Headlines

ABG President John Momis angered by ongoing Rio Tinto's injustice

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Bougainville President, John Momis, today expressed anger at Rio Tinto’s decision to transfer its 53.8 per cent share in Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL). International mining giant, Rio earlier announced transfer if its BCL shares to an independent trustee, for distribution to the ABG (36.4 per cent), and the PNG Government (17.4 per cent). PNG is already 2nd largest BCL shareholder. So the share distribution would see the governments equal BCL shareholders - 36.4 per cent each. The remaining 27 per cent of shares are held by small shareholders.


Rio Tinto has been reviewing its BCL shareholding for almost two years. The review resulted in Rio deciding to end its investment in BCL, which ran the giant copper and gold mine at Panguna from 1972 to 1989, under the 1967 Bougainville Copper Agreement (BCA).
President Momis said “Rio Tinto has made a unilateral decision. It failed to consult the Bougainville Government about distributing its shares. At meetings with senior Rio officials, in July 2015 and February 2016, I warned strongly against transfer of Rio’s shares to PNG. It Bougainvilleans cannot accept National Government control over the future of Panguna through either majority or equal shareholding in BCL.

“We are open to PNG remaining a BCL shareholder. That may assist us find responsible partners and financiers for possible future operations at Panguna. But we cannot accept Rio Tinto’s interference in seeking to give PNG equal control over Panguna. There is no possibility of progress on resolving the future of Panguna on that basis.
“Rio Tinto has shown arrogance and ignorance in ignoring my warning. Sitting in their comfortable London offices, they have interfered in Bougainville’s affairs by deciding PNG should have equal control of BCL.
“Bougainvilleans are united in rejecting what Rio Tinto seeks to thrust upon us.”
The President also expressed deep anger at Rio Tinto’s refusal to accept responsibility for the environmental and other damage done by the Panguna mine. He said ”In past meetings, I insisted that Rio accept responsibility for mining legacy issues.
“When I met their officials last night in Port Moresby, they flatly rejected any responsibility for their contribution to the damage done by the Panguna Mine.

“Rio’s officials gave me two reasons for not accepting responsibility for mine impacts. First, Rio operated under the PNG law of the day. Second, they were forced out of Panguna by the conflict. But the truth is Rio Tinto generated huge revenues from what we all now know was the terrible injustice of its Bougainville mining operations. The mine shut down in 1989 only because anger over that injustice generated demands for a renegotiated agreement.
“It’s now clear the BCA was deeply unjust. It ignored environmental damage and social impacts. Only a tiny share of mine revenue was distributed to landowners and to the North Solomons Provincial Government.
“The gross injustice of the BCA has since been recognised by Rio. As a result it made major changes to its own policies, especially in relation to landowners. It accepted new standards of sustainable development as a founder of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).
“Rio is now deeply hypocritical in its blatant disregard of the higher corporate responsibility standards it says it has adopted.
“It now seems Rio has no commitment to social responsibility or sustainable development principles. It talks those principles only when that helps its profits. But it throws them out when costs to its bottom line could be involved.
“Now Rio Tinto proposes to walk away from responsibility for the effects of the injustice of its highly profitable operations.

“Rio cannot rely on grossly unjust past laws to escape its contemporary responsibilities for what we now know was wrong. Corporate social responsibility means responsible companies accept that their responsibilities go beyond the legal requirements of the day.
“I am writing to the Managing Director of Rio Tinto asking him to reconsider not only the Rio decision about its shares, but also its refusal to deal with its Panguna legacy responsibilities.
“I am also writing to the International Council of Metals and Mining asking them to end Rio Tinto’s membership because of its failure to honour the ICMM’s 10 Principles for Sustainable Development Performance.

“Finally, I am seeking the earliest possible meeting with Prime Minister O’Neill to discuss how best to defuse the dangerous situation created by Rio’s decision on its shares in BCL.”

TISA puts heart into Finance and Banking with TCF launch

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Finance and banking with a heart that provides affordable convenience and profitable financial services is what the Teachers Savings and Loans Society (TISA) will be delivering in the months ahead, as it launches its new business arm, the TISA Community Finance (TCF), in front of a packed audience of shareholders, guests and the business community last night.

“Financial Institutions can be profitable without being greedy, and this is what TISA will be striving to deliver good affordable convenient financial services that will extend not just to teachers but to the wider community”, said CEO for TISA Michael Koison.

Richard Busby will head TCF as the CEO and reminded the business community that they (TCF) will be visiting each and everyone in a bid to forge working relations; he also extended his gratitude to PNG Weightlifter Dika Toa for being the brand ambassador who turned out to support the launch after the long TISA campaign on television commercials featuring her calling out to Papua New Guineans to What’s Coming Next?, with TCF the exciting new end product of that campaign.

With humble beginnings in the late 1970’s TISA has grown from a K3 Million financial institution business to over K570 million savings and loans society and with the new addition of the TCF not only teachers get to benefit from the services as this has now been extended to the wider community targeting those that are tired of being hit with high interest rates leaving them with less benefits.
The launch of the new TCF will add to TISA’s already existing 16 branches throughout the country including the head office and saw the past meeting with present and the future as the launch showcased the origins, the history and the future of TISA’s ever evolving evolution as it undertakes to put the heart back into finance and banking.

Picture1: (from left to right) TISA Board Members William Varamari, TCF CEO Richard Busby, Gabriel Tai, Sam Nalong and Francis Samoak

PNGFM

Over 40, 000 Engans receive food supplies through UN World Food Programme

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A convoy of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Government and UN partners reached Pilikambi Rural Local Level Government (LLG) last week to monitor food distributions to communities affected by El-Nino-related drought and frost.
Officials were welcomed as ‘wantoks’ as several hundred Engan tribe members, local leaders and local government officials celebrated the convoy’s arrival.

WFP and UN partners have been concerned about hunger and food insecurity in Papua New Guinea caused by El Niño. Even as the El Niño effect has wound down, its impact continues with, 180,000 people are suffering from agricultural loss and require food assistance.
WFP, in partnership with CARE International and provincial authorities, has to date reached 45,795 people (9,159 families) with rice in the Highlands, specifically in Pilikambi Rural and Wage Rural LLGs, Enga Province. Each household received a 70 kg ration of rice, fortified with essential vitamins and minerals and calculated to last six weeks. WFP plans to reach 180,000 people in the country in total.

WFP is particularly concerned about the effect of agricultural losses on women in the country. Reports show that Papua New Guinean women frequently skip meals during periods of food shortage, such as the one caused by El Niño. Nearly half of the people who have received food to date are women, including widows and divorced women.
In Western Province, WFP continues to provide logistics coordination and technical guidance to local Government authorities for distributions of rice provided by the private sector.

WFP relies entirely on voluntary funding from governments, companies and private individuals. The cost of the three-month operation designed to support the government response to the drought in PNG is US$12.6 million. WFP thanks the governments of Japan, the European Union, and the U.S. as well as OCHA, the UN agency for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, for their generous funding support. WFP also thanks private partner Digicel for their contribution.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill welcomes new Pakistani envoy to PNG

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Papua New Guinea would like more trade and economic engagement with Pakistan, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says. 
O’Neill said there were significant opportunities to strengthen economic relations after he received the credentials of new Pakistani High Commissioner to PNG Naela Chohan in Port Moresby yesterday. 

“We would like to see an expansion in trade and economic engagement with Pakistan,” O’Neill said following a meeting at Sir Manasupe Haus. 

“During almost four decades of diplomatic relations between our two countries, we have not expanded linkages as well as we could have. 
“This is evolving and has the opportunity for future growth. 
“There are also similarities between our economies where we can build on our relationship. 
 “Pakistan is a developing country with a large agricultural base that faces a number of challenges, as does Papua New Guinea, such as low global commodity prices. 
“We are both Commonwealth nations. Our systems of government is similar having evolved from the British model. This makes it easier for the two countries to engage.
“There are lessons that can be shared between our governments and we will continue this engagement.” 

O’Neill told Chohan that there were a number of people of Pakistani heritage living in the country. 
“We have a Pakistani community here in Papua New Guinea. I hope the high commissioner has the opportunity to meet them while she is in our country. 

“The high commissioner noted that she was impressed with the development she has seen. I have welcomed her to return at her convenience.” 
Chohan has served as a career diplomat for more than 35 years.  Press Release 

PNG Government secures K1.5 billion loan

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The Papua New Guinea  Government has successfully  unsecured syndicated loan, for up to US$500million (K1.5 billion) arranged by Credit Suisse AG-leading international financial institution. This was officially announced by Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch in a paid advertisement yesterday.

The first tranche of this loan is to be drawn down immediately. Mr Pruaitch said all legal and procedural requirements havd been met to the letter of law in respect of this loan as is the case with any other loan or financing which the government enters into.

He said the Department of Treasury and the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) had worked hard and diligently to acquire this loan so that government would be able to finance the budget deficit for 2016 on the best possible terms for the state, its institution and the people of Papua New Guinea.

 He said government has been working closely with the State Solicitors Office and leading international and Papua New Guinea law firm-Gadens and Aust to ensure that all legal requirements have been complied with and due process is followed. He had stated that any legal challenge to the legality of this loan would be a waste of time and tax-payers money and that the government respectfully requests those who threaten to undertake such malicious legal action to reconsider their motives which are politically driven and not in the best interest of Papua New Guinea.

SHPHA and Oil Search Foundation sign agreement to strengthen health service delivery

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Mendi 5-star Hospital
By Jacob Marcos

The Southern Highlands Provincial Health (SHPHA) Authority and Oil Search Foundation (OSF) have  signed a Memorandum of Agreement  to strengthen the delivery of effective and accountable health services in the province.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) strengthens the existing relationship and facilitates stronger cooperation between SHPHA and OSF.

CEO of the Oil Search Foundation Kymberley Kepore said during the event that the agreement acts as a catalyst for improving governance systems and increases patient access to essential health services in the province as per the National Health Plan 2011- 2020.

“One of the key things about this agreement is that, as partners we have the opportunity to share resources and technical services to deliver better health services in the province. It widens our scope and increases our ability to cover a greater area by utilising the existing networks, be they church run, private or government," Kepore said recently.

As part of the National Health Sector Partnership Policy, we are strengthening partnerships and coordination with all our stakeholders to achieve the Government’s health priorities, the Chairman of SHPHA Peter Nupiri said.

"We need to move forward together, take joint responsibility, but as the Provincial Health Authority of Southern Highlands we know that in the end we will remain accountable for the delivery of health services to our people,” Nupiri said.

Newly appointed acting Chief executive Officer of SHPHA, Dr Joseph Birisi commended the OSF for the collaboration, describing the agreement as a fine example of a public-private partnership aimed at improving the lives of Papua New Guineans.

By signing the MoU both organisations set out to identify all opportunities to share resources and technical support to deliver better health services Dr Birsi said.

This includes improving service delivery partners’ ability to maintain minimum standards; employing sufficient staff who are registered and licensed to deliver the services in line with National Health Standards and regulations; provide appropriate support and non-monetary incentives to increase recruitment and retention of health professionals in under-serviced communities; and collaborating to identify training needs and develop plans to address them.


District Treasurers in Papua New Guinea are most corrupt public servants

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District Treasury Office in Unggain Bena
THERE is gross misapplication and abuse of district services improvement program (DSIP) funds by the district treasurers at the district level.
District Teasury officials are colluding with contractors and outsiders without the knowledge of the designated Section 32 officer determining the payment for the services rendered.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning and Unggai Bena MP. Hon. Benny Allan during the presentation of his 2015 DSIP Acquittal reports to the Department of Implementaiton and Rural Development (DIRD) at the Parliament House in Port Moresby today.
Minister Allan said district treasury officers in the districts and provinces are colluding with contractors, drawing down huge sums of DSIP/DSG cheques and paid directly to them without proper documents.
“In the Unggai Bena district, we have suspended several distirct treasury officers for not complying with necessary paper works and replaced them with new officers to oversea the operations of the treasury section. They have by-passed the system.
“The Chairman and Section 32 officer who is the Chief Executive Officer or District Administrator responsible for facilitating the payment process had no knowledge. We never gave approval to anyone for facilitating the payment to contractors and suppliers.
Allan said after discovering this, Unggai Bena district instigated an investigation and traced back K26,000 different cheques paid to contactors and service providers in the district.
“There were something went wrong so we deciced to check and there were couple of cheques drawn out from the district treasury opertating account so we managed to pick up those cheques and trace back. There were not even registered as well,” Mr. Allan said.
Minister claimed that there wasn’t any approval granted by DDA Chairman and the CEO and feared that if district treasury officials are colluding with contractors and service providers, there are millions of kina being missused not only in Unggai Bena district but the scam is happening all around the country.
Allan said there must be check and balance system established in the districts and provinces so that those officers found quilty be penalised accordingly.
Eastern Highlands Provincial Administrator Solomon Tato who accompanied the team to furnish their reports said every acquittal reports should be submitted to his office before they present it to DIRD for appraisal.
“Because of such practise, the provincial administrations has to go down to the districts and LLGs to check whether the actual projects and programs were implemented on the ground. We don’t want fake or cut and paste reports to be submitted,” Tato said.
While Tato thanked the O’Neill Deon government for frontloading huge sums of funds in the form of DSIP, PSIP and LLGSIP, there must be prudent management of these funds so that tangible development can be achieved to improved the livelihood of the rural majority.
“We have established a system in the provincial administration to ensure each district have to submit their reports to my office so that we’ll double check, physically go down and see for ourselves,” he said.
The following were some of the impact projects and programs implemented at the district include;
District road maintenance = K1,000,000.00
Sigerehe- Megunagu road = K300,000.00
Unggai High School = K3,000,000.00
School classrooms and teachers house = K1,000,000.00
Vocational Skills Training = K300,000.00
School fee subsidies = K300,000.00
Yabiufa P/School staff houses = K200,000.00
Small Medium Enterprise = K400,000.00
Police Awareness and Peace Mediation = K300,000.00
Brick Factory = K400,000.00
Rural Electrification = K300,000.00
Rural Housing = K300,000.00
LLG Project Counterpart funding = K300,000.00
Others like transport K800,000.00, Community Development projects K1,400,000.00, agriculture and economics K1,650,000.00.
Unggai Bena district received K10 million and had rolled over K3 million to 2016 fiscal year.

Prime Minister O'Neill Committed to Resolving the PNGSDP Issue

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Prime Minister Peter O’Neill reiterated today that the Government remains committed to ensuring that the assets of Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program are protected and safely delivered back to the people of Western province.

“We have said all along that all assets under the care of PNGSDP, including the US$1.3 billion long-term fund in Singapore, belong to the people of Western province and PNG.
“We have begun a process to have these assets returned to their rightful owners, and to be utilized for their direct benefit.

“Despite efforts by individuals with vested interest to frustrate and hinder the process we have undertaken, I am delighted that we have made a lot of progress.
“The court cases in Singapore and the international arbitration tribunal which the people of Western province won, are part of this process.”

The Prime Minister welcomed media reports that Sir Mekere Morauta was open to a speedier resolution outside of the court process.
“I welcome this gesture and I am always available for talks. It is not my practice to shut the door on anyone.
“Had Sir Mekere not walked out of the negotiations we started earlier on this issue, we would not be where we are today.
“So he has to be genuine about this.
“At the end of the day, we are talking about assets that belong to the people of Western province. They do not belong to me or Sir Mekere.”
PM O’Neill said the Ok Tedi Mine was unique case, which the government had to pursue in this manner.
“Sir Mekere created this complicated structure to deprive the people when he was Prime Minister. He must feel bound to help us undo it. Otherwise we will continue the fight in court and return these assets to the people,” the Prime Minister said.

Pacific Sports Education Programme set

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Up to 95 Pacific sport enthusiasts from government sports offices, 11 national sports federations and sports & physical education teachers will be participating in the Papua New Guinea Oceania Sport Education Programme (OSEP) scheduled for July 4 to 14, 2016 in Port Moresby.

The programme is supported by the Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation and is coordinated through the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee. OSEP is a programme under the Oceania National Olympic Committee that delivers training courses that include the Master Educator, Educator, Managing in Sport, Organizations, Sport in Community Administration and Community Coaching &
Officiating.

The training is expected to develop in-country Master Educators and Educators with high levels of presentation and assessment skills who can deliver and assess these courses. Successful completion of this training will certify graduates as OSEP Master Educators and Educators.
The training will run at different venues with the main one being at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex Conference Room. The others include the Taurama Aquatic Centre and the Rita Flynn Indoor conference rooms.

The national sports federations represented include Swimming with 9 candidates, Handball, Badminton, Volleyball, Basketball, Netball, Triathlon, Disability Sports, Softball, Rugby Football Union and Cricket.

OSEP mentor, Talemo Waqa will be the facilitator for the training. Co-facilitating will be OSEP Master Educators, Sainimili Talatoka, Tirani Uluinakauvadra, John
Susuve and Janet Gimots.

All Participants will be addressed formally at the welcome event on Monday 4
July at 9am at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex.
Information on all OSEP training courses may be obtained at the Papua New
Guinea Olympic Committee on (675) 3251449 / (675) 71001062 / (675) 7100
1063.

Cat dies, trips power supply to parts of Port Moresby

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Power line in Nipa, SHP
The residents in parts of Port Moresby city, especially at Gerehu side are experiencing power outage after a cat got electrocuted at a power sub-station causing a trip in the system.
According to PNG Power, engineers discovered the fried body of the cat at the Kone power sub- station when investigating the cause of the blackout. Power engineers say this caused a trip in the power system which then affected the system at the Kanudi main power station resulting in the power outage.
The incident also raises questions as to what measures PNG Power has in place to keep animals from entering power facilities and causing situations like this.
Power engineers are currently working to fix the problem and have power back up and running soon.


Meanwhile ,PNG Power Limited (PPL) will soon add another 1000 plus customers to its current customer base of 2800 in Mendi, Southern Highlands province. 

This will be possible after the completion of the 80 kilometers 22KV power project, in the Nipa district. The power project will connect customers from Nipa into the Mendi Distribution Network. 

This project is funded by the National Government, with an independent contractor engaged for construction. Mr Ipmasua said PPL is only doing inspection over the work to meet PPL’s requirement. 

“This is a very important project funded by the government, and it will now boost our customers, as well as our revenue generation,” Mr Ipmasua said. 

Generation capacity at the moment for Mendi is 1.2 megawatts, taking its feed from the Ramu Grid and has a customer demand of 700 kilowatts. 

When Nipa is connected, the current generation capacity can cater for Nipa as well as Ialibu. 

Mr Ipmasua said this is an exciting time for the province, to see its outer districts soon to receive electricity supplies that can boost business activities and other key government services within those areas. 

He said the major customers that will rely heavily on the main PPL supplied power is the new Nipa General Hospital, the William Powi Centre, and the new Government staff houses. 

Mr Ipmasua also said that with this new 80km 22KV connection, they will also roll out the Easipay system in Nipa, as part of its current drive to minimize illegal connections within the province. 

He said this also minimizes threats by locals, to his officers, when they are out in the field to do meter readings and inspections. 

Mr Ipmasua is also thankful that PPL was also offered a location in Nipa, to have officers based there and do business as well as on standby for any technical needs in the district.

PNG PM O'Neill to officially visit China

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Papua New Guinea’s economic and trading relationship with China will continue to strengthen with the official visit by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill next week to China accompanied by a high level government and business delegation.

The visit will include meetings with the President of China Xi Jinping, the Premier Li Keqiang and senior government leaders.

"The relationship we have with China continues to strengthen and this delivers real economic benefit to the people of Papua New Guinea," Mr O’Neill said in a statement yesterday.

"On this visit to China we will advance a number of agreements that will contribute to trade, infrastructure development and travel between our two countries.

"There is a great deal we can do to strengthen co-operation in areas that include agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transportation and communications.

"China has developed technologies that have direct application in our primary industry sectors, and we will enhance co-operation in these areas."

The Prime Minister said there are also a range of policy matters that will be discussed in Beijing.

"At global and regional levels there are a number of issues that are of interest to PNG and China, and we look forward to an engaging dialogue." Post Courier/ PNG Today


Vanuatu Government yet to receive report on status of students in PNG

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Vanuatu government has not taken any decision on the fate of Vanuatu students studying at the University of Technology in Papua New Guinea following the killing of a student and arson at the campus in Lae.

Nine ni-Vanuatu students are currently studying the Unitech.

The situation there is reportedly tense but calm after police reinforcements were able to bring the weekend event under control.

The Ministry of Education has told the media it is yet to receive a report from the fact-finding-mission that went to PNG two weeks ago to assess the status of students following the riots.

It said any such report will be tabled at the Council of Ministers meeting for a decision.

Of the 20 ni-Vanuatu students in PNG, nine are studying at the UNITECH, five at the University of Papua New Guinea and six are at the Medical Faculty of PNG.

So far, only the Central Provincial Government in PNG has made a decision to repatriate 70 of its students who are studying at the Unitech, back home.

Media reports from PNG say the Unitech campus had been deserted by students in fear of their lives following the killing of a first year student from Southern Highlands on Saturday night. Loop Vanuatu

Jakarta slams Solomons and Vanuatu over human rights

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Indonesia has strongly rejected statements about West Papua by Vanuatu and Solomon Islands at the UN Human Rights Council session last week.

Delegates of the two Pacific Islands' countries accused Indonesia of failing to prevent ongoing human rights abuses against West Papuans.

But Indonesia's delegate at the session, Michael Tene, said Vanuatu and Solomon Islands' statements showed a lack of understanding of Papua.

He said they were politically motivated in support of separatist groups which incite public disorder and terrorist attacks against civilians and security personnel.

“Indonesia as a democratic country is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, including by taking necessary steps to address the allegations of human rights violations and abuses in Papua. No one is perfect. We are always open to have dialogue on human rights issues, but we reject politicisation of these issues. We deplore the way Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have abused this council and the universal principles of the promotion and protection of human rights by supporting the cause of separatism” said Tene.

Tene has described Vanuatu and Solomon Islands as being far from perfect on protection of human rights.

He said the two countries still face serious human rights problems, have rampant corruption in all segments of society and government, human trafficking, mistreatment of children and daily abuse of women.

"It would be for the betterment of their populations if the governments of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu give attention and priority to seriously address their respective own domestic human rights shortcomings."

Furthermore, Mustika Hanum, the third secretary at Indonesia's Permanent Mission, expanded on her country's concerns about domestic violence in Solomon Islands

   
Source:  PACNEWS

Court orders PNG Government to complete refugee process in 2 weeks

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The Waigani Supreme Court has given two weeks to lawyer representing the Department of Immigration and the lawyer representing the Residents at the Manus Asylum Processing Centre to work together in completing the first three steps of processing all the residents on the centre.

The first 3 steps include the screening process, refugee status assessment and quality assurance test for process.
Lawyer representing the Department of Immigration Laias Kandi requested that the court gives them 3 months to complete the processing of the residents; however Chief Justice Sir Salamoa Injia said the process would not take long as the initial processes have already been completed for most of the residents.

It is understood that out of the 389 residents, 242 have already gone through the first three initial processes and they are now awaiting ministerial declaration while 147 of the residents are yet to complete the first 3 stages of processing.

Sir Injia said the processing of the residents has dragged on too long and he ordered to see a report of what the court has asked for by the 15th of July when court resumes. PNGFM/PNG Today

P’nyang Gas project to boost PNG economy

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 THE P’nyang gas project in Western will represent an investment of more than US$9 billion (K28 billion), Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch says.  He said this would really help the country’s economy. 
“P’nyang represents an investment costing up to US$10 billion (K31 billion),

“This will give a tremendous boost to the Papua New Guinea economy at a time when it is under significant stress as a result of the sharp fall in commodity prices and a big drop in Government revenue. In approving P’nyang, the Government will take into consideration lessons we have learned from the development of the PNG LNG project, and be even more steadfast in ensuring positive outcomes and impacts are achieved on a local regional and national level,” he said. 

Pruaitch made the comment on Monday when announcing that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Cabinet had approved plans to sell down 4.27 per cent of the Government equity in the PNG LNG project to a group which included landowners. He said the implications of the 4.27 per cent equity sale and the final agreement would represent a win-win situation for all parties concerned. 

“The PNG project area landowners, along with their provincial governments, would benefit from the dividend stream from the ExxonMobil-managed LNG project, while the capital injection from the equity sale would directly support the Government’s 2016 budget,” he said.
Pruaitch said he was keen to see LNG project royalties and development levies start to flow, along with settlement of the LNG equity sale, prior to any commencement of work on the P’nyang gas development at the PNG LNG project.

PNG Hunters make changes for round 17 match against Tweed Heads Seagulls

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The Papua New Guinea SP Hunters have made several changes for the round 17 match against Tweed Heads Seagulls in Brisbane. Kumul forward Timothy Lomai has been recalled into the squad while winger Justin Olam moves to the center  to replace injured co-captain Noel Zeming.


Lomai, who was out for four weeks with a thumb injury returns to the pack bolstering it with size and quality. The 24-year-old will start at lock for the game at Piggabeen Sports Oval, Tweed Heads.

Zeming, who braved playing last Sunday against Norths Devils, had been carrying the injury for over a month playing through pain and discomfort.

The Hunters have also lost Stargroth Amean for an extended period with the fullback twisting a knee at Bishop Park in Brisbane last round – he will be out for four weeks.
Winger William Aquila gets a chance to add to his three games in the Q-Cup with his last outing in Round 8 against the Burleigh Bears on the Gold Coast.
Back-rower Brandy Peter returns to the side on the bench after missing the Devils match for personal reasons. Rugby convert Butler Morris and livewire utility Gahuna Silas have been included the bench.
Marum said in Zeming’s absence Adam Korave would lead the side with five-eighth Ase Boas taking the goal-kicking duties.
“With Noel and Star out it is a major blow for us but we’ve got the players who can come in and do the job,” Marum said. “It also gives them a chance to impress us.”
In other team news, Philemon Kimisive and Nickson Borona are still recovering from knee injuries.
Borana’s run of luck with injuries has not been good with the back-rower going down minutes into his return in Round 15.
Marum stressed that the side would likely going through some changes and adjustments after medical and fitness tests today.
The team travels to Tweed Heads via Brisbane on Friday.
Hunters: 1. Bland Abavu 2. William Aquila 3. Justin Olam 4. Thompson Teteh 5. Adex Wera 6. Ase Boas 7. Watson Boas 8. Enock Maki 9. Wartovo Puara Jr 10. Esau Siune 11. Edward Goma 12. Adam Korave 13. Timothy Lomai 14. Warren Glare 15. Atte Bina Wabo 16. Brandy Peter 17. Butler Morris 18. Silas Gahuna 19. Benjamin Hetra.

PNG 's Cybercrime bill ready to be tabled

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THE National Cybercrime bill is ready to be tabled in parliament. This was announced by the Minister for Communications, Information and Technology Jimmy Miringtoro in his keynote address to the 9th Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Policy and Regulation Forum for Pacific in Port Moresby yesterday. 
Mr Miringtoro in welcoming the delegates including the APT general secretary Areewan Hoorangsi to the forum said, the bill is a number of initiatives undertaken by the PNG government in its bid to address some of the issues which the forum would also be focusing on in its discussions. He said the bill would be complemented by the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card registration, already underway in the country. Other initiatives which Mr Miringtoro had stated which the government has already embarked on include: n  
The review of the National Information Communications Technology Act of 2009-to ensure it is relevant to the changing conditions brought about by the advances in technology and market developments; n Public inquiry for the potential implementation of mobile portability in PNG; and n Establishment of a local internet exchange point (IXP) with the view to reduce the costs of internet services to Papua New Guineans. 

The Minister had also extended on behalf of the government of PNG, his appreciation to APT not just for the opportunity to host this important event but for its continued assistance. Ms Hoorangsi in her address to the participants had reaffirmed APT’s commitment and support to its member countries in the Pacific. through the forum and through development projects. “In 2005 TeleHausline pilot project was conducted in PNG. In 2008 two projects were implemented in Micronesia and Samoa, Marshall islands in 2010, Palau in 2011, 2012 in Tonga and the most recent one was the pilot project in Disaster Emergency Information dissemination in Vanuatu in 2014. “I am confident there will be more,” she had stated.

Read more on >> PNG Technology news

Post Courier / PNG Today

Police intercept escaping students, three arrested over murder

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Lae Police have detained three suspects for the willful murder of 1st year Unitech student, Late Graham Romanong.


The suspects were amongst a group of students convoying in 5 buses leaving the city and travelling back home to Enga following the evacuation of students from campus. The police were alerted of this trip and intercepted the convoy at 9 mile, and escorted them back to the Lae Central Station.
“The three suspects were positively identified by Police Intelligence personnel and an eyewitness who was in the room when the young man was attacked” said Lae Metropolitan Superintendent, Anthony Wagambie (Jr).

Mr. Wagambie spoke to the Enga students after the three suspects were identified and detained, explaining to them that they were all brought to the station so that positive identifications could be made of the suspects and the other students could be cleared.
Mr.Wagambie urged that generalizations should not be made on all the Enga students for what had happened, as majority of them were unaware of what was going to transpire on Saturday and were not involved in the murder.
The rest of the students were escorted by police out of the city and along the high way so they could go back home.

“This is a criminal act and is being acted upon by Police” said Mr. Wagambie further adding that “Police will ensure those responsible for both the previous incident of an Enga student being slashed with a knife during a confrontation, the recent murder and arson be brought to justice.”

Concerning the previous incident involving the slashing of a student, Mr. Wagambie said the police have been working on the case since it happened; however, the process has been slow due to the lack cooperation from witnesses to provide statements so that suspects can be identified and charged.
The three detained suspects are innocent until proven guilty by the courts. The Police are calling out to witnesses of the crimes to come forward so that evidence can be compiled.
Mr. Wagambie said that the Lae Police are not affiliated to any political master and that it must be understood by the concerned groups that there is no regionalism being practiced.
“We are just doing our job to ensure perpetrators are dealt with regardless of where they are from” said Mr. Wagambie. 
Pictures: The scene at the police station.  PNGFM / PNG Today

Doctors murder suspects apprehended

Posted by Staff Reporter : ONE PNG | | Posted in , ,

Two suspects have been apprehended and in police custody now after the murder of late Dr. Alphonse Rongap on the weekend in Lae.
Police said one of the suspects was captured on the night of the incident and the other had surrendered himself to police yesterday.
Other suspects are still at large as the Lae Metropolitan Superintendent Anthony Wagambie Jnr appeals to the public to continue assisting and supporting police with information to capture the others. PNGFM/ PNG Today

Environment friendly puppet show hits Kavieng schools

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Students from the Lutheran, Melton and Kopkop elementary schools in New Ireland were introduced to an educational puppet show that the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) conducted this month.
The puppet show was trialed out in these three schools from the 14th – 16th June as one of WCS’s educational initiative that the Australian Government funded through its Direct Aid Program (DAP).
“We consider puppet shows as simple and educational,” said WCS staff Francis Gove.
The puppet show was designed to educate students on the importance of the environment and why it should not be destroyed. 

Mr Gove explained that the puppet show featured two human characters of local significance, Masi and Pasi who spoke openly about environmental issues that concerned the communities. 
“Climate change effects, the use of destructive fishing practices like derris root and dynamite and the importance of looking after mangroves were some of the conservation topics covered in the show,” said Mr Gove. 

Kopkop Elementary school’s head teacherMrs. Jane Jimmy said the different plays conducted throughout the show had captured students’ attention.
She said that it was a new experience for them to have watched a live puppet show.
“The students are used to watching such programs on TV and to actually see one, personally really is something new because the messages relayed in the plays were simple and the students were able to relate,” said Mrs Jimmy.
She acknowledged WCS’s initiative and requested for more shows to be conducted at the school in the future....read more on >> PNG Education News

Polye calls on Lupari to resign

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Lupari
The National Government’s economic advisers chief among them, Chief Secretary to the government, Isaac Lupari must be blamed for leading the country into financial woes and uncertainty.
As a result,Opposition Leader, Don Pomb Polye who is frustrated with the way in which government continues to bury the country by obtaining loans after loans, has called on Lupari to resign.
“Isaac Lupari is professionally and morally unfit to be the government’s chief secretary,” said Mr Polye.
“Twelve months ago, I called for a supplementary budget to be introduced by the government to factor in the down-turn in the world oil prices but my call was politicized. Lupari brushed that aside saying that the LNG price was based on forward fixed contract agreement and that our revenue will not be affected. He said PNG was on a sound economic footing and there was no need for a supplementary budget.
“But now, 12 months after, what Lupari said turned out be an absolute false and that the country’s economy is facing signs of recession. Time is the better judge and Papua New Guineans can see that country is facing financial problems,” said Mr Polye.
The Opposition Leader is frustrated that none of the so called good thinking ministers and members in the current government can not open their eyes to see that PNG is further sinking by the day.
He highlighted that PNG has a depressing foreign reserves forcing inflationary effects on the people while the government continues to go in search of loans, thus further sinking the country with accumulated debts.
Polye said as a result of the borrowings, the country’s debt to GDP stands at 60% which is way beyond the accepted level as per the law.
He said other signs of economy in serious trouble includes Treasury finding it difficult to raise treasury bills and inscribe stocks.
Mr Polye said there a huge backlog of foreign orders totaling over K800 million which is affecting business operations in the country.
He said by now, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill must own up that his government has mismanaged the economy, squandered the country’s resources and personalized both police and defence forces, thus dividing the people.
He called on Peter O’Neill to step aside and allow thinking Papua New Guineans to save the country.

Why not open up the Island of New Guinea?

Posted by Staff Reporter : ONE PNG | | Posted in , ,

THE Papua New Guinea National Research Institute has released its latest publication today for public discussion. The report titled: “Why not open up the island of New Guinea?” is an opinion piece by the PNG NRI Director Dr Charles Yala.

This article puts out for public discussion, especially within Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Indonesia, the idea of opening up the Island of New Guinea. It suggests that four Cities (three maritime cities and one hinterland city) and three Highways (North South, East and West, all passing through the hinterland city) as the core elements of the proposal to open up the island of New Guinea.
“The economic impact of this proposal would be significant for both PNG and Indonesia, because it links PNG and Indonesia to the fastest growing economies of the World: Asia to both the West and North, and Australia and New Zealand to the South,” Dr Yala said.
Dr Yala stated that there are engineering, financial, social, cultural, political, economic, and security considerations for all who would be affected by this proposal.

“The proposal has the potential to develop an integrated economic community within this part of the world and place PNG and Indonesia, especially West Papua, on a path to sustained, broad-based growth and development. This proposal complements two other major projects: the Maritime Silk Road being advanced by China (China - Southeast Asia -Pacific Islands), and the Northern Australia Policy proposed by the Australian government for the development of the northern half of the Australian continent,” Dr Yala said.

Dr Yala asserts that if this idea is progressed by PNG and Indonesia, it could be a good candidate project for the newly-established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
“I am inviting genuine discussions with a view to progress this project because the potential economic gain for all inhabitants of the Island of New Guinea, and more specifically for the broader PNG community and Indonesia, in my view is significant,” Dr Yala said.
Picture: Dr. Charles Yala pictured in the centre

FIFA legacy programs to be launched

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A FIFA film crew will be arriving in Port Moresby this week to conduct interviews and film major legacy initiatives that will be launched at the end of this week in the lead up to Port Moresby hosting the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in November.


The legacy programs ‘Live Your Goals’ and ‘FIFA 11 for Health’ will be launched at the end of this week and the film crew will be capturing footage to use in a documentary to promote this prestigious tournament.

In the lead up to the launch of the ‘Live Your Goals’ initiative which will be launched this Sunday, a coaching workshop is being conducted by FIFA Instructor Carolina Morace a former Italian player coach and football legend who is now a FIFA Technical Director.
The workshop which is underway at the Rita Flyn Indoor complex is being attended by coaches from around the provinces to prepare them to take on the ‘Live Your Goals’ program. The program will be rolled out to the 4 regions in the coming months.

PNG Football Association Senior Vice President Linda Wonuhali who addressed the workshop stated the coaching course is a platform through which the legacy programs will be channelled.
“The coaching course is a way forward for development of football in the country for our young girls. Football has gained momentum as a direct result of the upcoming world cup and we hope more women and girls will be inspired to play football”, said Ms Wonuhali.
“There is already a strong focus on women’s football development in the country and the legacy aspect of maintaining these commitments will be through the implementation of these legacy programs, said Seamus Marten”, Chief Executive of the Local Organising Committee.
The ‘Live Your Goal’ campaign will be launched this Sunday and will coincide with the NCD Governor Powes Parkops health initiative, the ‘Walk for Life’ program.
The ’11 for Health’ program will be launched on the 4th of July

Kimisopa urges students to exercise rights with responsibility

Posted by Staff Reporter : ONE PNG | | Posted in , , ,

The public is well aware of the recent and continuing disruption of the academic year by a faction of university students.

As I previously indicated students have a right to protest against the Government and I support their rights as enshrined under the Constitution. But with rights comes responsibility. Protesters must abide by the law. They cannot attack other students who also have a democratic right to take an opposing view or who simply want to finish their studies. The actions of the SRC executive in continuing protests within UPNG and blocking students from attending classes is simply unacceptable and illegal.

Yesterday students from Goroka visited my office and advised me that they wanted to continue their studiers but had been told by SRC members that either they stick with the protestors or they had to get out of their accommodation at UPNG. They were being bullied by an unrepresentative SRC executive more interested in a political agenda than the welfare of students. These people are a disgrace to the SRC institution and should be removed from office.
As Member for Goroka and Chairman of the Goroka District Development Authority, I point out that we have financially supported students to attend university and parents have scrimped and saved to pay tuition fees. We cannot now allow thugs to impose their will on the majority and for the lives of committed students to be ruined as a consequence.

I therefore call on the Government and the University Council to take whatever steps are deemed appropriate to secure the Waigani Campus, provide a safe learning environment for our students and to expel any student who attempts to coerce other students to continue protests.
The public, parents and MPs have had enough of mindless violence, wanton destruction of Government property and intimidation of committed students. Thugs have no place in institutions of learning and need to be removed and face the full force of the law. In dealing with this situation, I would also like to encourage the Courts to enforce the letter of the law and show no leniencefor those who transgress.

We want a peaceful democratic country that removes Governments at the ballot box not via fermenting violence, exploiting regional differences and use of extortion.

PM O'Neill blasts Opposition leader Don Polye for using “student issues” for political gain

Posted by Staff Reporter : ONE PNG | | Posted in , ,

L- PM O'Neill                   R. Opposition leader Don Polye
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has ccriticized Opposition leader Don Polye for using “student issues” for political gain.

He said Polye should hang his head in shame. “The nation of Papua New Guinea is not Kandep,” O’Neill said.  “He has to take a totally different attitude when dealing with national issues.
“An innocent student is dead following a vicious attack on the weekend. Of course a number of students were previously injured in Port Moresby. We all recognize that there has been interference in these issues from members of Parliament.”
He was reacting to statements from Polye blaming the Government for the events leading up to the student’s death. 
“We know that the Opposition has been stirring unrest, has been involved in providing resources to protestors and was even writing material for the protestors as they prepared their petition,” O’Neill said.
He accused Polye “and his cronies” of “stirring up the students and misleading them with false ideas”. 
He said the Opposition was undermining the economy and the image of the nation. “Every democracy needs a strong opposition to debate the issues of the day and help strengthen the policy development process,” O’Neill said.
“But all we see (from Polye) are political games, misinformation and backroom murky activities such as misleading student groups.”
Meanwhile, Polye yesterday accused the Government of leading the country into financial woes and uncertainty. He called on Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari to resign for failing to give sound advice to steer the country out of its financial woes.
Polye also said O’Neill must admit that the Government had mismanaged the economy, squandered the country’s resources and personalised the police and defence forces “thus dividing the people”.

Works and Implemenation Minister Awesa condemns murder of Unitech student

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Minister for Works and Implementation Francis Awesa has condemned in the strongest terms the killing of a first year male engineering student at the University of Technology in Lae last Thursday.

 Awesa described the brutal murder of the student in his room as very primitive, barbaric and a cowardice act by criminals lacking intelligence and had no regard at all for human lives.

As well, he condemned the University of Technology administration for failing miserably to take proactive actions including inviting police to protect people’s lives and property on the campus.

“It is a very unfortunate and most regrettable that the situation has been allowed to deteriorate resulting in the death of a young university student from my electorate.

“The perpetrators, financiers and masterminds behind the prolonged university students’ boycott nationwide have blood in their hands.

“They are totally responsible for the chaotic situation and must be held accountable for all injuries sustained, loss of life and damages to property worth millions of kina in taxpayer funds.

“These senseless band of criminals must be made to pay for all their crimes committed to date. They must be held accountable for all the current and future ramifications resulting from their selfish, greedy and politically driven motives,” Awesa, who is also the Imbonggu MP stressed.

He said the ring-leaders and perpetrators of the current situation not only have individual responsibilities as citizens, but more importantly moral obligation to see an immediate end to it.

Awesa has called for public cooperation to provide information to police investigators in total confidence so that the murderers, some of whose identity are known, are dealt with by law.

He welcomed the Government moves to impose curfew in the universities and urged for total public support as it was in PNG’s national interest to uphold the rule of law, good order and peace.

He warned that any further misadventure by those involved, including criminal acts would be met with resolute response and dealt with accordingly by the law.

“In the 21st Century PNG, we cannot allow a band of senseless murderers, whose acts are totally criminal and primitive in nature to unjustly take away innocent lives.

“It is saddening to see an apparent disintegration of PNG’s sovereignty and national unity into small fragmented ethnic and factional groups.

“As responsible leaders and citizens we must rise and protect the pioneering thoughts and visions of our fore fathers who crafted our Constitution, which promotes, protects and guarantees our national unity.

“The very constitutional guarantees of a united Papua New Guinea is eroded fast by acts of senseless cowards creating disunity and disintegration among our people and nation as a whole.

“We must protect our Constitution at all cost. A small band of criminals with vested interest must not be allowed to employ criminal means to dictate terms for majority peace loving citizens.

“I urged all patriotic citizens to assist the Government and State law enforcing agencies through peaceful and legal means to resolve this situation amicably.

“All this stupidity and non-sense must cease so peace and normalcy are restored in all universities for our sons and daughters to resume studies immediately, Awesa said.

He said the current situation is orchestrated by few individuals whose ultimate objective is to create havoc and civil unrest PNG-wide with the view to changing the current political leadership.

Awesa said their underlying objective is to topple the Government using innocent students as fronts to gain power and take control of the nation’s wealth, including proceeds of the PNG liquefied natural gas.

Meanwhile, Awesa has urged students from Southern Highlands and Hela provinces studying in universities and other tertiary institutions to remain together and steadfast to continue their studies.

He urged relevant State agencies to speed up work in establishing the Western Pacific University in Southern Highlands to avoid future repetition of student boycotts and undesired outcomes.

Awesa said funds have already been allocated for the project and work should proceed without any further delays.

Female Grade 11 student assaulted by School Principal

Posted by Staff Reporter : ONE PNG | | Posted in ,

By Peter S. Kaulga

A Grade 11 female student from Yangoru Secondary School was beaten up by the Deputy Principal Mr. Philip Pena. She has been beaten on her face and sustained cuts and her right eye cannot be opened. She is seeking medical assistance. Meanwhile, the relatives of the student are taking the matter to court, saying it was an assault and child abuse.

Photo caption: The assaulted student.

National Doctors Association condemns senseless killing of late Dr. Alphonse Rongap

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Dr James Naipao
BY: JACOB MARCOS

 The National Doctors Association (NDA) has described the killing of Dr Alphonse Benjamin Rongap Senior on the evening of Saturday, June in Lae Morobe Province as barbaric and senseless.

National Doctors Association vice President and senior paediatrician Dr Rongap Senior who was based at Angau Hospital lost his life when he was shot at the back-end-road of Lae City.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at Angau Memorial Hospital.


NDA President Dr James Naipao said the NDA has lost a dedicated great leader in the union movement and in health in Papua New Guinea.

“The NDA absolutely condemns loss of life through all forms of violence-a popular and senior doctor in the city of Lae lost his life through this barbaric act,” Dr Naipao grieved.

“In this time of grief and sorrow, our prayers and condolences go out to late Senior Rongap's family for the loss of a great person, doctor, union leader, teacher, mentor, husband, father and a dedicated children's doctor (Paediatrician),” he said.

The thug(s) involved in the avoidable and unwanted killing of a life that has contributed significantly well over 35 years to the health and various works in this country should not be left in silence, he said.

“All respective legal authorities and community in Lae must tirelessly work together to apprehend this/these useless and unwanted thug(s)/criminals,” Dr Naipao said.

“In protest and in respect for Late Dr Rongap Senior, the clinical services at Angau Hospital will scale down to cover emergency only,” he said.

Dr Naipao also said that the members of the association based in Angau Hospital will only provide emergency cover until this “anti-life preserving thug(s)/criminals/elements be apprehended and brought to justice.”

Meanwhile, health secretary Pascoe Kase also condemns the killing of a loving father and a specialist doctor who is much needed in the country.

“It is a great loss to the people of this nation especially our children who needed his attention,” Mr Kase said.

He called on authorities in the country to bring the culprits to justice.

“May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Mr Kase grieved.

PM O’Neill Condemns attack on Student at UNITECH curfew to be imposed on campuses

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The Prime Minister,. Peter O’Neill has extended the nation’s condolences and sympathies following the death of a student at the hands of thugs at the UNITECH campus in Lae overnight. PM O’Neill said Cabinet will discuss the imposition of a curfew on campuses to ensure safety and the respect for law and order. “The attack on this young man was an act of brutality and an innocent life has been lost,” the Prime Minister said.

 “I would like to extend the condolences of the nation to the family of this man and our commitment to see those responsible brought to justice.

“The cruelty of what happened last night is very disturbing. “The thugs responsible will be identified by police and they will be charged. “It is believed there were people involved from outside the campus and police will follow every lead in this case.

“If there were students involved, regardless of how much or how little they were involved, they are clearly not fit to be in our tertiary education system." The Prime Minister further called on all members of civil society to condemn such acts of violence and to work together.

“All of this nonsense with people interfering in student affairs is a serious problem for our country. “Students should not become political footballs and we must all work through these issues. “Our priority must be to get our young people back to school and all involved must respect the rule of law.” The Prime Minister said the National Executive Council will discuss options this week that will ease tensions and ensure safety for all.

 “A curfew needs to be imposed on affected campuses and strict controls must be in place to ensure that only students, staff and people with a legitimate reason to be there are able to visit campuses. “The curfew is intended to maintain law and order, and protect the lives of people and property at the universities.  "This will further allow for normal classes to resume. “A new police controller will also be in place to ensure order and normalcy can be restored to campuses."

NSAC recommends call out of army to support Police resolve University violence

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The Chief Secretary to Government, Ambassador Isaac B. Lupari  has announced that the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) met today and resolved to make a series of recommendations to the National Executive Council (NEC) in relation to recent incidents on national university campuses.
“The NSAC has condemned the killing of an innocent student and the destruction of property as acts of barbarity by mindless individuals,” the Chief Secretary said following the NSAC meeting.
“The perpetrators of this violence have no respect for the lives of others or the rule of law and they will be brought to justice.
“The NSAC has made the following recommendations to the NEC.
“An immediate curfew is recommended to be imposed at the University of Papua New Guinea and Papua New Guinea University of Technology so as to support police to restore law and order on the campuses.

“A call-out of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force is recommended in the event that this is required by police.
“It is recommended that police immediately conduct an investigation into the death of an innocent student and the destruction of property at both universities with the intention of bringing the perpetrators to justice.
“It is recommended that police conduct an investigation into the involvement of any people from outside of the universities who have been inciting and encouraging these criminal actions.”
The Chief Secretary sounded are warning to individuals who are manipulating students from behind the scenes.
“The NSAC further warns members of civil society and political leaders that they have a responsibility to not incite student unrest,” Ambassador Lupari said.
“This conduct of incitement to violence will lead to prosecution by police under existing national laws and, where possible, referral to other relevant leadership bodies.
“The NSCA appeals for calm and commonsense.

“These matters have now become a law and order issues and are no longer a student issues.
“The role that needs to be played by civil society and political leaders should be one of encouraging calm and providing support to students who wish to complete their studies.
“We are restoring normalcy to our campuses and we need commonsense to prevail.”
The National Executive Council will meet tomorrow, 28 June, to consider the recommendations.

PNG Tourism Minister Kulang opens Alotau Water Front Lodge

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PEOPLE travelling to Alotau will now be able to enjoy their stay at the new lodge, Alotau Water Front Lodge, recently opened by the Minister for Arts, Tourism and Culture Tobias Kulang. 

The new lodge consists of 17 rooms and is testament to the dedication and commitment by the Igara family in supporting and promoting the growth of tourism in the province. Mr Kulang said Milne Bay province has a very unique case and that he perceived the tourism industry will grow to sustain up to 30% of the province’s GDP in the not too distant future. 

“Therefore, it is imperative that the critical stake holders must make every effort to put in place the necessary building blocks to ensure this growth because the province has an opportunity like none other in this nation and even with the Pacific region,” he said. He added that the province should maintain its isolated status and should not connect with road infrastructure with other provinces due to the fact that its isolation becomes a selling point as the retreat destination of the country. “We need this in the country where we can escape to for rest and to recuperate. 

Every country needs their quite place. PNG is beginning to understand the strategic nature of this industry and is beginning to increase its efforts through increased levels of funding through budgetary support by the national government in last two years. “However, more needs to be done to effectively tap into the largely untapped potential the country has,” he said. He said this country must use the opportunities it has now through the gains from the mineral and hydrocarbon industries to make quick and meaningful interventions into sustainable industries like tourism and agriculture to create long term economic sustainability. “We need to rise up now and sell ourselves systematically to the world,” he said.

SHP mourns for student killed at University of Technology

Posted by Staff Reporter : ONE PNG | | Posted in , , ,

Thousands of people covered themselves in mud and marched through Mendi town , the capital of Southern Highlands Province to mourn for late Graham Romanong who was killed at the Unviersity of Technology over the weekend. The student was allegedly murdered by a rival student group on Saturday night.

 According to Student Representative council president, who was at the forefront of a student boycott a few weeks ago, said things had gone out of hand at the Unitech campus. A first-year Surveying and Lands Studies student from Mendi, Southern Highlands, died after he was attacked allegedly by a rival student group on Saturday night at the Unitech Taraka campus.

 Kelma said although the killing was not related to the recent student boycott, it was something that painted a negative picture of the students and what they had been fighting for. Kelma, from Southern Highlands, said he believed that the killing was related to an earlier incident where a clash between two groups of university students resulted in the wounding of one.

He said their actions were “worse than animals”. “How can you carry weapons into the school and kill a student before setting school buildings on fire? We are depriving other students of their rights to learn by burning down university buildings,” he said. Kelma said outsiders had been involved too. “They (the students) did not do it alone,” he said. “They joined forces with outsiders and carried out a well-planned and coordinated 
attack.”

Vanuatu Government commits to removing Vanuatu from Grey List

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The amendment of the International Companies Act Bill [CAP 222] in the recent 1st Ordinary Session of parliament is a step taken by the  Vanuatu Government in its bid to remove Vanuatu from the ‘Grey List’.

Minister of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) Gaetan Pikioune informed parliament that after the mutual evaluation by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) in July 2015 which resolved that Vanuatu was non-compliant with several of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) standards, the government established a national coordinating committee which is dealing with Anti-Money laundering and counter financing terrorism.

The main task of this committee is to remove Vanuatu from the grey list on the FATF listing.

“The amendments in this Bill aims to address legal deficiencies in order to comply with international requirements that we commit ourselves to, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other international regulations,” said minister Pikioune.

“There are other Bills which will be brought to Parliament, this is the first one. The Government, through the Council of Ministers looks forward to see Vanuatu remove from the grey list thus the amendment of a bill such as this one.”

But while labeling it as one of the Bills long overdue, Leader of Opposition Ishmael Kalsakau says the government also needs to realise the implications of the provisions.

“One of the items in this Bill is obscured by the fact that many of the provisions may remove the secrecy of our nation, secrecy protected under our laws which gives confidence to investors to come and invest in Vanuatu,” he said.

“We have a tax haven regime and there is the issue of national sovereignty which we must protect.

“While we open the door to information, which a person can ask, it must be at the right juncture and the right purpose. We must be careful when allowing other people to access information in our country, which does not come through proper authorisation.

“We all accept transparency and do not want someone to come and commit a crime in Vanuatu and hide the money here. What we need to do is ensure our sovereignty is intact while we deal with the people on the other side.”

He said if one considers at the laws in other countries, dealing with murders is serious. But when one goes against their tax it is even more serious. This means the obligations changes, whilst in a criminal trial they may say one are innocent until proven guilty, but when a person avoids tax the onus is on that person to prove his innocence as the state already regards him as guilty.

“While I welcome the bill, we are an independent nation,” he said.

Section 125A (8a & b) of the amendments in the said Act ‘requires that before making an order for the disclosure of company records in relation to the beneficial ownership of shares in a company, the court must satisfy itself that there is prima facie evidence to prosecute the beneficial owners of a company of an offence under the laws of Vanuatu or another country and the disclosure of the company records would assist in in securing a conviction.

Furthermore 125B on ‘Court proceedings disclosing company records’ requires that if a company record under section 125A is likely to be disclosed in a court proceeding, the Court must ensure that such a disclosure is not made in open Court; and not disclose any confidential company information in any written judgment, orders of minutes of the proceeding.

In reference to the lifting of ‘the corporate veil’, MP Kalsakau said, “What you are now proposing is already in our laws but perhaps it is because of the word secrecy.

“This is a major policy shift outside our status. It has no meaning because you can still go to Court to acquire information, but when you remove this ‘secrecy’, you are opening the door for others to access information. It can even be arbitrary.

“The fact is it already exists, why change the language to say it is not a secret? I anchor this point on our sovereignty, it can be a secret when they require information we go to Court and exchange information in a discreet way which keeps and protects the status of our sovereignty, our economy intact and confidence bestowed on the investors.”

The Finance minister reiterated that it is not an open court where information is disclosed.

The Bill was passed with 35 votes in favor and nine abstentions.

In March 11, 2016 Daily Post’s front page article “Vanuatu faces blacklisting” prompted a response from the Prime Minister’s Office saying Vanuatu is not blacklisted but rather listed under the “Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance: On-going Process’ as of 19 February 2016”.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

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