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

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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

 





Juffa clears the air on the ‘Third Corner’

31 07 2012

Gary Juffa has come out with a statement to clear the air on the supposed 3rd Camp as posted earlier.

In any case, I wouldn’t mind seeing Juffa as my Papua New Guinea’s next Prime Minister. He has what it takes to save this country from certain doom.

On a side note, those two lead figure who orchestrated the whole political crisis not too long ago, making Papua New Guinea the laughing stock of the world by blessing us with the #WhatElseCanPngHaveTwoOf  tag, have now kissed and made up in Alotau, Milne Bay Province. But that is all old news, right?

Anyway, forget them. Here’s what Mr Juffa had to say.

Hi people.

There is so much rumor and rhetoric in the media and here that I believe I would like to substantiate and spell out some facts about my part and role in what is happening in Eastern Highlands.

Firstly, I am NOT part of the Eastern Block. I am here to support my Regional Candidate Sam Sii. I am here with Governor elect for Morobe, Hon. Kelly Naru who is a friend by the way and we embrace certain values and principals much of which the members here do as well.

We are also collectively concerned about certain national issues such as the granting of citizenship to

  • Djoko Tjandra
  • and in my specific case the Naima Rice Monopoly Project
  • and the Seabed Mining Project and
  • such other issues which we here have spoken about and are concerned about.

I am NOT forming a group as an alternative government and I am not lobbying for the PM’s job I am just speaking to like minded elected leaders and discussing how best to approach our common concerns and how best we can represent our people in our electorates, our province and our country.

I am NOT with John Kerenga GUL and with due respect to him and his group, have my own stance that I will take into parliament and again, I do not intend to deviate form what I believe in and have spoken against here or anywhere.Gary Juffa ~ Oro Province Governor-elect*

*source: http://www.facebook.com/groups/Sharptalk




Camp Juffa: The Third Corner

30 07 2012

With August 1 announced as the official date of the Return of Writs by the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen (who I think should be given the sack anyway), power play heats up for government formation as we see all of them old dogs, Somare included, team up with O’Neil as a formidable force and the most likely camp to be invited by the Governor General to form the next government.

On the other hand, Belden Namah, brash as ever, stands undeterred he will be the next PM. Comments on the ground and on social media as well as from the news reflect the general concession that in PNG politics, anything goes. It goes without saying that a ‘tactician’ such as Namah still has a few tricks up his sleeves.

But that is not the reason for this post. Papua New Guinea has had it with the two lots of groupings – or blocs as they’d rather be known; and with all the shades they come in (shady indeed!).

The gist of this post, however, is the confirmation of a rumoured third camp as mentioned in today’s Post Courier (30/7/2012) on page 6. The third camp is reported to be in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province. It is being led by two fresh faces in PNG politics. Oro Governor elect, Gary Juffa, and lawyer/philanthropist, now Morobe Regional MP Kelly Naru.

Here now is a chance for all newly elected members to put their money where their mouth is and start over on a clean slate. To stand up for better change and to lead this country forward with a fresh faced government devoid of the miasma of corruption and all the trappings of PNG politics.

In my personal opinion, it would be the sensible thing to do and the best decision for this nation, if we could have all the Independent MPs and other smaller political parties to consider siding with this camp. I chance upon this opportunity to call out to the likes of Loujaiya Toni, member elect for Lae, to consider this as well.

Without further ado, here is a statement by the newly elected Governor for Oro Province, commenting on the establishment of the third camp – Camp Juffa.

“Let me say that we in Goroka are discussing how best we can serve the people of PNG, to represent them and not abandon them and their dreams and hopes, to fight for them and to ask the pertinent and controversial questions that the people of PNG are anxious for answers to…such issues that I personally am concerned about are need answers such as the granting of citizenship to a international criminal fugitive (PALA), the plans to monopolize rice commercialization for a Chinese – Indonesian Company only (TEMU), to demand that actual and thorough investigations be conducted into the controversial issues that have cost the nation and indeed the people substantial amounts of money, the ridiculous taxation regime that does not favour PNG and Papua New Guineans, to demand that the restricted business list be re introduced, to demand that our energy resources be developed in a more PNG profitable manner, that trade agreements and foreign policy be thoroughly negotiated for a win-win position for PNG, that unlawful foreign business practice be immediately be addressed and the culprits dealt with severely, that law enforcement agencies be better equipped and trained to protect PNG interests, that our procurement and tenders process which is saturated with corruption and facilitates fraud be structured to ensure quality goods and services for the price we pay…the list is quite long but I feel that this is because for too long, leaders have danced around these issues or ignored them or swept them under the carpet for their own convenience, because they do not wish to upset the applecart and because many have compromised themselves…I fear I will make many enemies in parliament but many friends throughout my country…I cannot wait to get into parliament….God bless PNG, I, would die for you..”

Gary Juffa – Oro Province Governor elect

 

Awara Sena~





Gonol’s cringe-inducing policy statement

21 06 2012

This letter serves as a reader’s feedback on a full page advertorial which appeared on page 56 of The National on Monday, 18 June 2012, by Mr ‘Lawyer’ David Gonol.

With all due respect to Mr Gonol, I must say that write up alone has left me questioning his viability as a potential Governor of Western Highlands Province; or as he so arrogantly puts it, “the Governor in waiting”.

Given his profession and the office that he is running for, I expected an article that was intellectually scrupulous as well as grammatically refined. For a ‘policy statement’ – if it can be titled as such at all – it failed on both these fronts and instead, left me cringing right from the opening line all the way to the part where “The plant and animal kingdoms [sic] of Tambul/Nebilyer, Mul/Baiyer, Dei Council and Hagen Central” decided to join the party.

If Mr Gonol is reading this, then I suggest he fire his publicist for doing him the disservice of dressing him in a court jester’s garb with this sad case of a media release. After that he can go ahead and fire himself for even sanctioning such a write up to see the light of day in the first place.

This has certainly raised the bar of corny drivel to the next level and has debased our collective intelligence, allowing them to further condescend to us.

Grow up already, PNG.

Danny Gonnol's scanned media release

Danny Gonnol’s scanned media release. (Click to enlarge).





Seriously EMTV: Can we get any lamer-er?

21 05 2012

The following comment was picked up from Facebook, and sad to say but I’m not surprised at all.

EMTV once again takes the honours for being a DUD for a TV station.

EMTV ELECTION FOCUS*

EMTV(John Eggins’) interview of PO (Peter O’Neil) last-night was a big let down. I expected tough questions from Eggins but instead got such a soft kiss-a$& interview. The background video conveniently skipped the NPF chapter of PO’s life, and Eggins never asked about the controversial laws made by the ONape Parliament, nor his method of gaining power.

Looks like we can expect same treatment of all other Interviews in the Election Focus series.

Sigh…

Oh how I long for gutsy journalism….”

by Tokaut Tokstret

 

… yeah and give me QUALITY!

 

  • * EMTV ELECTION FOCUS is one of this TV station’s lame concoction to cash in on the election fever.
  • Give me #QandA any day and I promise you  I’ll shut up. I swear.

 





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.
Image
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
Image
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.







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