The curse of money politics in PNG

20 06 2014

The previous post generated a lot of comments at the original site at which it was posted. One of them touched on a key factor of politics in PNG. Money.

That response comment to Vergil Narokobi’s post has been re-posted verbatim below for the benefit of the non-FB readership.


succinctly put…; although one must clearly guard against mischievous, opportunistic or politicised actions against the government of the day from within the police or any other institution, clearly the rules need to be universal, whatever one’s position. So it it critical that mechanisms are not abused to circumvent due process. But this does bring one back to the question of how government’s are formed in PNG and how majorities are gained and retained. Unfortunately, with little or no ideological basis for parties (as in Australia and most places) PNG has ended up with government by dint of personality, but increasingly the use of money. Would an inspiring leader like Nelson Mandela have been able to become PM in PNG if he was to remain honest and not participate in pork barrel or money politics, or would he have just been sidelined by the man with access to logging money? And let’s face it this case is partly about that…the assumption is that public funds were laundered through a law firm’s accounts to be able to be used by a party for gaining office for funding campaigns and winning over other parties and independents…and if that was the assumption, what were the other parties and leaders doing? similar sorts of things, using SABLs and other land allocations, logging permits, DSIP funds, RESE funds, fish or petroleum licenses, exclusive rice concessions, citizenship awards, construction or commercial contracts, trust funds etc… So if this scenario has some truth, the question is, how does one halt it, and halt it across the board, so that no party or group is left with a special advantage, with exclusive access to public or other improperly-gained funds, leaving the others high and dry? how does one rid elections and post election formation of government of the current money element (from vote buy, to rigging electoral lists, to buying parties and members etc)? Many politicians would prefer that, but feel dragged into the current corrupt practices as the only way to play the game…these are some of the challenges, and it requires active involvement by the parties themselves, think tanks etc but also the wider public to help find the solutions, as clearly the voters are widely accepting and even demanding electoral bribes (in cash or kind)…

By Paul Barker


Why the Prime Minister has to step down

20 06 2014

I cannot remember the last time I was here.  It was certainly a long while back as I see the shelves here have been collecting dust.  There were a few factors that led to this rather lengthy hiatus, but let’s not get into that now.

I am here simply to re-post verbatim a commentary that I came across on Facebook for the benefit of the portion of readership out there who may not subscribe to this social media.

In any case, I feel that this man has pretty much summed up and articulated what most likely must be running through people’s mind as they try to make sense of the latest developments in Papua New Guinea’s rather vibrant national political stage.

“Its time for Papua New Guineans to call an ace an ace and a spade a spade!

The call for the resignation by the Prime Minister is a political question, not so much a legal question. The Prime Minister, like any body who goes through the criminal justice system is innocent until proven guilty. Here are some matters the Prime Minister should consider when making that decision.

Kua was Somare’s lawyer in the misconduct allegations against Somare. They went through the judicial process to challenge the OC. They failed. But they fronted up at the Leadership Tribunal, went through the process, found guilty by the Tribunal, paid the fine and life goes on. Skate resigned as Prime Minister paving the way for Sir Mekere to come in an atmosphere of serious allegations leveled against him. Julius Chan resigned when public opinion against him was overwhelming in the Sandline Affair. We hold public office as custodians for the people. If they are wrong in their convictions, they stand to suffer. That is the nature of our democracy. We have nothing to lose. Its their office.

There are important national matters that the Prime Minister must attend to. There are roads to be built, hospitals to maintain, doctors to be trained, borders to be protected, investors to meet and the list goes on. If one is busy fighting a criminal matter, looking over one’s shoulder when the next counter move will be made, attending a Commission of Inquiry, sacking “disobedient” ministers and servants of the state, how can one give their 100% level best to serve the interest of the country? One’s time and attention is divided. One cannot serve two masters. “To be or not to be, that is the question”.

Whilst one serve office, they enjoy the confidence of the people. If that confidence is no longer apparent in one’s leadership, and we are a democracy, it is an irreconcilable position to be in and one must do the honourable thing and resign. A leaf should be taken out of the dissenting opinion of the member of Leadership Tribunal Sir Robin Auld in the Somare Leadership Tribunal who thought that Somare should be dismissed from office. He said, “what would the reasonable person at Gordon’s market think about it?” What would the ordinary Papua New Guinean think the Prime Minister should do under the present circumstances?

When the Prime Minister relies on his privilege as a Member of Parliament to avoid a warrant of arrest, it raises the question whether one is using his office for personal gain and therefore misconduct in office under s 27 of the Constitution. Does an ordinary Papua New Guinean have that privilege when they are called into question by the police? When a Commission of Inquiry is set up to exonerate one from a criminal allegation, when the same question can be raised in one’s defence before a court of law, it raises the question of whether the Prime Minister is using his office for personal gain and therefore misconduct in office. How many ordinary Papua New Guineans can set up a Commission of Inquiry when they are called into question by the police. When a Minister of State is decommissioned for dubious reasons, which a reasonable person can infer for not giving concurring advice to avert investigation and arrest, that raises the question of whether one is using one’s office for personal gain and therefore misconduct in office. When a career serving police officer is sidelined for purportedly ordering the arrest of a Police Commissioner whose decisions have been in one’s interest, that raises the question of possible misconduct in office. Again the same can be said for Task Force Sweep.

Task Force is an administrative arrangement. It is not a statutory body. When the Opposition called for its disbanding, it was ignored. There would have been good legal grounds to disband it. Now that the subject of the investigation is the Prime Minister, it is dismantled. Is that a case of using public office for personal gain? Paul Tienstein obviously would say yes despite his desperate plea that it was “politically motivated”.

How many inmates in Bomana would also like to have a Commission of Inquiry into their conviction on the basis of that they were wrongfully convicted. A life is a life, no matter who you are. It is a wrong signal to the people of Papua New Guinea that there are two sets of laws.

There are national security issues at stake here. The longer the matter pro-longs the potential for widespread discontent arises. Stand-off between and among the disciplined officers is a serious threat. Investor confidence will be impaired and the gains from LNG will be lost over night. Its time to make the hard decision for the national interest.

There appears to be another potential stand-off between the executive and the judiciary. The same question on the legality of the payments to Paraka Lawyers is being determined by the court in his criminal matter. The same question will confront the Prime Minister if he is charged. By setting up a Commission of Inquiry, a quasi-judicial body will deal with the same question. It is questioning the independence of the judiciary. This is not in the national interest.

If the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea has no faith in the police and the judiciary to determine the truth of the allegations against him, his own people, but choosing instead to rely on a Commission of Inquiry headed by an Australian, are we than a failed state? As the Opposition Leader said, “Prime Minister you are the first man in Papua New Guinea”. If you don’t believe in me, who else will?

The reason I have made this decision to make this call, is that Sam Koim an ordinary Papua New Guinean has put his hand up for Papua New Guinea, and I would be ashamed to call myself a Papua New Guinean if I did not honour his courage by having something to say. His involvement in the investigation suggests to me that there is no “political motivation”. After all he was appointed by the Prime Minister and has nothing to gain or lose except his reputation.”

by Vergil Narokobi


The Faceless Machine of Corporate Greed

20 05 2012
Haus Bilong Spaida by Caleb Hamm

The Spaida by Caleb Hamm

A poignant rendition of the story of today’s Papua New Guinea by Caleb Hamm. This extraordinary art by Caleb says a lot if you look into the details of this piece.

I’ll let Caleb himself say bits of it in words as posted on his FB page.

Haus Bilong Spaida

By Caleb Hamm

We see the alienation of people that is the result of the present machine orientated economy.
We see true social security and the people’s happiness being diminished in the name of economic progress.
We caution therefore that large scale industries should only be pursued after careful and thorough consideration of the likely consequences upon the spiritual and social fabric of our people.
There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that a significant number of people who live by the fruits of multi million dollar multi-national corporations live in misery, loneliness and spiritual poverty.
We believe that since we are a rural people, our strength should be essentially in the land and in the use of our innate artistic talents.
– Actual deliberations quoted from Papua New Guinea’s Constitutional Planning Committee in 1975. The year of Independence.
Gargantuan proportions of Palm oil plantations fill PNG’s countryside where once stood one of the world’s last frontiers. Unsustainable monocultures now cover the logged hills and valleys. 24 % of PNG’s rainforest has been logged in the last 30 years and the hungry rate continues to threaten an irreplaceable and unique ecosystem. black river represents the massive Ok Tedi disaster where barrels of poisonous waste were spilled down the Fly River from the infamous Ok Tedi mine.
Illegal land grabs are not unknown to the rural people of PNG, but the recent Paga Hill incident topped them all. On Saturday, May 12, a historic district in PNG’s capital witnessed bulldozers pushing over 20 houses while police kept the home owners at bay. What was supposed to be a planned out eviction swiftly became a heartless and cruel demolition in this shady, allegedly illegal, urban land grab. I copied Paga Hill Estate’s proposed hotel building design which overshadows a bulldozer ploughing down a heap of cultural icons mixed with housing materials. Clearing a path for the limousine of modern colonialism.
Ramu Nico, LNG PNG all represented by this web of oil pipelines and giant tank supplying the greedy spaida. Several rivers are currently dumping mine waste into the Bismark Sea and Huon Gulf. Yellow waters, dead fish and new bans on selling fish and produce in the market all affect those living in the area. How long do they have before there is no reef, no fish, or drinking water. Cyanide traces are now frequently being found in many rivers in PNG.

The never ending story of Post Courier’s stuff ups

9 02 2012

David Williams highlights yet another stuff up at Post Courier

David Williams comments come in light of this news piece from Post Courier, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp.

How much further can we continue to get such sub-standard news service from Papua New Guinea’s oldest and at one time, one of the most respected newspaper in the country.

I cannot go for the competition either because  The National  is owned by Rumbinan Hijau, that Malaysian logging giant that continues to rape and pillage Papua New Guinea.  As a result, the only reliable source of news source for me is the RADIO and INTERNET.

Its time Post Courier get its act together.

*Transcript of David William’s comments

Can someone please explain to the morons at the Post Courier that the “Republic of Korea” is NOT North Korea … colloquially it is referred to as SOUTH KOREA!!
What we know as ‘North Korea” is offically the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) …
I am sure that Whie-jin Lee, the SOUTH Korean representative must be deeply embarrassed to see his country miss-named in today’s Guria … ” ~ David Williams.

One falcon, 7 points of order, 8 passengers and many questions later

9 01 2012

The “High drama in Indonesian airspace involving the PNG Falcon jet” which took place over more than a month ago – back in 2011, has been been made public only last week.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Belden Namah, in typical  knee-jerk fashion common to PNG politicians, released a media statement on this issue, only after it was brought to the attention of the people via the front page story of The National (6/01/12).

But Mr Namah’s official statement on this incident has left me with more questions than answers.

For instance…

  1. Why has Mr Namah been silent on this matter until it had surfaced on the papers for him to come out?
  2. What was the purpose of this power meeting over in Malaysia that required 3 senior MPs to travel there?
  3. Why was the police minister part of this troupe? Was it to go over the “security detail” for the oil palm plantations like how Rumbinan Hijau (RH) pays for members of the Royal Police Constabulary to beat the hell out of fellow Papua New Guineans?
  4. Why were those “oil palm investors” flown here on the Falcon jet? Seems reminiscent of the Somare regime.
    – The idea of flying “investors” to and from PNG with the Falcon is becoming rather too ‘crowded’, don’t you think? Should PNG start getting ready to fork out more for a bigger jet soon if we are going to consider all the investors lining up for a free flight at tax payers’ expense?
  5.  Would the oil palm investors from Malaysia be related to RH in any way?
    – Hang on. If that were the case, I doubt it would be brought to light by The National newspaper.
    – Which then begs the question as to who the Indonesian journalist is and which media outlet he/she is attached with? (This is something for The National newspaper to reply to).
    – Would it be a competitor of RH then? Questions, questions and more questions…. let’s move on.
  6. In his statement, Mr Namah further asks us to ponder on the possible outcome of such an event if it happened to countries like “… Australia, New Zealand, America or China for that matter and it was carrying their Deputy Prime Ministers or the Vice Presidents…”
    – Well for starters, would they have waited 1 month until after a newspaper report to cry foul?
    – Perhaps we would better understand how they (“Australia, New Zealand, America or China“) would react if they were faced with such a crisis situation by first finding the answers to the first three points above.
  7. Namah goes on further to ask us to “Imagine carrying such a large amount of money on the small Falcon Jet”
    – Well I have never held a million in my hands to help me to “imagine” US$250 million. In any case, one could have just as easily have US$250m in bonds, I’m sure.
    – But then again, I’ll have to tag this point under the #JustSaying category. I may be accused here of speculating but I am only working on the premise of his “OK” to speculate on this incident by the line “I leave that for you to conclude.” (B.Namah).
    – And of course. I’m testing the waters of freedom of expression here to see if it can stay its course and hold ground.

Finally, it is in this kind of test that the nations must stand united forgetting their differences and upholding their pledge to their motherland. Papua New Guineans MUST now learn to be NATIONALISTIC AND PATRIOTIC. WE MUST PROTECT OUR SOVEREINGNITY. [sic]” – Belden Namah

Namah’s closing remarks as quoted above sits smugly with the rest of the statement like an unwiped ass on a hot Moresby day. It seems almost disjointed –  incongruent even, from the rest of his statement. Perhaps it is the soldier in him trying to relive his glory days of rousing soldiers into action, but it falls short of hitting the target; like a punch line to a lame joke that never quite makes it. It is of course his rally call to get the Opposition MP’s to set aside their political differences, and to get the public support behind him in his pursuit to seek some redress from international bodies on this matter.

However, with no disrespect to him, I have to say that this has to be one of the most pathetically shallow attempts at inciting patriotic pride, if that was the intent.  The obvious lack of detailed information on this matter, as highlighted by the seven points raised above, hang like a rainy day on a picnic. It fails to build up the crescendo it deserves, in order to make that final “call to arms” –  if I may dare to call it that. In fact it falls in a heap of clichés.

One would have thought Mr Namah would have by now known better than to be hasty with his words (yea, he of the claims to “damning evidence” against the Chief Justice Injia, if one cares to recall). In fact, it is of paramount importance that any man or woman who has reached such a level of the political ladder as Mr Namah needs to be extra sensitive in their choice of words, especially now more than ever.

This is not me being unpatriotic. This is me being a realistic patriot. This is me speaking up and speaking out, asking the niggling questions that are in all thinking Papua New Guineans’ minds. This is me trying to make sound and informed judgement after understanding the underlying details surrounding this incident in order to avoid dancing to conjecture, recycled lyrics, question marks and bull shit.

This is me asking why we have to “learn to be NATIONALISTIC AND PATRIOTIC” now, when numerous calls to look into cases of border incursions previously have received very minimal attention. This is me asking why we have to “learn to be NATIONALISTIC AND PATRIOTIC” now, when we could have been so back in November 29, 2011.

This is me saying you need to protect the spelling of your “SOVEREINGNITY” so then perhaps we can really start protecting our SOVEREIGNTY.

The moral of the story is that Mr Namah needs a new speech writer to cover his tracks better.

Shots fired at Govt house as O’Neil & Somare tussle for power

12 12 2011

This just came in from a Graham Robinson

“At exactly 9:17 pm tonight Hon. Peter O’Neill and contingent walked straight up to Fred Yakasa and his fully armed men and kindly asked them to step aside. Fred Yakasa was adamant in not allowing them however, a little push from the back with people asking Fred Yakasa and his men to step aside; “oi step aside PM ya” I was standing with a Post Courier camera man and a female reporter where I recognized the armed robbery police vehicles (Fred Yakasa’s unit)
I then cautioned the two media personnel to step back. The push from the back of the pack had a momentous effect on the PM eventually persuading Fred Yakasa to step aside and the Hon. Peter O’Neill walked straight up to Government house.
Immediately followed disgruntled police men I suppose, those supporting Fred Yakasa started shouting, “we are here to defend the constitution and you don’t respect it then yumi lusim na go….gun shots followed suit and everyone of us not in police uniform scrambled for cover….Whilst gun shots were fired Hon.Peter O’Neill was well on his way up to government house…the entire ordeal ended about 9:35 pm when the first of the armed robbery vehicles drove out followed by others…”

This does not look good at all.

Its all in the Timing: Bench warrants out for DPM & A-G

12 11 2011

It seems only the Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and the Attorney General, Dr. Alan Marat are the only ones who have been issued a warrant and not the Prime Minister as earlier stated.

AG Dr. Allan Marat

But then this begs the question as to why that is so when the Prime Minister was fully aware of the move to sack the Chief Justice and had endorsed the NEC decision, as Ben Micah the government Chief of Staff was reported to have said.

This is just one of the many questions and blind spots in this ongoing saga that holds me back from making speculations as yet. But there are a few oddities that baffles me still, the most notable one being timing.

The timing of this move has not been given enough critical thought. PNG is just reeling from a major upheaval in the country’s major port city of Lae. Things may have simmered down but that in no way means the problem has gone away.

There is also the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into the Special Purpose Agricultural Business Lease which has revealed some very controversial and damning findings – the forgery of signatures amongst some of the rots in this issue. (Meanwhile it was sighted in The National that rival newspaper, Post Courier was served Defamation charges but fuck Rumbinan Hijau and its PR Machine! That is fodder for other tales some other time).

Crucial also is the referral of the O’Neil-Namah government by the East Sepik Provincial Government to the Supreme Court on the legality of this government. The court decision was supposed to have been handed down on December 9th but as of yesterday, word is out that decision on the referral will be brought forward.

Let us not forget the nation goes to the polls in only a few months from now.

These are just some of the key issues facing the country that needs immediate and decisive action. And by “decisive”, I mean an immediate and carefully calculated approach in handling and diffusing such crisis situations. A response that is overdue by a couple of days or even 3 is certainly NOT ‘decisive’!

The Opposition in the meantime, has maintained the stance of the spoilt brat from the moment they had been blind sided, not providing an effective opposition. But then again, what more WERE they going to offer anyway? Fuckin dickwobs.

What I am saying is that those MEN(!) we put in there to think, talk and stand up for us are busy playing football and marbles in there that half my tax Kina is spent on tribunals, court cases and commission of fucking inquiries that do shit all anyway. If not any of these then it – my tax money – ends up as another of our many band-aid solutions, some lousy cheque presentations and money waving banquets (tut-tut) or some extravagant ‘fact-finding’ trips to Abu Dhabi even .

Now look what they have made me do? I should be at a book-swap talking books right now and even collecting school books for children in remote Oro and here I am bitch-blogging.



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