visitors since April 2008

News 10.2011








Source: Post Courier

NZ commits to help PNG

THE Papua New Guinea and New Zealand governments yesterday signed an agreement on Joint Commitment for Development.
PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Ano Pala and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully signed an agreement on an understanding that both governments will establish a shared vision for achieving long-term development outcomes for the people of PNG, including achieving of the Millennium Development Goals. Under the mutual commitments, New Zealand Government will support an increasing proportion of its aid spending; deliver effective and tangible projects that support economic development objectives.
Also under the commitments, the New Zealand Government will provide long-term and predictable help to the focal sectors which include agriculture, electricity, health, scholarships and training, and the Bougainville issues.
It will look at increasing work through PNG’s finance and procurement systems as such systems have been independently reviewed and found to be robust, transparent and efficient.
The New Zealand Government will work at a sector level with other donors and where possible align projects into a broader sector programme.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Pala said PNG Government would ensure that coherent, long term, well prioritised sector plans were developed, maintained and reflected in national and provincial planning and budget processes.
“Our country will ensure to strengthen the results frameworks, monitoring systems and costing of sector plans,’’ he said.
“PNG Government will also co-ordinate development partner assistance in sectors via regular sectoral working group discussions.
“Our government under the agreement shall work actively towards strengthening its planning, budgeting and reporting systems and improve public financial management.’’ He said PNG Government would provide a clear guidance on areas that it wanted New Zealand to invest in.



Source: Post Courier

MP raises boat woes
By Fabian Gatana

ATOLLS MP Frank Pasini Marena is disgusted at the way MV Bougainville Atolls is being managed.
He said twice now, the vessel had run aground on separate voyages and he has voiced his concern that if the vessel is not looked properly, his people of the atolls could lose a vital link of their lifeline.
He said the vessel had been in the region for only a month now and already there were signs of mismanagement of the the vessel.
“During the launching ceremony of the vessel the ABG President John Momis and I gave out a strong message for the people of Bougainville to take ownership of the vessel and to look after it.”
“It seems that these words have fallen on deaf ears and I am concerned on the effect this will have on my Atolls people who are dependent on shipping for their livelihood,” he said.
The member also questioned the vessel being docked at a private ramp other than the designated government ramp.
He called on the the government appoint a specialist to look after the vessel and its operations to that peoples of the Atolls and other regions of the ABG could benefit from its services.



Source: Weekend Courier

NZ High Commissioner in Bougainville

THE New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG Marion Crawshaw’s trip to Bougainville last week has been hailed by many as a success. Ms Crawshaw (picture), who was in Bougainville from October 17-21 of this month was able to travel all the way down to Siwai and Buin in South Bougainville, thus, becoming the first diplomat to have traveled to many parts of south Bougainville. Ms Crawshaw was accompanied by the Minister for Bougainville Affairs and South Bougainville MP Steven Kamma and Mark Tacon from the New Zealand Prime Minister’s office in Wellington. Upon arriving in Buka Ms Crawshaw paid a courtesy call to the Autonomous Bougainville Government President John Momis. During their brief discussion, both leaders discussed security issues currently experienced
on Bougainville, which the New Zealand High Commissioner greatly appreciated after learning about the reconciliation ceremonies currently undertaken by the different warring factions in parts of south Bougainville. During her week-long stay in the region, Ms Crawshaw was able to visit Tonu high school and Ameu district office in Siwai district. She also visited the Buin police station, Kangu wharf, Buin Specialised Training Centre (BSTC) and the Buin secondary school.
She was also able to offer words of encouragement to the students and staff of the schools that she visited. Ms Crawshaw also expressed to those that she met that she was very happy to have taken the trip, adding that she hopes to visit Bougainville again in future. Ms Crawshaw and her delegation departed Bougainville last Friday.



Source: PNG Attitude

Bougainville’s weak govt unable to stop looting

THE FRIENDLY SMILES, calm turquoise tropical sea and palm-fringed white sandy beaches are a facade in this group of South Pacific islands with a tortured history.

But the main island of Bougainville is indeed Treasure Island.

Home to one of the world’s largest known copper and gold deposits, Panguna mine proved to be a curse. The violent civil war that began in 1988 was exacerbated by a blockade of the island by the Papua New Guinea government.

An estimated 15 000 people died in the fighting and as a result of the blockade, which involved the cutting off of essential medicines to the people.

The blockade existed until a ceasefire was brokered in 1994. However, in rebel held territories, the looting had already begun.

Tony Kevi was a young boy when the crisis began in 1988. His mother is a Panguna landowner. This is how he described the looting and infighting that ensued in rebel held territories.

“We couldn’t get enough of the material things the white man could give us,” he says. “It was obvious, you know, when after the ceasefire when we chased off the [PNG government], we started fighting amongst ourselves over cars.”

Tony said that one rebel commander would pull a car out of another’s hands and there would be trouble. Today the looting continues in various forms.

Albert Kinini heads the screening committee of the Commerce Department of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. He estimates that about K300 million worth of alluvial gold is illicitly leaving the island.

The Bougainville government does not receive any revenue from these exports. Much of the alluvial gold mining is being carried out in the tailings region and at Panguna.

The Commerce Department is currently screening applications for scrap metal buyers. Indeed, a lot of scrap metal is being exported from the former mining region through the port of Arawa.

No one really knows the value of the exports and the once again, the government does not collect revenue from this activity.

But perhaps the biggest resources coup has been the story of the speculative investment by Invincible Resources of Canada, giving it access to every single oil, gas and mining activity on Bougainville.

For the cheap price of K20 million, Invincible Resources owns 70% of a company created by an Act of Parliament in Bougainville.

The company, known as Bogenvil Resources Development Company, was given exclusive rights to all mining and oil and gas activity under the Act.

Meanwhile a 30 000 hectare oil palm project is to be developed at Torokina on Bougainville’s west coast. Hakau Investments, a company linked with Lae-based businessman Sir Henry Chow, is currently undertaking surveying and feasibility studies.

The area contains tracts of tropical hardwood that are expected to be clear felled and sawn into timber. The project is being opposed by the member of the Bougainville House of Representatives along with members of the six landowning clans.

All of these activities are taking place in the context of a policy and legislative vacuum. There are currently no mining, forestry or fisheries policies and enabling legislation. Bougainville’s fledgling government also lacks institutional and financial capacity.

This has resulted in many foreign businesses bypassing the government and dealing directly with local landowners and leaders. One such case involves partnerships between landowners and foreign interests in a project called Nisina Mines within the lower tailings region of Panguna.

So the looting that began after the departure of Papua New Guinea’s military and police forces continues today in various forms. Powerful and influential men are amassing wealth and weapons to protect their interests. The government is weak and its exercise of authority limited.

“People are back into materialism, and we are repeating the same things. It’s all about what I can get for me today. The real threat here is that people have virtually forgotten what it was like during the blockade,” warns Tony Kevi.



Source: Post-Courier


Tidying up Panguna!


IT would not be long before all the scrap metals at the former Panguna mine in Central Bougainville will be removed and transported out from the area to the Loloho wharf for shipment to overseas buyers. Every day, trucks carrying scrap metals could be seen driving up and down the Panguna mountain. Pictured is a truck owned by one of the scrap metal companies transporting a ball mill up the Panguna mountain. The ball mill is a machine that was used to crush ore during the operations of the mine. Words and picture: WINTERFORD TOREAS







Source: Post-Courier

Buka hospital gets new steriliser

BUKA General Hospital has a new central sterilising unit called the pre-vac steriliser - thanks to Steven Greenleaf of Sterilising Equipment Sales and Services, a company based in Cairns, Australia.
The machine was officially launched and handed over to Buka General Hospital in its sterilising room yesterday (Thursday) witnessed by senior hospital staff, doctors and nurses.
During the commissioning ceremony, a contract document was also signed to verify that the machine was installed, tested, commissioned and training on how to operate and maintain all aspects of the machine was also carried out successfully.
These state of the art machines are described to be the best in the latest technology and are distributed to nine centres including Buka, Port Moresby, Lae, Manus, Kavieng, Kundiawa and others.
One of these machines is estimated to the value of more than K200, 000.
Buka General Hospital CEO Dr. Cyril Imako, Director Medical Staff Dr Barnabas Matanu and Mathew Monei thanked the company for such wonderful and best equipment that will be used in the hospital to sterilise linen, equipment, tools that are used in the operating theatre, delivery room, outpatient and hospital wards for the safety of all patients.
Mr Monei also laid down the rules on who to be responsible for operating the machine and to be very cautious on handling the machine to avoid damage and lengthy time of replacement.



Source: Post-Courier

Board urged to plan land use

THE newly established Bougainville Physical Planning Board recently held its first board meeting which was attended by the ABG member for Natural Resources Michael Oni and a team from the National Department of Lands and Physical Planning.
Mr Oni officially opened the meeting and challenged the board to address the need to start planning the use of land for development purposes in all Bougainville towns.
He emphasised that the work of the board would be faced with challenges as the board would be faced with the job of correcting lots of unplanned and improvised land use activities and developments built without proper plans and approved by authority.
He also stressed that the ABG would help the Physical Planning Board to be effective and efficient in addressing physical planning needs in developing the region.
The board discussed the need for a Buka Urban Development Plan for Buka town to address uncontrolled development and use of land in and around the town.
The plan will also include policies on type and size, scale and nature of built infrastructure and a guide to development for the future growth of the town.
ABG chief administrator Thomas Raban was appointed as the deputy chairman ( as stipulated in the Physical Planning Act 1989 ), to lead six board members.



Source: Post-Courier

Bougainville’s case may proceed in US

BOUGAINVILLEANS being represented in a class action case in California, the United States of America, have won a major victory on Tuesday this week when an appeals court ruled that their case may proceed in US courts.
Brent Walton of Hagens Berman told the Post-Courier from the United States that “unless the US Supreme Court steps in and stops the case, Bougainvilleans will get their day in court in the USA. That is the upshot of the whole opinion.”
The Bougainvilleans who allege mining company Rio Tinto (RIO) worked with the Papua New Guinea Government to destroy their culture and commit genocide, took the mining giant to court and since 2000, it has been on-going in the US.
Last year the case was dismissed and the lawyers representing the Bougainvilleans appealed against the decision.
On Tuesday this week the lawyers representing the landowners won a major victory when the court ruled in their favour allowing the case to proceed in U.S. courts.
The Bougainvilleans include Alexis Sarei, Paul Nearu, Thomas Tamausi, Aloysius Moses, Raphael Niniku, Gabriel Tareasi, Linus Takinu, Leo Wuis, Michael Akope, Benedict Pisi, Thomas Kobuko, John Tamuasi, Norman Mouvo, John Osani, Ben Korus, Namira Kawona, Joan Bosco, John and Magdalene Pigolo.
Hagens Berman has represented the residents of Bougainville, since the late 1990s.
Rio Tinto operated a mine on the island. After an uprising by the residents of Bougainville forced Rio to close the mine, the company allegedly provided transportation for PNG troops who were brought in to reopen it.
When these tactics failed, the PNG government instituted a military blockade, which the plaintiffs allege lasted 10 years and led to the deaths of nearly 10,000 people.
In a statement from the managing partner for Hagens Berman and attorney for the residents of Bougainville Steve Berman could not wait to commend his team for the case decision.
“We are obviously very pleased with the ruling today by the Court of Appeals,” said Berman. This has been a marathon of a case, and Rio Tinto has been using every tool available to delay answering for their actions.”
The residents of Bougainville allege that Rio Tinto’s mining operations on the island resulted in the dumping of billions of tons of toxic waste, heavily polluting previously pristine waters.
According to the lawsuit, this resulted in the exposure of dangerous chemicals to local residents, dispossessing them of their ancestral lands and destroying their culture.
The case was originally filed on September 18, 2000.
The case was sent to the Court of Appeals when Rio Tinto questioned the District Court’s ruling that the plaintiffs were entitled to pursue claims of war crimes and genocide in U.S. courts without exhausting legal options in PNG first.
By a vote of seven-to-four, the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s ruling.
The court also ruled that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) does not preclude the charging of corporate defendants for genocide and war crimes.
Rio Tinto had claimed that only individuals could be charged under the statute.
“Rio has already delayed this case for over a decade, and many of its victims have passed on,” said Steve Berman. “We look forward to taking this case back to the District Court and holding Rio responsible for its actions.”



Source: Post-Courier

Doc’s plan for needy

A senior doctor from the Buka hospital is calling on the people of Bougainville who have the heart to help others to join the Rotary Club for Bougainville which he is proposing to establish in Bougainville.
Dr Joe Vilosi has initiated help for people in need in the past and has come up with the idea to form a proper club to help the needy.
He said as a member of the Rotary Club, he was helping to deliver kind services in small ways for people who sought help.
Dr Vilosi said he was concerned about people helping people through own initiatives and not waiting for free handouts.
He said he believed the people of Bougainville had the heart for the needy and he wanted to resurrect these good attitudes.
Currently, he said, he was working together with people who were willing to help to start up the Bougainville Rotary Club.
The doctor said the club aimed mainly to help deliver small services to the people in little ways possible.



Source: Post-Courier

On a mission to turn tables around

BOUGAINVILLEANS, specifically the missionaries are on a mission to turn tables around and start going abroad to help the needy.
Last month the Christian Mission Fellowship –Bougainville made a request to all Pacific Island nations to come to Bougainville and help raise funds to send 20 missionaries to remote Solomon Islands, Indonesia and Milne Bay – three locations identified which are under the poverty line.
CMF elite from Fiji, Solomon Islands and in PNG, the New Guinea Islands, Southern Region, the Highlands Region and Bougainville came together and last weekend at the Wakunai Bible College held a fundraiser which earned about K100,000.
Regional MP for Bougainville Fidelis Semoso gave more than K45,0000 towards the mission of which K43,000 allocated from his discretionary funds and about K2000 from his family and businesses.
Fiji CMF team told the Post- Courier it was time to turn tables and instead of being seen all the time as the third world nations or always on the receiving end from the first world nations - it was now time to give back a hand to the needy.
Mr Semoso who commended the church organisers for a job well done, also presented K1500 to the Solomon Island team and hosted the Fiji team in Buka. He gave an ear bashing to the church elders and appealed to them to successfully carry out their mission.
Pastors in charge said in Wakunai that the money raised was to send a group of 20 young and old men and women as missionaries to go and help a very remote village in Western Province of Solomon Islands. This village in the Solomons is up in the mountains, and has been neglected by the SI Government and through the CMF Solomons, help is now underway.



Source: Post-Courier

Fiji's Giant in Bougainville


 “What do I need to eat to be your size?” this is the question Bougainville Regional MP Francis Semoso and other leaders that were in Aioro, Wakunai, asked recently when they met one of the South Pacific’s giants Kaliova Seleiwau who is currently in Wakunai for the Regional Christian Mission Fellowship. They call him the giant – he’s 2.5 metres tall and is only 29 years old from Fiji town, but lives in Kansas City, USA. He’s travelled all the way from US under the Extreme International Christian Mission to help his Fiji counterparts donate to the CMF (story this week). But he has surely caught even the attention of leaders with his height!


Source: Post-Courier

Churches celebrate

THE Colonial administrative centre of the then North Solomons Province Sohano Island was the centre for religious activities and celebrations last weekend near Buka in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Seventh Day Adventist and United Churches held separate programs just next to each other simultaneously.
SDA held Children’s Emphasis Day with a double blessing when three unexpected guests arrived on Sabbath morning to add flavour to their prepared program.
Pastor and aircraft pilot Roger Millist and his wife flew in from Goroka while Children’s Ministry director and Local Mission director Pastor Kove Tau arrived from Rumba, headquarter of the SDA in Bougainville.
For the Children’s Emphasis day it was all children’s turn, who conducted religious programs on Sabbath ( Saturday) and on Sunday they had physical activities.
United Church had displays of art and craft for sale and other goods on Saturday which was part and parcel of their celebrations, and held all spiritual activities on Sunday.
The UC program was a nationwide celebration with the theme ‘God’S shaping and moulding in the last 40 years.
The program was to celebrate what was achieved from 1971 to 2011 in the mission and ministry of the church.
Sunday’s program kicked off with marching, followed by worship. Member for Tewa constituency in the ABG Reverend Joseph Nopei was among those who were guest speakers at the celebrations on Sunday.


Source: Post-Courier

Haku ‘dances’ risky


CHURCH workers and chiefs of the Haku constituency have condemned dances held during the day or ‘Pitanlan’ as it is called in the local Halia dialect.
These dances seen as fundraising activities started in the Halia area and the craze has spread to other parts of Buka. It usually starts early in the morning and ends late into the night.
The chiefs and church workers in the Haku area have aired their grievances, saying that this fundraising activity was promoting promiscuity and alcohol and drug abuse.
They also argue that there is a high incidence of unprotected sexual activity happening at these dances that will contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
They called for these fundraising activities to be banned, saying young girls and boys, including students were learning how to consume alcohol from their elders which was contributing to the fall in their education.



Source: ABC Radio Austalia - Pacific Beat

US Appeal Court revives Bougainville challenge against Rio Tinto

A lawsuit filed by Bougainville residents against mining company, Rio Tinto is set to be revived.

A U-S federal Appeals Court has reversed a decision to throw out the lawsuit which alleges the mining company aided the PNG government in genocide and war crimes.

The lawsuit was filed in 2002, 13-years after the mining company's activities prompted a civil war in Bougainville.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts
Speaker:Steve Berman, attorney for the Bougainville land owners

  Listen here ! 



BERMAN: Well the ninth-circuit court of appeals agreed that the case could go forward allegedly that Rio Tinto was involved in the commission of war crimes and genocide, which are two international law recognised claims that are universal to all countries.


COUTTS: Well what will you be asking for in this suit?


BERMAN: We're going to be asking for compensation to the ten-thousand or more people who are injured or killed during the uprising.


COUTTS: How many people does that involve, how many people are you actually representing?


BERMAN: Well it's a proposed class action in the United States and in a class action you only need to name a few, the idea is you don't want to bog the courts down with thousands of claims at once. So you have a few people represent the interests of class and the class in this case we think is about ten to 14-thousand people.


COUTTS: Will you be getting testimony, because these are serious charges, genocide and all the other charges you've just listed, will you be getting personal testimony to back that up?


BERMAN: Yes we already have some, we have affidavits from the former commander in chief and from a former prime minister that they were directed by Rio Tinto to take whatever steps were necessary, including violence and killing, to re-open the mine and they gave some details on that. But now we're going to go and start getting the records and show in our view that Rio Tinto financed the helicopters and troop carriers and communications devices, and the means that the government used to try to suppress the uprising.


COUTTS: And it also includes racial discimination and crimes against humanity all lumped in together?


BERMAN: Well the court dismissed the racial discrimination and crimes against humanity claims, but the racial discimination claims kind of still falls within the genocide claims, so there's not really a loss there.


COUTTS: Can you just explain the point of that particular aspect of the case?


BERMAN: Well the court found that racial discrimination under American law, the alien torch statute, someone can sue for a violation of international law, and the Supreme Court recently said those violations have to be laws that every nation, every civilised nation recognises. And believe it or not the court found that not all civilised nations recognise racial discrimination as a violation of the law. So they threw out the racial discrimination claim, on the other hand they said we did allege enough to suggest that the mining company looked at the Bougainvilleans as a separate people who they had no compunction or were not worried about polluting their environment, ruining their lifestyle, ruining their property and physically maiming them, and that was enough to state a claim.


COUTTS: And some dissenting judges have protested against allowing a lawsuit to proceed in the federal courts brought by non-US residents against a non-US company. That is an interesting point?


BERMAN: Well the mining company raised an issue as had other corporations that have been sued under this law that says the US should not be adjudicating claims against foreign companies where the acts take place for example, in this case they took place in Bougainville. But other courts, and the majority in this case said statute speaks very broadly and if you can get jurisdiction over the defendant, in this case Rio in the United States, then you're entitled to bring the case here. And the historical notion we believe that underlies the law dates all the way back to piracy where a court, in that case piracy, which is what the act was passed to in part address, the idea was that someone commits a tort anywhere in the world, piracy is a universally condemned tort, if you catch that person in the United States you can sue them for that even if it occurred somewhere else, and that's what's happening here. And Rio Tinto has a huge presence in the United States, over 47 per cent of their assets or revenues are derived from North America, so the court found we had jurisdiction over them here and that's why we're sueing them in the United States.


COUTTS: And is part of the claim too, because there's been talk of mining beginning again in Bougainville, are you taking any action against that happening?


BERMAN: We're not, that's not part of the case. But I'm told by my clients that Rio is trying to re-open the mine and there's a pretty strong viewpoint, many people in the Bougainville area that Rio cannot and should not be permitted to re-open the mine until they address and redress the wrongdoing that they committed years ago.


COUTTS: I.E. this court case?


BERMAN: Right, I mean the mine is hugely valuable, copper prices have gone up and it's a scarce resource and it was the world's largest copper mine, still a lot of copper out there, it's a valuable asset and they want it, but I don't think they're going to get it unless they remedy the wrongs that they've committed.


COUTTS: When do you think you'll get this case before the courts?


BERMAN: Well now we're going to go back down to the trial court and ask for discovery taking their testimony to proceed, I suspect that Rio's going to ask the US Supreme Court to hear this case.



Rio Tinto could engage more with host countries – CEO
By: Esmarie Swanepoel

PERTH ( − Diversified miner Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese said on Wednesday the company was striving to increase its engagement with government representatives in the countries where it operates, but acknowledged that more could be done.

“As I look at the Rio Tinto journey over the past ten years, I think we have done a better job, at the local level, of addressing the highest standards of environment, employing health and safety measures, as well as community engagement. But frankly we haven’t done enough in terms of engagement of host countries,” Albanese said.

“I think that it is something that we as an organisation should recognise and learn from, and that is one of the top priorities that we put to the Rio Tinto team on a global basis.”

Albanese’s comments at the second day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and Business Forum in Perth came after the revival of an 11-year old genocide and war crimes lawsuit in the US Federal Appeals Court.

The claims relates to violent clashes between the government of Papua New Guinea and residents of the Bougainville Island in the late 1980s, where Rio operated the Panguna copper/gold mine until 1989.

Newswire Reuters reported that the suit was revived on behalf of around 10 000 current and former residents of the Bougainville Island, who claim that the mine polluted the island and forced native workers to live in “slave-like” conditions. The report also stated that residents contended that after workers began to sabotage the mine in 1988, Rio Tinto goaded the government into exacting retribution and conspired to impose a blockade that resulted in the deaths of some 10 000 civilians by 1997.

While not addressing the claims on Wednesday, Albanese told the CHOGM and Business Forum that the company was working towards not only being a local partner, but also a stronger national partner.

Meanwhile, Albanese also said that Rio was looking to increase its investment in Africa.

“Rio Tinto has been a long-standing investor in Africa. We have been involved in Africa for over 50 years and currently have significant operations or developments in seven countries, with a number of exploration activities in other African countries.

“We would like to continue to invest in Africa,” Albanese told delegates.

“I am of the firm belief that Rio Tinto has been under-invested in Africa, and also that Africa itself is under-explored for natural resources and has much, much more potential to continue to deliver product and valuable exports to the global markets.”

Albanese said that it was his opinion that the next generation of significant resource projects would be found in Africa.



Source: Post-Courier

Economic recovery in Bougainville

SURVEY findings have shown evidence that there is economic recovery in post-conflict Bougainville following a window of peace made possible through an international peacekeeping operation.
The survey conducted in the four urban centres; Buka, Selau, Buin and Arawa showed that income per capita was K3, 863 at 2010 prices, while it was K783 at 1983 prices.
Dr Charles Yala, a researcher with the University of New South Wales in Australia and a research associate at the National Research Institute (NRI) said from 1999 to 2003, a series of international interventions took place.
“It is the first evidence of economic recovery following the window of peace provided through an internationally sponsored peacekeeping operation that ended the decade long conflict,” Dr Yala said when presenting the findings from the survey.
“Given that peace, they (people of Bougainville) invested in prosperity, which is a change in the level of income and welfare improvement,” he said.
Dr Yala said in the survey the research team found that people were beginning to invest in permanent housing, and this was a sign that they wanted to maintain peace.
“Investment into permanent housing signals perceptions of sustained peace,” he said.
Dr Yala said after the conflict there was rebound in economic activity.
He said the Buin market was a hub of activity, even gold smelting and cocoa production had become some of the main activities the people of Bougainville took part in.
Dr Yala said the six-year window of peace provided room for the community to be drawn into the economy and for trade to grow amongst communities.
He said more research still needed to be done.
Director of NRI, Dr Thomas Webster said when people are engaged in economic activity, when they see their incomes to meet their basic needs; there is an incentive to maintain peace.
“So the suggestion is infighting has stopped and people have started to engage in some economic activities but the research was on the basis of trying to find out what are the economic activities that are going on and whether there’s an opportunity to identify those so the governments can intervene for more permanent peaceful environment,” Dr Webster said.



Source: Post-Courier

Momis calls on Bougainville to honour peace deal

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government President, John Momis has called on the people of Bougainville to honour the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA).
Mr Momis said the creation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement was recognised as one of the best in the world and yet Bougainvilleans are ignorant of this agreement.
He said the Peace Agreement was entered into for the purposes of the unification of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and not just a few.
He urged the people of Bougainville not to play with the Peace Agreement as a game but rather take it seriously, as the document represents the sovereign will of all the people of Bougainville.
Mr Momis said Bougainville has survived the core challenges and difficulties in the past years and must stand firm to build a better nation.
He said having reached this point in time in Bougainville’s historical development and to dishonour the Peace Agreement will cast a stain on the pure motives and good intentions of those who fought to end the Bougainville crisis and those who sought to bring peace to Bougainville.



Source: Post-Courier

Nisira told ex-combatants to stop fighting

ABG vice President Patrick Nisira has called on the former combatants of Bougainville to stop fighting each other because they have already fought for the good of Bougainville during the crisis.
He reminded former combatants to always remember that they fought for the people to protect their environment in the past years.
He said that a lot of Bougainvilleans lost their lives in the Bougainville conflict and why combatants continue to fight today.
Mr Nisira said Bougainville has already signed the Bougainville Peace Agreement for the unification of the people of Bougainville and they must respect this agreement because it is the sovereign will of all Bougainvilleans.
He urged the former combatants to proactively involve in ensuring that the peace agreement is protected and implemented as key stakeholders and to provide a safe and secure environment for the civil society enjoy.



Source: Post-Courier

Bougainville supports Semoso

By Fabian Gatana


EX-COMBATANTS and people of Tinputz and Wakunai have affirmed their support for the Member for Bougainville Fidelis Semoso, who is currently facing charges of misappropriation.
Peter Baka, a former commander and spokesman for the ex-combatants of Tinputz and Wakunai, said the people of his area have physically seen a lot of changes take place and have pledged to stand behind the member.
He said Mr Semoso has funded a lot of projects in the area such as the establishment of roadside markets, funding for the local health centre and school and also providing funding for the recent cocoa festival.
“The people in the area are now benefiting from the projects the member has undertaken.The women have a set place to sell their produce whereas in the past they used to sell their produce on the ground and the health centre and schools have also been refurbished, thanks to Mr Semoso,” he said.
Mr Bake said Mr Semoso’s quality of bringing himself down to the local grassroots level was the reason why the people of the Tinputz/Wakunai area regarded him as a true leader. He said whatever the outcome of the his investigations, the people of Wakunai area will still stand by their leader.



Source: Post-Courier

Tonu High School gets new vehicle


TRANSPORTATION will not be a problem anymore for the staff and students of Tonu High School in the Siwai District of South Bougainville, thanks to the Minister for Bougainville Affairs and Member for South Bougainville Steven Kamma.
Last Thursday Mr Kamma came to the aid of the school by presenting the keys of a new Toyota Landcruizer vehicle to the school’s head teacher To’osih Lising.
Before handing over the keys to Mr Lising, Mr Kamma challenged the staff, students and the landowners of the area where the school is located to look after the vehicle.
“I am happy to deliver this vehicle to you. It was bought at a cost of K168,000. However, I appeal to you all to look after this vehicle. I don’t want you to do anything that may damage this vehicle,” Mr Kamma said.
He warned that if they do not look after the vehicle he will not be funding any more projects in the school.
Head teacher Mr Lising thanked Mr Kamma for the vehicle, saying that the donation was timely because it will greatly ease the transportation problems currently faced by the school. He also assured Mr Kamma that they will look after the vehicle. Apart from Tonu High School, another brand new landcruizer was also presented by Mr Kamma to the Buin Specialized Training Centre in Buin last week.
Both vehicle presentations were witnessed by the New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG Marion Crawshaw.



Source: The National

Bougainville updates electoral roll

THE Autonomous Region of Bougainville is set to begin its electoral roll update programme with the PNG Electoral Commission setting aside K400,000 for the exercise.
Unlike other provinces that begun their electoral roll updating last year in preparation for next year’s general election, Bougainville was  conducting its by-election for the North Bougainville seat from January to May followed by the Tonsu by-election in the local assembly which ended last month.
Election manager Reitama Taravaru said they were now preparing to go into their roll updating programme, which was expected to take four weeks.
He said applications from assistant returning officers had been received and would be forwarded to the commission.
Taravaru said the council of elders and village assembly clerks would be engaged in the programme as enrolment agents. 
“By mid-November, we should be collecting our updated data from the field and two weeks will be used for quality check before we forward all data to the electoral commission for auditing and printing,” he said.
Taravaru said of the region’s three electorates, they would give priority to the two biggest – North Bougainville and Central Bougainville – which had 10 constituencies between them.
Deployment of returning officers would take place next week as they make supervisory visits to the constituencies.
Taravaru said K250,000 from the allocated K400,000 would be used for the programme.



Source: The National

Setbacks highlighted

A SURVEY by the National Research Institute reveals that infrastructure on Bougainville cannot cope with the economic activity taking place in the autonomous region.
NRI director Dr Thomas Webster had urged the government to address the problem and place emphasis on infrastructures such as roads and banking facilities in the region.
“A survey of households in urban Bougainville leaves us with a message for our government that there is tremendous economic activity taking
place in the province but infrastructures like roads and banking systems cannot cater for it,” Webster said.
“The initial survey data provides evidence of an economic recovery in post-conflict Bougainville.
“It is the first evidence of economic recovery following the window of peace provided through an internationally-sponsored peace-keeping operation that ended the decade-long conflict.”
Head of the survey Dr Charles Yala said more economic activity would lead to peace being fully attained in the region.
“With such a boom in economic activity, we need to get the locals involved in cocoa production, build permanent houses and do other worthwhile things.”



Source: Radio New Zealand International

Bougainville lawsuit against mining giant revived in US Court of Appeals

A U.S. federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit seeking to hold Rio Tinto responsible for human rights violations and thousands of deaths linked to its huge Panguna copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville province.

A divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed a lower court’s dismissal of claims against the mining giant for genocide and war crimes, while upholding the dismissal of claims for racial discrimination and crimes against humanity.

A civil war, prompted by the mining company’s activities, erupted in 1989, with an estimated 20 thousand lives lost.

Judge Mary Schroeder wrote that the complaint alleges purposeful conduct undertaken by Rio Tinto with the intent to assist in the commission of violence, injury, and death, to the degree necessary to keep its mines open.

The 6-5 decision on Tuesday revives an 11-year-old lawsuit on behalf of about 10,000 current and former Bougainville residents.

But some dissenting judges protested against allowing a lawsuit to proceed in federal courts brought by non-U.S. residents against a non-U.S. company.

A Rio Tinto spokesman, says the company will defend itself vigorously against what it calls improper claims.



Source: Post-Courier

Bougainville deal with China fruitful

BOUGAINVILLE’S China Cooperation Committee (BCCC) under the chairmanship of Autonomous Bougainville Government vice President Patrick Nisira has done so much since its approval in June this year.
Apart from facilitating multi-billion kina companies from China to visit to help Bougainville, the BCCC has also established entities which would also help boost the economy of Bougainville and specifically to secure Chinese government aid, promote commercial, technical and cultural exchange, develop Bougainville China cooperation strategy, develop Bougainville social and economic development strategy and policy and conduct awareness programs related to cooperation with China among others.
According to Bougainville China Economic Cooperation Strategy report obtained by the Post- Courier, companies from China who visited to help Bougainville in its economic prosperity, especifically to help build up strategic partnership with China to secure Chinese Government aid, attract Chinese investment and achieve direct trading access to China to cut off middlemen and achieve full autonomy by implementation of Bougainville Peace Agreement to allow the people to compare the autonomy and full independence before referendum and see Bougainville China Cooperation as a strategy to achieve the full autonomy. They include:
* Hosia Engineering Design Company and Ruike Construction Company;
* Honghua Group – the Global Second Largest Manufacturer of Oil Drilling Platforms (this company supplied drilling platforms to LNG Project) and Hengsen Chemical – a famous company in China;
* Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group – the Second Largest Copper Mining Company in China;

  (Find out  more about an important Tongling 3 billion investment in 2010  - HERE!!!)

* Hunan Hydro & Power Design Institute – the Second Largest Institute in China
* Sun Innovation Group Company – a famous multi-industrial company based in Hongkong (they came by the private jet)
The BCCC had developed and had BEC approved on mid July 2011 the package strategy for establishing comprehensive economic structure and system in Bougainville.
Because of Bougainville’s low revenue income, lack of capacity (government and economy), low employment rate (25% employed in formal sector) and big fiscal gap (K93,566,500 in 2010).
ABG’s legal arm approved BCCC on June 12, 2011.
This economic system will enable Bougainville to accelerate economic growth, achieve economic independence, and support Bougainville social welfare development.
The report also details that BCCC over the last five months has:
* Established Bougainville Public Investment Corporation Limited – 100% ABG owned company. (This business arm provides a legal position for ABG to go into any joint venture and creates the second source of revenue for the goal of ABG fiscal self-reliance).
* Established Bougainville General Development Corporation Limited – 52% ABG & 48% Chinese investors. (This company will serve as a headquarter company and play a leadership role in establishing every industrial development capacity company in JV with Chinese investors.
* Established Bougainville Import & Export General Corporation Limited – 60% Bougainvillean & 40% Chinese investors. (This company will build up direct access into Chinese manufacturers and market by cutting off all middlemen, so as to reduce selling price in Bougainville, and increase Bougainvillean products export volume to create direct and significant benefit for all Bougainvilleans).
* Established Bougainville Energy & Water Development General Corporation Limited – 15.6% ABG, 84.4% Chinese investors. ABG can buy back more shares for a maximum 52% share of this company in future. (This is a large capital and high expertise capacity company for developing the hydropower and water conservancy infrastructure projects, to build up Bougainville own power and water supply systems).
BCCC will also take a great effort to develop proper strategy and policy for development of the following industries/sectors, and identify credible Chinese investors to establish relevant joint venture capacity companies within 24 months in mining, construction, bank, shipping, airline, tourism, Special Economy Zone Development, agriculture, forestry, livestock, aquatic, legal service, security service, academy of social and economy strategy planning.



Source: Post-Courier

Lifestyle disease rife on Atolls

LIFEstyle diseases are a major concern in the Atolls of Bougainville, visiting medical officials to the atolls recently found this out on the maiden voyage of the BDA vessel MV Bougainville Atolls to Mortlock and Tasman Islands. Diabetes, asthma, broken bones top the list of the kind of lifestyle diseases on Mortlock Island. The type of diet is a major contributing factor which leads to diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. These types of diseases are curable only if regular shipping is guaranteed on a monthly or weekly basis to supply drugs and other medical supplies. Shown in this picture is Dr Patrick Mallisson Dio,a medical officer from the Buka general hospital examining a patient at the Mortlock Island aid post.


Source: Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

ABG to hold three-day resource summit for all Bougainvilleans

All Bougainvilleans have been invited by the Autonomous Bougainville Government to a Bougainville Development Resource Summit in Arawa from 27th to 29th October.

The invitation is to discuss resource development issues that have affected Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, including land, minerals, oil and gas, fishing, forestry, agriculture and carbon trading.

Topics for discussion include:

GAS ACT 1998
Guest speakers will include constitutional lawyer, Mr Peter Donigi, President of the Mama Papa Graun Party.

For queries about the summit, please contact Justin Borgia 72375139 and Denis Kuiai 71505652



Source: The National

Probe ordered for Buka Hospital

HEALTH Minister Jamie Maxtone-Graham has instructed his department
secretary to investigate allegations of medical drug shortage at the Buka Hospital yesterday.
His instructions came after one of the hospital staff called for help as the hospital was running low on drugs.
The phone call also coincided with the launching
of the public complaint hotline at his office to receive complaints on health issues.
Maxtone-Graham said he did not know the hospital was running low on drugs and told the acting secretary Pascoe Kase to immediately investigate and take action if the reports were true.
Kase also said he was unaware of the report but would find out.
Meanwhile, he said for the first time AusAID was helping the government to provide medical equipment and drugs to health facilities in the country.
Kase said in the past, deliveries were done at the provincial level but AusAID had shouldered some of the burden and rural health centres and aid posts would receive their supplies.
The government will take over the exercise when AusAID finishes the project.



Source: The National

NRI studies Bougainville economic recovery efforts

THE National Research Institute (NRI) will tomorrow release findings of economic recovery in post-conflict Bougainville.
The Bougainville Research Project was a collaborative project between the NRI and the Buka campus of UPNG, University of New South Wales, the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring.
The research was funded by the Asia Pacific Civil Military Centre of Excellence.
The aim of the research was to find out the phase of economic recovery in post-conflict Bougainville and the findings will be made know to the media tomorrow at the NRI Library.
NRI communication units in an email said that Phase 1 of the project was completed and the survey results will be presented to the government and the International Donor Community.
The email stated that about 20 students studying at the Buka Campus of UPNG were trained as research assistants and conducted surveys
covering Buka, Selau, Arawa and Buin.
It said the survey data provided evidence of economic recovery in post-conflict Bougainville.
The results of the survey were presented to the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the wider community covering the survey sites of Buka, Selau, Arawa and Buin during the first week of this month.



Source: Post-Courier

Laptops go missing on ship

ONE of Bougainville’s computer and accessories companies has lost more than K200,000 worth of computer laptops and projectors.
Buka Police yesterday said that the company (named) lost the laptops and projectors while onboard the ship of a major shipping company.
Police could not provide full details of the incident but advised the investigations were still being carried out.
The company (named) told the Post- Courier that more than 80 laptops worth more than K200,000 went missing and several other projectors on the ship probably in Port Moresby, Lae or at the Buka wharf.
The executives of the company said that the investigations were still being carried out but appealed to the public to report to the police or the company anyone selling laptops on the street.
Reports have already been received that there were some people selling Toshiba laptops on the streets of Buka and Arawa for a quick K500.
An appeal has been put out for the public to report anyone selling laptops, specifically Toshiba brands in town.



Source: Post-Courier

TSC to transfer powers to AROB

TEACHING Service Commission will transfer its powers and functions to the Department of Education and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville at the end of this week.
The caretaker Chairman for Teaching Services Commission (TSC) Jerry Kuhena announced last week that the combined joint implementation group (JIG) was currently in a meeting in Bougainville to discuss the issue.
He said the meeting would discuss ways to transfer TSC powers and functions to the Department of Education (DoE) and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) education division.
“This meeting is important because it will discuss the transfer of powers and functions of TSC and DoE to ABG Education Division,” said Mr Kuhena.
He said JIG comprised of senior officers of DoE, ABG Education Division and TSC.
The JIG agenda for the meeting included implementation work schedules for training and work attachments to support the ABG Education division’s human resources in order for them to perform their functions effectively and efficiently.
He also said they would discuss the policy on the implementation of powers and functions that would be developed.
“This policy will provide directions to DoE, ABG Education Division and TSC on the implementation of powers and functions,” said Mr Kuhena.
He said the meeting would require proposed restructure for ABG Education’s feedback from JIG committee members mainly from DoE and TSC. Mr Kuhena said the feedback would improve the proposed restructure for ABG Education before it was endorsed by the Department of Personnel Management. He said they would also discuss the budget. A Memorandum of Understanding states that the budget for ABG Education functions would be supported by DoE, TSC and ABG.



Source: Post-Courier

Maternity ward for Manetai

MEMBER for Central Bougainville and Minister for Communications, Jimmy Miringtoro cut the ribbon to his funded maternity ward in Manetai, and also welcomed the first mother in, who gave birth to a whopping 3.9 kg baby girl minutes later.
The official opening of the ward recently happened in the presence of ABG Minster for LLG Joseph Nopeii, member for Eivo Torau Melchior Dare, South Nasioi member John Ken, Health CEO Anthony Pumpara, Bougainville chief administrator Lawrence Disin and Roselyn Kenneth Ausaid rep.
The cry for the people of Eivo Torau had been answered for a new maternity ward to be built in Manetai health centre.
“But I will remain steadfast in my belief that health and education are two most important sectors that will continue to demand more of our attention and resources,” Miringtoro said.
A firm believer in a healthy and educated country, he will ensure that these two important sectors continue to get due attention in his central Bougainville electorate.
The Manetai health centre was built at the cost of K500, 000 and is of high quality, with ceramic tiles electrical wiring and air-condition with in built shower and toilet facilities. A hot water system was also installed.
AusAID through GIF (Governance Implementation Fund) chipped in K40, 000 for beddings and furniture.
“As much as I have assisted schools in the electorate in my first term in the National Parliament, I have also endeavoured to lend a helping hand to our health facilities,” the minister said.
“I make particular mention of the upgrading of the Manetai and Wakunai health centers as these are two areas where many of our people are concentrated.”
Constituency member for Eivo Torau in the ABG Melchior Dare on behalf of his constituency and the ABG thanked Minister Miringtoro and commended him for being a good servant of the people.
“With Minister committing help to us it shows a good partnership and working relationship with the ABG and the National Government, and that is the cooperation that will make Bougainville move forward,” Mr Dare said. Mothers in the Eivo Torau constituency have applauded the members help.



Source: Post-Courier

Aropa airport awaits opening

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill recently anounced the National Govermment will re-open Aropa Airport. The airport has been closed due to withdrawal of government services at the start of Bougainville crisis. The airport is key to efforts to rebuild Bougainville. A quick visit to the airport yesterday revealed the runway is in good condition. The grounds are covered in tall grass and trees. If the airport is to be reopened, a lot of work has to be done. Words and pictures by BLAISE NANGOI in Bougainville.





Source: Post-Courier

Momis calls for unity
President proposes deal for factions to achieve first three BPA pillars

BOUGAINVILLE President John Momis is calling on the people of Bougainville to come together and remove the blockades of unity for Bougainvilleans.
He has proposed an agreement that all factions in Bougainville will collaborate to achieve the first three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
He said the pillars of Autonomy, Referendum and Weapons Disposal were of paramount importance to decide on the future of Bougainville.
He said he was very conscious some factions feel rightly or wrongly that they were not a party to the Bougainville Peace Agreement and that they were not bound by its dictates.
Chief John Momis said the Peace Agreement was entered into Bougainville for the purposes of the unification of all Bougainvilleans and not just some.
Mr Momis said the document was about more than any single group or faction and the time had come to accept it as a document representing the sovereign will of all Bougainvilleans.
Mr Momis added not every faction could be included in the negotiations that brought about the Bougainville Peace Agreement and not every faction wanted to be included but that should not be an excuse.
President Momis said having reached this point in time in the historical development and to dishonor the peace agreement would cast a stain on the pure motives and good intentions of those who fought to bring an end to the crisis in Bougainville and who sought to bring about peace to Bougainville.



Source: Post-Courier

MP urges guns disposal

FORMER combatants in Bougainville who are still in possession of weapons have been challenged by the Minister for Bougainville Affairs Steven Pirika Kamma to destroy them.
Mr Kamma said those still in possession of these arms would always be tempted to kill people, therefore these weapons must be immediately destroyed.
He suggested that one of the options that could be followed was that these weapons could be given to the village chiefs so they could arrange for the weapons destructions.
Mr Kamma said he believed that lasting peace could only be achieved in Bougainville through peaceful means.
The above statement was delivered by Mr Kamma during a reconciliation ceremony which was held last week at Mongai village in the Buin district of South Bougainville.


Source: Post-Courier

Bougainville’s historic moment

BABIES who were born during the Bougainville crisis have now added colour to Bougainville’s education history.
They had completed high school, graduated from grade 10 at Arawa High School last Friday.
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville and education experts can now clearly see how everyone had struggled for 10 years up to this stage where kids born in the crisis have graduated.
The 15th graduation of grade 10 students at Arawa since the establishment on October 14 (after the crisis) was attended by the Minister for Communications and Information Technology and Member for Central Bougainville Jimmy Miringtoro.
Before entering politics, Mr Miringtoro was one of the pioneering teachers at the high school when normal classes were re-established there after the 10-year conflict in which he donated K1 million kina for the school to be upgraded to secondary level.
Among those who attended were adviser to the Prime Minister Jeffery Kaki, Central commissioner James Koivo Education Chief Executive Officer Bruno Babato, Headmaster Paul Lapun, Veterans Minister David Sisito and Kieta District Executive Manageress Lucy Traverts.
The minister thanked all the teachers who had taught with him during the difficult times when they struggled to bridge the 10-year gap in the education brought on by the crisis.
He commended the teachers and the board members who took up the challenge to make Arawa High School a success story. The Minister also said that transforming Arawa High School to secondary school was quite expensive because the school needed proper infrastructure, a good library and school materials such as textbooks on subjecs taught in schools throughout the country. When announcing free education that the O’Neill-Namah Government was introducing next year, Mr Mirintoro asked the students’ parents to take note that free education was not free in the sense that it cames at a high cost to the Government. “To enable this program, we have had to make some hard decisions to directly help the people of this nation as education is becoming quite expensive,” he said.
In response to speculations on K5 million committed by the former Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal to Arawa High School, the Minister said this money was misappropriated by the previous government. However, he said gave and undertaking that he and his officers would do their utmost to try and secure funds equivalent to what was promised by Mr Abal earlier. The Minister concluded his speech announcing that the O’Neill-Namah Government was committed to helping Bougainville by strengthening the autonomous arrangement for the people.
The graduation ceremony ended with prize giving and the presentation of certificates plus entertainment. Many of those who attended the graduation said this was the best graduation yet at Arawa High School which they hoped would start classes as a secondary high school for the first time.



Source: Post-Courier

TSC to transfer education powers

TEACHING Service Commission will transfer its powers and functions to the Department of Education and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville at the end of this week.
The caretaker chairman for teaching services commission (TSC), Jerry Kuhena announced early this week that the combined joint implementation group ( JIG) was currently in meeting in Bougainville.
He said they would discuss ways to transfer TSC powers and functions to the Department of Education (DoE) and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) education division.
“This meeting is important because it will discuss the transfer of powers and functions of TSC and DoE to ABG Education Division,” said Mr Kuhena.
He said JIG comprised of senior officers of DoE, ABG Education Division and TSC.
The agenda items that JIG will discuss include implementation work schedules for training and work attachments to support the ABG Education Division’s human resources in order for them to perform their functions effectively and efficiently.
He also said they would discuss the policy on the implementation of powers and functions that would be developed.
“This policy will provide directions to DoE, ABG Education Division and TSC on the implementation of powers and functions,” said Mr Kuhena.
He said the meeting would require proposed restructure for ABG Education’s feedback from JIG committee members mainly from DoE and TSC.
Mr Kuhena said the feedback would improve the proposed restructure for ABG Education before it is endorsed by the Department of Personnel Management (DPM).
He said they would also discuss the budget for implementation. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between DoE, ABG Education Division, TSC and ABG Education the budget for ABG Education functions would be supported by DoE, TSC and



Source: Post-Courier

Suspended over inmate’s death

A SENIOR Bougainville police officer has been suspended from office pending an internal investigation over the death of a remandee.
Buka Police Station Commander Chief Sgt Alex Gunan was immediately suspended for 21 days and is now being investigated for engaging Sakias Parerea on a private assignment on Monday where he was electrocuted.
Bougainville Police Chief ACP Thomas Eluh said that the remandee was one of two inmates that were released to carry out private electrical work on the concern officer’s residential area.
He said that while trying to erect a metal pole, it came into contact with a live power cable nearby, injuring one Cleland Kiha and instantly killing Parerea. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at Buka General Hospital.
Mr Eluh said that serious disciplinary charges will be laid on the officer concerned after investigations are completed by Criminal Investigations Officers.
Mr Eluh passed his condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the Parerea.
He also thanked Wakunai chiefs and ABG members for containing the situation.
The late Parerea 25 years of Takukupa village in Wakunai, had been in custody since August 19 for armed robbery and was to have appeared for mention in court on Tuesday. The body of Parerea was escorted by police to his village on Wednesday after a post mortem was conducted at Buka General Hospital.



Source: The National

Minister pushes roads upgrading

ROAD infrastructure upgrading and maintenance is crucial in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Communication and Information Minister and Central Bougainville MP Jimmy Miringtoro says.
He said while the education and health sectors remained his top priorities, he was aware of the importance of a good road network in his Central Bougainville electorate, particularly the 175km main highway from Buka to Arawa on the mainland.
He said maintaining proper feeder roads and
bridges was crucial to the people.
He said he had allocated funds for the following road upgrading projects in his electorate:
l    Paruparu Road
(K2.4 million);
l    Kakarapaia Road K800,000;
l    Orami Road K300,000; and,
l    Koianu Road K900,000.
Miringtoro said he allocated K800,000 for the upgrading of the Sipuru Road in the Kongara area.
“The road upgrading and maintenance should complement the 15 bridges that are being built along the main highway with the assistance of the Japanese government,” he said.
Miringtoro said when the bridges were completed and commissioned, his people would no longer spend sleepless nights on the sides of the highway because of
flooded and impassable rivers.
“My JDP&BPC and I have tried to make the best decisions to put this limited money into right use.
“For example, last year my JDP&BPC made a decision to assist the Arawa High School with K1 million for its senior science laboratory and administration block,” Miringtoro said.
He said other projects
approved by the JDP&BPC and completed included:
l    K800,000 to build a Kieta district office at Toniva;
l    K600,000 for capacity-building in the Panguna district;
l    K1.1 million for Manetai and Wakunai health centres;
l    K200,000 for PNG Power; and
l    K500,000 for Arawa Airstrip upgrading.



Source: ESBC



Schreckt deutsche Staatsanwaltschaft vor der Macht der Banken zurück?


Die Staatsanwaltschaft Mannheim ist in Deutschland zentral verantwortlich für Wirtschaftskriminalität aller Art.


Die Verfolgung einer Anzeige des ESBC-Präsidenten Axel G. Sturm gegen Unbekannt wegen Betruges, gegebenenfalls sogar bandenmäßigen Betruges wurde am 09.08.2011 auf dem Wege einer Verfügung von der Mannheimer Staatsanwaltschaft eingestellt.


Gegenstand der Anzeige war die unerlaubte, gewerbsmäßige Verleihung von Aktien durch Depotbanken verbunden mit der Unterschlagung der aus diesen Geschäften generierten Gewinne zum Nachteil der Bankkunden bzw. der Depotinhaber. Dieser begründete Verdacht hatte sich aus den Erfahrungen von Aktionären der Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) mit ihren Depotbanken ergeben. BCL ist Eigentümerin einer der weltweit größten Kupfer-, Gold- und Silberminen.


Der Präsident der europäischen Aktionäre von BCL, Axel G. Sturm,  die sich in den ESBC organisiert haben, hat zwei Vermutungen dazu, warum die Ermittlungen eingestellt wurden: „Vielleicht ist die Staatsanwaltschaft Mannheim personell hochgradig unterbesetzt, so dass aufwendige Ermittlungen wie in diesem Falle nicht möglich sind. Dafür spricht die Tatsache, dass die Nachricht über die Einstellung der Ermittlungen dem Antragsteller erst nach wiederholter anwaltlicher Nachfrage übermittelt wurde. Es könnte aber auch sein, dass die Banken Druck gemacht haben. Wie auch immer: Es widerspricht meinem Rechtsempfinden, dass diese Angelegenheit nicht verfolgt werden soll, obwohl zweifelsfrei der Verdacht krimineller Machenschaften vorliegt. Dies ist angesichts der schwierigen Beweislage derzeit noch reine Spekulation.“ Ein weiterer Grund für die Einstellung, so Sturm, könne aber auch der ohnehin prekären Situation europäischer Banken geschuldet sein, die angesichts der sogenannten Euro-Krise unter Beschuss geraten  sind. Sollte sich Sturms Verdacht erhärten, könnte leicht eine Lawine losgetreten werden, die in eine weitere Bankenkrise mündet. Denn: Es ist nicht auszuschließen, dass eine Vielzahl weiterer Aktien von Banken und Brokern für unautorisierte Lendinggeschäfte genutzt werden.


Sturm kündigte an, er werde weitere Schritte unternehmen, um besseren Verbraucherschutz für Bankkunden einzufordern.


  Bitte lesen Sie die Einstellungsverfügung hier ! 












Die ESBC danken Herrn Rechtsanwalt Peter A. Seitz, Stuttgart, für seine freundliche Unterstützung in dieser Angelegenheit.





Source: Post-Courier

Momis to honour old agreements

AUTONOMOUS Bougainville Government president chief John Momis has promised to honor agreements made between the Mekamui Unity Government, the people of Panguna and the former James Tanis Government to resolve all outstanding differences in the area.
Mr Momis said the commitment made by the former Tanis government to consult the Mekamui Unity Government and the Chamber of Clans Paramount Council and the Panguna Landowners would still be continued.
He said his Government would continue dialogue on their issues and concerns, in particular the seven points adopted for further dialogue between the ABG and the Mekamui in March, 2010.
Meanwhile, he has also commended the former factional leaders of Bougainville for helping the ABG in its efforts to unite all factions on Bougainville.
Mr Momis commended Chris Uma for the efforts he made to re-establish peace and normalcy in the Panguna area.
And also his intervention to make sure that three representatives of the ABG, including the chief administrator were allowed free passage to Buin recently.
Mr Momis said these efforts were good and pointed to everyone working towards one unified Bougainville.
The president said the ABG had encouraged dialogue with Ishmael Toroama, the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander, who continues to take an active interest in supporting the peace process in Central Bougainville.
He said that these are some clear way forward in the process of unification of Bougainville.



Source: Post-Courier

Tanis to head reconciliations

FORMER ABG President, James Tanis has been appointed by the Bougainville President Chief John Momis to lead all peace efforts on Bougainville.
President Momis made the announcement when highlighting the need for coordinated efforts in creating peace and cooperation with the various factions within the autonomous region.
Mr Momis said that since his inauguration last year, he had been talking of unification throughout Bougainville.
He said that the unification of the people of Bougainville was an overarching issue of fundamental importance as it was upon this single issue that the future social, economic and political progress of Bougainville would depend on.
Mr Momis said Mr Tanis had accepted to work closely with the Bougainville administration in ensuring that the peace building initiatives of the former government were continued to achieve Bougainville’s goals.



Source: Post-Courier

Warring clans make peace

SOUTH Bougainville can enjoy peace and normalcy once again after witnessing the signing of the Hongorai ceasefire agreement between two warring parties in the Siwai district of South Bougainville.
The Hongorai ceasefire agreement was signed between Paul Ihirah and Edward Kesipoto and the South Bougainville Police at Muwoku village in the Siwai district last Sunday.
Chairman of the events committee and the Chairman of the Siwai Ex-combatants Association, Michael Komoiki commended the warring parties in the commitment made to sign the ceasefire agreement and urged them to look after the agreement and make it work because it must lead to reconciliation and finally weapons disposal.
Speakers at the ceremony expressed similar sentiments that they want to see the ceasefire signing ceremony bear fruit to end the ongoing conflict in the Siwai district of South Bougainville.
The ABG member for Motuna Huyono Tokunutui and Minister for Finance, Treasury and Planning, Albert Punghau was heavily involved in the reconciliation program.
The ceremony was also witnessed by the ABG Vice President, Patrick Nisira, government officials, Bougainville Police Service ACP Thomas Eluh, and the UN team on Bougainville.




Source: email from Vikki John to ESBC


Good Old Vikki at her Best !


20 October 2011



Mr Axel Sturm , President, The European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC) -

By email to: and


And To:                Peter R Taylor, Chairman, Bougainville Copper Limited -

Referenced here at ESBC:

By email to:


Offending Publication:

Header Title:      Who will finally help poor Vikki John?
An academic officer of UTS faculty of law supposed to turn mad.


Dear Sirs,


Please see my email below sent to the moderator of the Bougainville Forum on 19 October 2011. In that email I have noted legal advice that the September article published under the above header title is defamatory of me.


Please remove the offending article and advise me the moment this is done - thank you.



Vikki John



Memo to:            Warwick Brooker, Moderator for the Bougainville Forum

From:                    Vikki John


Re: Email Posting on 11 September 2011 by Axel G Sturm, President of ‘The European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper’  - -


Since the receipt of an email from Axel Sturm against me I have refrained from responding partly because of impending leave (from which I have now returned) and partly because I wished to take legal advice concerning defamation against me by Mr Sturm.


The email was a copy of Mr Sturm’s website September News article (10.09.2011) under the title: Who will finally help poor Vikki John. My legal advice is that the article is highly defamatory of me. Also, the Chairman of (BCL) Bougainville Copper Ltd Mr Peter Taylor has defamed me, by association, in endorsing Axel Sturm’s website publication under his own banner title of Chairman’s Address. Since Mr Sturm’s defamatory material is published on the internet at his website address (, I am able to commence a damages claim in the New South Wales jurisdiction in accordance with the Australian High Court decision called The Gutnick Case (cf: That case establishes the legal point that, with reference to an internet publication, a person can be defamed within the jurisdiction of wherever the article or publication is read. However, these are not issues to concern members of this forum.


Axel Sturm was not content to defame me on his website, he also published his article by sending it to my employer at the University of Technology Sydney. This was a malicious action on his part intending that I be harmed in my employment. But there is a deeper motive as to why Mr Sturm sent such a highly personally offensive post to my employer and that is to ‘warn’ me off the Bougainville forum. By turning the personally offensive spotlight on me, Mr Sturm is seeking to rid the forum of my viewpoints that are critical of his pro-mining interests. In warning me off by this behavior Mr Sturm is also setting a precedent that could be used to warn off any  forum member by targeting  them personally with offensive email publications, and publishing it external to the forum. Forum members targeted in this way would hesitate to dare express viewpoints that are different to Mr Sturm’s concerning ‘the Bougainville Question on a return to mining’. And this strategy is designed to turn this forum into a ‘quasi-independent’ voice on the Bougainville mining question so he can use this ‘voice’ as a marketing tool for exerting upward pressure in a volatile market on BCL share pricing.

What do we know of Axel Sturm and what are his personal financial interests in Bougainville? Reportedly, the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC) hold some 10 million shares (see Keith Jackson’s blog: ESBC Spins a Comeback for B'ville Copper From a corporate business registered in the notorious tax-free Tax Haven of Andorra, Axel Sturm provides brokerage services to the ESBC shareholder block. He buys and sells for a commission and of course the greater the shareholder price the greater the commission. As for registering his business in Andorra, that is typical of Mr Sturm setting up in a tiny Principality that has been notorious not just as a tax-free zone that attracts all kinds of dubious money-changers but because of the secrecy surrounding its banking laws. Ironically, for Axel Sturm, the recent (April 2011) elections gave a clear mandate to the Democrats to reintroduce laws on the lifting of Banking Secrecy and to imposing a value-added tax on corporations - that may see the end to Mr Sturm’s beloved Tax-Haven.

I don’t know how many shares in Bougainville Copper are personally owned by Mr Sturm, but in terms of personal holdings coupled with his brokerage business in ESBC shares, and faced with a historically declining share value, Mr Sturm is desperate at every turn, and at every opportunity, to talk up the value of Bougainville Copper shares and to talk down disquiet or unrest at the prospects of a Panguna mine start-up (note that BCL share prices have slid from around $1.50 in May 2011 to $0.86c today - 

The personal offensive has become Mr Sturm’s hallmark in dealing with disagreements over Bougainville. When faced with overwhelming facts or differences of opinion, Mr Sturm resorts to calling one ‘mental’. For example, here are some extracts from Axel Sturm’s response to Bougainvillean Clive Porabu whose Mekamui website news is fast gaining International respect for bringing real-life news and song from the ground on the thoughts and aspirations of Bougainvilleans:

Clive:      In this regard, the closing down of Panguna Mine involved blood and the  loss of lives of twenty thousand fighters, innocent children, men and women from the Southern tip to the Northern isles of Mekamui/Bougainville.

Sturm:   You know very well that only approximately 1200 people were killed by unrest on Bougainville. The others died because of lack of medicines and normal death in that period. … Stop to publish all that bullshit now or are you mentally sick??

Clive:      Let us not sink it [Bougainville] with all the craziness for the copper and gold business. For the love of Earth.

Sturm:   What bullshit is this? . . . So, Clive, wake up and and re-build Bougainville like many others do! Or are you happy to be an outlaw and a notorous lier?? . . . Are you sure that you are not possessed by some kind of bad demon???

(the complete exchange can be found here:

It is expected that being a member of a forum that engages in big questions and issues that concern a people will give rise at times to robust, contentious, and passionate outbursts about the issues being discussed. But it is also to be expected that forum discussion is kept within the forum. And it is also expected that personally offensive information will be left out of the discussion. It is also expected that one member won’t go outside the forum to another member’s employment and try to harm them. Axel Sturm has violated these forum rules AND is warning me (and other members of the forum) that he will not stop at publishing offensive commentary outside of the forum if that’s what it takes to silence views he does not agree with.

Axel Sturm should be banned from the forum as a clear statement that intimidation by defamation within the forum and outside of it will not be tolerated.

Vikki John


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Dear Warwick,





Source: The National

Buka hosts education consultations

TALKS are underway in Buka on the transfer of powers and functions of the Teaching Service Commission and the Education Department from the national government to the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
Commission caretaker chairman Jerry Kuhena said a joint implementation group consisting of the commission, education department, and the ABG education division began meeting on Monday.
He said the agenda included:

-    Implementation work schedules for training and work attachments to support the ABG education division’s human resources for them to perform their functions effectively and efficiently;

-    Policy on the implementation of powers and functions to be developed.  This policy will provide directions to the department, ABG and the commission on po­wers and functions;

l    Departmental restructure for the ABG education division which will require feedback from committee members.  The feedback will improve the proposed restructure of the ABG education department before it is endorsed by the Personnel Management department.

-    Budget for implementation.  According to the memorandum of understanding between the parties, they will support the budget for the ABG education functions;and

-    Meetings to be co-chaired.

Kuhena said future meetings would be held as planned.


Source: The National

PNG, Aust form talks panel

PAPUA New Guinea and Australia have agreed to establish a high-level committee that would carry out regular talks for effective business and economic development outcomes.
The committee would comprise representatives from business and government of both countries that is set to meet at more regular intervals than the formal ministerial dialogues already established between the two neighbours.
The proposal for closer dialogues and problem-solving came jointly from the Business Council of Papua New Guinea (BCPNG) and the Australia PNG Business Council (APNGBC), led by its president Peter Taylor.
The joint bodies met in Canberra with foreign ministers Ano Pala and Kevin Rudd during the recent visit to Australia by PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
“The councils see this meeting as part of ongoing engagement between business and government extending beyond today’s meeting,” Taylor, who is also chairman of the Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), said.
“To achieve the most effective outcomes, we believe we need continuous engagement between us during the periods between the formal meetings,” Taylor said.
“We welcomed the agreement by ministers to our proposal for the immediate establishment of a bilateral committee of business and senior officials to meet regularly to create effective outcomes to business and economic development issues.”
“Among many positive discussion points, we talked about sovereign wealth funds to conserve and build PNG’s mineral revenues, capacity building in the Royal Papua New Guinea Police Constabulary and capa­city building in the PNG Lands Department.”
Taylor said that they also lodged a formal submission from businesses to relevant ministers, which covered a range of important topics including the proposed economic relations agreement, ownership of mineral resources in PNG.
Other issues taken up involved immigration, work permits, improved air freight deals between Australia and PNG, third-country workers transiting to and from PNG and economic infrastructure.
Taylor said the council looked forward to working with its business colleagues in PNG and with both governments to advance these and other issues through the bilateral business and officials committee and at future ministerial forums.



Source: Post-Courier

Atolls cry out for regular shipping links

ATOLLS people on Bougainville have called on the ABG and the Border Development Authority for regular shipping services to the outer islands.
BDA vessel MV Bougainville Atolls made its maiden voyage to the Bougainville atolls last week Thursday to Mortlock and Tasman Islands.
The people in those islands entirely depend on shipping alone for transportation of people and goods and services.
People, especially the ones in Mortlock Island, said Tasman islanders were quite lucky that they had to go down to Ontong Java in the Solomon Islands for goods and services, but Mortlock island was completely isolated and cut off from the rest of the world.
The trip was an emergency run in which two critically ill patients were brought in to the Buka hospital, one from Mortlock and one from Tasman.
Doctor attached with the Buka hospital Patrick Dio who was sent to help evacuate sick people and asses the health situation in the atolls, said regular shipping is greatly needed in order to stock up medical supplies.
On Tasman Island at the moment, food rations have run out and the regular ship that comes to Ontong Jaba is not working.
Mortlock Islands health officer Simon Spilda said the current population for Mortlock Island was 310 excluding those living in Buka and other parts of PNG.
Tasman has a high population of 639 and when included with those living outside the population, it goes up to 936.



Source: The National

Miringtoro: Sector neglecting teachers

CENTRAL Bougainville MP and Communication and Information Minister Jimmy Miringtoro said teachers are often “left behind” in the country’s education system.
“Through experience, I have seen for myself that teachers are left behind to teach only inside the classroom but the stakeholders forget about their part in supporting the school to move in a positive direction,’’ he said.
“In many instances, the school administration forgets about their contribution.
“As a result, the interest of the school starts to diminish. This is a sign of weak leadership in the management of the school.”
He was speaking last Friday during Arawa High School’s 15th graduation ceremony.
Miringtoro said the school must be seen as a “success story.”
“We started this school with a few dedicated teachers and a small number of students who took the challenge to come out of their communities, knowing the importance of education and the future of our children which was put to the test by the Bougainville crisis.
“Knowing the significance of this school, when it acted as pivotal point in restoration and peace building, I had to be present here to celebrate this special occasion with you,” he told the graduating Grade 10 students.
Miringtoro said the school would take in its first Grade 11 classes next year.
“Many of you may be aware that transforming this school to secondary school status is going be quite expensive.
“To reach secondary school status, we need proper infrastructure, curriculum materials for students and teachers and a proper library,” he said.


Source: The National

Police praises border post

THE Autonomous Region of Bougainville has welcomed the national government’s initiative to establish a border post at Kangu beach.
ARB assistant police commissioner Thomas Eluh said the post would help “to monitor and enforce law and order along the border between Solomon Islands and the autonomous region”.
“It will boost the capacity of police, Customs, National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority and immigration to effectively handle border affairs,” Eluh said.
He said the border area had been “a haven for criminal activities such as the exchange of firearms and drugs”.
The sale of stolen items and equipment across the border had been difficult to trace and recover.
Last week, Eluh met with the Solomons acting police commissioner and the Regional Assistant Mission to the Solomon Island  (Ramsi) commander where he raised concern over illegal activities along the border.




Source: ESBC


ESBC press release 20111017   ENGLISH VERSION


A Strong Mark of Confidence!

ESBC President buys 1 million Bougainville Copper shares more.


The President of the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC), Mr. Axel G. Sturm, announced on Monday that he intends to double his investment in Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) from 1 million to 2 million shares within the next weeks. Mr. Sturm who recently met BCL chairman Peter Taylor in London is extremely bullish in BOC shares as he found out that the Rio Tinto subsidiary BCL will not need to dilute the share price buy emitting new shares to shoulder the re-opening of the giant Panguna mine in Central Bougainville. The cost of this operation is estimated 3 billion US$. Furthermore: Mr. Sturm appreciates a lot that Bougainville Copper Limited is in contact with Rothschild Bankers. Rothschild’s are linked worldwide and well known for discreet brokerage in joint-ventures, mergers or buy-outs. “The involvement of Rothschild bankers in BCL may be a first evidence for serious Chinese interest in our company,” says Mr. Sturm, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Chinalco or any other huge Chinese company would soon make a bid on BCL. That makes sense as Chinalco already holds a stake of round about 10 percent in Rio Tinto.” Just recently a first-class delegation from China has visited the mine-site on Bougainville. Mr. Sturm estimates a realistic buy offer “not less than AUD 10 per share.” This could be an interesting deal for the Chinese as the fair value of Bougainville Copper shares are estimated AUD 30 to AUD 50 once the mine is in operation again.


ESBC press release 20111017 GERMAN VERSION


Starker Vertrauensbeweis!

ESBC Präsident bestätigt den Kauf einer weiteren Million Bougainville Copper Aktien.


Der Präsident der europäischen Aktionäre der Bougainville Copper Limited (ESBC) bestätigte am Montag, dass er vorhabe, in den nächsten Wochen eine weitere Million Aktien einer der weltweit größten Kupfer, Gold und Silberminen zu erwerben. Sturm, der sich unlängst in London mit dem Vorstandsvorsitzenden von Bougainville Copper (BCL), Peter Taylor, getroffen hatte, gibt sich extrem bullish: „Nach meinen Informationen wird es keine Verwässerung der Aktien durch die Ausgabe neuer Papiere geben. Die für die Wiedereröffnung der Pangunamine notwendigen drei Milliarden US$ können offensichtlich problemlos am Geldmarkt beschafft werden.“ Mehr noch begeistert Sturm aber, dass Bougainville Copper in Kontakt mit der namhaften Rothschild Bank ist: „Dieses Bankhaus ist nicht nur weltweit vernetzt, sondern genießt zudem den Ruf einer ersten Adresse wenn es um die Vermittlung internationaler Joint-Ventures, Merger oder Unternehmensübernahmen geht.“ Gerüchte darüber, dass sich Hauptaktionär Rio Tinto von BCL trennen könne, kursieren ohnehin seit langem: Der kürzliche Überraschungsbesuch einer hochrangigen chinesischen Delegation in der seit 1989 stillliegenden Pangunamine hat entsprechende Vermutungen eher noch befeuert. Sturm vermutet, dass ein etwaiges Übernahmeangebot nicht unter AUD 10 liegen dürfte: „ Als Käufer kämen etwa Chinalco, die ohnehin schon 10 Prozent an Rio Tinto ihr Eigen nennen, infrage oder aber ein anderer chinesischer Multi. Speziell für die Chinesen könnte das ein ausgesprochen interessanter Deal sein, denn der Fair Value der Bougainville Copper Aktie liegt zwischen AUD 30 und AUD 50 wenn die Mine erst einmal wieder begonnen hat, zu produzieren.“



Source: The World News - The International News Magazine

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Women Call the Shots on Mega Copper Mine

by Catherine Wilson

BUKA, Bougainville , Oct 17  (IPS)  - Whether the world's largest open-cut mine on this island territory of Papua New Guinea (PNG) will resume copper and gold production, after being mothballed for 22 years, will depend on how satisfied matrilineal landowners are with the proposals.

The women landowners are already raising issues about the potential impact on their land and communities if copper mining resumes at the site in the central mountainous district of Panguna.

"What sort of mining and with what process will it reopen?" asks Patricia Tapakau, president of the Panguna Women in Mining, an organisation which represents women in 13 mining affected villages. "We need to know, because we don't want any more destruction. We have had enough of that."

The Panguna copper mine opened in 1969 when Bougainville was under Australian colonial administration and customary landowners were excluded from the Bougainville Copper Agreement between the Australian government and the mining company, Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia.

For 20 years, the Barapang, Kurabang, Basikang and Bakoringku clans, customary landowners of the mine pit, endured devastation of their land and waterways by waste from what was the mine, community evictions and negligible share in profits.

In 1989, following BCL's refusal to pay the landowners' demand of 10 billion kina (454 million dollars) compensation, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) forced the mine to close.

The PNG government, a major owner (19.06 percent) of the operating company, Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), alongside British multinational, Rio Tinto (53.58 percent), imposed a blockade on the island and a 10-year civil war followed during which 20,000 people died, communities suffered human rights abuses and infrastructure was destroyed.

Helen Hakena, director of the Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency, a local NGO, counsels women victims of violence and develops leadership capacity and awareness of land rights in communities. She said a significant achievement since the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement was the formation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) in 2005.

"We have our own government in place and a lot has been achieved in terms of peace-building and the laying down of arms," Hakena recounted. "The setting up of businesses here has been a good thing, and schools and other institutions have been opened."

However, the population of Bougainville has doubled from 175,000 in 2000 to over 300,000 now, and with the island's current revenue deriving mainly from international aid donors, public services remain limited. Many villages lack electricity, clean water and adequate medical services.

The ABG views potential mining revenues as vital to developing services and attaining economic self-sufficiency for the second pillar of the Peace Agreement, a referendum on independence from PNG within the next 5-10 years.

In May, BCL chairman Peter Taylor visited Bougainville with a business delegation and held preliminary discussions with Bougainville President John Morris about reopening the Panguna mine, which the company estimates has reserves of 3.5 million tonnes of copper and 12.7 million ounces of gold.

Taylor stated publicly that he expects the ABG and landowners to lead in mining negotiations. However, women landowners remain concerned that the customary value of land as a source of livelihood will give way to corporate interests that see land as an expendable resource.

"The important thing about the land is that, to us, it is like a mother, because we feed on the land," said Joanne Dateransi. "We always depend on land; it cannot be compared to money."

The women say the economic potential of local industries, such as cocoa, copra and tourism must be fully explored first and unresolved issues, following the mine's abandonment, must be addressed, including financial compensation and environmental damage.

"The first thing, the government and the company, they have to pay that 10 billion kina, which is part of the (landowners') demands, then the killings and the damage has to be paid. Then we talk about the mining issue," said Panguna landowner Lynette Ona.

"The chemicals are still there in the river," she said. "No one drinks the water, there is no fish there, it is still the same," said Ona who promotes the participation of women in local politics and plans to be candidate in the 2012 Bougainville elections.

An environmental report on the Panguna mine by Applied Geology Associates (1998) spoke of thousands of tonnes of tailings including toxic metals such as mercury, lead and zinc. Tailings flowing into the nearby Jaba river decimated fish and contaminated water supplies and crops.

"It (BCL) has to come up with a very good plan on how to dispose of toxic waste," stated Coleman. What has happened as a result of the mine being closed is the (improved) fertility of the soil. We never had coconuts (during the mine's operation) in our own village, now you can see trees full of coconuts."

Long-term political and social unity is also a key issue with reconciliation and weapons disposal incomplete. A survey, supported by PNG's 'Post Courier' newspaper, of 500 families in Central Bougainville affected by the civil war death toll of 1,629,  showed households still in possession of weapons.

"We will not take away all the guns," Hakena said. "But there needs to be a priority set by the government in getting those arms out before the (possible) reopening of the Panguna mine."

However, a decision on whether the mine will reopen is still to be made by the ABG, landowners, the PNG government and BCL.

ABG's chief mining officer, Stephen Burian, said new mining laws were being drafted with assistance from the World Bank, but a review of the Bougainville Copper Agreement, a precondition to mine negotiations, awaits unification of all  landowners in mining affected areas under the Panguna Landowners Association and an independent environmental audit made.

The Panguna community also includes the Mekamui hardliners, comprising many former BRA fighters, who control access to the Panguna mine and have not yet agreed to any mining proposals.

What is clear is that the mine's future is in the hands of Bougainville people who want to see strategies of economic development that preserve human rights, social cohesion, environment and culture.

"We want to develop, but to redevelop from the mistakes, not to repeat the mistakes (of the past)," said Tapakau.



Source: Post-Courier

Rebel faction disbands

THE Bougainville Freedom Fighters (BFF) has now been disbanded, that’s the message from its founder Martin Kongkei.
The announcement was made during a reconciliation ceremony held last week at Mongai village between Mr Kongkei and families of two Me’ekamui soldiers he had shot dead in 2006. It is understood that that incident had triggered Mr Kongkei to form the BFF and stage war against the Me’ekamui faction, controlled and led by Damien Koike.
It is believed that the two - Tony Magatu and Moini Koki, were Kongkei’s first cousins and their deaths had resulted in division, hatred and above all, fear among Mr Kongkei’s family and families of the dead fighters. However, this feud has now been solved following the reconciliation.
“Freedom Fighters was started here in October 2006 and it will end here today,” Mr Kongkei said.
During the reconciliation, he had pleaded for forgiveness from the family members of the two cousins.
His plea was accepted and Mr Kongkei and the families had agreed to bury their hatchet and live as happy families again. The event was witnessed by ABG President John Momis, Bougainville Affairs Minister and South Bougainville MP Steven Kamma, head of Bougainville Police Service ACP Thomas Eluh, ABG minister for Community Development Rose Pihei and the people of Mongai.



Source: Post-Courier

MP helps with funds for new health centre

PEOPLE of Muguai village in the Buin district of South Bougainville will soon be using their new health centre.
This follows a decision by the South Bougainville MP Steven Pirika Kamma to fund the completion of the health centre.
Mr Kamma, who is also the Bougainville Affairs Minister, had previously allocated K150,000 in 2008 towards the construction of the building.
Since this health centre project was a joint initiative of both Mr Kamma and the Autonomous Bougainville Government, counterpart funding for the completion of the building was supposed to be met by the ABG.
However, due to financial constraints faced by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, it was not able to meet its commitment, resulting in the incompletion of the building.
The funding allocated by Mr Kamma was used up in the first phase of building the house, with more work still needed to be done.
During a recent inspection visit to Muguai about two weeks ago, Mr Kamma expressed grave concern following the ABG’s failure in honouring its commitment to counter -fund the project.
He then pledged to allocate another K200,000 to complete the project.
Kakai Builders, a local building company from Buin, has been engaged by Mr Kamma to complete the project.



Source: Post-Courier

Atolls cry out for regular shipping links

ATOLLS people on Bougainville have called on the ABG and the Border Development Authority for regular shipping services to the outer islands.
BDA vessel MV Bougainville Atolls made its maiden voyage to the Bougainville atolls last week Thursday to Mortlock and Tasman Islands.
The people in those islands entirely depend on shipping alone for transportation of people and goods and services.
People, especially the ones in Mortlock Island, said Tasman islanders were quite lucky that they had to go down to Ontong Java in the Solomon Islands for goods and services, but Mortlock island was completely isolated and cut off from the rest of the world.
The trip was an emergency run in which two critically ill patients were brought in to the Buka hospital, one from Mortlock and one from Tasman.
Doctor attached with the Buka hospital Patrick Dio who was sent to help evacuate sick people and asses the health situation in the atolls, said regular shipping is greatly needed in order to stock up medical supplies.
On Tasman Island at the moment, food rations have run out and the regular ship that comes to Ontong Jaba is not working.
Mortlock Islands health officer Simon Spilda said the current population for Mortlock Island was 310 excluding those living in Buka and other parts of PNG.
Tasman has a high population of 639 and when included with those living outside the population, it goes up to 936.




Source: ABC Radio Australia Television


A Great Success!


For his first time  Peter O'Neill visited Australia as Primeminister of Papua New Guinea. He was accompanied amongst others by Bougainville Copper Chairman Peter Taylor who is the actual President of the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Council.








Source: Post-Courier

Churches play key role - Pirika

CHURCHES play an important part in the integral development of people therefore they should be adequately funded by the government, that’s the bold message from the Bougainville Affairs Minister and South Bougainville MP Steven Pirika Kamma.
Since his declaration two years ago as the member-elect, Mr Kamma has always lived up to his words by continuing to fund the different church denominations in his south Bougainville electorate.
Last week Mr Kamma again presented more than K100, 000 worth of cheques to these different denominations.
Out of these funding allocations, K50, 000 was given to Turiboiru Parish in the Buin district. This funding will go towards the fundraising drive for the construction of a new church building.
Apart from Turiboiru Parish, Mr Kamma also presented K30, 000 to the Piano Parish for maintenance work to be carried out at the church building.
K49, 000 was also presented to the Kidron Ministry in Siwai district, while K15, 000 was given to the Assemblies of God (AOG) denomination at O’ohai village in Siwai.
Mr Kamma has also funded K10, 000 towards the fundraising drive for the completion of the Kokopau Catholic Church chapel. 



Source: Post-Courier

Destroy guns: Kamma

FORMER combatants in Bougainville who are still in possession of weapons have been challenged by the Minister for Bougainville Affairs Steven Pirika Kamma to destroy them.
Mr Kamma said those still in possession of these arms will always be tempted to kill people, therefore these weapons must be immediately destroyed.
Mr Kamma suggested that one of the options that could be followed is that these weapons can be given to the village chiefs so they can arrange for the weapons destructions.


Source: Post-Courier

45 per cent of Bougainville’s children not in school
By Fabian Gatana

ACCORDING to a recent survey conducted in Bougainville, about one in every three children living in urban areas are not in school. The survey, carried out in February by Professor Satish Chand from the University of New South Wales with the National Research Institute (NRI), UPNG and the Buka Open Campus, found from their preliminary findings that about 50 per cent of the urban population in Bougainville were young between the ages of 15 to 20 of which, 45 per cent were not attending school.
Prof Chand said this is an alarming figure compared to figures from the pre-crisis years where only about two per cent did not receive any formal education.
He said the research carried out was to establish Bougainville’s economic recovery after the 10-year conflict to try to recreate economic data.



Source: The National

South Bougainville groups make peace

BOUGAINVILLE minister for finance and planning Albert Punghau has welcomed the peace initiative taken by his people to stop fighting.
Punghau, who is the member for Motuna Huyono Tokunutui in the autonomous region’s house of assembly, said he wanted his people to reconcile with each other and work for peace and development.
He made these remarks last week at the ceasefire ceremony of warring factions in the Siwai area, South Bougainville.
Punghau said he was pleased to see his people resort to peace instead of fighting each other over nothing.
He said their continuous infighting was a threat to the referendum on independence which would take place in four years.
He thanked Paul Hirah and his faction for their understanding and willingness to talk peace with the police in South Bougainville.
The ceremony was witnessed by the
United Nations peacekeeping team on Bougainville.


Source: The National

Momis pays tribute to Bonai

AUTONOMOUS Bougainville Government President John Momis last night paid tribute to one of Bougainville’s leaders from the former North Solomons provincial government, the late Martin Bonai.
Speaking at Bonai’s requiem mass at the Hahela Parish, Momis said Bonai had been an intelligent Bougainvillean who served his people well as the former member for Bagana electorate.
Bonai was the principal of the Bougainville copper mine training college before the Bougainville conflict.
Bonai died at his home in Lae, Morobe, and his body was flown home yesterday.
His casket stayed overnight in Buka for the ABG leaders to pay their last respects before it left for his final resting place, at Nagovis.
Bonai was the former deputy premier under the Joseph Kabui-led North Solomons provincial government that was suspended at the height of the Bougainville conflict in 1988.
He was working with former member for North Bougainville (now Sir) Michael Ogio in 1992 when he suffered a stroke that left him paralysed on one side of his body.
He will be buried tomorrow.



Source: ABC Radio Australia - Pacific Beat

PNG and Australian prime ministers talk in Canberra

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Papua New Guinea's mining boom offers an historic opportunity to improve the lives of PNG's people.

She's met with her PNG counterpart Peter O'Neill in Canberra today and announced a number of new aid projects to help with the economic transition.

They include assistance to set up a sovereign wealth fund and secondments for PNG officials in Australian government departments.

Mr O'Neill's told a parliamentary audience that his government's committed to stamping out corruption and ensuring the proceeds of the mining boom don't go to waste.

Presenter: Joanna McCarthy
Speakers: Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister; Peter O'Neill, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister; Tony Abbott, Australian opposition leader


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Source: ABC Radio Australia - Pacific Beat

PNG PM talks about leadership and relationship with Australia

To find out more about the two leaders' discussions in Canberra, the relationship between the two countries and leadership issues in PNG, Australia Nerwork's Pacific Correspondent, Sean Dorney spoke to Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Mr O'Neill says he wants to see a business-like relationship between the two countries rather than one where PNG is relying on Australian aid.

In this interview, he also spoke about why he felt it was necessary for him to take over the leadership of PNG from the ailing former prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Presenter: Sean Dorney
Speaker: Prime Minister Peter O'Neill of Papua New Guinea


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Source: ABC Radio Australia - Pacific Beat

The substance of talks between PMs Gillard and O'Neill

For more on the current visit by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to Australia, Pacific Beat spoke to Australia Network's Pacific Correspondent.

We asked Sean Dorney to give us his take on the substance of the discussions between prime ministers Julia Gillard and Peter O'Neill.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Sean Dorney, Australia Networks pacific correspondent


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Source: ABC Radio Australia - Pacific Beat

Aus and PNG business leaders' bigger role in ministers summit

Business leaders involved in trade and commerce between Papuan New Guinea and Australia have welcomed the decision to allow them to make a bigger contribution to the annual ministerial summit.

Each year the ministers from both countries hold an annual meeting, and this year's was held in Canberra ahead of the meeting between PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

It was decided that business leaders and senior trade officials from both countries will make up a new committee to facilitate dealings between the two countries.

With PNG looking to earn significant wealth from its LNG deposits, sovereign wealth and building the capacity of government there to handle it are still matters of concern.

This week's meeting was also the first chance the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Council has had to talk with PNG's new leaders.

President of the council is confident they can work together.

Presenter: Pacific Correspondent, Campbell Cooney
Speaker:  Peter Taylor , President of the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Council


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Source: NBC News/Islands Business

PNG prepares for first State wedding

PORT MORESBY, PNG (NBC News) --- Papua New Guinea is preparing its first State wedding.

The State Wedding is being prepared for Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio (ESBC: Ex-Bougainville MP) on Saturday 22 October.

The Vice Regal's office has announced Sir Michael will wed Esmie Ereoli from Solomon Islands.

Catholic Archbishop John Ribat will preside over marriage ceremony at the St. Mary's Cathedral in downtown Port Moresby.

A State reception will follow at State Function Room, Parliament House.



Source: The National

Semoso cited for torturing woman

ANOTHER parliamentarian has been cited for misconduct in office for, among other things, torturing and assaulting a woman.
Fidelis Semoso, Bougainville regional MP, was yesterday referred by the public prosecutor to the leadership tribunal on these misconduct allegations.
The allegations come 24 hours after the Ombudsman Commission found that Kikori MP Mark Maipakai had an extra-marital affair seven years ago to warrant his referral to the public prosecutor for misconduct in office.
Six misconduct allegations were levelled at Semoso, who was Bougainville affairs minister in the previous government, including the assault and torture of the woman (named).
Acting public prosecutor Camillus Jacob Sambua said yesterday Semoso’s file was referred to his office by the Ombudsman Commission and after perusal, he was now asking Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia to appoint a leadership tribunal to inquire into this and other allegations relating to misappropriation of more than K3.5 million.
The latter allegations were:
l    Misappropriation of K2.7 million from the South Bougainville feeder road project funds without proper tender process;
l    Semoso benefiting with K470,000 from the K2.7 million awarded to Millennium Water Ltd;
l    Misapplication of K1.4 million from the South Bougainville feeder road project;
l    Winning a contract under false pretence; and
l    Failure to declare interest.
While Maipakai, who is inter-government relations and rural development minister, will wait to see whether he is referred to a leadership tribunal, Semoso becomes the fourth MP this year to face a tribunal after former prime minister Sir Michael Somare who was suspended for two week for failing to submit annual returns; his son Angoram MP Arthur Somare for misappropriation and for failing to submit annual returns; and Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch for misappropriation.
Somare and Pruaitch are still fighting their cases in court.
Sambua said that there was sufficient, cogent and credible evidence to refer Semoso to the leadership tribunal.
He also confirmed receiving Maipakai’s charges which included filing a late return and failing to provide additional information.
He would make a decision in due course on whether or not to refer the leader to the leadership tribunal.
Maipakai has denied the charges against him, saying he would fight them to clear his name.



Source: The National

Peace process reaches South Bougainville

THE process of reconciliation that has begun in central and north Bougainville finally wound its way to South Bougainville last week to touch communities which have, until now, remained apart – separated by differences and hatred.
In moving ceremonies at various locations, President John Momis called for individuals who harboured grief, remorse and hatred to come forward and deal with their situation.
Momis headed out last Wednesday with a large delegation of ABG officials, including ABG ministers and members, the chief administrator, the Bougainville assistant commissioner of Police, CEOs, and UN representative for an official visit to South Bougainville.
Momis  was also accompanied by General Chris Uma, commander of the Mekamui defence force and chairman of the Clans Paramount Council.
This was significant as Uma and his Mekamui had refused to participate in the Bougainville peace agreement.
The presence of Uma now sends a powerful signal that the Mekamui and its leadership was prepared to work with the Autonomous Bougainville Government for the unification of Bougainville.
Momis, who has made peace and reconciliation one of the pillars of his administration, told people at each gathering that once there was peace throughout Bougainville he would make it his priority to have the people become active in decision making at all levels for their own welfare.
One of the hallmarks of the “Momis Way” right from the early days of decentralisation in PNG is “devolving power to people so as to enable them to have a right to participate in their affairs”.
There were emotion-filled moments at Mongai, Mogoroi and Sininnai villages where the reconciliation ceremonies occurred during Holy Mass.
It was a solemn yet festive atmosphere during which time people of all different backgrounds and differing views put aside long-held differences, grievances and pain over events of the past and came together.
A similar ceremony was held later in the day at Damien Koike’s village.
Koike gave his commitment to stage an overall reconciliation ceremony befitting the dignity and stature of the President as soon as events would permit  him to return.
The same spirit of unification and reconciliation prevailed the ceremony held on Saturday between the President and the Original Mekamui at Arawa and on Sunday between the people of Siwai and Buin.
Momis reminded the crowd that the “crisis” was over and that the great desire of the people of Bougainville was for peace and reconciliation.
He said with this would come economic prosperity and social development.
Momis while acknowledging that many people were seeking compensation from the government for losses suffered during the crisis, said no compensation would be paid in stances of individual culpability and responsibility.
This position, he said, was “firm and inflexible”.
The fact that peace and reconciliation has now occurred in South Bougainville now sets the stage for socio-economic progress, Momis said.


Source: ABC Radio Australia - Pacific Beat

PNG committed to sovereign wealth fund

To Canberra where Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has made his first official visit to Australia.

His arrival at Parliament House this morning was marked by a 19 gun ceremonial salute.

The Prime Minister then got down to business, meeting with his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard and addressing a parliamentary audience on the future of the PNG Australia relationship.

Peter O'Neill's visit also comes on a historic day for the Australian parliament, with the passage through the lower house of the government's carbon pricing scheme.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speakers: Joanna McCarthy, Canberra correspondent; Peter O'Neill, PNG Prime Minister; Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister; Tony Abbott, Australian opposition leader


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Source: Islands Business

COVER REPORT: Somare’s succesor
Can new Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill succeed?
by Rowan Callick

An accountant who put on his first pair of shoes when he was 16 in order to visit his father’s relations in Melbourne, has in six short weeks taken a firm grip on the steering wheel in Papua New Guinea.
But PNG is notoriously resistant to direction. It is on the cusp between rapid, overdue modernisation and sinking back to tribalised subsistence.


 Can its new leader succeed? This is the question on everyone’s lips in the nation of 7 million people.
Sir Michael Somare has been at the forefront of public life there for an extraordinary 42 years.
But now Sir Michael, “the chief,” has lost his seat in parliament due to his absence during prolonged illness and is most unlikely to return—although a court challenge on his behalf could still disrupt the new government’s entrenchment.
Taking Sir Michael’s place as Papua New Guinea’s recently elected prime minister is Peter O’Neill, who comes from the populous heartland, the Highlands.
He indicated he is determined to usher in a new era for that nation of constant promise—and as frequent despair.
He flew to Nadi for the Engaging with the Pacific meeting and then on to the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in Auckland last month, and gave an important speech to businesspeople in Brisbane on the way home.
He revealed in Brisbane that he has already cautioned, “and will caution again, my ministers and state-owned corporations involved in the mining and hydrocarbon industry to desist promptly from giving misleading signals to the foreign investment sector. My government is not about making life difficult for foreign investors.”


A fresh style

O’Neill brings to the position a fresh style, very different from that of the veteran 75-year old founding father Sir Michael, and from that of the extrovert, “big man” bragadaccio of previous leaders to emerge from the Highlands.
He needs to move fast since the next national election is due in mid-2012, although if he both performs well administratively and keeps his coalition team intact through smart politics—a rare combination in PNG history—he could look to a new term in charge after that.
He has already impressed by introducing rapidly bills to make education free to grade 10 and to create a seat dedicated for women in each province, guaranteeing that the new parliament will have at least 22 women MPs where now it has just one, Carol Kidu.
“Women deserve to participate in the decision-making process and in the management of our country,” O’Neill said.
His next urgent legislation is to create a new province for his home area, the Southern Highlands, where PNG’s first liquefied natural gas project is being built by ExxonMobil for $A16.5 billion, and which Southern Highlanders have threatened to destroy if they do not get a new provincial government in time for next year’s election.
As a 46-year old former accountant and businessman, he is bright, courteous, thoughtful. His father was an Australian “kiap” or patrol officer who arrived in PNG in 1949 and stayed until he died in 1982. His mother was from Pangia in the Southern Highlands.
As the first outsider to be based in the Ialibu-Pangia district, O’Neill’s father had established basic government services in the area.
“So the older generation know him very well,” said O’Neill, speaking in Auckland following the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Summit.
Later in his career, his father worked as a magistrate, for which he shifted to Mount Hagen, then Goroka—also in the Highlands.
O’Neill grew up in his mother’s home village until he joined his father in Goroka when he turned 15. The first time he wore a pair of shoes was when his father brought him to Melbourne, aged 16.
His father was born in the then working class suburb of Williamstown, now a fashionable area with views across the marina and Port Phillip Bay to the Melbourne city skyline.
“I’m still in touch with relatives in Melbourne,” O’Neill said.
He attended high schools in Ialibu in his home province of Southern Highlands—today the centre of an oil and gas bonanza—and in Goroka, before studying at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in Port Moresby.
He said: “I didn’t follow my father into law because I had grown up poor and I thought I’d have a better chance through accountancy. I was fairly reasonable with numbers.”
He became slightly involved in student politics at UPNG where Ben Micah—who later became an MP and whom he has appointed as his chief of staff—was a student union leader. “That was when communism was still around,” said O’Neill with a grin.
He joined international firm Coopers and Lybrand from university, then formed his own small partnership with a New Zealand accountant in Port Moresby, before returning to the Highlands, to Goroka.
He established a trading business there and sold it in 1988 when he moved back to the capital.
He was then appointed executive chairman of the government-owned PNG Banking Corporation, which was to be privatised under Sir Mekere Morauta’s prime ministership. It is now the highly successful Bank South Pacific, with interests across the islands region.
O’Neill was asked to help rescue other failing state corporations including insurance firms that he merged to create, in partnership with German giant Allianz, Pacific MMI, now the country’s biggest insurer.
A report on the National Provident Fund’s financing of an apparently over-priced office tower, in which O’Neill played a role, recommended his referral to the public prosecutor. But no action was taken. This has been his only public brush with misbehaviour, one that has effectively been left behind.

How he got into politics

In 2002, he stood for parliament for the area where he grew up, Ialibu-Pangia in the Southern Highlands. He won the seat for the People’s Solidarity Party, and when it merged with the People’s National Congress, taking the latter’s name, he soon became the party leader.
He said: “I went into politics out of a sense of frustration at the way decisions were being made and a sense of obligation to my father’s efforts to bring some level of government services to my area.
“Growing up in the village environment, I knew very well the limitations of opportunities and the services that my people suffered—and are still suffering. There was no power, no running water, no road.”
Boarding during the week, every weekend he walked 28 kilometres from his high school to his home in Ialibu, to collect the food he needed for the following week.
Now the road has been upgraded. But there is still no power or running water in the village, named Paiyomari.
O’Neill speaks, besides English and Pidgin, his mother’s language and two other languages from the Southern Highlands. “That places me in a much better position to communicate with my constituents.”
He became a minister very quickly after being elected in 2002, being given the labour and industrial relations portfolio by the then prime minister Sir Michael, and later the more high profile public service ministry.
“It was quite challenging at first,” he said, “coming from a different business background and adapting to how a government operates.”
In 2004, his party quit the government over its disagreement with Sir Michael’s bid to extend the grace period before an election, within which a no confidence motion cannot be moved.
“We felt that governments need a level of accountability, and that such a change would be undemocratic, leaving the government unchallengeable for too long.”
O’Neill then became Leader of Opposition until the following election, in 2007.
“I enjoyed that position,” he said, “because it gave me an opportunity to set up my own policy alternatives and build up my political skills in debating and making sure the government was held accountable.”
After the election, he returned to the coalition in Sir Michael’s government, returning to his former Ministry of Public Service before being given, as a reflection of his growing authority, the senior role of Treasurer.
When Sir Michael fell ill and flew for operations to Singapore, he appointed Sam Abal as acting prime minister, and Abal demoted O’Neill to the works portfolio.
But O’Neill had felt from his time as opposition leader, that he had the capacity to become prime minister. Seizing the opportunity was something else though.
And within the labyrinthine world of PNG politics, O’Neill has made his mark not only through his decent bearing and intelligence, but also through his sense of timing—and his consistent luck, which attracts others to join him.
He also, he said, focused on learning to become more responsible, aware of that impending burden.
When Abal began reshuffling his Cabinet and taking more far-reaching decisions in the absence of Sir Michael, O’Neill realised the moment had come when PNG should seek “a mandated leader to take the country into the elections in 2012”.
And that would be him.

Planning a change

O’Neill said he started planning a change in government immediately after Abal’s reshuffle. “I began speaking with the Opposition parties about forming a credible government, a government of unity in a way, in preparation for the election.”
It came down to two names, he said: Don Polye, the former foreign minister—also a highlander—and himself. In a secret ballot in the caucus room in parliament, O’Neill came out on top. He has since given Polye the big consolation prize of Treasury.
“I was reasonably confident,” he said. He has reinforced his position by appointing a Cabinet of 33, and 11 Vice Ministers—providing him with 80 percent of the votes he needs to pass legislation.
And he has already differentiated his administrative style from Sir Michael’s by keeping his office door constantly open to his ministers.
O’Neill said: “Michael Somare is an iconic figure in our country, well respected and fatherly to many of us. I wished things could have been done differently” with the succession.
“But for more than 8 months, decisions were being made which were not mandated, the government was serving the interests of a minority in parliament and not governing for the people and the country. Papua New Guineans were entitled to know how their leader was doing.”
Sir Michael now “needs to retire with dignity and respect,” he said.
O’Neill said: “We all know how we have squandered our opportunities in the past. Some of us are determined not to make the same mistakes again. And aware that we are in government for less than 12 months, we are focussing on a very few areas, education being our number one priority.
“We are now spending 20 percent of our budget on education and that is likely to increase to 25 percent by 2012. We are also revamping the health system, including centralising drugs purchase and supply, which has been bound up with corruption in the past, and rehabilitation of the six major referral hospitals.”



David Conn, Chief Executive of PNG’s biggest business chamber, the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
“Many of our members support the change of government and welcome many of the decisions already enacted, the officials replaced, and of course the announcements made to improve governance and tackle corruption. Time will tell whether these come to fruition of course.
“Peter O’Neill has been a successful businessman and thinks like one, so we feel we can talk to him openly and constructively. PNG is on the cusp of greatness again and if we cannot harvest the benefits from this impending economic boom this time, social unrest may mean we do not get another chance.”
Peter Korugl, News Editor of Post Courier newspaper:
“O’Neill was a weak opposition leader but he is very popular now and generating more support here as days go by, because people were fed up with the old government and he is focusing on issues that are very close to the heart of the people right now.”
Paul Barker, Executive director of PNG’s leading think tank, the Institute of National Affairs:
“In his time in government, he’s always performed soundly. As Treasurer, he listened to staff and acted prudently. “He earlier tended to go along with the sounder Cabinet members, including those seeking to restrain logging companies. He’s always been ambitious and it was clear he was eager to go for the top job. He has made good and programmatic allies, timing his shifts better than some others.
“He has a mixed team of capable, young and talented and older, experienced, broadly honest members, plus some from the old guard who have a bad track record, whom he’ll have to keep reined in.”


Source: Post-Courier

Fidelis Semoso to face tribunal

BOUGAINVILLE Regional MP Fidelis Semoso (left) will face a leadership tribunal for alleged misconduct in office.
The Acting Public Prosecutor, Camillus Sambua yesterday requested the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, to appoint an appropriate Leadership Tribunal to inquire into the allegations of misconduct.


The former Minister for Bougainville Affairs and deputy leader NGI for the National Alliance was yesterday stood down from office by operation of the law until a tribunal deals with the allegations and hands down its decision.

Mr Semoso becomes the latest leader to be referred to the Leadership Tribunal over breaches of the Leadership Code.

The allegations include: alleged misappropriation of K2.7 million from South Bougainville Feeder Road Project funds without proper tender process; benefit of public funds valued at K470,000 from the K2.7 million awarded to Millennium Waters Ltd and misapplication of KI million from South Bougainville Feeder Roads.

Semoso is also alleged to have assaulted and tortured a Ms Therese Marrie Hani Hapoot; winning a contract under false pretence; and failure to declare his interest.

Mr Sambua said he has perused the file and found that there is sufficient, cogent and credible evidence to refer the matter to an appropriate Leadership Tribunal.

Referral of Mr Semoso followed a day after the Ombudsman Commission referred two-term MP and Minister for Inter Government Relations Mark Maipakai to Mr Sambua to be investigated over an extra-marital affair seven years ago and late lodging of his annual statements.
The Ombudsman Commission, found enough evidence against Maipakai to refer him to the public prosecutor to be investigated for misconduct in office.



Source: The National

Expert: Aussie banks a haven for fat cats

AUSTRALIA may be sheltering hundreds of millions of black dollars funnelled out of South Pacific countries, including Papua New Guinea, by corrupt politicians and public officials, a conference in Brisbane on law and order and good governance in Australia and the Pacific region has been told.
This money laundering was being tolerated by a disinterested Australian federal government, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported, quoting a good governance expert Prof Jason Sharman of the University of Griffith.

The newspaper quoted Sharman (picture) as saying that PNG, in particular, was believed to suffer from the avarice of some of its officials and politicians.
He added that a senior police officer recently claimed the country lost as much as 50% of its budget – about A$1.9 billion – every year through fraud and corruption.
Sharman called on the Australian government to drop its “nonchalant attitude” towards the problem, which, he said, hamstringed regional aid, governance and security policies.
“Recent research on grand corruption has emphasised the importance of following the money trail to determine where corrupt senior officials hide their stolen assets,” he said.
“The answer is often that wealth looted from poor countries is held in rich countries with large, stable financial centres and which share historical ties with the victim country.”
But, he said, Canberra had displayed a lack of interest in pursuing foreign corruption in Australia. An example of this, he said, was the bribery scandal enveloping the Reserve Bank in relation to foreign bribes allegedly paid by employees of its part-owned subsidiaries, Note Printing Australia and Securency.
The government has ignored that case and has three times blocked a move in the Senate to launch a parliamentary inquiry.
“The government doesn’t care about Australia playing host to the proceeds of foreign corruption,” Sharman said.
He said he first became concerned about the role of Australia in embezzlement and corruption in the South Pacific while undertaking research for the World Bank about the problem in Africa.
“If you’re a corrupt leader and you’re stealing millions ... through embezzlement or taking bribes, then you don’t want to keep it at home, you want to put it somewhere international.”
He said his research showed that money tended to flow to the former coloniser, or the nearest thing. Given that many South Pacific politicians and officials study in Australia and have family and friends here, Australia would be the closest thing to a coloniser.
The SMH said evidence gathered by several international organisations had made particular claims about politicians from Papua New Guinea – which had undergone a minerals boom in recent years – buying property in Queensland with their corrupt profits.



Source: Post-Courier

Too many political parties

Abau MP Sir Dr Puka Temu launched a new political party last Saturday. Currently, Agriculture Minister in the O’Neill-Namah regime, Sir Puka was a founding member of the once powerful National Alliance Party and at one time, held the Deputy Prime Minister’s post. It was mooted in political circles at that time that if the Grand Chief Sir Michael should retire at the end of this term of Parliament, Sir Puka was a contender for the leadership of the NA and Prime Minister’s post. That was not to be for Sir Puka, a medical doctor by profession, who found he could not work with certain members of the Somare Government. He and current Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah left to join the Opposition in a failed move to oust the Somare Government. Now they have succeeded to overthrow the Somare-Abal regime, things are shaping up differently for the former NA loner in the former Opposition.
The launching of Our Development Party comes several months after former Chief Ombudsman Commissioner Ila Geno launched his PNG Constitutional Democratic Party. Mr Geno, known for referring the biggest number of politicians to the Public Prosecutor for leadership code breaches, aims to fight corruption when he gets into Government and although only a few months old, the party has already won the Kundiawa-Gembogl by election and has Party General Secretary Tobias Kulang in Parliament.
The two political parties are based in the Southern region and both Sir Puka and Mr Geno are going to take their parties into the coming national elections with the view to win and form Government. In the next few months, Papua New Guineans will most likely see the registration of more political parties as we move closer to the 2012 national elections. We are unable to give the definite number of new political parties that are expected to be formed but if the number of political parties that were registered for the 2007 national elections is of any indication, the number will be quite substantial.
As at the July 2007 national elections, there were 45 political parties. The number will go up to 49 when the four active political parties in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville are included. The list of parties in alphabetical order are: Advance PNG Party ; Christian Democratic Party; Economic Endeavour Party; Human Rights Protection Party; Liberal Party; Melanesian Alliance Party; Melanesian Labour Party; Melanesian People's Party; National Alliance Party; National Front Party; Nation Transformation Party; National Vision for Humanity Party; New Generation Party; One People Party; Pan Melanesian Congress Party; Papua and Niugini Union Pati; Party for Justice and Dignity; People's Action Party; People's Democratic Movement ; People's Destiny & Development Party; People's Development Party; People's First Conservative Party ; People's Freedom Party; People's Heritage Party; People's Labour Party; People's National Congress Party; People's Progress Party; People's Resource Awareness Party ; People's Solidarity Party; People's Welfare Party; Pipol First Pati; PNG Party; PNG Country Party ; PNG First Party; PNG Greens Party; PNG Integrity Party; PNG Labour Party; PNG National Party; PNG Revival Party; Rural Pipols' Pati; Simple People's Party; True People's Party; United Party; United Resources Party and Yumi Reform Party.
There are four active ones in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. This is a lot of political parties and will cause confusion in the elections.



Source: The National

Chan: Aust mining investment secure

MINING minister Byron Chan has reassured his Australian counterpart Martin Ferguson that Australia’s investment in the mining sector in PNG will not be deterred by the proposed amendments to the mining act.
Chan, who was accompanied by MRA acting managing director Kepas Wali and first secretary Gaius Toali­gur, met with Ferguson, Australia’s minister for Resources and Energy in Melbourne last Friday after returning from a mining conference in Accra, Ghana where he (Chan) briefed him of the current mining review and other policy issues the government will undertake.
“I assured the Federal Minister on Australia’s huge investment in PNG’s mining sector that there is no immediate changes to the act to give ownership back to landowners. Currently, the State owns the resources,” Chan said.
He told Ferguson that the decision to make the amendment to the 1992 Mining Act was only political but he made an undertaking to immediately set up a special committee to look into the changes.
“I cannot change the policy overnight with PNG already having multi-billion kina companies operating in the extractive industry.
“Anything to change will be drastic and a big blow to the economy.
“However, my immediate agenda now is to look into the Mining Act and amend certain provisions after consultation with all stakeholders so that landowners, government and investors equally benefit,” he said.
Chan noted that he would be pushing for a policy to be in place within the proposed mining act for the creation of an environment protection and rehabilitation fund.
“The fund will assist mining areas and increase benefit for landowners and provincial governments where mining operations are currently in progress,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ferguson thanked Chan and said the meeting was a step forward for the two countries and paved the way for the upcoming Australia – PNG bilateral ministerial forum in Canberra this week.



Source: Solomon Times online

PNG and Solomon Islands Seek Greater Economic Integration

Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are championing moves for greater integration of the economies of the Melanesian Spearhead Group of countries.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and Prime Minister Danny Phillip met in Port Moresby on Thursday and signed a joint communique' to remove all economic barriers and imposition of work permit requirements, labour mobility and trade restrictions, including tariffs, between the two nations.

The two leaders discussed and exchanged views on bilateral issues of mutual interest that included opening up shipping and air services to Bougainville, increased scholarship quota for Solomon Islands students and opening up teaching positions for surplus teachers from the Solomon Islands.

Officials of the two Melanesian Spearhead nations will work to formalize the agreement soon.

O'Neill said PNG and the Solomon Islands would work to formalize similar agreements with the other MSG nations and with other neighboring Pacific nations outside of the Melanesian sub-region.

O'Neill said PNG and the Solomon Island were close neighbors with cultural links and the two countries would further enhance that relationship with increased development assistance.



Source: ABC Radio Australia - Pacific Beat

PNG PM O'Neill makes first visit to Australia tomorrow.

Australia's relationship with its former colony Papua New Guinea has improved somewhat after the years when John Howard was prime minister when the feelings were definitely frosty.

That better feeling between the two neighbours gets a chance this week to become even stronger when the recently installed PNG leader Peter O'Neill arrives in Canberra tomorrow for his first meeting with his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard.

The two-day visit comes days after Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd travelled to PNG and met with Mr O'Neill and his ministers.

PNG is still the largest recipient of Australian aid - although with revenue from its massive LNG project due to begin in 2014, the question of aid dependency and a change in the relationship between the two countries are certain to figure during this latest meeting of government ministers.

Presenter: Michael Cavanagh
Speakers: Charles Lepani, Papua New Guinea's High Commissioner to Australia

CAVANAGH: Since the Australian Labor party came to power, efforts have been made to improve relations between the two countries.

Under the previous Coalition government a number of incidents and observations such as PNG being likened to a failed state did not help matters.

Making it worse was the action by security guards at Brisbane airport in March 2005 to have the then PNG prime minister Sir Michael Somare remove his shoes during a routine search.

PNG was one of the first places Kevin Rudd travelled to soon after becoming Australian Labor prime minister and the now conservative opposition's deputy leader Julie Bishop recently toured there.

Mr Rudd was back there recently as Foreign Minister handing over 40 million Australian dollars in aid as part of a wider Asian Development Bank rural health scheme.

Australia for 2011/2012 is providing nearly 437 million Australian dollars in assistance to PNG.

Despite aid being a major component of the relationship between the two countries, Papua New Guinea's High Commissioner to Australia Charles Lepani says this visit will continue the recent push to take the links to another level...

LEPANI: This is elevating our maturing relations but it will also be a feature of this trip that he will be talking about future arrangements moving development co-operation from PNG's aid dependence upon Australia to trade and economic co-operation basically which matures our bi-lateral relations and co-operation to an economic level where we are equal partners equal sovereign states dealing with each other in friendly terms.

CAVANAGH: Mr O'Neill's visit is his first as leader -- it is part of an already planned gathering of ministers from the two nations.

It also comes as he faces a possible legal challenge over his replacing of Sir Michael Somare as prime minister - although the High Commissioner does not see that as a problem in his dealings with Australia as it is a domestic political issue.

Mr O'Neill goes to the polls around the middle of next year and regardless of the outcome one long time observer of PNG says Australia will be facing a change in attitude from the leaders of its northern neighbour.

Dr Ron May lived in PNG for six years and has had long involvement with the country in a variety of ways including his present role with the Society & Governance in Melanesia Program.

He says we are seeing the start of a different group of people in power in PNG -- and they view Australia differently...

MAY: He is the beginning of a shift he is a younger man and there will be younger people coming through as well. Whoever comes in to office next year after the elections in 2012 is bound to be one of the younger politicians. Increasingly we will see this new younger generation coming through who will be more pre-disposed to looking toward Asia maintaining their relations with Australia of course but increasingly taking advantage of the aid that is coming in from China the investment that is coming in from China, Korea, Malaysia and other parts of Asia.

CAVANAGH: How will he use that then in his dealings with australia then?

MAY: Well I think Papua New Guinean leaders have always been quite sharp at using the threat of looking elsewhere to keep Australians in line. Of course it is not a very effective line because the Australian aid dominates the incoming aid pattern quite substantially but nonetheless the suggestion that they will move closer to Asia is something I think keeps Australian governments on their toes with Papua New Guinea.

CAVANAGH: One issue which is certain to provoke debate while Mr O'Neill is in Australia is the question of Australia's off-shore processing of asylum seekers.

A recent High Court decision for the time being has scuttled Canberra's plan for those arriving by boat hoping to be allowed to live in Australia to be taken to Malaysia for processing. This has revived a push in some quarters for the resumption of a similar scheme that operated in PNG when John Howard was Australia's prime minister.

So far the Julia Gillard Australian Labor government has resisted the pressure for the facility on Manus Island to be again used.

Although PNG's man in Canberra, Charles Lepani says it will be raised during Mr O'Neill's stay.

LEPANI: This government is very keen to co-operate with your government on regional solution to refugee and asylum processing problems. PNG as you know is a signatory to refugee convention so these issues will be discussed but we will be asking and our prime minister and his colleague ministers will be asking their Australian counterparts to update them on the legal issue of the high court ruling and the political up date on how it is going to resolve itself because we, our government under prime minister O'Neill is ready and willing to cooperate with Australia on any solutions through Manus processing centre how ever mechanism could be established and agreed to between our two governments.


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Source: Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG)



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Source: Post-Courier

All Bougainville to decide ‘who to mine’

PREPARATIONS are now underway for an agreement to be signed between former fighters and Panguna landowners to decide who to bring into Bougainville to mine Panguna.
A meeting was held on September 9 in Arawa headed by Michael Otoroa, on behalf of the former fighters and Chris Damana, the Chairman of the Landowner Group. Already references and a decision is pending on the latter.
Elite leaders, who also attended the meeting, included Sam Kauona of Isina Resource Holdings and Bougainville’s known former ex-fighters.
Veterans Affairs and Peace Minister David Sisito told the Post-Courier in an interview that decisions made included the Panguna mine pit to be owned by both landowners and former fighting men.
“But, if BCL decides to come back to mine Panguna, then they must liaise with the landowners and the Autonomous Bougainville Government,” Mr Sisito said.
He also said that it was also recommended that four Panguna landowners, including Mr Damana and elites from other resources areas would take a tour to visit some reputable mining companies outside of Papua New Guinea who had good practices on environmental damage controls in order to come up with their own.
Mr Sisito also stressed that BCL, if still interested to mine in Bougainville, would only talk about the Panguna Mine Pit and not any other licence tenements it claims to hold.
“Let me remind the world that the crisis was brought on by CRA and Rio Tinto to make us fight amongst ourselves and Bougainville has won this war, its land and the resources,” he said. I as the chief of all the ex-combatants am encouraging all ex-combatants and the people of Bougainville to form Incorporated Land Groups (ILGs) and form landowner companies so you can start applying for exploration licences over your own land.”
The statement comes in after witnessing so many foreigners coming into Bougainville with “kids’ toys” to try and lure locals to allow for exploration in the region.


Source: Post-Courier

China regarded as ABG’s ally

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government vice president Patrick Nisira says foreign direct investment specifically from the People’s Republic of China is good for Bougainville.
Speaking as the Chairman of the Bougainville China Co-operation Committee (BCCC), Mr Nisira has outlined the positives of engaging Chinese companies and has blamed the media for not helping with positive awareness on the ABG’s intentions to engage the Asian foreign investment companies.
“As with China, Bougainville is now looking to open up, with a measure of control that looks at efficiently dealing with fundamental issues that were responsible for the outbreak of the Bougainville conflict in 1988, while progressing economic development,” Mr Nisira said.
“The economic model of China, although developed under a socialist political economic system, bears certain characteristics that may be beneficial to the development of an investment economic framework that allows the ABG to have greater control over the economic interests of the region, at the foreign direct investment level.’’
He said while the argument raged on about who should be categorised as a genuine ABG investment partner, Bougainville could be left to the whims of a few people who would rather see this new Autonomous Government fail, and pretended to give advice.



Source: Post-Courier

ABG passes several bills
By Daniel Tangia

BOUGAINVILLE’S Autonomous Government leaders have passed several bills in their last Parliament sitting, an indication the newly established Government is serious in its draw down of powers and working towards referendum.
They include:
* Public Holidays Act 2011
* HIV/AIDS (Prevention and Management) Act 2011
* Bougainville Senior Appointment Committee Act 2011 and
* Liquor and Alcohol Act 2011
ABG President John Momis tabled his Bills on the Public Holidays Act 2011, now giving ABG the power to declare its own calendar of events – especially the public holidays.
This Act will also provide protection to citizens working in Bougainville from being compelled to make payments on Public Holidays.
Mr Momis’ Bougainville Senior Appointment Committee Act 2011 is a guide for the ABG to follow in appointing of the constitutional office holders. It also prescribes the procedures that will be followed in the appointment of constitutional office holders.



Source: Islands Business

PNG leader in Australia next week

Papua New Guinea's recently installed prime minister, Peter O'Neill is to make a two-day visit to Australia.  

PORT MORESBY, PNG (RADIO AUSTRALIA) ---- Papua New Guinea's recently installed prime minister, Peter O'Neill is to make a two-day visit to Australia. The visit next week comes just after Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, spent 24 hours in PNG and had a meeting with Mr O'Neill. During that trip, Mr Rudd pledged $A40 million as part of an Asian Development Bank remote health program. Apart from meeting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard during the two-day trip, Mr O'Neill will hold talks with other federal government ministers including Mr Rudd. For 2011-12, Australia is giving just over $482 million in aid to PNG.



Source: Papua New Guinea Issues in Perspektive

PM O'Neill: Bougainville's Aropa airport to be re-opened in December


A lone standing radio tower at Aropa airport in the autonomous region of Bougainville. A brick structure, which can be seen in the distance, is all that remains of the Air Niugini terminal which was destroyed during the 10-year conflict.


Aropa airport, the international gateway to the shut Bougainville copper mine, will be re-opened in December.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said this yesterday when concluding bilateral discussions with his Solomon Islands counterpart Danny Philip in the PNG capital Port Moresby.

He said PNG and the Solomon Islands have agreed to cooperate on a number of joint border development programs, which would see the establishment of border posts at strategic locations along the border between the autonomous region of Bougainville (AROB) and the Solomon Islands.

The two leaders have agreed to hold a joint PNG-Solomon Islands cabinet meeting in the AROB in early December. The joint cabinet meeting, the first of its kind between the two neighbouring Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) nations, will coincide with the official reopening of the airport.

Mr O’Neill said the PNG and Solomon Islands national airlines – Air Niugini and Solomon Airlines – will schedule two special flights to Aropa on the day of its official reopening.

Arawa-based Bougainvilleans, speaking on condition of anonymity to Papua New Guinea Issues in Perspective, said work is yet to start to clear the airport in preparation for its re-opening.

The airport was the scene of heavy fighting during the 10-year Bougainville Crisis and is overgrown with bush. A burnt out brick structure is all that remains of what was once the Air Niugini terminal as well as a lone standing radio tower.

The venue of the joint PNG-Solomon Islands cabinet meeting is yet to be confirmed but it is likely to be held in the former Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) mining township of Arawa, not far from Aropa airport and the Panguna copper mine.

The Somare government had indicated last year that it envisaged the mine re-opening in 2012 at the cost of US$4 billion; however Rio Tinto has reportedly said it did not have a time-table to open the mine.

The O’Neill government, which came into office in August, is unlikely to announce any major policy decisions relating to the mine's re-opening until after the 2012 general election. Though, that is dependent on the coalition government winning re-election to office.

Read more:



Source: Islands Business

Solomon Islands PM visits PNG

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Danny Philip, is visiting Papua New Guinea for two days - his first to the country since being elected PM in the Solomons general election last year.  

PORT MORESBY, PNG (NBC) ----- Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Danny Philip, is visiting Papua New Guinea for two days - his first to the country since being elected PM in the Solomons general election last year. He touched down at the Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby on a commercial Air Niugini flight after midday on Wednesday. Mr Philip was treated to a red carpet welcome with a gun salute. On hand to welcome him was a PNG government delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister, Ano Pala, and National Capital District Governor, Powes Parkop. A guard of honor was also held by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force for the Solomons Prime Minister. He paid a courtesy call on Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio, yesterday Prime Minister Peter O'Neill hosted a dinner for his visiting counterpart last night. The official program begins today with round table bilateral meeting after which a joint communique will be signed by the Prime Ministers of both countries.



Source: Post-Courier

Saga over body removal

THE Bougainvillean, who kept a Japanese soldier’s body since 1965, has expressed disappointment in the manner in which the Japanese Government and the PNG Museum had come and taken the body away without any proper “thankyou”.
The Post-Courier published several stories and a feature on this early this year – the fact that this Bougainvillean stumbled onto this dead body when he was only 17 years in 1965 and since then, even during the Bougainville Crisis he guarded and looked after the body in a small coffin like his own.
Anthony Savanotsi is now 63 years old.
Last month, the Japanese officials from the Japanese Embassy and an officer from the PNG Museum travelled to remote Tatakots village, in the Selau/Suir District to bring the body back to Japan for proper burial.
But despite presenting them with Bougainville’s traditional shell money - The Beruana, Mr Savanotsi said he was unhappy.
“I wasn’t looking for compensation, no! At least a good explanation of a small thank you gift for me and my family.
“It’s not like I stumbled onto that body yesterday or while in the bush recently.
“I was 17 years old and found the body of this army when I was returning from my plantation work and I have kept it since then, changing wood for coffin five times or six and guarding it very well during the Bougainville Crisis.
“Even before I met my wife and had a family, I already had this body with me and he was like our first born. I am very unhappy about the way they came and got the body,” Mr Savanotsi said. PNG official (named) told me he was going to do a proposal for me and my clan or village for generators to power electricity to our village but what good houses will have power? All are saksak (sago) made houses.’
But PNG Museum officers yesterday defended that the UN Convention had passed a law to protect all dead bodies from the war – not to be compensated.
PNG Museum, however, said that they wanted the family to do a proposal for the generators instead the family refused and threatened to sue the Japanese Government and the PNG Government and had not co-operated with them for this proposal to bring generators to power their villages. Mr Savonotsi and his clan members now want the Japanese Government and the PNG Museum to give a project of heavy equipment to the village so they can use it as their means of generating money.
They will see the ABG next week for help on this matter.


Source: Post-Courier

US to check Buka ‘wreck’

THE discovery of an aircraft wreck in the waters of Buka Island of Bougainville, believed to be of the remains of the famous aviatrix-Amelia Earhart is far from over.
It is believed that the wreck at the depth of 70 metres north-west of Buka hold some some answers to the 74-year mystery of the disappearance of Ms Earhart.
Local fishermen diving for sea cucumber on Matsungan Island 12 years ago stumbled into this wreck now believed to be the world’s mysterious flyer. The Post- Courier ran stories on this for a week in March.
More than seven decades after aviator Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared while attempting her ill-fated flight around the world, a Bougainville local group still hopes to finally confirm that the plane, lying in a sea bed, about two kilometres from land is that of the flyer.
The expedition team, carrying out the investigations since 2000, had not given up despite numerous calls for them to cancel the expedition.
Worldwide divers and experts have claimed Ms Earhart’s plane wreck was somewhere in Kiribati or the Pacific Ocean and that the wreck in Matsungan Island, off Buka town, is not the one the world is looking for.
But the expedition team from Buka Island, who are handling the investigations and have been for the last 12 years, still claim the wreck is that of the world famous aviatrix.
Local divers have been hard at work trying to complete the final expedition before the wreck is officially announced.
A team of divers from outside Bougainville and one from the United States are expected to travel to Bougainville before end of this month or possibly by end of November to complete the final task.
The Matsungan Island plane wreck expedition team is in contact with a US team of officials and they have been given a check list.
The team had identified that:
* there are two skulls still in the plane, one at the pilot side.;
* the plane is a twin tail aircraft;
* the front with antenna loop is still intact;
* the window at the right side is above the wing;
* the front rivets are in the middle of the windscreen and
* the plane’s left wing is damaged and grossly covered in coral.
The team have been working for the last eight months to confirm the checklist, and have had difficulties in clearing the coral out of the left wing, which is half open, to confirm the fuel fillers. The International team are making arrangements for their divers to travel to Buka to check out the last bits before official announcements are made.



Source: Post-Courier

PNG gives K100m to Solomon Islands
... K20m each year for five years
By John Pangkatana

PAPUA New Guinea has signaled a change in the shift of their foreign policy with a bumper K100 million commitment to neighbouring Solomon Islands.
This is certainly among PNG’s largest commitment oversees, in particular to a Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) member.
It is also deemed that PNG and the Solomon Islands will work to formalise a similar agreement with other MSG nations (Vanuatu and Fiji) and other neighbouring Pacific nations outside of the Melanesian sub-region.
This commitment and change is geared towards overseas aid has heightened since the recent 66th United Nations general assembly in New York, where PNG was represented by the Prime Ministerial delegation.
The arrangement with the Solomon Islands is set to strengthen long serving ties, especially with a K20 million surge to boost their economy each year for the next five years.
This is an increase of K20 million on top of the present K80 million grant aid program that goes to support their internal development programs. The announcement was made following bilateral talks between the PNG Government team led by Minister for Foreign Affairs and ImmigrationAno Pala, TreasurerDon Polye and National Planning Minister Sam Basil.
The Solomon Islands team led by Prime Minister Mr.Danny Philip, included his Minister for Education and Human Resources Development Mr.Dickson Ha’amori and other senior government officials.
Issues of mutual interest discussed included:
* Labour mobility;
* Removal of work permit and visa requirements for both countries
* Removal of trade barrier duties and taxes
* Opening up of shipping and air services to Bougainville
* Increase scholarship quota for SI students
* Opening up of teaching positions for surplus teachers from SI.
The aculmination of the one-day talks led to the joint communiqué signing ceremony yesterday between PNG Prime Minister Mr.Peter O’Niell and Mr.Philip.
Mr.Philip expressed his Government’s gratitude towards the support from PNG and saw a bright future ahead in relation to the positive round-table talks.
Playing the big brother role in the region, Mr.O’Niell yesterday said the relationship continues to grow in terms of trade between the two countries. “This communiqué will further enhance that relationship and lead to increase support from PNG in the coming years,” Mr.O’Niell added. He stated that within the agreement some of the grant will go towards the continuation of tertiary education assistance for SI students studying at PNG Universities and other tertiary institutions. This stemmed from a recent proposal by the SI Government to consider continuing the grant assistance, with the existing program for assistance expiring at the end of this year. The grant scheme was initiated in 1997. The round-table talks also sought to push for economic integration, where both countries agreed to remove all economic barriers and imposition of work permit requirements, labour mobility and trade restrictions including tariffs between the two countries. Both Prime Ministers agreed to lift existing restrictions. Mr.O’Niell further announced that PNG would formulise similar arrangements with other Melanesian Spearhead Government nations Vanuatu and Fiji as well. The other area of concern was for both countries to consolidate towards corporating better on joint border development programs.



Source: The National

PNG, Solomons aim for greater integration

PAPUA New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are championing moves for greater integration of the economies of the Melanesian Spearhead Group of countries.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his Solomon Islands counterpart Danny Phillip met in Port Moresby yesterday and signed a joint communiqué’ to remove all economic barriers and imposition of work permit requirements, labour mobility and trade restrictions, including tariffs, between the two nations.
The two leaders discussed and exchanged views on bilateral issues of mutual interest that included opening up shipping and air services to Bougainville, increased scholarship quota for Solomon Islands students and opening up teaching positions for surplus teachers from the Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands Prime Minister is on a three-day official visit.
Officials of the two Melanesian Spearhead nations will work to formalise the agreement soon.
O’Neill said PNG and the Solomon Islands would work to formalise similar agreements with the other MSG nations (Vanuatu and Fiji) and with other neighbouring Pacific nations outside of the Melanesian sub-region.
O’Neill said PNG and the Solomon Island were close neighbours with cultural links and the two countries would further enhance that relationship with increased development assistance to the Solomon Islands.
He said PNG would give the Solomon Islands K100 million as grant aid over the next five years to support its internal development programmes.
This is an increase of K80 million from the K20 million grant aid programme.
O’Neill said some of the grant would go towards the continuation of tertiary education grant assistance for Solomon Islands students studying at PNG universities and other tertiary institutions.
The Solomon Islands recently proposed to the PNG government to consider continuation of PNG’s generous tertiary education grant assistance for its students studying in PNG when the existing programme of assistance expired at the end of this year.
O’Neill committed the PNG Government to continuing the grant for five more years.
The grant scheme to the Solomon Islands was initiated by former PNG prime minister, the late Sir William Skate in 1997.
The neighbours agreed to cooperate on joint border development programmes.
The programme will involve management and development of border posts at strategic points of the common border between the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the outer islands of the Solomon Islands closest
to PNG.
The two leaders agreed to hold a joint meeting of their respective Cabinets in the ARB in early December.



Source: The National

Momis to honour peace agreements

AUTONOMOUS Bougainville Government President John Momis will honour agreements aimed to resolve outstanding differences in the area.
The agreements were made between the Mekamui unity government, the people of Panguna and the former ABG government under former president James Tanis.
Momis said commitments made by the Tanis government to consult the Mekamui unity government and the chamber of clans’ paramount council plus the Panguna landowners would be continued and strengthened by his government.
He said his government would continue dialogue on the issues, in particular, the seven-point agenda adapted for further dialogue between the ABG and the Mekamui in March 2010.
He made the comment when announcing the appointment of Tanis as the lead negotiator for the ABG in restoring unity between all factions on Bougainville.
Momis highlighted the need for a co-ordinated effort in creating peace and cooperation among factions on Bougainville.
He said since his inauguration last year, he had been talking of unification in Bougainville.
He said it was an over-arching issue of importance that their social, economic and political progress depended on.
Momis said Tania had accepted to work closely with the Bougainville administration in ensuring that the peace building initiatives of the former government were continued to unite all factions.
He said the ABG had encouraging dialogue with Ishmael Toroama, the former BRA commander who continued to take an active interest in supporting the peace process in Central Bougainville.


Source: Post-Courier

Bougainville’s economy recovering: Survey

THERE are about two kilograms of gold smelted in Buka, a week costing $114,000 (K268,000) and about 16,000 tonnes of cocoa shipped out of Bougainville, a preliminary survey has found.
And Bougainville’s “green gold” the betelnut industry is also providing economic means for many families in the region together with other basic fiscal activities such as cocoa, copra and small scale business activities.
The preliminary findings from a research undertaken by the National Research Institute and the University of New South Wales with help from the Australian Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government indicates there are lot more economic activities happening in Bougainville now but with minimum data/record keeping from the ABG.
Professor Satish Chand from the University of New South Wales yesterday presented an overview, from a groundwork survey of households in Buka, Selau, Arawa, Buka and Buin, providing evidence of an economic recovery in post-conflict Bougainville.
“It is the first evidence of economic recovery following the window of peace provided through an internationally sponsored peacekeeping operation that ended the decade long conflict,” Chand presented.
“This recovery is helping to sustain peace that in turn undergirds investment. The above is the nexus between peace and prosperity.”
In his findings, Professor Chand concluded that:
* Per capita income for urban Bougainville = K3,863 at 2010 prices (or K783 at 1983 prices).
* Large regional disparities in rates of and prospects for economic growth – policy implications.
* Trade is building bridges between communities that were fractured by the conflict - policy implications.
* Broad based growth creates a constituency for peace – who are the entrepreneurs in post-conflict Bougainville.
“In conclusion, I say that:
* The six-year window of peace provided room for the community to be drawn into the economy;
* Trade between communities is growing;
* Investment into permanent housing signals perceptions of sustained peace;
* The economic interdependencies between communities previously in conflict is rising;
* Peace founded on (broad-based) prosperity has hope; and
* Impact of the reopening of mine.



Source: ABC Radio Australia - Pacific Beat

Carteret resettlement may hold lessons for Pacific

With warnings about unsustainable numbers of people on low lying atolls and the possibility of having to resettle them elsewhere, is there anything to be learned from a resettlement scheme which is already happening in the Pacific?

The Carteret islands north of the Papua New Guinea Island of Bougainville are atolls which are sinking slowly.

There's a plan to resettle many of the 2,700 inhabitants on the mainland of Bougainville which aims at having 1,700 of them transplanted within ten years.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Ursula Rakova, executive director of the aid charity Tulele Peisa

  Listen here ! 


Source: Post-Courier

Churches unite to restore Bougainville
By Gorethy Kenneth

MORE than 5000 church goers in Bougainville are expected to gather in Buka this month for a major peace and unity intervention.
Last Friday, Selau/Suir churches launched their operational network and are now awaiting the major group launch later this month.
Bougainville now needs “Gods Kingdom Network” to get all churches into a common ground that calls for peace, reconciliation, harmony and unification of all factions in the region.
The North Bougainville Kingdom Network, comprising all churches in Bougainville, have formed themselves (like they did during the crisis) to come together and start a major church intervention to bring Bougainville together again come October 28, 2011.
Chairman of the North Region Kingdom Network Pastor Donald Posonei and his vice Pastor Tony Katsin told the Post-Courier yesterday that they have organised themselves and are arranging with the mainline churches - the Catholic Church, the United Church (UC) and the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) - to launch their network program and kick start their proposed intervention.
Pastor Posonei said that about 5000 church personnel were expected to be in Buka late this month to launch the program. It will cost the churches between K150,000 to K200,000 to run it. North Bougainville MP Lauta Atoi has contributed about K25,000 to help kick start the program.



Source: Post-Courier

Bougainville west coast road gets upgraded

The Bougainville west coast road is now being upgraded to enable much easier movement of cars and people.
Worth K1 million, the project undertaken by the National Works Department, will include culverts that will cost up to K300,000 to be placed in three main rivers of the road.
National Works manager for Bougainville Aura Pangka said work had already started.
Mr Pangka was at the Move River in Rapoma area of the Selau constituency on Friday to see for himself the first two culverts built into the once wet crossing and damaged bridge.
When it rains, vehicles stay overnight as they cannot cross.
The west coast road had detoriated over the past years and the travelling public had relied heavily on boats to travel to their villages.
“We have started work on the first river and then we will be moving to the next two.
“We will be backfilling and at the same time putting baskets to ensure the culverts are solid enough to withstand high tides,” Mr Pangka said.
It is a sigh of relief for the locals as they can now bring their cocoa and copra to the market at much more affordable prices.
So far, the trunk road has been maintained well and the travelling public is happy that the national works are living up to their duty.



Source: Post-Courier

Govt urged to honour Abal pledge
By Daniel Tangia

THE Board of Governors of Asitavi High School in Wakunai, Central Bougainville, want an update on the K5 million pledged by the former acting Prime Minister Sam Abal for the school.
Mr Abal visited Asitavi High School, Bougainville’s only all girls high school in May this year and pledged K5 million to help maintain the school.
The BOG fear that the new Government led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will quash the pledge and not honour it.
Chairman Joe Pais has called on the National Government to release that K5 million regardless of the change.
The board is also calling on the Regional MP Fidelis Semoso, Communications Minister Jimmy Miringtoro, who is also the Central Bougainville MP, and Bougainville Affairs Minister Steven Pirika Kamma to chase up the money so that the board can be able to carry out renovations and maintenance of the school.
“St Mary’s School boasts of its contribution of many women leaders of Bougainville and PNG in the past 40 years and it is our turn to ensure that future generation of girls achieve the best education,” Mr Pais said.
Mr Abal made the pledge after visiting the school and seeing the deteriorating state of the dormitories and classrooms.

































The European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC)