tok stret's blog

Bainimarama wins last laugh over Canberra in Pacific politics

By Graham Davis* for Pacific Scoop

Australia’s impotence in influencing events in its own backyard is being demonstrated in dramatic fashion this week as the Fijian dictator, Voreque “Frank” Bainimarama, fulfils his long-held ambition to assume the chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

All of the other Melanesian leaders – from Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, Vanuatu plus the Kanak FLNKS from New Caledonia – are joining Bainimarama for the MSG summit in Suva on Thursday.

Latest log export data

The latest round log export data from SGS shows that Papua New Guinea exported 3 million cubic metres of round logs in 2010, almost a 50% increase on 2009.

China remains the main export destination, increasing its export share from 83% in 2008 and 2009 to 86% in 2010.

Over 10% of customary land lost in dodgy agriculture leases

There has been a massive increase in the alienation and the conversion of customary land in recent years through the issuing of special agriculture and business leases (SABLs). 

The allocation of these leases, some covering hundreds of thousands of hectares, seems to be occurring outside all proper legal channels and without the informed consent of affected landowners. The leases are being handed out by the Department of Lands without compliance with relevant laws, which indicates either negligence or fraud on the part of lands officers and the government.

PMIZ loan from China is a terrible deal for PNG

By PMIZ Watcher

The loan agreement signed between the Papua New Guinea government and China's Eximbank, to fund development of the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone is a terrible deal for PNG.

Putting aside the fact that PMIZ promises to be a disaster for Madang, repeating and expanding all the terrible social and environmental impacts of the existing RD Tuna fishing project, the US$70 million loan agreement signed with China means PNG will be paying for China's continued economic expansion and business profits.

Yakasa declares war on graft

Acting Deputy Police Commissioner and Chief of Operations Fred Yakasa says the fight against graft will intensify because the trend of theft and embezzlement within the public and private sectors is spiraling out of control.

Mr Yakasa gave this undertaking after fraud investigators arrested three suspects allegedly linked to what police described as a well strategized syndicate operating in Port Moresby city yesterday.

Predatory corporations, failing governance and the fate of forests in PNG

By William Laurence et al

Papua New Guinea (PNG) sustains some of the world’s most biologically and culturally rich forests.

Like many tropical nations, PNG is changing rapidly as it attempts to develop economically, but corporate misdealing and weak governance are undermining its capacity to do so sustainably.

Over exploitation of forests is rampant, with most accessible forests likely to be logged or disappear in 1–2 decades.

We need a revolution - a Melanesian revolution

By Icarus*

WHILE PNG's SITUATION may not justify bloody warfare, we are at war. At war against corruption in government and throughout the public service system, the very architects and mechanisms that should make our state function. 

But it is the State versus the People every day. And clearly the State has no rules of engagement. Moreover, the People have been divided for far too long into warring factions; tribal politics under the rhetoric of 'unity in diversity'. 

People's hero, Sam Basil, threatened again

From the PNGexposed blog

MP Sam Basil has received a number of abusive and threatening emails from an anonymous yahoo address created with the name Borit Yaken.

The emails (see below) threaten that Mr Basil’s wife will be raped and his children strangled if Mr Basil continues to speak out.

Mr Basil has been an outspoken critic of the government on corruption and governance issues and has assisted his people to take legal action against the owners of the Hidden Valley mine over the pollution of the Watut river.

Public Prosector sacked - a sad day for PNG

The Public Prosecutor who referred Prime Minister Michael Somare to a Leadership Tribunal and was about to do the same for his son, Arthur Somare, has been sacked by the Attorney General, Arnold Amet. Amet is an MP from the same National Alliance Party as the Somares.

This the the reaction to the sacking from MP Sam Basil.

A sad day for PNG

Sam Basil MP