China Town

As  Mt. Hagen recovers  from a fire  that destroyed  eight shops late last week,   Lae City has again  been hit by another fire related tragedy.
                A young man is dead  and his sister injured  after a fire that  gutted  a family home  in  Lae’s China town suburb in the early hours of this morning.    Eye witnesses said the fire started  at about 2am  and,   within three hours,  consumed the entire  building.
                A  landcruiser was used to break down the gate of the corrugated iron fencing before some of the   residents were rescued.  
                About an hour later,   2T trading  on Eighth street  caught on fire.  Fire fighters  who arrived on the scene  were able to contain the blaze   and  prevent it from spreading to other parts of  the Lae CBD.
                These latest fires have, again,  brought into the question the ability of the Papua New Guinea Fire Service  to handle fire emergencies.   
Since 2013, there have been   eight  fire emergencies  in Lae City.   The Brian  Bell Home Center,  Pelgens and G4S all suffered   serious losses.


A filing clerk in the  Morobe Provincial Lands office   has been sacked after  it was found  that he  signed off on a letter that led to the sale  of  the  Papua Compound  playing field in Lae.
                The termination happened several days after public concerns were raised  afte residents heard that the field had been sold.

       The authorization letter was found  within  a thick document detailing  ownership and development proposals  by the  new owner.  It was handed over to the lands division as proof of ownership.

                Bypassing all protocols,  the filing clerk signed on behalf of the acting provincial lands program advisor, Jonah Suvi,   in a letter addressed to the Secretary for Lands in Port Moresby.  Senior  provincial government officers  explained that such a letter  should have been written by the provincial administrator.
                The letter, dated  25th March 2012,  stated that an inspection was carried out  the Papuan Compound field,  Lot 35, Section 39 on the same  date and that  “during inspection the property was found to be vacant and undeveloped.”  
                Senior officers in the administration said that  single document  triggered  the tendering process which  eventually led to the sale of  the playing field.
                Two weeks ago,  Papuan  Compound residents held a public protest  demanding answers  from the provincial  lands division with many accusing them of corruption and illegal land sales in Lae City.
                Investigations  into other land dealings have revealed  that some land portions have dual titles – one belonging to the provincial government and the other  belonging to private individuals   or companies.  
                One case,  in particular, involving businessman Mathew Minape and the  Independence Park  purchase, sale and subdivision  will be contested in court.   The  Morobe Provincial Administration  will be challenging ownership and the process  which allowed  Minape followed to obtain commercial titles over the land.


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 (
To the Family of the late Gough Whitlam

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

Having assisted our cause in leading PNG to nationhood in 1975 I have always felt a debt of gratitude to the Late Gough Whitlam and have followed his career with great interest.
Papua New Guinea’s relationship with the Australian administration remains well entrenched because of the kind of leadership and support of sympathisers in our early years of nationhood like the late Gough Whitlam and others such as Bob Hawke and Andrew Peacock.
In recognition of his role in the life of Papua New Guinea, the Late Gough Whitlam is a recipient of PNG’s honour awards, the Grand Companion of Logohu (GCL) in 2009.
The Late Gough Whitlam’s contributions to developments in Australia are also well documented and Australians and the Labor Party can stand proud to have had such a dynamic leader since his entry into politics in the early 1960s.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of the late Gough Whitlam during this time of sadness. May he Rest in Peace.


 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…


Whitlam in PNG on Independence Day 1975GOUGH Whitlam died this morning at the grand age of 98 and I am filled with sadness.
I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Gough on a number of occasions.
He had sharp recall of his work to bring independence to Papua New Guinea and the personalities involved, and he retained a continuing interest in its affairs.
Gough was Australian prime minister between 1972 and 1975 before being dismissed from office in controversial circumstances that resonate to this day.

The achievements of his government were many and some of the most important of them endure.
The following words are a slightly edited version from the Whitlam Institute…. 

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.”


The Papua New Guinean  arrested  in the Philippines last week for attempting to rape a hotel worker has drawn  more angry responses from  Papua New Guineans  at home  after he posted on  Facebook saying he was a victim of race discrimination.
            Hornis Melua Opa,  using the  Facebook alias, Obip Remocci Nakie,   said: “I (MULEA HORNS OPA ) say this is “NOT TRUE” , its “TOTALLLY RACIST” coz I don’t have my statement of any of the news.”
            But his attempt  to draw sympathy from a country weary of bad publicity and  sexual violence  drew widespread anger   from infuriated Papua New Guineans on social media.
            Facebook users   were particularly  furious over  Opa’s  attempt to shift the blame to Philippine authorities  and the victim. 
            Spend less time at the bars and assaulting women and invest it in your studies… You’ve already disgraced your family and the country once with your arrest for rape now you’ve disgraced them and us again with your writing,” one commentator said.
             A Philippine police report  said  Opa was at the  Drive Way Inn,  in Cebu City, awaiting two ‘pimps’ to bring him a prostitute.        
After allegedly growing impatient, Opa turned his attention to the cashier working at the hotel, suddenly approached her and ‘hugged and kissed her in the neck and arms’.
            When the cashier struggled, Opa punched her in the face, bruising her.  Cebu locals, then made a citizen’s arrest and handed him over  to police.
            In pictures broadcast of Philippine  television, Opa appeared  intoxicated.   This is the latest in a string of reports that have come from  Cebu  about the unruly behavior of Papua New Guinean students.
             Many here who have been embarrassed by the recent reports of unruly behavior  have also issued stinging attacks on the quality of students attending schools in the Phillipines.
            Either you write in English or Filipino but not in something like that! Man,  you gotta spend more time in class than the bar…”  one said on Facebook.


Laip ya, hat tumas, mi tok
Kam bek lo nait lo wok
Kande hapsait brukim het
Blo meri blo em yet
Ambai singaut krai
Hevi hevi tok nogut flai
Paken sandin! Mi tingim tasol
Inap ol pasim maus blo ol
Mona jes lusiiiiim
Insait lo haus yupla stretiiiim
“Make love not war”
Yu get it o? LOVE not war!
Oiyoooo! Mi belhat
Pikinini krai. Mi belhat
Moning taim ol pait ken-o
Kaikai lek-o mi het pen-o
Laif ya, hat tumas, mi tok
Kam bek lo apinun lo wok
Mi go insait lo stua
Sigi sanapim stet lo dua
Sekim sekim olgeta hap
Insait autsait damblo antap
Mona, jes lusiiim
Mi stil man o? lusiiim
Olgeta man laik kamap polis
Uniform tu makim stret polis
Sekim bilum meri singaut
Mipla stilman or? Em singaut
Onest, mi tok. Mi confuse!
Tru tru, was da use?
Kain olsem narla Hagen bro tokim mi
Trabel em namel nem blo yumi
Sigi no luksave gut lo man
Susa em gel blo police man
Man blem kam wantaim Hem 16
10-seater wantem namba 16
Sigi nus bruk na ai pas
Em tanim na lek pas lo as
Plis o make love not war
Love not war
Kamap lo haus, Ambai pait wantaim Kande ken


In 2013,  EM TV  featured a story about a small coffee cooperative  in  Boana, Morobe province.
It was started by a former elementary school  teacher who was looking for a way  help farmers pay for their children’s school fees.

Well… that coffee cooperative has grown.   Neknasi is now  a leading example  of  a homegrown cooperative that has begun exporting to international markets. 
This is a follow on from the Neknasi Story

Boana has never been the center of attention in Morobe Province.    It is  remote and for years has remained one of the most neglected  district centers  in Papua New Guinea. 

But in the last five  years, the people,  who had become  tired of   the transport and economic  hardships   stopped asking the government for assistance  and built   a  coffee cooperative.
The  idea came from Mong Bngun,  former elementary school teacher who,  in his previous life,  found that parents  difficulty   paying  the required school fees.
Michael Toliman – General Manager, Neknasi
So Neknasi happened.  A cooperative of   200 farmers was formed. 
Initially, they were,    very much,  under resourced  but  they  had  more than 50 years of  coffee growing experience.  For the farmers,  that was more than enough.
One of the driving forces  behind Neknasi’s success has been Michael Toliman.
Mong Bungun, Chairman of Neknasi
The  Tolai    who  has now become an honorary  local tribesman from Boana,   began his association with the farmers when he was working with the Coffee Industry Cooperation.  After a few years, He quit his job as a government officer and helped to build Neknasi.  
“The governance of the cooperative  is strong,”   says the cooperative’s general manager.  “There is a board, an executive arm and   leaders in each of the village communities.”       

          A few months back in Goroka, the Prime minister, Peter O’Neill,   personally   presented the group with   their coffee export license giving them the authority to grow, process and export coffee.

For Neknasi,  the coffee export license  has become the icing on the cake.   They own the land,  control the quality and  now control nearly  every  toea they make  from revenue exports.
Neknasi has also been responsible  for opening   up the Boana  road.  The farmers built some of the smaller roads by hand. Later they  hired a bulldozer to help.
Now,  through a partnership with Fairtrade International, they are  receiving a premium on top of their normal coffee export revenue.
That  money is now being used to pay for 500 water  taps  which will be installed  in the Boana area.