Friday, August 24, 2007

A World without Aids

The 8th International Conference on Aids in Asia and the Pacific came to an end on the 23rd of August 2007. The conference hosts skills building workshops, planetary sessions and discussions on Aids in the Asia Pacific Region.

While there was 19 plenary speakers one only slot was allocated to youths to raise their issues. This raised the concerns that young people are still being neglected and forgotten. Most people speak about issues of Aids, yet not many are doing anything to help the young people. The closing remark by Ari Laksman during the 8th ICCAP summaries the ignorance of leaders and academics about youth and thier issues.

*ICAAP YOUTH STATEMENT, August 23, 2007*
Delivered at the Closing Ceremony by Ari Yuda Laksmana

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the youth who participated in the youth forum, I would like to make a statement.

I would like to ask young people in the room who participated in the Youth Forum of the 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific to please stand, and remain standing during my remarks.

To the rest of you who are seated, I have a question for you. What is it like to live in a world without AIDS? All the people standing were born after the pandemic. We do not know a world without AIDS.

We are already responding in our own ways to HIV/AIDS. We are running programs, educating peers, pushing for social change and uniting in this fight around the world.

The value of our response has to be recognized as necessary, and mainstreamed.
We strongly urge you to begin viewing us as equal partners in the response to HIV/AIDS and to move beyond the rhetoric of youth participation by funding youth-led initiatives, engaging in true youth-adult partnerships and meaningfully involving young people in policy that affects our lives.

Therefore, we have laid out concrete steps to be taken to ensure the next
ICAAP, held in my country of Indonesia, builds on the process started here over the next two years and beyond.

We call upon those present here today to work with us to achieve the following in the next two years in Bali:

1. More than double the number of youth participants;
2. Include youth voices by providing space for a youth representative at the opening and closing ceremonies, ensuring a platform for youth to address all congress delegates. Future congresses should include representation for young people, including young people living with HIV/AIDS, in the different segments of the congress programme to provide for the youth perspectives on the different issues;
3. Develop a separate scholarship selection process for young people that address problems that youth face when applying to conference of this nature;
4. Provide support for a youth committee comprised of members from the previous ICAAP youth forums to create a clear process of coordination, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and hand-over of the Youth Forum;
5. Facilitate the meeting of youth at the Congress with high-level decision makers to advocate for youth-specific policy and to seek funding for their work;
6. Have a two-day youth pre-conference to discuss youth-issues of the region, network efficiently and adequately prepare youth to get the most out of ICAAP.
7. Technically and financially support the creation of a regional network of youth-run organizations working with youth.

Look around this room; what does that tell you about youth participation in this congress? Despite the fact that we comprise over half of all new infections, from the 19 plenary speakers at ICAAP, only “ONE” was a young person talking about youth issues.

For all the youth issues in the region and around the world, we had “ONE” chance to meaningfully address the entire congress had me speaking to you right now.

We were given only “ONE” day before the Congress to discuss, deliberate and strategize on all youth issues in all the countries that were represented here.

We stand firmly united against being tokenized on panels, relegated to abstract sessions and poster presentations, and denied funding to carry out our initiatives.

We hope that at the next ICAAP, we will not have to stand before you raising the same issues we are forced to raise again and again. We all know we need a great deal of CHANGE in the way we respond to AIDS in our region.

Many people think SOMEONE is doing something about the needs and concerns of youth and youth involvement; I did too until I saw the reality.

Constructive ways to ensure the momentum and successes of the previous 3 ICAAP youth forums in Melbourne, Kobe and now Colombo are sustained and expanded upon have already been raised with key conference organizers.

We will do all in our power and effort to ensure that a clear structure for planning, implementing and handing over the future ICAAP youth forums and programs is actioned and supported in full partnership with ALL ICAAP stakeholders. We hope that you'll make it to the table; we will be there, waiting for you.

It is our hope that one day when we ask the youth of the room to rise, they will be the ones who have known a world without AIDS.

See you in Bali.

*Statement composed by youth from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India,
Australia, PNG, Japan and from the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS*

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

History created

Papua New Guinea has created history when the National Alliance Party lead by it's party leader Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare was elected as the eight Prime Minister for Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea has never had a Prime Minister who served the full term and also to return from the election victorious to form the new government. With the re-election of Chief Sir Michael Somare, it is leading the country towards new direction.

Political stability has been created and will translate into so many tangible benefits for the country. Hopefully, we could also create stability within the Ministries and the former Ministers taking back their ministries. Political stability is the roadmap for investor confidence, it creates confidence within the economy and gives a positive outlook of Papua New Guinea.
Politics plays an important part of the economy, as it decides for the people who best we should use the resources and skills we have in Papua New Guinea together with the advance in technology. Prime Minister when annoucing his Care-taker Government says he is "determine to accelerate the process of bridging the infrstructure gap in the next 5 years', this is a sign of a committed leader and are sure that Grand Chief Somare will keep his word.
He has already proven that he wants competition within the Mobile Communication which sees Digicel, GreenCo and B'Mobile all having a carrier license. Despite so many critics, Papua New Guinea has had a very successful elections and continuation of the Government.




Mr Speaker, Members of the Eighth National Parliament.

First of all, I congratulate every member for being elected to the 8th National Parliament.

And Mr Speaker, I congratulate you in your election as Speaker for another term.

On behalf of the National Alliance Party and its coalition partners, I humbly accept the decision of the people’s representatives to be Prime Minister again.

The National Alliance Party wishes to thank the people of Papua New Guinea for their confidence in mandating the Party under the law to continue to govern. The country needs stability and continuity to progress. The mandate we now collectively have is founded on the people’s desire for certainty.

The Party went to election and won a total of 27 seats at the poll. And since the return of the writs, 14 Independent Members of Parliament have joined the Party. As the Parliament meets for the first time today, the National Alliance Party has 41 members out of the 109-member Parliament. And out of the 20 provinces in the country, 19 have Members of Parliament who are members of the National Alliance Party.

Mr Speaker, our people have spoken. The National Alliance Party translated the mandate from the people by signing the Warangoi Agreement individually with 12 political parties. And together 13 political parties signed the Warangoi Coalition Accord on Friday 10th August 2007. The Party also recognizes 3 other political parties and has secured understanding with them. Two parties will merge with two coalition partners. And one has committed itself to support the government.

Mr Speaker, over the past 5 years we have experienced what would happen when we work together in the interest of our country. Papua New Guinea experienced economic growth that is unprecedented. This experience will be used to achieve even greater heights over the next 5 years.

Mr Speaker, this coalition government was formed in East New Britain. All four electorates in the East New Britain Province were involved in its formation. Members of Parliament and their support teams were accommodated in the Kokopo, Rabaul, Gazelle and Pomio electorates. The individual Agreements were signed in Kokopo Town in the Kokopo electorate. And the Collective Agreement was signed in Warangoi in the Pomio Electorate.

Mr Speaker, this is an example of what could happen if we link our provinces with needed infrastructures. Inspired by this, I am determined to accelerate the process of bridging the infrastructure gap in our country over the next 5 years.

Mr Speaker, this is the second time that National Alliance had received the invitation to form government. On receiving the invitation to form government from the Governor General this time, the National Alliance Party further extended the invitation to its coalition partners. Today I am happy to once again lead this large but manageable coalition government. It is made up of seasoned leaders and fresh, energetic, young and articulate leaders. We will not only lead and govern but we will also prepare leaders for tomorrow.

This coalition government will use the next five years to build on our collective achievements to move our country forward. Every citizen, investor and genuine friend is part of our development team.

We will work with all Members of Parliament to deliver services to our people.
We will guard the sovereignty of our country.
We will help all our neighbours wherever we can.
We will use what the world offers to benefit our people and our country.
We will do all these and more with the help of our people and our friends.

Mr Speaker, I now announce the formation of the caretaker government. Members of the Caretaker Government are:

1. Hon Gabriel Kapris - Transport and Civil Aviation, Defence and Fisheries
2. Hon William Duma - Petroleum and Energy, Environment and Conservation, and Justice and Attorney General
3. Hon Andrew Kumbakor - Education, Housing & Urban Development, & Inter Government Relations
4. Hon Peter O’Neill - Trade and Industry & Higher Education, Research, Science & Technology
5. Hon Michael Ogio - Correctional Services, Community Development, Health & Mining
6. Hon Don PombPolye - Works, Public Services, Culture and Tourism,
7. Hon Puka Temu - Lands and Physical Planning, Education, Labour and Industrial Relations & Internal Security
8. Hon Patrick Pruaitch - Treasury & Finance & Forestry
9. Hon Paul Tiensten - Agriculture & Livestock, Foreign Affairs and Immigration & Bougainville Affairs
10. Hon Arthur Somare - National Planning & Rural Development & Public Enterprise, Communication & Development Corporation
I will be Prime Minister.

The Warangoi Agreement and the Warangoi Coalition Accord will form the basis upon which the Cabinet will be constituted over the next few days.

Thank you Mr Speaker.

Parliamentary Leader – National Alliance Party

Sunday, August 5, 2007

ICT Policy and Mobile Competition

Before I start this discussion I would like to say that I fully support the idea of “Mobile Competition” in Papua New Guinea. There is so much potential in mobile communications especially the potential of “wireless broadband” in which mobile carriers could tap into so that no longer should I go to an internet cafĂ© and discussion issues on scape but I can stay at home at do that also or even while drinking a martini on an imaginary boat that I possess.

Heni Goro gave a very interesting analysis (No such thing as open competition) in the Sunday Chronicles and Heni could not have done a better job as I was still trying to rearrange my thoughts. Please be mindful that the Grand Chief is a very patriotic person and will not be influenced by those outside of Papua New Guinea.

That being said, all competition including the mobile competition needs to take place within a solid policy framework which the Government as the protector of people must set in place. The ICT policy was set-up to protect the natural resource of the people of Papua New Guineans. So what is the so-called natural resource? The natural resource was the scarce AIRSPACE that Papua New Guinea owns.

International laws allows for AIRSPACE boundaries for every country including Papua New Guinea. The same can be said for Papua New Guinea’s sea boundaries which are covered under the International laws. The AIRSPACE and sea boundaries are the only natural scarce resources left where millions of kina can be generated with a solid policy framework for Papua New Guinea. We must be very careful on how our AIRSPACE is being used. Very soon Papua New Guinea will start to think about having its own satellite and move away from depending on Optus.

According to Sunday Chronicles commentary by Heni Goro, “The Net-co, Serv-Co model is the only option available – towards a monopolized regime structured to encourage competition”. I believe that was the message that the Grand Chief was giving out but people where too emotional to rationalize this. Papua New Guinea must control is natural resources and as such Common Carrier is a scarce resource.” It is the nerve center of whole telecommunication operation and only the State can have control over it, not outsiders……”

So where does it leave Digicel, GreenCom, and ServCo who are now access seekers under ICT policy that was passed? They can still operate in Papua New Guinea but it must be under the amended ICT policy which ICCC was instructed to issue to them in the NEC Decision 188/2007. I believe it is in the best interest of Digicel to stop these lawsuits and accept the NEC Decision 188/2007 as the Government is hell bent on protecting its scarce natural resource.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

9 year old Rhain Davis off to Manchester United

RHAIN Davis went to Manchester in pursuit of his dream. Yesterday he was the toast of all England.

The nine-year-old Australian boy came to the attention of soccer giant Manchester United after his grandfather sent the club DVD footage of him.

The Sun newspaper already thinks highly of his prospects, promoting him to the front page, his story read by 10 million people.

The story was then detailed inside Britain's biggest selling newspaper on pages normally reserved for serious news - pages four and five.

"Wonder kid Rhain Davis was signed by Manchester United after stunned scouts viewed a DVD featuring his mesmerising skills," it said.

By the fifth paragraph, however, the Poms had already begun the groundwork to claim him as their own.

"And the good news is that he could one day play for England as he has a UK passport through his mother's side," it said.

The extraordinary treatment from The Sun is unprecedented for a boy so young.

The front page lead hailed Rhain as a new Wayne Rooney, revealing his skills have been posted on YouTube and claiming they had already been seen by more than three million people.

The video footage uploaded shows Rhain has already perfected the samba-style stepover, popularised by Man United superstar Christiano Ronaldo, as well as displaying a tight control of the ball almost unheard of in a player so young.

Rhain's talents have also spread to clubs beyond Manchester United.


There is a poll of talent in Papua New Guinea's remote areas. Consider Marcus Bai as example or Toea Wisil to be another one. If only we can get scouts out to the remote areas and watch these kids'd be amazed how many of them make it in the big league.