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.
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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.http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0222-png.html#The 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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ok_Tedi_environmental_disaster
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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.http://namorong.blogspot.ca/2012/05/smelly-beast-thats-paga-hill.html
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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.




A snapshot of PNG in Gordon’s Market

6 05 2012

This brilliant post by Gary Juffa succinctly puts into perspective the order of the day at Gordon’s Market.

By Gary Juffa

I spent an hour at Gorden’s Market today, a burning hot April Saturday, in Port Moresby, National Capital District. I parked right opposite the Gorden’s Police Stations and waited for a friend, around midday. As is usual with appointments in Papua New Guinea, one must be prepared to wait anywhere between 10 minutes and an entire hour. It was an hour I spent fascinated.

The population of people walking, talking and carrying on in the humid, steaming, muddy and filthy so called market were captivating. Teeming with energy and abuzz with all manner of activity, there were traders and vendors, hawkers and street sellers, betel nut connoisseurs and buyers. Scam artists and con artists and petty criminals also were active and everyone was a potential victim. A boom box belts out loud noise. There was no sign of authority of any sort. The order was disorder.

The filth of Gordons Market

This is dry filth of Gordon’s Market on a better day. Photo by Malum Nalu

Across the road, a Chinese store thrived with people streaming in and out like ants to and from a nest walking in empty handed and carrying out all manner of goods or, more correctly, junk for resale. Business is booming for the Chinese traders thanks to increased liberalization of trade, relaxing of regulatory laws to protect consumers and the introduction of an unregulated, unpoliced informal sector. The sector was supposedly intended to benefit Papua New Guineans involved in the cottage industry, selling their handicraft, arts and incubating their small entrepreneurial efforts. But the real winners are the mainland Chinese traders who import container loads of cheap household products from numerous factories proliferating throughout mainland China to resale in developing nations such as Papua New Guinea.

In Papua New Guinea, the Chinese traders target settlements and rural townships stretching their tentacles throughout the length and breadth of this Pacific island economy like a giant octopus leech sucking everything and anything out and transmitting the profits offshore to fund investments in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Other octopi are busy throughout the region and indeed the world as China shifts into gear in its drive for world dominance. They are taking advantage of a weakening West which is in pivotal transition, changing from a defined set of geographic nations to becoming a globalized Corporatedom, the new Manor of the rich, overseeing a global population of serfs.

Back in Gordon’s Market, raw sewerage and waste stream through the market in drains carrying dirty used plastic bags, and writhing naked playing children happily splashing under the baking Port Moresby sun as parents wearily gamble, play cards and turn their heads occasionally to scream at their offspring or to spit streaming betelnut juice anywhere, everywhere. A drunkard stumbles through the market, miraculously weaving his way through the human traffic, a beer bottle lovingly cradled against his bare bony chest, inch long globules of mucous and blood trailing off his moustache, humming Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road. Swarms of flies and other insects form small clouds around a dead dog recently run over by a Public Motor Vehicle in the middle of the main street, its putrid juices running off towards the drain. A man lies, in a drunken stupor, snoring under a rain tree, devoid of his shoes, belt, all clothes accept his dirty, ragged jeans. Bored betelnut vendors play games on their mobile phones and bicker with each other.

My appointment arrives. He is sweating and is sucking on an iceblock. I open they car door and he climbs in. “Yesterday I was here buying some stuff. I went to the phone booth at the Police Station and called you to make today’s appointment. After that I went into the Police Station to see an uncle of mine. He was not there. There was no one at the station. Not a single person was there when I went in, except some small guy reporting a crime apparently an armed robbery of his tucker box at Erima. I was bored so I decided to watch what was happening. He was furious this small guy. Swearing and sweating. Finally someone came. I had to look carefully to realize it was a Policeman, he was so scruffy. The complainant approached him but he said he was busy and said he had to drop off his wife and told him to wait. He waited. I waited. The small guy told me that this morning when he opened his tucker box, a man pointed a shotgun at him and took all his money. Money he had been saving up to send his son attending University of Technology in Lae for his ticket to come home for holidays. He said he didn’t want to give the money but another man punched him in the face and placed a knife under his chin and he thought of his children and wife and gave in and gave his money. Finally a police car came in. The man approached the Policeman and told him about his problem. The Policeman said the car had no fuel. Was he prepared to buy fuel? He said to the Policeman “It’s your job!” The Policeman warned him not to tell him what to do, that the government does not give the station enough to buy fuel or even paper to record complaints and went in with some of his wantoks following him into the Station. The man was so upset and said he knew who did it and would find him and kill him himself and walked out. No one heard him from the Police Station. No one cared.”

We drove out of Gordon’s Market into the main road to turn towards the Stadium. The road was crawling with cars of all types, mainly dilapidated PMV buses and taxis and used cars from Japan. It seems everyone from betelnut seller to babysitters have cars in Port Moresby. The city, built to cater for a population of less than 100,000 but accommodating somewhere in the vicinity of 600,000, is reeling from population growth caused by urban drift and growing squatter settlements, lack of family planning and people flowing into the capital searching for better services or just curious about the bright lights and what it has to offer.

After almost an hour in traffic and several near death accidents thanks to the city’s infamous taxi drivers, we made it to Koke Market towards town. At the main crossing, a CRV Honda, the carjackers preferred vehicle, was being held up and three youths with knives and a screwdriver had somehow stopped the female driver and her passenger and were attempting a carjacking, menacing the driver and trying to open the doors. I stopped my car behind her and my friend and I prepared to help, other vehicles too stopped and the youths saw us and suddenly stopped and casually walked off. Too hard, car was locked, too many motorists, some of them armed. People outside n the market watched but no one did anything. The youths merely walked over to a betelnut stand, grabbed some nuts and turned around to observe. The distraught woman drove off hurriedly. Fortunately she had her car doors locked, but her courtesy to give way at a pedestrian crossing almost ending badly for her.

I came to see Gordon’s market as symbolic of PNG politics – the filth, the chaos, the lack of order, the dirty and the erratic manner in which the actors behave reflects the nation’s state of politics. Gordon’s market is merely another example of what is happening throughout the entire nation where entire townships, urban and rural, villages and communities, are crumbling and decaying rapidly. The Gordon’s Police Station is symbolic of the public service which no longer cares and which is indifferent and poorly equipped or resourced to serve the people.
While politicians purchase properties offshore and invest the nation’s wealth in foreign economies, Papua New Guinea crumbles into a state of anarchy, its people making do with what little they can, their values and morals diminishing with each regressive step, their ability to care and act for one another reduced to crude tactics for survival with the ever increasing lawlessness.

Gordon’s Market offers a snapshot of Papua New Guinea in motion. Take a trip to Gordon’s Market, park in front of the Police Station for an hour and take a look into our bleak future.





Supreme Court To Miners : Here #PNG is Yours

24 12 2011

by Bismarck Ramu Group

The Supreme Court today, in a decision that surprised no one, have given the mining industry carte blanche to do what they like in PNG. Dig where you like, use whatever chemicals you like, dump as much as you want anywhere – it’s yours boys. That in essence is what the court decision is saying as they have allowed the Chinese government owned Ramu Nickel Mine to begin dumping in the waters of Madang.

In a 2-1 decision with Justice Davani dissenting with her two male colleagues Justices Hartshorn and Sawong came down on the side on social and environmental destruction. No surprise from Hartshorn – a former employee of the mining industry and is very proud of it. Sawong perhaps the most knowledgeable of the law of all the judges however should really be ashamed. To say the landowners didn’t prove nuisance is ridiculous. In a 64 page decison by Judge Cannings in the National Court 60 pages supported the landowners case. Cannings laid it all out in an obvious attempt to allow the Supreme Court to the make judgement. And they have.

And so there you have it. The Supreme Court gives the miners PNG and the people and environment suffer. As to future generations – who cares? In less that[sic] a week the PNG government gives OTML an award as good corporate citizens after having caused one of the worst environmental disasters on the planet – and having learned nothing from this or not really caring Sawong sides with Hartshorn – and says take the country boys.

And so what is left to do? Well Mr. O’Neill and Mr. Namah there is one thing you can do. What about it? You two know where the judicial system is at. After all the drama the last two weeks – let’s see the Parliament flex its authority.

source: Bismarck Ramu Group





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.

:/

…ero





More revelations of fraudulent land acquisition

19 04 2011

Given below is an exact transcript of a report received late yesterday about more fraudulent acquisition of customary land from indigenous land owners through the lease lease-back scheme known as the Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL).

Outside the hausman at the meeting between the Bosmun & Taringe tribes Photo: Source Suplied

The people of the Bosmun and Taringe tribes in Bogia District of Madang Province want to know how the portion of Land from Taringe to Annaberg was taken by the government, and is now in the National Gazette.
All their Elders gathered at the ‘hausman’ in Bosmun and found that that total land area was leased for the so called ‘Special Agriculture Business Leases’ (SABLs)!
 
They say no one government official has visited them to discuss and get their consent as they are the Land OWNERS, and say THEY WOULD NEVER HAVE GIVEN AWAY THAT MUCH LAND AREA THAT COVERS 2 WHOLE VILLAGES!
 
They want immediate answers from the government and have petitioned their MP John Hickey and the Lands Department.
 
Hickey has signed their petition as of 5pm yesterday afternoon (18/04/2011), and has vowed to do all he can in his power on this starting today (19/04/2011).

This is getting out of hand simply because of somebody’s insatiable greed.

~ero~





Ramu nickel case is back

15 04 2011

The Ramu nickel case returns to court today, 15 April 2011.

The landowners of Madang have taken out this court case seeking a permanent injunction against the Ramu nickel mine from dumping toxic mine waste into the sea.

It is expected today that the judge will set the date when the final decision will be handed down.

In the meantime, there is a temporary injunction in place preventing the mine to do any further dumping during the course of this trial.

The Ramu nickel mine is a joint venture operation between the Chinese state owned Metallurgical Chinese Corporation and the Australian mining firm Highlands Pacific. The irony in it is that this practise of waste dumping into the sea is banned in both China and Australia.

We are praying that the truth prevails and the people come out the winner for the sake of this country and its future.

~ero~





UPROOTED – A documentary on land alienation in PNG by mining insterests

11 04 2011

by Scott Waide

“Uprooted” is a story of four communities in Papua New Guinea’s Madang province who have been affected in various ways by a Chinese state owned  nickel mine. Narrated entirely by landowners, it shows the pain and fear of losing their land to large scale development.

It also highlights the concern on the Deep Sea Tailings placement (DSTP) being the preferred method of waste disposal that this mine is looking at employing and is currently the subject of a lawsuit.

Dur: 21 minutes
Producer: Scott Waide









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