P.N.G. Gossip Newsletter - 14 Jan 2001

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PNG Gossip Newsletter Meri Milne Bay

Welcome to the Papua New Guinea Gossip Newsletter - 14 Jan 2001. A very special welcome is extended to any new readers. If you have comments or suggestions to make then please e-mail them to giaman@png-gossip.com

Articles for this newsletter

To send a message for submission to the PNG Gossip Newsletter -- please e-mail your contribution to pngnews.queue@png-gossip.com

Remember that this mailing list is mainly meant for people who have an interest and already know a little bit about the people and geography of Papua New Guinea. The PNG Kina, which is mentioned from time to time, is currently worth somewhere around 29 - 31 United States cents but varies on a daily basis.

The exchange rate for the Kina has recently plunged to a low of US$0.2950, the lowest level in the past two years and close to its all-time low. The free market has influenced the movement of the Kina since the Julius Chan Government floated it in 1994.

If you are really keen on finding out what the Kina is worth a currency converter for most world currencies can be located at http://www.michie.net/pnginfo/moni.html

For those who are not so familiar with the geography of Papua New Guinea I suggest taking a look http://maps.expedia.com and then click on the "find a map" option. Go to this link for a quick start to a link to a map of Port Moresby. http://www.michie.net/pnginfo/pom-map.html

Also remember that the accuracy of the information in this newsletter should not be relied upon - it is, after all, a gossip newsletter.



Motor Vehicles

It is understood that a Minister of the PNG Government is involved in the import of 400 plus vehicles. The vehicles are aboard the Golden Coast - a Chinese but Panamanian registered vessel, which has been anchored off Port Moresby for the past several months following the Internal Revenue Commission's refusal for it to berth.

Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited

Following a court order the liquidator has closed up all the offices and stopped operations PNG wide. Due to the very broad nature of the court order this may not be what the creditors actually intended. A representative of the liquidator has said that the court orders did not distinguish between the operational costs and expenses so they did not want to be brought into contempt of court by keeping the operation going.

MV Sankamap

According to the Post Courier (http://www.postcourier.com.pg) the MV Sankamap will be returning to PNG soon. The vessel has been in dry dock for almost a year in Cairns, Australia. The reason behind the long delay is that there were insufficient funds paid to release the boat. Apparently over K2 million has been spent on refitting the boat, which is used to transport people around the islands. Most of the money has come from AusAID.

Port Moresby Hospital

The line of patients outside the surgical clinic of the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) is ever increasing at the moment as patients queue hoping to be able to be seen by the doctors. There has been a total absence of doctors at the clinic since the festive holidays began which has caused untold misery and suffering for hundreds of patients from the city and elsewhere in the country who are referred to the PMGH.

Copra Marketing Board

The cheques for the CMB continue to bounce. More stories are coming in of people attempting to cash cheques and not getting anywhere. Some have sat down and done their sums to work out that even if they could cashed the cheques they would still not have enough money at present prices to even pay school fees.

Wet Season

The wet season seems to have come to Port Moresby. The hillsides have turned green and many of the squatters are growing food gardens to take advantage of the soft soil. Along with the vegetables there are a number of potholes growing big enough to plant cars in.

The Works and Implementation Minister, John Kamb, has said that currently there is no money to fix the deteriorating roads around the country. As soon as the money from the 2001 budget becomes available then the Works Department will be able to send people out to fix the roads.

Along with the wet season police have issued a warning that break and enters rise during the wet season.

Power Outages

Along with the wet season power blackouts go hand in hand. As the rain comes down the hydro generation equipment gets jammed up with logs and other debris and off goes the power. Sometimes these outages last a few minutes and other times they run into hours. Any self-respecting business has their own generating equipment, as do many residences around the towns.

The disease is not confined to Port Moresby and hydro electricity alone. Goroka and Mount Hagen have both suffered recently. The power in Goroka went off for three days recently when a tree fell across a power line. The electricity authority (Elcom) responded rapidly to the problem but was prevented access to the problem area due to landowners wanting compensation. It took three days for the landowners and the Elcom to come to an agreement and then power was restored.

Soccer

The Oceania Club Soccer Championships are well underway. The majority of the players were supposed to have arrived on a special charter on Saturday morning but owing to a failed air conditioning unit on the Air Niugini airbus most players didn't arrive until 10:30 that night.

According to initial press reports two competing clubs, one from Australia and the other from New Zealand were not happy about numerous aspects of the soccer tournament. It now appears that the Australian club coach said the floodlighting was inadequate and the ground was not level whereas the more serious of the allegations came from the New Zealand club. The New Zealand assistant coach has apologised to PNG and said that the complaints were directed at the Oceania Football Confederation and not PNG. Players from 11 countries are taking part in the competition.

Due to the extreme wet weather in the National Capital the games have been moved forward three hours each day in a bid to beat the afternoon rain. The Rugby Ground, being used for the soccer, may also have to be rested. The secondary ground at the Port Moresby International High School has been prepared and is only waiting for final line marking to be carried out.

The Lae Unitech team received a last minute donation by way of a sponsorship deal from PNG tok Pisin radio station - Yumi FM.

University (UPNG)

Four UPNG divisions have been earmarked for partial commercial operation this year. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Leslie Eastcott, announced this when he informed staff that the UPNG's budget of K38 million had recently been approved. The Printing and Transport departments, the Motupore Island Research Department and the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) have all been earmarked. Motupore Island Research Department owns and operates the Tahira Boating Centre outside Port Moresby at Bootless Bay and it is hoped the money made by this and the IDCE will help to fund some of the other aspects of the University.

The University of Papua New Guinea web site is located at www.upng.ac.pg

University (Goroka)

The 2001 opening of the Goroka University has been threatened by a group of landowners. The Okiufa and the Asaroyufa landowner associations want compensation for the land the university is built upon.

Ombudsman Commission

The new Chief of the Ombudsman Commission, Ila Geno, has said he aims to do well in the job. He emphasised his commitment to improving the country's leadership and management.

Cocoa

According to the Popondetta-based Mah Holdings Ltd, earnings from the export of cocoa plunged by about 30 per cent from the 1999 record figure of K103 million to K73 million last year. The data, prepared with the assistance from the Cocoa Board, showed that cocoa exports had fallen to 33,543 tonnes as compared with 35,052 tonnes in 1999.

Madang Governor

It is hoped that a replacement for the dismissed Madang Governor will be known soon. The previous Governor, Jim Kas was dismissed after a leadership tribunal found him guilty of bringing the office of the Governor into disrepute following several alleged wrongdoings previously reported here.

Prices

Boroko Motors -- http://www.borokomotors.com.pg -- have advertised the following price for Repco 4 Litre Oil suitable for petrol and diesel engines K20 including VAT.

Renbo stores have advertised 1 kilogram of Ramu sugar for K2.40 they have also advertised 1Kilogram of Roots rice for K1.50

Sunshine 100 gram instant milk powder is selling for K1.50 at Best Buy and Haus Kago.

Courts has advertised 14 inch Samsung TV's for K679 and 14 inch Philips TV's for K699.

Renbo and Best Buy stores have advertised Double foam mattresses for K49.95.

New Zealand High Commission

Here is a bit of gossip that arrived in my mailbox this week.

Hi, hope you are OK, a bit of scuttlebutt for you; serious incident recently where around 15 armed thugs stormed the rear fence of the New Zealand High Commission. They held Protect Security guards at gunpoint, disabled the alarm outside speakers, then went inside and rampaged around smashing things and finally setting fire to some paper which set off the fire alarm. Finally the Police and Protect arrived and the thugs departed, no serious injuries but it make you wonder. If I was the NZ government I would withdraw all aid to the country ASAP, but that would not be very diplomatic would it?!

Mushrooms

A mushroom project, in the Lufa area of Eastern Highlands, has been officially handed K700,000 by the Chinese government. The funds will be used to engage three Chinese experts who would demonstrate and provide guidance to locals.

Morobe Province

Rumours that the Oceania Soccer Tournament might be moved to Lae have been dashed by the readiness of Port Moresby International High School to get their ground ready for action.

Kabwun High School

The new Kabwun High in Morobe Province recently received K300,000 from the Governor of Morobe, Luther Wenge. The money is to be used to help meet the first stage of construction.

Vanimo

More border crossers from West Papua (Irian Jaya) have arrived in Vanimo. There are now about 400 boarding at the Catholic Church run Holy Cross Primary School. It is expected that more will arrive.

Travelex Australia

A local company has entered into an agreement with Travelex Australia to provide foreign currency services on their behalf in the country. The company is using internet based technology for the provision of financial services.

Air Niugini

Here is email from a PNG person talking about the airfares to and from Port Moresby.

As a Papua New Guinean living abroad, I try to find the cheapest airfare possible to benefit from so that I have some money left to spend during my holidays in PNG. I like to travel to through Singapore as much as possible because it is halfway (or 2 thirds of the way) to my destination Port Moresby and is a more direct route. However, recently when using available websites to find cheap return airfares from Singapore to Port Moresby, I discovered that Air Niugini kills or scares away the potential traveler by charging a very expansive return airfare (US$1352) from Singapore direct to Port Moresby whereas the fare is over a quarter of that (US$386) to fly from Singapore to Cairns return on Singapore Airlines. Further travel from Cairns to Port Moresby return will cost US$251. So if you travel Singapore Cairns Port Moresby return, it will cost you a total of US$637 which is less than half of the fare Air Niugini charges for Singapore Port Moresby return. The point is that I have observed that Air Niugini flies the Singapore Port Moresby route with a half empty plane most of the time and does not try to get the tourist to spend in Papua New Guinea by offering competitive airfares particularly when it is not peak season. No wonder Air Niugini is making a loss and it does not help the local economy by not attracting visitors to PNG in the first place.

I for one will go for the cheaper route to fly to Port Moresby but it is a pity that Air Niugini does not help to get travelers like me to spend on service provided by a local carrier by offering attractive fares.

Fokker F27's and DC3's

Here is another one, from Ross Eastgate, in response to my piece about the Fokker F27 in the last newsletter.

Return compliments of the season to you all!

I couldn't help but comment on the Fokker Friendships.

Yes, there were cabin crews; the early 1970s saw the introduction of the first PNG female flight attendants.

I remember an amusing incident in a DC3 in 72 or 73 when a local hostie was prowling the aisle (uphill for those who remember DC3s) investigating a strange sound. She removed from the head of a lapun a very battered World War 2 slouch hat. Underneath on his BALD pate were two or three wee chickens! Theye were forbidden cabin cargo and he had decided to smuggle them on board underneath his hat, but how he could stand their scratching the rest of us could not fathom. It was very amusing at the time. You could also get a domestic inflight beer as I remember!

Thanks Ross for that head scratching article. (ouch)

That reminds of the time when I was on an F28 Jet and I heard the squealing of a pig that had been smuggled aboard the aircraft. I suppose there would be many more stories about aviation in PNG. Has anyone a story to tell?

Border Development - Milne Bay / Oro

The Milne Bay and Oro governments are ready to sign a border development cooperation agreement soon. The two governors met at Tufi recently along with the two local level governments that are on either side of the border to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding. (Collingwood Bay on the Oro side and Makamaka on the Milne Bay side)

Links

http://www.tufitelita.com/index.html This website looks after the interests of the Tufi Dive Resort and Telita Cruises.

Tufi is located very close to Port Moresby but on the other side of the island. Quoting from the website Tufi is located on the northern side of the mainland of Papua New Guinea and approximately 250 kilometres due east of the capital, Port Moresby. It lies between Lae and Alotau on the tip of Cape Nelson in Oro Province and it is accessible only by sea and air.

http://www.fallingrain.com/air/cache/geo/PP/icao.C.html This is a list of Airports, Heliports, and Weather stations in Papua New Guinea of quality C so-so Sorted by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) order

For a quick look at some of the housing / property in Port Moresby take a look at http://www.thenational.com.pg/0109/propertyframe.htm. In fact for news of PNG take a trip to http://www.thenational.com.pg

http://www.pngtours.com - is the website of TRANS NIUGINI TOURS, the leading inbound tour operator in Papua New Guinea. In addition to being an inbound tour operator they also own and operate a series of world famous Wilderness Lodges in PNG. They own and operate their own mini coaches in Port Moresby, the Highlands and Madang. They operate their own boats on the Sepik and in Madang. They also have their own aircraft, which link the various Lodges. Take a look at their website and learn a bit more about the tourist side of PNG.


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This newsletter is being written and sent via e-mail at no charge. I expect to write one new issue on more or less a fortnightly basis. However, life sometimes interferes, and the need to earn a living may create an occasional delay.



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Created 14 Jan 2001
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