Warning: PNG web sites seem to come and go. The fact of life is that it costs money to host a web site (try -- http://pngwebhost.com -- for an excellent, reliable but cheap deal) and there is not much return on the outlay to most businesses in PNG. If you do click on a link and use the services or even have some comments to make then please contact the people at the relevant web site and let them know so they at least know that someone has gained some value from their efforts. If you are so inclined then mention that you heard about them from this web site. -- The PNG Gossip Newsletter.
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Diwai Pacific Limited
Diwai Pacific Ltd is a Papua New Guinean consulting and project management company that specialises in the areas of education, governance and health. -- http://www.diwaipacific.com.pg
Should Michael Somare Retire?
I notice that this survey is still going and has attracted a few survey takers. The current results, as this newsletter is produced -
Retire = 95 (85%)
Do not retire = 17 (15%)
see also -- http://www.thenational.com.pg/051107/nation1.htm -- "The campaign to form the next government began in earnest yesterday, with the fight to remove Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare's party, launched on three different fronts".
Local media say Sir Michael's speech at a political rally in the Morobe Province at the weekend was punctuated with strong anti-Australian sentiment. -- http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200704/s1909720.htm
Documentary video about diving in PNG -- http://youtube.com/watch?v=RugubD3fzbw
If you have a blog about PNG then let me know -- PNGNews-queue [@] pnggossip.com
Rural Development Bank
The Rural Development Bank has opened a new sub-branch at Maprik in the East Sepik province. The opening of the bank coincided with the launching of the Maprik Agriculture Credit Scheme and the Ambunti / Dreikikir Agriculture Credit Scheme. The establishment of the sub-branch will provide concessional loans to rural farmers in Maprik, Ambunti / Dreikikir, Wosera/ Gawi, Nuku/Lumi and West Yangoru districts.
The European Union (EU) has set aside K450 million for development projects in PNG over the next 6 years commencing in 2008. The EU is the second largest donor to PNG and its present five-year programme of assistance exceeded K600 million in directs grants.
After three decades as being the prime recipient of aid Australia has relegated PNG. PNG's nearest neighbour, Indonesia now takes first place as the number one recipient of Australian aid. PNG has now taken second place in the amount of aid provided by Australia.
An additional A$10 million (K26 million) funding has been allocated by the Australian Government for technical assistance, building capacity and changes in the PNG Electoral Commission. This has boosted the operations of the PNGEC through their Electoral Support Program.
Alotau Land Deal
A decision by the National Lands Board to sell prime waterfront land in Alotau to an Asian businessman for K3.5 million has raised questions. Alotau residents, led by the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry are crying foul. The land is currently used as a public wharf by people travelling to the Milne Bay provincial capital by boat. Selling this land will leave villagers without a wharf to use. Locals claim the sale of the land was not even locally advertised.
The Chamber of Commerce believes the Land board decision violated section 67 of the Lands Act, which states that State leases are not to be inconsistent with zoning and physical planning. The Chamber has appealed to the Minister of Lands and Physical Planning Dr Puka Temu to review and rescind this decision.
To date an amount of K60,000 out of a total K200,000 has been raised towards the running of the 2007 Medical Symposium. An amount of K90,000 is needed to produce PNG's medical journal which comes with the symposium. The Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, made a commitment in previous years that the Government would allocate K250,000 every year for the event but no funds have been released yet for this years event to be held in September.
Many cities around the country came to a standstill recently as intending candidates made their way to the electoral offices to nominate. Truckloads of supporters, many standing or virtually hanging on to the trucks converged on the various offices around the country.
Nominations for the coming elections have closed and many intending candidates missed out for one reason or another. Some turned up late after the closing time at the electoral office and others could not come up with the nomination fee. Even with people missing out there were still more than 1100 people nominating to run for political office. This figure could be as much as 3000 by the time all the nomination forms are complied and sent to Moresby.
Over 200 candidates have nominated to contests the available seats in the five provinces in the New Guinea islands region of the country. The provincial electoral offices recorded 219 candidates to contest the seats in the five provinces, East New Britain, West New Britain, New Ireland, Manus and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
A total of 61 candidates officially nominated in the National Capital District (NCD). Six nominated for the NCD regional seat, Port Moresby North West (14), Port Moresby North East (31) and Port Moresby South (10).
A total of 113 candidates nominated for Milne Bay provincial -- regional (13), Alotau (39), Esa'ala (18) and Kiriwina Goodenough (19).
More than 225 candidates have nominated to contest the nine seats in the Eastern Highlands province.
Do not forget to visit the PNG Electoral Commission web site located at -- http://www.pngec.gov.pg/ -- for more information once all the information has been compiled.
In a keynote address given by the Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) open day agricultural innovation show held at 9-Mile outside Lae it was stated that the country is now increasingly exposed to climate change and global warming, which has resulted in more frequent droughts and frosts, new pests and diseases, genetic erosion and resource degradation. Sir Paulias said "All of these have increased the risks and uncertainties associated with farming and have raised questions regarding the sustainability of our farming systems".
NARI celebrated its tenth birthday on the ninth of May. -- http://www.nari.org.pg/
Two Pronged Elections
Police Commissioner Gari Baki has said that the elections will be conducted in two stages for security reasons. The elections will be conducted in the Highlands first, and thereafter, in the rest of PNG. The split was mainly due to the recent security assessments made by police and past experience, which indicated the prevalence of a large number of firearms in circulation, especially in the Highlands region of the country.
Running the elections this way will enable police to be drawn from other provinces and provide better security coverage. The police will also use 300 Correctional Services officers and 10 platoons from the PNG Defence Force.
The elections in the Highlands provinces will be one-day polling events, starting with the Southern Highlands province on June 30, Enga on July 3, Western Highlands province on July 6 and both Simbu and Eastern Highlands provinces on July 9.
For all other provinces, polling will begin on June 30 and run for 11 days.
Australian government officials have said they are pleased by statements made by the PNG Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, about the security measures that will be taken for the elections. The senior Australian officials told an election media briefing that they would like to see a trouble-free and fair election. The officials said they had not received any official invitation by the Papua New Guinea Government to oversee the elections, however, have written to the Electoral Commission to be accredited to observe the event.
Australia has supported the PNG 2007 elections with a total of K10 million in funding to help build the capacity of the Electoral Commission in the areas of financial management and technical assistance.
The officials stressed that the general election is totally PNG's responsibility and not Australia's.
Waigani National Library
Another attempt has been made to break into the National Library at Waigani. Five men recently attempted to break into the Waigani National Library in the early hours of the morning but were disturbed by security guards. Last month thieves broke into the library and stole 10 computer units. The library does not have a fence around it and requires one urgently. The National Government has given the library K200,000 while AusAID has given K7 million to help renovate the interior of building.
A total of A$25 million has been committed to tackle malaria in the Pacific, including PNG by Australia. The money will be used to fund a Pacific Malaria Initiative to provide further support for health systems in countries most affected by malaria. The four-year project will also fund research into malaria prevention and control. Every year between 350 and 500 million people are infected with malaria worldwide and more than one million of those die.
Three soldiers have gone missing apparently to perform election related duties for an intending candidate in the East Sepik province. The PNG Defence Force has mounted an investigation into the "disappearance" of the three non-commissioned officers from the signal squadron in Port Moresby. An intending candidate for one of the seats in the province may have the answer to this matter as documents are already in place to summon him to explain the situation surrounding the status of these soldiers.
Transparency International (TI) has joined the Catholic Bishops of PNG in condemning the recent passing of the gaming law which introduces casinos and online gambling in the country. The Gaming Control Bill 2007 was endorsed by the Prime Minister and voted in favour by Members of the National Parliament on the 2nd of May. TI PNG chairman Mike Manning described the government's action as a betrayal of the country and completely uncalled for. TI is also particularly concerned with the opportunities for money laundering and misappropriation of public funds, which are presented through the introduction of casinos and legal gambling in PNG.
There is a fear that guns will play a part in the coming elections. Police hear reports every day from the public about home-made pistols or high powered rifles in various provinces around the country. The use of guns is common place in tribal fights around the country and many elections are based along tribal lines.
Alternative Prime Ministers
Ex Prime Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, has announced that he is ready to lead the nation in the next five years as Prime Minister. He joins the ever increasing list of people who say they want to be PM after the coming elections. Sir Rabbie said that he would bid for PM if Pangu Pati emerged with a majority after the elections. He believed that the next government would be a coalition government and said Pangu was prepared to work with all parties, even newcomers such as New Generation Party. Pangu was friends to all and enemies to none, he said.
Enga Governor Peter Ipatas was also hoping to become the next PM but a person who had pledged support of his tribe has now decided to run for the same regional seat as Mr. Ipatas. Paul Nili from the Yakan tribe which consists of 15 clans said he has withdrawn his support for Mr Ipatas because of the deterioration of law and order, road transport infrastructure and lack of business and employment opportunities for the people of Enga.
The present Governor of the Southern Highlands, Hami Yawari, has recently told a huge crowd in Mendi that there is no Southern Highlander capable of becoming the next prime minister other than himself.
Limited Preferential Voting
The validity of Limited Preferential Voting has been challenged in the Supreme Court by Morobe Governor Luther Wenge. Mr Wenge is spearheading the constitutional challenge. It is expected a full bench of the Supreme Court will deliberate on the reference and Mr Wenge is expected to be personally present in court.
After many years without an ATM at the airport the Bank South Pacific has installed a new one replacing one removed from the old airport terminal when it became to unsafe to the keep the previous ones going. The ATM was the last functioning item at the abandoned old airport terminal. The new ATM will save workers around the airport having to travel miles to get to one and of course the travelling public will be able to get last minute cash before flying out or on arrival.
Tufi Cultural Show, Oro Province -- 9th to the 11th June
Sepik Iron Man Contest -- 11th of June 2007
National Mask Festival, Kokopo - East New Britain Province -- 12th to the 15th of July
Mt Hagen Show - August 2007 -- http://eventsuk.britishairways.com/sisp/index.htm?fx=event&event_id=31325 -- First held in 1964, the Mt Hagen Show moved from its original site in Mt Hagen itself to the Showgrounds after independence in 1975.
International Orchid Spectacular -- 5th and 6th of August
Leadership PNG 2007 leadership program -- 6th August 2007 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Lukim PNG NAU Tourism Expo -- 9th to the 11th September
National Tourism Conference -- 12th of September
Hiri Moale Festival, Port Moresby - National Capital District -- 15th to 18th of September
8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas will take place on the 15th to the 19th of October 2007, in Alotau -- http://www.matangitonga.to/article/sprep_090507_458_pf.shtml
PNG 30th Independence Day Celebrations -- 16th September
Morobe Show, Lae -- 27th to 28th of October
The Milne Bay Canoe and Kundu (drum) festival is to be in November
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