Letters & Opinions

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Allow debate on constitutional changes

I CALL on the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and all thinking intelligent Members of Parliament to think very carefully before casting their mandated votes for the changes to be brought to sections 124 and 145 of the Constitution.

Let us not be fooled and blinded by the rhetoric from the prime minister and other MPs that the change will bring about stability to good governance of Papua New Guinea. They do not have the mandate from their voters to touch the Constitution as they please.

The suggestion made the by the prime minister during the current Parliament session that the Parliament is supreme over the Constitution is a very dangerous statement and trend. We are no doubt heading to a stage where democracy would be guided by the wishes of the few who claim to have mandate from their voters to do so. If democracy is guided then we have dictatorial government.

The initial drafting of our Constitution witnessed almost three years of pain-staking work by some of our intelligent lawyers at the time and it was by and through the spirit and wisdom of God that such a beautiful and meaningful Constitution was put together and accepted on the eve of Independence in 1975.

We have arrived at the situation where selfish thinking has led to the views that the Constitution must be amended for reasons of stability and what have you. The proposed changes are nothing more than changes designed to cling to power and further one’s personal economic interest.

I call on thinking citizens of Papua New Guinea to reflect on the business ventures that have been concluded internationally and onshore to know that certain politicians are behind changing the Constitution so that their parliament tenure is secured for them to make more money. That is the truth and what the parliamentarians are attempting to do now is to kill the very democracy enjoyed so far because of the Constitution.

The Parliament is not supreme over the Constitution which in fact gave life to the formation of Parliament. The “heartbeat” of the Parliament as if it was an infant baby was put into place by the Constitution. We are now doing everything to kill the source of that “heartbeat” and replace with a “mechanical heartbeat”.
There must be a public debate on the issue of constitutional changes and supremacy of Parliament and I will lead a team against a team put up by the prime minister.

We all have a duty to look into these threshold issues because of the very fabric of democracy inbuilt into the Constitution by the fathers of the Constitution. No one in his right mind would not allow a public debate on these issues to assist the people of Papua New Guinea better understand the intricacies of constitutional laws meant for the good of Papua New Guinea.

Moses Murray

Port Moresby
The truth: Taurama Valley pilot project

I WRITE to counter some of the misleading statements made by a Concerned Resident of Taurama Pilot Project area on July 11 in The National newspaper in response to my July 8 article.

I believe Concerned Resident is attempting to justify or legitimise his residency in a declared pilot project area. He and others can stay, but all the Office of Urbanisation is attempting to do is make it a planned and serviced formal urban suburb so he can be a proud city resident and not turn his environment into a slum.
Concerned Resident is claiming that the project started in 2000. I have taken out a paid advertisement detailing all the activities that took place, including the dates, so that everyone can appreciate that customary land development is not as easy as Concerned Resident would like to have us believe.

The National Consultative Committee on Urbanisation (NCCU) had its first meeting in August 2003 and Office of Urbanisation (after its organisation structure was approved) was formally in place with a skeleton staff of five in June 2004.

There was no NCCU in 2000. There was no Office of Urbanisation in 2000. There was no Max Kep as chairman or director or any other person as director or chairman of such entities in 2000.
If these institutions were in existence 14 years ago engaged in developing the Taurama project, things would certainly be different. Concerned Resident would not have been there to sabotage our genuine endeavour with a project aimed at helping a marginalised people.

In truth, the Taurama Valley Pilot Project was selected in 2007 and formally launched in March 2008 by then deputy prime minister and minister for lands and physical planning Sir Puka Temu and then minister for community development and Moresby South MP Dame Carol Kidu.

The billboard with the project concept was erected in 2009 after formal planning approval was granted by the NCD physical planning board. The unveiling of the billboard took place amid protest by the landowners as depicted in the inserted picture in the July 11 article by Concerned Resident. The protest coming from potential beneficiaries of the project was bewildering. From thereon, the project was under threat from within the clans from the project site.

A surveyor was engaged to undertake boundary surveys after the erection of the billboard. His work was restrained by the landowners who were against the project. Police were engaged throughout the duration of the survey at great additional cost. The Taurama Incorporated Land Group’s office was constructed in 2011. The contractor is being pursued to complete the office.

Several workshops, seminars and awareness programs were conducted involving national leaders like Sir Puka, Dame Carol, Dr Webster, Dr Yala, Mr Warvi, the NLDP manager, the civil registry, the Office of Urbanisation, Motu-Koitabu village leaders like Rev Dick Avi, Rabura Aiga, Eli Temu and Babani Maraga. It is therefore not a lack of awareness that placed the pilot project under the current mess.
It is people like Concerned Resident who found it right to invade the project area and by making themselves residents, have been responsible for sabotaging the project’s smooth finish.
The greed and selfishness of some members of the landowning clans by selling their land have also been a detrimental factor in the development of Taurama Valley.

The reasoning that the Office of Urbanisation was slow and dragged its feet, giving legitimacy for the invasion of the area by Concerned Resident is simply pathetic.

Taurama Valley Pilot Project is a unique project. This means there are no similar experiences elsewhere in the world to emulate. Most countries do not even have anything called customary land.
PNG can be proud that land is still with the people under customary tenure. In such a scenario, the concept of developing customary land on the urban fringes is about creating wealth for customary landowners, not for invasion by the people with money.

Taurama project was ambitious. We were certain that it would generate substantial instant income for the landowning clans and long-term sustainability through lease rentals for their land. A total of 1700 serviced allotments at a minimum K200,000 per block would become a sizeable income. These allotments could have fetched even more when compared to the adjacent East Boroko area which have been going for K1 million a block. This opportunity was to be created for the three recognised landowning groups; the Vamaga, the Vaga and Sere Guba for claims 68, 45 and 67 respectively.

Many Motu-Koitabu people have been heard airing their grievances about how their land was sold cheaply to the State during colonial times as was the case everywhere in PNG towns. One would imagine that the bitter past would likely have taught important lessons for all customary landowners not to sell land at all. The land selling we are experiencing within the Taurama pilot project area is unprecedented and simply unbelievable.

The people selling land are the culprits who have engineered the sabotage of the project. What is worse than the selling of land is the element of betrayal – the betrayal of their clans, their families and the future generations by those trusted as custodians. The future generations will no longer have a land because their present custodians have decided to make few quick bucks. These very people selling land will be the ones licking their wounds and hanging their heads in shame when the land they sold is difficult to retrieve.

The success of creating wealth for landowners depends very much on how solid the partnership is between the urban customary landowners and government. It requires genuine commitment and cooperation at all stages of the project development. When one cannot get undivided cooperation, projects such as Taurama suffer. In such circumstance, one cannot blame an insignificant office like the Office of Urbanisation. If at all, it should be recognised for taking on the challenge on urbanisation and complex land development issues.
I am proud to have contributed to PNG’s progress in more ways than Concerned Resident would ever know. The promotion of urbanisation policy and program to the national forefront and the messy customary land development are examples of the tasks I have taken head-on.

As chairman of the industrial arbitration, I have also been responsible for putting to rest industrial relations disputes for a long time from what the country was facing 15 years ago. Have you ever wondered why industrial relations scene in PNG is still peaceful today?

The “Why Regulate Taurama Now?” heading suggests that the Office of Urbanisation and NCCU abandoned the project area and by doing so that it will legitimise Concerned Resident’s residency there.

I don’t think the majority of the landowners of the project area will agree to this suggestion. What I know is that they will be opting to get their land title under the revised ILGs for the whole area. And they will be opting for all those in the project area to cooperate with their three ILGs. I also know that they will be asking the project area residents to formalise their residency with the ILGs. So Concerned Resident needs to be aware of these requirements and create awareness among his fellow residents.

Office of Urbanisation

Federation sees flaws in ILG legislation

The Resource Owners Federation of Paua New Guinea Inc. is concerned by National Research Institute’s (NRI) call for Papua new Guineans to register customary land, whilst there are significant flaws in the incorporated land groups (ILG) legislation.

The ILG legislation seeks to extinguish customary law over registered customary land. The law further prohibits a land owner from registering as a member of more than one ILG. This means that, a person who currently holds multiple land claims through his parents, grandparents or others will lose all these land claims, except one.

The ILG system should seek to formally legalise customary law and practises, not seek to destroy them and dispossess citizens of their numerous landownership claims and practises.

We note that the ILG legislation is not consistent with the 2007 United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous people of the world, which seeks to protect the cultural practise, traditions and ownership of lands and resources by indigenous people of member countries. The current ILG legislation seeks to further dispossess Papua New Guineans of their cultures, traditions and rights to land and natural resources in accordance with their customary laws.

There may be other flaws the Federation has not yet picked up on, but in the meantime, the Federation does not support the current legislation nor support the NRI in its push to register customary land under the currently flawed legislation.

Jonathan Paraia
Port Moresby

Clarify PNGIPA status

The Papua New Guinea Institute of Public Administration is the premier school of government for Public Servants in PNG. It is supposed to be the leader in capacity building for public servants and a role model public organization.

Senior public servants should go to PNGIPA and see what is happening out there. The place is unusually quiet and hardly any training is taking place. The gates are always locked and manned by security guards who question anyone wanting to enter the Institute.

We hear PNGIPA is becoming an Expenditure Centre for the Government.  Can the Minister for Public Services and the Secretary for the Department of Personnel Management tell the public what is happening at PNGIPA?

James Emex

Why are experienced trainers leaving PNGIPA?

I applied to study the Diploma in Public Administration in August 2012 at the PNG Institute of Public Administration this year (2013). However, I did not receive any response. Last month, I was in Port Moresby so I decided to check at PNGIPA.

I was told that, all programs for 2013 were cancelled by the director. No reasons were given. Can the Minister for Public Service or any authority responsible for PNGIPA tell Public Servants throughout the country what is happening? One trainer told me that, they are doing nothing and many experienced trainers have left the Institute because they have nothing to do.

Is the government trying to close down PNGIPA?

Max Yauro
Public Servant – Kokopo

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter message lost to sport

I AM a born again Christian and write through this paper to express the significant truth established in the word of Almighty God about Easter that I believe is not properly observed, respected and honored by us.

It is abused without honour and respect maybe because of lack of faith in the word of God that the day is meaningless to us and most people would be seen doing non spiritual activities on Good Fridays and Sundays other than going to church. There is no fear of God in us on this day and the consequences will be faced by us at the time of judgment in His kingdom when our earthly days are over and we individually stand at His mighty throne and the revelations of our earthly doings/works accuse us and judgments is passed on us.

Easter is significant to Christians who in their act of faith in God understand the spiritual truth through the teachings of His Word fully observe it to be holy, become mindful of the sufferings, agonies and sorrows that the Lord Jesus went through during the last days of his earthly life before crucifixion in the hands of evil men of the world to fulfill the will of His Father for the sins of many to be crucified. He died, was buried and rose up victoriously from the grave and established the new covenant between man and God. The day has its purpose that we should understand and keep it holy from Good Friday to Sunday, the day of resurrection.

Easter has its activities on Good Fridays and Sundays involving church activities that differ from church to church with thanksgiving, Easter plays, etc. There are activities organized prior to the day by churches for their members as lead up activities in preparations. Those activities are acts of worship and service to Almighty God in the duty to His Will as declared in his word. It is a Kingdom Will and does have blessings in heaven and on earth. It is not a waste of time. God is glorified, worshipped, honored and blessed and becomes happy in the Kingdom and does right by pouring down abundant blessings upon us experienced in groups and individually. Easter has a spiritual purpose and must be observed accordingly.

It is not time to stage sporting tournaments and championships for these activities do not give glory, worship and honor to Almighty God. They are not His Will, purpose and service and are not gifts and talents from the Kingdom of Heaven rather they are gifts, talents and services of the world that man work hard to achieve the prize in winning the grand finals and are presented with money, shields, trophies, etc. They are earthly prizes. Sporting associations and movements must carefully consider the spiritual requirement of Easter and must hold sporting tournaments and championships at other times in the year.

The staging of sporting tournaments and championships at Easter are non-spiritual activities that man uses to promote himself and give service to himself and in an act of disobedience and lawlessness that contributes to his fall before the Almighty God. Sporting activities held in Easter have Christians involved who should carefully consider their relationship with their creator and should distinguish between Kingdom services that give honor, glory and worship to God and earthly service for personal prestige. Those who have ears will listen and consider the importance of Easter and its purposes, truth and service to keep it holy.

Kenneth Haro
Port Moresby

The reserved seats bill is unbiblical

This is an open letter to the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament and Christians in PNG in regard to the proposed draft bill to reserve seats in the National Parliament for women now approved by the recent Kimbe cabinet meeting.

It is very sad as our country is likely to go into the hands of the evil one. It is morally wrong for our existence on this planet earth according to the creator. These are very clear signs of the last days with the devil taking full control and influencing the government system and bureaucrats to come up with a foolish bill for women to be represented in our parliament in the name of gender equality.

Gender Equality was the most important agenda that the devil successfully developed and introduces into the United Nation's goal so that it can use its financial muscle to force countries around the world to implement his destructive agenda and it has now became normal for most countries today.

Now this agenda has slowly crept into the Papua New Guinea government system, NGOs and churches and finally it is now on its way to become law for this country. As far as this bill is concerned, we have not seen or heard any opposition from leaders from any Christian churches because their minds and eyes have been blind-folded by the evil one.

Satan is whispering to the church leaders and cabinet ministers that gender equality means that men and women are equal. Beware of the sweet whispers from the father of all lies who lied to the woman in the beginning of creation. Because there were the only people in the beginning, satan used the snake to lie to the woman and the woman accepted the devil's sweet talk and picked the fruit from the knowledge tree. Today there are thousands of people around that the devil finds it very easy to delegate his destructive duties.

Remember that man is the original head of God's happy family from the beginning of creation. The devil is the father of all lies so he is using the existing system and saying now that woman is also the head of the family too. We have to be very careful my good Christian friends.

As a real Christian (not Sunday or seasonal Christian), I want to tell those of you used your time, knowledge and skills influenced by the wicked one to come up with this controversial bill now to be debated by parliament.  You will face God sooner or later and be ready any time to explain to God by breaking the very fundamental law to mankind as stated very clearly in his book. Read Genesis 2, verses 7, and 21 through 24.

Remember, man and woman are not same or equal. Evil minded people talk too much about gender equality in all forms of trainings, workshops, sports, religious activities and in all form of media they conduct just to influence the minds of the general public, bureaucrats and politicians to believe it true. Please Christian leaders of all denominations and current politicians of this God blessed country, wake up from your deep sleep and make your stand on this issue as the devil is very desperately trying to distort the natural fundamental law set by God.

If the proposed bill passed by the Government (which I doubt), there will be a lot of social problems and family break ups. Women will be very busy competing for power, name and fame, leaving behind God given responsibilities resulting in increased social problems and a broken society. This is the main objective of the evil one, who wants to see broken families, societies and increased law and order problems. I am urging all good God appointed Christians of the current parliament to vigorously debate and vote against the devil orchestrated bill at all cost.

Also on leadership, Paul's first letter to the Corinthian at Chapter 11: verse 3 and again in verses 8 and 9, the apostle is very clear on the matter.

God has put marriage and family as a very important institution where the man is the head of the family, leader of tribes, clans, communities, LLGs and parliament to govern its people. Nowhere in the Holy Bible does it state anything about a woman becoming a leader whether in government or in God's churches.

Finally, I strongly believe that this message is very crystal clearl and I urge all our good members of the current parliament to vote against this bill out so that we do not get to hear it again in parliament or in any form of media.

Real Christian
National Capital District