Social Concerns Notes – November 2014
A way forward for peace in Bougainville
Post Courier October 30, 2014
An agreement was signed between the Panguna Peace Building Strategy (PPBS) and the Siwai District Peace & Security Committee enabling the two parties to work together to address outstanding reconciliations in the district.
The Siwai Crisis was one of the major local civil wars during the 10 year Bougainville conflict during which some prominent Siwai leaders were apprehended in Siwai and alleged to have been killed and buried in and around Panguna – these persons are technically still referred to as “missing persons” until such time their whereabouts is investigated and confirmed. The conclusion remarks were made by the two parties of the Nomaingu as a call to the responsible bodies to resolve the pending case of the Late Anthony Anugu. PPBS manage Cyril Tavore told all those who participated that the way forward for the peace process to continue is by all to work together, put aside the differences that people have and not to conform to the past but to move on by working together.
Dame Carol Kidu on why things are getting tougher for PNG’s women
By Carol Kidu and Ashlee Betteridge on October 29, 2014 http://devpolicy.org/dame-carol-kidu-on-why-things-are-getting-tougher-for-pngs-women-20141029/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=e6dfa31b5a-Devpolicy_News__Oct_31_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-e6dfa31b5a-227683090
Dame Carol Kidu is a tireless campaigner for the rights of women and girls in Papua New Guinea. A former PNG Member of Parliament and Minister for Community Development, Dame Kidu was the sole female representative in the PNG Parliament for a decade before her retirement in 2012, after a political career of 15 years. I spoke to her on the sidelines of her recent visit to Canberra for the Australian launch of the new World Bank report Voice and agency: empowering women and girls for shared prosperity. You can listen to a full podcast of the launch event, including Dame Kidu’s remarks, here.
Ashlee: I thought I would just start with a really broad question. What do you think the biggest challenges are for women and girls in PNG right now?
Dame Kidu: I think the challenge for the nation to do with girls is to ensure that women and girls are educated and have access to learning. And I’m not necessarily talking about the formal education system. Although there is now free education, many people have never been in the formal system and so remain excluded. I think we should have our across-the-board policy as access to learning for everybody, and move forth from there. Informal and flexible learning opportunities need to be available to promote lifelong learning and to develop a knowledge based society – both traditional knowledge and skills as well as introduced knowledge and skills. For girls and women, [the biggest challenge] is probably defining their space in a rapidly changing society because change can be confusing, frightening and even abusive.
For rest of long interview see the url above.
What has happened to Papua New Guinea’s Sovereign Wealth Fund?
By David Osborne on October 28, 2014 http://devpolicy.org/what-has-happened-to-papua-new-guineas-sovereign-wealth-fund-20141028/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=e6dfa31b5a-Devpolicy_News__Oct_31_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-e6dfa31b5a-227683090
Since 2011 many have expected the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government to create a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) for the management of PNG’s widely anticipated LNG revenues. A requirement to do so was intended by a PNG law certified on 21 March 2012: the Organic Law for establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund. It was designed to ensure that all government revenues from minerals and petroleum passed through a stabilisation fund prior to flowing through to the National Budget in accordance with a specified formula, and that PNG LNG dividends accruing to the PNG Government would be paid into a development fund for PNG’s economic and social development.
PNG started exporting LNG in May 2014 amidst expectations that resulting revenues will greatly benefit PNG. Yet no SWF has been established and its future prospects are currently mired in confusion, including uncertainty around the legal status of the 2012 Organic Law.
For the rest of this long but interesting article, see the url above.
By Nemo Yalo pngblogs.com 2 November
Police Ill-discipline and Lawlessness
The law allows police legitimate use of force under specified circumstances. But think about allegations of policemen slashing off a student’s fingers with bush knife; slashing ankle tendons of multiple civilians; allegation of bashing up an academic and stealing personal belongings; terrorizing a person with canine police dog; chasing a wrong car, firing at and shooting dead an innocent child; allegedly assaulting detectives for doing their work and terrorizing innocent families; beating up suspects in full public view using vehicle fan belts; allegations almost on a daily basis where officers are drunk in uniform and abusing and assaulting members of the public thus acting as the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner at once; and the list goes on… The frequency of these criminal acts seems to be a clear statement of disrespect for their command and the hierarchy daring their superiors to touch them if they are men enough. Perhaps they know their superiors will not hold them to account. Every time the hierarchy announces that it has zero tolerance on such ill-discipline the public is quietly resigned to asking, ‘really’?..... (See url above for full article)
Division in the force is no secret. When and who is going to stop this and unify the force? When will the People see order in the force? Or will there be no order because every officer from top down belongs to a faction? So when one Commissioner is in office it is his faction to rule and this tribal culture continues each time a different Commissioner takes office. The government is losing its legitimacy from the People unless it stops the police lawlessness and the continuous deprivation of civil rights and liberties.
What are Root Causes of Police Ill-discipline? Before readers throw dirt at our police officers one should ask, where the police force once the nation’s pride has gone wrong. What may be the root causes of the breakdown of discipline and lawlessness within the force? Could the Bougainville crisis and the successive governments’ neglect to the necessity to rehabilitate and reintegrate our officers into civilian lives and service be one of the root causes? Police officers from all sections who were trained for civilian service were thrown into a warzone. They all experienced the hostilities and carnage of war and returned battle-hardened to their wives, families and their normal police duties to serve the civilian duties. This writer used to observe the behavior of soldier friends that returned from Bougainville during the crisis. To them their comrades mattered more than anyone. Even to this day they live for each other and they owe their lives to their comrades. One thing bad happens to a member of the unit and it hurts everyone as if they are part of the same human body. The experience may be no different to our police officers. This writer is not aware of any serious government intervention to help rehabilitate and integrate these battle-hardened police officers to perform their civilian duties.
There can be no true democracy when the police force is a serious threat to it. If the police poses such a threat then it is indeed the employer and its political interference and its inaction that is the real threat to our nationhood, the Constitution and our democracy.
Free health care policy likely to worsen situation
Despite Papua New Guinea's economic boom, health clinics are providing fewer services, and there has been a mixed result in the improvement of the country's education.
This was revealed in a report last Thursday. The reported initiated by the National Research Institute and the Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre was the find out the service delivery and reforms in PNG 2002 – 2012. The report stated that in 2012 survey of 142 health centres found clinics were seeing 19 per cent fewer patients and had 10 per cent less medicine available compared with similar research conducted 10 years earlier in 2002.
"The recent decision to abolish health user fees wills likely lead to further deterioration of primary healthcare because user fees were the only source of funds for 29 per cent of health clinics surveyed.
"Now the Government said they're going to subsidize clinics for the removal of user fees but the problem is there's no real mechanism - most of these facilities don't have bank accounts," said Howes.
The report revealed that it paints a bleak picture of the health services available in Papua New Guinea, stating only 20 per cent of clinics had beds with mattresses, about half had year-round access to water, and 75 per cent of health workers said they contributed to the cost of healthcare from their own pocket. Meanwhile researcher believes that "dire state" of Papua New Guinea's primary health system will likely only get worse under the country's free healthcare policy, as many clinics do not receive government subsidies and depend entirely on patient fees to survive.
The Rome Synod: A difficult & challenging reflection on the family
Bishop Arnold Orowae
WE spent the first week of the Rome Synod of the Catholic Church (5-19 October) listening to about 260 interventions from cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay people concerning marriage and family life. The problems shared ranged from divorce and remarriage, polygamy, cultural marriages, arranged marriages, forced marriages, indissolubility of the sacrament of marriage, the good and richness of marriage, homosexuality and cohabitation.
All the representatives were given a chance to talk - and Pope Francis encouraged everybody to really speak frankly. A large number of couples and lay people were also invited to participate in the Synod and gave moving life testimonies. It was a good listening experience for us, the Synod Fathers. Pope Francis took part in all the meetings except on Wednesdays when the general audience with pilgrims was scheduled in St Peter’s Square.
In the second week of the Synod, we were put into working groups of 10, divided into four language groups: Italian, French, Spanish and English, and we went through all the topics raised during the previous week. There were quite a lot of expectations from the Synod, partially fuelled by the media.
For some people, the Church was getting too far ahead and abandoning the traditional path on family teachings; for others, the Church appeared to be resisting necessary changes. The secretariat was asked to remind everybody that our meeting was only the first part of a process to be completed with further discussion in the dioceses and another Synod scheduled for 4-25 October 2015. This will provide the Holy Father and the Church in general with more comprehensive and definite suggestions and guidelines.
The Synod was aware of the fact that marriage and family life are going through many difficulties nowadays and face new challenges. There is a need to stay on course with traditional Catholic doctrine on marriage and the family; at the same time we need to attend with tenderness, love and mercy to people who find themselves in a difficult situation with an irregular union or a broken family.
The reports of the working groups were summarised in the 62 paragraphs of the Relatio Synodi (Synod’s Report) and voted one by one by the 183 Synod Fathers in attendance (nine were absent) on 18 October. All paragraphs received at least two-thirds favourable votes except for three dealing with the pastoral care of remarried divorcees and homosexual persons, which received only an absolute majority and will need further discussion. The Relatio Synodi will serve as official working document (Instrument Laboris) for the preparation of the 2015 final Assembly of the Synod on the “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”. I invite everybody in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to pray that the Holy Spirit may guide the Church and her leadership to find ways that will ease tensions and clarify issues. We need to understand how we can best serve, preserve and promote marriage and family life in our time.
Bishop Arnold Orowae DD is President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of PNG and the Solomon Islands
Hey Mr Luck, I do not feel like I am living in a failed state
JACK KLOMES 06 November 2014 http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2014/11/i-do-not-feel-like-i-am-living-in-a-failed-state.html#more
I am a proud young Papua New Guinean, born, bred and educated right here in my country, Papua New Guinea, and I do not feel like I am living in a failed state.
I wake up to the reality every day that more than 80% of my people living in the rural areas are living on their own land, they have food to eat and good water to drink and they are content. I wake up every day and I see this country's flag carrier Air Niugini flying overhead. I see students in uniforms going to school to be taught by PNG teachers. I see banks, hospitals, police vehicles. It reminds me that I still have access to basic government services. Well they may not be the best in the world but they are operational and they meet our needs. We still have a government in place, though it may have failed in many of its obligations to its constituents. But then I still access government basic services that means it's still functioning quite well.
Yes PNG is not a paradise or holy land. We have tribal fights, corruption, police brutality, wife beating and all the juicy stuff that the newspapers like to talk about. But then all countries have challenges and PNG, as a developing country, is no exception! I am thankful that we asked for independence and that it was given to us and we did not have to fight for it. I am thankful that we have our own government and we make our own decisions and that we are responsible for the outcomes.
My country is unique and has its own share of problems like all other countries. But then it is a very difficult country to understand.PNG should not be looked at through a western lens. To understand and appreciate this country you have to think like a Papua New Guinean and act like a real Papua New Guinean.
So please do not call my country a failed state if you have not lived in PNG like a Papua New Guinean. God Bless PNG.
The Archdiocese of Rabaul is still waiting for the nine wards that surround Vunakanau plantation that covers 900 hectares and 25 hectares in reserve land to coordinate better with one voice to enable a land transfer process to begin. Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Rabaul Francisco Panfilo said the Archdiocese does not want to create civil unrest over the land in question.
Panfilo was speaking with an audience yesterday (051114) at his office conference room at Vunapope with representatives of the Vunakanau Plantation Working Committee. The committee chairman Raphael Naivel in their meeting with Panfilo presented four points that seven of the nine wards agreed to at a meeting that was held last week Saturday at the Talakua meeting chamber. Tinganagalip and Vunagogo did not turn up at the last meeting. The people need the land due to overpopulation. They need the land also for service providers which includes the church, schools and ward development committee priorities. And Naivel said they collectively want the old process to continue from previous discussions they had had with now retired Archbishop Karl Hesse.
In response Archbishop Panfilo said he had on several occasions released press releases explaining the Church’s position on the lands they have that Vunakanau is part of. He reiterated that the Church’s position is to dispose of the plantation but it cannot hand it over to the nine wards when they are not united. See more at: http://www.pngloop.com/2014/11/05/catholic-church-awaits-united-voice-vunakanau-groups/#sthash.NWV42R8B.dpuf
Bishop calls on govt to help
Post Courier November 11, 2014
Bishop Rochus Tatamai of Bereina diocese has called upon various arms of government to take the lead in assisting remote communities in the mountains of Goilala in the Central province. Social services such as health, education and pastoral presence are needed in these areas. Missionaries, civil and public servants as well as ordinary people have died over the years while trying to provide services to the people up in the mountains while travelling on small planes. “There is no other way around for places like Guari-Kamulai, Fane, Ononghe, Jongai and Kerau, but through flying into the mountains on small planes”, the Bishop said.
Bishop Rochus raised his concern following a recent plane crash in September that killed four people and left five survivors including a diocesan priest from Bereina 300 metres from Mt. Lawes near the Hiritano Highway. While the Church is present in the area, it is not capable of delivering all the needed services due to limited resources and the circumstances of the area. “Priests, teachers and health workers can only do so much and they can only cope with so much for so long”, he added. Bishop Rochus also further expressed that political will and leadership as well as commitment and action is needed in the Goilala electorate, so that people can feel they are included in the development of the country. “It is for this reason that we are calling upon the various arms of government to take
Inquiry begins into Hagen sorcery murder
Post Courier newspaper, November 11,2014
THE body of sorcery murder victim Leniata Kepari laid in the Mount Hagen Hospital morgue for nine months before a woman personally intervened to ensure she was given a proper burial.
These sordid details came to light in a National Court inquiry that began yesterday into the circumstances surrounding her brutal murder in the Western Highlands capital on February 7 last year.
Authorities did not even issue a death certificate for the murdered woman, the inquiry heard.
Justice Edward Kassman, who is chairing the inquiry, said her rights to life and freedom from inhuman treatment had been grossly abused.
"The National Court has jurisdiction to enforce basic rights when constitutional rights have been breached. For this case late Leniata’s rights to life and her right to freedom from inhuman treatment under section 57 (1) of the Constitution had been abused," he said.
In the first of three hearings, the Western Highlands police CID and the offices of the State Solicitor, Public Prosecutor, Solicitor General, court clerk, the coroner and the Mount Hagen General Hospital morgue officer-in-charge were summoned to provide evidence. Justice Kassman expressed concern during the course of the inquiry yesterday at the absence of relatives and community leaders to assist the police.
"It is very sad that no one, either her relatives or leaders from the surrounding community have come forward to help the police in providing facts."
He also expressed surprise at the failure of the coroner’s office to issue a death certificate. "What is deemed to be very inhuman was that she was not issued even a death certificate from the coroner’s office."
Churchgoers living in the Warakum area of Mount Hagen, which is where the woman was burnt to death with burning tyres and witnessed by a crowd, were also put on the spot for turning a blind eye to the crime.
"Is Warakum a place for murder where killers will go away free?" Asked the judge.
The inquiry proceedings continue this Friday with Justice Kassman appealing to the public to come forward with information that would assist him enforce the rights of the murdered woman.
The National, Monday November 17th, 2014
SORCERY-related killings should be addressed so that the rule of law can be applied to protect human rights, an inquiry into the subject was told last Friday in Mt Hagen. The enquiry was headed by National Court judge Justice Stephen Kassman, along with lawyers, church representatives and citizens at the Mt Hagen court house. Kassman said that everyone had a role to play and that was to look at ways to deal with such issues. “Disasters take place relating to sorcery is a complete human breakdown. “Those responsible must face justice so that human lives must be respected,” he said. Kassman said the human rights rule should be exercised. He said citizens had the right to protection. “The church and village court officials have a role to play. “The rule of law must be restored and leaders must come forward and address it.” Ruth Kissam, from Mt Hagen, said she had been coming across such problems and they were heartbreaking. She said in Mt Hagen last year a women from Enga was burnt alive at the Warakum junction. “She was helpless and her relatives were helpless.” Kissam said some people claiming to be witchcraft doctors or “glassman” made an income from such situations and that was“totally incorrect”.
Long walk for water: the modernisation of Port Moresby
IT is overwhelming when one tries to comprehend the pace of development taking place in Port Moresby. A drive around the city gives a clear impression of the huge level of investment the national government is putting into the Papua New Guinea capital in the hope of transforming it into one of the best cities in the Pacific.
However, recent cases of forced eviction have brought anxiety and confusion into the minds of residents. Many people are now beginning to wonder what the future holds for them. Even public servants with genuine and clear land titles do not have access to basic services such as water and electricity. To me it was a one in a million chance for me to get a house with a state title at a bargain price. After we moved in we were told by our neighbours that the only means of accessing water was to walk to the main road and fetch it from common taps.
But we found that water flows through the taps only at certain times of the day, 6-9 in the morning, 12-1 in the afternoon and 6-9 in the evening. There is no exception and mothers, children, fathers, youths, the elderly, employed and unemployed carry bucketloads of water day in and day out from the roadside taps to their houses. For the few living near the road, distance is not a problem. However the majority have to negotiate the heat of the sun and oncoming vehicles when heading home.
Every day as I walk around Port Moresby or pass across the new Erima flyover I ask myself, “Modernisation at whose expense?” I guess only time will tell.
Asylum seekers get refugee status
Post Courier November 13,2014, 01:35 am
FOREIGN Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato announced yesterday that Papua New Guinea has given refugee status to the first 10 asylum seekers at the Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island. He made the announcement prior to meeting with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop, and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morison, adding that he would discuss this and other issues with them further.
These are the first refugee status determination made under PNG’s new refugee laws. It is a special class for these people who will initially be issued refugee status for a period of 12 months.
"The regional resettlement arrangement for asylum seekers is working. Those who need protection are receiving it. Non-refugees are returning home," Mr Pato said in a statement. "Now that I have started to hand down refugee decisions, these people can start to take the next steps towards their new lives."
Mr Pato said he expected to continue finalising refugee decisions for at least 10 asylum seekers every week. He said notification of these decisions will be handed down individually to the refugees. They will then be assisted to apply for a certificate of identity and a refugee status.
"The refugees will reside temporarily at a purpose built facility in East Lorengau. They will receive training in English, Tok Pisin, PNG culture and relevant skills to enable them to live and work in PNG," the minister stated. "Most of the refugees are skilled people, including an accountant, engineer, jeweller and a watchmaker. I am confident that employers will require skills that these refugees offer.
"No doubt they will make a strong contribution to PNG," said Mr Pato.
He said these initial refugees have come from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar but can now call PNG their home. "We welcome refugees who wish to stay and are committed to making a contribution to their new country.
Solomon Star 11 November 2014
Corruption is a hindrance to development in this country, a High Court judge says.
Justice Stephen Pallaras, who has completed his three-year contract, shared his observation in an interview with the Sunday Star. He said corruption is one of the obstacles that hold back the development of this country. “And this is from an outsider’s perspective and it’s not meant to be insulting to the Solomon Islands which I have grown to love greatly as a beautiful place,” he said. “There is corruption in politics, there is corruption in business, there is corruption some say in the law, and there is corruption some say in the police force. “There is corruption everywhere, everybody knows it and what astonishes me is it no body, absolutely no body in authority does anything about it. “Someone says the governments haven’t done anything about it because the governments are corrupt, and that if they do something about it, it is not in their interest. “Someone say the governments don’t know what to do. Well that’s not acceptable,” he said. Pallaras said there is no country in the world that needs an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) than the Solomons.
Multi-agency report confirms police working for Rimbunan Hijau brutalize communities in SABL areas
An Independent Fact Finding Mission undertaken by a joint team of government officials and civil society organisations, has confirmed allegations of ‘continuous brutality and human rights violations’ by police personnel operating on behalf of Rimbunan Hijau inside two Special Agriculture and Business Lease areas in the East New Britain Province of Papua New Guinea.
Instances of violence by the police include brutal assaults with tree branches, rendering the victims unconscious, locking villagers in shipping containers for days on end, attacks by police on unarmed villagers with fan belts, rifle butts and toe-capped boots, forcing villagers to spend the night lying in the rain on felled logs and forcing them to drink polluted water….
Elections, and the state Solomon Islands is in
By Terence Wood on November 14, 2014 http://devpolicy.org/elections-and-the-state-solomon-islands-is-in-20141113/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=48e937a0f5-Devpolicy_News__Nov_14_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-48e937a0f5-227683090
The roads into the hillside suburbs behind Honiara are criss-crossed by small valleys: potholes that have outgrown themselves, small rivers when it rains. They are deep and need careful navigation. As we angled our way amongst them Steve, the taxi driver, talked angrily about politics. The politicians, they are all corrupt. They make promises, but nothing changes. They take all the money for themselves. There are maybe one or two good ones, but they can’t do anything, and then they become corrupt too.
He was hunched forwards in his seat so he could see under the adhesive tinting that covers the top halves of the windows of most Honiara taxis, and he looked tired. He’d worked, he told me, since 6am. Amidst the heat, the endless traffic jams of Mendana Avenue, and the slow hill-climbs it was dreary work. He was angry: ….
On 19 November Solomon Islands will hold its ninth post-independence general election, and amidst the colour and flurry of the campaigning there is a strange mix of ambivalence, frustration and uncertainty. The two most obvious uncertainties for those of us in the aid and development world are how elections will run and what might ultimately lead to Solomon Islands finding a healthier political dynamic: where could change come from (these will be the subject of my next two blog posts.)
The foremost question for many Solomon Islanders is simply the one of change. The word itself is common on campaign posters and amongst candidate
The National, Friday November 14th, 2014
THE Catholic Church has voiced its opposition to the death penalty during a public forum in Port Moresby. Archbishop John Ribat said: “One could never be justified by killing another person.” He said the “unjustified killing of young women for sorcery-related issues and the increase in rape cases” led Parliament to approve the death penalty. “But is it justice or vengeance? Will it make people stop and think that what they are doing is wrong?” he said. “The death penalty is for a world with no other options to deal with these monstrous acts.” Ribat said the legislation on death penalty should be abolished.
The National, Friday November 14th, 2014
THE Government needs about K700 million to build facilities for an execution chamber, Correctional Services Commissioner Michael Waipo says. He revealed this during the one-day forum organised by Constitutional and Law Reform Commission in Port Moresby. There are 13 men on death row waiting for a Government decision on their fate. “We haven’t been able to execute them because of legal requirements and our own capabilities of implementation,” Waipo said. “The actual process of execution from start to finish is a precise process that involves a lot of details, from the moment of the pronunciation of the sentence right through to execution. “And so for us to implement, it’s still a long way away from realising it. And the issues surrounding those areas, we do not have the facilities to implement any of the methods of execution.” Waipo and officials had gone on a fact-finding mission to five countries recently. He said during the process of execution, there were requirements for officers to understand because they were dealing with human beings and their rights. “There will be super-maximum security required that houses the execution chamber and the funeral facilities to deal with the remains of individual whose life has been taken,” he said. “CS is the agency responsible; we are at the end of the law and justice sector chain of justice and our main functions are security and containment and rehabilitation of offence.”
The National, Friday November 14th, 2014
IMPLEMENTING the death penalty is likely to increase the crime rate particularly against women, according to a researcher. Dr Fiona Hukula from the National Research Institute, who has a background in anthropology and criminology in gender and criminal justice, said implementing the death penalty would be harmful to women. Speaking at the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission forum yesterday, Hukula made references to two incidents reported in the media last year which highlighted cases of violence against women. She said the two sorcery-related killings could have forced parliamentarians to pass the amendments to the criminal code. “It is important to acknowledge that the PNG Government is trying to address the issue of violence against women, hence the amendments to the criminal code,” she said. “The question is whether the implementation of the death penalty will serve its intended purpose – to deter violent crimes against women. “The non-availability of up-to-date data from key agencies such as the police means that we are not able to properly ascertain information about the levels if violent crimes against women.” She acknowledged that the media has played a large role in keeping violence against women on the agenda in PNG. “In terms of addressing violence against women in this country and in the context of applying the death penalty, it is important to question whether all the possibilities for punishment have been explored and if implementing the death penalty will truly serve as a deterrent,” she said.
What it will take to bring Bougainville to nationhood
Leonard Fong Roka
IN the shimmering streets of Buka town last month, a pair of New Guineans and some young Bougainvillean ‘born-agains’ were preaching from the Bible.
Suddenly a young south Bougainvillean went to attack them but was ushered away and put on a boat to cross the Buka Passage. Seated beside me on the dinghy, he was in tears.
“Who do these redskins think they are?” he asked. “They dug up Panguna and gave us nothing and we went to war for our rights and now they’re coming back to tell us about Jesus.
“They haven’t even compensated us for stealing our wealth and declaring war on us.”
Panguna, as all Bougainvilleans know, is where the crisis that cost us so much originated.
This young man lost two uncles to the PNG Defence Force, he says because of the Panguna mine.
But still, to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Panguna is still the place to help develop Bougainville so it can achieve its political ambitions. Millions of kina have been injected into seeking possible ways to settle the entangled conflicts over the Panguna mine and its proposed re-opening. ….
Wounded teacher strives to help students
Post Courier November 19, 2014
THE worst form of domestic violence in the case of teacher Jennifer Yuni Rame is to be shot at point blank range by her husband, then a prominent politician, 10 years ago. He shot and wounded her without saying a word while she was teaching in a remote school in West Sepik Province.
Ms Rame underwent 10 hours of surgery, received 72 stitches and was hospitalised for the next two years. She was forced to retrench on medical grounds after the ordeal but in 2010 she was recalled by the Teaching Service Commission to take up teaching again. During the past four years, she has accepted the lowest paid teaching position in the remote and run-down schools of West Sepik and Northern Provinces, just so that she can continue doing what she loves the most.
"I have gone back to the classroom to encourage children to see there is life beyond the one they can see," she said. "I want to see all the children of this nation to prosper and advance.
"The opportunity of imparting knowledge to the students is what keeps me going all the time," Ms Rame said. She is badly scarred and with disabilities but is helping the community at her current school to rebuild their school. She hopes to accomplish this through an income generating project for parents to produce virgin coconut oil so that they can send their children to schools.
Last week Ms Rame was awarded the 8th annual CPL Pride of PNG education role model award 2014 for her contribution in education, despite her traumatic personal experience.
Call For Research Into Poverty
The National, Nov 20, 2014
More research needs to be done to address poverty in the context of sustainable development, an academic says. Professor Betty Lovai, the executive dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Papua New Guinea, said there was a knowledge gap in understanding poverty. Lovai talked on reducing poverty responsibly through sustainable development at the research, science and technology meeting in Port Moresby. She said seeing poverty was not the same as understanding poverty.“We have applied poverty model from other countries, however, it is how we response to poverty based on research. We have to deal with it and know the roots well before reducing it,” Lovai said. She said research should be done mainly on indigenous knowledge of sustaining livelihood of communities and blending traditional knowledge with expert knowledge. She said poverty reduction could also be achieved by meeting the basic needs of a community and having the ability to maintain and build on its resources.
A Commentary by Sam Koim, Sunday, November 23, 2014 PNG Blogs
Corruption flourishes in secrecy and the ignorance of the people. Shedding light on corruption trends is therefore an integral part of curtailing the spread of this pernicious social disease hence this article.
A new trend of corruption appears to be emerging in the area of expenditure of development funds. It is rather a complicated and higher level of corruption. This time, well established businesses, even multi-national corporations are used to generate illicit gains for the firms and public officials. In most cases, the projects are so huge like “white elephants” that the spill out of economic rents is obscured. At the same time, the trumpeting of the unbroken economic boom is so loud that the voices of the silent suffering majority are barely audible.
The article seeks to expound on some of the common features of high level corruption and its effects on the economy and the wellbeing of the people and the country. See long article at www.pngblogs.com (November 23).
The National, Monday November 24th, 2014
PAPUA New Guinea on Friday voted against the resolution to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty globally, Amnesty International said. Amnesty International reported that the vast majority of the world’s countries on Friday threw their weight behind a UN General Assembly resolution to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty globally. One hundred and fourteen of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favour of the resolution which will go before the General Assembly Plenary for final adoption in December. Papua New Guinea went from abstention to a vote against the resolution, the report said
Health service delivery a challenge in PNG
Post Courier November 19, 2014
DELIVERY of health services is a challenge due to the lack of service delivery or developments in the rural areas and poor health infrastructure, according to a university academic. This has resulted in Papua New Guinea being grouped with countries with poor health indicators in the Asia-Pacific region. The University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) School of Medicine and Health Sciences Professor Nakapi Tefuarani said this yesterday while presenting his paper at the sixth research, science and technology conference at the university. He said because of health workforce constraints, upgrading and developing infrastructure, lack of funding, rural and remote access, access to primary care services was poor. "This has also resulted in the closure of many aid posts throughout the rural Papua New Guinea, only 36 per cent of births occur in health facilities.
"Most deaths are from acute infectious diseases such as pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea and meningitis that can be prevented or cured by simple and inexpensive means," he said. Leading causes of deaths 0-10 year-olds are pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea, meningitis, TB, typhoid, malnutrition, perinatal asphyxia, low birth weight, congenital abnormality and HIV/AIDS. Leading causes of death in adults are TB, HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases, pneumonia and malaria.
Papua New Guinea has a high infant mortality and maternal death rate with 48 from 1000 live births die and 63 children less than five-years-old of 1000 live births do not live and one out of 50 mothers die during labour.
Health funds to churches frequently delayed
Post Courier November 24, 2014,
Health services in Papua New Guinea are suffering because the Government is not releasing funds promptly enough. Chairman of Catholic Church Health Services (CCHS), Archbishop Stephen Reichert expressed his disappointment that the release of salary and operational funds to the Churches is frequently delayed. “We welcome the Government’s commitment to health care in the latest budget.” “However, we urge the Government to release funds on time to Churches who run health facilities in partnership with the Government Department of Health.”
“Over the past 18 months there have been frequent delays in the release of salary and operational grants for Church-run facilities. As a result, many Church health workers are not paid for up to two or three months at a time. Surely this injustice and violation of the rights of Church health care providers is avoidable.”
“The constant delay in funding is unacceptable to the Church and disrespectful to the Church health workers who provide lifesaving services,” he said.
Archbishop Reichert explained that the Churches provide close to 50 per cent of all health care in Papua New Guinea; in remote and rural areas, where the majority of the people in the country live, that figure increases to around 80%.”
“I often hear that the Government seeks to work in closer partnership with Churches. Catholic Church Health Services (CCHS) welcomes this,” he said.
“By providing health services, the Churches actually save the Government money, but more importantly, they provide health services to people in areas the Government cannot reach.”
“On the Government’s part a clear expression of partnership is to pay the Churches on time, every time and according to budget so that the Churches can pay their workers on time.”
“The frequent late release of salary and operational grants is puzzling. Doesn’t Government care about Church health care providers and their families? Doesn’t Government care about the health of the people these health workers serve? We are given no explanation,” he said.
“Church Health workers are highly committed people who often work in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations.”
“The very late payment of salaries, in particular, has adverse impacts on morale and performance.”
“If the Government is truly handing down a budget for families and the whole community, it must meet its basic commitment of paying Church health workers in a timely and just manner.”
Archbishop Reichert noted that the Government’s commitment of ensuring equal pay of Church and government workers has not yet fully happened.
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