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O’Neill’s illegal logging: 917 days and counting…

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

count

There has still been NO ACTION to cancel the huge SABL land grab, revoke the unlawful leases or stop the illegal logging in Papua New Guinea.

It is now 917 days, since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.

On June 24, 2013 O’Neill was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:

“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

The Chief Secretary has also said:

“It is widely known that vast amounts of pristine forest have been logged to enrich a corrupt few people, while landowners have unknowingly lost their most valuable asset – their land”.

But, still no action has been taken to cancel the leases or stop the logging. Indeed, Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa, has declared the logging companies are effectively above the law, He says the SABL logging is legal and he will not be taking action to stop it.

So, despite all the promises, the fact is landowners are receiving no support from the government in their battles and against the land grabbing and WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 917 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and he has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

sabl cartoon

Preparing for War… A CALL TO ARMS

December 26, 2015 6 comments

Gary Juffa

Today we are besieged. The so called elites in power who do the bidding of the pirates that control our resources are fast selling PNG off, neither protecting nor promoting PNG interests.

Just walk into any business and ask yourself how is PNG protected here? A few genuine businesses and investors struggle while a many are merely here as vultures to take what they can while they can.

Just reflect on all decisions made regarding resource development and ask yourself, how has PNG being protected or promoted here? Not a single decision has been made with the people of PNGs interests at heart. Zero, zilch, none.

Go to the nearest Police and Army barracks. These are our badges of sovereignty, they lie in shambles, rotting, dilapidated and sad. They tell our story of National Security.

The public service is no longer a machine that delivers goods and services for PNG, many a good public servant has been shut out, removed and even attacked. The civil service is now an evil service and public servants are fast being replaced by public serpents.

Justice is now only affordable to those who can pay for it. Law is for those who can take it into their own hands.

That is our reality.

Next year on, our efforts to fight for a PNG worth saving must not be confined to social media chats, discussions at buai markets or during coffee and tea sessions, they must actually culminate in physical action.

I myself have prepared for this, I hope other Papua New Guineans who care about their country and its future will do the same.

I am hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Time and time again, I have found that in PNG during times when we need to rise up and fight, sadly, courage is very much lacking and overshadowed by apathy.

By our very inaction, we are allowing ourselves as a people to be led to the slaughter. A terrible and sad situation we find ourselves in today as we stare into a bleak future where we are marginalized and no longer own our land, are no longer in control of our resources and are but spectators in a future designed for others by others.

This is NOT the PNG I want for my children. I am sure it is NOT the PNG you want for your children either.

Today, it is a PNG where elected leaders and a public service machinery work against their people, instead of protecting our interests they are busy selling of our resources to hostile forces for 30 pieces of silver.

How did we arrive here?

How is it that just about every State organ created and designed for the very reason to protect and promote PNG interests have turned against its people? Brutalizing our people, selling off our land and doing so with careless abandon and an almost arrogant impunity?

How is it that a PNG with so much hope and promise has instead became a land of lawlessness and lost opportunities?

How is it that our systems of education and health have deteriorated so bad that we have come to accept that we are now intentionally managed to be a population of weak, unhealthy, unintelligent and pacified zombies allowing ourselves to be herded and moved here and there by ruthless pirates and their puppet MPs?

Today, our resources, our jobs and our opportunities are not guaranteed.Our voices of dissent and protest and concern are brushed aside and we are instead told to be happy, we are encouraged to sing praises as infrastructure, often low quality at inflated prices are built with monies borrowed at outrageous interest rates that we and our future generations are expected to pay back.

Many of our people have fallen, mesmerized by the bright lights of false promises, and raise their voices and sing praises without realizing the bitter price our future generations will be paying.

Even what is wrong and unethical and immoral we have come to accept and expect and now are promoting but telling ourselves “as long as there is something being done”. What is being done is your country and your people are being sold lock, stock and barrel to powerful forces that do not care about you and your children and want only your resources and the profits they can make at your expense.

Yes, whenever we raise concern about the state of PNG, we are labelled doom and gloom prophets. But these are NOT prophesies, these are but realities.

Meanwhile, those in power move to shut voices of dissent, manipulate the media to churn out propaganda to divert the attention of masses, rule and divide with money and weaken systems of good governance and render them useless.

2017 is WAR. It is NOW or NEVER. RISE or FALL.

It is a war you and I must fight to SAVE PNG. No one else will do this for us. Our so called friends and neighbors are busy with their own problems and besides their vision of what we must be is NOT what we should accept as it is but a mere fraction of what we can be.

I see all the usual political gimmicks moving again. Its the time for politics. “Its just a game” say the usual conmen, middlemen and puppets and muppets.

A game where people die…our people.

So scan all the political parties you admire, subscribe to and enthusiastically embrace and promote and sing for and drink beer for and tell your inlaws about proudly…and in quiet moments….in the still of a PNG night when you can only hear is TRUTH…ask yourselves…ARE THEY FIGHTING FOR PNG? Most are merely pandering the same old mediocre statements that have kept them in power either contributing directly or indirectly to where PNG is now…

I may fight this battle alone, I don’t have the riches and backing of powerful financial pirates that they do, but I believe in a PNG owned by Papua New Guineans…I have a few loyal friends and family…they love this country too

Choose your leaders carefully, ask yourself, since we are at war, are they the person you want by your side fighting for you, will they be at the forefront of our battle fighting with energy and patriotic passion to save our people, our land and our future or will they be whisked away by the pirates that control our resources and are sucking the very life out of our nation while we sit and watch silently?

Yes, many are NOT your leaders, they are THEIR leaders….fighting NOT for you and what is yours but for what their MASTERS have paid for.

So rise up and fight for PNG if you believe that it is a PNG worth saving. Just saying that this is true and liking this page is NOT enough, live every moment as if it is your last and remember the faces of your children and ask yourself, WHERE WILL THEY BE TOMORROW IF I FAIL THEM TODAY?

WE MUST FIGHT!

If we don’t, we have firmly helped the boot of the oppressor be placed on the neck of our children and we have folded our arms and shut our mouths and blindfolded our eyes and crossed our legs and sold out…

I am preparing for war. I will fight every which way to save my people, our land and our future, I believe you can choose that too…I may go down alone but I go down knowing I did not merely give up or watch like a coward, I fought.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 910 days and counting…

December 21, 2015 Leave a comment

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Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

px-logo land grabbing

sabl cartoon

Forest Minister sadly misinformed or willfully misleading us?

December 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa has taken to social media to try and defend the government’s record on forest management and combatting illegal logging.

The Forest Minister sitting comfortably on his trip home from Paris

The Forest Minister sitting comfortably on his trip home from Paris

But, in trying to defend the government and his record as Minister, Tomuriesa has again demonstrated his apparent lack of understanding of the issues.

Writing on FaceBook over the weekend, the Minister says he agrees with the statement “there was no reviews or audits been done [of the logging industry] in the last 10 to 15 years”

BUT THAT STATEMENT IS NOT TRUE!

There have been plenty of reviews and audits over the past 10-15 years. Such as the 2014 SGS report that shows one-third of log exports come from SABL areas – logging operations both the Prime Minister and Chief Secretary have declared “a scam” and which are clearly illegal.

The 2007 International Tropical Timber Organiisation Diagnostic Mission report said PNG government agencies are failing to properly apply and enforce the law, failing to ensure even basic standards of legality and completely failing ‘to achieve any semblance of sustainability in its forest management’.

The 2004 Forestry and Conservation project reviews of current logging operations and review of disputed permits uncovered widespread illegality. These were the findings of Wold Bank consultants working inside the PNG Forest Authority. The findings were expertly summarized by  Forest Trends in 2009.

A 2014 Chatham House report again found at least 70% of logging in PNG is illegal.

So there have been plenty of reviews and audits – maybe the Minister should read them!

The Minister also said “we have SGS… who checks all operations before logs are shipped out”

claim 2

COMPLETE RUBBISH!

SGS only inspects each log shipment to check the count of the logs is correct and confirm the species. SGS does not monitor logging operations or check legal compliance!

The Minister claimed logging operations are monitored to “see who is operating inside or outside of their boundary”

claim 3

Sounds very impressive – but what about all the illegal logging inside concession boundaries? And why has there been no action against the Malaysian logging company exposed by Global Witness in October to have extensive logging operations outside their SABL boundary – as shown in these images:

Turubu logging satellite

The Minister said he has ‘closed more companies in the short time in that office than any Minister’

claim 4

He said the number of logging companies operating in PNG has fallen from 128 to 67

claim 5

But even if that is true, SO WHAT? Log exports are at an all time high and log exports from illegal SABL areas doubled since the Commission of Inquiry was established in 2011. So where is the impact?

Is the Minister just sadly misinformed or is he willfully trying to deceive us?

He did at least made an offer for critics, led by Brian Brunton, to visit his office for a proper briefing:

meeting offer

Lets hope that offer is genuine and the critics will take him up on it!

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 903 days and counting…

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

count

There has still been NO ACTION to cancel the huge SABL land grab, revoke the unlawful leases or stop the illegal logging in Papua New Guinea.

It is now 903 days, since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.

On June 24, 2013 O’Neill was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:

“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

The Chief Secretary has also said:

“It is widely known that vast amounts of pristine forest have been logged to enrich a corrupt few people, while landowners have unknowingly lost their most valuable asset – their land”.

But, still no action has been taken to cancel the leases or stop the logging, and, in contrast, Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa, has declared the logging companies are effectively above the law, and he will not be taking action to stop their illegal activities.

Despite all the promises, the fact is landowners are receiving no support from the government in their battles and against the land grabbing and WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 903 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and he has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

Gary Juffa the real hero stopping illegal logging

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

juffa

The Prime Minister may have been making a song and dance in the media about getting tough on illegal logging – but the real hero is Oro Governor Gary Juffa

Despite O’Neill’s promises he has done nothing to stop the illegal logging operations ripping through PNG forests and has done nothing to cancel the unlawful SABL leases.

That record stands in stark contrast to the proactive stance taken by Gary Juffa. In 2014 Juffa backed the Collingwood Bay landowners with financial, legal and moral support in their court battle against the illegal SABL lease over their land. As a result the lease was declared null and void and subsequently cancelled.

Now Juffa has added a stop work notice against the logging operations of Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited to his record on fighting illegal logging.

The stop work notice was not the result of the Prime Ministers efforts neither did it come about through the effective working of the PNG Forest Authority or the National Forest Board. The victory was the result of unrelenting pressure from the Oro Governor and his refusal to take no for an answer.

Mr Juffa on hearing of the announcement was quick to say:

“Justice prevails finally prevails….We now wish to pursue a civil case to recover damages. The firms have been trespassing and unlawfully logging for decades and I have been adamant that they must stop.

“In fact, if they were not dealt with by the National Government we had earmarked them for removal early next year by force”

One wonders why the Governors of East and West New Britain, East and West Sepik and New Ireland to not show a similar resolve to protect and defend their people in the face of illegal logging and land grabbing…

O’Neill tries, but fails, to look tough on illegal logging

December 11, 2015 1 comment

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is trying to sound tough on illegal logging [see story below] while international climate talks continue in Paris – but his posturing for international audiences isn’t going to fool anyone

O’Neill has claimed “no ifs, and or buts, if there are valid claims that a company is involved in illegal logging we will shut down their operations”. The trouble is the PM has been saying almost exactly the same thing for more than two years while hundreds of millions of tonnes of illegal timber continue to be exported.

In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:

“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”

But in the 900 days since then the government has taken absolutely no action against any of the illegal logging or unlawful SABL leases.

While the PM’s statement below of action against Yema Gaiapa Developers and Viva Success is welcome, the fact is they are responsible for less than 2% of PNG log exports. These two companies exported 65,370 cubic metres of logs in the 12 months to June 2015. In contrast Rimbunan Hijau exported 5 times more illegal timber, 339,382 cubic meters, from just one unlawful SABL operation in the same period. But rather than take action against RH, the PNG Forest Authority actually issued the company a new logging licence in 2014!

Peter O’Neill’s agenda is he wants the international community to give billions of dollars to PNG for saving its forests – but the international community isn’t going to be fooled by a government wedded to the logging industry and up to its neck in corruption!

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

PNG Government Issues Stop Work Orders On Two Logging Companies
PNG Today
Investigations into allegations of illegal logging are now underway into the companies Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited.The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea,Peter O’Neill  has announced that the Environment and Conservation Authority has issued stop work orders for two logging companies for breaching the Environment Act.
“No ifs, and or buts, if there are valid claims that a company is involved in illegal logging we will shut down their operation and investigate,” PM O’Neill said.
“While the Government is doing all we can to improve governance within the Forestry sector, there are others who have no respect for the laws of this country, or respect for the rights of the resource owners of this country.
“A range of concerns have been reported by landowners including allegations that Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited, at the border of Oro and Morobe provinces, have acted in a way that warrants further investigation.”
The Prime Minister said the National Government is determined, and will continue to provide leadership to nurture better and improved governance in all resource sectors, including the Forestry sector, which has been mismanaged over many years.
“Our Government has placed a moratorium on new licences for round log exports.
“We are also working with key stakeholders and Development Partners to improve the capacity, operations and effectiveness of the National Forest Authority.
“The NFA is mandated with the responsibility of ensuring effective governance of our forestry sector.”
The Prime Minister said as a country with some of the most significant forest coverage in the world, Papua New Guinea is working closely with developmental partners and International Organisations to enhance forestry management.
“We recently hosted the APEC Forestry Ministers’ Meeting in Port Moresby that advanced mechanisms for regional leaders to work together to enhance governance within the forestry sector.
“We have furthered these initiatives at the recent Philippines APEC Leaders Meeting, and these issues were also discussed at the Paris Climate Change conference.
“Papua New Guinea is determined to implement good governance and sustainability in our forestry sector and move beyond the mismanagement of the past.”
The Prime Minister said he urges all stakeholders, including Provincial Governments, the Local Level Governments, landowner companies and their foreign partners to work closely with the national government.
“We need to all strive to improve governance within this very important sector, and protect the interests of the our people and the countries.