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Monday, October 31, 2011

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An erosion of democracy in PNG

Source: The National - Friday, October 28th 2011 I AM deeply concerned at the attempt by the government to restrict the democratic freedom of the East Sepik people. The democratic and legally-elected East Sepik provincial government, as an entity, ought to be allowed to exercise its democratic constitutional rights through the courts. Even though I represent the opposing view in East Sepik politics, my concern is growing daily with the erosion of democracy by the ruling class in Waigani. Are we a democratic country or not? This is the key question. If we are, then all the tenets of democracy ought to be exercised by all the people of this land regardless of whether they are in power or not. Dissent is an essential part of the democratic process. Allowing all sectors of the community the right to disagree with the government of the day are normal occurrences in a democracy. Without the avenue for peaceful dissent, people will then take up arms to dissent. It is a safety valve designed to ensure the in­tegrity of democratic systems. Democracy is essentially about majority rule while ensuring civil and political rights for everyone, including criminals. Like it or not, this is the system our forebears decided we ought to have in 1975. If we want to change the system, then the right place to do it is to take it to the people in a referendum. If the people of PNG choose to have a communist or socialist system of government, then we can throw out the Constitution and start all over again. Until that day, we must respect the Constitution that we all agreed to at Independence. This is essential if we are to maintain our unity. Allan Bird Wewak

Govt must have raked up a hefty Falcon bill

Source: The National -Monday, October 31st 2011 ONE of the first popular decisions the government made soon after taking over on Aug 2 was to put the Falcon jet up for sale. Just hours after making that decision, Deputy Prime Minister Belden Na­mah and some ministers were taking joy rides around the country on the jet. Then the prime minister went globetrotting on­board this ex­pensive toy, flying to Fiji, New York, Canberra and recently to Perth for the CHOGM. If I am not wrong, this government, within three months, has used the aircraft more than the previous government had in the last 12 months leading to its ouster. The prime minister has since changed his stance to say that the aircraft has been sold to Air Niu­gini and will be chartered by the government for its use. That is very good news indeed. But was that not the same arrangement that the previous government had in place? And what about the K20 million the government owes Air Niugini? And if the rate of K20,000 per hour is true, just imagine the costs of the trips taken by our prime minister and his entourage. Indeed, our prime minister has quickly assumed the reputation of a globetrotter. The entourage and the costs added onto the aircraft charter grossly in­crea­ses the costs of each trip. It would be interesting if someone can publicly tell us the total amount raked up so far. On the home front, when the prime minister went globetrotting, his deputy and acting prime minister made decisions only to have the prime minister rescind them when he arrived home. Where are we heading, Papua New Guinea? Christopher Janjuwing Port Moresby

Pomio invasion by Greenpeace illegal

Source: The National -Monday, October 31st 2011 I am from Mamusi, Pomio district. I was really disturbed by the way Greenpeace, an international NGO, acted beyond international legal jurisdictions to invade my people’s peaceful life recently. Greenpeace, instead of bringing environmental peace in the form of providing balanced advice to the concerned people, came with the ulterior intention of sabotaging the oil palm integrated project that my people have supported and hoping to depend on as the immediate solution to seeing tangible development. At the outset, it was a well-planned “mission of attack” by Greenpeace, the 14 people from the project impact area, and Post-Courier to dismantle the project. The Memalo oil palm integrated project is owned by 121 clans, consisting of some 5,000 people. Unfortunately, Greenpeace and its allies on Oct 23, displayed a gross unethical and irresponsible beha­viour towards the 121 clans without any sense of remorse and respect. Their actions could have resulted in many lives lost, if the police and the Pomio district administrator had not intervened. I agree with your editorial (Oct 26) regarding the invasion, which undermines the sovereignty of PNG, its immigration laws and causing damage to properties, and committing disturbance to my people’s lives. The incident is a wake-up call to the government to start acting to protect the sovereignty of this nation by similar invasion from Greenpeace in future. The people of Pomio are not terro­rists that Greenpeace and its allies have the absolute supremacy of invading them using sophisticated equipment installed on the Esperanza. I do recognise the role that Greenpeace has understaken to protect the environment. However, what international law gave them the right to invade my people’s land? In this regard, I call on the United Nations, as the international organ for “peace and unity” to see what Greenpeace and its local allies have done to scare my people from pursuing a development project that they fully supported. Is it Greenpeace’s intention to prevent development programmes from reaching millions of poor people in developing countries, including my people? As a concerned son of Pomio, I do not see any tangible development in terms of road, electricity, piped water, telecommunication and other econo­mic-related infrastructure reaching us. Pomio has high infant mortality and low literacy rates. We have been leading the same lifestyle since Independence in 1975. We often rely on church-run education and health facilities, with minimal support from the government over the years. We no longer wait for miracles to happen to change our lives today and in the next 50 years. This is the inescapable fact that Greenpeace and its local allies must accept. Greenpeace, Post-Courier and others who oppose this project must redefine “sustainable development” within the context of exploiting natural resources to meet current population needs, while preserving and conserving for future generation. Development and environmental destruction co-exist, but striking a delicate balance between these two to attain sustainable exploitation of natu­ral resources is the mantra of any development programmes for both present and future population. I believe the integrated oil palm project at least aims toddress the UN’s general objective of sustainable use of resources. The proponents of the project, acknowledging this international principle, conducted wide consultations and awareness for almost 10 years to gauge the people’s views on the pros and cons of the project. This has resulted in the 121 clans agreeing in principle to support it. The people of Pomio have learnt a lot from the past logging activities, where our timbers were stolen without tangible development on the ground for landowners. Memalo Holdings does not want this to happen again and that is why it initiated the integrated and sustainable project that would address the problem. I urge the Post-Courier and Greenpeace not to use photos showing children. These innocent children lack the capacity of reasoning and making informed decision on their own, and they should not be exploited in this regard. We, the people of Pomio, want development. Greenpeace, please go somewhere else to practise your invasion. Records around the world indicate that your ulterior motive is more towards destroying people’s lives, not bringing development to them. I reiterate my point that environmental destruction and development co-exist where human activities are taking place. Greenpeace and its local allies must accept this fact. Alex K. Teu Via email http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/24785

Friday, October 28, 2011

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Greenpeace warned to stay out of Pomio

Source: The National - Friday, October 28th 2011 By MALUM NALU GREENPEACE activists who caused havoc in remote Pomio, East New Britain, last Sunday and Monday, have been warned of severe repercussions if they try to re-enter Pomio tomorrow. Rumours were rife in Pomio that the activists and accompanying journalists – from Post-Courier, Australian Broadcas­ting Corporation and National Broadcasting Corporation – who caused havoc with their helicopter and spray-painting of a logging ship, will try to re-enter Pomio tomorrow as the Commission of Inquiry into Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) visits the Sigite-Mukus integrated rural development project. Greenpeace vessel mv Espe­ranza was ordered out of Pomio waters by district administrator Pomaleu Langisan following the “invasion”. However, it was reportedly still in PNG waters awaiting the visit of the inquiry team to Pomio. A majority of Pomio villa­gers who supported the project would be gathering en masse to meet the COI team when it visits tomorrow, and warned of severe repercussions if Greenpeace and local NGOs opposed to the pro­ject tried to interfere. They told The National yesterday that Pomio was one of the least-developed and backward areas of Papua New Guinea until the project came along, and they would not allow Greenpeace and its local supporters to hijack the project. As of yesterday, the pro-pro­ject supporters started camping at the project site in Pomio awaiting the visit of the inquiry team. On Monday, mv Esperanza left the waters of Jacquinot Bay on order of Pomaleu, who accused them of inciting the pro­blems in Pomio. “This letter serves to inform you that you did not show your approved customs entry to Pomio ports, therefore, as the go­vernment on the ground, we want you to leave as soon as you receive this letter,” he stated. “Secondly, you came on shore to spray-paint the log ship without authorisation and you have breached the law for unlawfully spray-painting the ship. “Therefore, I, as the administrator, direct that you move out of the port as soon as possible. “If you continue, I will send police to arrest any person who disobeys.” Meantime, the situation in Pomio remained tense yesterday.
Stay out of our land ... Pomio villagers gathering at the Sigite-Mukus integrated rural development project site at Jacquinot Bay in East New Britain yesterday following an “invasion” by a group of activists aligned with Greenpeace, including journalists. The villagers have warned of severe repercussions if the activists and their journalist friends re-enter Pomio. The project, the villagers said, had given them a new lease on life and fresh hopes for a better future. – Nationalpic by MALUM NALU

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Govt agency confirms breach by Greenpeace

Source: The National - Friday, October 28th 2011 THE Customs Department has confirmed that the Greenpeace vessel, mv Esperanza, breached clearance conditions when it sailed to Pomio, in East New Britain, last Sunday. Greenpeace, which has lost its charitable status in New Zealand after a lengthy investigation, faces a fine of between K500 and K25,000 under section 25 of the Customs Act. The department’s trade and compliance director, Wesley Bulumaris, said the vessel was cleared to enter Papua New Guinea waters but was to sail directly to Port Moresby. “We have now come to learn through the media that the vessel sailed to Pomio rather than Port Moresby and is currently on anchorage since Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,” he said in a letter yesterday to lawyers acting for landowners in Pomio who are opposed to the Greenpeace’s publicity stunts and other activities. A copy of the letter was made available to The National by MS Wagambie Lawyers. Bulumaris said the captain’s action was in breach of the conditions and punishable under the Act. “Investigation will be carried out to establish the facts for any action to be taken,” he said. Esperanza has since left Pomio and was believed to be heading to Port Moresby with a few landowners to seek political support to stop the special agriculture business leases. A Post-Courier reporter is believed to be on board the vessel. FM 100 radio reported yesterday that Greenpeace had abandoned its activities in Pomio following protests from landowners who support the oil palm project which is expected to provide jobs, security and infrastructure, royalties and other benefits. On Monday, lawyers acting for Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Group served notice on Post-Courier to publish an apology over a report on the same day or face legal action. The Monday report, headlined “Pro-loggers tell visitors to get out”, stated that RH was still operating in Pomio despite a stop-work order and was in contempt of court. Warner Shand Lawyers said no such court order was in place and that the report was malicious. This would not be the first time that Greenpeace had broken laws to achieve its goals. Last year, its Rainbow Warrior was escorted out of Indonesian waters after the local authorities discovered discrepancies in the papers submitted by the ship’s agent and Greenpeace campaigners.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

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US bans use of APNG

Source: The National, 27th October 2011 THE American Embassy in Papua New Guinea has banned all its staff and citizens from flying on Airlines PNG. In a message posted on its website last Thursday, the embassy said US citizens travelling to or living in Pa­pua New Guinea must not travel on the airline until further notice. It said embassy personnel could fly with Airlines PNG only with the approval of the US ambassador to PNG and only for the embassy’s essential business. It issued this directive following the airline’s recent plane crash on Oct 13 in Madang, when a Dash 8 crashed, killing 28 of the 32 people on board. The embassy said Airlines PNG had experien­ced two plane crashes in the recent past, resulting in 41 deaths. The embassy had encouraged Americans to maintain an updated profile in the Smart Traveller Enrolment Programme, or STEP, at the website: www.travel.state.gov.
Some of the 11 Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft now grounded at the Jackson Airport in Port Moresby.

PM loses bid to delay reference

Source: The National, 27th October 2011 By SAMUEL RAITANO THE Supreme Court has dismissed an application by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to stay the East Sepik provincial executive’s special Supreme Court reference. The five-man bench voted 3-2 to proceed with the reference hearing. O’Neill had applied for the stay order on the grounds that the medical records of Sir Michael Somare from the Raffles Hospital in Singapore should be produced in court first, in compliance with the full bench’s order of Sept 27, before the case should proceed. But Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, with fellow judges Nicholas Kirriwom and Les Gavara-Nanu, ruled that proceedings should not wait for the medical records from Singapore. Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika and Justice Bernard Sakora differed on that. O’Neill’s lawyer Ma­nuel Varitimos said the court orders for Sir Michael to produce medical reports and “records” were not complied with. It was argued that only medical reports and affidavits from medical practitioners were made available. But Sir Michael’s lawyer Marshal Cooke pointed out that the medical records were the property of the hospital, unless required to be produced by Singapore courts in accordance with the laws of Singapore. That was the policy of the Raffles Hospital, according to an affidavit sworn by the chief executive officer, Peter Lim Hong Haw. Cooke said the application by O’Neill and his group was purported to delve into the jurisdictions of another country, a move designed to stall the reference hearing for an indefinite time, given the likely legal complications to be encountered. Lawyer for the referrer (ESP executives) Ian Molloy also pointed out that the reference was brought by his client specifically for the constitutional interpretations of the events of Aug 2 rela­ting to the vacancy of the prime minister’s post. The Ombudsman Com­mission, through its lawyer Virgil Narokobi, told the court that given it was an undisputed fact that Sir Michael was found to be incapable of carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the prime minister, it was only appropriate that the reference continue uninterrupted. The special reference is expected to be heard today.

Australian family’s emotional pilgrimage

Source: The National -Friday, October 21st 2011 By MALUM NALU AN Australian family recently made an emotional pilgrimage to Buna/Gona in Northern province to find the battlefield of their relative, Private Allen Arden Lobban, who was killed in the Gona Battle in World War II. Glenys and John Irons, together with their youngest son Gary, his wife Cathy and grandsons Ben and Sam, from Maclean in New South Wales, Australia, travelled to Papua New Guinea to find Gleny’s brother, Allen, who was killed in the Gona Battle. The Irons family was accompanied by Charlie Broughton and Kevin Symmons of Rockhampton, Queensland. Lobban, NX37318, of the 2/33 Australian Infantry Battalion, was killed in the Gona Battle on Nov 22, 1942. He was born at Coffs Habour on the NSW north coast and enlisted on June 25, 1941, at nearby Lismore. He was buried in the Gona War Cemetery and later transferred to the Bomana War Cemetery. Under the guidance of local tourism guide, Thomas Auhava, the Irons family spent some time with Lobban’s grave at the Bomana War Cemtery, and travelled to Owers’ Corner to see the beginning of the Kokoda Trail. They also spent some time at Schwimmers’ War Museum, which is Auhava’s home. The Irons family then visited Buna, Sanananda and Gona in Northern province, receiving a traditional welcome from each village. They stayed in guesthouses in Buna and Gona. Local historian Maclaren Hiari was their guide and historian through this part of the journey. This was a special and historical part of the journey. The Irons family visited Lobban’s gravesite at the old Gona War Cemetery and found the area where he was likely to have been killed. The family came and found what they were looking for and much more. Glenys Irons said: “The friendliness of the local people and their wonderful welcome has been in itself a unique experience that we will never forget.” At the Gona War Cemetery, Thomas Auhava presented Glenys Irons with the Australian Flag, which in turn was presented to Raphale Siraga, who received it on behalf of the people in the Gona area. “We would like to thank EcoTourism Melanesia for making this trip possible for our family, and for introducing us to Maclaren Hiari and Thomas Auhava,” she said. “This has been a very memorable journey. “Thank you, Papua New Guinea.”

Lae doctor dies at inquiry

Source: The National, 26th October 2011 By JEFFREY ELAPA A MEDICAL doctor and administrator died while presenting the Morobe health status report to the Public Accounts Committee at Parliament House yesterday. The sudden death of Dr Likei Theo forced the cancellation of the PAC inquiry into the health status of the country. It was adjourned to next month by committee chairman Malakai Tabar, the MP for Gazelle. Theo was the Morobe provincial health adviser for more than 27 years and a medical doctor who had served in provinces around the country. Yesterday, Theo collapsed while presenting his report on the poor and deteriorating health services before the committee. During his presentation, he was emotional as he outlined the lack of quality health servi­ces. And, as a person who had been dealing with such poor health services, Theo stressed the need to improve the service to assist the many rural and disadvantaged communities. Theo said over the years, funding and poor health services in PNG had never improved despite the government coming up with diffe­rent development plans. He pointed out that funding for health in Morobe was the worst despite the high population, which is next to the Southern Highlands when including the Hela region was included. In his budget allocation report, Theo said proper budget planning had been done without his input because it was always hijacked at the provincial and national level, with no conside­ration on the health issues affecting the people. He spoke passionately while recalling the difficulties he faced and the poor health conditions of the rural people disadvantaged by geographical features, over-population and insufficient funding over the years. At around 11.45am, Theo collapsed and was rushed to the Port Moresby General Hospital after the medical doctors present unsuccessfully tried to revive him. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Doctors present condemned parliament for the poor emergency evacuation plans and lack of first aid and medical staff. Chief secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc, who was present at the inquiry, said Theo was a healthy and experienced health administrator who had served eight years as the provincial administrator. Theo was from Sio village in Siassi and served as a medical doctor before taking up the provincial health adviser’s position in 1983.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Project will churn out K800 million for Pomio, says RH

Source: The National-Tuesday, 25th October 2011 THE Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Group estimates that its palm oil project in Pomio district in East New Britain will contribute some K800 million to its economy. It said the project would contribute royalties, payments, levies and other community funding and provide much-needed jobs, economic security, transport and social infrastructure to the local communities. Landowners were consulted by RH subsidiary Gilford Ltd and all necessary compliance documents had been forwarded to the Commission of Inquiry into Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) currently underway, it added when condemning Greenpeace’s action in the district. RH said Greenpeace’s acts of piracy in PNG and throughout Asia-Pacific was well-documented and questioned whether the NGO’s actions could help the country’s long-term development goals. It said Greenpeace’s latest attack on the group’s oil palm project in Pomio was part of the NGO’s wider effort to transfer its global anti-oil palm campaign to PNG by tying it to the SABL issue. “There is no justification for Greenpeace’s actions in Pomio today. The palm oil project is supported by the majority of landowners in the area, based on the SABL in place under which all correct procedures were followed,” it said.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Experts examine plane’s engines

Source: The National-Monday,24th October 2011 SALVAGED engine parts of the Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft, which crashed in Madang, have been stripped by its manufacturers, Pratt and Whitney. They are being assisted by experts from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The engine parts and the propeller blades were airlifted to Port Moresby from Madang last week. Senior transport safety officer from the bureau Eric Blankenstein and a team of technical experts from Singapore will try to establish if there are any mechanical issues in the engine which could have contributed to the accident. Blankenstein was busy at work with a camera and small torch looking intensely at the engine parts and taking photos of the left engine. Assembled neatly was the burnt aluminium alloy of the metal sheets covering the right engine which looked like white paint on all metal pieces. In the front are engine parts of the left and right engines and few mangled blades of the propellers. Blankenstein said they were still stripping the mangled engine parts. Propeller parts will be sent to Hamilton Standards, manufacturer of the propellers in America for further analysis. According to Accident and Investigation Commission chief executive officer, David Inau, the blade angles “when in flight gives corresponding power values so Hamil­ton Standards can be able to tell us at what angle it was set in which we can be able to determine what occurred”. The investigators will also look at the pilot’s flying records, medical records and maintenance records to assist with the investigation. Inau said they hoped to complete their work by next week but the process was tedious and could take longer. Data from the Dash 8’s flight recorder sent overseas for analysis has been downloaded awaiting analysis from the manufacturer. The team is working at the Papua New Guinea Defence Force air transport hangar.

O’Neill: East Sepik govt not suspended

Source: The National-Monday,24th October 2011 By ISAAC NICHOLAS EAST Sepik Governor Peter Wararu has been given until Wednesday to show cause why his government should not be suspended, according to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. Speaking through his chief-of-staff Ben Micah, O’Neill said yesterday the East Sepik provincial government had not been suspended. Minister for Inter-Government Relations Mark Maipakai wrote to Wararu last Friday reminding him that the East Sepik government was not provisionally suspended but impressed that he should be at the prime minister’s office, Morauta House, on Wednesday. “The prime minister’s letter to you and my letter to you, dated Oct 18, 2011, only advised you of the existence for a ground for suspension. “Consistent with your request, the NEC has met this afternoon and resolved to give you until Wednesday, Oct 26, to have a definitive stand in relation to the NEC directives contained in my letter to you. This is ample time for you to convene a PEC meeting to resolve the issues contained in the NEC directives.” The prime minister’s letter of the previous day stated in part: “The council (NEC) is of the view that your PEC has undermined the authority of the parliament by challenging the decision made by parliament. “Further, the provincial government has a standing in the Supreme Court only when it affects its administration and not everything under the sun.” Micah said the issues that the National Executive Council was dealing with was on the suspension under the Organic Law on provincial and local level government and “is not restricted to East Sepik provincial government alone”. He said since the enactment of the Organic Law in 1995, the law had not been used although provincial governments had challenged the executive and parliament decisions. Micah said there were three main criteria that could lead to a suspension including secession, a major disaster or emergency and undermining the authority of parliament. He said Wararu and the provincial executives had challenged the national parliament’s decision of Aug 2 to oust the government of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. Micah said the provisions of the Constitution allowed challenges on certain issues that had a direct effect on provinces but in this instance the removal of the prime minister “does not affect the East Sepik provincial government”. “Therefore, all NEC is doing is going through the necessary process in asking Wararu to explain why he is challenging the decision of the national parliament. “The national government feels that Sir Michael, as the provincial member for East Sepik, is the rightful person to take the matter up in court. “The national government is not suppressing the rights of anyone from proceeding with the matter but the East Sepik provincial government is an arm of the national government and NEC, and, as provided under the law, is calling on the East Sepik provincial government to come forward and explain.” Micah said other provinces were being looked at and would be dealt with by the provincial affairs minister. “This action is not against the people of East Sepik but an action looking at all activities of provinces, including gross abuse of funds by provinces.” He said the “show-cause” was part of the normal process. Micah said in a suspension, the governor and provincial assembly “will be prevented from exercising section 42 powers under the Organic Law on provincial and LLG”. The powers included law making and executive powers that will be returned to Waigani and a team comprising the provincial affairs minister and two other provincial representatives to oversee the running of the province. The substantive arguments for the reference would be heard today as well as Sir Michael’s challenge to his ouster from parliamentary membership by the speaker.

Friday, October 21, 2011

RH assist PNGPNS

The Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Group has again assisted the PNG Peri-operative nurses Society (PNGPNS) with K3, 000.00 towards their fund raising today (21/11/2011) for a seminar on the 17 to the 18th of November in Port Moresby. The PNGPNS is a member of the International Federation of Peri-operative Nurses and International Council of Nurses. The PNGPNS is a professional group trying to improve their practice in the country and purposely, seminars/workshops are held yearly so that nurses from other provinces or chapters come discuss and share their work and experience in order for them to identify their own weaknesses and strengths how to better improve. Nevertheless, it enhances their skills and knowledge and also provided venue where those from other provinces can learn from nurses in Port Moresby who have better training and skills. The President of the PNGPNS Sr. Eunice Laim thanked and Rimbunan Hijau for the assistance as first corporate organization to assist them and at the same appealed to others who can assist by calling her 721 58095 or 768 33801 for more information.
The PNG Peri-operative Nurses Society posing with RH representative in the centre, Sr. Laim second from right and Sr. Mathew on the right to other Executives on the left hand side.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Court: Somare of sound mind

Source:
The National -Thursday, October 20th 2011

By SAMUEL RAITANO
THE Supreme Court has ruled that Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare had not, “at any material time, been of unsound mind and is not of unsound mind”.
Justice David Cannings, sitting as a single Supreme Court judge, also ruled that the East Sepik provincial executive council had authorised the reference invoked under section 19 of the Constitution.
The findings by Cannings will be used by the five-man bench hearing the constitutionality of the appointment of Peter O’Neill as prime minister.
The full hearing starts on Monday.
Cannings was directed by a five-judge bench to hear evidence concerning 47 disputed facts in regard to the ESP special Supreme Court reference.
The issues of the facts related to the following:
lSir Michael’s leadership tribunal proceedings of March 2011;
lMeetings of parliament in 2011;
lSir Michael’s absence from the parliament in 2011;
lSteps taken by the NEC regarding Sir Michael’s absence and health;
lEvents of Aug 2, 2011, relating to the appointment of Peter O’Neill as prime minister;
lEvents of Sept 6, 2011, relating to a declaration of a vacancy in the East Sepik provincial seat;
lMedia reports of events relating to the reference;
lSir Michael’s medical treatment and his unsoundness of mind; and
lDecisions and resolutions of the referrer, the East Sepik provincial executive council.
Cannings found that during the course of hearing evidence, many of the issues turned out to be irrelevant.
He said seven of the nine categories of disputed issues of fact had been proven on evidence to be largely uncontentious.
Two categories that remained in dispute and gave rise to what appeared to be the most relevant questions of fact were:
lThe authorisation of the reference by the East Sepik executive council; and
lWhether Sir Michael had been, at any time, of unsound mind.
Cannings found that the East Sepik executive council had authorised the reference and Sir Michael had not been and is not of unsound mind.
It was understood that the referrer and parties aligned with it have 14 evidences of witnesses.
Nine witnesses had been cross-examined last week while five had not been available in court.
The five included medical experts from Raffles Hospital in Singapore.
The first intervener, Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat, and parties aligned with him, had the evidence of nine witnesses, two of whom were cross-examined for claiming that Sir Michael had missed three consecutive sittings of parliament, and that an opinion by a clinical neuropsychologist purporting that he (Sir Michael) suffered irreversible brain damage.
Seven did not appear for cross-examination in court but had their
affidavits taken as evidence.
In addition, the constitutional interpretations on the disqualification of Sir Michael as member for East Sepik will be considered by the full bench.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Death list duo alive and well

Source: The National - Wednesday, October 19th 2011 By FRANK SENGE KOLMA INVESTIGATIONS into the Madang Dash 8 crash has taken a bizarre twist with revelations that two of the “dead” passengers were in fact not on the ill-fated flight last Thursday. The two, Petrus Akau and Ronald Bibi, named on the flight manifest, are very much alive, investigators have learned. Akau and Bibi had given their tickets to two other passengers who Madang provincial police commander last night named as Bernard James (for Akau) and Divu Langa (for Bibi). In its attempt to contact all 28 relatives of persons on the manifest of Dash 8 aircraft, Airlines PNG turned up two passengers whose names were on the manifest but who had given away their tickets to two other persons. This revelation further complicates the already difficult process of establishing the identity of all the 28 bodies that have been badly charred in the fiery crash near Marakum village in the Raicoast area. Whether they are relatives who were offered the tickets or other persons who bought the tickets off the two passengers on the flight manifest remained a mystery.
Brother and sister John Paul and Paula Matlam in the company of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at Madang’s Divine Word University yesterday. They lost family members in the Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft disaster last Thursday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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MY RAMU TRIP




The Ramu River is narrow and very lightly populated compared to the Sepik River with long, winding stretches full of snags and sandbars between villages. It is one of the many famous rivers in Papua New Guinea after Sepik, Fly, Strickland and of course Kikori, Purari and Markham.

The local inhabitants have lived along the river for many millenia and have depended on it as the basis for food, transport and culture. Sago is the main staple, supplemented by fish, gardens and irregular access to tradestore goods like rice.

The Sepik-Ramu basin originated as an inland sea. When tectonic and climate changes began around 6,000 years ago, the basin evolved into the present river system. The Ramu River originates from the Kratke range in the Eastern Highlands of PNG where it travels approximately 640km north -west to Bismarck Sea.

Excavations by the PNG National Museum on middens near Bosmun on the Lower Ramu show human occupation along this earlier marine shoreline transitioning to river floodplain about 1,000 years ago.

It is in Madang Province, and was discovered by the early German explorers in the 1880s.

My first trip to Ramu was in 21st January 2007, I left Port Moresby and headed to Lae and spent a night at Lae Travellers Inn. The following morning, a Monday we took off on a hire car to Ramu heading for Usino.

For me this was my first ever trip to travel by car towards Madang along the highway as I considered it to be a bit dangerous. Though I've been to Erap in 1996, I really enjoyed the scenery and along the Markham Highway all the way to Ramu Sugar. It took us about two and a half to three hours to reach Ramu Sugar to refill the vehicle and also a stop over for me especially to have look around before we continued.

After about an hour later we drove into the Usino junction passed the market and went into a friend's place to unload our stuff and wait for the other oarty coming over from Madang. As we were unloading, there was a haevy down pour but we braved the rain.

My colleague and I decided to get on a PMV and head to Madang and to see if we can meet our friends on their way to meet us or if not make it all the way to Madang and find out about the delay in them getting to Usino. However, we met them half way and got onto their vehicle and came back to Usino.

By then it was getting late so we had to make our way to Usino station and spent the same night with the District Administrator (DA.

The next day we tried to make our to Boko, to board our motorised canoe to our destination, Boko is where the Ramu Nico is based which they had already built a bride across the Ramu River to mine the nickel.

In my next posting I will inform you of my wonderful trip down Ramu River and back to POM.

O’Neill commits K500,000

Source: The National - Tuesday, October 18th 2011 By ISAAC NICHOLAS PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has announced the national government’s commitment of K500,000 towards the repatriation and funeral of the 28 passengers killed in the Airlines PNG crash near Madang. “The government is committing K500,000 for evacuation and funeral. “The government will do everything possible to ensure we transport them back to their villages to be given the respect they deserve with a decent burial,” O’Neill said. He also promised to ensure legislations were tightened to ensure such air accidents were not repeated. “We will work closely with the airlines to ensure safety standards are maintained. “The government remains committed that safety standard is maintained at the highest level,” he said. O’Neill visited the crash site yesterday. The government dele­gation included Civil Aviation Minister Puri Ruing, Madang Gover­nor James Gau and Prime Minister’s chief of staff Ben Micah. They travelled by the Falcon jet to Madang yesterday morning before taking a 10-minute helicopter ride to the crash site. O’Neill led the wreath laying on the propellers of the aircraft. A one-minute silence was observed before he asked Micah to end the solemn occasion with a prayer for those who lost their lives. “Terrible,” O’Neill said after taking into account the enormity of the crash scene when he walked through the crash site. “It is history for this country to have such a big loss of lives in a single plane crash,” he said. He said his visit to the crash site was to pay his respect to the victims and also to personally pass on his thank you and appreciation on behalf of the government to the villagers who helped saved four lives and removed the bodies. O’Neill attended a memorial service at the Divine Word University where he personally met the grieving students who lost their family members on the ill-fated flight. He told the service of his visit to the crash site which he said was by far the biggest loss of lives in the country’s 36 year history. He thanked the Divine Word university community, public servants, Australian air investigators and Australian Federal Police for their quick response to assist PNG. He later visited the Modilon General Hospital where he met staff and management.

PM at crash site

Source: The National - Tuesday, October 18th 2011 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday visited the crash site of last Thursday’s horrific air tragedy outside Madang and offered K500,000 to repatriate the bodies for proper burials. The repatriation of bodies, however, will have to await DNA testing by an Australian forensic team to establish the identities of the deceased as most bodies had been burnt beyond recognition. The team was yesterday briefed and set up office within the Madang hospital grounds to begin work today. They are to take blood or mouth swabs from relatives to establish DNA matches with the bodies of the dead. In selected spots in many parts of the country, the traditional haus krai, or places of mourning, had been set up for friends and relatives to gather and express their grief for the 28 who perished. Meanwhile, the sole supplier and distributor of fuel, InterOil, declared yesterday that the fuel was not contaminated as suggested in media reports. General manager Peter Diezmann said the company undertook the testing immediately after the crash to determine whether its fuel were contaminated but after further comprehensive testing, CASA cleared the fuel operations. Bad fuel has also been ruled out by the PNG Accident Investigation Commission chief executive officer David Inau. A team also arrived yesterday from Canada from Bombardier who manufacture the airframe and from Pratt & Whitney, the engine makers to undertake their own investigation into the crash. Air Niugini, which flies Dash 8 in its own fleet, continued its operations after doing its own investigations and after receiving assurances from the aircraft manufacturers that there was nothing wrong with the aircraft. O’Neill, accompanied by Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Puri Ruing, yesterday laid a wreath at the site of the crash and attended mass at the Divine Word University where he comforted students who lost parents and relatives in the crash. The university has set up a haus krai and has established counseling services for the students affected.

Filipino community donates to Tembari

Source: The National - Monday 17th October, 2011 THE Filipino Association of Papua New Guinea (FAPNG) donated K10,000 to the Tembari Children Care (TCC) to support its feeding activities for more than 200 beneficiary children. The funds came from the proceeds of the recent Hatid Saya 2011 dinner-concert that featured Filipino entertainers Nina, Rowell Quizon and stand-up comic Chubbylita at the Dynasty Restaurant and Holiday Inn last month. Association president Tony Valdez said the Filipino community in PNG, particularly in Port Moresby, would always support charity projects like the Tembari Day-Care centre. Valdez handed over the K10,000-cheque to Filipino journalist Alfredo P Hernandez, who is a Tembari volunteer coordinating with donors and supporters. Penny Sage-embo, Tembari’s founder and programme coordinator, thanked the Filipino community “for always remembering” the Tembari children’s well-being whenever they raised charity funds. This has been the third time that the association has donated to Tembari from the proceeds of its yearly Hatid Saya concert featuring entertainers from Manila. The day care facility provides meals twice a day to unfortunate, abandoned and orphaned children from the Oro community at 7-Mile, outside of the city. The association donated K10,000 to the Friends Foundation from the proceeds of the same fundraising event. FAPNG has thanked all of its sponsors and individuals who supported the fundraising event.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Japan thanks PNG for helping tsunami victims

Source: The National - Monday 17th October, 2011 JAPAN has expressed gratitude and appreciation to the government and people of Papua New Guinea for the K10 million assistance given for the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster relief. Emperor Akihito of Japan made the acknowledgement when Papua New Guinea’s Ambassador to Japan Gabriel Dusava presented his credentials. Emperor Akihito of Japan formally accrediting him as PNG’s ambassador to Japan at a brief ceremony at the Imperial Palace on Oct 6. During the brief exchanges following the presentation, Emperor Akihito also conveyed warm wishes to the Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio. Dusava said that Japan was always among the first to Papua New Guinea’s aid in times of natural disasters and other calamities. He said, so it was natural to try and help Japan when we could. Dusava said he hoped the little PNG was able to give would go some way in helping to rebuild the lives of the people who lived in the devastated region.

Passenger list released

Source: The National - Monday 17th October, 2011
Police personnel and rescue workers maintaining control at the site of last Thursday’s Airlines PNG Dash-8 crash in Madang. AIRLINES PNG grounded its remaining 11 Dash 8 aircraft last Friday while investigations started into last Thursday’s horrific crash that claimed 28 lives. Eleven of the 28 people on the ill-fated flight were parents and family members of students at the Divine Word University who had gone to participate in a thanksgiving ceremony last Friday. The university held a candle-lit vigil in remembrance over the weekend. Those who died in the accident were Sidy Abore, Patrus Akau, Jeffrey Ako, Lucas Bako, Jenny Bal, Ronold Bibi, Samuel Bid, Natasha Bonga, Nathan Bonga, Cotilda Bula, Jeffrey Bula, Saron Doma, Ian Gagi, Benedict Kanaiu, Paul Konia, Thomas Kuekue, Esher Matlam, Christine Matlam, David Olobai, Samson Ote, Barnabas Philip, Debura Rabura, Miria Renagi, Anki Saiyong, Robert Sanglela, Mark Save, Simon Tiriman and Cecilia Wata. As six Australian forensic experts were dispatched to assist with identification of almost all the bodies which have been burnt beyond recognition, APNG also announced that experts from aircraft frame manufacturers DeHavilland in Canada were also on their way and should be at the site today. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is also expected to visit the site and to participate in a memorial service at Divine Word University today. Two black boxes, the flight recorders, were retrieved and could give vital details to investigators on what exactly happened in the final moments on board DHC-8 P2-MCJ. An eyewitness, Amos Titus, from Marakum village told The National that there was a loud noise in the air and there was smoke pouring from the tail of the aircraft as it flew low over the sea. “The smoke was blowing from the tail of the aircraft,” Titus said in Tok Pisin. “And fuel was pouring from the plane because it was dripping flames behind it as it approached. Where ever the fuel dripped on leaves of trees, the leaves burst into flames. “The plane hit the branch of a tree and it flew off and then the tail fbroke apart and the plane hit the ground. It skidded for about 150m before it hit a tree and stopped. “I was so shocked. I had never seen anything like it. “I heard screams inside but the fire was too hot to do anything. Only one Chinese man jumped out and we helped him to safety.” APNG chairman Simon Wild pledged the airline’s total commitment to establish the cause of last Thursday’s tragic crash and support the families of the 28 victims. He said APNG was “100% committed to finding out” the truth about the cause of the crash. “We want and need to know too, and when we do, we will share our knowledge with you. “That is why we have opened our books and made our people available to the investigating authorities, why there is a team from Canada representing the airframe manufactures and the engine makers on site today, and why we will share the community’s pain until we know. “My personal commitment to you is that, until we are confident there are no safety issues with our Dash-8 fleet, they will stay on the ground.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

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Plane crash claims 28

Source: The National - Friday 14th October, 2011 By SINCLAIRE SOLOMON AN Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft crashed in bad weather near Madang killing up to 28 people in the country’s worst air disaster. There were four survivors – three crew members and a passenger. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill immediately conveyed his condolences while Public Enterprises Minister Sir Mekere Morauta suspended all talks in relation to the proposed Air Niugini and Airlines PNG merger. The Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) said last night there were 32 people on board the plane which went down about 6pm in the Raicoast area on a normal flight from Lae to Madang. Unconfirmed reports suggested that the passengers were mainly parents on their way to attend the thanksgiving of their children attending the Divine Word University in Madang.On a normal domestic flight, a Dash 8 aircraft carries a crew of four – a pilot, a first officer and two flight attendants. Villagers and Madang residents said the weather was bad, with thunderstorm in the area in the afternoon. AIC had not officially confirmed how many had survived the crash, however, investigator Sid O’Toole said the plane went down over land about 20km south of Madang. “There were reports of fire and there have been some fatalities,” he said. O’Toole said police and ambulances had reached the crash site and investigators will be travelling there today. The billion-kina Ramu nickel mine developer Ramu NiCo, which has projects in the area, said last night it had a rescue team on site. As of 7pm, Madang provincial police commander Anthony Wagambie Jr and his officers, emergency official Norman Philemon and provincial administrator Ben Lange were making preparations to send a rescue team to Raicoast. In Port Moresby, consular officials at the Australian High Commission were trying to determine if there were any Australians on board. It was believed the pilots were Australians. Australia also scrambled four Black Hawk helicopters, here for the past week for a joint defence force exercise, to help in the search and rescue effort. Sir Mekere expressed deep sympathy for the families and relatives of those who had lost their lives in the crash. “This is a terrible accident, and many people have died,” he said. “I offer my condolences to the families of the victims of this disaster,” he said.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

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NGOs told not to halt project

Source: The National -Thursday 13th October, 2011 A LANDOWNER com­pany in Pomio has warned environmental campaign groups against resorting to violence in their attempt to halt an oil palm project that has majority support among landowners. The chairman of Memalo Holdings Ltd, John Parulria, also criticised NGO campaign groups for “smearing” the reputation of business firms and government agencies that were working together to bring deve­lopment in remote areas of the district. He was referring to allegations made by the PNG Eco-Forestry Forum of police brutality and harassment of landowners at the Memalo Integrated Development Project. The report prompted acting Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga to order an investigation. Parulria, whose company represented 121 clans, said that on Sept 30, two youths from Malai village in the West Pomio Mamusi LLG area assaulted an employee at the project operation site at Drina. Police were called in and from reports from the Pomio district admi­nistration, the two youths were arrested. And following a meeting with the company officials and the villagers, it was resolved that the youths pay for the damages they had caused. Parulria said the villagers also confirmed that there was no “harassment” as alleged in the NGO police report because the people themselves had requested for the police to go to the villages and carry out awareness programmes and also arrest leaders of a homebrew business. He alleged that chairman of Eco-Forestry, Ken Mondiai, had made the harassment claims to promote their own agenda and use all means possible to attack the oil palm project. Parulria urged all parties with a legitimate concern for the welfare and development of the villagers to come toget­her for talks. According to him, the NGO campaigners had failed in their attempt to get an injunction to stop the project. This was because the project was legitimate. Parulria also accused the campaigners of attempting to derail the Commission of Inquiry into Special Agricultural Business Leases by spreading disinformation about the Pomio project. “Statements made by spokesmen of the NGOs, Paul Palosualrea, Jacob Samo and Greenpeace have claimed that the majority of landowners in the Pomio and Pomata area do not support the oil palm plantation being developed in our area. “These statements are completely false. These people have misrepresented the views of the majority of landowners in Pomio. “The project has the support of the majority of landowners. “This is evidenced by the fully accountable legal process that the four landowner companies went through to document widespread majority support for the project,” he said. Parulria said the campaign groups should be held accountable if they took or promote actions that would inflame tensions between landowners in PNG, and that they should welcome law enforcement officers attempting to keep the peace in remote areas. “We support the action taken by the police force to maintain peace in our local area.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Papua New Guinea: Amnesty International welcomes commitment to eliminate gender-based violence - Amnesty International Australia

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RH UNDERGOES HIV/AIDS WORKPLACE TRAINING G

The staff of Rimbunan Hijau Group PNG head office had the opportunity to participate in a HIV/AIDS workplace workshop conducted by the Business Coalition against HIV/AIDS (BAHA). Since 2006, RH PNG Group has been a member of BAHA and through its charity arm RH foundation has contributed over K600 thousand to the organization. A duo from BAHA took the staff on an educational and fun workshop which lasted an hour. The workshop involved in depth discussions on HIV/AIDS and activities She said “knowing one’s HIV/Aids status is one step which got the attendees participating and interacting with each other. Jane from BAHA spoke to the staff, highlighting the importance of knowing your HIV/AIDS status.“People living with HIV/Aids have rights just like any other person and should not be discriminated,” Jane said. She commended the Rimbunan Hijau PNG Group for their continued support and being a member of the coalition and also thanked the company for giving them the opportunity for coming and talking to the staff about this rising epidemic.
BAHA trainer talking to staffs of Rimbunan Hijau
Staff taking part in demonstration

Monday, October 10, 2011

RIMBUNAN HIJAU DENIES ALLEGATION FROM LOCAL NGO

The Rimbunan Hijau Group welcomes any police investigations into this allegation made by PNG Eco-Forestry a non government organization which does not support any form of development in Papua New Guinea to uplift the ordinary life of Papua New Guineans even though all process of acquisition and requirement are met by the companies. Rimbunan Hijau vehemently denies any imputations that it condones any such baseless allegations. The majority of the land owners support the Palm Oil projects and the recent attempts by this few disgruntled land owners attempt with assistance from NGOs whom do not support any form of development, to derail and stop this very important project was refused by the National Court recently. The Royal Constabulary is very independent and high integrity institution of the state of Papua New Guinea and we welcome the comments of Acting Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga. We regret this constant unverified adverse media release by non – government organization in hell bent generating adverse publicity in order to keep their anti government campaign alive for domestic and international donors is very much regretted and it is not helpful for a country that is seeking to develop its resources sustainably which is much needed. - ENDS- www.rhpng.com.pg

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