He chose the life of adventure and intrigue over comfort and wealth. He helped to build his country in his own way. He traveled the length and breath of this land from Finchafen to Enga and from Wantoat to Menyamya.
He was (and still is) always the adventurer and almost always in danger. In the Eastern Highlands, he drove into tribal fights to negotiate peace and over several years, amassed a fortune in bows, arrows and traditional weapons from tribal conflicts. Each bearing its own rich tale.
He nearly left me fatherless one day when he almost drowned. His wicked sense of humor never failing before he jumped into the river that day. I’m told he said jokingly: “Give this watch to my love if I die.” Many years later, I met the man who was supposed to have made that trip, he still remembers and is eternally grateful.
He was the colonial government officer with a rigid sense of right and wrong. He took personal responsibility over those wounded in tribal wars and pregnant women who needed medical help in the government stations he ran.
His was a typically colonial household with a well stocked kitchen and at least one loaded weapon in the closet. His quiet time away from work highly valued and his children, his wife, his life.
His eyes saw some of the most beautiful places on earth. We saw only a glimpse of what he saw through his numerous paintings and sketches.
To those deserving, his wrath was explosive. Yet he is the kindest, most gentle and patient of people I know.
Here’s to a hundred more years, Dad!
|Michael Somare & Gough Whitlam (www.news.com.au)|
As the founding Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea I wish on behalf of Lady Veronica and myself to express our sadness at the passing of a great Australian, the late Gough Whitlam today, Tuesday 21 October 2014
As a vote of no confidence against Oro Governor, Gary Juffa, looms, he writes about the successes and challenges he faces against the old guard.
I was bemused and intrigued by the press release of 7 Presidents and Open Member David Arore proclaiming a vote of no confidence. I am glad. It gives me an opportunity to say what has been happening and what I have been doing. It also gives me an opportunity to gauge my peoples views and see where they stand. Whether they want change for the better or whether they want to continue to slip into the abyss of miserable anarchy and deteriorate as a people. Already the support is mounting and overwhelming. Tribesmen from all parts of Oro mobilized with the intent of demonstrating their outrage with violence. I stopped them all. This is not the way my people. Let us exhaust all legal means and let us not be shaken by the mere whimpering of a collection of sad people who claim they are leaders. They are not leaders. They are politicians. There is a fundamental difference.
So I sipped my black tea and watched semi interested as they aired their views. I had been monitoring these group since they came to Port Moresby some two weeks ago and were sighted drinking in the usual nightclubs and comfort lounges around Port Moresby. They were all at some little lodge in Boroko.
Intelligence is the end product of analysed information/data. I have a system to collect and collate and present such intelligence to me so I can make informed decisions. Our intelligence told us several things: that several weeks before the media stunt there were several meetings between certain Asian entities and the presidents and their open member. These Asians are heavily involved in the logging industry. Our informant was in their very midst. He sighted them and heard them discussing their plans. They would stop at nothing to log our forests. The recent suspension by the Forest Minister after we had furnished his office an investigation report based on complaints of our landowners in the Yema Gaipa Timber Permit Area where illegal logging had been occurring at day and night was yet another catalyst.
Further intelligence deduced that the recent actions in the last month by the Land Enforcement to travel to Collingwood Bay and impound Logging Machines and give notice to foreign workers illegally there to vacate that property in 7 days has added to the desire by the logging fraternity to see me removed. Imagine what would happen if everyone rose up behind me and removed them? That is a frightening thought. They MUST stop this and nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand. The people cannot be allowed to rise up and stand for their own rights they say to each other in between bales of illicit logging cash they make from our forests.
All this only added to growing anxiety that the illicit revenue stream of the pirates and their minions would come to an end..
Now add to this the recent Provincial Government reforms undertaken that have since seen the establishing of stringent controls to ensure transparent expenditure of public funds by all custodians including me. This has suddenly exposed the Two Open Members who have been using their Joint District Planning and Budget Prioritization Committees as procurement authorities…which is illegal…the laws do not allow that…the JDPBPC is merely a committee to prioritize the disbursement of DSIP funds. The process must come through the Administration for vetting, analysing, review and monitoring. I am pleased to see that we have changed the public service mindset in Oro and they are now well on track to deliver. I have asked that the Open Members MUST put their DSIP through this legitimate process as I am doing.
Meanwhile stringent efforts to tackle corruption continue. The great job undertaken by PPC Victor ISUOVE to analyse Auditor General Reports for the last so many years and act upon recommendations is well underway. PPC Jacob SINGURA has continued with this effort and so far, 11 public servants have been criminally charged. Others are yet to follow. The Ijivitari District Treasury closed by angry landowners for two weeks has had no less then 3/4 of their staff charged.
Most recently as of last month a Treasury Officer in the Provincial Government Treasury was charged for stealing K400,000 with her husband. More are yet to follow.
As for service delivery, the Province has not received its K10m Special Support Infrastructure Grants for this year though we have been promised and I have former Treasury Don POLYE making that commitment on video. I have been advised it is put to next year. We have also not received the balance of K3m for disaster relief which we wanted to build a Disaster Management Centre. I am informed next year as well. We have also not received the K10m promised to help with our Tourism Industry. I am assured it is in next years budget. 3/4 of my PSIP is now about to be expended as we now have the Provincial Supplies and Tenders Board in place and the first meeting is this week. Prior to that leaders and Administration were illegally issuing COIs – Certificates of Inexpediency – which are only for disaster periods and sanctioned by the NEC and allows circumventing of proper procurement processes and procedures stipulated by the Finance Management Act. Despite this, we have established a Health Authority (thanks kakana Micheal Malabag) and have taken our Health from 4 Doctors to 18 Doctors (thanks Dr. Gunzee Gawin – my adopted Hunjara tribesman). In partnership with YWAM and Dr Alice Lee we have immunized more then 3000 children, removed countless cataracts and fixed countless dental issues in remote areas never before seen. Tribal Foundation is sending a 40ft container of hospital equipment from Australia and our own efforts will see another 40ft from Brisbane (thanks brother Simon Simon P Merton who is single handedly doing something for his beloved mother Felicity Juffa’s people) with school and hospital equipment. We have also partnered with the SDA Church and ANGLICAN Churches in sponsoring their programs when and where we can. Saiho Hospital is refurbished an operational in Kaiva area serving 50,000 people.
A real winner is the establishment of the Disaster Management Centre and many, many thanks goes to Trevor Magei and Donald Moi for their contribution here. We now have a Provincial Disaster Management Policy and a Provincial Disaster Management Centre will be built. More importantly, we are able to respond in 24 hours and the Disaster Management Team has saved countless lives already. Thanks guys.
Law and Order is manageable. We are building Police houses and the patrol post
at Saiho and the Police are working tirelessly and with great enthusiasm. Prior to coming in, Popondetta was a township of 1 murder per month at the least with the tag of Cowboy Kantri. That is no more. Nights are peaceful and women and children can rest and go about their daily duties in peace without drunkard partying into the early hours as was normal.
Economic progress will see Oro take charge of their own resources and destiny. I will remain tight lipped here until I deliver. I have 3 years and I will deliver the economic independence my people have lacked. Agriculture and tourism will be the backbone.
I can’t list everything we have done. It is too long a list. My mistake was not promoting my efforts. I will do more. I write my own media and press releases and it is exhausting when one is trying to do much.
Finally, our four bridges worth K135m are being built. It took seven long years. No one followed up or did anything. I took 6 months to walk every process through until the contracts were finally signed at Government House and Canstruct Ltd a Australian Company was selected. They are now on the ground. They are busy building the bridges that were washed away in 2007 by floods caused by Cyclone Guba. They will save more lives.
Intelligence is necessary for gauging what is going on and acting accordingly.
I am informed that my efforts are touching many people who have fed on a corrupt system for too long…there is light at the end of the tunnel…
The election of the Whitlam government in 1972 was a turning point in Australia’s international outlook.
Whitlam moved quickly to re-shape Australia’s foreign relations. It sought to abandon the relics of the colonialism and Australia’s hostile, fearful and suspicious stance towards its own region.
The arrival of the Whitlam government marked a new period of involvement, amity and goodwill between Australia and its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region.
Gough Whitlam was a strong advocate for decolonisation. Accordingly, he promoted self-government and eventually, full independence for Papua New Guinea.
The Australian government had administered Papua since 1906, and New Guinea since 1919.
Once the Whitlam government was elected, this commitment was swiftly implemented.
Self-government began on 1 December 1973. From that time, the functions of government were progressively transferred from the Australian government to the Papua New Guinea administration, led by chief minister and later prime minister Michael Somare.
Full independence came on 16 September 1975. In introducing legislation to the Australian parliament to grant Papua New Guinea’s independence, Whitlam remarked:
“By an extraordinary twist of history, Australia, herself once a colony, became one of the world’s last colonial powers.
“By this legislation, we not only divest ourselves of the last significant colony in the world, but we divest ourselves of our own colonial heritage.
“It should never be forgotten that in making our own former colony independent, we as Australians enhance our own independence.
“Australia was never truly free until Papua New Guinea became truly free.”
|Ples type or highly creative, culturally rich individual?|
“PLES TYPE” is the new “derogatory” term used largely by urban folk who are ashamed of their roots and proud ancestry. It is used by people who would rather abandon a self-reliant, “ples type” life to live a hand-to-mouth existence in towns and cities.
The use of the term is a demonstration of one’s own ignorance of the fact that an environment – in this instance: “ples”- is not a measure of one’s intelligence or attitudes. The use of the term expresses the ridiculous stereotype that urban dwellers are better than rural folk. The term fits a frame peddled by overseas consultants and their spin doctors that Papua New Guinea is an impoverished nation, that rural life is bad and urban life is good.
So if to be “un-ples type” is to eat fast food and to make a healthy contribution to PNG’s growing obesity statistics, to drink three boxes of the green can every weekend – even if it means going without food for the rest of the fortnight, then I’d rather be called “ples type” because I’m having none of that.
If to be “un-ples type” is to be so technologically savvy, yet so vocabulary deficient that the only way to demonstrate a level of sophistication is to post sex related and female genital inspired obscenities on facebook, then I’d proudly be called “ples type.”
If to be “un-ples type” is to be ashamed of being Papua New Guineans with rural roots and to strive to replicate destructive lifestyles perceived to be better, then I’d rather be called “ples type.”
“Ples type…” means simple, uncomplicated, honest and real. It means I have land and a place to call my own. I don’t pay rent to a landlord because I build my own house and I can make it as big as I want. I don’t pay for water because I own the water.
My roots are rural and – for want of a better term – “ples type.”