Friday, July 31, 2009

Remote Sepik villages prepare for annual Sepik Crocodile Festival, August 11-12, Ambunti, East Sepik province (please click on images to enlarge)

The central role of the crocodile in the lives of the people of the Sepik will be celebrated at the third Sepik Crocodile Festival, in remote Ambunti, from August 11-12.

Dancers and traditional performers from communities across the region will meet in Ambunti for two days of celebrations. The festival aims to protect the crocodiles and their habitat.


Communities are also spreading the message that they must start working now to keep the Sepik pristine and safeguard it for the future.

The Sepik Crocodile Festival, to be held on August 11-12 in Ambunti, is an opportunity to link culture with conservation.

This year’s event theme “Kirapim wok bilong turis wantaim bus, wara na pasin tumbuna bilong Sepik,” is a call to recognise and promote ecotourism through conserving natural habitats and encouraging sustainable use of the river.

The mighty Sepik River is still one of the most pristine rivers in Asia Pacific, but it is faces threats from development and climate change.

Through a partnership programme with community-based organisations such as the Sepik Wetland Management Initiative and Help Resources - the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the PNG Department of Environment and Conservation and local-level governments are working with local clans and villages to build a secure future for the Sepik.

The unique cultures of the Sepik are world-renowned. The river is essential for these local communities; it defines their spiritual and physical world. The river is the basis of myths and legends as well as providing food, shelter, building and carving materials, and medicines.

As part of its support for the festival, WWF will highlight the importance of freshwater biodiversity. It is important to protect and restore freshwater and forest ecosystems to meet future challenges from climate change and to ensure people have access to safe water and food sources.

WWF's work in the Sepik basin includes helping communities build and strengthen ecotourism as a source of alternative income.

WWF has been working in PNG since 1995. It focuses on linking community action, science and effective policy to ensure the protection and sustainable use of forests, freshwater and marine resources across the island of New Guinea.


For further information, contact:

Lydia Kaia

Communications Officer

Tel:     + 675 320 0149




Thursday, July 30, 2009

Self-discovery on the Highlands Highway

A semi-trailer along the Highlands Highway outside Kundiawa
Border of Simbu and Jiwaka provinces at Munde
A farmer rehabilitating his coffee garden in the Waghi Valley under CIC’s coffee rehabilitation programme
Main street of Banz, Jiwaka province

Woman struggles along rundown Minj, Jiwaka province, which is a skeleton of its former self
Roadside market near Yonki, Eastern Highlands
Evangelical Bible Church property at Kassam, Eastern Highlands
Nothing has the ability to expand your horizons quite like an outing on the open road - whether it's a drive down the Highlands Highway or a journey of self-discovery.
The great Highlands Highway is Papua New Guinea’s own version of the great highway routes of the USA and Australia.
The entire highway covers about 700 km, rising from sea level to over 8000 ft and much of it going through some of the most-rugged terrain in PNG.
It is all situated in the tropics and, as a result, tropical downpours coupled with the great elevation cause regular and consistent damage to the Highway and its feeder roads.
Drainage is a critical issue and blocked drains usually result in landslides, landslips, and large sections of the road just falling away.
The highway opened up the Highlands and provided the initial impetus for the coffee industry to flourish and prosper, and provided the initial link for the initial political unification process of PNG.
The highway, for the Highlands, was their gateway to the world, and all of that region’s valuable coffee exports leave by the same route.
Most of what makes modern living possible arrives in the Highlands via the highway, and that entire region’s valuable coffee exports leave by the same route.
The Porgera gold mine would never have been established without the highway, and it continues to be a lifeline for Porgera mine and the oil and gas projects in the Southern Highlands.
At lower elevations, Ramu Sugar has tonnes of sugar exports that get to the Lae Port via the Markham section of the highway.
There is no single infrastructural asset of greater value to PNG than the Highlands Highway.
At its best a road trip is a journey, in both the literal and figurative sense of the word, down unfamiliar roads, fuelled by a spirit of adventure, good conversation, lots of laughs, some breathtaking scenery, a little soulful introspection and perhaps even an epiphany or two.
From July 22-26 I criss-crossed the Highlands Highway from the great Waghi Valley of the new Jiwaka province through to Simbu and Eastern Highlands provinces.
It was, for me, the great coffee road trip with officers of the Coffee Industry Corporation to check out the CIC’s district by district coffee rehabilitation programme which is being piloted in Jiwaka, Kundiawa-Gembogl in Simbu and Obura-Wonenara in Eastern Highlands.
A road trip, no matter the destination or purpose, truly is something that must be experienced.
And it also brought back memories of my days with the CIC from 1998-2002 when I constantly drove along the five Highlands provinces.
It all started on Wednesday last week when I landed in Goroka on an Air Niugini flight from Port Moresby, arriving at a place I’d never quite left, as this land of perennial spring is home to me.
I felt completely at home as I met old mates at CIC like graphic artist Bob Kora, scientific liaison officer Reuben Sengere, extension manager Fabian Api and many others.
I might add as an aside here that exactly 10 years ago, in August 1999, the Nissan Navara I was driving was held up at Dumun in the Simbu province and a brand-new video camera stolen from Bob.
After much negotiation, we managed to get back the camera, which has been used by the CIC for the last 10 years and was still there last week and accompanied us again on our road trip.
We left Goroka just after 6pm for Kundiawa, arriving at the Simbu capital after 8pm, where we overnighted at the Mount Wilhelm Hotel.
Up early the next morning, Remembrance Day, for a drive to the Waghi Valley where we met with contacted CIC rehabilitation service providers at Purigona base camp.
From Purigona, on to Avi to visit a coffee garden, to Banz, alfresco dinner of chicken, kaukau, bananas and vegetables at Kurumul Tea, and on to the Tribal Tops Hotel at Minj where we overnighted.
The next day, Friday, we drove down to Kundiawa where we met with village elders to discuss the rehabilitation programme.
From Kundiwa to Goroka, where we overnighted, and on to Kassam in the Eastern Highlands the next day to meet with coffee growers.
Then back to Kainantu, Aiyura, and back to Goroka at nightfall.
I flew back to Port Moresby the next day so much refreshed after my highway odyssey.
Now there's an idea: jump in the car and just keep ‘rollin' on down the highway’!

Agriculture to drive Jiwaka economy

Woman farmer Angela Pinge (pictured)  is hard at work tilling the soil at her vegetable garden at Purigona base camp in Wahgi Valley, Jiwaka province, when I catch up with her.
Agriculture is set to boom and drive the economy of the newly-created Jiwaka province in 2012.
This will be at the expense of the rest of Western Highlands as Jiwaka – and in particular the great Wahgi valley – single-handedly produces the bulk of Papua New Guinea coffee, tea and fresh vegetables.
The three areas – which currently have the three electorates of Anglimp-South Wahgi, North Wahgi and Jimi – together have arguably the most fertile and productive agricultural land in PNG.
They have been bankrolling Western Highlands since colonial days, however, all that is set to change when Jiwaka officially becomes a new province in 2012.
Mrs Pinge is a district rural development officer employed by the division of primary industry in Western Highlands province.
She is also engaged as an extension advisor by the Fresh Produce Development Agency to advise women farmers in the Anglimp-South Wahgi area.
She practices what she preaches and grows a variety of vegetables in the rich and fertile soils of the Wahgi Valley.
“Demand for fresh vegetables is high and the supply is low,” Mrs Pinge says.
“I want to help make up for this shortfall by growing English cabbage, capsicum, potatoes, kaukau, tomatoes, broccoli and other vegetables.”
Mrs Pinge is passionate about her work.
“We have four village extension officers,” she says.
“I am the supervisor.
“This is under the FPDA network and it’s working quite successfully.
“I supervise them, and they provide training on all aspects of vegetable production.
“They’re basically volunteers in their own community.
“They must have nurseries backing the gardens, a compost house and a training centre.
“This is how we work with them.
“We are also involved in helping farmers look for markets and helping them to source funding for their projects.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Angry scenes in Papua New Guinea parliament over no-confidence vote

Angry scenes erupted in Papua New Guinea's parliament today after the government avoided a motion of no-confidence by adjourning the session until November.

MPs hurled abuse at each other across the chamber and security officers had to restrain members of the public who voiced their frustration when the government won the adjournment vote on Wednesday.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Mekere Morauta said Prime Minister Michael Somare's government was running scared, so much so that they broke constitutional laws to avoid the no-confidence vote.

Mr Morauta told a news conference after the vote that parliament had only sat for 29 days and the adjournment meant they would miss the required 63 days sitting time for the year.

"Yesterday Somare said he had the numbers to block a vote of no-confidence, today he adjourned. The government is worried, it is fractured. He is afraid to face the music, the constitution, he will go down in history as someone who has threatened democracy," Mr Morauta said.

The opposition would go to PNG's Supreme Court and refer Mr Somare, Parliamentary Speaker Jeffery Nape and the leader of government business Paul Tiensten to the Ombudsman Commission for violating the constitution, he said.

Opposition member Julius Chan, also a former prime minister, said PNG was not in political limbo but "now in hell".

Western Province Governor Bob Danaya, who has sided with the opposition, said there was a big split within government based on principle. "They are destroying this country," he said.

Six other government backbench members listed a series of scandals and corruption as their reasons for swapping sides. "This has come from within the government, from us, we are dissatisfied and angry," MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham said.

Mr Somare on Tuesday said he had the government's full support and the numbers to defeat a no-confidence vote. But on Wednesday the government opted for a successful 56 to 32 vote to adjourn parliament until 10 November.

A government spokesman said the adjournment was to allow for "much needed refurbishments" to parliament house.


Arona - like every place you've never been

That's me checking out fried tilapia at a roadside market
Fresh mandarins and vegetables on sale
Scenic landscape overlooking Yonki
Coffee Industry Corporation signboard at Kassam
Evangelical Brotherhood Church property at Kassam
Scenic Highlands Highway at Kassam
The drive between Kassam Pass and Kainantu is one of the most-scenic and beautiful in the country.
Arona Valley which you drive past was once mooted by the colonial administration as a potential capital for the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.
That is no longer the case, Port Moresby having stolen the thunder, but the picturesque Arona plays a pivotal role in PNG’s economy.
It’s here that PNG’s largest manmade lake – with water from the Ramu River – supplies electricity to the five Highlands provinces, Morobe and Madang.
It is, however, a paradox that electricity is “so near, yet so far away” and many of the surrounding villages are yet to be connected to the power supply.
That, together with land compensation matters, remains a contentious issue.
Those aside, the manmade lake is dubbed the travelers as the “Highlands Sea” and it’s now a common sight to see outboard motor dinghies zooming and dugout canoes being paddled across the hunting grounds of a bygone generation.
You could be forgiven for thinking that you were out on the deep blue ocean!
But then again, perhaps this can only happen in “The Land of the Unexpected”.
Fish, particularly tilapia, thrive in this inland sea – which was made in the late 1980s and early 1990s – providing a readily available source of protein and cash for hundreds of villagers on its shores.
Taking a drive up there last Saturday with officers of the Coffee Industry Corporation was so refreshing from the hustle-and-bustle of Port Moresby and brought back so many unforgettable memories.
In 1984 and 1985, whilst a student at the nearby national high school at Aiyura – another of the great Highlands valleys – I was fortunate enough to have done some memorable bushwalks through this area, so I can visualise Arona the way it was before flooding.
Along the shores, there are cattle grazing and bees hard at work in the hives, in scenes of pastoral poetry.
It’s a joy for weary Highlands Highway travelers to stop at the PNG Power township of Yonki and gaze across this scenic lake, garnished by pine trees, to a magnificent backdrop of mountains.
The Arona Valley is also one of the more lush, fertile and verdant areas of the Highlands.
Vegetables and fruit grown in abundance, supplemented by readily-available protein from the lake.
Hence, in this land of milk and honey, you have a very healthy-looking population.
Arona, like the rest of the Highlands, has coffee trees aplenty, providing a steady source of much-needed income for the people.
Nearby is Kassam Pass, which provides panoramic, awe-inspiring views of the Ramu Valley of Madang Province and the Markham Valley of Morobe Province.
Kainantu, the “Mile-High Gateway to the Highlands”, is about 30 minutes drive away, while the Eastern Highlands capital of Goroka is about an hour and 30 minutes drive.
Lae is about two hours and 30 minutes drive, likewise, Madang.
The lake, together with the pine trees and rolling hills, was as pretty as a picture in the afternoon sun and brought back memories of when my late wife Hula and I would stop here and marvel at nature while driving between Goroka and Lae.
Arona Valley once inspired the colonial administration to consider it as the potential capital of PNG.
You can see why with a visit to this part of PNG

UK Foreign Office Minister to tour Papua New Guinea and Asia Pacific region

UK Foreign Office Minister, Chris Bryant (pictured), is making his first ministerial visit to the Asia-Pacific region from July 26 to August 7 visiting Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.

His visit to PNG on August 3-4 will include meetings with the Government of PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government, international partners, civil society and commerce.

During his official two-day visit he will also deliver a keynote speech to the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce entitled "The UK and PNG - Partners in a Globalised World", launch UK involvement in the Meri Seif Project which includes the unveiling of the British High Commission as a Meri Seif Ples.

He will also visit Anglicare Stop Aids, meet with Carteret Islanders for an update on their relocation programme and have a round table discussion on climate change with civil society representatives.

He will then travel from Port Moresby to Cairns on August 4 to represent the British Government in discussions at the annual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum.

 He will carry a message of support for Pacific Island states - particularly vulnerable to and amongst the least responsible for climate change - as they use their collective voice to urge developed nations to reduce global emissions at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

 The Minister will also discuss the situation in Fiji.

Chris Bryant said: "We're not about to underestimate the importance that PNG and Asia-Pacific voices are likely to have in Copenhagen in December.

“Low-lying Pacific Island nations can be influential in particular - each has a voice at this important summit and stand to suffer terribly from a changing climate.

“We will pull together with them and other like-minded nations.

“As a friend of Fiji too, the UK is deeply concerned about the damaging effects military rule is having on its people and I am especially worried about increasing reports of human rights abuses.

“I will be discussing with international partners at the Forum how we can work together best to help Fiji make an early return to civilian democracy."


PORT MORESBY: INTEROIL Corporation has commenced the drilling phase (“spudding”) of a new appraisal well in the Gulf Province.

The well, Antelope-2, is situated in the same region as the company’s three previous gas strikes, Antelope-1, Elk-1 and Elk-4.

All three wells are on InterOil’s Petroleum Prospecting License 238 site and have each returned gas flow rates of more than 100-million cubic feet per day.

In fact, Antelope 1 flowed at a record 380 million cubic feet per day on test.

The planned depth of this latest well is 2,550 metres and it is expected to take approximately 3 months to drill and evaluate.

The aim of the new well is to evaluate the southern extent of the field, to develop an increased understanding of hydrocarbon fluid contacts in the structure and further evaluate the potential for commercial quantities of oil.

InterOil Chief Executive Officer Phil Mulacek said the well will also confirm whether the extent of the structure is in keeping with the interpretation of the seismic data.

“It should enhance our understanding of the structure and its possible potential”.

“We anticipate working with our independent resource evaluator to review our resource estimates at the conclusion of drilling and testing of this well”, he said.

It is expected that gas from the Elk-Antelope structures would feed the proposed Liquid Niugini Gas project (of which InterOil is a foundation partner).

The proposed multi-billion Kina project would be a major windfall for the PNG economy and make a significant contribution to the nation’s GDP in years to come.


For further information and to arrange media interviews contact:

Susuve Laumaea

Senior Manager Media Relations InterOil Corporation

Ph: (675) 311 2796

Mobile: (675) 7201 3870



A series of conservation maps produced by WWF reveal for the first time the secret life of endangered turtles in the world’s most diverse marine region – the Coral Triangle.

The maps are the first to bring together the different life cycle movements, migration routes, foraging grounds, and nesting sites of green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles.

The maps were produced with the help of satellite tracking, and allow the identification and targeting of areas in urgent need of protection. They also highlight the inter-connectedness of marine habitats making a strong case for co-operation among Coral Triangle countries for the protection of shared marine resources in the region.

“We now have a better picture and more comprehensive understanding of where marine turtles feed, breed, and nest around the waters of the Coral Triangle,” said Matheus Halim, WWF Coral Triangle Turtle Strategy Leader.

Marine turtles play a crucial role in the delicate web of ocean life by maintaining the health of seagrass beds and coral reefs, which are home to other marine species such as shrimp, lobster, sharks, dugongs and innumerable reef fish.

The maps serve as a guideline for where to establish Marine Protected Areas. “The maps clearly identify which areas in this region need protection”, said Halim. “WWF is calling for the establishment of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that encompass these locations as part of the new six nations Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and for turtles to be made a priority under The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN).”

Apart from showing life cycle movements, the maps also indicate locations with high incidence of turtle bycatch in the region, value for identifying where fishing methods require modification.

The Coral Triangle, home to six of the seven known species of marine turtles in the world, stretches across six countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, covering the seas of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste.

Marine turtles are listed on the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species as either ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered.’ This means they are among the most threatened animals on the planet and face the real risk of extinction.

The loss of nesting beaches and feeding habitats due to pollution and coastal development, the illegal trade and consumption of turtle eggs, meat, and other derivatives for commercial purposes, and the accidental catch (or ‘bycatch’) of turtles in fishing gears are just some of the many threats facing marine turtles. 

Marine habitats in the Coral Triangle important to commercially-valuable fish species are being lost or degraded at an unprecedented rate. The last decade alone has seen a drastic decline in fish stocks due to inadequate fisheries management and widespread overuse of marine and coastal resources.

Establishing a network of MPAs can help alleviate the stress on marine and coastal resources and help build the marine environment’s resilience against other threats such as coral bleaching, caused by climate change.

“MPAs offer a range of benefits for fisheries, people, and the marine environment by providing safe havens for endangered species to thrive and for depleted fish stocks to recover,” says Dr Lida Pet-Soede, WWF Coral Triangle Programme Leader. “MPAs provide services to local communities who depend on the sea and its resources. Protecting these critical marine habitats means protecting the food and livelihood of millions people in the Coral Triangle region and beyond.”

The maps were produced by WWF in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation and other regional partners.

• The Coral Triangle is the most diverse marine region on the planet, matched in its importance to life on Earth only by the Amazon rainforest and the Congo basin. Defined by marine areas containing more than 500 species of reef-building coral, it covers around 6 million square kilometres of ocean across six countries in the Indo-Pacific – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.

• The Coral Triangle also directly sustains the lives of more than 120 million people and contains key spawning and nursery grounds for tuna, while healthy reef and coastal systems underpin a growing tourism sector. WWF is working with other NGOs, multilateral agencies and governments around the world to support conservation efforts in the Coral Triangle for the benefit of all.

• The Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food is a new six-nation initiative to secure the future of marine resources in the region. See for more information.

• The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) coordinates the regional response to illegal trade in protected species, which threatens biodiversity, endangers public health, and undermines economic wellbeing. See for more information.

• For information on Coral Triangle go to:

For further information:

Matheus Halim, WWF Coral Triangle Programme Turtle Strategy Leader, Tel: +62 21 576 1070 Email:

Lida Pet Soede, Leader, WWF Coral Triangle Programme Tel. +62 812 381 8742 Email:

Paolo P. Mangahas, Communications Manager, Tel: +60 3 7803 3772 Email:


Maps can be downloaded from the WWF website here


Who is the "State", "Crown"

Some thoughts.
 The Member for North Fly must be commended for the introduction of the Bill to  repeal the "State" to Resources Owners..
I fully support this Cause.  It has great spiritual implication in breaking down the great imperial oppression. of the colonial "covenants" signed in blood in the corridors of London (Kings/Queens) and European empires.
 Political will must be prayed for so that break  through comes.  So we see real wealth transfer...This is a spiritual fight against principalities and powers that rule the mid-airs and kingdoms.  These are ancient rulers.  they have to bow down..
Ps Bapa
 I support the issue now before the Parliament for the "Resources ownership" and the legal transfer from the strong wicket Colonial "State" which refers to the British Crown and its Empire days. 
The days when land and assets including oil, gold, gas was locked up by imperilists and "discovereiers", who claimed it for the "Crown" or the "King/Queen" of the Eurpoean empires in the last 200-300 years. 
 "State" is an age old colonial terminology that was written by clever and greedy who built the European Empires and kingdoms to possess, imprison and steal from inhabitants of the colonies.Since the British empire days, the "Crown", the "State" under British Laws, passed to PNG through the Australian law system, which PNG adopted has been engrained in the legal system, denying the basic rights to property, especially the land and its resources.  
The colonization process brought the colonies and nations into subjection and bondage, being denied their rights.  Thus ownership of any thing under six feet belongs to the "State". 
 This includes the our Seas and the vast Ocean bed.Who is the "State"?  Who is the "Crown"? 
Our lawyers can tell us all about this in details.  From a laymen's view, we have all along been doped to think this nation and its people, the resources are governed by the Papua New Guinean leaders. 
 We are not. 
The "State", represented by the Governor Generals Office, a puppet of the British empire, who have interest over all our resources and our mother land. 
So they can dictate who comes in at what terms and steal our resources. 
They own 90-95 and dig up every thing and leave us all buried in our vomit with alcohol and cheap services for a season. 
After 30 plus years of Independence our schools have good to worse, our health services have crumble to decay, our roads are riddled with pot holes all over the nation, our air-strips have closed down, our agriculture stations have had culivation of weed and grass. 
 And here we are talking about a Billion Dollar LNG project.
The "State", if it were "by the people for the people", our politicians would hear the pleas of our grass roots people now.  Futhermore they built the land law with  "99 years land lease agreement" to tie the land to the colonial masters, until all the land owners are dead and gone. 
By then, they declare its "Sate" property. 
The question again.
Who is the "State"? 
They got the prime land  under the 99 years land lease.
This is a strategic amendment the leaders of the nation will debate and do the right thing by voting for repealing the word "State" and repalcing it with resource owners. 
History needs to be re-written, so our future generation will honour and love us for.  Other-wise the blood of our future generations will be on the hands of our leaders and Law makers today.  Our grand sons and daughters of tomorrow will look back and curse the bones of the leaders of today, if the ultimate transfer and repealing of the words "State" is not repealed.

 Bapa Bomoteng

Concerned Citizen

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Samoa probes Papua New Guinea minister's transactions

Property financing came from offshore company


By Savea Sano Malifa


APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, July 26, 2009) – The Central Bank of Samoa (CBS) has instigated an inquiry into the local real estate financial transactions involving the Papua New Guinea Minister of Forests, Belden Namah.

In confirming this on Friday, CBS Governor Leasi Papali’i T. Scanlan said his office has advised the Attorney General’s Office to look into launching an investigation into whether money laundering had been involved in the transactions.

"After all," Leasi said, "we have to protect Samoa’s integrity."

He told the Samoa Observer they made their decision following the receipt of the relevant reports from the bank through which the funds involved in the transactions had been channeled.

"Normally under the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2007, all money remittances of over $30,000 should be reported to us by the banks," Leasi explained. "These remittances are listed in what is known as the banks’ Suspicious Transaction Report (STR), and if they are new clients we ask more questions. I can now confirm that from the STR reports the funds were not from individuals but were from a company offshore. We have now asked the local bank involved to go back to the people they’d received the funds from and find out if they were laundered funds or not. "The onus is on the bank to find out (the details.)"

Leasi said the CBS was undertaking its "due diligence" responsibilities and it expected all local banks to undertake theirs.

"If there is suspicion arising from any banking transaction," he said, "we advise the Attorney General’s Office to look further into (the matter). After all, we have to protect Samoa’s integrity."

On 15 July, the Samoa Observer reported that Mr Namah was involved in the purchases of certain real estate properties around Apia amounting to about 5 million tala [US$1.9 million]

He had apparently helped in the negotiations for the purchase of properties including:

  • Chan Chui Co Ltd on Taufusi Road for more than 2 million tala
  • A two-storey home at Papaloloa for 1.49 million tala
  • A Vaitele property for 1.8 million tala.

According to the previous owner of the Papaloloa property Mrs Freda Andrews, Mr Namah came with his partner to her home. "She fell in love with the house and they bought it." She said when Mr Namah came to their home they knew nothing about him.

"We don’t know anything about him," she said. "The partner fell in love with the house and they bought it."

Although the buyers gave a "10 per cent deposit" her husband was "so persistent" that soon afterwards they were paid in full.

"We’ve got our money," she said, which they had since used to "renovate" another property they owned.

As for the cost of "more than $2 million" for Chan Chui Co Ltd, this was confirmed by Mr Namah’s lawyer in Samoa, Papali’i Tologata Siaki Tuala, during a phone interview.

But the owner of the Vaitele property, Mr Ray Bancroft, was not happy when he was asked for a comment then. He said he had been given a deposit of $200,000 and was promised the rest of the money would be paid by a certain time.

However when the Observer talked to him before the story was published, the balance had still not been paid. At that time, Mr Bancroft was not impressed, saying he had put his furniture in the sale out of trust.

"The furniture alone is worth $100, 000," he revealed. "If I’d known there was to be a problem, I would have put the house back on the market."

Mr Bancroft said he had made it clear to Mr Namah he wanted to sell the property, which was why he had allowed his furniture to be part of the sale.

Asked for a comment at that time, Papali’i said Mr Bancroft had nothing to worry about.

"(The deal) will be finalised as soon as possible," he said.

He also assured Mr Bancroft his client "is just waiting for all the funds to arrive."

Besides, he said the agreement allowed Mr Bancroft "to keep most of the $200, 00 deposit" if the deal fell through.

Later when the story about Mr Namah’s alleged transactions was published in the Samoa Observer, it was picked up by PNG’s The National newspaper which also published it. Mr Namah later told parliament that the reporters "should go back to school."

The National’s story reported that Mr Namah’s lawyer Papali’i threatened to sue the Samoa Observer over the report.

"Mr Namah’s association with these property investments has been with and through his local partner and as the contact for his business partner abroad."

Later on 16 July 2009, Papali’i sent a letter to Samoa Observer’s editor in chief threatening to sue the paper.

The letter also asked to "publish an immediate correction and apology to Mr Namah …"

That letter in full is in letters to the editor section with this newspaper’s response.


Samoa Observer:

Copyright © 2009 Samoa Observer. All Rights Reserved




An untitled poem

Not so long ago

We had it all;

Didn't we?


You carried my smile

You had my love

In the palm of your hand;

Our hearts were one.


In a rush of blood;

Like a stroke of a paintbrush

the colours of the rainbow

From brightness and vibrance of love


To the pales of pain

Echos of despair


I now read between the lines

So much is said, without an utter.

Your eyes; look distant

Your body language,

Tone of your voice

Your hands are hard and cold

I breathe heavy, shunned and wounded.


I can't undo the damage caused

But I know for sure

I want you even though I betrayed you.

Do tell me, your heart is still mine

Soothe me with your tender touch

Make sense of my madness.

I am sure, I found out

You are the one I want.



If I could

I'd make it alright

And I'd never hurt you

By hurting you, the one I love

I tore down my sanctuary

I fell apart at the seam.

Apap wows them to Jiwaka land

Apap ‘talking’ to his master Palme Pinge
Like the storybook Long John Silver and his parrot Captain Flint…Palme Pinge and Apap
Apap spreads his wings as his sign of saying “hello” to visitors to his Wahgi Valley abode

In Robert Louis Stevenson's story Treasure Island, the one-legged pirate Long John Silver had a parrot which cried "Pieces of eight".
The parrot's name was Captain Flint.
Like Captain Flint, a 21-year-old white cockatoo named Apap (uncle) is a big hit with visitors to his home at Purigona base camp in the Wahgi Valley of the new Jiwaka province.
Apap happily walks around saying “hello” to everyone and flapping his wings as his sign of shaking hands.
According to Apap’s ‘parents’, agriculture officers Palme and Angela Pinge, the bird was part of a bride price payment in Nov 1988 and was given to them.
Apap has since become like a child to them and lives, eats and talks with the family at their picturesque countryside home in the great Wahgi Valley.
“He was part of a bride price payment from Gumine in the Simbu province,” Mr Pinge told me.
“He was given to us in Nov 1988.
“He’s been with us for 21 years now.”
During a meeting of coffee extension officers at his place, Apap happily walked around saying “hello”, flapping his wings and being the true host.
According to Wikipedia, the white cockatoo can live up to, and perhaps beyond, 80 years in age, meaning life has just begun for Apap at a time when the new Jiwaka province is about to be formed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The best little coffee shop in Papua New Guinea

CIC officers Bob Kora (left) and Fabian Api enjoy premium Kongo coffee at Chuave, Simbu province
Shopkeeper Moses Mori works the espresso machine at the Kongo Coffee Shop
Highly quality coffee and other goods on sale at the least-expected place along the Highlands Highway

Evening at Chuave, Simbu province, on Wednesday, July 22.
It’s freezing cold after the descent of Daulo Pass bordering Eastern Highlands and Simbu provinces.
The driver, Coffee Industry Corporation extension services manager Fabian Api, suggests that we stop for a cup of coffee.
And it wasn’t the normal, cheap, instant coffee you can buy anywhere along the Highlands Highway but high quality coffee you can find in the best coffee shops in the world such as Starbucks.
An espresso machine offers you cappuccino and latte that would put major international hotels in Port Moresby to shame.
All served in high quality plastic cups a’la Starbucks.
Other products at this unique shop include high grade Kongo Coffee, mobile phones, top-ups, souvenir videos and cups, hard-boiled eggs and freshly-baked scones.
All this somewhere along the Highlands Highway, in the least-expected place.
Welcome to the Kongo Coffee Shop, Chuave.
Mr Api, CIC officer Bob Kora and I enjoy premium Kongo coffee and hot scones alfresco on this cool July evening.
“We opened in April last year,” shopkeeper Moses Mori tells me.
“We sell Elimbari, Karimui, Mt Wilhelm and Simbu brands of coffee.
“We have a lot of customers and business is very good.
“We have a lot of customers, including expatriates.
“We’re open 24 hours a day.
“A medium cup sells for K2 and a large cup sells for K3.
“There was a customer from Germany, who couldn’t believe the taste of our coffee.
“He said, ‘this is the best coffee in the world’.”
And I couldn’t agree more!

Poor infrastructure plagues Obura-Wonenara

Coffee Industry Corporation extension manager Fabian Api (left) talks with Obura-Wonenara coffee growers near Kassam Pass last Saturday
Obura-Wonenara coffee growers at Kassam last Saturday

The age-old problem of lack of infrastructure development in the Obura-Wonenara area of Eastern Highlands province continues to plague its coffee growers.
Local leaders, farmers and Coffee Industry Corporation extension officers raised this concern at Kassam in EHP last Saturday to discuss CIC’s new District by District Coffee Rehabilitation Programme.
Obura-Wonenara is one of the coffee troves of Papua New Guinea, however, much of this never gets to market and exported because of poor to nil infrastructure.
It is located north-west of Kainantu and shares political boundaries with Markham, Aseki and Menyamya areas of Morobe province.
Obura-Wonenara covers three local level governments: Tairora-Gadsup, Yelia and Lamari.
Of the three LLGs, Yelia and Lamari are inaccessible by road, being only reachable by air.
Their coffee is airfreighted by Missionary Aviation Fellowship, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Seventh Day Adventist Aviation and New Tribes Aviation, however, this only represents a drop in the ocean for Obura-Wonenara’s coffee production.
As a result, CIC’s new rehabilitation programme is only being focused on Tairora-Gadsup while Yelia and Lamari will have to wait to see their day in the sun.
But even the people of Tairora-Gadsup have problems, according to Anio Koi, a farmer from Abiara village.
“Our concern is that the government must back up our grower aspirations,” he said.
“We have major infrastructure problems such as roads and bridges.
“Coffee can’t come out to market.
“Coffee can stay up to one year or more before being brought to market.
“This root of the problem is no roads.”
Tairora-Gadsup LLG president Maria Seiya and CIC extension officer Anton Nigiramu concurred.
“One LLG is only accessible by air,” Mrs Seiya said.
“One LLG has problems with roads.
“One LLG is alright.”
Mr Nigiramu reported that the rehabilitation programme was picking up momentum despite being initially focused on Tairora-Gadsup.
“The major problem here is that people can’t access markets because of poor infrastructure.”
“They are only accessible by air.
“Their produce comes through MAF and other third-level airlines.”
There is, however, a silver lining to the dark cloud.
“Our Obura-Wonenara MP, John Boito, is trying to fix up the deteriorating infrastructure,” Mr Nigiramu said.
“Most coffee production comes from Marawaka.
“There is also a lot of production in Tairora-Gadsup.
“If we can penetrate Lamari and Yelia LLGs, our production will shoot up.
“We are linking up with district administration, division of primary industry staff, church groups and others in the area.”

Jiwaka province to be powered by coffee

A farmer shows a rehabilitated coffee tree in the Wahgi Valley of Western Highlands
Coffee Industry Corporation extension officers Joe Alu (right) and Fabian Api talk to contracted rehabilitation service providers in the Wahgi Valley
Coffee farmer John Etape from Tari in the Southern Highlands province digging a drain at his garden at Avi in the Wahgi Valley of Western Highlands province

Agriculture and in particular coffee is set to boom in the newly-created Jiwaka province in 2012.
All this, however, will be at the expense of the rest of Western Highlands as Jiwaka – and in particular the great Wahgi valley – single-handedly produces the bulk of Papua New Guinea coffee, tea and fresh vegetables.
Jiwaka – short for Jimi, Wahgi and Kambia - agriculture and coffee leaders made this clear during a meeting at Purigona base camp in the Wahgi Valley to discuss the Coffee Industry Corporation’s ground-breaking District by District Coffee Rehabilitation Programme.
The three areas – which currently have the three electorates of Anglimp-South Wahgi, North Wahgi and Jimi – together have arguably the most fertile and productive agricultural land in PNG.
Such has been the interest in the rehabilitation programme - akin to the coffee rust days of the Coffee Development Agency in the mid to late 1980s – with already 5,000 farmers signing up to join and hundreds more lining up.
Coffee veteran, former CIC board member, agriculture lecturer and senior CIC extension manager James Koimo – now spearheading coffee and agriculture development in Jiwaka – said the future of the new province looked very bright with a very strong agricultural base.
“People (in Jiwaka) have got to realise that they depend on coffee for their economic independence, nothing else,” he affirmed.
“The coffee rehabilitation programme is very good.
“The project is timely with the establishment of Jiwaka province.
“Jiwaka will boom.
“And it will happen.
“We want to see the owner of the coffee trees go into grower groups and own processing facilities, own export facilities.
“We will completely cut out the middlemen.
“Currently, the people are 50/50.
“The knowledge gap is still there.
“The approach that CIC is taking is very good.
“In about 11/2 years, we will see the fruits of our labour.
“We want to form an interim administration for the new Jiwaka province.
“Next week, people will come to my village Nondugl, to discuss this.
“We will work closely with out politicians.
“We must make this project a success for other provinces to follow.
“Look at the success of the cherry ban.
“The timing is very right for this new province.
“Talk with your councilors.
“Councillors can pass resolutions and hand them on to the MP.
“In 18 months, come back and see how the project is going.
“People must go back to the land because times are tough.
“About 75% of Western Highlands coffee is from Jiwaka.
“We have been talking about Jiwaka province since 1971.
“It took us 38 years to get this province.”
Anglimp –South Wahgi rural development officer and Ngeneka tribe leader Pino Palme, who has been recruited as a service provider by CIC to train farmers, concurred with Mr Koimo.
“There are no major industries in Jiwaka like other provinces,” he said.
“We entirely depend on coffee.
“Our backbone will be coffee.
“We want at lest 25% of all Jiwaka funding to be allocated to coffee so that we can reap the benefits come 2012.
“I believe this District by District Rehabilitation Programme will be a major project which will impact on the lives of our people.
“When we become a separate province, we will be already financially independent.
“I want all Jiwaka people to be involved in this project.
“I see that coffee has more power.
“Jiwaka leaders should pour more money into CIC to help the people.
“They are talking about vegetables, but where’s the depot?
“So we should focus on coffee.”

Simbu declares war on alcohol, drugs and gambling

A street of Kundiawa in the morning. It later in the day becomes filled with all manner of people including hombrew and drug users
‘Enough is enough!’...Fed-up Kundiawa-Gembogl leaders who have declared all out war on alcohol, drugs and gambling

Village elders in the Kundiawa-Gembogl area of Simbu province have declared war on alcohol, drugs and gambling.
This follows hot on the heels of Kundiawa-Gembogl’s zero-tolerance of these scourges of society in Simbu, the Highlands and all of Papua New Guinea.
Kundiawa-Gembogl is fast becoming a model for the rest of PNG with one of the best community policing systems in the country which has seen a drastic drop in law and order problems in the Simbu capital.
The village elders made their individual declarations at a meeting with Coffee Industry Corporation officers in Kundiawa last Friday to introduce them to introduce them to CIC’s revolutionary new District by District Coffee Rehabilitation Programme.
CIC officer Brian Kuglame, who led discussions at the meeting, stressed that PNG had to do way with negative impediments such as alcohol (particularly homebrew), marijuana and gambling (particularly card) if it was to move forward.
The great Highlands coffee industry has suffered tremendously because of alcohol, drugs and gambling, as it is those addicted to these who steal cherries and sell to feed their habits.
Quality time which could be productively spent in the coffee garden is instead wasted on drinking, smoking drugs and playing cards.
Sale of coffee cherries has since been outlawed in PNG with a hefty fine of K1, 000 or 18 months jail for those who break the law.
“We have to go back and work the land,” Mr Kuglame asserted.
Mandumi village councilor John Nuai told of the difficulties he faced in encouraging young people in his ward to stop drinking homebrew, using marijuana and gambling.
“I try my best to discourage them from these bad habits but it is very hard to convince our young people,” he said.
“One of those in my area who is involved in production of steam (homebrew) is the deputy headmaster of a nearby school, and I find it very hard to talk with him.
“Dances are also a major cause of social problems and contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS.”
Mount Wilhelm village elder Philip Kondaygl, 71, said after the meeting that Simbu had suffered greatly because of alcohol, drugs and gambling.
“Playing cards is now a major problem in Simbu and is a waste of time,” he said.
“This time could be better spent in the coffee garden.
“Home brew and marijuana must also be stopped.
“We must teach our young people to go back to the land and there will be change.”
The elders agreed to walk throughout Kundiawa-Gembogl to discourage young people from bad habits and encourage them into productive activities such as CIC’s new coffee rehabilitation programme.

Fuzzy Wuzzy recognition 'too little, too late'- ABC Australia


The subject of the "Angels'" place in history and the rewards they may deserve and may or may not have received is fully canvassed in the recent ABC program and its massive response, and I just want to add the following.

The invasion of the Japanese into what is now PNG was one prong of the overall policy of subjugation of all of Australasia to the will and the economic benefit of the Japanese nation under the Emperor and the proposed " Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere."

We know just how prosperous and well-treated the other invaded nations, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia etc.. all became under the Japanese regime. So it is unfortunate that the myth that  PNG was "forced into a war not of its own making" is widespread. PNG was, even if people were not widely-aware of it, defending itself  as much as Australia and other Pacific nations from a fate very different from that which awaited PNG under the colonial rule which existed prior to the arrival of the Japanese.

Secondly,the Australian RSL and the Friends of the Kokoda Trail and those who make a living from guided tours to this widely-publicised, new middle-class ikon seem not to be aware that the labour force which we now call the "Angels"- courtesy of a famous poem published in "Australian Womens' Weekly" at the time,-were conscripts, taken from villages all over coastal and inland Papua, except for the then-uncontrolled Southern Highland District. Thus there is no logic in believing that the development of the tourist-trade associated with the Kokoda Track is in itself a worthy reward for the "Angels" and their descendants. Whilst the people of the villages along the Track and of all the villages of the then Northern District, both "davara" and "gunika" bore the brunt of the invasion and subsequent fighting, the majority of the "Angels" were drawn from across the breadth of the then Territory of Papua

 In 1942, the command in Port Moresby instructed its agents, the civilian Resident Magistrates in charge of each of the administrative Districts of the Territory of Papua to send Patrol Officers out to forcefully recruit, under threat of sentence of imprisonment, all able-bodied males of ages judged by the recruiting officer as being between 18 and 40. These recruits were accompanied by police to the nearest available Medical Officer who checked them for fitness. All those who passed were then signed on for service as labourers and sent off to Port Moresby. Men from west of Daru right around through Goaribari and Purari, Orokolo, Kerema, Mekeo, Moresby,Abau and all through Mailu, Milne Bay, East Cape, Gosiago,the eastern islands and the Northern District were conscripted to do the will of the Army. The only way out was to desert, and this was difficult for those whose homes lay at any distance from the borders of Central. A few did run away, but not very many. These men were conscripts, just like the young, white "Chokkoes" they initially carried for and supported, and whilst perhaps unknowingly at first, nevertheless they were serving the interest of their own land and people in the arduous and dangerous work many of them were involved in.

Whilst the remaining "Angels" may justifiably be said to deserve no less a material reward than that applied in the case of those who served in the PIB and the Police during the war, a reward which is well within the ability of a grateful PNG to bestow upon them, is it not enough in the way of atonement for present-day PNG and the "Angels'" direct and indirect descendants that nearly fifteen billions of Australian dollars have been spent on the development of PNG since 1945? And that despite occasional hiccups, the relationship remains a firm and friendly one, a relationship nowadays of equals as opposed to the didactic and patronising one of the days of the Admin., and exclusive social clubs?

Australian dollars are still being spent, today, towards the social and economic development of a land, once a host of rival tribes, now a young, modern nation-state with its own chosen constitution, its own laws and its own internal and foreign policies.

Surely Australia has honoured – ( and so far as it is possible to tell, will continue to honour)- by these commitments to the people, any debt it may owe on account of the "Angels."




Coffee embarks on massive rehabilitation programme

Coffee Industry Corporation chief executive officer Ricky Mitio (left) and his extension manager Fabian Api check out tools to be distributed to farmers at the Mukito Agricultural Supplies store in Goroka on Saturday
Project billboard in Kundiawa, Simbu province
A garden being rehabilitated in the Wahgi Valley under the CIC’s coffee rehabilitation programme

Bags of coffee being loaded on to a truck in Goroka in preparation for export
The Coffee Industry Corporation has embarked on a revolutionary and ambitious plan to prop up coffee production in Papua New Guinea.
The National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP) - through its export driven, economic recovery and rural economic empowerment policy framework - has financed the District By District Village Coffee Rehabilitation Program (DBDVCRP) as a pilot phase amongst selected districts.
It is reminiscent of the Coffee Development Agency’s aggressive coffee rust campaign in the mid 1980s spearheaded by then Prime Minister Paias Wing
I visited the three selected districts of Anglimp-South Wahgi in Western Highlands, Kundiawa-Gembogl in Simbu and Obura-Wonenara in Eastern Highlands to witness the programme in motion.
CIC chief executive officer Ricky Mitio – the mastermind of the programme - visited two nationally-owned hardware shops in Goroka last Saturday and paid more than K350, 000 for tools to kick start the programme.
Another K300, 000 s expected to be paid this week,
The programme, under the theme “Building the Economy through Coffee”, is considered crucial given the declining industry trend.
The program complements national government policy initiatives and that of the CIC’s new strategic plan that embarks on increasing coffee production and quality.
The District by District Coffee Rehabilitation Program and the nursery and expansion programmes including those undertakings by private entities are viewed as economic resilient strategies directly contributing to addressing the coffee industry plan.
The coffee industry is very mindful and its preference to taken on the challenges aggressively depicts a role model for change towards positive economic growth and nation building.
Public awareness has been conducted by CIC in the recent past months to inform the general public and the coffee growers of the unbearable situation PNG as a nation and its people have encountered to date.
“CIC has adopted a paradigm shift in its development strategies to add value to coffee as an important cash crop in rural communities,” Mr Mitio told me in Goroka.
“I prepared the concept of District by District Coffee Rehabilitation Programme to attract government attention to fund rehabilitation of village coffee plants, which have reached senile age and was affecting production output, as revealed by the decline in production trend.
“We have selected one district in each of the three main coffee-producing provinces of Eastern Highlands, Simbu and Western Highlands.
“In these pilot districts, we have partnerships with the district administration, under the government’s district support improvement programme (DSIP), to work with provincial divisions of primary industry, non-government organisations and other service providers to assist us in retraining all farmers in better coffee husbandry methods.
“This will be a unique experience in that, for the second time after the Coffee Development Agency era, CIC is able to visit farmers again to manipulate their coffee trees to respond with better yields.
“This is the thing in a nutshell.
“It’s a unique programme and we want to transform the rural community into viable self-sustaining communities.
“We want to approach rural communities in a holistic manner where we are not only advising them about the cash economy, but we are also networking with law and order agencies, health and hygiene, and also spiritual.
“We realised that coffee money was not being used wisely for health, school fees, good homes and a stable life, among others.
“It’s an approach that we have not used before.
“We are having an economic revolution in the country with the LNG project; however, the question is whether this money will benefit the rural community and the so-called ‘landowners’?
“Part of this money should be siphoned into the rural community.
“We want to offer hope to our people.”
Coffee remains a major employer in the rural sector and a potential contributor towards the nation’s economy in terms of domestic and foreign reserves.
Coffee accounts for over 43% of PNG’s total agriculture export earning and over 10% from all other exports including minerals.
Its importance is not only signifies from economic returns; however provides direct employment at the informal sector accommodating larger proportions of the nation’s population by 2.5m people or 397,000 households.
The coffee industry was a major factor to influence political independence, continues to induce socio-economic growth, human skills and spiritual development.
PNG export volume has maintained to one million bags on average over the last 50 years and progressively remain stagnant or depicts a declining trend in recent past years. Declining trend attributed by both internal and external factors however, are of critical concerns to the industry, the economy and wellbeing of the actors along the value chain. The small holder sectors are the major players in the industry that accounts for over 85% or 700,000 to 800,000 green bean bags of the total annual export volume.
Commercial estate sectors comprises of both blocks and plantations have historically contributed immensely in relation to quality are diminishing rapidly compounded by common issues of managerial inabilities, lawlessness, land tenure to name a few.