Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Leader denies Bougainville is headed for another crisis
May 9, 2008
The leader of Papua New Guinea's Autonomous Bougainville Government today rejected claims the island is heading for another crisis, amid calls for him to be sacked.
President Joseph Kabui has also defended his government's deal with Canadian mining company Invincible Resources, which has handed the firm 70 per cent control over Bougainville's bountiful mineral resources.
Kabui yesterday admitted taking K20,000 ($8000) from Invincible as a party donation, but denied any wrongdoing.
Bougainville landowners have called for Kabui to be sacked, accusing him of working against the best interests of his people.
But Kabui insisted today that the deal was good for Bougainville, saying it needed capital investment to get back on its feet after the secessionist fighting that tore it apart in the 1990s.
"I don't think we are running into a collision," he told reporters in the PNG capital, Port Moresby.
"I don't think we're in the lion's cage, (with Invincible)."
He said the autonomous government had been in talks with the company for three years, and insisted Invincible was the best firm vying for Bougainville's lucrative minerals.
The deputy speaker of the island's autonomous government, Francisca Semoso, last week spoke out against her own party.
She said the deal Kabui had done with Invincible was "worse" than Bougainville Copper Limited's (BCL) Panguna mining agreement, which sparked years of civil war on Bougainville in the 1990s.
More than 20,000 people died during years of secessionist fighting.
But Kabui dismissed criticism of the deal today.
"The driving force behind this sort of noise is coming from those who have a vested interest ... they are not privy to the real information," he said.
He also responded to an Auditor-General's report that found millions of kina had gone missing from the autonomous government's coffers in 2005 and 2006.
An administrative error, rather than any wrongdoing, was likely responsible, Kabui said.
Bougainville has set up a body to manage future investments called the Bougainville Resources Development Corporation (BRDC). All mining deals will flow through it to ensure they are in the island's best interest.
BRDC chairman Robert Atsir today said that once investment started to flow into Bougainville, the deal with Invincible could be revisited so it was more favourable for the island.
"We have the resources but we don't have the capital," he said.
"As more foreign investment comes in, it will kick start the economy and the deal will dilute back to Bougainville," he said.
BCL's held its 41st Annual General Meeting in Port Moresby today.
BCL Chairman Peter Taylor is confident mining will restart at the controversial Panguna site but it is not clear when.
"It will be at least five years, it's some time yet," he said.
Copied from the Sydney Morning Herald.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
G’day everyone, how are ya?
I thought last Friday night’s festivities might make for an amusing blog post, so here we go.
Last night we had the house warming party for Mel and I, and it felt like half of Buka showed up! My fellow volunteers know quite a few people, having been here for awhile, and sorted out the invites for me. Ended up with a great mix of ex-pats and locals. The Bougainvillean women were fantastic, kicked me out of the kitchen and ordered me to socialise. Which I did, thanks to the three slabs of beer we had acquired. Am pleased to say the party went well, everyone got along, and some of the locals had a jam session in the lounge.
Got to about and it was time to head down to Kenny’s, the local club in town. Now, before I start, I should note that volunteers have been warned not to go out on Friday night. It is considered a security risk - locals get pretty drunk and rowdy, and may start trouble.
So it was a Friday night and we all went down to the spot where all the drunk locals were. Have to say, it was pretty sweet. Kenny’s is basically just a dance hall with a courtyard outside, and the most disgusting men’s toilet I’ve seen yet – and I went to University in Dunedin. When I walked in I thought we were standing on a step above the dance floor. Then I realised that we weren’t – Bougainvilleans are just short. Well, compared to me, the now conspicuous white guy with snow on his head. All were friendly and all was going well…
Eventually we headed outside to grab a breather. Mel had, by this point, attracted the affections of a drunk, drooling local, who just wouldn’t get the message. I ended up having to get between the two of them, which he didn’t like. I didn’t have to do anything though – the locals around me intervened and the next thing I know half the pub is actively involved in throwing this guy out. Then the crowd outside flocks around him. Then the police show up. I heard Batman was on his way too but things cooled down. Don’t worry he didn’t get hurt by the mob, just a lot of pushing to get him out.
Mel, bless her soul, had gone back on to the dance floor and missed the whole thing.
About five minutes after that happened I noticed my friend Akeel was over by the entrance looking pretty pissed off. Turns out some dude slapped him, so Akeel delivered a few head butts back. Having heard his story I decided to call an end to things, so we all poured out of the club and into the back of Akeel’s truck and rolled off into the night.
I haven’t had a night like that since I was living in Napier.
Hope everyone’s good. Still not quite getting through the emails, but almost. Mum also gets legendary status for being the first to call me.Wolf.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Really? Oh cool.
Yeah I’m good thanks. Thought it was time for another blog post so here we go.
Things have been rolling really well so far. Am enjoying my independence, starting to sort out some routines, generally getting things sorted. Have to say travelling by myself for two months has set me up well for this, not to mention the three months I spent living in a caravan.
So, what are some of the many benefits of being here? Well, for a start there’s coming home to a kiwi summer every night J I’m not kidding, feels like home whenever I come back. Picture this – 4:30 in the afternoon, you’ve just got a ride home on an open back truck (beats the bus on Willis), kids are playing soccer in the field across from the bach, you can hear the reggae playing in the local shop, it’s a warm, sunny afternoon, and you are reclining on a deck with a million dollar view of the ocean. Tough life, tough life.
Here’s another one: since arriving here I have started rediscovering the little things in life, like sitting back and listening to music (getting back into Helmet), learning a musical instrument, dancing in the kitchen (busted some sick moves the other night), writing letters (yet to be sent), kicking back and enjoying a magazine, defeating a fist of ninjas, and best of all, sleeping in. Its all good here J Oh and my fridge has a can dispenser for beer.
Found out that my spear fishing gear is in the mail so looking forward to putting that together and shooting some emos. I mean fish. Speaking of which, went out to a picture perfect pacific* island on Sunday. Have befriended a group of Philippinos in the next village over, and Bernard happens to own a boat. So we all jumped in, along with some fellow VSA volunteers and one Ozzy, to check out this little gem in the pacific. Was gold. Surrounded by reef, white sand, palm trees, so good. And Bernard brought whiskey.
The lads are pretty keen spear fisherman so have got some company there. They are keen as to take me out and shoot stuff, so can’t wait for that first bbq with fresh caught fish. My next door neighbour Bob has a boat too, but the trailer is missing a wheel so no action on that for now.
Shifting topics, as my earlier email noted, communication with the outside world is a bit tricky. I do have a cell phone, but seem to be having a bit of trouble with that. The local internet café demanded my kidneys last time, so I’m going to have to live by the ol’ less is more rule. Sucks but I am on an island, so its not surprising really.
First party is lined up for this Friday at mine. Consider yourself invited. Am being joined in the flat by an Australian volunteer called Melanie, so it is a house warming thing for both of us. Accommodation here is tight, and her agency (which I won’t name) failed to secure long term accommodation for her. She’s generally had a hard time so the kiwis have adopted her. Hopefully some company will prevent me going feral.
Well, I’ve well and truly savaged Emma Couper’s two paragraph rule, so will sign off for now!
Hope this finds you in good health,
PS> photos coming soon, honest.
*That was some sweet alliteration, even if I do say so myself :P
Sunday, August 3, 2008
The house itself is pretty good. Its like an old school Coromandel bach, large deck, open plan kitchen/lounge, four bedrooms and a large bathroom. All to myself! I’m pretty lucky because a brand new washing machine is being installed, and I also have a brand new fridge/freezer, both of which are better than any appliances I’ve had before. The house even comes with hot water (solar power) and 24 hour power.
I arrived safe and sound on the 30th of July at 10:00am. The view from the plane was amazing, coral atolls and islands everywhere. Buka Island itself is lush with forest, ringed with coral reef and separated from the mainland by a short channel of water. Costs about $1NZD to get across to the mainland of Bougainville so will be doing that in short time.
Bogainvillians themselves are super friendly, which is pretty unusual for bogans. They have the darkest skin pigmentation of any people, so they don’t even need to wear black jeans J Honestly, the skin is so dark on some of them it is almost blue. For an island of bogans they are, however, pretty soft on music. I’ve yet to hear any heavy metal, so far its been some kind of reggae/pop mix on the local airwaves. Must rectify that.
I’m also stoked to say that the ex-patriots here are super friendly. I have four neighbours, Bob (kiwi), Greg (Oz), Kate (kiwi), Rebecca (oz) and Rosalie (bogan). Bob and Greg are pretty old school, have been working in Papua New Guinea on and off for about 20 years. Bob’s got a boat and is keen to take me out on the water so stoked about that. Kate works with the law and order types here is a good sort, gave me a cold can of South Pacific Lager as a welcoming present.
So so far so good. I’ve been provided with a mobile phone, so if anyone wants to send a text or call, the number is: +67-5-679-4751, or it should be! If it doesn’t work please let me know. NZ Telecom phones can send and receive messages with me, but apparently Vodafone only receives, or something like that.
Hope everyone is good, will post some photos soon!
Oh and these blog posts will always be a few days out of date, so sorry if it gets a bit confusing.