PNG probe into parliament rampage still ongoing, says police chief

A scene from the break-in at parliament in Waigani, Port Moresby, last November. Image: Bryan Kramer/Kramer Report

By RNZ Pacific

Papua New Guinea’s Police Commissioner says investigations are ongoing into officers who took part in a rampage through Parliament last year.

Last November, dozens of police and corrections officers went on the rampage over their frustrations about unpaid security work at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)  summit.

The Speaker of Parliament, Job Pomat, who subsequently offered officers bonuses for their work, has called for the investigation to be dropped in the spirit of forgiveness.

READ MORE: The Kramer Report allegations

But commissioner Gary Baki said the probe would continue and those responsible would be held to account.

“Why it’s taking a little bit too long, because most of the people that are involved are those that came from outer provinces,” he said.

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Investigating team
“So our investigating team will have to get together and ensure that those that came in from outer provinces are clearly identified, so that their provincial police commanders in those regions can be informed accordingly that these are the people that will be required to be investigated by the investigating team.

“It’s not only in NCD (National Capital District).”

Meanwhile, the PNG opposition has questioned the integrity of the purported bill for the damage to parliament, which has been quoted at more than 8 million kina

Pacific Media Watch reports that Opposition member for Madang Bryan Kramer, who publishes the investigative Kramer Report, has made a series of allegations challenging the credibility of the damages claim and questioning whether Parliament has become a “Haus of corruption”.

This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

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Jubilee Australia accuses Bougainville over ‘reckless land grab’ law changes

Panguna mine in operation … back in its heyday around 1971. Image: Robert Owen Winkler/Wikimedia Commons/PNG Mine Watch

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

The Autonomous Bougainville Government, led by president Dr John Momis, has been accused by a research and advocacy group of allowing a “reckless land grab” with its planned mining law changes.

The proposed amendments to the 2015 Bougainville Mining Act, along with accompanying legislation, will give the ABG the power to hand over mining leases to all parts of the island not under existing leases to Bougainville Advanced Mining, a new entity created for this purpose.

The ABG would have 60 percent ownership of Bougainville Advanced Mining, while 40 percent would be owned by a foreign partner.

READ MORE: Bougainville’s mining deal meets widespread opposition

Statements made President Momis last week suggested that Caballus mining, a Perth-based company headed by Jeff McGlinn, would be the foreign partner involved, said Jubilee Australia.

“These are radical changes and appear to be nothing more than a reckless land grab,” Jubilee Australia’s executive director Dr Luke Fletcher said in a statement.

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“First, this would hand over control of the majority of the island to the President and his foreign partner, Mr McGlinn.

“Second, the president would have the power to unilaterally distribute leases without any consultation or permission from landowners.

‘Cut out of process’
“As a result, landowners will be cut out of the process. These amendments undermine the principal of free, prior and informed consent,” said Dr Fletcher.

“Doing so is both anathema to Melanesian culture and vitally important in the Bougainville context.

“It is not clear to us that this legislation is even constitutional,” said Dr Fletcher.

“It is a startling and dangerous move. Given the disastrous history of the Panguna mine in Bougainville, which has caused irreparable environmental damage to the Jaba river and was the major cause of the Pacific region’s worst ever civil war, forcing through such enormous changes with very little consultation is a reckless and desperate ploy.”

President Momis told Radio New Zealand the move was justified to enable the Bougainville independence referendum taking place.

“The people of Bougainville are determined to have the referendum and they must find the money to fund the referendum,” the President reportedly.

“One way of doing it would be if we started our own company and generated the revenue to enable us to conduct the referendum. We cannot sit on our hands.

Dubious over plans
However, Dr Flectcher said: “As our recent study of the question demonstrates, we are highly dubious that mines like Panguna could ever raise enough revenue to satisfy both foreign investors and the people of Bougainville,’ said Dr Fletcher.

“It is certainly impossible that the mine will raise any revenue before the independence vote.

“It will take years for the building/repair of infrastructure, the completion of environmental studies and other importance processes that need to take place before the mine can generate revenue.”

The Panguna mine was one of the world’s biggest copper-gold mines until a 10-year civil war forced its closure in 1989.

The war cost up to 20,000 lives and displaced 10,000 people. The Panguna mine was a leading cause of the war and communities have not been offered redress for the damage.

Since 2009, there has been a push to re-open the mine, with proponents claiming that Bougainville needs the mine to be economically independent.

President Momis has been at the forefront of this fight, under the auspices of former operator Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), claiming that it would be the best and quickest option to generate revenue.

In December 2017, however, the president announced a moratorium of mining at Panguna and revoked BCL’s mining licence, after a meeting of landowner meetings voted against such an extension.

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

UPNG registrar first ‘victim’ of drastic campus action over fees hike

University of Papua New Guinea … furore over fees. Image: UPNG

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

The University of Papua New Guinea registrar Dr Peter Petsul has become the first victim of the new university council, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

Dr Petsul was suspended on Monday on full pay for 14 days by new Chancellor Jeffery Kennedy at the country’s national university.

READ MORE: Unions slam ‘farcical’ appointment of chancellor, VC

In sidelining the registrar, Kennedy wrote:

“Dr Petsul has been suspended for 14 days starting on 11th February 2019.

“During this period, he is given an opportunity to show cause and respond to the council why drastic actions should not be taken against him.”

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Dr Petsul was sidelined after failing to effect a council decision to rescind a decision by the former council to increase school tuition and boarding fees.

Kennedy has instructed the acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Kenneth Sumbuk to appoint an acting registrar to run the administration.

In early January, RNZ Pacific reported that most UPNG students faced a massive 29 percent hike in their fees this year.

Some degree courses, such as medicine and nursing, faced even bigger increases.

At the time, UPNG’s public relations director James Robins said other expenses, such as accommodation, were unchanged.

But Robins said this compulsory fee, along with the annual government budget allocation, was needed to cover basic costs so students can complete their programmes.

Last month, the PNG Trade Union Congress slammed the appointments of Jeffrey Kennedy as chancellor and Dr Sumbuk as vice-chancellor in an ongoing controversy over the university’s governance.

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Miriori fires broadside at ‘rogue’ Bougainville mining rights bid

Destruction in the Arawa Hospital during the 1980s Bougainville civil war, sparked by a mining and environment dispute. Image: PNG Mine Watch

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

A highly controversial proposal by an unknown and newly registered company, Caballus Mining, is attempting to grab a monopoly over all large scale mines in Bougainville, reports PNG Mine Watch.

It is alleged that the Caballus plan is to override the fundamental principle of the Bougainville Mining Act – Customary Landowner ownership of the minerals in Bougainville and confer ownership on a McGlinn entity, Bougainville Advance Mining (BAM).

“Are Caballus the next rogue that is trying to take advantage of us, the customary owners and steal our minerals?” asked Philip Miriori, chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA).

READ MORE: Bougainville mining plan faces outrage

Miriori claimed Caballus had no relevant mine development experience.

“Caballus has no assets, and yet is demanding a monopoly on all major large scale mining projects in Bougainville.

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“They are demanding an initial 40 percent interest, which will increase further over time, without any upfront cash and only a shallow promise of future money if he is granted those rights first.”

Miriori said that when Caballus was presented to representatives of SMLOLA earlier last year, they were officially rejected in writing.

Clear position
“This is where it gets confusing as despite that clear position from the owners of the minerals at Panguna, Caballus is now demanding that the most fundamental principle of the Bougainville Mining Act (BMA) – customary ownership will now be stripped from the BMA.”

SMLOLA special adviser Lawrence Daveona said that by avoiding all the protection afforded to them under the BMA, which is fundamental to the Peace Agreement and the Bougainville constitution – “in fact the very grant of autonomy”, they would be stripped of their rights.

“The central tenant of our Peace Agreement is good governance.

“We will fight this to the end and hope our ABG will step in first and protect all customary owners in Bougainville.”

Miriori said it appeared some people were trying to take advantage of a severe funding crisis which their government faced in the lead up to the referendum on Bougainville this year. They were promising money but only if they were first given the keys to every large scale mine in Bougainville with zero up-front investment – “unbelievable”.

“Whoever puts up the money will ultimately control BAM, and all of Bougainville’s mines.”

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Asia-Pacific journalists plan strategy for gender-based violence reporting

Former Pacific Media Watch editor and now Tagata Pasifika journalist Alistar Kata (left) and AUT masters research student Pauline Mago-King from Papua New Guinea who attended this week’s gender-based violence media workshop. Image: Star Kata/Instagram

By Pauline Mago-King

Seventeen women journalists from the Asia-Pacific region gathered in the Victorian capital of Melbourne this week to work on an empowerment strategy for reporting on gender-based violence against women.

Organised by the Canadian-based Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), the workshop on gender-based violence against women (GBVAW) at Monash University was a key step toward ensuring better collaboration with the media.

The media plays a vital role in influencing the attitudes toward gender-based violence, especially in environments where the development of women and girls is overlooked.

“A world without violence is possible.” Image: Pauline Mago-King/PMC

Within the Asia-Pacific region, a common thread is the vulnerability of women and girls in the face of gender inequality and sociocultural norms identified by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

From Papua New Guinea to the Philippines, putting gender-based violence into context remains a challenge in terms of recognising women’s rights as human rights.

The Rutgers University-based centre has been instrumental in raising awareness of the issue through its 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

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It has recognised the need for journalists in different spaces to be well informed and equipped on covering the issue.

Support needed
The centre says journalists need support when it comes to reporting challenges such as data, resources and logistics, newsroom culture, and state accountability.

Throughout the two-day workshop, journalists shared their experiences in reporting gender-based violence against women and highlighted the gaps that could be filled in their countries.

News framing of survivors was stressed as essential toward changing a culture of victim-blaming.

Women journalists themselves are vulnerable when covering stories on gender-based violence.

Although strategies on improving gender-based violence coverage are still a work in progress, the centre’s workshop provided a needed forum for Asia-Pacific journalists.

Papua New Guinean television journalist Quintina Naime found suggestions on improving reporting on gender-based violence especially helpful.

Passionate reporting
“Coming from a country with diverse cultures and where domestic violence has become a norm, I’m privileged to have met other influential female journalists who are passionate about reporting on gender-based violence issues affecting the most vulnerable in society,” she says.

“I’m encouraged that my contribution will contribute to the professional development and networking opportunities of journalists reporting on the issues. I’m privileged to have represented Papua New Guinea and PNGTV.”

Other countries represented in the consultation were Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines and Samoa.

The centre will continue to convene with journalists from other regions to improve reporting of gender-based violence against women and to hopefully change attitudes.

The centre has already hosted workshops in the South Asia and Middle East regions.

It is hoped that the dialogue emerging from all these workshops will help develop a tool or guideline that will assist journalists in tackling the issues.

Pauline Mago-King is a masters student at Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific Media Centre researching gender-based violence issues in Papua New Guinea. She was a participant in the gender-based violence against women workshop.

Participants at the Asia-Pacific workshop on gender-based violence against women. Image: CWGL/PMC

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

A weeping mum from PNG and her long walk for a dying child

A tragedy in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province. Image: Sally Lloyd/My Land, My Country

By Sally Lloyd as told to Scott Waide in Lae

A few days ago, I asked Sally Lloyd about the picture she posted on Facebook of a distraught mother weeping over the body of her baby who had died. This is the story behind the picture.

They are from Fomabi Village near Nomad, Western Province.

The child got sick with pneumonia, I believe and Nomad Health Centre could not help them. The facility there has been very run down and ill equipped for a very long time.

READ MORE: Scott Waide’s “My Land, My Country” blog

They then had to make the long walk to Mougulu health centre for many hours to get further help.

Unfortunately, the child died the following afternoon, and without any helpers with them the parents had to walk back to their village with the dead child.

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They were of course heartbroken and it was very hard to send them on their way into darkness and a storm.

Family grief. Image: Sally Lloyd/My Land, My Country

Faced difficulties in life
The woman has already faced some difficulties in her life. She was totally distraught, waving her arms and crying out.

When Sally went to the clinic she said it was her first time to visit Mougulu and this had happened.

Earlier on Facebook, Sally posted:

“That sound I hate…the grief of the parents of this precious eight-month-old indicating the worst had happened.

“This evening they have the long walk back (6 to 8 hours at least) to Fomabi Village with a very heavy burden – almost too much to bear.

“The father offloaded some heavy food items and we gave high protein food and fish, a torch and umbrella – it’s going to storm tonight.

“God knows how much we need that emergency vehicle – to bring patients more quickly, but also for parents who should not have to walk a day (or all night) to get home and bury their child.”

“RIP Ezekiel.”

Scott Waide is a leading Papua New Guinean journalist and deputy news editor of EMTV News based in Lae. His blog items are republished by the Pacific Media Centre on Asia Pacific Report with permission.

The long walk. Image: Sally Lloyd/My Land, My Country

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‘Don’t be afraid’ – give Bougainville, West Papua freedom, says Parkop

Port Moresby’s Governor Powes Parkop with the West Papuan Morning Star flag … strong backing for Bougainville and West Papuan self-determination and independence. Image: Filbert Simeon

By Clifford Faiparik in Port Moresby

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop is pushing for Bougainville and West Papua to gain independence from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia respectively.

Parkop said this in no uncertain terms during a West Papua forum in Port Moresby yesterday.

Northern Governor Gary Juffa, who was also present, expressed similar sentiments.

READ MORE: Campaign for West Papuan independence

“The government must give political independence to Bougainville,” Parkop said. “Likewise, the Indonesian government should also give political independence to the West Papua provinces.

“Both of these people have struggled bitterly for independence for a long time, resulting in widespread deaths. The governments of both countries should not deny these respective people’s rights.”

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Parkop said Bougainvilleans would be given the opportunity to determine whether they wanted to remain as part of PNG, or go separate.

“We are not afraid and I’m not afraid,” he said. “If Bougainville chooses independence, they will not move the island of Bougainville to Europe or another place in the world.

‘Still be there’
“They will still be there. We are all inter-married now. There are family and tribal relationships been bonded already.

“We might have a better future because if you look at the history of PNG, because of Bougainville, we were political and economically shaped.”

Parkop said the same message must be told to Indonesia.

“Indonesia must know that if West Papua becomes independent, they will not move the land to the United States,” he said.

“They will still stay there. The people speak Bahasa. Intermarriages have already been forged and established with people from other parts of Indonesia.

“Economically, they can be integrated. Socially, they can still move around in Indonesia. I don’t think the West Papua freedom movement will remove Indonesian investments.

The Indonesians must overcome their fear.”

Clifford Faiparik is a journalist with The National daily newspaper.

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Iran refugee detained in PNG wins Australia’s richest literary prize

Behrouz Boochani … wrote his award-winning book bit-by-bit via texting from Papua New Guinea. Image: Hoda Afshar/Behrouz Boochani/RNZ Pacific

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

An Iranian asylum-seeker detained in Papua New Guinea under Australian asylum laws has won Australia’s most valuable literary prize for a book he reportedly wrote using the online messaging service WhatsApp, reports France 24/AFP.

Behrouz Boochani, a Kurd who has been held on PNG’s Manus Island since 2013, was awarded the Victorian Prize for Literature yesterday, said a statement on a government website for the state of Victoria.

The journalist and filmmaker was awarded the A$100,000 (NZ$106,000) prize for his book No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.

READ MORE: The book written one text at a time

He will receive an additional A$25,000 after it also won the non-fiction category.

“(Boochani’s) award was accepted by the book’s translator Omid Tofighian, who worked with Boochani over five years to bring the stories to life,” the state website said.

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Media reports said Boochani wrote the work on his phone and sent it to Tofighian bit-by-bit in text messages.

This was because he felt unsafe in the guarded camp, which was shut last year after a local court ruling and the asylum-seekers moved elsewhere on the island.

For years Canberra has sent asylum-seekers who try to enter the country by boat to Manus Island or Nauru in the Pacific for processing, with those found to be refugees barred from resettling in Australia.

The harsh policy is meant to deter people embarking on treacherous sea journeys, but the United Nations and other rights groups have criticised the camps’ conditions and long detention periods.

Boochani’s book beat 27 other shortlisted works published last year in Australia to win the overall prize.

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Unions slam ‘farcical’ UPNG appointments of chancellor, VC

UPNG’s acting vice-chancellor Professor Kenneth Sumbuk … integrity questioned. Image: EMTV News

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Papua New Guinea’s Trade Union Congress has slammed the appointments of Jeffrey Kennedy as chancellor and Kenneth Sumbuk as vice-chancellor of the University of Papua New Guinea, reports the Post-Courier.

President John Paska said the congress had initially welcomed the announcement to investigate administrative malpractice and other aspects of the university but these two appointments now questioned the credibility of the exercise.

He said this was a governance issue which attracted public attention and commentary.

UPNG audit “action” pledged … front page story in The National.

“With the stroke of a pen the Minister, Pila Niningi, has turned what appeared to be a step in the right direction into a farcical exercise denigrating it into a comical show piece,” he said.

“Last year we questioned the selection process of candidates for the vice-chancellors position. Our questions emanated from information received about serious allegations that had been raised about Professor Sumbuk’s administration of K23 million (NZ$11 million) for various UPNG activities.

“We are not in any way pronouncing guilt on Sumbuk but the fact remains serious allegations hang over his persona that only a properly constituted investigation can ascertain to the contrary. To the best of our knowledge no investigation has been conducted to determine the veracity of the allegations,” he said.

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Sources report that the university council had already recommended the appointment of Professor Frank Griffin, a former head of science at UPNG as vice-chancellor. However, the council was sacked on Monday and new members appointed.

Integrity in question
Paska told the Post-Courier Sumbuk’s integrity and credibility remained in question.

“Meanwhile, we query the eligibility of Mr Kennedy for the position of chancellor of the university. How does he qualify to be chancellor?

“Something is horribly wrong. The wheels of credibility and integrity of this investigation have collapsed before moving an inch. Unless otherwise my personal confidence in this exercise is shattered and I believe so is the public’s.”

“We call on the Prime Minister to intervene and rectify the situation, Paska said.

The National reports that the interim council would look into the 13 areas identified in a 2013 external audit as requiring attention, and implement them.

Acting vice-chancellor Professor Sumbuk told The National after his appointment by the interim council at its first meeting yesterday that he would “revive UPNG’s academic standard and review the 2013 external audit”.

Council ousted
“As we settle into the new academic year, we will audit all 13 areas of the university management that has not been done (since 2013),” he said.

“Parents and students must not worry about anything as there will be nothing shaken or swept under (the carpet). I am looking forward to facilitating the investigation and reviews proposed by the government.”

The 10 council members were appointed on Monday by Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Pila Niningi after ousted acting chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann and acting vice-chancellor Vincent Malaibe.

Niningi said he had to make the changes because of the failure by the university council to respond to queries he had made on matters regarding the institution since last July.

However, Dr Mann told The National on Wednesday that they would reserve their comment on their “sidelining” by Niningi because they were seeking legal advice from the university’s lawyers.

“Whether the decision to sideline us is proper or not, that would be advised by our lawyers and then we will announce it to the public,” Dr Mann said.

The council also rescinded the hike in compulsory fees, which will remain at K2939 (NZ$1300).

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Sincha Dimara: My mother, a West Papuan survivor of many hardships, spurred along by her faith

Dominguis and Dolfintje Dimara pictured on the day they were married. Image: #InspirationalPapuaNewGuineans

PROFILE: By Sincha Dimara in Port Moresby

I once asked my mother how was it that she married at the tender age of 16 and left home in West Papua for a foreign land – neighbouring Papua New Guinea – never to see family again for more than three decades.

She told me: “When your father left for work and I was left alone, it dawned on me that I may never see my family again.

“Silent tears flowed in those quiet moments, tanta (aunty) Wanma noticed. She asked me if papa was not nice to me. I shook my head, ‘no’… it was only after the birth of my first child, that my whole world changed.”

READ MORE: Inspirational Papua New Guineans

My mother, Dolfintje Imbab, was born on 4 December 1949, four years after World World Two ended. She was 70 last week (on 4 December 2018).

She was born somewhere on the banks of the Warfor River on Supiori Island, part of the Biak Islands in West Papua at a time when villagers had been forced to move inland to escape the horrors of war.

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She completed her primary education in 1960, in what was then a Dutch colony. She was not considered for further studies because most women back then were told to return home to assist the family male members of the family to continue their education.

This meant gardening, fishing and other daily chores to sustain the family.

Against Indonesian takeover
My father, Domingus Dimara (that’s a story on its own), came to Papua New Guinea as a young man in 1963. He was against Indonesia’s takeover of West Papua then and decided to make PNG home.

Family snapshots … Dominguis and Dolfintje Dimara. Right: Dolfintje Dimara and with their first child. Image:
#InspirationalPapuaNewGuineans

He returned in 1965 in search for a bride; my mother was chosen.

My late father was a disciplinarian and always believed in doing the right thing. Initially there was resistance from my maternal grandparents upon hearing that their daughter would marry and move far from home.

My maternal grandmother placed locally made bracelets (gelang biak) on both her arms. The bracelets identify a woman or man as a Biak person.

They were married in May 1965 in Biak town and after meeting legal and customary obligations they travelled to the capital Hollandia, now Jayapura. From there, they travelled by plane to Lae, then on to Port Moresby.

My parents lived with Om and Tanta Marjen (late Aunty and Uncle Marjen) who had earlier moved to Port Moresby after Indonesia gained control of West Papua.

My parents were also accommodated by the Wanma family. This was in the 1960s. One of mum’s early memories is witnessing the 1969 South Pacific Games in Port Moresby and the basketball matches played at the Hohola Courts.

New suburbs sprouted
A few years later when Port Moresby was beginning to expand and new suburbs sprouted, my father was able to secure a house from the National Housing Commission in 1970.

Dolfintje Imbab Dimara with her sister and grand niece in Jayapura. Image:
#InspirationalPapuaNewGuineans

In 1990, more than 30 years since her arrival in PNG, mum first crossed the border as a PNG citizen into Indonesian territory. She did so after communicating with family members through letters for more than 20 years.

Her father had passed on but her mother – my grandmother – was still alive then. She would meet family members again over the years.

In 1979, both of my parents were granted PNG citizenship along with other West Papuans. Among them were the Marjens, Sarwoms, Wanmas.

Sadly, my father passed on in 1994. My mother’s strength and love for the family has kept her going this far.

She lost three of her seven children. Edward our youngest died of heart failure in 1992. Robin was murdered by criminals in 1999 and my sister Salomina died of breast cancer in 2013.

Throughout all the hardships, I believe her faith in God has kept her going. She has mastered the Motu language, speaks a little English and Tok Pisin and made many friends in PNG.

She is also a survivor of breast cancer having gone through treatment in 2011. In a few weeks’ time she will travel home to visit her place of birth and meet her siblings again.

I jokingly asked if it was time to return for good. But I guess she’d rather spend time with the family she created – her children and grandchildren.

Sincha Dimara has been an #EMTV producer for 30 years. She is manager, news and current affairs of the television network in Papua New Guinea.

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