Former NBC Manus Broadcaster, Ruth Mandrakamu is the new Lorengau Town Mayor unseating President Andrew Gaga.
Mrs Mandrakamu polled 722 votes to beat all 27 other contestants to become the first female LLG President in the province.
She led from when counting started on Sunday until her declaration as winner.
She was the only woman candidate among all the men candidates in the race for that seat.
She's the first female elected as president of one the 12 LLGs.
Besides the former broadcaster, Manus also saw two other female ward councillors elected in LLGs of Los Negros and Rapatona.
Counting is still continuing in some other LLGs.
A female student representative at the Taurama Medical School has described the raid by soldiers over the weekend as traumatizing.
She says soldiers were all in battle gear ready to wage war and says luckily there were no casualties.
Lorraine Umaropi says all students, both male and female were still in shock, while the remains of destruction lye visible.
There were a total of five attacks and the worst was on Sunday.
"Yesterday was the worst attack when they came all the way into the dormitories of the students and we told our female students to stay in their rooms and this is where the Defence Force went, they broke down doors, even at the female dormitories. They had no respect for the nursing mothers, the female students, the male students. They chased everyone like animals regardless of the gender.'
Meantime all students at the Taurama Campus have moved over to the main UPNG Campus at Waigani whilst their administration tries to address the situation.
The situation at the campus remain tense.
There is ongoing debate about whether or not the Constitutional amended that granted to a government elected into office 30 months grace period from motions of no confidence is constitutional. The constitutional amendment is a direct response to frequent use and abuse of the motion of no confidence provision in the Constitution. It was and has been argued that the amendment is necessary to prevent such abuse and thereby achieve political stability and stability in government. But is the Constitutional amendment Constitutional? What are the practical implications of this law? This author expresses his independent personal viewson these questions for the public benefit.
In early 2013 the Parliament passed an amendment to the Constitution effectively giving a government extended 30 months grace period from motions of no confidence being moved against it. What are the practical implications of the Constitutional amendment granting extended grace period of 30 months to any government under our Constitution? Firstly, the practical effect of the extended grace period is that the law favours one person to be the Prime Minister for 30 months and an additional 12 months if the last 12 months grace period prior to the general election is included. That is a total of 42 months. The constitutional amendment favours one MP and discriminates against the other 110 MPs. This is arguably contrary to Section 55 of the Constitution which says that every citizen (in this case, MPs) has equal rights under the Constitution to be elected Prime Minister. That is not to say that the nation should have more than one Prime Minister in every five-year Parliamentary term. The question should be left open as is the case in other democracies so that where a Prime Minister is weak, corrupt, unfit for the office or is tyrannical he should be held accountable in a timely manner rather than allow the law to insulate him from accountability and the principles of responsible government. Any one of the other 110 MPs who has the equal Constitutional right and is qualified and is fit should be able to seek to hold the office of the Prime Minister and he should not be prohibited by the same Constitution from exercising such right.
Secondly, the law in favoring one MP (i.e. the Prime Minister), itrestricts
the other 110 MPs’ Constitutional right to be a Prime Minister and exercise public duties relating to that office in accordance with Section 50(1)(e) of the Constitution. This provision says that every citizen has a right “… to hold public office and to exercise public functions’. Lets face it, who seeks to be elected to Parliament not to be a Prime Minister? Once elected into Parliament, an MP has a Constitutional right and is entitled to be elected Prime Minister provided one plays his or her political cards right. It is unimaginable that the Constitution insulates only one MP’spolitical interest whilst the very same Constitution grants all other 110 MPs’ equal right to be the Prime Minister and exercise public duties associated with that office.
Thirdly, speaking of ‘restricting’ a Constitutional right, the law is settled in our jurisdiction. Some constitutional rights can be regulated
but not restricted
. That is, Parliament may pass laws to limit certain Constitutional rights and freedoms but not completely prohibit or remove it. The right to vote and to stand for public office and the right to occupy public office and exercise public duties associated with that public office under Section 50 of the Constitution are rights that cannot and must not be restricted. Constitution at Section 50(2) says so. As if that is inadequate, Schedule 1.20 of the Constitution reiterates the same thing. The Supreme Court has interpreted and applied these provisions in numerous instances and has pronounced clearly that a right to vote and to stand for public office and the right to occupy public office and exercise public duties associated with that public office under Section 50 of the Constitution cannot and must not be restricted. On 7 July 2012 the Supreme Court nullified certain provisions of the Integrity Law because those provisions restricted MPs right to conduct public office under Section 50(1)(e) of the Constitution. The principles of law pronounced in that case no doubt applies in this case. The Constitutional amendment granting 42 months insulation to one individual MP restricts all other 110 MPs Constitutional right to be elected a Prime Minister and occupy that office and conduct public duties relating to that office. It also restricts, for an extended period, an individual MP from keeping the Prime Minister accountable through a motion of no confidence should they find it necessary to do so. Bringing a motion of no confidence against a Prime Minister or his government is in essence “conduct of public affairs” by persons (i.e. MPs) “occupying public office” within the meaning of Section 50(1)(e) of the Constitution. No law can restrict a Section 50 right.
Fourthly, the same restriction placed by the extended grace period applies to the Parliament as the highest accountability mechanism under our Constitution. If within weeks or months after taking office, a Prime Minister proves to be weak and corrupt or his government mismanages public funds so much so that PNG is fast heading to bankruptcyhe cannot be held accountable immediately. The Parliament simply has to wait for 30 months before attempting to keep him accountable. He is insulated from the principle of accountability and the principle of ‘responsible government’. Timely accountability is the bedrock of PNG’s Constitution. It is one of the basic tenets of democracy. It is the Peoples’ best insurance policy for weak and tyrannical government. How can one provision in the Constitution stand contrary to the fundamental principle that underscores the whole Constitution? Restricting or prohibiting accountability for an extended period is inconsistent with the constitutional principles of responsible government and accountability.
The Constitution was drafted by the Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC) following comprehensive public consultations. The letter, intent and the spirit and the fundamental values and principles of the Constitution reflects the Peoples’ wishes and aspirations. This Constitution has never been under serious threat than in the last 18 months starting from August 2011 and appears to be continuing. With respect, the members of the CPC were less educated than the leaders of today. Yet the world marvels at our Constitution. The timeless fundamental values and principles that permeate our Constitution which reflects their wisdom castsinto doubt today’s intelligence. Whatever justifications offered, fiddling with or chipping away at the very bedrock principles and values that define our autochonous Constitution is a risk not worth taking. The government should make it its business to conduct wider and comprehensive consultations with the People first if it intends to enact or amend the Constitution or any other Constitutional Laws. After all that is how our Constitution was initially framed. If we opt for a conduct of nation-wide referendum on every proposed Constitutional amendment as it happens in Australia and other countries it may be costly exercise. No doubt, times have changed since1975 when the Constitution was first enacted. It needs to be revisited occasionally to make it suit the times. It seems it is difficult to legislate MPs’ behavior and attitude. Let us not attempt to fix our leadership attitudeby law and weaken the Constitution in the process. As the Supreme Court advised on 7 July 2010 in its ruling in relation to the Integrity Law what the MPs need is education and reorientation of their attitude and understanding of their roles and the purpose of political party system. Perhaps it is timely for the Supreme Court to determine the Constitutionality of the “grace period”.Could the Ombudsman Commission or the Law Reform Commission take up the challenge?By Nemo Yalo
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AUSTRALIA will send up to 50 police officers to Papua New Guinea by the end of the year to help tackle the country's growing law and order problem.
Papua New Guineans will also enjoy "passenger lane" status - currently shared by Australian and New Zealand travellers - at Brisbane and Cairns airport from September.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Monday announced the moves following talks with his PNG counterpart, Peter O'Neill, in Port Moresby.
"Recognising the importance of law and order to PNG's economic prosperity, we have agreed importantly that by year's end Australia will deploy 50 police in visible policing roles in Port Moresby and Lae," Mr Rudd said.
"Our law and order co-operation won't stop there, but it is a good start."
The O'Neill government has also entered talks with Queensland for an exchange of up to 150 police officers, Mr O'Neill's office said on Monday. This separate program will aim to start with an exchange of 10 to 15 police.
On-the-beat Australian police were turfed out of PNG in 2005 after the country's Supreme Court found the then Enhanced Cooperation Program (ECP) was unconstitutional.
"This (current deal) is part of the joint agreement we signed with Prime Minister (Julia) Gillard," Mr O'Neill said.
"This is certainly not part of the ECP program, which had some legal issues.
"Both governments and officials are working to overcome those issues that are before us."
Law and order has dominated news coverage of PNG in 2013 following a spate of grisly murders throughout the country.
The most recent was the murder two weeks ago of four Chinese nationals near Port Moresby's busy CBD.
Mr Rudd and Mr O'Neill have also agreed to ease travel to Australia for Papua New Guineans.
The visa issue had been a sore point in relations, with Mr O'Neill telling Ms Gillard the arduous visa process was unfair.
Now PNG travellers heading to Brisbane or Cairns - big business destinations for Pacific Islanders - will have an easier time getting into Australia.
"These new arrangements will be rolled out from 1 September and will allow PNG citizens to use immigration processing lanes as holders of Australian and New Zealand passports do," Mr Rudd said.
Australia will also help PNG with the design of a new central courthouse in Port Moresby, as well as construction of the Ramu-Madang highway on the country's east coast. AAP
Lamana to build a US$50m hotel project
While Samoa continues to debate the growing influence of Chinese businesses in the country, one group has been welcomed with opened arms by the Samoan government.
The Lamana Group of Papua New Guinea has officially begun work on a man-made island in Apia. It’s the first foreign business group that’s stayed true to its commitment to invest in Samoa. Many foreign investors had forwarded proposals to build international hotels on this island at Moataa, just a couple of minutes away from Apia town area. So when the PNG company’s proposal was first made public two years ago, it was met with scepticism, not just from government but also from the business sector. Many shrugged the proposal off—Taumeasina was becoming a laughing matter every time an investor showed an interested on the place.
Even government wasn’t so excited about it, “waiting to see if this group from PNG would return” as Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi recalled. It took a year for the team to return and finalised its commitment but even then, there wasn’t much interest pulled into the investment.
The government was becoming all too familiar with the routine. Investors would come to Samoa, set out their demands and wishes to ensure their stay is as comfortable as possible and then leave never to be seen again. In June, Lamana’s commitment was endorsed with the groundbreaking ceremony, bringing to Samoa the managind director of this construction development company, Kostas Constantinou. Tuila’epa was grateful to the PNG company for investing in the country. Their project, the Taumeasina Resort, is a US$50 million development which will include 70 hotel rooms, 30 villas including restaurants and conference areas, cafeterias and entertainment facilities.
This PNG group is a privately owned property developing company based in Port Moresby. Since its establishment in 1994, it centres its work on building luxury apartment units and commercial office buildings as well as hotels in Papua New Guinea and around the Pacific. For Samoa, it appears that so many US, European and Asian business groups bring promises of similar major investments in the country but with little results.
The only solid deals have come from within the region with Tanoa Tusitala owned and run by the Tanoa Group from Fiji, and now the latest project has come from Papua New Guinea with the Lamana Group. The Taumeasina Resort is expected to open for business next year.
Source: Isand Business
Jack AssaWe do not need to look far to confirm brutal and cruel tactics applied by police personnel in this country. The cruel treatment of the citizens has become normal. Even if reported to higher authorities, there seem to be no follow up investigations and the case seem to vanish after few days. Excessive use of force by police officers undermines faith in the criminal justice system. Citizens of this country expect those in blue uniform to follow the law as well as enforce it, but these two roles often come into conflict.
As far as the job description of the police personnel are concern, the role of the police is to maintain law and order, protect and safeguard the lives and properties of the citizens, which is the key role of the police force. This definition seem to be from theoretical perspective, in practical, it’s the opposite. Let me share two police brutality that caused wide public outrage.
Few weeks ago, our men in blue uniform brutally beaten and injured seventy young men in Port Moresby. It was alleged that these men were returning from Eight-Mile settlement after retaliating following the death of a relative when they were assaulted by officers in five police vehicles near Erima. Their weapons were concealed as they made their way home when five different police vehicles sped toward them and officers jumped out with guns and threatened to shoot them. “After threatening us at gunpoint they forced us to lie face down and without warning they started beating us with sticks and later hacked at our legs with our own weapons”, recounts by one of the victim. The cruelest thing is the wounded men were then forced to walk from Erima to Gordons police station with blood dripping from their injuries and were all locked up in the police cells without medical attention. Isn’t that cruel treatment? Where is justice? Are they not human being, the one police claim to protect?
Another similar incident occurred within the same week and after the above incident. This incident was clipped by the rogue officers from Gerehu Police Station themselves and later uploaded on social media including facebook and youtube which has attracted negative comments from the people who viewed the clip. In this incident, the rogue officers forced two men to strip naked and carry out indecent acts at the Gerehu Police Station. Viewers could clearly hear the rogue officers coaching the two men on how to do it.
It was indeed disgusting. You can clearly tell the high level of knowledge and experience they had from the way they were directing the two young men to do the act that clearly eroded their dignity as a person. These two and other incidents by the police must be condemned at highest possible terms
Moreover, these are tarnishing the good name of the police force. When will the heads of the police force take serious measures in curbing the acts that directly violates human rights? The constitution of this country provides that “one is innocent until proven guilty” by the court and not police. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense. We all know that the Courts of this country alone will decide on what kind of penalty should be applied onto the citizen if found guilty and not the police. The constitutional duties of each institutions must be respected and uphold under all circumstances. This is a very old legal principle that exists for ages and it is till vibrant today, yet our police personnel may have forgotten this.
With due respect to the handful of civilized officers, majority of the personnel are rogue. The question is why are men and women in blue act the way they do? Is it because of the dropouts being selected to become police? Is it the recruitment or training problem? Do they lack moral ethics? Many of these and other questions can be well answered by the department itself. However, it is highly presumed that it comes back to the level of education one has, recruitment and training of the staff, upbringing of the personnel before joining the force and peer influence within the force.
According reports presented in a Police meeting this year, eighty-seven officers have been dismissed from Papua New Guinea’s police force between 2010 and 2012 and other seventy three were demoted for similar reasons. However, this has not stopped the rate of police brutality in this country. This year, police violence has taken another level and become a major issue with hardly a weekend passing without one instance of violence perpetrated by officers.
The police hierarchy has taken a tough zero tolerance stance on police brutality but this is not reflected in the performance of the personnel. There is something wrong somewhere, and the hierarchy needs to take drastic actions now or never. Let me propose at least two approaches that can help reduce and eradicate police brutality.
1. Professional ApproachOne strategy to reduce police brutality is to emphasize professionalism in the police force. This strategy aims to reduce incidents of police misconduct by ensuring that law enforcement agencies employ only the best-educated, best-trained individuals. Just like other field of study, those who wanted to build a career in police force must apply from grade 12. And only those who have higher grading must be accepted. The department must add some value in it, rather than doing mass recruitment from the streets. Following this strategy begins at the recruitment and training levels. It includes more rigorous psychological screening before admitting prospective candidates to a police academy, as well as increased training on brutality issues and the appropriate use of force. The recruitment officers must do proper background investigations for the applicants. This is very crucial, if we are to produce quality and good image. Moreover, change the image that instructors are portraying to the recruits that they are going into battle and fighting a war, that it will be “us against them”. The techniques being taught are strictly defensive in characteristic and not offensive. Another step may include longer probationary employment periods for newly sworn police officers. This will help in the weeding of rotten apple from the right ones. 2. Bureaucratic ApproachCritics of the professionalism strategy contend that it ignores elements of organizational culture within a police department that may foster attitudes that tolerate excessive force by officers. Police work, by its nature, is stressful and involves encounters with the worst elements of a city, often leading to police distrust for particular communities or even the public at large. The so-called bureaucratic strategy for reducing police brutality involves continuous training on appropriate physical force, written policies and procedures on appropriate use of force, and even external reviews of police actions. The culture within the department has a direct impact on performance of the officers. The people cannot continue to accept such ill behavior by the people. Change must take place within the department. It’s about time the government must see it as a problem and act decisively. Remember, we are not just dealing citizens but the dignity of person as a human being. We must handle human beings with care and respect. In the past, police brutality was considered to be a practice limited to only a few “bad apples” within the agency. However more recent and frequent occurrences seem to suggest that it is the result of norms shared throughout departments and that, unfortunately, it is a consequence of the officer’s role. Police officers are given the unrestricted right to use force in situations where their evaluation of the circumstances demand its use. However, it comes with responsibility.
Let me conclude here by saying that the excessive use of force by police personnel on the citizens are not just disturbing but a huge problem that the government seriously needs to look into it. There is nothing more destructive to a country
than its own government employed police force breaking the law.The writer is undertaking postgraduate studies and living in Indonesia. For comments and feedbacks, he can be contacted on email@example.com (email) / +081273238217 (Mobile Phone).
A dental student has been seriously injured when a group of more than 30 soldiers armed with bush knives, iron bars and firearms attacked students at the Port Morseby General Hospital.
Papua New Guinea police have condemned the attack, which happened at about 1pm local time, and say it is a likely retaliation for an earlier incident.
The incident happened just hours before Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd flew into Port Moresby to hold discussions on PNG's widespread law- and-order problems with his counterpart Peter O'Neill.
"This is totally uncalled for and unacceptable behaviour by members of a disciplined organisation," Acting Police Commissioner Simon Kauba said in a statement on Sunday.
He said he had contacted PNG Defence Force officials, and that Military Police and National Capital District police are now investigating the incident.
"I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms and will ensure that it is thoroughly investigated and those responsible will face the full force of the law," Mr Kauba said.
Driving a Toyota flattop, the soldiers broke down the gates of the hospital and began their assault. At least six gun shots were fired during the attack.
The soldiers allege they were attacked by the students during a dispute over the use of an ATM at the hospital on Friday night.
Police were called on Saturday to talk down the soldiers and students after they converged on the hospital grounds.
"We advised the soldiers to lay a formal complaint so that the attackers can be identified and arrested," Mr Kauba said.
Mr Kauba said it was unfortunate when soldiers attack the very people they have sworn to protect and defend.
Mr Rudd touched down in PNG at about 5pm with immigration minister Tony Burke and trade minister Richard Marles, before heading to dinner with Mr O'Neill and Australia's High Commissioner Deborah Stokes.
He is expected to hold talks with PNG government officials on Monday. On the agenda for talks is law an order.
Foreign minister Rimbink Pato told reporters he wanted to discuss a broader role for the Australian Federal Police.
Last month four Chinese nationals were stabbed to death not far from the central business district in Port Moresby. In early June a rogue group of police officers slashed the Achilles tendons of 70 men in a revenge attack over an earlier fight. Mr Rudd told reporters in Cairns on Sunday law and order in PNG concerned him .
"I am going to be talking to (Mr O'Neill) about what we can do to enhance our cooperation there." Australia has already agreed to enhance police training, while Mr O'Neill has entered talks with Queensland for an exchange of 150 police. Bond University criminologist Terry Goldsworthy this week poured cold water on the Queensland plan.
"They have the massive policing task of G20, they've just gotten rid of 25 per cent of the state's most senior officers in the restructure and they're sending officers to PNG," he told Queensland's Courier Mail on Saturday. "I think it's going to be a real challenge." AAP
The Government has prioritised education, by injecting 600-million-Kina this academic year directly from Waigani into the education system for Free Tuition Fee Program for schools nationwide.
However, Member for Anglimp-South Waghi, Komun Joe Koim, is concerned how the schools and administrations will report on how much the government is putting through, and how it is being used.
During Question Time in Parliament this week, Mr.Koim asked the Acting Minister for Education, James Marape, if there are systems in place where all these monies will be acquitted and accounted for.
Mr.Koim says, he had witnessed that in some schools, there is collaboration between teachers, the Board of Management, and the suppliers, where they are using a lot of money going through the education system for other purposes.
Minister Marape stated, the funds are remitted directly into the school accounts, and the school principals, headmasters, and Board Chairman's will have direct control over the use of these monies.
He says, the Cabinet has noted the discrepancies and have now reviewed the process by which, money will be sent to schools in Cash and Commodity Components, to avoid abuse of funds at the school level.
The Finance Minister also assured the schools nationwide top furnish in their reports by the close of every academic year, on the usage of their money, because 60% of the schools do not submit their acquittal reports.
Papua New Guinea is yet again leading a major business delegation overseas as it looks to increase trade with its neighbouring countries.
This time to the Solomon Islands, where it's expected to hold a four-day trade fair in the capital, Honiara, from the 31st of this month to the 3rd of August.
Currently, PNG dominates 90 percent of businesses in the Solomon Islands.
Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, who's leading the delegation told the media recently, that PNG now faces a stiff competition from Fiji, with the opening up of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Free Trade bloc.
Mr. Maru said, if PNG is not careful, Fiji will take over the Solomon Islands market which has been entrenched by PNG for so many years.
He said the trade fair is a way of making its presence felt in the Solomon Islands.The Minister had also led a similar mission to the Malaysian SME Expo, where hundreds of small to medium entrepreneurs came back satisfied.
Mr. Maru says the purpose of these trips is to develop and encourage business relationships between the private sectors of respective nations and to expose and expand PNG businesses to other neighbouring countries.
The National Executive Council has appointed Australian, Grant Muddle, as the new Chief Executive Office of the Port Moresby General Hospital.
The NEC made the appointment under a contract agreement, and comes as the hospital, like many others in the country, continues to be plagued with management and service delivery problems.
Mr. Muddle replaces, Sam Vegogo, who's three-year contract has since expired.
Director Medical Services, Dr. David Mokela, says Mr. Muddle has a great wealth of experience, serving as C-E-O in many hospitals in other developing countries.
And they hope to see a lot of improvements and changes under his watch.