P.N.G. Gossip Newsletter - 16 May 2000
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Remember that this mailing list is mainly meant for people who have an interest and already know a little bit about the people and geography of Papua New Guinea. The PNG Kina, which is mentioned from time to time, is currently worth about 38 to 40 United States cents but varies on a daily basis. The Westpac bank expects the Kina to trade between $USD 0.39 - 0.40 and AUD$ 0.66 - 0.69 this week.
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PNG has been rated as one of the poorest nations by an Asian Development Bank report. The ADB report rates PNG as 127th out of a total of 174 countries.
John Forrester, a member of an Australian parliamentary delegation, has expressed shocked concern at the state of the environment at the mine site during a recent visit to the mine.
PNG Parliament The gremlins have been at work in Parliament house. The poor parliamentarians have had to deal with power blackouts, technical faults with their telecommunications system and then they can't even raise a quorum to get the show on the row.
The Engan province is to get K2.2 million in the form of a wheat-processing mill courtesy of the Government of China. Seven categories of wheat, 52 species of rice and 41 kinds of vegetables have been grown successfully under a previous phase of the project.
The Mount Hagen diocese of the Catholic Church has a new Bishop. The new Bishop, Douglas Young, is from Australia but has spent many years in PNG especially Enga in the Highlands.
The Opposition has been recognised by parliament despite the fact that it has less than 10 members. Parliament also recognised Bill Skate as the leader of the Opposition.
The Opposition leader is again I the news this time he has a fractured ankle and a broken toe after slipping on the stairs in parliament house.
The Lands Minister has put all land compensation claims on hold until his department has developed a proper policy on such matters. The minister, John Pundari is extremely concerned that land compensation claims have been blown out of all proportion.
It is thought that the state may have been wrongly committed to pay K1.2 million to a clan for the township of Bulolo in Morobe Province. The decision made in July last year may have been incorrect although the information is very sketchy and details not very easy to come by at this stage.
The number of judges at the National and Supreme Courts will be increased from 14 to 25 to deal with the backlog of cases before the courts. The Governor of Morobe Province has objected to the appointments due to the added costs involved.
Wards Road, Hohola
The Wards road redevelopment continues with most of the trees cleared to make way for the construction work. Some of the palms have been taken to the Botanical gardens in the hope that they will continue to grow after being uprooted by a backhoe.
The clearing of the trees has been a blessing for many of the firewood gatherers in Port Moresby on the lookout for wood to cut into fire size pieces for sale.
It is hoped the dispute has been resolved and the mysterious cutting of critical cables will be a thing of the past. Telikom has bowed to the demands of the union to pay outstanding monies owed to the workers.
The price of petrol and diesel has risen again in PNG despite a stronger Kina. The prices of kerosene and aviation gasoline have not increased because of the dependence on these items by the rural population. It is rumoured that the distributors have lost K8 million since 1998.
The price of flour (ex-mill) has fallen by K23 per tonne this equates to a drop of 2.6 per cent. This is due to the strengthening of the Kina against the US Dollar. This is the third fall in the price of flour in six months and totals approx. a 10 percent variation since November 1999.
One of Port Moresby's oldest primary schools has been forced to have classes stand through lessons as the students can not sit in their mud filled classrooms. The Post Courier newspaper reporter who went to the school the other day said that the sight was unbearable. Jacqueline Kapigeno said "Mud awaits the visitor at the doorstep and it gets thicker as one walks into the rooms"
The main pyramid money scheme has again said it is ready to pay out participants in the scheme. This time it will make payment to certain provinces to test that their payment plan is working. At the same time the liquidator of this same company has thrown in the towel admitting defeat. They state that they have been unable to collect any money to date and that they have received no assistance from the company.
Once again the financial woes of Air Niugini have taken yet another plunge. This time Madang MP Jacob Wama has accused an expatriate general manager of costing the company millions under parliamentary privilege. It is alleged that millions have been lost over the sale of one of the Air Niugini Air Buses along with the recent lease of a trouble prone RJ70 in the latter half of 1999. Air Niugini has obviously denied this claim.
The beleaguered airline is running charters to Osaka in Japan. On the way over the plane carries seafood and on the way back it is hoped that the plane is filled with Japanese tourists ready to spend their hard earned Yen in the Land of the Unexpected. Almost 30 tonne of seafood was shipped from August 1999 to January 2000. It was expected that at least 20 tonnes of seafood would be shipped on the charter flight at the end of April.
The "new look" Madang Resort has been officially opened by the Prime Minister. The PM said that by international standards this may be a small resort but in the PNG context it was a critical part of the regional and national economy.
Some of the Japanese tourists, who arrived on the Air Niugini charter, took the opportunity to visit Madang. The group which numbered greater than 60 stayed at the Madang Resort, on board the Melanesian Discover and also at Jais Aben resort. A total of over 200 tourist arrived on the charter.
Due to a breakdown in equipment at the Madang based cannery a foul smell has been reported by the residents. It is reported that due to power problems the smell may be around for as long as eight months as it is estimated it will take this long for replacement air scrubbers to arrive and be installed.
The trial run of the Olympic Torch through the streets of Port Moresby went off okay on the weekend with most people more excited about the "real" event rather than a trial run.
House of Assembly
For ex-old time residents of Port Moresby it may be of some interest that the National Museum and Art Gallery has invited Tenders for the restoration of the old House of Assembly in downtown Port Moresby. From the outside the building appears to be little more than a shell and I wonder whether a complete rebuild might be a better description of the work required?
Soldiers in a future PNG Defence Force may be called upon to pay for their own food rations and military wear along with the introduction of electricity easy pay meters in institutional housing in an attempt to introduce a user pays principle. It is hoped that such a scheme would help to reduce some of the waste that currently happens in the Defence Force.
The new store at Gordon has been declared illegal but the owners of the store appear to be confident that all will be well after the authorities see reason. Steamships have claimed that the new supermarket was built on land not correctly zoned for use by a supermarket.
The cover price of the Post Courier newspaper has increase from 70 toea per copy to 80 toea in the Port Moresby area. This brings the price into line with what every other province has been paying for some time now. Apparently the last cover price rise for the Post Courier was in March 1998.
Experts have predicted that the New Ireland Province will physically split in as little as 50 years. Seismic records show that over 50 earthquakes are being experienced every year where the split is expected to happen. Once split it is expected that water will flood the adjoining areas along the split. The report also said that parts of the Duke of York islands, which were above water five years ago, are now under water.
The National Capital Commission
The administrator of the National Capital Commission (Jamie Maxtone-Graham) has returned to his job as head of Eda Ranu the supplier of water to Port Moresby. The Prime Minister has said that Mr. Maxtone-Graham has turned the affairs of the Commission around and that the Commission will be left in the capable hands of the current Deputy.
Once again crime has been identified as being one of the major issues affecting the security of PNG. Some of the other issues affecting PNG have been identified as good governance, resource protection and a sustainable environment.
The Electricity Commission is carrying out emergency power cuts every two hours throughout the city. This is to allow workmen to clear a heavy build up of debris around the water intake screens of the Rouna 2 hydro power station caused by the unseasonable heavy rains in the Sogeri / Sirinumu area over the weekend.
Letters / Requests . . . . . . . .
I am a young guy with an interest in collecting postage stamps from Papua New Guinea. I would love to add some to my album. I want to ask if you or somebody from your staff could maybe send me some used stamps from incoming mail. I want to thank you very much for your time and consideration. I hope I might be fortunate enough to hear from you
sincerely, Alan Wender***** May 10, 2000
8409 N.E. 140th court
Vancouver Heights, Washington 98682
San Juan, Puerto Rico
My name is Miguel A. Soto and I'm a 35 year-old geographer from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The purpose of this letter is to obtain information from you about my personal interest on the art of map-making. At this moment, I would like to know how to find a full-scale, hard-copy general map of your now-living-country (PNG) with the place names and landmarks written, not in English, but Tok pisin, your principal national language.
The intent of my search is to have a map of your country as your nation sees itself. Already I possess some from various places I've visited. For this I will be very grateful for any information you may provide me.Thank you.
Miguel A. Soto
P. O. Box 22555
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931
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