Archive

Archive for April, 2014

Long time resident not happy with forced eviction by Rimbunan Hijau

April 26, 2014 1 comment

Lina Gawi, from Geborobi village in the East Sepik Province, settled in Bumbu when her daughter was seven years of age. Now she is a mother of 5 adult children, She was not very happy when the bulldozer belonging to RH bulldozed the area which they called home for the past 40 years,

Lae 2 2

Lina said we have no where to go as this was our home.  We left our original village at a very young age and now we cant go back. Our home is here. We planted coconut trees and bettlenut trees and mango tree’s etc.

Lina cried as she spoke and she is still mourning at the unfair treatment done to her home.

Lina and the other families like hers, have nowhere to go so they are living in makeshift houses waiting the outcome of a court case.

Lina said they treated us like animals and we know our human rights have been violated to a great extent.

In the photos of Lina she is now washing clothes and drying them at the place where her house used to be.

lae 2 1

Lae 2 3

 

PNG police wont investigate Australian ‘speculator’ but will take his money

April 25, 2014 2 comments

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary has just announced a ‘generous’ donation of K20,000 from the Paga Hill Development Company (PHDC), a concern run by Australian businessman Gudmundur Fridriksson.

Gummi FridrikssonAccording to the Public Accounts Committee, PHDC – labelled a ‘foreign speculator’ by the committee – acquired the contested land at Paga Hill through ‘corrupt dealings’. The Lands Department Secretary informed the Committee he could not forfeit the company’s illegally acquired state lease because it would place, ‘the security of my officers in jeopardy’.

Despite PHDC’s chequered history the RPNGC’s media unit proudly proclaims:

‘Acting Assistant Commissioner Reforms Joanne Clarkson today thanked the Paga Hill Development Company for its timely donation of K20,000 which enable the Constabulary to send policewomen to participate in the Australasian Police & Emergency Services Games in Melbourne, Australia’.

It seems pertinent to ask where this K20,000 came from. Was it from the:

  • K2.5 million the national government paid Fridriksson for Destination Papua New Guinea, a book (yes K2.5 million for a book!) riddled with what Sean Dorney calls ‘appalling mistakes’
  • K1,966,677 which the Auditor General alleges CCS Anvil – a company owned by Fridriksson and PHDC shareholder George Hallitt – wrongfully seized from the sale of deceased PNG estates, when advising the Public Curators Office (CCS Anvil has acted as PHDC’s ‘project director’).
  • K4,872,375 in ‘unlawful’ payments made to CCS Anvil by the Public Curators Office.
  • K79,500 in unlawful payments  – according to the Auditor General and Public Accounts Committee – made by the East Sepik Provincial government made to CCS Anvil
  • K375,799 in unlawful payments made by the Parliamentary Service to CCS Anvil (documented by the Public Accounts Committee)

Perhaps if the police did their job and followed up more often on Auditor General/Public Accounts Committee findings they would not have to rely on ‘donations’ from those named and shamed in public accounting reports.

one

Rimbunan Hijau evicts Bumbu residents in Lae

April 24, 2014 2 comments
Bumbu eviction site

Bumbu eviction site

Thirty houses in the Bumbu settlement in Lae were forcibly removed and the families evicted 2 months ago with all the trees bulldozed. The residents are now living in tents, waiting for a better response from the company involved and the government.

The residents have found out that Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau has bought off the piece of land that they have been living on for the last 40- 50 years. Now these long-term residents have nowhere to go.

They say their human rights have been violated and the government seriousely needs to pay attention to how they have been treated by Rimbunan Hijau who has been using PNG Forest Product’s name to evict them.

The families were originally compensated with K1000 to each household and 12 plywood sheets each to rebuld their homes on a new site. But their question is where will they build their new houses when they have been living in Bumbu for the last 50 years and they have no where else to go.

A court case is underway against PNG Forest Products and Rimbunan Hijau to try and stop what ever they are trying to do and to force them to give a good response to the people who they have over looked to satisfy their own self interest and who  find themselves living in tents for almost 2 months now.

Rumours have it that the logging giant Rimbunan Hijau is planning to build a wharf on the site.

Rimbuan Hijau has already been found guilty in the SABL Commission of Inquiry of conspiring with the Department of Lands Acting Secretary, Romily Kila Pat, to illegally obtain land for a wharf in Port Moresby:

Rimbunan Hijau, Kila Pat and the unlawful Port Moresby wharf 

2a

3a

5a

6a

Australian government rejects advisers warning on Bougainville mine

April 23, 2014 1 comment

The Australian government’s subservient relationship with giant mining companies mean it has rejected AusAID’s advice that re-opening the Panguna mine will destabilize the island and it should instead focus on supporting the agriculture sector…

In a 2008 evaluation of AusAID’s development aid programme on Bougainville, experts employed by Australia’s aid agency offered sobering advice that is proving prescient.

The currently closed Panguna copper mine forms a backdrop to all discussion of economic recovery … It should be remembered that the mine was the original flashpoint of armed conflict in Bougainville … [The mine community’s] attitude to profit-seeking foreigners is dour. While some think that reopening the mine is possible, it is just as likely that any agreement would again collapse. In the interim, a strategy for economic recovery through agricultural production appears the most viable among the possibilities.

AusAID’s experts justify their emphasis on agriculture, noting:

Resumption of mining must also be weighed against the stress this would place upon Bougainville, which at this stage has all the characteristics of a fragile state. Influx of workers from elsewhere in PNG, the politics of royalty distribution and the political imperatives of a new and powerful stakeholder, the company, may create political shocks in Bougainville to destabilise the island in the run up to the autonomy referendum due between 2015 and 2020.

So, given the Australian government’s so called commitment to stability on Bougainville, why would it now pump millions into an unwanted project, administered by ‘profit-seeking foreigners’ that could potentially destabilise a fragile peace?

The Australian Green Party has obtained part of the answer from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. DFAT has revealed the Australian government is now being advised BY the same ‘profit-seeking foreigner’ – Rio Tinto – who to this day dodges war crime allegations over its former role on Bougainville.

And remember, according to Australia’s former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, it is this profit-seeking foreigner, who, along with BHP ‘run[s] the country’ i.e. Australia.

Below is a catalogue of all the TWENTY ONE 2013 meetings between Rio Tinto and the Australian government (Peter Taylor = BCL Chairman, Paul Coleman = BCL Secretary).

1

2

3

4

5

 

Oro government leads in the fight against illegal land grabbing

April 16, 2014 2 comments

From ACT NOW!

Gary Juffa opposition to SABL land grab exposes Peter O'Neill's inaction

Gary Juffa opposition to SABL land grab exposes Peter O’Neill’s inaction

While PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill sits on his hands refusing to cancel unlawful SABL leases and stop illegal logging, the Oro Provincial government is standing with its people against the Malaysian led land grab.

In a statement issued overnight, Oro Governor Gary Juffa has again committed his government to assist landowners:

“That the Oro Government stands by its people in fighting against land grabbing, illegal logging and is willing to support their court cases with its own legal team and attending as a party to all cases of such.

“We are also taking to task several companies who have obtained land illegally and will fight all this through the courts of PNG.

“My Government has placed a moratorium on all land dealings in Oro and it is still very much in force and will be with all dealings to be reviewed by a committee established at some time in the future.

“As for landgrabbers and their pokies playing, beer swilling, corridor walking scamming and scheming – Oro is closed for illegal business…we welcome genuine investors only…”

The position of the Oro Provincial government stands in stark contrast to the position of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who continues to protect the Malaysian logging companies who are making huge profits from their stolen timber.

Peter O’Neill has failed to implement the recommendations of the recent SABL land grab Commission of Inquiry which found the SABL leases had been unlawfully and fraudulently issued. The Commission recommended the unlawful leases be immediately revoked, but the Peter O’Neill led government has done nothing with those findings.

 

Solomon Islands disaster exposes Australia’s real agenda in the Pacific

April 16, 2014 2 comments

The response of the Australian and New Zealand governments and other Pacific powers to the crisis underscores their utter indifference to the plight of the country’s ordinary working people.

[RAMSIs] real purpose remains to maintain Australian and NZ economic and political domination over the under-developed nation and the wider southwest Pacific.

Canberra’s principal concern about this month’s flooding is revealed by its commitment of $600,000 for technical assistance to assess the damage to the Gold Ridge mine, which is operated by St Barbara, an Australian mining company.

RAMSI police officers were also dispatched to help secure the mine after St Barbara abandoned it following the flood.

Major floods devastate Solomon Islands

By Allan Leigh | WSWS

Torrential rain, high winds and severe flooding devastated Solomon Islands on April 3, killing 21 people, destroying thousands of homes, and displacing over 50,000 people, mainly in Guadalcanal province and the capital Honiara. The impoverished Pacific nation, which includes 300 separate islands, lies about 1,800 kilometres east of Papua New Guinea.

National Disaster Management Office chief Loti Yates said: “This is by far the worst flooding I have witnessed since heading this organisation—the scale and magnitude is overwhelming.”

As of yesterday, two people remained missing, with at least 10,000 homeless in Honiara alone. The Isabel, Makira and Malaita islands are among the other Solomons provinces severely impacted. Extensive damage to basic infrastructure, however, has made it impossible to fully assess the impact in communities outside the capital.

Honiara and other parts of Guadalcanal have been declared disaster zones, with major damage to roads, water pipes and sewerage systems. Honiara’s Chinatown Bridge collapsed last Thursday, splitting the city in two. According to the Solomon Islands Water Authority, 50 percent of the capital, which has a population of about 65,000, has no access to safe water and it could be weeks before supplies are restored.

Aid organisations have warned that diseases such as dysentery, malaria and dengue fever could spread and seriously worsen the catastrophe. Solomons Islands Save the Children Fund spokesman Graham Kenna told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that a dengue fever outbreak had already begun before the floods and warned that the numbers hit by the disease would rapidly increase.

The response of the Australian and New Zealand governments and other Pacific powers to the crisis underscores their utter indifference to the plight of the country’s ordinary working people.

Australia offered $3 million in total, with only $2 million for “immediate humanitarian needs.” New Zealand promised $1.12 million, with only $281,000 for agencies directly working with the flood-affected people. The US pledged just over $100,000 for emergency relief through the French Red Cross Society.

This is for one of the poorest countries on the planet, lacking the resources and infrastructure to cope with a disaster of this magnitude. Solomon Islands has a gross domestic product of approximately $2,500 per person—ranked 177th in the world.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the remaining $1 million of Canberra’s “aid” would be used to send Australian Civilian Corps engineers, Australian Government Rapid Response Team members and a dozen Australian Defence Force personnel to the Solomons.

Australian Federal Police attached to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), which was established in 2003, are also involved.

The RAMSI intervention, cynically codenamed Operation Helpem Fren (Help a Friend), has always been promoted by the Australian and New Zealand governments and the mainstream media as an “aid mission.” Its real purpose remains to maintain Australian and NZ economic and political domination over the under-developed nation and the wider southwest Pacific.

Alongside RAMSI troops and police contingents, Australian and NZ officials took control of key government posts, refashioning the state apparatus in line with the interests of Canberra and Wellington. More than 10 years on, the mayhem and human suffering caused by the flooding underscores the fact that RAMSI was never about uplifting the country’s facilities and living standards.

No RAMSI resources were allocated to establish adequate health services and other vital infrastructure, or the sort of equipment required to respond to flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

RAMSI’s military forces were withdrawn in 2012, but about 100 Australian Federal Police remain, at a budgeted cost of $500 million over four years—many times more than the flood aid. Contingency plans no doubt exist for troops to return whenever Canberra and Wellington consider there is a threat to their imperialist interests.

Canberra’s principal concern about this month’s flooding is revealed by its commitment of $600,000 for technical assistance to assess the damage to the Gold Ridge mine, which is operated by St Barbara, an Australian mining company.

RAMSI police officers were also dispatched to help secure the mine after St Barbara abandoned it following the flood. There is widespread speculation over the mine’s future because of recent falls in St Barbara’s share values.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo warned parliament that protection of the mine and re-building of the severely damaged Mataniko Bridge, which provides access to the mine, were priorities.

“If this bridge collapses,” he said, “policing in town [Honiara] would be in real danger and the normal flow of social and economic services would be really affected … What we have done last night is deploy members of the Police Response Team to go and maintain security up there [to Gold Ridge] because that asset belongs to the state.”

Lilo’s government approved a $SI15 million fund ($A2.19 million) to be distributed to members of parliament, with each MP receiving $SI300,000. The Pacific Media Centre reported that some MPs visited evacuation centres around Honiara, distributing assistance to those they thought would vote for them in national elections later this year.

On April 8, the National Disaster Operations Committee said it was safe for people to leave the overcrowded and inadequate evacuation centres and return home. But more than 50,000 people remain homeless, with no access to clean water and basic food supplies.

The so-called aid pledged by Australia and New Zealand will barely provide for the immediate food and water needs of flood victims, let alone rebuild their houses and villages. Those rendered homeless will be forced to live in tents and other makeshift shelters for months.

Made in China: Momis failing the people of Bougainville

April 15, 2014 4 comments

Via PNG Mine Watch

Made In China