By Gorethy Kenneth - Post Courier

Christmas was bleak for more than 5000 people in the atolls of the Autonomous Bougainville region. as they scratched for food to survive - most only living on coconut and fish.

While the rest of PNG was celebrating during Christmas, the people of Mortlock, Tasman and Nuguria joined their fellow Carteret Islanders pleading for urgent relief assistance from both the ABG and the National (PNG) Government during the festive season.


 Much of the holiday time is spent swimming, canoeing or rubber ducking in rivers or Lake Koena - something the children miss when they live in Port Moresby. Above - enjoying a day at Lake Koena.

Papua New Guinea is one of the few countries in the world that rates air travel as the common & sometimes the only means of travel around the country. Most people who live and work in urban centres return home to their villages for holidays.

As we reach peak period, the two carriers - Air Niugini & Airlines PNG - are stretched to the limit. Satisfaction is definitely not guaranteed. Airports are choc-a-bloc with traffic, people and cargo from sunrise to sundown.


I went to Popondetta last weekend after an hour's delay on Airlines PNG and was relieved to find that the Girua Bridge (propped up by Containers) had been knocked sideways but otherwise could be crossed.

Just imagine for a minute that you have a stack of high standing  empty boxes on a table and then somehow you accidentally touch it with an abrupt brush of your elbow...then down they go, tumbling like dominoes. That's what happened when Girua river flooded and the torrents hit the Containers. The result was that the vulnerable bridge collapsed to the side making it impassable for vehicles.

When there is no rain and the river is normal or low, the wet crossing is quite drivable except for the rocks. There is work going on with graders attempting to smooth the path. Minister for Public Service/Government Relations, Mr Peter O'Neill flew over the province to see the damage caused by recent heavy rains & floods  and committed K2 million for relief work. Whether that has been made available for the grading work that I saw is unclear.

I was pleased that the vehicle that picked me from the airport took me over the Girua wet crossing to Popondetta. The good news also is that the big trucks transporting supplies & much-needed fuel from Oro Bay are still going through. So Popondetta shops and other outlets look set to be stocked for Christmas. The Christmas holiday travellers will certainly be moving freely - good weather permitting.

The one thing that I always find about Popondetta is the pace of the people. Come rain, floods or shine, they go about their usual business of harvesting, taking their produce to the markets and making their living from their abundant subsistence farming. It is not unusual for them to take the time to stop and catch up on gossip about the politics, economics or the lack thereof. For me, this is a nice escapade from Port Moresby's CBD where I work, to the reality of the world my family lives in. It is definitely a home, a solace where love and warmth reigns despite all odds.


Papua New Guinea has experienced nothing like it before. The excitement for the commencement of Papua New Guinea’s single largest project, the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, is infectious. From the mountains to the islands, from the east to the west, the buzz is deafening. There is certainly positive anticipation in the air albeit the ink on the project agreement has barely dried.

Thanks to the many landowners who one by one, like dominoes in a pack, signed up to allow the final agreement between the project developers Exxon Mobile (Esso Highlands) and the Government to take place and the license to be granted.

The plan to pipe gas from PNG's Highlands to Port Moresby for export to Asia is predicted to double the country's gross domestic product and create thousands of jobs. It is expected to deliver 6.6 million tonnes of gas a year bringing in huge amounts of revenue for the PNG Government and affected land owners.


By Frank Rai - Post Courier

Papua New Guinea is crying for basic services in the rural districts but the political leaders are blinded by greed, power, money and cannot deliver services.

These were the comments from the Chief Ombudsman Commission, Mr Chronox Manek during the 39th graduation of Bumayong Secondary School last Thursday. Mr Manek said political leaders should be blamed for denying the rights of Papua New Guineans to basic services, as stipulated in the Constitution.

"Our dignity as human persons is being compromised and denied. We now stand at a crossroad and it is time to change the landscape of governance,"  Mr Manek said.

He said the Government's purchase of big plasma television screens for the Members of Parliament and the K120 million Falcom Jet for the Government was unnecessary and should have been pumped into services that would benefit the bulk of the population.

However, the Chief Ombudsman also challenged the students to become agents of change for a brighter future, adding that PNG would change if people could change their attitudes.


The force of Mother Nature cannot be controlled, and in a lot of cases, nor can it be predicted. Often, the devastation and the misery it causes cannot be fathomed. But as strong-willed as we are, and for the sake of preservation, we pick up the pieces, rebuild and move on with our lives. We find strength from the help that is rallied around us. Most importantly, somewhere inside us all, comes a strength that is beyond our comprehension yet, is so powerful. This is the resilient force that takes us out of degradation, humiliation and wretchedness into sustenance, longevity and hope. During good times, we are so busy with living that we do not acknowledge  this strength.


I'm going home to Popondetta this weekend but the news this morning is not good at all. The Girua bridge between the airport and Popondetta town has been damaged by floods from continuous rains. Girua bridge, or at least a temporary bridge, was the first to be reconstructed after the Cyclone Guba devastation in 2007. And there it goes down again...!

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