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Does Ozzy’s exit mean Papua New Guinea is now a police state?

December 30, 2011 1 comment

By Nou Vada*

What is a Police State?

Ozzy may have chosen to have the oily corrupt Somare's as 'close friends' but did that justify his deportation?

A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive. The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state.  Source: Wikipedia

From ABC radio:

Papua New Guinea’s government has deported New Zealand born Australian businessman Graham Osborne over his alleged involvement in local politics and disrespect for PNG laws. Mr Osborne who runs a pizza and restaurant business at the Ela Beach Hotel in Port Moresby is in Australia’s Northern city of Cairns after he was deported on Wednesday. PNG’s acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Jamie Graham says the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has given the orders to deport any foreigner who was involved in or meddled in local politics. Graham Osborne says he is upset and does not know why he was deported.

The Constitution of Papua New Guinea at Section 47 guarantees FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION. It states that every person has the right peacefully to assemble and associate and to form or belong to, or not to belong to, political parties, industrial organizations or other associations, except to the extent that the exercise of that right is regulated or restricted by a law–

  • that makes reasonable provision in respect of the registration of all or any associations; or
  • that imposes reasonable restrictions on public office-holders; or
  • that imposes restrictions on non-citizens; or
  • that complies with Section 38 (general qualifications on qualified rights).

Is there a cause against Ozzy?

Graham Osbourne on Radio Australia:

“I’m not involved in any political parties, I am not a member of any political pary. But I am very good friend of the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, so maybe that is the reason”.

As one facebook commentator learned in the law put it:

By law Mr. Osborn is untitled to a fair hearing before deportation (first rule of natural justice or audi alteram partem). That did not happen. Second, The Bias Rule – Mr. Osbourne must be judged by a neutral arbitrator. His accusors acted as arbitrators judging him guilty before proof. Mr. Osbourne even admitted that they have no evidence of the allegations they levelled against him. That brings us to the third rule.The Evidence rule – Clearly there was no eveidence at this stage to support the deportation (third rule of natural justice, evidence must be provided). I can confidently state that Mr. Osbourne was not accorded the principles of natural justice which are guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of Papua New Guinea

Oddly enough, in the case Premdas v The State [1979] PGSC 20, the Supreme Court ruled that the principles of natural justice do not apply in proceedings under the Migration Act 1963 regarding the revocation of the entry permit of a non-citizen and an order for deportation.

Law aside, was this a smart thing for the O’Neill Government to do? Graham Osbourne is a well respected businessman and is respected by the business community in the country. He is also deeply involved in helping  civil society organisations in their work. His most notable recent contribution to nation-building was leading the PNG NRL Bid Team.

It’s a stupid short-sided move. The O’Neill Government is much more popular, especially with the business community, than the Somare Regime could ever have been in its 9 year hold on PNG. The deportation of Graham will shake the PNG Business community for sure. Loyalties will be subtly reviewed. The O’Neill Government must think very carefully now.

Papua New Guinea is fast on the road to becoming a Police State.

* Follow Nou on his Edebamona Blog

Long-term expat deported for backing Somare regime

December 29, 2011 11 comments

Ela Beach Hotel restaurant operator, and a close friend of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Graham Osborne was yesterday morning deported from the country, says the Post Courier.

Mr Osborne, according to a friend, was woken at about 6am yesterday when Immigration and police officers turned up at his gate with a search warrant “a suspected unregistered firearm, drugs and pornography’’. According to the friend, they found nothing but took Mr Osborne’s phone off him and not let him call anyone.

They put him in a vehicle, drove him out to Gerehu for couple of hours then to the airport to catch the 9.30 flight to Cairns. Mr Osborne is now in Cairns, Australia.

It appears Mr Osborne is the victim of the current political tug-o-war between Sir Michael and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Mr Osborne’s deportation comes two weeks after Prime Minister Peter O’Neill warned foreigners on the floor (of Parliament) who were in Papua New Guinea doing business or working and living in the country to stay out of internal political matters of the country.

Mr Osborne is a member of the PNG NRL Bid project, was a former president of the Port Moresby Golf Club, was a member of the National Gaming Board and was chairman of the Sports Foundation. He has also been active in the redirection and growth of rugby union development in the country.

Yesterday, the Immigration office confirmed to the Post-Courier of Mr Osborne’s deportation, however, the acting immigration director-general could not be reached for comment.

When asked who the complainant was on the deportation order, the Immigration officer said it was from the Government based on “questions about the legitimacy of his residential business compliance’’’ status.

The officer said they were “only acting on orders from the Immigration boss and the Customs office that Osborne successfully gets deported’’.

Another senior officer of the department said the instructions for Mr Osborne’s deportation may have come from the Government but “this must also send a message to foreigners, especially in the business community, that gone are the days where foreigners tried to control the destiny of this country’’.

Meanwhile, former acting Prime Minister Sam Abal has condemned Mr Osborne’s deportation and has called for the O’Neill – Namah Government to reverse its decision as it was unhealthy for the country.

Has the Occupy movement come to PNG?

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Watchdog investigates as Bertha Somare orders Parliament off the airwaves

December 16, 2011 8 comments

Has Bertha Somare has driven another nail into her fathers political coffin?

As Grand Thief Michael Somare stumbles through a political mine field desperately trying to cling to power, his daughter Bertha Somare is doing an excellent job in fueling her beloved father’s political demise.

Bertha has helped build a Mugabe like persona for her father

A complaint of political interference originating from Papua New Guinea  has reached the ears of the Paris based world press freedom watchdog, Reporters Sans Frontiers.

The complaint claims that the Grand Thief’s daughter, Bertha, ordered PNG’s  national broadcaster, the NBC to cut off its live television feed during Wednesday’s parliamentary session when corruption allegations against Somare were being made.

Reporters at Parliament were told that  the NBC’s Managing Director had issued the order. He later denied it but  said that NBC didn’t have permission to film even though allowances were made earlier by parliament to broadcast grievance debate.  It is also claimed NBC journalists have been threatened about reporting these corruption claims.

Bertha, who works as her father’s media consultant, has had her share of controversy. Earlier this year, it was revealed  that she was among several others who spent  millions in taxpayer money  on allowances and other expenses when Michael Somare was in the Raffles hotel in Singapore for heart surgery.  Bertha’s expenses  alone amounted to over 100 thousand kina.

She has also  had a long history of battling the  PNG press. She keeps the them at a distance, treats them with disdain and has helped to nurture the distrust that  PNG journalists  feel towards  Michael Somare.

This most recent complaint, will perhaps be the highlight of her career, when she reminisces, many years from now, about how she built  for her father a Mugabe-like persona who gagged  the NBC – the voice of Papua New Guinea.

Gaming Board a ‘cash cow’ for the Somare’s

December 16, 2011 2 comments

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has described the National Gaming Board as corrupt and a “milking cow” for few individuals and Somare family members.

“The Gaming Board is one of the most corrupt siphoning off hundreds of millions of kina to friends and family members to buy property in Cairns and holidays in Singapore,’’ he said.

“The former CEO thinks that he is managing private funds for the Somare government and [their] business associates.”

O’Neill said the Somare family was now in control of the computer system of gaming.

“This kind of madness must stop.

“This country belongs to the 6.7 million people of PNG and not one family or individual.”

O’Neill said the Somare regime must go because they were creating another Mugabe and dynasty in the Pacific.

What the Somare dictatorship never told us about the PM’s health

December 15, 2011 5 comments

The recent Supreme Court decision on the removal of Michael Somare as Prime Minister has revealed for the first time the full facts about his health and prolonged hospitalization. It has also revealed the extent of the lies told to the people of Papua New Guinea by the Somare family about the health of its Prime Minister and his visit to Singapore for a “routine medical check-up”.

The Somare family have once again treated the people of PNG with utter distain and disrespect and their behaviour has displayed all the characteristics of a family dictatorship devoted to hanging on to power by manipulating the truth and the media for their own selfish greed.

The facts are:

  • Somare has had aortic valve disease for 10 to 15 years and in March 2011, he started to feel more breathless than usual.
  • This was the beginning of heart failure which led to him flying to Singapore on 29 March 2011 where he remained until 4 September 2011.
  • On 30 March 2011, Somare was admitted to the Ward at the Raffles Hospital in Singapore and it was agreed he would have open heart surgery for an aortic valve replacement.
  • On 21 April 2011, Somare underwent the open heart surgery.
  • On 28 April 2011 he was discharged from the Intensive Care Unit to the general ward
  • On 4 May 2011, Somare had a heart attack and had to be resuscitated and rushed to the operating theatre for emergency surgery.
  • Bleeding in the chest cavity was identified as the cause and this was corrected and surgically managed in ICU
  • On 11 May 2011 he developed another bleeding episode and was rushed to the operating theatre for more emergency surgery and again the surgeon discovered the source of bleeding and ligated the leaking blood vessel.
  • During his period in hospital Somare also suffered acute renal failure and was dialysed; was unable to breathe unassisted and required ventilation; and suffered serious infections.

Somare never informed the people of PNG through the National Executive Council or through the Acting Prime Minister that he would be undergoing life threatening open heart surgery at any time.

Parliament never received any medical reports nor was it ever informed of Somare’s medical condition or status or when he might return to work, at any time it met.

Hon. Arthur Somare, a then senior Minister in Government made 3 visits to his father in Singapore paid for by the people of PNG between April and September 2011.

The people of PNG were never properly informed by anyone of their Prime Minister’s health condition.

Somare’s stay in Singapore cost the people of PNG over K3.7 million.

This included a hospital bill of K750,000, K478,000 in overseas travel allowances paid to Somare himself while he was lying on his back, K170,000 for accommodation and allowances for his wife, K192,000 for his daughter Betha.

In total the cost of visits by his family and other hangers-on came to more than K2.5 million.

Transparency International is indeed a joke in PNG!

December 14, 2011 4 comments

Recent criticism of Transparency International for not tackling the Australians over their laundering of the proceeds of corruption in PNG and TI’s neo-colonial ‘Corruption Perception Index’ led to this illuminating exchange via email.

First Paul Barker – in defence of TI PNG

TI’s local chapter in PNG cannot go chasing much if it cannot afford to pay its staff!! Yes of course the proceeds of various crimes in PNG end up in Australia; all the more reason for Australia to help fund the local transparency chapter to probe activities at the PNG end, and that various parties (including TI here, but especially authorities and NGO transparency organisations in Australia) probe and are pushed to probe the Australian (NZ, Singapore, Samoan etc ends!! Cheap shots at TIPNG don’t really help!

Then David Joshua Martin in response

Apart from its annual Walk Against Corruption, what has TI really done? TI(PNG) is  – frustratingly – a reflection of the people within the organization –  a herd  of timid  sheep who can’t  even stand up and confront  corruption in its ugliest.  TI(PNG)  can’t to anything meaningful because that herd of pampered citizens don’t really understand the impacts of corruption in rural Papua New Guinea. How can we expect  those within TI(PNG) to have the will to speak out for the rest of us when they themselves don’t understand what it is like to live without water  and sanitation  in Kaugere or Two mile hill?

How can we expect TI(PNG) to probe into  the  theft of funds when very few of them actually know what it is like to watch a mother die of childbirth complications in Simbu and the Southern Highlands?  Papua New Guineans aren’t just statistics. My mother and father, my brother and sister aren’t just the “80 percent of people” who don’t live in urban areas. Every year, TI(PNG) releases “wonderful” figures  of Papua New Guinea’s corruption perception rating that sees this great country of mine slip further into the quagmire of international disrepute.

Yet, when asked about corruption perception ratings, TI(PNG) has always distanced itself  from the manner in which data has been put together. Not that they are responsible, of course.

Sure, nice looking posters on billboards look good and serve a public relations purpose. But the bottom line is do Papua New Guineans pay attention to it? NO!  A template that works in another country doesn’t always work here.

The point is that  TI(PNG) will not probe  the activities of cash siphoning politicians and public servants at the PNG end or anywhere else. Where in their history do you see that? If they even thought about it, it would have been done by now. I would say, Mr. Barker, (and other TI status quo supporters) that you’re being a bit naïve (or protective). Their record speaks for itself.

Get real, protecting them when they don’t produce doesn’t help.