PNG Gossip Newsletter - Special 14 Feb 2006

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To the Editor


I am the daughter of Professor Les Eastcott, Vice Chancellor UPNG, and I write in response to the numerous public attackers and detractors of my father, and in particular to the “UPNG Insider” who does not even have the courage to come out publicly, preferring to hide behind a pen name, avoiding any accountability for all the false accusations, slander and lies he/she spreads (The National “Letters” February 9 th, PNG).

Since the start of the University staff strike early last year, my father has been receiving daily death threats. He has had his car burnt and his house broken into. He has been advised by many to not go out alone and by some, to not go out at all, for fear of his safety. He has taken this advice. Perhaps “UPNG Insider” and other writers to the PNG papers could explain to our family why it is people feel it necessary to threaten our father/husband/grand-father/brother/uncle’s life and take away his basic right to freedom and safety?

Could the PNG media publicly explain why it is necessary for them to continually print letters and quotes that are so obviously inflammatory to the situation and that contain mistruths and clearly veiled threats against my father? For example, a number of letters have made reference to the student deaths in 2001, implying that my father was in some way responsible for these deaths (one letter actually outright accused him of it). He had nothing to do with the cause of that particular period of unrest, except to later uphold the disciplinary action against some who threatened staff and students at the time. Those students, staff and many others involved in the unrest were protesting privatization and land mobilization, as well as reforms in the IMF and World Bank. It was a protest against the Government and had nothing to do with UPNG Administration at the time. The fact that the shootings occurred during his time as VC does NOT make him responsible. Please explain to me UPNG Insider and others, how it is you can justify implying that he caused or was in some way responsible for these terrible and unfortunate deaths? Why are you presenting and altering historical and well recorded facts to the PNG public, in order to tarnish the good name of an honest man? And why have some elements of the PNG media supported this clear distortion of fact by printing such horrible and false accusations? It is an absolute sickening injustice to blame an innocent man for the deaths of others!

These and other continual insults and accusations that have been printed in the media and posted across the internet, have greatly distressed not only my father, but all of our family, who have been forced to watch and read the events from afar – all the time knowing that he is a man of great honesty, truth and integrity, despite whatever has been said about him. We all go to sleep each night in absolute fear that harm will come to my father, and for what - a delayed pay rise (staff strike) and complaints about a grading system (student strike)??? Could someone please explain to our family how that is fair or right?

Through all of this I have wondered why some people feel it necessary to have my father removed from his position, and have him professionally and personally destroyed, and threatened with physical harm in the process. Is it really incompetence as claimed? Or is there (as I suspect) a hidden agenda by the small but vocal and violent minority. I ask the people of PNG…are this vocal and violent minority the same corrupt few behind some of the 35 cases of fraud that my father has uncovered in the last 5 years? Could it be because he has put a stop to their corrupt ways, and in the process cut off some of their easy money – money that should have been (and now is) used for the better of the students and staff of UPNG? Are they the same students (or want-to-be-students) who can not buy places and grades anymore, but now actually have to study and work for them to be awarded on merit instead of money and wantokism? Are they the same department heads who are now required to be accountable for their funds and grants, rather than being able to use University money for their own personal benefit? ALL of the so-called “leaders” of the unrest and many of the more outspoken detractors of my father fit into one (or a number) of the above categories. I believe this affair has not really been about pay rates and gradings – these are just excuses. It is about the corrupt few not getting their way and doing whatever they can to remove the man who stands between them and their corrupt and unchristian ways.

If I am wrong (and I doubt it) and this past unrest has been primarily about an unfair grading system, then I say to those students – your actions have sickened me. You resort to violent protest without even following the most basic of University processes – educated appeal. I ask these students - why have you not attempted resolution through the proper channels?. And why now? This is not a new grading system.

My father is in no way an “incompetent despot”, and anyone who thinks the University has been run-down in the past 5 years clearly has no idea of how a University should run, or they would not make such ignorant, ridiculous and false statements.

My Father is a good, honest and moralistic man. He can not be bought and he does not bow to threats or violence. He has worked and fought hard to do what is best for the staff and students of UPNG. He does not deserved the public slander or to be treated with such nastiness and cruelty. The people who have instigated and continue this stream of threats, lies and mistreatment should be called to account, and those in the media, public and government who have supported them should be ashamed – of what they have done to my father and what they have done to our family in the process.


Susan Eastcott

Melbourne, Victoria


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-- THE END --

In Tok Pisin - em tasol

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Created dd mmm 2006
Updated dd mmm 2006

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