Wagambie responds to death threats against Lae police (Media statement)


Police have received information that criminal elements and supporters from West Taraka,of those who got arrested and charged or killed, have issued threats to shoot down police.

They have harassed some members of the public and those traveling in and out of West Taraka. These are only a few incidents. Generally West Taraka is now losing its bad reputation as the Wild West of Lae City.

Police will not be moved, and we are not shaken by these threats from a very small minority. I am issuing my warning to these individuals, you better not try it, because I assure you, you try it and you will get it. My personnel are alert and we will investigate where these threats came from, and I will make sure those individuals will be dealt with. We will come to where you are staying or living. We won’t wait for you, we will come for you. So stop it now whilst you have the chance.

I also have information that there are some big people in the community, assisting suspects who were injured in the shoot out at West Taraka on the mountain tops. From me to these people, we will also find you as well. You will be arrested and charged. Let us be leaders and not entertain crime and criminals.

The whole week up until Sunday has been very quiet through out the City.

 -Anthony Wagambie, Metropolitan Superintendent, Lae

How Obura-Wonenara District will be affected by high inflation in 2017

Gema women dressed up to welcome the district medivac program

For the people of Gema village in the Obura-Wonenara district of the Eastern Highlands, The 2016-2017 period will be remembered as a period of mixed results.

This year has been a good year for them despite their many challenges.   The government services have trickled down to the village level. However, much of the funding that caused tangible results has come from the 2013-2014 period when the government allocated K500,000 per local level government.

In the 2016-2017 period, things are expected to improve on some fronts as it worsens on others.

For the first time in more than 30 years, the people  saw an elementary classroom and an aid post built with government funding. At a small gathering, the people told government officers including the district administrator to use local expertise instead of contractors to save on costs.

Compared to many other districts and urban areas, the statistics of maternal and infant mortality in Gema are appalling. There is at least one birth complication or death in every 20 deliveries.   While the village has an aid post, the health worker does not reside in the village because of a lack of housing. Many   before him left because of the difficult conditions and the isolation.

Since the 1990s when Papua New Guinea saw a gradual decline in service delivery, many school aged children have grown up to be adults without having the opportunity to go to school.

“We heard that a primary school was built in the neighboring village. But we were left out,” said the local level government councilor. “There is no shortage of school students. Children want to go to school. We don’t have teachers.”

Gema is a small village spread out over several ridges and for many years, the people had come to accept maternal and infant deaths as a way of life.

Their isolation and the high cost of transportation also discouraged teachers from other provinces from working in the village school.

Gema airstrip, Obura-Wonenara Ditrict

“This district has the most number of airstrips in Papua New Guinea. There are 22 in all,” says the District Administrator, Eric Nukasong. “This is because there are pockets of inaccessible villages that have important needs.”

As part of improvements to services, the Obura-Wonenara district administration has entered into an agreement with Lae based helicopter company, Manalos Aviation to provide medical evacuation services.   It is an important link between the village health worker and a referral hospital.

“In this district,  a  lot of men and women get sick and small aid posts can’t deal with the cases.  Many of them get seriously ill and die,” explains the Obura Wonenara MP, Mera Kipefa.   “It is a district initiative but we want the provincial government to support us as well.”

For Papua New Guinea, delivery of services hinges on the good working relationship between the administration and the politician. Kipefa is among the new breed of younger politicians who are finding their way through a maze of political expectations and dependency created over 40 years. On many occasions, he has politely turned down requests for media interviews but has turned to Facebook to post updates of service delivery initiatives in his electorate.

Just days after the Government handed down the 2017 budget, the reality of the future is setting in just as small achievements are made. The budget has predicted tough times ahead despite some projected recovery.

For the district, what will affect them the most is the predicted 6.6 percent inflation and the expected downward slump of the Kina against the US and Australian dollars.

“We will be hard hit by the inflation. The price of fuel will go up. companies will increase airfares.

“We will have a hard time. If the government looks at places accessible only by air,  and if government can subsidize freight costs,  we will be able to complete our projects. ”

According to his estimates, the district spends about half its budget on freight costs alone. That is why local materials and labor are crucial for cost cutting.

“In a plane, we can put only four or five sheets of roofing iron,” Kipefa says. “We can’t load timber. It’s too heavy and too expensive.”

In 2015 and 2016, funding to local level governments were slashed   from K500,000 to K100,000 each.

The inflation predicted in 2017 will not only drive up the cost of goods and services. It will also eat into service delivery funds as more money is spent on transportation and higher payments to suppliers.

Underground guitarist announces ‘HYER’ – a new collaboration project

Guitarist, Adrian Gedisa

An underground guitarist who until recently remained quite outside of the musical limelight has finally announced   to his friends that he is planning to release an important collaboration between him and others like him.

Morobean, Adrian Gedisa, told friends on Facebook, that the upcoming project would be a fusion of rock metal but with a definite appeal to fans of other genre.

Gedisa’s   style has dwelled on speed of execution. His rapid picking and hammer-ons that come with years of practice have become a trade mark of Adrian Gedisa.

Earlier on, Gedisa drew inspiration from guitar guru, John Warbat, who has remained one of the best rock and metal guitarists in Papua New Guinea.

He was also influenced by underground guitarist, Jeffrey Vagalia, who he refers to as his mentor.

“Jeff lived a few streets from where we lived and I learned a lot from him.”

Vagalia, is one of few serious technical guitarists in Papua New Guinea who remain unrecorded.   Both Vagalia and Gedisa, are like many talented Papua New Guinean musicians   who remain outside the music limelight largely because their artistry and expression is not fully appreciated by many outside the circle.

“Music has gone stale,” Gedisa says. “There is no art.”

Gedisa has also been experimenting with symphonic metal popular in Europe and Scandinavian countries. When asked about his dabbling with symphonic metal, he brushes it aside.

“There’s no market for it. Not many people like that kind of music.”

He has played as a session musician for popular artists like Anslom, Justine Wellington and New Caledonian, Kaneka artist, Edou.

Gedisa, began playing as a teenager. But his interest in the guitar stemmed from his primary school days when he performed in school bands.

Those who bought tickets to the Pacific Games in Port Moresby last year will remember, him as the guitarist who performed as a centerpiece during the opening ceremony of the games at the Sir John Guise Stadium.

“Heaven!” he says, as he remembers the moment. “For me it was big. It wasn’t a local gig, the world was watching.”

There is a lot that people don’t know about the underground music scene. Gedisa says, there’s a lot of activity.   “Hyer,” the project he is working on with other like-minded artists is a labor of love and is expected to be released soon.