Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Piping Out Southern Highlands Province

With the LNG project, the Southern Highlands and newly established Hela Province have elevated PNG’s profile in the Liquefied and Natural Gas in the global oil and gas production. The PNG LNG project which is referred to many as the economic “savior” of the country proposes to develop gas fields in the Southern Highlands and Western Province of PNG and transport the gas via pipeline to an LNG facility near Port Moresby for shipment to markets overseas.

Amidst the controversies surrounding the signing of the Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) where key landowning clans refuse to sign and the creation of the Hela province after the signing of the BSA now brewing a lot of grievances on ground as seen in the recent incident where the crowd threw stones at the PM and the government officials, another agreement has been signed for Southern Highlands for yet another resource.

Australia in desperate need for cheap and reliable clean water sources is looking at spending $A30 billion to have it piped over 4000 kilometres to their continent. Papua New Guinea and Australian company Might and Power (M&A) Ltd yesterday entered into an agreement for the latter to carry out pre-feasibility and feasibility studies into the PNG-Australia water project. The environment impact study will be part of a K20 million feasibility study that will be undertaken.

The project hopes to one day pipe fresh water from a number of rivers including the Mendi River in the Southern Highlands Province to Australia, where it will be used to feed dry riverine systems and the pipe will also go all the way to Lake Eyre where the lake has dried up and the local residents have resettled elsewhere.
He said the State and Federal governments had the full backing of the project as they saw there was a big need for fresh and cheap water supply to nearly all the eastern states of Australia. Mr Ariel said rivers in Cape York could not be used for the project because there was no gravity and they dry up during the dry seasons while rivers in the Southern Highlands Province had the gravity and the continuous rainfall to keep flowing all year round. “The advantage for the project (in PNG) is the altitude and the rainfall,” Mr Ariel said. “Water in the Highlands is abundant while it is scarce in Australia.”

PNG and Southern Highlands Province is yet to realize the benefits from LNG have gone ahead to exploit its water resources. The oil and gas will be piped out and now the fresh waters will also be piped out. Why should PNG exploit all its natural resources at the same time as if there is no tomorrow? It is not wise to take everything out of the warehouse at the same time without preserving some for the future generation and therefore it is not wise to have both the LNG and the water project coming out of the same province at the same time.

RD Managers Threaten Workers In Their Own Villages

Filippino Expats AGAIN Bully PNGeans

You would think with a court appearance this Friday (30 July) in which six of their Filippino workers will be facing charges of murdering a Papua New Guinean government inspector on one of their ships, that RD Tuna would be a bit more cautious in their interactions with the local staff.

But that’s NOT how Pete Celso’s Troops are acting and again it appears RD is getting themselves in trouble. For years RD has violated the laws of PNG from environmental abuses, to sanitation problems, to strikes by Filipino staff on their boats (which RD branded as pirates). The company which has a rather poor reputation both within PNG and overseas continues to push locals around as if they owned PNG.

Chief hypocrite Rodrigo Rivera, Chairman and President, who pretends to be a wonderful Christian has once again shown his true colors and that of the pitiful RD group of companies.

Battered and frustrated at the strike by their workers RD managers went to new lows Tuesday night (27 July) as they descended upon Maiwara village and threatened the women to come to work or face turning in their Id Cards, which in essence meant they would be sacked.

Human Resource Manager Romeo Lee, Prouduction Manager, Mr. Nongs, Plant Manager Gerry Juvele and last nights coward Security Manager Paul Vingu displayed typical RD management style, by boarding one of the vehicles which trucks the RD workers in and headed to Maiwara village. The night shift women were NOT going to work in solidarity with their fellow workers who had their ID cards taken from them by RD Security and NOT allowed to come back to work. Nongs and Juvele threatened the women demanding they come to work or lose their jobs. While many of the frightened women did board the truck - a second truck saw the back almost empty. Still there was NO PRODUCTION at the plant last night, as only a handful of women showed up for work. Makes one wonder what the purpose was of harassing the Maiwara women, who instead of working stood around doing nothing. Nice work RD Management Team you have proven you are exactly what everyone says you are.

Union members and angry workers are still upset over RD not paying them the minimum wage. Labor representations have said RD has been in violation of the law. But violating the law is nothing new for Celso and company. RD has begun recruiting new workers and the word is 78 had taken their medicals today. RD workers say they will NOT allow the new workers to proceed to work and that RD best reinstate the now 505 workers suspended. The suspended workers say they have had enough
of RD’s treatment and will do what’s necessary to be treated fairly in their own country.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Landowners from 4 project areas Joined Forces

Papua New Guinea is on the pinnacle of major resources boom in the country and the government is doing its best to create an investment friendly environment at the same time customary landowner issues are reaching boiling point all around the major resource development and proposed project sites.

Landowner issues ranging from, consultation processes, agreements, landownership, participation, environmental plans and permits, social mapping and spin off businesses are some of the issues are raised from the major resource development projects in PNG.

Landowners from the major project areas in PNG have been fighting in isolation to address their concerns since the first resource development project in the country was developed. However, for the first time in the history of PNG, four (4) major project sites and project impacted areas came together to join forces to address their issues.

In a joint press conference held at the Aku Lodge conference room on the 20th of July 2010, representatives from the Watut River Union (Morobe), the riverine communities union organizing around the impacts on the Watut river system by the Hidden valley mine, Raicoast Anti-DSTP group (Madang) who are opposing the plans for the dumping of the Ramu Nickel mine waste into the Basamuk Bay , representatives from the clans from the LNG project (Hela) who did not signed the benefit sharing agreement, Unitech students from the new Hela province, New Ireland Resource Watch, the people's movement of the New Ireland Province who oppose the deep seabed mining, the Bismarck Solomons Sea Indigenous People's Council (BSSIPC) also opposing deep seabed mining and the Madang People's forum (MPF)collectively want the government to respond to their major concerns respectively, review all these projects and repeal the new environmental act.

The group made a strong call to Somare to step down and NA to be removed from the government, because they claim the current NA/Somare government is not representing the interest of the people and seen to be driven by foreign investors. If there is going to be a change in government, the group made it clear also that, these demands need top be looked into immediately. The press conference was done a day before the adjournment of the parliament to November. However the group was very clear that if the government does not change or if the new government will not look into their demands, then the people will take it upon themselves to clean up the mess.

This group is also calling on all other landowners from other project areas in PNG to come together and work together because, the government is serving foreign interests.

Monday, July 19, 2010

6 RD Tuna Workers Face Murder Charges In Death of PNG Government Official

(PNG Official sought to protect dolphins)

Six RD Tuna workers - all Filippino - are facing murder charges in the death of National Fisheries Observer, Charlie Lasisi of New Ireland Province.

The incident took place on 29 March of this year on board the RD Tuna vessel FV/Dolores 838 inside the Bismark Seas in Vanimo, along the Indonesian/PNG border.

Police said Mr. Lasisi had been strongly objecting to the fishing of dolphins by
RD Vessels. The catching of dolphins, sharks and other prohibited fish has been one of the many criticisms of RD over years.

The summary of facts said it was between 6pm-7pm when he went missing after he left the ship’s mess hall. It said when he left the room, two Filippino crew members - Ramil Lumactod and June Alon left with him, but returned to report he had “gone missing.” The captain searched the area and ship and could not locate Lasisi or the body.

On 31 March a report was sent to the Managing Director of National Fisheries Authority (NFA) Sylvester Pokajam and the National Maritime Safety Authority who sent officers to investigate on “suspicion of murder”. Also charged with murder in addition to Ramil and June were Bonfacio Gelvoko, Franz Olivia Oyao, Jerwin Famini and Francisco Famini.

The six were remanded at Beon jail in Madang for several days until K500 bail each with TEN CONDITIONS were granted by Justice David Cannings. They were released under the care of the senior Vice President of RD Tuna Canners Limited in Madang. Justice Cannings ordered that RD Canners pay surety of K10,000 because they were all foreigners. Cannings said the amount should ensure they six do not escape because not only would the money be forfeited but it would proven bad for the corporate reputation of RD Tuna if the six did not return. The accused will appear again for mention on 30 July.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chief Somare Attacked in Tari

The swearing in of the Hela Transitional Authority in Tari Town turned rowdy as angry landowners threw stones at the officials today (15.07.2010) at around 12:pm

When the Prime Minister took the stage to give his keynote address and officiate the swearing in ceremony,the University students from Hela raised placards with slogans such as "NO LNG" and confronted the PM with their dissatisfaction. When the police and security personals moved in to remove the protesters, that's when the situation went out of control as landowners threw stones at the Chief, the government officials and the police.

It was reported by someone from Tari via mobile phone that, the police fired teargas at the crowd to disperse them. In the tussle between the police and the crowd, it was reported by eye witness that, the PM took his share of stones thrown at him. It is unclear, whether the PM sustained any injuries or not.

There is still a lot of unsettled issues regarding the LNG project and more trouble is expected to erupt.

National News Paper lying to Protect Asian Interests

There is something going on in PNG. You can feel it. The corrupt government of Michael Somare is being called out at all levels of society - from the political Opposition which you expect, to they grassroots which you don't expect. Young Papua New Guineans are standing up asking questions which need to be asked and in Madang just two weeks ago took to the streets - challenging the PM, the Attorney General and the Police who told them they could not march. The protest march was against the new Environmental Act which came about because of the notorious Chinese STATE OWNED Ramu Nickel Mine which proposes to dump over 100 million tonnes of waste into the local bay. Landowners who has been complaining about this dumping FOR OVER A DECADE are now organized both on the ground and in the court room where they have successfully been able to halt the mine from continuing through a court injunction.

Yet through all this something is beginning to smell - and while this is of no great surprise they need to be called out on it. One of the two PNG dailies - The National - is mis-reporting news and its becoming more and more obvious. As everyone knows the National is owned by the Malaysian owned Rimbunan Hijau, the actual owners of Papua New Guinea who have been having their way in PNG for over 20 years now. For all intent and purposes they ran PNG for years. They are now in competition with, yet cooperating with the Chinese.

Over the years everyone is aware of the bias of the National on logging issues and more recently their playing down the Asian influence in PNG. This comes as no secret to anyone. However in recent weeks it should be pointed out that TWO stories which came from the National and serves the interests of those they support must be challenged.

After the orderly and peaceful protest against the Environmental Laws in Madang - the National CHOSE to report on Page 1 of their newspaper that government authorities were meeting and prepared to arrest the organizers of the protest. The story was NOT picked up by the other daily -the Post Courier. Rumors were flying early that the story was untrue and fabricated by the National. Attempts to verify this story from government sources failed. Two days ago one high ranking government official who asked not to be identified said "it was never going to happen. It was an attempt by the government to frighten other areas of the country so they wouldn't take to the streets like Madang." He went on to say the government collaborated with the National to put out the false story.

Now the National has chosen another lie for purposes only they or perhaps you the reader will understand. Prime Minister Micheal Somare was in Madang recently meeting with one of the Plaintiffs in the Court Case against the Chinese Government owned Ramu Nickel Mine. During that meeting the Chief doing business like he always has and pushed by his Chinese masters offered the plaintiffs a K40 million deal to the plaintiff and his people in exchange for dropping the court case. The National chose to run the story saying and "out of court settlement will probably be reached". Oh really? Yet that same day the plaintiff reported to the other news media that was a lie - and it was being misreported. To the plaintiff we would say it was more than misreported it was RH protecting its interest and those of their Asian cronies.

And did you all notice how the article about RH intimidating the news media (ie: Post Courier) was conveniently NOT reported in the National, yet picked up by all other media. The National in line with the National Alliance and Pangu do not seem to understand what's going on.They don't see it or don't want to believe the change which is in the air. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. For one thing BE CAREFUL - (more than usual that is) what you read in the National. They have shown VERY CLEARLY ONCE AGAIN - they will say anything to protect their interests - and those interests are not in the interest of the majority of Papua New Guineans. Wake up RH - the old days are over.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why should the Chinese be Exempted from Liquor Ban in Madang ??

It is reported that the Madang Provincial Government will put a liquor ban in Madang. However, insider’s information from the Provincial Liquor Licensing office in Madang revealed that the Chinese are going to be exempted from the liquor ban. There is no reasonable reason behind this exemption and it is becoming ridiculously unfair to the other liquor businesses in town.

It has become pretty obvious that the Chinese influence and manipulation has penetrated every structure of authority in Madang. The famous flying fox habitat has turned into a typical Chinese outpost.

This sounds more like the failed prohibition experiment in the USA which led to the rise of the (Italian) mafia. With unfettered Ramu Nico access to booze in Madang, could not the same thing happen here, particularly with the worries expressed in the press about an already existing "Chinese mafia" in PNG? And PNGeans can't be trusted with booze but the Asian foreigners can? This is discrimination against PNGeans.

Now they monopolize the liquor sales in town and guess what, this is where the big money is. Chinese like to stick their nose into the areas where there is a lot of money. Now, is it a coincidence that, the Provincial Government decided to issue a liquor ban, and the Chinese are going to be exempted, or is it a plan that is being implemented to monopolize the business?

What more do we expect-the Chinese mafia is slowly taking over this country and its going to get nasty especially with the NA (New Asian Party) in power.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dumping System Harmful

Post Courier
News Monday 05th July, 2010
Dumping system ‘harmful’

The approved permit given to the Ramu Nico (MCC) Management Limited for coral blasting to construct the deep sea tailing placement system (DSTPS) was made without proper assessment of the potential risks to the environment, a court was told on Friday.

This showed that the Government had failed to properly assess the impacts of whether this course of dumping of mine waste is harmful and will interfere with the eco-biological fish and fauna life in the waters at the mine site.
These were some of the arguments put by landowners and landowner groups around the project site who are fighting for a permanent injunction against MCC’s proposed mine dumping plan and its construction.

The landowners also argue that the permit does not authorise the environmental harm that will be caused by dumping the mine waste in the sea, and that so far there have been breaches in some of the conditions of the permit in which MCC has failed to follow to the letter as to no septic tanks constructed for its workers and no proper drainage systems on the project site to remove human waste which is being dumped straight into the sea, untreated.

Tiffany Nonggorr for the landowners argued that if MCC could not follow these simple conditions, how could it monitor the dumping of tonnes of mine waste into the sea. Mrs Nonggorr submitted that DEC also neglected to monitor these simple permit conditions, and the landowners failed to see how it could monitor the mine waste being dumped into the sea. She also argued that there were scientific research reports that showed such proposed tailing dumping would cause harm to the environment and the lifestyle of the local people.

She urged the court to look at the issue of harm being unlawful, not the fact whether the permit approving the dumping was lawful or unlawful. She said there was no evidence of further research on this issue before DEC approved the permit.

MCC argues the permit was approved and there was no serious issue for the matter to linger in court. MCC submitted that the DSTPS was the best option of mine waste dumping after looking at all other dumping systems. MCC told the court that Mrs Nonggorr had “glossed” over the facts, making them “quite laughable” and that there was evidence of further research which showed there will be no harmful risks imposed using this proposed system. MCC stated that acid used in the mining process that will be dumped is “deactivated” and “so it is nonsense that tailings discharged in the sea is harmful”.

While the Supreme Court considers whether or not to permanently extend the interim injunction, the issue raised by the landowners is yet to be heard in a substantive trial before the National Court.

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