MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER, HON. JAMES MARAPE, ON THE 44th INDEPENDENCE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Speech by Prime Minister Marape | 16 Sept 2019

Today, 16th of September 2019 marks 44 years since our Sovereign Flag was hoisted for the first time in 1975, and since then, 7 Prime Ministers stood before me, all of them and leaders who served with them that I remember and pay my respects today.

I now stand here before you all people and friends of Papua New Guinea as your chief servant to rally the country under the rise of our unifying flag once again.

One hundred and ten days ago my group of leaders were conferred high privilege to serve in government for our people.

We assumed office on the back of our people’s desire that Government is for all people, for all parts of our country and not for a selected few.

For we are a nation of over a thousand tribes, who speak over over 830 different languages, from highlands to lowlands, from mountains to seas, from island to mainland, the entire 462,840 square kilometers of land blends unity in diversity, we are the most diverse nation on the face of earth.

Despite being so diverse yet, we continue to survive the test of time as a nation thus far.

Yes I am the first to admit that we still have our short comings as a young nation and to name a few;

uneven distribution of resources, lack of quality development, under performance of resource harvest, squandering of resources through corruption and complacency, non functional systems of government, etc etc but I am not here to dwell on the past but to learn from past mistakes and improve for a better future.

Hindsight sets the foresight as they say and my Government’s foresight is set and fixed.

In my mind,the first and foremost is to ensure that we not only celebrate political independence during September 16s but full economic independence as well.

Our nation is endowed with all forms of tropical fisheries and marine resources, all forms of tropical forest resources, all types of tropical agricultural resources, abundance sunshine and water, mineral and petroleum resources.

We also have talented Human Resources.

We are closer to the Asia Pacific market then most and with our membership to APEC, our association with ASEAN,

our healthy bilateral relationship with nations like Australia, China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, India , Great Britain, USA and EU nations,

All of the above gives us good opportunities to do well.

Proper harvest of our natural resources and equitable sharing with our investors plus better redistribution to our land owners and provincial governments will ensure we move towards economic independence.

Economic independence is my government’s first and foremost priority born of Pangu Party’s dogma of complimenting the political independence Pangu Party led PNG into in 1975.

By 2025, when our nation celebrates 50 years of independence, I want to look back to today in 2019 as the year in which my generation of reformist leaders changed legislative gears for truly better harvest of our God given natural resources.

In this, I envisage economic independence to liberate our citizens off poor health services, low quality education, poverty lifestyle, dilapidated infrastructures, and unsafe lawless society to one of;

top quality education and health services accessible to all citizens and residents, peace and harmonious society, connectivity of all hamlets, villages, towns, cities and provinces through roads, bridges, ports, airports, electricity and digital communications.

In a nutshell, our people must benefit from resources in their own land, ocean and airspace.

Working to give full economic independence is the reason why I am sure within 10 years, this country of a thousand tribes can become the richest black Christian nation where no child is left behind.

To make this happen we must all pledge in unison that where ever we are placed in PNG, we will rise and shine to do our outmost best for our country.

Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, USA and all nations that have progressed were not built by machines and robots but by human beings like us.

Today on the anniversary of 44 years of independence, I as your eight Prime Minister pledge to you my firm commitment that I will not be bought or sold to corporate and individual greed but stand resolved for the greater good of my PNG.

I ask you all, Members of Parliament, Ministers of State, every public servants and all citizens of this country, no magic or dreams with no efforts will get us out of present poverty into rich and fullness of life.

It starts with each and every citizens living as Christians must live; in harmony with one another, ‘doing unto others what you want others to do to you’ and working productively with your brains and hands.

First thing first, my government will amend laws to give back to you resource owners and provinces including our Bougainville regional government your fair share of resources revenue but I call on you all to give back to PNG a good law and order environment.

Let us work together to secure our country’s future by joining hands irrespective of our colors of our provincial flags but under our national flag, let us blend our diversified tribal songs into a united nation anthem,

for our strength and security is in a united future where we not only politically independent but truly independent economically.

In next year budget and onwards we will have some innovative avenues to help tertiary students and PNG business women and men so keep your heads high and assist your nation by being law a biding.

Together we can, divide we fall, united we stand, as a united tribes of PNG.

As John F Kennedy asked of America to not ask what the country can do for them but them doing for their United States of America, JF Kennedy also uttered an impossible dream in 1961 he said in 10 years USA will put men on moon and they did it in 8 years;

We can do it to, whilst we may not put men to moon in 10 years , we can make png better in 10 years of we all start now.

May God of our Ancestors, the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Isreal bless you all citizens and friends of PNG now and forever.

Happy 44 years my Papua New Guinea, looking forward for the next 44 years in which you will truly be the richest black Christian nation in earth.

Let us start this by taking back PNG in our mind and actions.

God bless PNG. Happy independence.

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I AM NOT ENVIOUS ABOUT THE TOP JOB, EVERYTHING COMES IN GOD’S TIMING- WAGAMBIE

PM Marape shaking hands with Lae Met Supt AW on PM’s recent visit to Lae.

By Anthony WAGAMBIE Jr

To my family, friends and supporters. I humbly acknowledge and appreciate all the support given. I have not been personally lobbying to take the top Police job. I am happy where I am and doing what I set out to do. I love my job and I love serving to make our community safe.

I will tell you why I became a Police man.

I grew up as a son of a Police Officer. I am the first born son of Anthony Wagambie Snr. He was then an Inspector of Police based in Lae and my mum, Mrs Elizabeth Wagambie nee Saun was a Pediatric Nurse at Angau Hospital.

Our first home was at Salamanda flats Lae, where we shared with former Commissioner of Police and my uncle Mr Peter Aigilo. Uncle Peter was a young Sub Inspector of Police at that time.

Anyway, when I was born , my dad named me after him, so that’s why I am Anthony Wagambie Jnr. My dad always said I would be a Policeman just like him.

When I was a baby, he always put his officer’s peak cap on my head and brainwashed me by saying ” He will be a Policeman just like me and his bubuman”( both my grandfathers were retired Policemen. My dad’s father was a First Constable and my mum’s father was a Senior Sergeant, both War veterans).

So I grew up always thinking and knowing that I would be a cop one day.

My parent’s albums are full of childhood photographs of me dressing up as a Policeman, especially a Riot Squad ( today Mobile Sqaud) officer. With my dad’s peak cap on my head, track suit tucked into my gum boots and carrying a water gun.

That was my dream to be in the riot squad.

I grew up always wanting to get on a Police or just being around Police. Those days the Police were well disciplined by way of attitude,dressing and attitude. They were respected by the Community. I always envied them and wanted to be just like those cops.

There was turning point in my life, which cemented everything. I was in Grade 11 at Divine Word Institute, which is now Divine Word University . I was returning to school after holidays in Lae. There was a bridge that had collapsed due to heavy rain so my parents decided to fly me back to school on Air Niugini. This was in 1993, and ANG had a route which came from POM to Nadzab and on to Madang.

I got on that flight and we were off to Madang. There were other schoolmates on the flight who were mostly girls. We arrived late in the afternoon. In those days there were no Mobile phones, we depended on Public pay phones.

To make matters worse, the school truck had not arrived to pick us up. I also realized that among the girls , there were only two males. Another boy and myself.

Remember, there were no Mobile phones then so we never told that the previous weekend , there had been a fight between our DIWAI Soccer team and a team from the surrounding Airport Community .

We had just landed in hot water. The kids from the soccer team somehow learnt that DIWAI students had arrived and were stranded at the terminal. They had planned to attack students coming back from holidays.

This was the last flight and the aircraft had already departed.

All of a sudden we realized that the young men from the community had started to block off the gate to to the terminal.

At that point of time, the first time in my life I felt the fear of being attacked.

I felt hopeless and helpless, thinking of how I would defend the girls( their panicking didn’t help at all). To be frank, for the first time in my life I was scared of losing my life.

I was brought up in a home of feeling protected because my dad was a senior Police Officer. This was the first time I felt real fear. All I wanted was for my dad to come rescue us.

The place had started to get dark and the feeling of danger was greater.

Then we we saw it, amidst the darkness a Police 15 seater bus came speeding up the road with it’s blue lights on. When the thugs saw this they ran in all directions.

The mere sight of Police brought instant relief. Thank God we were safe. The Blue Angel had arrived.

When the bus pulled up, it was only one very old Policeman , with no gun, and Mrs Kalasim, the wife of then PPC Madang papa Robert Kalasim (now retired)

They had come to the Airport to check on a relative. They had sensed something was wrong when they saw the gate crowded. The old copper put on the blue lights which chased them away . That blue light made me feel safe.

The girls shed tears of joy.

I was so taken aback by what the presence of a Police vehicle could do. A Police vehicle with one old Policeman with no gun. He became my instant hero, my lifesaver.

At that point in time, I made up my mind. I said to myself ” That’s it, I want to be like that, I want to make people feel safe, I want to make a difference!”.

So Family, I want to make a point.

I am not envious of the top job, I am happy , doing what I set out to do, that is,trying my best to make my Community safe. As long as everyone feels safe, then I am satisfied.

People who know me well, know that I do not rest until a problem is solved, until strategies to ensure a safer Community is in place. It gives me that satisfaction to see men, women and children move about freely and feeling safe. For them to know that Police is close by to help when they need it and for everyone to feel secured. When this happens, I know that my boys and girls in blue have done their job. Money cannot buy that happiness and sense of achievement.

Everything comes in God’s timing. He will determine everything. God uses humans as an instrument to do as His Will on Earth. He will determine how and when.

I devote my life to serving and leading men and women under my charge, so that they too can become “Blue Angels”.

‘FLAG RAISING’ SET FOR TOMORROW

Picture Source: PNGAA

NBC News

The traditional ‘Flag raising’ ceremony at the Independence Hill in Port Moresby to mark Papua New Guinea’s 44th Independence anniversary, is set to begin at 5 am tomorrow morning- Monday 16th September.

Prime Minister James Marape and his wife Rachel Marape are expected to arrive at 5:50 am, before the blessing of the National flag by Cardinal Sir John Ribat from the Catholic Archdiocese.

The National Flag is expected to be raised at 6 am, while the National Anthem is being sung.

Following the Flag raising, PM Marape will give his 44th Independence anniversary key note address.

The ceremony ends at 7 am with an Independence breakfast at the State Function Room in the National Parliament, hosted by Speaker Job Pomat.

ARAWA NURSING SCHOOL BENEFITS

NBC News

The nationally-accredited yet struggling Arawa School of Nursing is set to benefit from national government funding paid to the ABG following prime minister James Marape’s visit to Buka which ended Thursday.

From the combined K20m funding from the departments of Works, Bougainville Affairs and the National Fisheries Authority, the only tertiary institution in the region has been apportioned K2m.

This is a blessing for the school which currently operates from half a street at Section 6 in Arawa.

It rents residential houses for its classrooms, messing, staff housing and other facilities.

Arawa Nursing School Principle, Celyn Tusalah (pictured), is a proud woman, telling NBC News in Arawa, that the money will help implement the school’s 5 year development plan which includes student dormitories, classrooms and other facilities, introduce a midwifery program to add to general nursing and community health worker programs already in operation, and help it relocate to the Arawa hospital, where it has an unfinished building at the back.

The school graduated its 45 pioneer graduates last year and an increase in this figure are currently on practical trainings at the Arawa and Buka hospitals before their graduation.

One of the school’s long term vision is to split its general nursing program and that of community health workers to operate independently.

The Arawa School of Nursing is changing the lives of many young Bougainvilleans and giving them a second chance in life.

PM MARAPE ABANDONS TOUR

NBC News

Bad weather had hijacked prime minister, James Marape’s tour across the autonomous region of Bougainville.

Mr Marape and his Cabinet arrived in Buka on Wednesday and was supposed to end the tour in Buin in South Bougainville on Friday, after a night in Arawa, however, that arrangement did not eventuate.

Shortly after the arrival, the National Executive Council hosted a special sitting at Kubu, after which, Mr Marape addressed the Bougainville House of Representatives.

On Thursday, a unity march between leaders from both the national government and the ABG was scrapped under an unforgiving and lingering downpour.

The Joint Supervisory Body meeting between the two governments penciled for Friday in Buin was also pulled forward and again hosted in Buka.

Bad weather continued throughout the day, marring the planned trip by prime minister Marape and President Momis to Wakunai, Arawa, the Sirowai area and Paghui to launch various government projects.

Heavy rains and strong winds have been persistent from Central and down to especially South Bougainville leaving the trip a no-no.

There’s been a landslide at Pakia area along the Port Mine Access Road, and two other similar reports in Buin.

These were among reasons the prime minister reverted from his initial tour schedule and left for Port Moresby with his cabinet Thursday afternoon after resolutions from the JSB meeting were agreed to and signed.

NBC News had visited and also heard reports from some of the areas that would have hosted the prime minister, and found many disappointed people over the hijacked trip.

Mr Marape says he will return to the Central and South Bougainville areas during the National Reconcilliation between the PNG Defence Force and the people of Bougainville.

A date for this event is yet to be set.

PNG’S POTENTIAL BENEFITS FROM ASEAN

By Ambassador Brian Yombon-Copio

In the last article, there was assurance on the discussion of ASEAN which would explore PNG’s potential benefits in this increasingly prominent regional bloc. ASEAN commonly abbreviated for Association of South East Asian Nations was formed in 1967 in the wake of post-colonialism, tension between Malaysia and Indonesia, and the need for economic growth among the ASEAN countries. It was established based on an institutional foundation and its core objectives are concentrated on economic development, nation building, peace, freedom and cooperation among the countries of South East Asia. Its founding members were Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sinagopre and Thailand.

ASEAN has remarkably grown from an incomprehensible regional group of developing countries to a high profile regional bloc with significant influence in economic, political and security interests within the region. Comparatively within the global economy, ASEAN commends a combined economy worth substantial amount in monetary terms and some of its member countries have significant economic growth from a global perspective.

South East Asian countries should view PNG as the emerging economic power in the South Pacific. ASEAN countries in the South Pacific without PNG is ‘presence impossible’ as the country is the main source of influence among the smaller island nations. PNG is determined to promote and encourage a positive business environment for countries of ASEAN in the South Pacific. It is anticipated that PNG’s aspiration of being a permanent member of ASEAN should be granted after 43 years of being a ‘spectator’ where its right of being a ‘player’ has been absolutely denied by its perceived ASEAN community members.

PNG’s strong potential for permanent membership with ASEAN is demonstrated by trade and economic advancements at the same time there is likelihood to promote cultural cohesiveness among members of the ASEAN countries. While PNG would aim towards economic gains, it should also aim to promote democracy which will enable regional cooperation and integration which would promote peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region.

South East Asia is a geographical region in which PNG shares a common land mass with Indonesia which has the ASEAN Headquarters. As hardly deniable PNG is geographically part of the South East Asia community. Given its location PNG joined ASEAN in 1976 as an observer and anticipated that its full potential would be realised immediately. Since then PNG has unsuccessfully made itself a candidate for permanent membership of ASEAN and embarrassingly it has taken 43 years so far. It has been viewed that the eligibility criteria have been made complicated for some unknown reasons.

One of the membership eligibility for PNG was for the country to establish permanent diplomatic missions with ASEAN countries like Brunei, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar in addition to its existing residential diplomatic missions with Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore which has been recently established. However this appears to be an unrealistic requirement as establishment of permanent diplomatic missions is determined on strategic reasons like trade and economic interests. It is disappointing that PNG has been forced into opening permanent diplomatic missions with countries of minor economic significance where potential operational cost would be extremely high.

PNG’s relationship with each of South East Asian countries differs and varies from interest to geographic location of these countries. PNG has a strong historical relationship with Indonesia apart from well founded trade and economic relations. Further PNG has strong trade and economic relationships with Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
PNG has created awareness and developed networking with businesses in these countries. The countries have taken special interests in PNG and various business areas have been considered for leverage engagement. Given this understanding PNG should hold diplomatic negotiations with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines depending on whichever country is the chair of ASEAN to seek waiver on the conditional requirements for full admission in ASEAN.

There is evidence that the previous regime had difficulties in skilfully initiating diplomatic negotiations with countries of South East Asia. These difficulties were compounded with mitigating issues such as cultural difference and complex governance systems like single-party authoritarian regimes, military governments or absolute monarchies etc;. Given such situations, PNG did not successfully lure support from its ally ASEAN countries to secure permanent membership. It is hope that the current Pangu-led government will successfully negotiate and secure PNG’s permanent membership with ASEAN.

In the next article, Prime Minister James Marape’s recent meeting with his Australian Counterpart Scott Morrison will be explored to determine the impact on PNG-Australia relationship.

Designers of our symbol of Unity

Hal Holman and a young Susan Karike and the Flag and Crest/Emblem designs of Hal Holman.
PC: Google Images and SML Ministries (Facebook Page)

By Lemach Lavari

I scoured the internet looking for tributes of Mrs Susan Karike and found many on Facebook. Beautifully written comments acknowledging her ingenuity and the contribution towards nation building. Some demanded that she must be given a state funeral to see her off in a well-deserved and honourable way.

For someone who designed our county’s flag I imagined she lived off a special government pension till her last day. Sadly enough that was not the case, an article written by Carmella Gware of loop PNG and shared on Facebook stated that Mrs Karike lived her last days in a settlement in Laloki, just outside Port Moresby. With the help of her cousin she started to seek government recognition back in 2000, even going on air on FM 100’s Talk Back Show in 2010 but despite these attempts she was still ignored.

It is troubling to imagine someone of such significance to our nation could be discounted in this manner. At least a life time fortnightly allowance of a considerable amount of money would not have hurt our country’s economy so much.

In the same week as the passing of Mrs Kairke another PNG icon was making an exit, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare retired from active politics after 49 years as a MP of parliament, a great achievement indeed and testament to his leadership.

As I stood on that rainy day to witness the Grand Chief’s farewell speech at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, the very grounds he first raised the flag of an independent Papua New Guinean. I felt a sense of pride and nationalism and thought of the various pre-independence writers such as John Kasipwalova, Kumalau Tawali, and others who wrote with such a tremendous nationalistic and patriotic sense.

What struck me hard was the realisation that this independent state of PNG of whom the Grand Chief has nobly served has failed to honour Mrs Susan Karike well for her effort in nation building. Sir Michael sarcastically stated before his speech “Mi laik toktok taim rain sa stop but nau em e narakain” I guess that was because nature was in mourning for an unsung hero.

A line from a poem published on Facebook by armature poet Wambiia Ketan on his wall and shared by others profoundly highlights Mrs Kairke’s significant contribution, he wrote “She gave us the first symbol of unity”, that statement alone carries the weight of Mrs Karike’s contribution. We are a nation so diverse in culture, language, ethnicity and environment, so much that we are referred to at times as a nation of nations. Yet in our diversity our flag and its colours will forever stand as a unifying symbol till the end of time.

On the other hand, another contributor to the design of our country’s flag has never truly been heard of by the PNG populous, late Mr Hal Holman was tasked with putting together a design for the PNG Flag and Crest/Emblem by the Select Committee on Constitutional Development in 1970. This committee was chaired by late Sir John Guise.

According to Keith Jackson, Mr Hal Holman was a renowned Australian artist – a painter and sculptor. He first came to PNG as a 20 year old in the Australian Infantry forces and fought in the Highlands and coastal areas of New Guinea. He returned home after the war and re-entered PNG in 1965 and worked as senior illustrator at the Department of Education.

The following year he joined the Department of Information. He left government employment in the late 60s. His government career was brief but prolific.

The story of the design of the flag has however been controversial with many published articles telling different stories but one that has the central events as they occurred is that published on the website ‘Papua New Guinea Association of Australia’. Written by Geoff Littler and titled “The Papua New Guinea Crest and Flag”.

Mr Littler was an official member of the second house of assembly and at that time was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Select Committee. On their first tour of the country the committee was asked to gather flag designs from the people. There was great enthusiasm and many submissions were gathered and from these submissions the committee gathered the popular colours – gold, green and blue and the symbols – birds, drums, spears and stars.

These information was passed to Mr Hal Holman, an artist with the Department of Information and Extension Services for him to design a crest and flag from these colours and symbols. Mr Holman’s design was shown to the house of assembly on the 17th November 1970. Mr Holman’s design of the flag was a tricolour flag in green, gold and blue with the Southern Cross and a white Bird of Paradise.

The people were than introduced to the flag and crest designs in January of the following year. The people generally accepted the design of the crest but were outspoken about the design of the flag. Then on their visit to Yule Island on 12th February 1971, Susan Karike a student at the Catholic Mission School produced a revamped design of the flag to Mr Littler, drawn on a page taken from an exercise book. This had instant appeal and Mr Littler immediately thought “this is the flag”.

The committee later met in Port Moresby on the 1st of March to consider its findings and Susan Karike’s design was chosen. She explained that she did not like the colours of the flag, they were not traditional and representative of PNG. Although her design was unique from that of Mr Holman it did still had the same components that Holman’s had. Therefore credit must also be given to Hal Holman for his input in the design of our PNG flag.

As Mrs Katike puts it in her artistic meaning of her design, the black background represents the darkness we were in before missionaries brought us to the light of the Gospel, the White southern cross stars represents a nation coming out of that darkness, the Red represents us covered by the blood of Jesus and the Yellow bird of paradise represents the Holy Spirit.

However Hal Holman’s design of the national crest or emblem did get the committee’s approval and was adopted by the state of Papua New Guinea. His other famous works for PNG includes the one tonne steal sculpture of the PNG crest that dominates the façade of the Supreme Court building in Port Moresby, the eight meter high stainless steel Bird of Paradise situated on the roundabout adjacent to the parliament house and the bronze busts of PNG’s first 6 Prime Ministers. All six sculptures reside in the parliamentary gardens also in Port Moresby.

For his efforts and contribution to Papua New Guinea, the government had honoured Hal Holman in 2009 with the high award of Officer in the Order of Logohu.

Hal Holman and Susan Karike are the designers of our PNG flag, they have created this monumental symbol of unity that holds the diverse peoples of PNG together. Name tags and titles are just that, they deserved far more substantive recognition from the government.

Mrs Karike spent her last days in a settlement and Mr Holman spent his unknown to the PNG public. Will their names be mentioned in PNG history classes or in songs and poems or will they fade from the public? Will they erect sculptors of them? Both are unsung heroes of PNG. RIP Mama and Papa PNG.