Produced by :chi too
Directed by :chi too
Produced :Nov 07, 2006
Production Company :Kaleidoscope Pictures
[ Source: http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/chitoo/videos/paradise120.avi/view ].
Sons to fill big shoes
“Like father like son” and in politics, the world is full of them. George W Bush, Ghandi of India, Bhutto in Pakistan, Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier in the Caribbean and Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore who handed the leadership of the island state to his son.
Once over lunch at the Gateway Kim Beazley told me that when his father retired from politics he stood for the same seat and has been there ever since.
Our current Parliament has its share when you consider the four young men who followed their dads into the National Parliament.
Some of us have been privileged to have known over the years, Sir Michael Somare, Sir Tei Abal, Sir Julius Chan and Oscar Tammur.
Sir Michael Somare, the teacher who later joined the Department of Information and Extension Services in East Sepik, has been in politics for the past four decades.
His friend Sir Julius Chan founded the People’s Progress Party and believed that progress and development cannot take place unless there is stability in the administration and for Papua New Guinea to have a strong economy to back it up.
Sir Tei Abal came to prominence on the passing of the leader of the United Party Mathias Toliman and believed that Pangu Party led by Michael Somare was in a bit of a hurry for independence for Papua New Guinea.
Oscar Tammur, the outspoken land rights advocate from the Kokopo area, took issues of land rights and the wellbeing of the Tolai people in business and politics to the bitter end when a younger, more liberal Rabbie Namaliu endorsed by Somare’s Pangu Party ousted him at the polls.
That bitterness has lived with Tammur’s son Patrick and in the latest elections he ousted the man who replaced his dad.
Tammur is now in a government headed by the very person who put up a candidate against his dad.
And then there is Arthur Somare, the ambitious, articulate younger Somare, sometimes fiery but quite an orator when it comes to the debates in the House. All four young men grew up in homes where politics was very much part of their lives and it was discussed in their presence in their lounge rooms.
At very early ages they all knew the bitterness involved in losing out, who to call friend and who to entertain.
For Byron Chan, his second hurdle to replace his dad has been achieved by becoming the Member for Namatanai and leader of the parliamentary wing of the party his father founded.
Dad is still in active politics as Governor of New Ireland but in Parliament, the younger Chan takes charge of the affairs of the People’s Progress Party and sits at the head of all its membership which includes his own father.
But then in the background Sir Julius will still continue to be the political tactician that he is to steer Byron through the thick and thin of PNG’s political wilderness.
Arthur Somare has come in from an electorate other than that of his father with his sights equally set on eventually replacing the old man.
From how he approaches his own ministry and the influence he exerts on both the party and government decisions, there is little doubt that the son wants to prove his own manhood.
His capability as a cabinet minister is unquestioned but it is a question of a political support base from where he can make a move on the leadership of the party his father founded.
This is easier said than done, given Papua New Guinea’s political track record.
Sir Michael would dearly love to hand over the reins to his son but the party does not belong to the Somares and there are other Sepiks who are just as influential and ambitious waiting to pounce on the leadership on Sir Michael’s departure.
Arthur has to contend with the likes of Patrick Pruaitch, Belden Namah, Gabriel Kapris, Andrew Kumbakor and even Tony Aimo to establish a strong Sepik backing before he can entice others to back him.
It is a dirt road with lot of potholes.
Sir Tei Abal told Parliament, “Mi bai sanap long dispela ileksen long laspela taem”.
He underestimated his Wabag electorate and the fact that Independence had already come and times had changed and the United Party was in tatters.
When he lost the Wabag Open seat, Sir Tei Abal went out of the pages of PNG’s history books.
But today we see his son Sam.
Not as fiery a politician as his dad … maybe because of his training as a career diplomat.
Sam’s political affiliations are a bit confusing.
He discusses politics with Governor Peter Ipatas and is not too close to Don Polye. He holds a senior portfolio in Cabinet but does not really influence the Highlands bloc in the house.
He featured prominently during the recent visit by the Australian Prime Minister ... holding press conferences about the visit and being there in the place of Sir Michael and Dr Puka Temu.
Does he want the job too?
By this time Sam will be monitoring closely the election recount of Paias Wingti.
The bush telegraph has it that in Paias Wingti’s book of numbers, the name Sam Abal has a prominent place together with others including those in Cabinet.
The man of the mountains, Don Polye gently strokes his long beard as he follows events as they unfold and wonders what is in it for him. Out of all these, Patrick Tammur is still trying to work out how to handle his new role as the Member for Kokopo.
When he defeated Namaliu, the entire nation almost demanded that he be one better than Namaliu in national politics.
The nation mourned the loss to politics of Namaliu and looked to the rebirth of a Tammur, but then East New Britain politics has changed since the Mataungan Association heydays.
On Namaliu’s watch, Rabaul moved to Kokopo and the islands have taken big strides in their economic development with the provincial government’s backing.
In his own Communications Ministry, Patrick Tammur has gone quiet while Arthur Somare has taken the communications fight to the boardrooms and the media.
Somare is not finished yet and young Tammur should start carving out his own name rather than holding onto a portfolio which looks like a “thank you gesture” for holding the post-elections meeting of the new government in Kokopo.
Tei Abal’s son Sam is fast approaching a crossroads in his political career unless he can display some of the wisdom of the great leader from Wabag who was his father, Sir Tei Abal.
Issues do change over the years.
Sir Michael Somare’s was political independence for PNG and to be able to govern our own affairs.
Sir Tei Abal opposed it, saying we were not ready. Oscar Tammur wanted the people of his province to be owners of their own land and to take charge of the economy.
Sir Julius Chan’s party was for a stable progressive economic base for PNG. Politics may have changed but the progress towards a better economic future is still being pursued.
This all points to Byron Chan who is still a leader-in-waiting to continue economic independence — a major policy for his party.
We can only wish them well in the choices they have made to follow their own fathers.
The Australian-based Marengo Mining Ltd has selected a site not too far from the Ramu NiCo’s refinery and planned DSTP system construction which had been put on hold following an interim injunction taken by a group of landowners who claimed the system would be environmentally damaging. Australian-based Marengo Mining Ltd has selected a site not too far from the Ramu NiCo’s refinery and planned DSTP system construction which had been put on hold following an interim injunction taken by a group of landowners who claimed the system would be environmentally damaging (National, Newspaper)
What is surprising is that there are no conclusive proof that any STD or DSTP will be environmentally safe. Short-term benefit will no doubt come at a very high price to the people of Madang. Here is a report which might give one an overview and insight into STD and whats more interesting is that the reports done by certain environmental consultant companies into the mining operations are usually not published for peer review and scrutiny (Download pdf).
The support of mining by the Papua New Guinea government will always remain a controversial subject. Here is an article which might be of interest.
The government of Papua New Guinea must be mindful of long-term benefits for the people in Madang as well of those in areas within the country where possible mining developments are likely in the future and should make sure that proper tailings holding facilities or disposal systems must be in place before any mining operations can take place. I am aware that compromises will have to be made, but the decisions made today will have future implications whether good or bad. Therefore wisdom is required here by those in authority.
Environmentally safe mine tailings disposals can be built but it will most certainly be very costly. However, the government has the choice to make. Either to compromise the lives of people of Madang and their livelihood for the mining companies or to ask for completely independent and impartial environmental scientists to undertake impartial and sound scientific studies looking at all possible mine tailings disposal options and to give the government its unbiased advise so that decisions can be made in the best interest of the nation. These studies must be published for public and scientific scrutiny. The mining operators are only there for one purpose. To make more money. I shall leave that to the wisdom of the political leaders of Papua New Guinea.
Sumkar rep quits Government in protest over ‘bulldozed’ environment amendment Bill
By PETER SEA
THE controversial amendment to the Environment Act 2000 passed recently by Parliament has struck a sour note in the Government backbenches.
Sumkar MP Ken Fairweather said yesterday he had resigned from the Government because he did not like the amendment.
“As Member for Sumkar, I do not want people in later years to say I did not safeguard their rights when I was in the seat,” he said on his way to Jackson’s Airport to board a plane for Madang.
Mr Fairweather said he had notified the National Parliament Speaker Jeffery Nape that he would be moving to the middle benches.
It is understood Mr Fairweather’s Peoples National Congress Party caucus will meet shortly to clarify the party’s position in regards to the controversial law.
“It is a controversial law. Procedures were not followed in the passage of the bill. I do not want people 70 years down the line to say that their forefathers did not do the right thing by them,” Mr Fairweather said.
“I am not against mining but I am against environmental damage that may affect the people of Sumkar in the future.”
In a newspaper advertisement, Mr Fairweather said he did not vote for changes to the Environment Act. He said: “The change, bulldozed through Parliament, takes away the right of the people to see justice in court. This is dictatorial and against every principle a democracy stands for.
“Sumkar is a maritime district. We are under the threat of environmental destruction:
• From tailings;
• From pollution from the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ); and
• Any residue pollution from the Ramu River. “The life of Karkar and Bagabag is centered around the sea. We see less fish and marine life every year. We are pristine islands – leave our environment alone.” Mr Fairweather said his position was clear on the PMIZ and the deep sea tailings project.
• PMIZ – stop it – perhaps we can have one more factory or double RD size. But not seven factories. Give the rest to other districts who have nothing. Pomio is a good example.
• Tailings – No to the deep sea system. Compromise and find an alternative even if the Government pays over time from royalties. Surely we can learn by the mistakes of others.
The Peoples National Congress Party led by Public Services Minister Peter O’Neill will have “a special meeting to form our policy on the environment. Our party leader will announce our decision this week”.
“I realise that my stand is against the position of National Alliance, PAP and others so be it,” he said in the advertisement.
Attempts to get comments from the Prime Minister’s office yesterday were unsuccessful. His media office did not return email and phone queries.
I am hoping that the LNG project will not be another expensive cost to the already over burdened Papua New Guineans where only the rich and those in government are forfeiting the future of young Papua New Guineans because of selfishness and greed. I may also add that there has been many resource developments in Papua New Guinea over the last thirty years, but to date the country continues to lagg behind in many aspect of socio-economic development compared to other progressing nations in the developing world. The simple truth is that there is systemic and systematic corruption in the country and until these are confronted and dealt with, I am afraid the solutions to PNG problems are yet out of reach.
FORMER attorney-general and justice minister Dr Allan Marat says “a little team” met in Brisbane, Australia, and elsewhere to negotiate the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.
“For some reason, I was not included in the team. My advice was never sought as there was no seriousness in using the office of the AG then.
“There was no serious consultation with me as (then) principal legal adviser to a matter that was of high national interest,” Marat told reporters in Kokopo last week.
He said even with the Maladina amendments, Esa’ala MP Moses Maladina never visited the AG’s office for advice on the proposed amendments to the Constitution and the Organic Law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership.
He said even a private bill, like the Maladina amendments, was supposed to go through the proper channels of vetting, through the office of the AG, to the legislative council and then the government caucus before going to Parliament.
Marat said the existing system of vetting was never followed for the Maladina amendments.
“I do not know how he came up with the idea, and I do not even know how he saw the need to amend the leadership code,” he said.
On the LNG agreement, Marat said the first time he saw the document was on May 21 last year when it was pushed across the table and told that it would be signed the next day and the legal clearance was required that same day, although it was pre-dated May 28, 2009.
“How do you expect my lawyers and I to properly analyse the implications, the benefits or matters that would be against the best interest of Papua New Guinea in less than 24 hours when the agreement was more than 200 pages?” he asked.
“That’s what I mean. There was no serious consultation on serious matters like the LNG,” he added.
Marat said the AG’s office would need at least a week to vet and make serious contributions in the best interest of Papua New Guineans on the PNG LNG project.
“This gas agreement was drawn up overseas. It was taken away from our government negotiating team and structured overseas. And, we are now forced to dance to the music of foreigners,” he added.
(Source: The National Newspaper 18 May, 2010)