Stop press, stop press – Where’s Wartoto now?

By PNG Echo

See ya PNG - I'm off to Cairns for Christmas.
See ya PNG – I’m off to Cairns for Christmas.

Eremas Wartoto, has today (December 23rd) been seen Christmas shopping with his family at Mt Sheridan Shopping Centre in Cairns, Australia.

Wartoto has been charged with the misappropriation of millions of kina and is out on bail awaiting trial.

All I have to say is those are pretty loose bail terms for one who hid in plain sight in Cairns for months – unable to travel back to PNG to face the charges he knew were awaiting him because of illness.  Seems the illness only affects him going to PNG and not away from there.

Continue reading Stop press, stop press – Where’s Wartoto now?

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The year that was 2013


As the festive season fast approaches, at PNG Echo we would like to leave you with a few reflections and a few ‘thank yous’.

By PNG Echo


LiveLeak-dot-com-b72901cc0467-549397_346440755472679_74844379_nWell may we wish everyone a ‘happy new year’ but for many PNGeans, it will be an empty wish.

For happiness and prosperity to be spread wide corruption must stop.  It is taking away PNGeans birthright and will deprive your children of a bright future.

PNG Echo is all about exposing corruption and halting its trajectory (with your help) – and so far, you, the people of Papua New Guinea have been magnificent – we couldn’t have achieved what we have without you…

Continue reading The year that was 2013

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Don Pomb Polye: the bridesmaid, never the bride.

If the Hon Don Pomb Polye has ever had an ambition to lead Papua New Guinea as Prime Minister it has been thwarted at every turn.

By PNG Echo

Polye - part of the Somare, Per coup government
Polye – Somare Government pre coup.

As a seasoned parliamentarian with more than 11 years experience under his belt, who has held ministerial portfolios up to, and including that of of Deputy Prime Minister (to Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare in the pre-coup government), Don Pomb Polye seems fated to always be the bridesmaid and never the bride.

What’s more, he only held his most senior role for 5 months (in 2010) before being relieved of it by Sir Michael in a cabinet reshuffle.

Polye - part of the O'Namah coup government
Polye – the O’Namah coup government

Then in August of 2011, when Polye, surprisingly, backed the legally ill-advised political coup against Somare, (surprising because Polye was, with Somare, part of the same political party – the National Alliance) he was not the usurper.

Although Polye was easily the most senior parliamentarian to back the coup, he was overlooked for the top job in favour of an also-ran, who had been previously side-lined by the Somare government, Peter O’Neill.

For O’Neill, the rest is history.

Continue reading Don Pomb Polye: the bridesmaid, never the bride.

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Don Polye – the Engan.

By PNG Echo

 Well is he really?  Engan, that is.

PolyePolye lived the majority of his life in Mt Hagen.  Perhaps that’s why his elevation to the position of MP for Kandep sticks in the craw of so many.

 Because, in an electorate that’s riven with internecine violence, Polye’s rise to power has hardly been a unifying force  – quite the opposite.

He has the dubious honour of an attempted assassination on his life during a political rally in Kandep in 2007.

It’s clear that this ‘true son of Enga’, is not loved by all.

 Election shenanigans

Voting booth
Voting booth

The gunman may have been enraged about the voting practices that had a National Court in Waigani (August 2009) order that the 2007 election result in Kandep (a Polye win) be set aside and a by-election called.

The sitting judge said it was hard to believe some of the polling stations could return 100% votes for a candidate.

But if the original vote was suspect, the subsequent by-election was no different.

Continue reading Don Polye – the Engan.

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Despicable behaviour – The week that was, ending 16 December 2013

Scram, Schram.

Albert Schram - sacked
Albert Schram – sacked

Last Thursday, December 12, Minister David Arore directed Sir Nagora Bogan, Chancellor of Unitech, Lae, to terminate the employment of Albert Schram, the very popular (with students), Vice Chancellor.

While I have not been following the saga closely, my immediate misgivings are the increasing expressions of xenophobia by a nervous O’Neill government.


The foreign journalist
The foreign journalist

Indeed, last week, PM O’Neill labelled me a “foreign journalist,” while denying he was referring to me but addressing my criticisms just the same.

Mr O’Neill, where I was born makes me ‘foreign’ to all countries but one, but never mistake that for disinterest.

I am profoundly concerned with peoples’ ‘human rights’, wherever they reside, especially if they are being denied – because ‘there but for the grace of God, go I.’

Furthermore, no one will prevent me from expressing my abhorrence at the callous exploitation of my fellows, especially those with an interest in perpetuating the exploitation.

As for my sisters, how can I stand back and tacitly approve of how they are systematically being brutalized in PNG?

Mr O’Neill, please understand, there are issues that transcend populist nationalism.

Continue reading Despicable behaviour – The week that was, ending 16 December 2013

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Don Polye – A man of the people or a man for himself?

Last week, the Governor General of Papua New Guinea (On behalf of Her Majesty the Queen) awarded Treasurer  Hon Don Pomb Polye an order of St Michael and St George. The award was for services to the people of Kandep and PNG in general

In consideration of this honour, PNG Echo has compiled a three-part series examining the Minister’s services to the people of Kandep and PNG in general.

In this first part we look how well he is delivering services to his electorate.  In the second part we look at his record as a leader of his people and in the third we examine his national career.

Services to Kandep…

As I write, the Hon Treasurer, Don Pomb Polye, is visiting his electorate of Kandep where  celebrations are scheduled to welcome back Enga’s favourite son. Or is he?

Writes PNG Echo.

facebook_36048544 (Medium)It was told to PNG Echo that despite what his newly acquired award states, Don Polye has not given much service at all to the people of Kandep since he entered parliament.

…for the past 13+ years…there has been no tangible benefit to the people of Kandep.

An underwater road - or is it a bridge?
An underwater road – or is it a bridge?

The photographic evidence of the quality of the roads tends to underline that statement.

But it’s the ‘Wasa Bridge Project’ that stands as testimony to all that’s not right in Kandep which includes highlighting Polye’s improper handling of his relationship with the owner of construction company Kaystar Construction, Paul Kurai.

Continue reading Don Polye – A man of the people or a man for himself?

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Rausim: Detention Centre at Manus Island

By PNG Echo

While PNG Echo strives to provide its readers with original content, in this instance, I feel that this letter from Amnesty International is worthy of compromising that position.

The letter asks for help to spread the message – as the situation is disgusting (you wouldn’t treat an animal as badly), how can one refuse?  From the tone of the letter, the situation is also urgent!

art-refugee-620x349This detention centre on Manus is to Australia’s abiding shame and by default PNG’s also.

PNG does not need to adopt another country’s problems nor to contribute to the misery of the most wretched.  PNGeans are better than this!  Rausim!

Letter from Amnesty.

Dear Susan,

I’ve just come back from a week at Manus Island detention centre.

While many journalists have been denied access, our Amnesty research team was let inside. Now for the first time we’re able to reveal what life and conditions are like inside this secretive detention centre.

What we found inside was bleak, and far worse than we anticipated. The entire system is designed to mentally break asylum seekers and force them to return from where they’ve fled. In one compound we found 112 asylum seekers crammed into a sweltering, windowless shed.

Continue reading Rausim: Detention Centre at Manus Island

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Exit the Prime Minister, enter his spin doctors with gratuitous advice

By Susan Merrell

PNC People’s National Congress said:

Susan Merrell the Prime Minister is not referring to any one Journalist. This is not his role to name individuals or journalists. But if you feel this is directed to you feel free to use these comments in your blog.

It is good that you see PNG is not a failed state, and agree with the Prime Minister.

A crime such this is totally unacceptable, and the Prime Minister agrees. No woman should be subject to this kind of violence. It is also important that the media / social media respect these women’s confidentiality. The story is important and people need to be aware of the issues in PNG, but please respect these woman’s privacy during a highly personal experience that no woman should ever have to endure.

The Prime Minister is 110% behind the investigation and bringing to justice the people involved. Yes the buck stops with the Prime Minister / Police Minister and he is fully aware of this. Over the past 12 months he has implemented numerous changes to the Police with the Police Commissioner.

Please be careful that you are not seen to be trying to take credit as a journalist for someones else’s very traumatic experience. There is a fine line in helping report news and being seen as a journalist leveraging someone else’s pain to make a name for themselves.

The reply:

The reason that these atrocities occur in PNG is because they can. Things are carried out in secret. These women don’t need more of it, they need the bright light of truth and justice shone on their plight.

Clearly it is a man who wants this atrocity to remain ‘private’. I’m sure they (the women) just want the brutality to stop – in fact I’m sure of it. I’ve interviewed enough brutalized PNG women to know this.

So, please don’t put words into my mouth nor attribute to me motivations that I don’t have. If what I have written has motivated the appropriate person to action, then I am satisfied ( in this instance).

By the way, should you decide to publish in a public forum then expect that the publication is indeed ‘public’. Welcome to the real world [a much bigger world than PNG] – where censorship is an anachronism.

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Prime Minister: are you talking to me?

The Foreign Journalist
The Foreign Journalist

My response as posted in the ‘comments’ section of the Prime Minister’s PNC facebook page.

By Susan Merrell

Mr. Prime Minister, I guess that would be me you’re referring to. Feel free to call me by name.

With all due respect, are you even aware of what constitutes a failed state? I agree, PNG is not one at present, but if you do not pull your disciplinary forces into line there is definitely the potential there. If you are of the belief that a police force that gang rapes women and then beats up women who dare to complain about the crime is not anarchy, then we have a differing understanding of the word. Anarchy already reigns in pockets of PNG.

You have coveted the portfolio of Minister of Police, so I guess the buck stops with you – and even if it went beyond you, the buck would stop at you again as PM.

Mr Prime Minister, maybe it is you who should travel (without the diplomatic entourages) and witness how others around the world live – then hang your head in shame – I would were I you.

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Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill speaks:

As posted on Facebook page of PNC – in response to the appeal for the women of Wewak – allegedly brutalized by the police.

*** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill takes swift action ****

Prime Minister, O'Neill.
Prime Minister, O’Neill.

The Police Minister and Prime Minister Hon Peter O’Neill has moved quickly this morning on the allegations of rape involving a PNG Police Officer. “I have spoken to the Police Commissioner and he is totally aware of the situation and we are dealing with this as a high priority. Our Police in PNG need to be a respected unit and trusted by the community. The Police Commissioner is investigating this situation and will advise me on the outcomes of this. Violence against women in PNG will not be tolerated and I personally pass on my sympathy’s (sic) to the victim. I am also concerned by the other allegations of another woman being arrested due to protesting over the crime committed. Again we are moving quickly to have all the facts, and then take the necessary action. Please allow the Police to investigate this matter throughly (sic) and I promise there will be arrests once we have all the facts.”

The Prime Minister continued with his comments, condemning the social media journalists for there (sic) extended comments on PNG as a country, “PNG is not a failed state, PNG is not a state of anarchy. We are a developing country like others around the world. We are meeting the challenges of being a developing country and not everything is going to be perfect like many other countries around the world. The journalists making these statements from outside PNG, need to come to PNG and see what the day-to-day challenges are. I agree the crime committed is inexcusable, and I want justice for these women. However these journalists comments are simply not true. We have not lost control of our disciplinary forces, we are not sliding into a state of anarchy. If we talk facts then we can achieve anything. If we talk nonsense, we get nothing. There will be arrests once the Police complete there investigations, and I will be following this to ensure a quick outcome”


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