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Monday, December 24, 2012

ADB okays US$41mil navigational aids loan

Source: The National, Friday 21st December, 2012 THE Asian Development Bank has approved a US$41.5 million loan to improve navigational aids in Papua New Guinea. This will allow ships to move safely through the largely unchartered and often unsafe waters. “The maritime and waterways safety project will upgrade the existing navigational aids network, reducing risks such as the blockage of channels, which cause serious injury, loss of life, and environmental damage,” Xianbin Yao, director-general of ADB’s Pacific department, said in a statement. “The project will establish a safe and efficient maritime transport environment for national, regional, and international traffic,” he said. “Remote, rural populations are expected to be the main beneficiaries of the project, which will make maritime safety information more readily available and help develop maritime safety communities of practice. “Maritime transport services will benefit as monitoring and surveillance systems are renovated and search and rescue capacity improved. “More effective beacons or lighthouses are expected to boost local and international shipping and trade.” The National Maritime Safety Authority is responsible for maritime safety, search and rescue operations and maritime environment issues in Papua New Guinea. In 2008, the PNG government, NMSA and ADB, through the government’s rehabilitation of the maritime navigation aids system project, helped improve the shipping service environment by improving navigational aids along mainly international shipping routes. The project established a community engagement programme through which provincial and community lighthouse committees monitored and kept the navigational aids in good condition, boosting community ownership, while providing income generating opportunities and encouraging the participation of women in the project. NMSA general manager Chris Rupen said: “This project will have significant benefits for the 65% of PNG’s people who live in coastal regions.”

Friday, December 7, 2012

150 Filipinos nabbed

Source: The National, Thursday 06th December, 2012 By ABIGAIL APINA A TOTAL of 150 Filipinos were arrested and charged in Kimbe, West New Britain, yesterday for illegally staying in the country. They did not have valid passports and visas. Provincial police commander Samson Siguyaru said they were caught last Saturday on seven foreign fishing vessels belonging to Trans Pacific Fishing Corporation, a company based in Manila; TSP Marine Industries, also based in the Philippines; and Coco Enterprise Ltd, based in Port Moresby. He said the arrests had resulted from the Safe Papua New Guinea Operation carried out by PNG Customs and involved police, labour and employment, navy and quarantine officers. The officers went to Kimbe onboard PNG Navy Boat 02 and searched the vessels. Siguyaru said the team, while in Kimbe for its islands region operation, spotted the seven fishing vessels between Talasea Bulu Point and Bali Vitu Island. Siguyaru said although the vessels had valid licences to fish in PNG waters, the 150 crew members did not have valid passports and visas. Five of the seven vessels were escorted back to Kimbe harbour on Sunday afternoon while two escaped. Police had completed all their files with the necessary charges laid. The provincial police chief was also concerned that while searching the vessels, the officers came across some navy uniforms. “It worries me to know that some current serving military personnel were onboard the vessels. “I think it is only pro­per that the Philippines government, through its embassy, explain to the people of PNG why this is so. “The PNG government should also take this cri­tically and strengthen its intelligence service in the country,” he said. Siguyaru said a special court sitting had been arranged for all 150 crews to appear in the Kimbe District Court.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lelang queries implications of K6bil loan

Source: The National, Tuesday 30th October, 2012 By STARZA PAUL SHADOW minister for finance Joseph Lelang has warned the government to consider carefully the implications of the K6 billion Chinese Exim Bank loan. Lelang questioned whether the government could afford the K6 billion loan when the country’s economy was small. “The loan is good but the issue that we are asking is of affordability. Is this the right timing?” he said. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said earlier the loan was necessary to fix the old infrastructure around the country. Lelang said opposition MPs were pointing out to the government that PNG would pay the loan in dollars and not in kina. He said this would have a negative impact and constraints on the economy as inflation would likely increase. “Increase in inflation means increase in prices of goods and services and our ordinary people will have to pay higher for these increases in goods and services,” he said. Lelang said the huge loan would also have constraints on our foreign reserves as PNG would be expected to repay the loan in dollars which would have a negative impact on the local economy. “The K6 billion loan will continue to deteriorate our foreign reserves as companies start importing materials from aboard to build the infrastructure as they are claiming the loan is for. “This is not a theory that we are arguing about as it is a real issue that the national government needs to be very conscious of.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

24,000 want stop on seabed mining

Source: The National, Thursday 25th October, 2012 By CALDRON LAEPA A PETITION, signed by 24,000 people living in the immediate area of the controversial seabed mining site in the Bismarck Sea, has requested the government to stop the project and review its approval process. Bismarck-Solomon Sea Indigenous People’s Council president John Simoi presented the petition to Mining Minister Byron Chan and government representatives this week. Simoi said the petition was over dissatisfaction with the project’s environmental impact studies (EIS). He said the project had commissioned Prof Richard Steiner from the University of Alaska in 2010 to produce a report that showed the EIS approved by the Department of Environment and Conservation was not satisfactory. “The sea is our garden. That is where we get our food to survive. “We cannot let the investor destroy this. We are asking the government to put a moratorium for, say 10 years, on deep-sea mining or stop deep-sea mining,” he said. The people, including landowners from Madang, Northern and New Britain provinces signed the petition, saying they did not want Canadian-owned Nautilus Minerals’ Solwara 1 project to go ahead. The project is the first of its kind in the world and will see minerals – mostly copper and gold – extracted from the ocean floor. Nautilus was granted a 20-year lease by the government of Sir Michael Somare and plans to mine an area 1.6km beneath the ocean, 50km off the coast of New Britain.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pato: Lack of communication stalls asylum bid

Source: The National, Tuesday 23rd October, 2012 FOREIGN Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato has admitted that there was lack of communication between the government and Manus provincial authorities and landowners over Australia’s asylum seekers processing centre in Los Negro. However, he is confident the issue will be solved with the setting up of a liaison committee made up of local MP Ronny Knight and the landowners as well as Foreign Affairs Department officers. He said the decision came after a meeting in Port Moresby last Friday with Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin, Knight and Los Negro landowners. “There has been a lack of communication. Locals will be involved in the permanent processing centre. “We have now resolved the matter and will continue to resolve any matter that comes up,” Pato said. Benjamin had last week accused the Australian government of arrogance over the establishment of the processing centre. Benjamin said Manus people wanted details of the development package promised by the Australian government. He said that locals were worried Australian companies would get the contracts to build, maintain and service the centre. Another report last week also said landowners, who felt they had been left out of the loop in the re-establishment of the John Howard-era centre, had warned they could sabotage proceedings. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported about 100 Australian Defence Force soldiers had cleared the jungle and refurbished the run-down facility before the first asylum seekers arrived. Pato said Australian soldiers as well as expatriates who dealt with asylum seekers’ conditions such as health and hygiene had come in to assist because all the events had occurred so quickly in a short space of time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MALAYSIA'S RELATIONS WITH PAPUA NEW GUINEA

High Commissioner of Malaysia Datin Seri Blanche Olbery on the occasion of the 37th Independence Anniversary of Papua New Guinea and 55th Anniversary of Malaysia’s Independence wished the O’Neill- Dion government the continued strength and success in developing the country and delivering peace, progress and prosperity. Olbery said, “in the span of over 55 years Malaysia has graduated from a low income country that was heavily reliant on the export of primary commodities to what it is now a diversified economy, highly industrialised and service oriented nation.” Despite uncertainties in the world economic climate its GDP growth will remain moderate as robust domestic demand is expected to drive the economy. She further confirmed that, “Malaysia’s political and economic stability, prudent and pragmatic investor friendly business policies, cost-productive workforce, a developed infrastructure comparable to that of any developed country and a host of other amenities makes it an enticing place for investors”. It is in one of the world’s top locations for offshore manufacturing and service based operations as multinational corporations from over 40 countries have invested in over 5000 companies. Malaysians success was not only in the material sense but holistic under the National Transformational Plan, the transformational activities not only involved the government through Government Transformational Plan (GTP) and economy through Economic Transformational Plan (ETP) but also political and rural transformation. Bilateral relations between Malaysia and Papua New Guinea continued to be friendly since its establishment in 1975. The solid foundation ahs been built by the existing cooperation in the areas of trade and investment. The High Commissioner further stated that, “in 2011, total trade between Malaysia and PNG was Kina 1.64 billion, a significant increase from Kina 407 million achieved in 2010. Trade performance is expected to match, or most likely, surpass last year’s total performance and as of May 2012, total trade was registered at Kina 950 million, which more than half of last year’s total trade.” Apart from trade and investment the two countries are actively pursuing several other important components in bilateral relations such as information, communication and technology and human resources development Programme to PNG under the scope of Malaysian Technical Coorporation Programme (MTCP). In conclusion Olbery highlighted that, “all Malaysians in the country that the Malaysian government attaches great expectations on the role of the Malaysian private sector in the development of Papua New Guinea. It is our hope that the Malaysian companies operating in this blessed country do remain good corporate citizens and abode by the local standards and regulations.” Datin Seri Blanche Olbery expressed her gratitude to the Malaysian Association of Papua New Guinea (MAPNG) for their continued contribution in various charitable activities and community development programmes in Papua New Guinea.

Preventable diseases killing children

Source: The National, Tuesday 16th October, 2012 By AGNES FIFI UKI FIFTEEN thousand children under the age of five die every year in PNG because of diarrhoea and pneumonia, Unicef country representative Baba Danbappa said yesterday. “This means that 41 children die a day in PNG from diseases that can be prevented, diarrhoea and pneumonia,” he said. He made the statement at Porebada Primary School in Central, where the Global Hand Washing Day was launched to mark its fifth anniversary. Danbappa said the aim of the day was to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of washing hands with soap to prevent diseases. He told teachers and students that many people washed their hands only with water believing it was enough to make hands clean. “This is not true. “Washing your hands with water and soap after using the toilet, before eating and preparing food helps a lot to break down the grease and dirt that carry most of the germs.” He said activities to observe the Global Hand Washing Day usually revolved around children and schools because children were powerful agents of change and what they learnt today would influence their communities, homes and school. Health deputy secretary Dr Paison Dakulala, on behalf of minister Michael Malabag, said this year’s theme of “Clean hands save lives” was fitting because it reminded people that the simple act of hand washing with soap could save many lives. Dakulala said last year, of the 4,468 children under five years with diarrhoea admitted in health facilities, 122 never recovered. “This is very sad and should not have happened if parents and guardians took heed and followed personal hygiene practices,” he said. Danbappa appealed to the Central education division to help Porebada Primary to build more toilets. The school only has three toilets for both students and teachers and that was not enough.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Islanders earn money through seaweed farming

Source: The National, Wednesday 19th September 2012 THEY may be losing their land but they still have the sea. That is what the Carterets Islanders in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville are making use of and are earning money through seaweed farming. The concept was introduced seven months ago from the Solomon Islands following a visit by a delegation from the Atolls. Solomon Islands national fisheries seaweed consultant Lamora Vara said the leaders took interest and decided to introduce it to the Atolls with Carterets as the first to pilot the project. Vara said so far, more than 500 people had taken part in the project, farming their own seaweed seedlings. He said it took six weeks for the seaweed to reach maturity and four days to dry in the sun before it was packed and sold. Vara, who has more than 10 years experience in processing seaweed, said the seedlings were brought in from the Solomon Islands. He said seaweed farming was introduced to the Solomon Islands in the 1980s but died out and was revived in 2000. He said the Carteret Islanders would sell their first harvest in two weeks to buyers from Asia and Europe. He said in the Solomon Islands a kilogramme of seaweed usually sold for Solomon $5 (K15). Cosmas Babes from Han, one of the six islands of Carterets, said the island was facing food shortages with salt water invading the land. He said that had affected the soil quality, making the land too salty for them to grow crops like the swamp taro, which was their staple. He said the relief supply was not enough to sustain them and he was pleased this would help them in income generation. Babes’ wife, Elizabeth Kiria, said the seaweed project would help her and other families make money to buy food.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PM pays tribute to founding leaders

Source: The National, Tuesday 18th September, 2012 By DULCIE OREKE PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill paid tribute to the “founding fathers and mothers of Papua New Guinea” at the 37th Independence Day anniversary celebrations in Port Moresby on Sunday. At the flag-raising ceremony on Independence Hill, O’Neill paid tribute to those who made the dream of building a nation for every citizen a reality. “Today, I also pay my special tribute and gratitude to our nation’s founding leaders for attaining Independence. “I say thank you on behalf of all citizens, young and old, to our nation’s founding prime minister, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, for his lengthy active and loyal political leadership service to our country,” O’Neill said. He also mentioned Sir Julius Chan of New Ireland, President John Momis of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, pioneer woman parliamentarian Dame Josephine Abaijah and statesman Sir John Kaputin who were among the leading figures of their time. “I pay tribute also to all our former prime ministers, governors-general, opposition leaders and many other leaders for their contributions in the evolution of our nation. “These great early leaders all did well for PNG, to unite our people and to lay the foundations of a vibrant democracy,” the prime minister said. “Papua New Guineans must reflect on where they came from 37 years ago to where they are today and where they are heading as a nation.” O’Neill said he was confident the nation would achieve greater prosperity for the people. Special congratulatory messages were also sent from the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles and US President Barack Obama.

Nape arrested

Source: The National, Tuesday 18th September, 2012 By ZACHERY PER THE Task Force Sweep has swiftly moved to arrest former speaker of parliament Jeffery Nape in Kundiawa, Chimbu, on the eve of the 37th Independence Day anniversary. Nape was alleged to have misused K5 million. A warrant of arrest issued by the Task Force Sweep was used to apprehend Nape as he was leaving the Kundiawa court house last Friday where he was attending a separate bribery charge of K30,000. Nape was alleged to have offered K30,000 to a fellow candidate in the Sinasina-Yongumugl seat during the elections to induce him to step aside. Reports said Kundiawa police acted on the advice of police investigators attached to the Task Force Sweep to arrest Nape. “The Sweep team executed the warrant through Goroka police who then briefed the job to Kundiawa police to effect arrest,” an officer said. He said the police have a duty to perform for the state. Therefore, they executed the warrant to make the arrest. Nape was taken from the Kundiawa court house to the police station where he was formally arrested before being escorted to Goroka to be flown to Port Moresby for questioning and detention. However, the afternoon Air Niugini flight to Goroka last Friday was cancelled. Nape and the police officers spent the night in Goroka and flew the next day to Port Moresby. Sinasina-Yongumugl district office further confirmed that the Sweep team was investigating the use of K5 million earmarked for the rehabilitation education sector infrastructure (Resi) programme for schools in Sinasina-Yongumugl. The investigation had led to the arrest of Nape.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tembari Children Recieved Chairs

The Tembari Children Centre was presented with 40 chairs for the school children yesterday by RH Foundation Inc.
These children were delighted when the chairs were donated.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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Monday, July 2, 2012

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Monday, June 25, 2012

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

O’Neill to head caretaker govt

Source: The National, Tuesday 15th May 2012 By ISAAC NICHOLAS PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill will retain the finance portfolio and head a caretaker administration to run the nation’s affairs until a new government is formed. He revealed this as parliament enters its final session today before it is dissolved to allow for fresh elections. The issue of writs is scheduled for Friday. Voting begins on Saturday, June 23. The return of writs is on or before July 27. A new government is expected soon after that. O’Neill told The National yesterday he would keep the same team of ministers in the careta­ker government. He will be caretaker prime minister and finance minister. Other key ministers in the interim administration included Belden Namah as deputy prime minister and forest minister, Don Polye (treasury), William Duma (petroleum), Sam Basil (national planning), Dr Allan Marat (attorney-general), John Boito (police), Bart Philemon (public service) and Sir Mekere Morauta (public enterprises). Leader of Government Business and Esa’ala MP Moses Ma­ladina said the final session was to formally close parliament and to give MPs a chance to make final statements. He said parliament would also deal with outstanding legislations which needed to be passed including the Women Against Violence Bill. Community Development Mi­nister Andrew Mald is expected to table that bill. “This will be the formal closure of parliament until the return of writs,” Maladina said. “We will give opportunities to members to speak for the last time before we formerly close parliament.” He dispelled rumours that the government would move a motion to defer the election by six months. “There are a couple of members who wanted to defer the election due to concerns about the preparedness of the Electoral Commission and security of the election,” he said. “However, the government, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his coalition partners, agreed that there is no need to defer the election. “Everything is on target and schedule for us to go for election. Everyone wants the election to go ahead now. “It is not in the interest of the nation to defer the election. We need to go back to our people to seek their mandate once again to come back as elected representatives of our electorates.”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Abel: K100 million expected from casino

Source: The National, Friday May 11th 2012 THE 4-Mile Hotel Casino project is expected to bring in foreign investment of more than K100 million over the next 12 months, Commerce Minister Charles Abel said. It is also expected to create employment and support business activities in Port Moresby. “The project will create over 500 direct employment and more than 2,000 indirect employment opportunities and create income earning opportunities for our youth and women,” he said. He re-launched the project yesterday after it was suspended last year due to lack of financial support and administrative delays. Steven Khan, representing the new investor AusPNG Ltd, said the re-launching of the project was a positive step forward for the nation and Port Moresby in terms of job creation opportunities. He said as an experienced development organisation registered in PNG, AusPNG had no hesitation in becoming the major shareholder for the project. To ensure the success of the investment, Khan said AusPNG had engaged a number of globally recognised companies to assist in specific areas of the development stage. These include Accor Group and Casino Austria. The construction phase would first look at the completion of the hotel, shopping areas and the casino. Later it will look at the completion of the hotel and accommodation. Approval for the Hotel Casino was given in 2005.

PNG runs out of ARV drugs

Source: The National, Friday May 11th 2012 By LESLIE OMARO ANTIRETROVIRAL (ARV) drugs used to treat people living with HIV/AIDS have run out, forcing them to rely on alternative medication. HIV health project coordinator Maura Elaripe from Igat Hope Inc said there were many frustrated people wondering why their medication regime had been changed suddenly. Elaripe said they were against the use of the drug stavudine (D4T) because the World Health Organisation had stopped its use. But she said the health department continued to treat people with HIV/AIDS with the wrong drug combination. Elaripe said in September last year, stocks ran out and the then health secretary had assured people the situation would not recur. “More than 50 members of our organisation who were on ARV drugs had to go on a drug holiday,” she said. Health Department programme manager Dr Nick Dala said yesterday K8 million had been spent to purchase new ARV drugs that would arrive from Copenhagen, Denmark, in five weeks. Elaripe said the health department had undertaken to monitor those who had gone on drug holidays for signs and symptoms of resistance and provided necessary follow-up care as needed. “The National Department of Health failed to buy more drugs and distribute them to the 70-plus sites ... whatever drugs were available in the country have been exhausted and we now have a critical emergency in the country.” She said in February they alerted the health department again on the stock situation and its failure to keep its promise to monitor those that had gone on drug holidays.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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Lupari: Future of country hinges on new parliament

Source: The National, Tuesday 08th May 2012 THE future of the country will hinge on the new parliament and government after the general election, economics and former chief secretary Isaac Lupari said in a presentation during the National Alliance party fundraising dinner last weekend. Lupari said there were greater prospects and opportunity to create a better Papua New Guinea but all those opportunities would depend squarely on a strong and disciplined leadership. He said this when making a presentation on the state of economy since 2002. He said the prospects for growth looked positive as a result of the LNG project and the Gulf LNG project, which would create a stable economy. Lupari said the LNG project “will general K100 billion over 30 years, K3.3 billion a year, starting 2014”. He said that much revenue would be parked in the Sovereign Wealth Fund overseas but the country must avoid “similar Cayman Island experiences”. He said there were big challenges ahead for the new government. He said among those tasks would be the management of the SWF. Lupari said since the collapse of fixed ex-rate regime in 1996, and adoption of the flexible regime (IMF/WB), “the kina has not gained or strengthened and it still remains volatile”. He said the value of the kina had improved against major trading currencies largely because of macro-economic stability, (instigated by fiscal stability) and intervention by BPNG, and was unlikely to further depreciate because of increased import activity (LNG) and government’s reckless spending in recent months. He said looking back to the past decade, PNG almost went into default in early 2000s from the mismanagement and reckless spending by the government under the late Bill Skate. He said debt is expected to rise from 2012 onwards because of the large borrowings by government to finance the LNG project. He said high interest rates were bad for the economy as there “will be no new investments, businesses collapses, unemployment rises, Public debts (domestic debts) rises; lesser resources in the Budget”. He said from the period 1997-2002, PNG suffered from bad economic management and uncontrolled spending. Lupari said from 2003-2009 there were signs of great improvement but that was now under threat “if current Government fails to curtain excessive spending”. He said inflation was high between 1997-2003, largely because of fiscal instability caused by budget blowouts. He said from 2003-2008, there was great improvement and inflation was brought under control by fiscal stability and discipline but inflation “is again on the rise from 2008 largely due to LNG project but significantly due to deterioration in fiscal discipline”. He said if the trend continues, “PNG will re-enter the late Skate’s and Mekere’s era”.

4,000 racing for 109 seats

Source: The National, Monday 07th May 2012 NEXT month’s general election could see more than 4,000 people chasing 109 seats in Parliament compared with about 2,800 in 2007, the Electoral Commission has revealed. The director of the Papua New Guinea’s Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, says it is no surprise that there are a large number of candidates signing up for next month’s general election. Barker said in a radio interview recently there was a significant amount of frustration over the way politicians had been running the country. Gaining political office in PNG also carried a lot of status and was financially rewarding. “It’s almost sort of seen to be a passing of age exercise to come along and have a go, people are often encouraged to do so by their own local communities,” he said. “By and large you are seeing a lot of people who may not have a lot of money to start with becoming quite a bit more affluent during their term in office.” The Electoral Commission is accepting nominations until May 18. The contestants, however, have coalesced into two major rival camps – one containing incumbent Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and Treasurer Don Polye. The other is led by deposed prime minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and his National Alliance party. Sir Michael is expected to team up with Pangu Pati, Peoples Party and the People National Assembly. The O’Neill-Namah-Polye combination have a headcount of 68 sitting lawmakers in total. O’Neill’s People’s Congress party has 25 MPs, Namah’s Papua New Guinea Party has 21 and Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party has 22. Somare, who was ousted after missing three consecutive sittings of parliament last year while he was hospitalised in Singapore, has endorsed 89 candidates. He said although he had thought of retiring from politics, he had decided to prove to his rivals that his East Sepik people still wanted him in parliament.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Philemon says K2.5bil paid to public servants

Source: The National, Friday 27th 2012 THE government pays public servants K2.5 billion a year as salaries and wages, Public Service Minister Bart Philemon told parliament yesterday. And he said the main reason for the non-delivery of public service was because of too much political involvement. He said another reason was the lack of capacity in the public service. Philemon was res­ponding to questions from Tari-Pori MP and chairman of Hela Transitional Authority James Marape in parliament. Marape said public servants in the Southern Highland and Hela provinces were confused because most had not been confirmed to their substantive posts. He said positions had been advertised in 2008 but there were still no confirmed positions for public servants. “What is the maximum time it takes to fill public service positions?” He said another contributing factor was the position of the provincial administrator that had not been filled as yet and why the delay in the appointment of a permanent administrator. Marape said some public servants had left to work in the oil fields, mine sites and gas fields because of the attractive salaries there. He also claimed that most public servants in the province were getting paid for doing virtually nothing. “Can an investigation be conducted to ascertain the status quo of public service in the province?” Marape also brought up the issue of K7 housing allowance, asking whether that can be increased to K500 or K1,000 a fortnight.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kiwis want June polls

Source: The National, Wednesday 25th 2012 NEW Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully says his government would like to see Papua New Guinea hold the national election as originally scheduled. McCully said New Zealand was trying to be supportive of efforts to hold the election on time. “PNG will need to understand that this is something that other countries are taking a close interest in,” he said. “We hope they will land in a good place. “There are a number of players with differing views, and conveying them is a problem.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Paska: New bill will make House supreme

Source: The National, Wednesday 18th April 2012 By CALDRON LAEPA THE PNG Trade Union Congress has urged parliamentarians not to vote for the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill 2012 because it will make parliament superior to the two arms of government. Congress general secretary John Paska said the government was also using the legislation to make parliament more supreme than the Constitution. The bill stated that the Supreme Court cannot make consequential orders if they invoke the powers of the Supreme Court to give an opinion on matters under section 18 and 19 of the Constitution. The bill also provided that the decision by the court on the East Sepik provincial government and Morobe provincial government references is null and void. Paska said the proposed bill aimed to throw out a matter currently in court in relation to the legitimacy of the government. He said MPs must stop voting for any bill brought by the government and start thinking more seriously about the people. He urged Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Speaker Jeffery Nape to think about the nation. He said it was bad for the economy when the government made decisions and then later reversed them. He warned the MPs that the election was approaching and the people were watching them closely. Paska cautioned that the unions and civil society organisations would “rise” if the need arose. He said O’Neill should now be getting the message that the people, unions and civil society would not back down following last Tuesday’s protest.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recruits given two weeks

Source: The National, Tuesday 17th April 2012 By YVONNE HAIP PUBLIC servants selected for positions within the Southern Highlands administration have been told to take office within two weeks. Deputy administrator Dr Bravy Koensong called for acceptance letters to be returned because a complete manpower audit and roll-call on the public service would be carried out. He said lax attitude towards work would not be tolerated. Koensong said the provincial public service machinery had deteriorated because of poor performance of staff. He said the public service needed to be united to improve and restore all services in Southern Highlands. He said a payroll audit would be done to remove ghost names on the payroll and other financial responsibilities. He said the payroll, would be brought back to Mendi from Waigani and the relevant government departments and institutions would help ensure this. He claimed indivi­duals had walked off with more than K200,000 as a result of the payroll being hijacked. Koensong called on all public servants to move into the province within two weeks. He said those who were not in office during the roll-call would be dealt with through normal disciplinary processes. He said a complete restructure of the province had begun and would continue until December. Koensong said by January and February next year, jobs within the administration would be on the market. He said public servants who had been lazy would have to find employment elsewhere.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kidu asks Australia to relax visa laws

Source: The National, Monday 16th April 2012 AUSTRALIA’S immigration laws for Papua New Guineans need to be reconsidered, a symposium has been told. Opposition leader Dame Carol Kidu said there were too many processes citizens of Papua New Guinea were required to go through to obtain a visa. She said the Australian government needed to loosen its visa policies for Papua New Guineans if it was serious in assisting PNG change. Dame Carol, Public Service Minister Bart Philemon, academics and researchers attended the symposium titled “Securing a prosperous future” at Deakin University, in Geelong, Victoria. She said a Papua New Guinea woman married to an Australian and with two children had applied for an Australian visa three years ago and was still waiting. She said it was the kind of hardship Papua New Guineans had to go through when applying for a visa. Private lawyer and pro chancellor of the University of PNG Camillus Narokobi, who was one of the conference participants, said although he had been frequent visitor to Australia since he first visited there in 1971, he continued to find it difficult to obtain a visa. He said Papua New Guineans were genuine people who wanted to visit and spend holidays there, visit friends or conduct business. They were not boat people who sought asylum or permanent residency, he added. Prof Kenneth Sumbuk, who shared his experiences of travelling to Europe, said obtaining visas to visit places in Europe was easier than obtaining a visa to go to Australia. Meanwhile, PNG can change if good decisions are made, Australian parliamentary secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs Richard Marles said. Marles said PNG was one of the seven fastest growing economies in the world, something the people of the country should be proud of. He said with the mineral boom, the country was going to change significantly. However, he said there were many problems that needed to be addressed if PNG was to prosper. He said the health, education and social status of the people had not change despite the riches the country had.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Election on schedule

Source: The National,Wednesday 11th April 2012 THE national election will be held as scheduled with only a slight change. The writs will be issued on May 18 instead of April 27 as previously gazetted. In a day of public demonstration and protest, it was the official line from Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen, who Prime Minister Peter O’Neill admitted yesterday, alone had the power to defer the dates of the election. The decision will not affect date for polling which falls on June 23 and for the return of writs on or before July 27. Also yesterday: qHundreds gathered at the Sir John Guise Stadium to protest the deferral of the election and passage of the Judicial Conduct Law; qSchools and many business houses in Port Moresby were closed as fears spread that the demonstration might turn violent; qDemonstrators earlier stoned cars and damaged a shop in Koki; qHundreds converged at the Eriku oval in Lae to protest the deferral, led by the University of Technology students; and Madang, demonstrators said they were ready to go to the poll

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Grand Chief files bid to stop judicial law

Source: The National, Wednesday 4th April 2012 By JACOB POK GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare has asked the Supreme Court to stop the government from implementing and enfor­cing the judicial conduct law. His lawyer Kerenga Kua yesterday appeared before Justice Derek Hartshon in an ex parte hearing to seek the court’s orders. The bill was rushed through parliament in a space of 24 hours and passed on March 21. It was certified into law by Speaker Jeffrey Nape and parliament clerk Don Pandan last Friday. There was public outrage with civil societies, university students and businesses advising the government to have it repealed. Kua filed an urgent Supreme Court application seeking injunctive orders to restrain parliament from implementing and enforcing it. He told the court that enfor­cing the law would affect the hearing of the two Supreme Court references currently on foot looking into the issue of the legitimacy of government. He said if parliament enforced the new law against some of the judges hearing the references, it would disrupt the entire proceeding. He therefore asked the court to issue a restraining order pending the actual hearing of the substantive matter which sought to nullify the entire judicial conduct law. But Hartshon told Kua he would not hear the matter ex parte. He ordered that the application be served to all parties named in the proceedings and to return to court at 9.30am today. The substantive issue in the originating summons filed by Kua will be based on rele­vant clauses in the Constitution which relate to constitutional office holders including judges. He will argue that the new law should be nullified on the basis that section 221 of the Constitution opposed it. Section 221 states that “a judge may not be suspended, dismissed or removed from office during his term of office except in accordance with a constitutional law” and not by an ordinary act of parliament.

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State loses bid

Source: The National,Tuesday 03rd April 2012 By JACOB POK THE Supreme Court has thrown out a bid by the government to reopen last December’s constitutional case which had declared Sir Michael Somare as prime minister. The application by Attorney-General and Justice Minister Dr Allan Marat was described by Justice Nicholas Kirriwom, a member of the five-man bench, as a “delay tactic”. But the court is yet to decide on whether Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and Kirriwom should step aside amid allegations of bias against the government. The bench comprised Sir Salamo, his deputy Gibbs Salika, Bernard Sakora, Les Gavera-Nanu and Kirriwom. It was supposed to be the first day of hearings into the legality of parliamentary decisions since the government of Peter O’Neill took office. But Marat’s lawyer Tiffany Twivey filed three new applications, including the one to have the Dec 12 case reheard. The other two relate to whether Sir Salamo and Kirriwom should remain on the bench. Twivey filed the applications last Thursday and had served copies to all parties involved in the proceedings. She told the court the slip rule application to revisit the Dec 12 case should be heard and determined first as it raised a series of issues relating to the current references. Sir Salamo told Twivey that such application would require the same bench and parties from last year that had been involved in the proceeding and it would require more time. He said the court was prepared to proceed with the two references which were made returnable for hearing and not new applications. “The procedural aspect of the matters should be considered and things must be done properly because such applications required extensive time and effort for parties to prepare and get instructions from their clients properly before the matter proceeds,” Sir Salamo said. Sakora told Twivey that the application was filed late as it was done four months after the Dec 12 decision. Kirriwom told Twivey that there was no need to revisit the previous case when the current reference stemmed from that case. “Your client did not agree with the decision of SCR 3 (Supreme Court reference) of 2011. “That is why these two current references have been filed,” Kirriwom said. He described the application as a “delay tactic”. Sir Michael’s lawyer Duncan Kerr and the lawyer representing the East Sepik provincial executive council, Ian Molloy, opposed the application. After a brief adjournment, the judges unanimously rejected the slip rule application.

Monday, April 2, 2012

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State gives illegal immigrants 30-day grace period

Source: The National,Monday 02nd April 2012 ILLEGAL immigrants have been given a 30-day grace period to surrender to officials and leave the country. The grace period is from March 26 to April 27. The National Executive Council has directed the Immigration and Citizenship Services to coordinate a task force team to investigate and remove illegal immigrants. It should also investigate the activities of foreigners engaged in questionable activities in the country. Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Ano Pala confirmed the council’s decision of Jan 17. Pala said in a public notice that the task force team would comprise highly-skilled investigators and intelligence officers. It would be supported by hand-picked officers from various agencies. The economic boom and rapid development had attracted an influx of foreigners and organised crime syndicates into the country. “PNG has recently witnessed some trend of transnational crimes happening within our shores such as human smuggling, money laundering, smuggling of counterfeit goods, smuggling of illegal firearms and drugs while our domestic front is faced with organised prostitution, brothels and pirated goods,” Pala said. “I strongly advice that any foreigner who comes into conflict with the established laws of the country and found guilty of a criminal offence would automatically have his or her entry permit cancelled and be directed to leave the country immediately.” He said any illegal immigrants or foreigners who overstayed would be deported from the country without facing any prosecution.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sydney casino sacks informers

Source: The National, Tuesday 20th March 2012 SYDNEY’S Star Casino has sacked three more managers, including one who forwarded an email revealing that it allows international high rollers to gamble non-stop for more than 24 hours. The organisation brought in outside lawyers last Tuesday to help sack mid-level managers with more than 40 years’ experience among them for breaches of its internet and email policies, a report in the Sydney Morning Herald said. A leaked incident report from the casino fingered Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah for sexually harassing a male dealer and consuming too much alcohol last April. The report said Namah was asked to leave but allowed back in when management discovered he had deposited A$800,000 with the teller. Namah has denied being the person named in the report and had advised lawyers to start legal proceedings against Australian newspapers that carried the story. The casino’s actions meant at least seven staff had been dismissed or had left in the fallout surrounding last month’s sacking of managing director Sid Vaikunta. One of those dismissed had forwarded an email, dated Feb 21, from the director of VIP services, Dean Wilson, explaining why responsible gambling rules used to stop locals betting for more than 24 hours at a stretch did not apply to wealthy foreigners known as international rebate guests. Wilson told senior staff he had asked the responsible gambling manager, Ron Wagemans, to clarify the po­licy after a staff member had wrongly advised two wealthy international guests, who had been playing for 21 hours, that they would soon be asked to leave under the casino’s policy of sending gamblers home after 24 hours of non-stop wagering. “For our (international rebate) guests we are under no obligation to stop their play at the 24-hour mark,” Wilson wrote to managers in the high rollers’ section. “These guests travel with limited time to play and they have an esta­blished amount of funds that they are prepared to gamble with.” A Casino Star spokesman said yesterday the employees “were dismissed for breaching several employment policies such as sending confidential company documents to third parties and private email addresses”’, including “highly sensitive customer information”.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Economist says no LNG earnings until 2023

Source: The National, Wednesday 14th March 2012 By MALUM NALU EARNINGS from the LNG project are not expected to be significant until after 2023, according to Asian Development Bank’s Papua New Guinea country economist, Aaron Batten. He told The National yesterday, after the release of the latest edition of ADB’s Pacific Economic Monitor, that this had to do with financing agreements of the project. “For the first five to 10 years of LNG production, revenues will be quite small,” Batten said. “This has to do with financing agreements of the project,” he said. Batten said: “This is accelerated depreciation (to do with tax benefits to the project). “LNG revenues for the first five to 10 years of the project will only replace the decline in other mineral revenues government receives. “In the long term, things will get better, but over the medium term, government will face a growing fiscal challenge.” Batten said government must ensure that enough funding was allocated to key service delivery priorities such as health, education and infrastructure. “At one level, this will require an increasing prioritisation of these areas (health, education and infrastructure) within the budget,” he said. “It will also require them to manage public expectations for improved service delivery as a result of LNG revenues, which are not expected to be large until after 2023.” Batten said the major challenge facing the government right now was the declining revenue over the next two to three years, mainly because of the winding down of LNG construction, declining output from mines and oil fields, and agriculture exporters to face loss of competitiveness as a result of the high kina exchange rate.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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Grand Chief urges PM and Polye to tell truth

Source: The National, Tuesday 13th March 2012 GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare has called on Peter O’Neill and his team not to shoot themselves in the foot by accusing past governments of doing nothing. “If the suggestion wasn’t so ridiculous it would be laughable,” he said. Sir Michael said O’Neill and others held senior positions in his government and were trying to fool Papua New Guineans that they had done this country a turnaround in the last couple of months. “For the records let me state that from 2002 until 2007, my government tightened its fiscal management and introduced its four policy pillars: improved governance, export-driven growth strategy; improved service delivery and poverty alleviation,” Sir Michael said. “The public may recall that in 2002, morale in PNG was at an all-time low. “We did not even have money to pay our public servants. I had inherited a government whose coffers were depleted from the kind of election spending that the O’Neill regime has been doing today. “We were so desperate that the World Bank even tried to lend money to us with strict conditions. “We refused but with the help of AusAID and the Asian Development Bank we started the Highlands Highway rehabilitation programme (between 2003 and 2004) from K50 million found internally. “We had to be creative as we had very few resources. We also relied on tax credit schemes where companies like Chevron (now Oil Search) were able to carry out initial works on the highway. As more money came in, more work was contracted out on other sections of the Highlands Highway. “With tight fiscal management and our export-driven strategy, we were able to offer private sector incentives that boosted the economy and effectively got this country back on her feet. “Our spending was conservative yet we increased our international debt repayments from 70% in 2002 to less than 30% today (public debt to GDP ratio).” He said many of the ministers who should be credited were still there today with O’Neill. “The emerging trend of members of parliament telling lies to the public should stop. We are leaders and our utterances should be responsible. “I call on members of parliament to be responsible and not speak rubbish during an election year.”

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mother and son get 47-year jail

Source: The National, Tuesday 21st Febuary 2012 By JAYNE SAFIHAO WELL-known woman leader Ca­therine Mal was yesterday jailed for 17 years over a killing four years ago. The National Court in Madang jailed her, her son and two nephews for a total of 87 years for the 2008 killing – described as a “vicious and savage murder”. Mal, businesswoman and a former candidate for the Madang open seat, collapsed outside the Madang courthouse after the sentencing by Justice David Cannings. The frail-looking mother, whose medical condition had delayed sentencing since December, spent a few teary moments with her lawyer inside the court room before then. The jailing of the four marked the end of the Mal family murder case which caused the death of Daga Nanas on April 13, 2008, at Talim village on the outskirts of Madang. Mal was jailed for 17 years while her son Emmanuel Ong was jailed for 30 years. Her nephews Moses and Lotivi Mal each received 20 years. Mal’s jail term was for her part in aiding the murder by egging her relatives on saying “kill them, kill them” Cannings said because each of the accused had varying degrees of involvement, each needed to be sentenced separately. He said the two Mal brothers were given the same 20-year sentences because their personal circumstances were similar. He said Ong was directly responsible of Nanas’ death, by striking him on the head with an iron rod and smashing his jaw. “I have carefully considered the many fine things said about him in character references,” Cannings said. “He is an educated and intelligent man, spoke passionately and eloquently in his allocutus. “However, the overriding consideration is that he has been convicted as the principal offender in a vicious and savage murder and he must be subject to a sentence that fits the severity of that crime.” In sentencing the pale-looking Catherine Mal, who tried in a last-minute attempt to tender a doctor’s report before the verdict was read, Cannings said her contribution to the death was significant as she shouted encouraging words to her three relatives to kill Nanas. He said considering her glowing report of community service and her poor health, he had reduced her term to 17 years from the 20-year term he had intended to impose. Since being found guilty last year, Mal had been hospitalised for a number of medical problems, including diabetes. Cannings found that reports the Mal family wanted to seek peace through compensation had not yet occurred. However, he suggested that they could consider that when they became eligible for parole.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Sepik community greets Sir Michael in Madang

Source:
The National, Friday 06th January 2012

By JAYNE SAFIHAO

GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare yesterday arrived in Madang to a rousing welcome by the Sepik community.
As early as 5.30am, people were lining the roads to welcome him with flowers, placards and banners.
Sir Michael had wanted to quietly slip into the province as part of his New Year holiday break.
Also present at the Madang Resort Hotel was Sir Arnold Amet and former People’s Action Party man Ben Semri, who had joined the National Alliance party, according to National Alliance regional coordinator for Momase Atis Deme.
Madang had so far produced five MPs for the party, the highest so far. The province is seen as the party’s base for talks and other matters.
Sir Arnold, in a recent meeting with locals, called on the Peter O’Neill government to respect the Constitution of the country as the pillar of democracy.
He said the real reason behind O’Neill’s shameless fight to hold onto power was to control the treasury leading into the general election.
While trying to explain the current political and constitutional dilemma to the people at Dylup, Sir Arnold said: “The governor-general has no power to dissolve parliament. Only parliament, through a motion, can.
“But O’Neill, (Speaker Jeffery) Nape and (Belden) Namah have not done that using section 145 (motion of no-confidence).
“Do you have courage? I dare you. If you have got courage of your conviction, you move the motion. If not, then, you are illegitimate.”
Sir Arnold pointed out that the only legitimate move after the Supreme Court decision would be for the O’Neill faction to let Sir Michael be reinstated and see whether there was a numerical strength to hold onto power.
He said a lot of changes were done such as in the Prime Minister and NEC Act and the age limit of prime ministers.
Sir Arnold said if the O’Neill faction had moved that motion, it would in turn automatically see Sir Michael and his group as the caretaker government.
But that did not eventuate as he insisted that they were trying to “manipulate the Department of Finance and Treasury for their own gain”.
A relaxed Sir Michael had breakfast with his supporters and continued with other functions set out for the day by the party executives.

Mother arrested in attempt to send drugs

Source:
The National, Friday 06th January 2012

By JAMES APA GUMUNO

A MOTHER of five has been has been charged with possession of a dangerous drug after she was caught at Mt Hagen’s Kagamuga airport trying to send four kilograms of dried marijuana worth K20,000 by air.
The woman claimed she had no idea of the contents of a box that a clansman of her husband had asked her to send to the mining township of Kiunga.
The packet of marijuana was in plastic bag and tightly taped to conceal the smell.
The packet was hidden at the bottom of a box filled with onions and other vegetables, police said.
Airlines PNG staff became suspicious when the woman tried to send a box weighing about 7kg.
They opened the box and found the packet of marijuana at the bottom. They called airport police who arrested the woman.
A policeman said the woman had tried to give the arresting officer K100 on the way to the Mt Hagen police station where she was charged.
The woman said she had been given the box by a clansman of her husband who asked her to send it to a Kiunga address in Western.
The man, who was waiting outside the airport, fled when police arrived, she said.
Provincial police commander Kaiglo Ambane said many women had been arrested at the airport for smuggling illegal goods such as ammunition into the province.
They also try transporting marijuana out of the province.
Ambane said husbands used their wives or sisters to send drugs on flights to contacts in other provinces.
The woman is due to appear in Mt Hagen district court today.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012