Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ramu NiCo pursuing nickel project despite lawsuit

DESPITE a court injunction against the proposed deep-sea tailing system for the Ramu nickel project, project owner Ramu NiCo has decided to pursue other construction activities at the mining and refining sites.
The full-swing construction activities at the two sites are being bank-rolled by Chinese funds, which already spent more than US$1.2 billion (K3.3 billion).
Ramu Nico president Madam Luo Shu told reporters yesterday the National Court Injunction obtained by the Basamuk Bay landowners has not stalled activities at the mine site, save for the deep-sea tailing system.
With the mine being potentially the biggest project after the Bougainville copper mine or the Ok Tedi Mine, “Ramu NiCo will not let down its stakeholders, especially the National Government, project partners and the community at large”, she said.
“It’s a commitment we have with our stakeholders and the people of Papua New Guinea,” Luo said.
Highlands Pacific’s managing director John Gooding said: “Ramu nickel project is a significant project as it would be the first time for PNG to export nickel and cobalt once it begins production.”
It had the potential to have a greater impact on the country’s economy, he said.
Gooding also said Papua New Guineans could own up to 35% of the company by buying stakes through respective holdings companies.
Luo said up to the end of last year, the aggregated local procurement value involving supplies and provisions was in excess of K200 million, while spin-off businesses worth K80 million had been contracted to landowner companies.
Furthermore, more than K 5.1 million was paid to landowners as environmental and land compensation.

Tuna cannery suspends 400

ABOUT 400 workers of fish processing company, RD Tuna Cannery in Madang have been suspended by the company.
The action by the company followed a strike on July 22 over the minimum wage rate of K2.29 an hour which, the workers claimed, the company had not honoured.
RD Tuna Cannery’s failure to apply the minimum wage, which came into effect this year, did not go down well with the disputing members of the workforce who opted for industrial action.
Yesterday, the company confirmed that 400 production workers had been placed on preventive suspension.
It said that on July 22 the production workers on night shift just sat down and refused to work despite explanation and pleas of the management to report to work.
“As a result of their mass action, we sustained losses,” RD Tuna Cannery said in a statement, adding the reason of the mass action was the delayed implementation of the new K2.29 an hour minimum wage rate.
“In compliance with the Minimum Wages Board Determination, RD Tuna Cannery has implemented the rate of K1.14 per hour and 26 weeks later, RD implemented the mandated rate of K1.72 per hour.
“However, on the implementation of the K2.29, RD opted to exercise a provision in the determination given to sector/employers with provision for partial wage payment to include payments for housing,   transport assistance etc.”
RD Tuna Cannery said that on Oct 12 last year, it filed a position paper with the director of the National Tripartite Consultative Council seeking, among others, a consideration as “cash wage” the cost of transportation which RD spends to pick up and drop off the workers which was about K120,000 a fortnight or K3 million a year and the cost of meals which RD  provides  the workers at K3 a head a meal.
It said that although the NTCC acknowledged receiving the position paper, it failed to notify the cannery about the status of its claim within 26 weeks as required in the determination.
“As a result of this delay the workers resorted to this industrial action,” RD Tuna Cannery said.
“Just like the implementation of K1.14 and the K1.72, RD has committed to comply with whatever the decision of NTCC on our petition.”
In a meeting between the RD Tuna Cannery management and the Labour Department, the labour provincial officer in Madang declared that the workers did not comply with the requirements of conducting a legal strike under the PNG labour laws and regulations and considered their strike action to be illegal.
 RD currently employs about 1,000 workers in the production area.  With the suspension of a portion of its workforce, RD is taking alternative measures to ensure that operations were not hampered.

K25 million Chinese grant for Ramu road

By PATRICK TALU, The National 
THE Chinese government yesterday announced a K25 million grant for the construction of a 20km public road in the vicinity of the Ramu nickel project in Madang.
The fund was made available at the request of the Ramu nickel and cobalt project developer Ramu NiCo.
Ramu NiCo president Luo Shu told a Port Moresby media conference that the road would be built from the Usino junction to Yamagi in the Ramu project’s Kurumbukari mining area.
“I am proud to announce the additional commitment Ramu NiCo has negotiated from the Chinese government for the benefit of the people of the project area,” Luo said.
“This grant is an indication of China’s commitment to the project and to PNG and is welcomed by the project owners.
“We look forward to working in close cooperation with all Madang citizens in promoting the sustainable development of this province’s significant natural wealth.
“We want to ensure that the people enjoy the benefits brought about by the project.”
Luo said China viewed Papua New Guinea as a place of opportunity and its commitment to invest remained paramount.
She expects construction to start as soon the government signed the necessary papers.
The road is catered for in the current memorandum of agreement Ramu NiCo signed with the national and provincial governments and the resource owners and the project developer.

Northern zone picks 23-man team

A STRONG Northern zone team has been selected to take part in the 2010 rugby league zone championship.
The 23-man team including three shadow players, was selected during the Northern zone trials held in Lae last weekend.
Six teams from the nine affiliated centres in the northern region including Kainantu in Eastern Highlands, took part in the trials.
Popondetta, Wewak and Bulolo did not send teams but those who took part included Lae, Kainantu, Madang, Wau, Ramu and Tumerizah.
The Northern zone team: Alfie Nema, Desmond Lavong, Don-Don Kari, Isaac Tirim, Kency Komea, Kilion Nagan, Mark Mexico, Peter John (Lae), Ezekiel Roka, Jack Taraika, Junior Marava, Kembol Keikipae, Roger Koyomu (Madang), Jack Samson (Wau), Jorden Bluff, Willie Mark, Willie Sam (Ramu), Kivis Nosime (Tumerizah), Malum Weri and   Willie John (Kainantu). Shadow players are: Michael Teke (Wau), Alphie Mike (Madang) and Dogma John (Kainantu) while the team coach is Ian Yopa.
 Madang takes up the trainer job. Team manager is Ramu's Benny Gambu.
According to rugby league development officer, Steve Malum, camping time for the team and the venue for the national zone championship are yet to be set.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lae wins back some lost pride

By HAIVETA KIVIA, Post Courier
LAE won back some lost pride by winning the Northern Zone rugby league championship, beating Madang 22-4 in the finals on Sunday at the Lae rugby league ground.
The U19 Northern Zone title was a Kainantu District affair, when little known Tomerizah rugby league upstaged their more fancied opponents to lock horns with their Kainantu cousins in the final.
But their effort to win the title on their debut at the zone level was stalled by Kainantu 14-4.
In the senior finals, Lae which is the leading rugby league affiliate of the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League in the Northern Zone, brought pride back to the league.
In recent years, Lae has played second fiddle to much smaller leagues like Ramu, Madang and Kainantu for the zone title.
Over the weekend, a new team made up of youngsters and experienced hands made sure the title was brought back from Ramu sugar township of Gusap to the Morobe capital.
Ramu were the title holders but were bundled out in the semi-final by Lae.
Lae began its title campaign in the finals on a bright note, with its forwards led by skipper Killon Nagan, Desmond Lavong, Daniel Mukale and rake Peter John taking play deep into the Madang territory.
The ball was swung from the left side of the field to the right and a two-man overlap was created and five- eighth Mark Mexico sent centre Trim Isaac in for the first of his two tries.
Mexico was a menace in the Madang defence every time he had the ball, setting up play and making big metres up the middle.
In fact the Lae right side attack led by Isaac and winger Saifa Allan fed off Mexico very well and came up with all of the side’s four tries. Allan also scored a double.
Fullback Dondon Kari converted two of the tries while halfback Alfie Nime converted one.
Saifa was next in for the first of his two tries when he raced down the flanks and stepped in past the Madang defence to score under the uprights and Kari converted to lead 10-0.

Court finds man guilty of double murder

By JULIA DAIA BORE, The National
THE National Court in Madang has found one Seth Ujan Talil, who was indicted on two counts of wilful murder under section 299(1) of the Criminal Code, to be guilty on both counts.
The court however, reserved its decision to a later date following submissions on sentence by the lawyers from both sides.
Justice David Cannings, handed down the decision last Thursday, saying Talil was charged with the wilful murder of two brothers, Gunai Dodo and Gulali Dodo, at a mediation gathering at Gonoa village in the Madang district on Jan 19, 2006.
Cannings said: “I consider that the state has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had a common intention with other persons – evidenced by the group attack and the severity of the wounds suffered by the deceased – to carry out the killing on those present at the gathering who were suspected of killing a schoolgirl.”
The judge said there was no evidence that the accused at any stage withdrew from the attack.
Talil had also denied having any intention of killing anyone at the gathering.
However, Cannings said there was  no evidence in any way that proved he withdrew from the intention of killing the suspects.
He said: “All elements of section 8 (of the Criminal Code) have been established by the state. The accused is, therefore, deemed to have committed the offences of wilful murder.”
Cannings said the state relied on sections 7 and 8 of the Criminal Code to argue that the accused should be seen to have committed the offence in respect to each of the deceased.

Maintain excellent performance, cops told

 By ZACHERY PER, The National 
POLICE officers engaged to provide security for PNG Power’s Ramu hydro-scheme in Yonki in Eastern Highland’ Obura-Wonenara were urged to maintain their excellent performance.
Eastern Highlands police commander Chief Supt Augustine Wampe personally visited his officers in Yonki last week to provide the encouragement following adequate security for the plant.
“They are placed in a position to protect an important asset of the State which supplies electricity for the entire highlands region with Momase’s Morobe and Madang provinces.
“Please maintain your current high level of performance. You are here to promote and provide security not only for the plant but also PNG Power employees and their families,” Wampe said.
He lauded them for the exceptional performance that ensured no major disruptions to the installation.
Wampe, however, told his men not to leave Yonki unnecessarily and without permission from the ground commander.
“If you want to operate at your own accord, you are in the wrong place. You will be shipped out if you disobey orders and protocols,” he warned his officers.
Security to protect PNG Power’s installations in Yonki were stepped up after disgruntled Arona Valley landowners threatened to disrupt operations at the plant over compensation claims.

College stages peaceful march against admin

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
MADANG Technical College students staged a peaceful protest yesterday against their principal and his administration over alleged gross financial maladministration.
Yesterday’s classes were suspended until today.
The student representative council (SRC) president Eddie Bena and about 50 students marched to the administration building carrying placards.
Two of the many placards read: YALE – Your Administration Lack Equality and participation. Others said “GET OUT” and “TIME’S UP GET OUT!”
They demanded principal Ephraim Yalebaguyau to hand over the college bus and office keys and move out.
After much shouts of support, the controlled crowd met the college’s
board of governors who took an hour to turn up.
Momase regional adviser for Teachers Service Commission Joseph Oyoumb was not given the petition.
The students maintained their stand in personally handing the petition to Education secretary Joseph Pagelio.
SRC vice-president Charles Kataka said the petition contained overdue and outstanding administrative issues, among others, which Yalebaguyau failed to address during his 10-year tenure.
Oyoumb told the students the secretary was on an overseas trip.
The students were then told to “give in” and present their petition or “have a long wait” for his return.
The college board of governors and student representatives convened an urgent meeting after lunch following a forum.
The students complained there was insufficient or no money in the school’s account when students went to get school fee refunds, water and power bills were unpaid resulting in a month-long blackout and water was cut last semester and students had buns three times a day.
“Everything we have is outdated and old,” second year furniture timber trade student, Ekonson Mairiki, said when highlighting the school’s negligence, as well as the lack of maintenance to existing buildings, purchase of machinery and tools for trade departments.
The charred skeleton of the March fire to the male dormitory stood as evidence of the administration’s negligence.
Mairiki said the affected students were paid only K300 as insurance.
School chairman Alex Paira said: “We are aware of what is going on.
“Deputy chairman Francis Galip and I are now signing all the cheques.
“It is unfortunate but an interim arrangement will be made as soon as possible,” he said.
Other allegations were discussed at the board of governors meeting.

Free medical for Usino-Bundi

Picture, courtesy of: The National

MORE than 2,000 people from Kurumbukari in the Usino-Bundi district of Madang have received free medical treatment and medical check, courtesy of a joint effort by Ramu NiCo and a district medical team.
In the one-week health extension programme on July 12-17, the medical team  visited Ramu project impacted villages of Enekuai, Sibai, Danagari, KBK camp, Banu, Ganani and Ramu project SML areas, all in Kurumbukari.
The medical team comprised two local medical doctors and two nurses from Usino hospital, KBK hospital and Walium health centre accompanied by Dr Yang Yan from Ramu NiCo and Dr Wu Yougen from contractor MCC Shijiu.
They treated more than 2,000 villages with skin diseases and malaria as well as conducting awareness on tuberculosis, cholera, high blood pressure, breast feeding, and malaria and birth control issues.
The team was equipped with posters, portable tables and desks, examination beds and other medical facilities and conducted medical examination and treated or prescribed applicable medication and treatment.
KBK mining department under Ramu NiCo project places great importance towards medical awareness and treatment for the local communities.
The idea to carry out the program came after a long discussion between general-manager of mining department Deng Hengbo and his deputy Mei Ming and Guo Deming.
Ramu NiCo executive vice-president Gu Yuxiang also directed other related departments to support the programme.
Ramu NiCo community affairs organised the programme with transport, medicine, allowances and food throughout the week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Madang ready for Kimbe 7s meet

By Jeffery Elapa, The National
MADANG’s Mad Gauns have arrived in Kimbe, West New Britain.
They are hoping to make an impact in the Kimbe rugby union sevens tournament which starts this weekend.
Madang’s Paul Joseph said from Kimbe that his boys had secured a sponsorship from the Madang  government and other business houses in town.
Sigma Construction Ltd provided the team with jerseys worth more than K3,000 while Lae Biscuit Company helped the meet with T-shirts.
“The team received a timely sponsorship from the provincial government through the Community Development office with a K5,000 donation.
“The team’s morale is high with Sigma’s contribution,” Joseph said.
He said Sigma was no stranger to supporting grassroots sports in the province and their continued support for rugby in Madang had already reaped positive results with the Mad Gauns winning the Trans Highway title and a plate in the Black Orchid 7s challenge early this year.
Under skipper Joe Manalau of 6B Pirates, the side boast of giant Tui Fitiao, Matagal Tamilong, Paul Joseph, Victor Manab, Edwin Benjamin, Daniel Polong, Willie Lakman, Anderson Yama, Donald Kais, Joseph Kalip and Oswald Quinnie and Rookies Quinnie are primed to give their best for the province.
Tamilong and Joseph should provide the platform for the side to rise to the occasion.
Paul said that more than 16 teams, including the Brisbane Dingoes, who have flown into PNG,  were expected to arrive in Kimbe for the tournament.
“We sincerely thank Sigma Constructions, Islands Petroleum, Lae Biscuit Company through their biscuit brand, Snax, Spic and Span, Madang provincial government and other individuals who have contributed in cash and kind.
“We are proud to represent the province in this highly-organised tournament which is into its fourth year,” he said.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New HQ for PNGIMR in Madang

By MAIVO LAFANAMA DWU journalism student, The National 

THE Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) will have a new K15 million state-of-the-art research facility and headquarters in Madang.
The facility will feature laboratories for different diseases, staff housing and a residential activity area.
“The tender and awarding of the contracts for the construction of the facility will be out at the end of the year,” PNGIMR director Prof Peter Siba said at the groundbreaking for the facility last Friday.
The facility in Jomba will be located close to other important institutions such as the Modilion General Hospital, Luthern School of Nursing and Divine Word University (DWU).
DWU’s Br Andrew Simpson said the facility would enable students and PNGIMR in doing quality research into emerging diseases.
The land for the facility was awarded to IMR two weeks ago following a lengthy court battle with the landowners.
Siba thanked the Catholic and Lutheran churches for the use of land in their present location in Yagaum, Mugil and Alexisafhen in Madang.
PNGIMR has other branches nationwide.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Madang Timbers goes back to court


MADANG Timbers Limited has filed another law suit against the National Forest Board.
This time the logging company is asking the court to declare that members of the board had failed to perform their statutory duty despite a Supreme Court decision made last year ordering the board to meet and consider Madang Timbers project agreement for the Middle Ramu Block one FMA.
They are also asking the court to order the board to meet within 14 days to consider their project agreement.
In November last year, the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of Madang Timbers Ltd and ordered the National Forest Board to meet and consider Madang Timbers’ draft project agreement as submitted by the Madang Provincial Forest Management Committee.
In an affidavit filed by the secretary of the PNG Forest Board Hakiso So-omba and the board had already met in June and considered the final project management agreement.
During their deliberation they were advised that the decision of the Supreme Court had meant that the board had no power or discretion to consider any other project proponent other than the one recommended by the Madang Provincial Forest Management Committee.
But with the passing of the new Forestry (Amendment) Act 2010 the board can now deal with more than one proponent. In its meeting on that day the board passed nine resolutions including a direction for Madang PMFC to carry out further negotiations with two other proponents, Timbers PNG and Dee Gold Ltd.
Before the Supreme Court ruling in 2009, the National Forest Board had granted Timbers PNG the licence to log the area despite the PMFC’s choice which was Madang Timbers Ltd.
The matter is set to be heard on July 21.

Gao hopeful about K40m for Ramu

MEMBER for Rai Coast Sane Gao said the people of Ramu will benefit from the K40 million “seed capital” the government would provide for them.
He rejected suggestions that the money was compensation offered to the landowners to withdraw a case now before the court which halted work at the Ramu nickel and cobalt mine.
Since the National Court issued an injunction stopping work at the mine, the operators have become very concerned about financial losses they were suffering.
It is estimated they are losing K10 million a day.
The government wants to start the mine by the end of the year or early next year.
Its revenue is crucial to PNG’s economy, to fill the revenue hole that will be created by the closure of Ok Tedi.
Exports from the mine will also address balance of payment concerns created by the PNG LNG project.
Gao said the K40 million was business grants from the government agreed to in a memorandum of agreement.
He said the funds were for the Ramu nickel foundation and landowners from KBK, inland pipeline, coastal pipeline and the Basamuk area.
He said he was working hard to resolve this conflict “the Madang way” and he described this as a win-win situation.
He engaged Ricky Kumung to facilitate and mediate the dialogue between the state, the developer and the people led by Simon Melembo.
Gao said any further delay in the project would have adverse effect on the nation as the state was the signatory to the original mining agreement.
He said he also saw the need to have the mine continue as the tax credit scheme would help the infrastructure in Rai Coast and Usino-Bundi electorates.
He said the issue of environment was not isolated but was captured in the instrument to be signed tomorrow.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare also said during the presentation of the K36 million IPBC dividend payout
to the state (see story separate story) said the money was not for compensation but was a seed capital for the people.
Meanwhile, Member for Usino-Bundi Samson Kuli applauded the people for the lead in pursuing the government to address their needs as they almost missed out.
He said such money should assist the people to venture into business and not to be mere spectators as the two electorates were the least developed in PNG.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Madang prepares for Lae tournament

by ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
GLOBE Madang Rugby League has announced its select side for the Northern Zone tournament to be played in Lae from July 23-25.
They are Junior Marava (Tarangau) Richard Hoffman (Tarangau), Danley Rema (DWU), Albert Kaupa (Panthers), John Pasingan Jnr (Brothers), Ezikiel Rowa (Warriors), Peter Dama (DWU), Roger Koyomu (Warriors), Jeffery Supan (DWU), Jack Taraika (Panthers), Arron Tokopag (DWU), Tony Jacob (Royals), Alfie Mike (Royals), Manu Tobias (Tarangau), Daniel Ikiwa (Warriors), Nathan John (Panthers), Simon Wareva(Royals), Eddie Lapa (DWU), David Teine (Tarangau), Solo Koromba (Royals), Hector Morris (Warriors), Gopana Kia (Tarangau), Biu Adam (Hawks), Raymond Rinoko (Tarangau), Timothy Peter (Hawks), Adrian Boungas (DWU).
Globe MRL President Philip Welia said Felix Tema has been appointed as team manager, Bobby Razeye-head coach, Chris Sibet-assistant coach, Boston Jack-trainer and Hugh Saweni, team doctor.
Welia said preparations for the event started last week and was to have included a match with the Mendi Muruks on Friday at the Ron Albert Oval. He said Muruks were the top runners in the bemobile cup competition and that the game would help in building confidence, especially of the younger players before they take to the field in the Lae meet.
He said MRL would be fielding an A Grade and Under 19 side and while they had the sponsorship of Globe they would need more.
“The sponsorship from Globe is to be paid in five installments and this is still not enough to cater for the whole season alone,” he said.
In making these remarks he appealed to the business houses in town for their support.
“After a long absence MRL has been reactivated and has the ability to contribute some of the best talents.
“These are our boys and with your support we will be able to give the young ones in particular the opportunity to develop and progress in this code.
“To take the boys to Lae we will have to pay for transport, food and lodging for the duration of the three-day meet and this is likely to cost up to K8000 for the two teams. “Any assistance be it in cash or kind would be much appreciated,” he said.
Welia said immediately the team needed jerseys for the players.

Amet is Madang Governor

By Joshua Arlo, Post Courier
A SUPREME COURT has confirmed the former Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet as duly elected Governor of Madang Province.
This follows its decision last Friday to quash the September 2008 voiding of his 2007 general elections win by the National Court.
Sir Arnold, who was not in court to hear the decision, was ousted from public office on allegations of undue influence and illegal practices in relation to derogatory remarks made by himself, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and a Nick Mare during campaign period against another candidate, and former politician, Peter Yama.
However before a packed courtroom, the high court decided unanimously that these derogatory remarks which said Mr Yama was a highlander and if in power would allow for highlanders to take over Madang; that he was a thief; and had more than one wife; could not sustain Mr Yama’s petition. The court said there was no proof that Sir Arnold gave authority for Mare and Sir Michael to make these comments while in his presence, and accepted Sir Arnold’s contention that his comments on polygamous marriage was in light of his Christian belief.
“The grounds of Mr Yama were incompetent to go for trial and the words uttered do not amount to undue influence. We uphold the review application and the orders of September 11, 2008 by the National Court are quashed and the petition is dismissed,” head judge, Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika said last Friday. He said the National Court judge erred in his ruling because he did not adequately address whether the statements made were untrue or a threat to voters. The trial judge was not precise in his conclusions whether the pleadings raised by Mr Yama sufficiently complied with requirements of section 208 of the Organic Law; therefore incompetent, and evidence adduced at trial did not establish the essential elements of undue influence and illegal proactice and ruling was an error.
The court said issues raised in this review concerned procedural compliance with a provisions of the Organic law and Mr Yama did not plead sufficiently facts supporting undue influence within meaning of section 102(b) of CCA and illegal practice within meaning of section 215 (3)(a) of Organic Law that states an election can be voided if this statement is proved to be ‘fraud’ or false. Mr Yama took the decision calmly, and outside the courtroom told supporters and the media while he accepted and respected the decision of the court, he was frightened of the consequences that may arise from how this decision is interpreted.

Beef up police force, Tighten Law and Order

I write in light of the latest killing of an 8B bus service crew by animal-minded youths at the Madang Airport bus stop last week Friday, between the morning hours of 8 and 10. The crew was no enemy of the youths who are believed to be from Sepik and was humble and understanding to us passengers. The crew came out of the PMV to give change to his passengers, when drunken youths from the near by market place came and launched at him. One of them, swung and bush knife and chopped three(3) of his fingers off and the other plunged a screw driver at the side of his chest. His relatives (from the Highlands) retaliated while he was evacuated to the Modilon General Hospital by burning down two(2) houses. By the time the police arrived, the main culprits had escaped. The news of his killing was a shock and sends out messages that our police force is low in manpower. Our system of law and order is slack. From my time, here in Madang, I have come to see that nearly half or one third of the culprits involved in lawless activities were either bailed out or service time in prison reduced or they have broken out of jail and have escaped and still at large or they are ignored. Families, friends and relatives have suffered, endured and will still continue to dwell the trend. Unless and until something is done about our system of Law and order. What I am saying here is only for Madang but out there, in other provinces, its much worse and yet nothing in done. Just like the killing of the young pilot a year ago, up to today, no justice has taken place and the murderers are still at large. I therefore, would like to call on government to beef up police force to its full 100% capacity with the provision of up to date artillery, enforce incentives in terms of salaries and living conditions to enhance performance and most importantly our system of law and order needs to be tightened. To do this, our government needs to impose severe penalties to crimes such as rape, murder, etc. For the sake of our mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, uncles, cousins, nephews, bubus and babies, can the government at least do something in that regard.

Silent Observer
Kerema Compound

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Madang fire results in all lose for NGO


DRESSED in a grey polo shirt, shorts, thongs and clenching his mobile phone in one of his hands, he walked into the office, looking forlorn.
I knew exactly why, as I knew the organisation he worked for occupied one of the offices in the complex which had been razed by fire early Wednesday evening last week.
Drawing up a chair, he sat down, took a deep breath and said, “we’ve lost everything and are now reduced to nothing”, but in the same breath added, “our files may have been destroyed but the vision is still there. All we need is help.”
Joe Egu, founder of a non-government organisation called People Living with Higher Aims, a group made up of people living with HIV/AIDS, said he and his staff had lost everything.
“We lost everything, our three desktop computers, files and the unfortunate thing is that we did not keep any back-ups,” he said. “The staff including myself are still at a loss, I have been walking around today like a zombie.
“While our files may be destroyed, the vision is still there and that is why I am here to see you to get you to help me, get help so that we can continue the work we have been doing,” he said.
Anybody willing to help can contact the administration officer Scholar Chapok on 71600594 or Mr Egu himself on 73845422.

Firefighters lack proper resources

Source: ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
A vital service in PNG is being neglected in light of other development projects . . .
SO MUCH attention is being given to getting projects and other developments off the ground but so little to the agency which will be cleaning up should anything go wrong.
This was one of the stark observations made by PNG fire chief Isaac Silas while in Madang last week for the Pacific Islands Fire Service Association’s Fire and Emergency Services executive forum.
Mr Silas said with so many developments taking place not only in the country’s mining and petroleum sectors but also in the other economic sectors, an increase could also be expected with the associated hazards.
He said the Fire Service was there to help mitigate losses but that as it was officers throughout the country would not be able to respond adequately as they lacked specialist training and resources for today’s challenges.
“In the case of Port Moresby and some of the country’s major centres we have a lot of high rise buildings that are now towering in the skies. This will require specialist training and equipment.
“In recent years the role of the Fire Service not only in PNG but globally has expanded to include emergency services.
“A recent incident in Goroka where fire officers were also called in to assist in an emergency operation there should serve as a wake-up call of how much we are lacking,” he said.
Mr Silas said while the PNG Fire Service did receive budgetary and added support from the Government this was still not enough.
However he added that maybe the PNG Fire service would have to take it on itself to try to rally more support from the stakeholders.
“In saying this I would also like to urge provincial governments and even local business houses to look at assisting the local fire stations in their communities.
“The Manus Provincial Government has realised the importance of this agency and recently made it its business to provide funding support and maybe this is something other provinces could duplicate,” he said.
These sentiments were backed by Mr Silas’ South Australian metropolitan colleague Grant Lupton. Mr Lupton said unlike the developments in the past, those of today encompassed new technology, materials and even chemicals.
He said all of these would require specialist training and resources on the part of the fire officers to be able to respond should anything go wrong.
Meanwhile, the meeting in Madang last week saw a total of nine Pacific nations being represented at the Pacific Islands Fire Service Association meeting.
Hosted by the PNG Government through the PNG fire and Emergency Services it was sponsored by the Australiasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) and AusAID.
The week-long meeting was held with the aim of making the member countries safer and resilient to fire and other emergencies.

PMIZ hits a legal hurdle

Source: Act Now PNG

Controversial plans for PNG’s first Special Economic Zone, the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone in Madang, have hit a legal hurdle.
Although the government had negotiated a $180 million loan from the Chinese government to fund the building of the industrial park, that loan is in breach of PNG law. This is because under the loan agreement one particular Chinese company will get to build the park and 70% of the loan monies have to be spent on Chinese goods and services. This breaches PNG laws that require open and competitive bidding process that includes at least 3 companies.
Of course the government is attempting to use its tried and  tested approach to inconvenient legal hurdles by drafting emergency legislation that it will bulldoze through Parliament to secure an exemption from the competitive bid requirement.
It is also understood that the wider Special Economic Zone law that the International Finance Corpoartion (part of the World Bank) is writing is close to finalized and will be presented to PNG government in the coming week or so.
The law will be based on Yemmen's SEZ law, which is reportedly the most 'efficient' and based on what the World Bank regards as 'global best practices'.
The SEZ law will allow companies to operate tax free within the zones, avoid any import or export duties and ignore PNGs minimum wage regulations.


Source: Act Now PNG newsletter

George Ireng, the very brave young man behind the Ramu mine anti-marine tailings disposal campaign, yesterday, led a peaceful protest march in Madang against the governments draconian amendments to the Environment Act
Despite attempts by the Governor, Arnold Amet, and PNGs Attorney General to make the police stop the protest
, people defied the orders based on their own legal advice
and the police made no arrests.
This is the first successful peaceful protest in direct resistance to the Environment Act amendments.
Oro is set to proceed with its own March on the 19th of July and other centres will follow.
Here are some text updates sent direct from the streets of Madang during yesterday’s protest:
9.30am March is ON - 500 DWU (Divine Word University) Students turned up bright and early - many many many other people too apparently - but I am just so proud of those kids from Divine Word - it is so GREAT that they have an interest in having a say about THEIR future - people have just been so - oh well what can I do to change things - and these kids are standing together - HEROES !!!  
10.30am So the protest started at the Oval and the Governor turned up and said that's enough now, all go home - so the good protesting people of Madang turned around and started the MARCH towards the provincial government building - police have kindly diverted traffic.
11.00am As the protesters got up to the courthouse, police had blocked the road on the Governor's Orders (??) and are not allowing the protesters to march the extra 500m to the Provincial Government Building where the march is to end. Peacefully. Why? Is someone trying to provoke the protestors into pushing thru the barriers to make the final 500m and get arrested in the process?? Don't bite, people of Madang - see thru this tactic ! 
11.15am Incoming news - Police decided to remove barriers - so people have marched that extra 500m to Provincial Government Building and speeches are now taking place. Marchers and Madang police, I salute your composure and maturity in peacefully resolving the situation with the barriers.
We will have photos and media reports up on the ACT NOW! website tomorrow. 
As Juan posted in a comment on the ACT NOW! website
just a few hours ago, and as Georgs Ireng and the people of Madang have shown today:
What we need is the people, we are the ultimate power on which this nation has its foundation. Togther, if we stand, we will bring the long awaited Change
For now, we congratulate everyone on their efforts so far and we wish you all a peaceful evening