MORESBY – Sixteen children and women slashed to death by warlords and their tribesmen were laid to rest in Hela yesterday.

And towards the eastern edge of Southern Highlands in the Kagua-Erave area, a massacre said to be much larger continues unabated, perhaps 50-100 victims have lost their lives as warring tribes ransack villages and orchestrate guerilla warfare.

With limited reliable reporting, the number of deaths is likely to be much higher. Roads have become dangerous to travel and as a result schools, aid posts and other basic government services have come to a standstill.

With the use of high powered guns and hired hit men, tribal fights are much more deadly than those fought in traditional times.

Continue reading "Power elites behind brutal Highlands slayings must be targeted" »

The escapees from drudgery who helped build PNG

Plantation Papua CoverPHIL FITZPATRICK

Plantation Papua: A true tale of trials and tribulations in Papua between 1962 and 1982 by Denis Longhurst, Vivid Publishing, 2017, paperback 329 pages, ISBN: 978-1-925590-17-3. Cost from the author is $28.95,

TUMBY BAY - It never fails to amuse me how many Australians who went to work in Papua New Guinea prior to independence were escapees from excruciatingly boring bank jobs.

I was one and so was Len Aisbett, who interviewed me when I applied to become a kiap.

Denis Longhurst was another. He did four years in a bank before breaking free and running away.

While I became a kiap, he became a plantation manager.

Like many of us he developed a fondness for Papua and the people who lived there.

Continue reading "The escapees from drudgery who helped build PNG" »

Bougainville public servants sacked after funeral expenses fraud

Joseph Nobetau
Joseph Nobetau - hot on the heels of thieves and fraudsters


BUKA - Efforts by the Bougainville government to curb systematic corruption in the Bougainville Public Service continue to gain momentum as more public servants have been implicated in fraud.

Chief Secretary Joseph Nobetau said a further two officers employed by the Department of Community Government have been dismissed due to their involvement in gross misconduct, theft and fraud.

The officers were found to have misused funds allocated by the Autonomous Bougainville Government last year to assist with the funeral expenses of former premier Leo Hannet.

“The fact that these individuals could steal money that had been allocated to assist with funeral expenses brings great shame to them and the ABG,” Mr Nobetau said.

“The funds were meant to offset the cost to the family in recognition of Mr Hannet’s significant contribution to Bougainville.

“But instead these individuals acted selfishly for personal gain”, he said.

Continue reading "Bougainville public servants sacked after funeral expenses fraud" »

Shocking massacre of women & children in Highlands

Hela landscapeMONICA SAGER | The Week

PORT MORESBY - At least 24 people, including pregnant women and children, have been killed in Papua New Guinea in one of the country’s worst outbreaks of tribal violence for years.

The deaths are said to have taken place over several days in Hela Province. At least eight of the victims are reported to be younger than 15 and two of the women killed were pregnant.

“Rival tribes apparently clashed over control of local gold deposits in the mineral-rich soil,” says AFP.

A representative from the provincial department of health posted pictures on Facebook of what he said was a massacre in Karida village.

Continue reading "Shocking massacre of women & children in Highlands" »

Life with Foxcy: death, warfare & great misfortune

Peter Ipatas on Foxcy's shoulders  2006
Foxcy (far left) and fellow students bear Governor Sir Peter Ipatas at Laigam in 2006 


WABAG - The young boy thought his mother was sound asleep and tried to lie down beside her as he had always done, clinging to her warm body for comfort and safety.

He did not understand why some people gently lifted him and placed him some distance away to play games with other children.

He was too young to realise that the lifeless form he saw people sitting around and crying over was gone for good, never to be with her favourite, and last, child.

His mother had treated him with special care after she had lost a girl before he was born. She had four children - two boys and two girls - but Foxcy was her favourite.

Today Foxcy Yambai from Laiagam in Enga Province is 26 and he seems to have been born to suffer loss and misfortune all his life. First his mother and then, when he was in Grade 7 in 2004, his father, this latter tragedy severely disrupting his education.

Continue reading "Life with Foxcy: death, warfare & great misfortune" »

We Pacific islanders need to make a pledge for unity

PacificaBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO I PNG Informal Economist

PORT MORESBY - The Pacific Islands region has long been highly regarded for its hospitality and spectacular scenery.

The friendly smiles and the necklaces of majestic islands and atolls spread across a mighty ocean have long fascinated visitors since the arrival of the first explorers.

While the world has gone through dramatic shifts and turns over many centuries, the Pacific seemed to retain its beauty and its values.

From the big island of New Guinea across to Hawaii, the people of this region have shared history, culture and traditions.

Continue reading "We Pacific islanders need to make a pledge for unity" »

Plot by officers: Minister Kramer calls out PNG police mutiny

Bryan Kramer Gary Baki
Bryan Kramer and Gary Baki - never easy going when the man you were trying to shut down becomes your boss

NEWS DESK | The Australian | AFP | Extract

SYDNEY -Papua New Guinea’s new reformist police minister has warned of a plot by officers to detain and possibly kill him, as a battle for control of the nation’s much-maligned police force turned ugly.

Days after firing the country’s powerful police commissioner, Bryan Kramer claimed he had received intelligence reports about a plot by “high ranking ­officers” to have him arrested and charged.

In an unusual Facebook post on Monday, Mr Kramer admitted that Papua New Guineans — who suffer under endemic crime and corruption — “fear and resent the police force”.

The opposition-activist-turned-minister also said his efforts to stamp out politically connected corruption and modernise the force could spell his death.

“I have no question of doubt I will eventually get killed for what I do. It goes without saying when you get in the way of those stealing billions in public funds, they will do whatever it takes to get rid of you.”

Continue reading "Plot by officers: Minister Kramer calls out PNG police mutiny" »

Marape government to rule soon on K47 billion gas deal

Kerenga Kua (2)
Kerenga Kua - wants to create fairness for both resource investors and Papua New Guineans

LISA MURRAY & ANGUS GRIGG | The Australian Financial Review

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea's new government will make a decision within weeks on whether to amend a multibillion-dollar gas agreement involving Oil Search, according to the country's Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua.

In his first interview with the foreign media since being appointed to the key ministry last month, Mr Kua said the government's internal review of the Papua LNG agreement –a project that is being led by France's Total and also involves ExxonMobil – will be completed within two to three weeks.

Uncertainty about the project has been weighing on the Oil Search share price, which has fallen almost 15% since late April, when former prime minister Peter O'Neill came under mounting pressure to step down.

His replacement, James Marape, and Mr Kua had both been critical of the Papua LNG project leading up to the change of government. Together with the PNG LNG Project, it forms part of a K47 billion liquefied natural gas expansion in the Pacific nation.

Mr Kua told The Australian Financial Review the internal inquiry into the Papua LNG project was focusing on two areas.

Continue reading "Marape government to rule soon on K47 billion gas deal" »

Informal rural courts were an important part of the kiap’s role

Informal court (Graham Forster)
An informal village court (Graham Forster)


NORTHUMBRIA – Back in colonial times, informal bush courts were taken seriously by Papua New Guinea’s village people and also by patrolling kiaps.

In this photograph from 1974, the postures adopted by the village group were typical of people taking part in the informal community courts of the time.

Regular government patrols moved through rural locations holding these courts, conducting censuses, checking on sanitation and other issues, advising on road construction and undertaking many other tasks.

The gathering shown here took place immediately in front of the haus kiap and the kiap (back to camera), who was accepted as a neutral arbiter, is sitting on its step.

In front of him, one of the patrol’s policemen is summing up the circumstances surrounding the complaint.

Continue reading "Informal rural courts were an important part of the kiap’s role" »

An extraordinary book that goes beyond the headlines

MWTE coverSUSAN FRANCIS | Good Reads

My Walk to Equality: Essays, Stories and Poetry by Papua New Guinean Women, edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell, Pukpuk Publications 2017, paperback, 278 pages. ISBN-10: 1542429242. Available from Amazon, paper US$10.53, Kindle US$0.93

MAYFIELD, NSW - First let me say this is an extraordinary book. I learnt so much.

Sometimes I was confronted, most dreadfully, by choices demanded of the individuals depicted, and at other times my heart swelled with hope.

In a collection of short stories, poetry and essays edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell, women describe and discuss their relationships, complicated gender issues and the idea of legacy in contemporary Papua New Guinea.

Reading the texts, I was profoundly moved by the significance education holds for the individual writers and the importance attached to a sense of place, faith and family.

Continue reading "An extraordinary book that goes beyond the headlines" »

Kramer writes of threats, false arrests & intimations of mortality

Bryan Kramer & police
Police minister Bryan Kramer on cleaning up the force - "No question of doubt that I will eventually get killed for what I do"

BRYAN KRAMER | Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY – Over the last few days I have been receiving intelligence reports from within political circles, police and security forces that there are plans to have me arrested and charged.

Certain high ranking officers within the police force are planning my arrest acting on complaint by former prime minister Peter O'Neill, including a complaint filed by a journalist in Madang who, in June 2018, I exposed for being paid public funds by the former member of parliament.

So there can be no question of doubt, if certain members of the police force wish to bring charges against me, it is their constitutional right to do so, provided of course they have sufficient grounds based on credible evidence.

For the record, I won't be going into hiding or running to court to seek restraining orders, which has been the practice of some members of parliament in the past.

Continue reading "Kramer writes of threats, false arrests & intimations of mortality" »

A writer's journey: From secret jottings to first published book

Iso Yawi and books
Iso Yawi


God, My Country and Me by Iso Yawi, paperback, JDT Publications, May 2019. ISBN-10: 1071009486. Amazon Books, US$6.50 plus postage

LAE - I started penning short stories in small notebooks with no audience at all. It was my secret.

I was too shy to put my writing on platforms to be viewed by people, even fellow students and friends. My grammar was too bad.

My English language and literature exercise book was filled with red marks correcting my grammatical errors.

Yes, grammar was too complex for me to understand back in those high school days. However those red marks of correction motivated me.

I would say to myself, “I will write a book one day and turn things the other way around!”

After leaving school, I still wrote and also developed a reading habit. I realised that, to overcome my problem with grammar, I had to read a lot of books.

Continue reading "A writer's journey: From secret jottings to first published book" »

Crocodile Prize launches 2019 short story and poetry contests

2017 awards
The last Crocodile Prize awards in 2017 were hosted by writer Martyn Namorong, himself one of the first award winners in 2011


PORT MORESBY – Poets and short story writers can fire up their computers and blow the dust off their notebooks now that Crocodile Prize organisers have announced the launch of the 2019 awards in both these important genres of writing in Papua New Guinea.

Both awards have a tight deadline for entries of Saturday 31 August and offer large cash prizes as well as publication in the prestigious 2019 Crocodile Prize Anthology.

The winning short story will be awarded to the best original, narrative-based prose by a Papua New Guinean author.

There no strict word limit but judging will be based on quality ahead of quantity.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize launches 2019 short story and poetry contests" »

Outpouring of support in plea for survival of PNG literature

In the Chimbu highlands in 2017, I tell the students and teachers of Barengigl that their principal Roslyn Tony has just been published in a Papua New Guinean book. A rare event anywhere in PNG


NOOSA – A huge number of friends of Papua New Guinean literature - authors and readers from around the world - have signed a manifesto drafted by Phil Fitzpatrick asking prime minister James Marape to commit his government to provide support and recognition for PNG writers and literature.

This morning 150 people had shown their support, with many not only signing but offering reinforcing comments for the Marape government to consider.

The manifesto is the centerpiece of a petition organised by Caroline Evari that will be handed to Mr Marape and other senior politicians in the PNG parliament in an effort to provide home-grown literature with a solid foundation.

The manifesto seeks to stimulate meaningful, tangible and scaled up governmental and institutional support for PNG creative writing by influential people who will understand, endorse and support investment in literature as a transformative force in PNG society, education, culture and nation-building.

The truth is that the renaissance of PNG literature that began in 2011 is running out of steam and is in danger of stalling.

Continue reading "Outpouring of support in plea for survival of PNG literature" »

Take back PNGSDP’s emperor clothes for PNG & Western Province

Community leaders sign the Community Mine Continuation Agreement  giving up rights to claim compensation from Ok Tedi Mining
Community leaders sign an agreement giving up their rights to claim compensation from Ok Tedi Mining

MARTYN NAMORONG | Namorong Report

PORT MORESBY - Treasurer Sam Basil’s recent economic update has highlighted serious cash flow issues for the Papua New Guinea government as it struggles to deliver the 2019 budget.

As Basil himself highlighted, the collection of corporate income tax, goods and services tax and departmental fees are all below target.

Prime minister James Marape recognises the dire predicament his government faces and so it was unsurprising that his first overseas trip was to Singapore to meet with the Board of the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP).

PNGSDP is an independent entity, a status clarified by a recent ruling by the courts in Singapore.

Continue reading "Take back PNGSDP’s emperor clothes for PNG & Western Province" »

REDD+ a prospect for green economy growth in PNG

Kinjap - REDD+ indigenous community awareness materials distributed by CCDA. Picture by Peter KinjapPETER S KINJAP

PORT MORESBY - According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.

The plus sign covers everything left out of that - conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

When talking climate change, REDD+ is a relevant national and international mitigation measure in which Papua New Guinea has a significant interest.

There are a lot of activities under this scheme, purportedly involving the government, landowners, international development partners and the private sector.

REDD+ seeks to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions resulting from declines in global forest cover and quality. The concept is to provide financial incentives in the form of results-based payments to developing countries that successfully slow or reverse forest loss.

Continue reading "REDD+ a prospect for green economy growth in PNG" »

Four anti-corruption takeaways from the 2019 G20 Summit

G20 leaders
The G20 leaders in Osaka - no doubt they are committed to tackling corruption, on paper

EMILIA BERAZATEGUI | Transparency International

BERLIN - After 11th-hour negotiations at the recent G20 summit in Osaka, the assembled leaders reached consensus on a communiqué through which they sought to identify shared solutions to some of the most pressing challenges faced by the global community.

Anti-corruption featured far more prominently in this program than in previous years, and the G20 adopted new commitments and resources for tackling this major threat to sustainable development that works for all.

So, where do we go from here?

After engaging with the G20 throughout the process and attending the Summit, here are our four main anti-corruption takeaways from the 2019 G20.

Continue reading "Four anti-corruption takeaways from the 2019 G20 Summit" »

Beyond the petition: Filling a gaping chasm in cultural integrity

Books 2
Can PNG transform the promise of literature into the social, cultural and economic force it can be?


You can help the development of a home-grown literature
in Papua New Guinea by adding your name and a message
of support using the Comments link below 

NOOSA – Successive national and foreign governments and organisations have directed development aid to a range of programs in Papua New Guinea – some successful, too many not.

But in doing so they have overlooked a huge cultural influence that not only represents the beating heart and animated spirit of the nation but is also a bearer of learning, personal understanding and social cohesion.

The marvel to which I refer is a hardy creation that refuses to die even when denied nurture, encouragement and recognition.

It is a home-grown literature that will amplify the creativity,  culture and spirit of Papua New Guineans.

But, lacking the required support, literature has not emerged in PNG as an influence capable of playing its vital role in education, in nation building or in people’s lives.

Continue reading "Beyond the petition: Filling a gaping chasm in cultural integrity" »

Ahern urges focus on post-referendum peace in Bougainville

Bertie Ahern with António Guterres (Evan Schneider  Flickr)
Bertie Ahern with António Guterres (Evan Schneider,  Flickr)

NEWS DESK | Irish Times

DUBLIN - Former taoiseach [prime minister] Bertie Ahern on Wednesday stressed to the United Nations the need for focus on maintaining peace in Papua New Guinea after an independence referendum in the region later this year.

Mr Ahern met UN secretary general António Guterres in New York to discuss the progress of the peace process in the autonomous region of Bougainville.

Mr Ahern was appointed chair of the Bougainville Referendum Commission in December 2018. An independence vote originally planned for June was due to take place in October.

The commission has applied for a further extension on the date and it will be discussed at next week’s meeting in Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Ahern urges focus on post-referendum peace in Bougainville" »

Part of the solution or part of the problem? Private security in PNG

Security guard dog group
Security guard dog group, Port Moresby


CANBERRA - In a surprise move, Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister, James Marape, appointed member for Madang Open, Bryan Kramer, as the country’s police minister.

Soon after his appointment Kramer promised to reform PNG’s police force, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC).

The one-time member of the opposition and critic of the O’Neill government has outlined a range of measures, including providing more opportunities for women, addressing corruption and improving discipline.

He is also encouraging citizens to report crime and police misdeeds through social media, which has already resulted in an arrest.

Continue reading "Part of the solution or part of the problem? Private security in PNG" »

Women’s road to parliament can start with 50% of the bureaucracy

Tanya Zeriga-Alone
Tanya Zeriga Alone - "Hard to change men stuck in a culture that dictates women have no space in decision-making"


PORT MORESBY - It was just 80 years ago that the hausman [men’s house] ruled.

Some of those men have just transitioned from the village hausman to the national hausman, also known as our parliament.

In Papua New Guinea’s paternalistic society, no woman sits in the hausman with the men.

This current generation of women is just one generation removed from PNG’s cultural past, and women in this age and time are still bound to the cultural roles of women, no matter how educated they are.

It is hard to fix culturally indoctrinated women and men. The present push to get women into parliament has never worked in the past – it is hard to liberate women who still live beneath the shadows of a culture of deferral to men.

It is hard to change men who are still stuck in a culture that dictates that women have no space in decision-making.

Our hope for change is in the next generation. Our hope rests on our girls and boys.

Continue reading "Women’s road to parliament can start with 50% of the bureaucracy" »

As PNG budget staggers, Sir Mek says Treasury has no answers

Mekere Morauta (2)
Sir Mekere Morauta - "This year's PNG budget is way off mark, bordering on useless”


PORT MORESBY – Sir Mekere Morauta has said “very loud alarm bells” should be ringing in the Papua New Guinea government’s ears after the treasurer Charles Abel and finance minister gave widely variant versions of the country’s revenue shortfall so far this year.

Treasurer Sam Basil had said the government was “slightly behind on revenue” after the first five months, at K974 million – or 19% - less than budgeted, while a few days later finance minister Charles Abel said revenue was down by K2 billion.

“Who is right?” Sir Mekere asked, adding, “And whether the revenue shortfall is K974 million or K2 billion, neither figure is ‘slight’.”

Speaking in parliament this week, the former prime minister said the shortfall indicated that the budget was “way off mark, bordering on useless”.

He said the economy was stuck “in a recessionary gear” with GST and corporate, mining and petroleum taxes all down.

Continue reading "As PNG budget staggers, Sir Mek says Treasury has no answers" »

UBS loan was a crap deal – except perhaps for the facilitators

B&w Overland
Chris Overland - "Politicians are generally crap at making business decisions; PNG has lost money it should never have lost"


ADELAIDE – The UBS bank of Switzerland has pointed out that the multi-billion kina loan to the Papua New Guinea government to buy Oil Search shares was made according to relevant laws and in conformance with normal business and banking practice.

To the best of my knowledge, no-one is accusing UBS of acting unlawfully (at least, not yet).

The real point at issue here is that UBS essentially facilitated a K4 billion bet by the O'Neill government that the price of oil and gas and hence the value of its investment, would go up not down.

At that time, I - and many other critics of the decision to buy shares in Oil Search using public funds - pointed out that the price of oil and gas was at historic highs and thus inflating the price of the shares being purchased to a level that did not reflect their underlying long term value.

We also pointed out that the downside risks of such a manifestly speculative investment in the volatile energy market were very high, so the likelihood of PNG losing a lot of money was also very high.

Now, six years later, the critics have been proved correct and PNG has lost money that it should never have lost.

Continue reading "UBS loan was a crap deal – except perhaps for the facilitators" »

PNG’s millionaires & zillionaires & the people who pay the price

8 point planGARY LUHRS | Ex Kiap Website

WUNDOWIE, WA - Forgive my scepticism at this latest expression of honesty and integrity from yet another Papua New Guinea prime minister.

James Marape is pledging to rid the country of corruption and espousing the intention of establishing an honest and dedicated public sector devoted to the development and well-being of his people.

Do you remember the first such declaration from the Pangu Party in the mid 1970s? In reality, the country’s first declared political manifesto.

The famous five-point plan that was going to address the neglectful shortcomings of the departing colonial administration and create Utopia for the oppressed peoples of Papua New Guinea.

The newly emerging intelligentsia from UPNG and the wider academia as well as the Public Service embraced the ideals with a vengeance.

Alas the famous five-point plan fell far short of its objectives, although it did attract foreign carpetbaggers by the plane load who offered their goods, services and financial incentives to those Ministers of the Crown who were eager to be wined, dined and regaled with lavish gifts.

Continue reading "PNG’s millionaires & zillionaires & the people who pay the price" »

The Gooney Bird lives on, with a bright new body


TUMBY BAY - For those of us who were in Papua New Guinea before and just after independence in 1975, the old Douglas DC3 was a familiar sight at every major and many minor airports.

First built in 1935 the DC3 became the workhorse of the golden age of aviation.

During World War II the military version, called the Dakota by the British and affectionately known as the Gooney Bird by the Americans, operated everywhere in PNG.

After the war both Ansett ANA and TAA flew DC3s. So did Air Niugini when it took over from TAA in 1973. They were noisy and basic but very reliable.

Continue reading "The Gooney Bird lives on, with a bright new body" »

Resources industry & leadership change in PNG: some insights

Sarah Kuman
Sarah Kuman is a partner with Allens Lawyers specialising in corporate and commercial advice and natural resources law


PORT MORESBY - James Marape's ascension to the Prime Ministership of Papua New Guinea brings potential changes to regulation of the resources industry.

We examine his new-look cabinet and some of the more recent ministerial comments regarding both region-specific projects and the resources industry more generally.

On 30 May 2019, James Marape became Papua New Guinea's new prime minister, following the departure of former prime minister Peter O'Neill.

Mr Marape has since foreshadowed potential changes to the regulation of resource projects in the medium term, while at the same time reassuring those with existing investments in the country.

Mr Marape was previously Mr O'Neill's minister for finance, but resigned in early April, triggering a series of defections which ultimately led to Mr O'Neill's resignation.

In resigning, Mr Marape cited policy differences with Mr O'Neill, including in respect of local business participation in resource projects and amendment to resource laws. His resignation came two days after execution of the project agreement for a significant new LNG project for the country.

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Unfinished journey: Francis Nii & the struggle for PNG literature

Francis Nii & the green hills of Simbu
Francis Nii in his wheelchair amidst the green hills of Simbu - a monumental contribution to the literature of Papua New Guinea from his bed at Kundiawa Hospital


PORT MORESBY - The twisted metal of a motor vehicle accident in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands nearly brought Francis Nii’s story to a dramatic end.

The crash, at the start of 1999, left him forever paralysed from the waist down and brought his promising career as an economist and financial adviser to a sudden halt.

Francis, now 56, speaks softly and chooses his words carefully, but behind this gentle nature is an immense inner-strength that has served him well in the most trying of circumstances.

“There were moments I saw death coming,” he says.

“But every time I looked at the faces of my three daughters, there was this immeasurable power and energy unleashed in me to fight to stay alive and see them grow to womanhood and live lives of their own.

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Croton’s street mechanics: Relief for POM’s struggling motorists

Street mechanic 2BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO | PNG Informal Economist

PORT MORESBY - If you are a motorist who regularly drives around Port Moresby city chances are you’ve come across a band of youths plying their specialised trades along Croton Street.

At first they may raise suspicion among drivers and passers-by because of the way they’re dressed and how they conduct themselves.

However more careful observation reveals these youths are on to something.

They provide an affordable alternative automotive service to struggling vehicle owners who can’t afford vehicle servicing by recognised automotive workshops like Ela Motors and Boroko Motors.

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UBS bank rejects concern about its K4 billion loan to PNG


ZURICH - UBS Group AG, Switzerland's largest bank, has commented on the K4 billion loan granted to Papua New Guinea that contributed to political upheaval still resonating today.

The multinational investment bank and financial services company has a presence in all major financial centres has issued a brief statement outlining its view of the case.

Five years ago, UBS granted a loan worth US$1.2 billion (K4 billion) to PNG, which used the money to buy a stake in petroleum company Oil Search.

The deal went wrong as the oil price fell, forcing the PNG government to sell the shareholding at a loss.

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Writers of PNG - Now is the time to look your govt in the eye


TUMBY BAY - Perhaps the time has come for the writers of Papua New Guinea – authors, journalists, poets, commentators and others including publishers and illustrators - to look your government in the eye and make a statement.

Perhaps it is time to petition prime minister James Marape and other ministers and seek the government’s support for an authentic and home-grown Papua New Guinean literature - a literature that will help turbo-charge the serious nation-building task that lies ahead.

I propose here a draft form of words that can be sent to Mr Marape, together with the names of all the writers and readers who believe that PNG literature needs more than a thumbs up, it needs real practical support.

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The crisis in Australia’s offshore detention centres

No Way
President Trump tweeted, alongside pictures distributed by the Australian government, “These flyers depict Australia’s policy on illegal immigration. Much can be learned!”

ASHLEY PARK | Organisation for World Peace | Edited extracts

HOUSTON, USA - On 26 June, US president Donald Trump tweeted, along with pictures distributed by the Australian government, “These flyers depict Australia’s policy on illegal immigration. Much can be learned!”

The flyers had foreboding statements such as, “You will not make Australia home”, “You won’t be settled in Australia”, or simply, “No way.”

Australia’s immigration policy is just as, if not more, controversial than Trump’s hard-line immigration policy for the United States.

Despair and hopelessness run high on Australia’s offshore detention centres on the islands of Manus and Nauru, and many people on these islands have little hope of leaving.

Recently, Australia deliberately increased the hardship experienced by detainees, resulting in increased rates of suicide and self-harm.

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Taking risks – is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Alphonse Huvi
Alphonse Huvi - "We have the choice of putting those doubts where they belong  - out of the way"


TINPUTZ - The meaning of the word ‘risk’ is the possibility that something bad may happen.  As in, ‘it’s a risk’.

Author Mike Murdock has written that “most people choose to sit as spectators in the game of life rather than risk the arena of conflict to wear the crown of victory.”

I guess it comes back to each individual as to whether one is willing to take the risk of pursuing something they’re interested in and capable of doing.

So many times we ask ourselves a question starting with, ‘What if…’?

What if I do this and others think badly of me?

What if I do that and others disapprove?

What if I do the other and create enemies?

The ‘what if’ question troubles many people because it expresses the fear of facing the challenges that lie ahead.

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Oh Bougainville, my Bougainville, sorry I caused you pain

Danny Gonol - "Marape, if I were in your position, I would apply my brakes and re-look at the whole Bougainville issue"

DANNY GONOL | Edited from an Open Letter

MT HAGEN – James Marape rose to the top of our country nearing the 44th anniversary of its independence.

He boldly announced he would consider himself a failure if by 2029 he had not made Papua New Guinea the richest black Christian nation on earth.

The world’s social and economic indicators puts our country in the Third World. Some say it is a developing country. Others say it is a poor country. Still others say it is a rich underdeveloped country.

Our country does not top the world in commerce, in military strength, in politics. But it tops the world in the number of languages our eight million people speak. What unity in diversity.

The last time l was in the land down under, a white man was heard speaking.  "This man comes from the nation of a thousand tribes,” he said, pointing at me.

I was at ease with this. He said to me, “Your country is like no other. You are a nation of nations.”

Oh, what a great feeling of patriotism flowed through me. I shed tears of joy.

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The hard task of striking a balance in our views of PNG

Fr Garry Roche - "Can we proclaim the many good things happening in PNG and at the same time not close our eyes to the many difficulties"


DUBLIN - Phil Fitzpatrick has raised the important question of the legitimacy of his views on Papua New Guineans or Aboriginal Australians, since he is ethnically neither of those people.

“This fact has occasionally been used to criticise what I write,” Phil has told PNG Attitude readers, “and I admit that such an argument has relevance.

“I don’t know what it’s like to be a Papua New Guinean or an Aborigine. All I can do is use what I see and hear, and guess what it feels like," he said. "Some people might say otherwise, but I don’t think this invalidates what I write.”

My own view, having lived in PNG for very many years and now back in Ireland, is that perhaps our criticisms of PNG would be better received if it is clear we also see the good in PNG and we acknowledge the good achieved.

I personally think PNG Attitude does achieve a balance between the negative and the positive, but it is an issue that has to be noted.

The current social and political scene in PNG has given rise to plenty of comment that has been generally somewhat negative.

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Kokoda tour operators: Please improve your game

Lynn Morrison
Charlie Lynn with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison. Lynn was an MP in Morrison's home state of NSW

CHARLIE LYNN | Adventure Kokoda Blog | Edited extracts

SYDNEY – I’ve had documents forwarded to me that include some remarks made to a recent Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KTOA) forum in Port Moresby.

KTOA was established to look after the interests of a small but vocal group of Australian based operators of eco-tours in Papua New Guinea.

According to the documents passed to me, Association president Sue Fitcher told the forum:

“It is time to call out those who would choose to damage and destroy the industry for whatever warped vested interests they have – who would know.

“We have talked about some of the claims and accusations that have been made earlier; it is interesting to note that [these] are rarely, if ever, made in person but through others or from the safety of sitting behind a computer and ranting through social media.

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