P.N.G. Gossip Newsletter - 22 Dec 2000

To everyone who is reading this newsletter and who celebrates Christmas I wish you a very   M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S   especially to regular contributors like Rick and Terry who have kept a good supply of information flowing throughout the year.

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PNG Gossip Newsletter Meri Milne Bay

Welcome to the Papua New Guinea Gossip - 22 Dec 2000. 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 31 - 32 United States cents but varies on a daily basis.

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.


Andersons Foodland have dressed all their cash register operators in either antlers or Santa caps.

Christmas Specials

Brian Bell has advertised the following items for sale over the festive season.

Stop and Shop stores have advertised the following specials

National Provident Fund

The enormity of the problem at the NPF has prompted Sir Rabbie Namaliu to ask for the government to appoint a special prosecutor to prepare for criminal and civil action resulting from the enquiry.

Copra Marketing Board

The CMB has been rumoured to have lost K5 Million in the second quarter of the year. The Post Courier reported the figure to be K5.324 million which is enough to warrant insolvency.

Thief Watch

Residents of Port Moresby have been warned to be extra cautious over the Christmas - New Year period especially when doing banking. The NCD Police commander issued this warning after a couple was robbed of K10,000 at a local branch recently.

Police have planned an operation for Port Moresby in a bid to keep the capital as crime free as possible.

Eda Ranu

Port Moresby residents were surprised to find that they had no water recently due to heavy rain causing a sudden shutdown of the water pumps at the main pumping stations.

Some residents are lucky to have their own water tanks and pumps but for the grass roots people many had to go to work without having a wash.

Gulf Public Servants

Public Servants in the Gulf province have been told to work or leave. The Gulf provincial administrator has said that officers placed in positions of power and authority must be seen to manage and if this is not prevalent then the officer should not be holding the position.

Carols by Candlelight

Lae has begun celebrating Christmas with a Carols by Candlelight hosted by the YMCA and the National Botanical Gardens.


Lae (per month)

Post Courier

The Post Courier has reported a net profit increase of almost 53 percent improving from the 1999 result of about K1.2 million to K1.9 million this year. Shareholders will receive a 30 toea dividend this year up from 25 toea last year.

The Post Courier's web presence was reduced by 75 percent when it was brought in house in July 1999. http://www.postcourier.com.pg

Foreign Affairs

The new departmental head of Foreign Affairs, Barney Rongap, has said that there is a lot to be done within the department and high amongst the priority was the Immigration Division "passport scam" allegations.

East New Britain

A major robbery has occurred in East New Britain. Masked men stole cash and property to the value of K130,000 from Anthony Seeto and his wife as they closed their business for the night. Thieves stole approximately K70,000 in cash and cheques as well as a vehicle valued at K60,000.

UPNG Kupiano

It is rumoured that the University of Papua New Guinea will construct a rural teaching facility to expand its activities to Kupiano in the Central Province next year.

Ombudsman Commission

The outgoing Chief Ombudsman, Simon Pentanu, has offered his congratulations to his successor, Ila Geno.

Financial Institutions

Bank of South Pacific - http://www.bsp.com.pg Public Officers Superannuation Fund - http://www.posf.com.pg Bank of Hawaii -- http://www.boh.com.pg

Some interesting mail in this week from USA and other places

Here is one concerning the power outage in the Highlands at the beginning of the week? The writer says his parents live in Goroka and they heard it was caused by disgruntled landowners digging up a power transmission tower for compensation.

Another interesting one has come in as email about the SOPAS Hospital in the Enga Province. It is rather lengthy and makes interesting reading. I am not sure how much is actual fact. Does anyone else have any more interesting information on this to either prove or disprove the subject? All comments are welcome to help enlighten me as to the actual truth of this issue.

>To begin I should tell you that whatever you might
>read in the newspapers are half trues and second hand
>information except the one that was published on Wed.
>in the National based on a letter sent by the church
>Actually, the problem at Sopas was a long standing
>one. Since long time back there was something like
>jealousy towards the Hospital, from the Provincial
>Health Administration and Wabag Health Centre. I
>think one the problem was that we never allowed them
>to grab the money.
>Things got worse last year when the church rescued an
>Engan doctor who was sacked from a Hospital in
>Australia, and by the way it closed its doors for
>training to any other PNG doctor. Due to influences
>of his wantok in Sopas who was CEO in charge in 1997
>he was brought to Sopas, the church paid his family's
>tickets and the shipping of their goods.
>When he was asked if he had some compromise with the
>Government he denied it, so, he was hired by the
>church he asked for K 50,000 per year and it was
>accepted, but things were not going OK with him. He
>was not doing his job in the Hospital at all and was
>very busy traveling to Wabag apparently organizing his
>Later it was discovered that the whole time he was in
>the government pay roll. When he was prompted to
>clarify if it was true, plus non ethic behavior with
>the colleagues, and forging the CMO's signature he
>stirred up his clan, it was a big issue, the CEO was
>threatened of murder, the Financial controller was
>almost strangulated by this doctor's wife, the
>villagers threatened to kill all the expartiates, etc,
>Finally this doctor was separated from the Mission but
>before going he threatened the Hospital that we will
>afford the consequences of sacking him, because he was
>cousin brother to the Governor Ipatas, related to Mr.
>so and so who had this or that position in the
>government, to another so and so, etc, etc.
>Last year we received so many threatens and our
>patients service providers were continuously held up
>some of our female patients were raped on their way to
>the hospital, etc, etc. We denounced it to the Engan
>Government but they did the deaf ears, so we decided
>to close the hospital temporarily for one week.
>But the true is that we continued working with
>inpatients because the hospital was full, we didn't
>receive out patients and some emergencies. But still
>many patients sneaked in via their wantoks in the
>hospital. We communicated this decision to the Engan
>authorities but our complains fell on deaf ears, like
>There was an agreement done by the nearby tribes to
>respect the Mission, to stop holding up our
>April last year we received a threatening letter from
>Ipatas telling us if we remove this doctor the
>hospital will be downsized, etc, etc. Oct. last year
>we received the visit of some Engan administrator
>telling us that they might downsize the hospital, but
>the real memos and letters were held up to March this
>year, while they were doing the undermining job for
>This year we received the notification that the money
>we were receiving for operational costs, was cut to
>one third, the other thirds were going to Mambisanda
>Hospital and to Wabag Health Center, but it never came
>as an official document, because when church
>administrators wento to speak to Engan administrators
>al their answers were very ambiguous. But the
>reallity was that we had money only up to Dec. 31.
>The money supposed to be given to the Hospital from
>the Provincial government use to come in bits and
>bits, up to now the Engan Government is owing to the
>Hospital K 140,000 which already went to their
>pockets, as it happened year after year, because we
>looked like beggars going to ask for that money to
>serve their people.
>In spite of that the church was ready to continue
>running the hospital pumping money from abroad.
>Things got worse when the warring tribes became very
>abusive and they did not respect the hospital anymore.
>Since I arrived, last year, I heard of continuous
>threats to the Hospital, that they will burn it up,
>they will kill some Expatriate workers, that they will
>rape all our women. They were continuously stealing
>from our houses, our gardens, from the hospital, etc.
>This year they gun pointed twice to his head to the
>Principal for the School of Nursing, they threatened
>to kill his wife, and that our nurses and our students
>will be raped. So the decision was taken to give
>advanced holidays to the students and the third years
>should continue their practical at Hagen.
>The School at Sopas would be closed temporarily until
>the local government gave us the facilities to work
>safely and in peace, in other word to leave us alone
>while giving us some tipe of protection. This
>decision was comunicated to the Provincial and Central
>Government. The Central Government agreed but the
>Engan ones disliked the idea because the School was
>considered as "theirs" (The only one giving Diploma in
>Nursing in the whole country, it kept them proud).
>Later the villagers gun pointed to the Deputy
>Principal (PNG lady), stoned her husband (Australian),
>gun pointed the CEO more than twice, once when the CEO
>and the hospital administrators were going down to POM
>to discuss about the budget for next year, they were
>stopped with guns and prevented them from traveling,
>another tribe even chained the main gate to prevent
>the hospital bus leaving the campus.
>On 20th. Nov. the tribes started fighting again and
>one of their leaders was wounded, they pressed and
>threatened the Deputy Director of Nursing to send
>somebody to treat this man because they could not come
>to the hospital due to the fear of being killed by the
>enemy tribe. So when they went down they realized
>that the man condition needed medical attention.
>Unfortunately the police stopped our ambulance taking
>that man to jail because he was a wanted man because
>of murder. His followers blamed that the Hospital
>handed that man to the police and because of that they
>will burn up the hospital and kill the people there.
>But later, due to unknown reasons to me the man was
>released. The other tribe blamed the Hospital for it,
>that's why they attempted to axe the CEO in charge to
>pieces, plus two other hospital staff, but failed. It
>was on 21st. night Then they started to shoot our
>ambulance which was destroyed and our bus.
>They also said that at night they will come to rape
>our nurses. That night none of our female staff
>reported on duty and we had to ask the police to come
>and give us some protection. We achieved it. As soon
>as the tribesmen saw the police they ran away because
>many of them are criminals wanted by the police. The
>local government could have sent the police long time
>back and things like this would never had happened.
>Our patients panicked, that's why the next morning
>many of them requested to be discharged, many of them
>absconded, in few hours the hospital was desolated.
>The most of our Engan staff left the campus, remaining
>only the coastal ones but with all their goods packed.
> Our higher authorities recommended us to close the
>hospital temporarily and to communicate to the Engan
>On Thursday one of the Health Administrator came to
>speak to the surrounding tribes telling them lies such
>as that they never cut down any budget and that the
>hospital has to be reopened the following week. Later
>he called for a Hospital staff meeting and started
>also speaking non senses, many of our staff just walk
>out leaving him speaking. Thanks God I didn't know of
>this meeting otherwise I was going to give him a peace
>of my mind and get into troubles.
>Sunday 16th the other doctor and me left the Hospital
>for good and the following Thu. the few remaining
>staff left also for good. As soon as we left this
>Engan doctor tried to ransack the hospital but he was
>stopped by the police, he wanted to take our vehicles,
>to break in operating theater and lab to take the
>instruments to Wabag.
>Later the very same administrator who came on Thu.
>came and instruct some of our remaining Engan staff to
>stop anybody attempting to remove things from the
>campus, so they started breaking in the house I used
>to live, I don't know what they were looking for, the
>broke in the church taking the PA system, the
>computer, VCR, TV and videos used for worship and
>teaching. They broke OPD and one of the wards where we
>kept the mattresses.
>Finally we got a court order to prevent any body from
>Wabag to come to the hospital and take our goods, I
>don't know how long we'll be able to keep our goods.
>The neighboring tribe also want the vehicles, the
>linen and some hospital stuff and they said once they
>take it they will burn all the installations.
>On the other hand the Engan government is pressing the
>church to reopen the Hospital immediately, which will
>be impossible, because all our staff are already
>scattered in the whole country, and the two doctors
>are gone for good. The Australian headquarters for
>our church who deal with foreign missionaries doesn't
>want to risk the life of any one anymore, national
>doctors "don't want to go to Enga because they know
>it's not a good place where to live" (literal
>quotations from high authorities in Health I was
>talking with).
>By all means even the hospital would open tomorrow it
>will never have the same standard it used to have
>because most of our coastal staff vowed an oath that
>they will never return to that province. The last I
>heard was that the Engan government wants to take an
>action against the church (?) I don't know why, but I
>suspect because of the patients who are dying every
>day in Enga, because Hagen and Goroka hospitals don't
>want to receive any patient from Enga, probably in
>order to press the authorities and the tribe to think
>twice what they have done with their hospital.
>I don't mind if you want to forward this letter to
>whom you want but please don't mention my name, I'm
>not allowed to speak openly otherwise I might spoil
>the negotiations the church is having with the Engan
>government for the reopening of Sopas. But I strongly
>believe that PNG people should know what is going on
>in Enga because that is a nobody's land with a total
>lawlessness, and a terrible corruption beginning from
>the top authorities.
>So, that it was our two years experience in PNG, one
>of the toughest assignment we ever had of the 20 years
>working as a missionary doctor in many countries. We
>are going back home but probably we might be going
>back to Africa, so you might hear me again on the
>radio with another suffix but probably the same suffix
>DX which I'm keeping for many years. Thanks again for
>everything, it was a pity to leave PNG like that, but
>God know what is best for each one of us.
>God bless you, all the best, Merry Christmas. Do not
>send me any more correspondence to my previous
>address. Thank you,

PNG Cabinet

The PNG Cabinet has changed yet again. I hope that the list below is reasonably up to date although with PNG politics no guarantees could ever be given or even implied.

Sir Michael Somare

Sir Michael says that he has been insulted by his removal from cabinet. He was preparing himself for a cabinet meeting when he found out.

PNG newspaper sites

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Created 22 Dec 2000
Updated 27 Jan 2004
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