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PNG RELATED STOCKS

  1. 99 Posts.
    This is why I believe PNG related stocks are going to rise now that Somare is in power, Oil Search is holding well despite the turmoil on the world markets but you watch this little beauty she is going to prove many wrong.

    Mark......


    Somare's magic persists in PNG
    Mary-Louise O'Callaghan, South Pacific correspondent
    August 06, 2002
    SON of Sana, father of the nation, master politician: the Somare magic did not disappoint yesterday as an entranced nation watched a small, impish, bearded man, approaching 70, retake PNG's reins with ease and aplomb, three decades after he first led the nation.

    It's a measure both of PNG's parlous state and Michael Somare's extraordinary appeal that this step back to the future did not feel contrived or unsustainable, despite the fact that "the Chief" has been out of PNG politics for almost as long as his face has appeared on the country's largest denomination banknote, the 50 kina.

    First elected in 1968 to his East Sepik constituency, a seat he has held with massive majorities ever since, there is no doubt that for many Papua New Guineans, "the Old Man" remains a potent and unifying symbol of all that PNG once hoped to be.

    A founding member of the PANGU (Papua and New Guinea United) Party, Sir Michael was just 30 when he first became prime minister of the newly independent nation of Papua New Guinea in 1975.

    Born in 1936 in Rabaul, where his first-generation colonial policeman father, Ludwig Somare, had been posted, Sir Michael inherited the traditional name Sana – "fight-maker and peace-maker" – from his father, and was initiated into his Murik people's customs before independence.

    He learnt to count and sing in Japanese when his family returned to the East Sepik region to what appears to have been a relatively benign Japanese occupation that ran schools for the local children – which was more than the Australian administration had been prepared to do before World War II.

    One of a tiny minority of Papua New Guineans who progressed to tertiary education in that era, the young Michael Somare decided to teach his fellow countrymen – but after a decade in education decided he could disseminate information faster as a journalist, and so joined the Australian territory's fledging broadcasting service in 1962.

    It was Somare as the leader of PANGU who did the most to force the pace of independence. When in 1972 this met up with the progressive policies of Australia's new Labor prime minister, Gough Whitlam, independence in 1975 became a fait accompli.

    A year after independence, Sir Michael forced a cut in the pay of departmental heads and ministers, and replaced big ministerial cars with smaller ones that consumed less fuel. It was a symbolic belt-tightening gesture to show the nation that leaders must cut back just as the rest of the nation was required to do.

    But for all that, it has been a chequered history.

    That first Somare government included as a planning priority an improved distribution of wealth – an aim in which that administration, and every administration since, has failed.

    When a rain-starved Port Moresby received a huge drenching right after Sir Michael took up his second term in office in 1982, many hailed "the Chief" for sending the much-needed rain. "There is no doubt that Mr Somare's reassuring magic is in the air," one reporter wrote at the time.

    But that period in office did little to advance the nation, as it sank into a pattern of greater political instability, robbing successive leaders of the capacity to make good decisions.

    A few years later, in 1989, allegations emerged – denied by Somare – that he had links with a Taiwanese swindler and improper relations with Asian logging companies.

    Yesterday's decision by PNG politicians to tie their colours to the Somare flag appears also to ignore the mixed record Sir Michael has produced in the variety of ministries he's held outside of the prime ministership.

    Shortly before independence, Sir Michael managed to avert – or, as it subsequently turned out, divert – a push for secession on Bougainville. It was an extraordinary feat that owed much to Somare's own charisma and political skills in seeking and achieving consensus.

    In 2000, Sir Michael was handed the Bougainville portfolio for these very reasons. Yet an older, more experienced and presumably wiser Sir Michael this time was unable to move the moribund peace process forward to a negotiated settlement.

    The experience revealed a man long removed from the cut and thrust of nuanced policy jousts, who could be relied upon to make fine-sounding declarations but with apparently no ability to see them carried through.

    As foreign minister in the 1990s, Sir Michael's attempt to raise PNG's – and his own – profile were mixed.

    An ill-fated attempt to become UN president was launched with little consultation with Canberra or anyone else who would have been crucial in supporting such an audacious move.

    When it failed, Sir Michael, at his cantankerous best, claimed the world had a "sabotaged view of Papua New Guinea as a country of cannibals, criminals and rascals".

    In May the following year, a similarly ill-considered outburst, promising to renegotiate all mining agreements following looming elections, wiped more than $300 million off the value of PNG-related stocks on the Australian Stock Exchange.

    But in PNG the Somare magic has persisted. This time around, however, it's a little different. More than 50 per cent of Papua New Guineans were born well after the Chief's post-independence glory days; they see Sir Michael as perhaps the most prominent and maybe the best-intentioned of a tired old team of leaders, which has not managed to deliver much in recent years.

    Sir Michael is acutely conscious of this, refusing to rest on the laurels of his reputation and yesterday repeatedly referring to the good team of technicians he has around him.

    And he may be right; a leader who in himself is a symbol of unity, backed up by competent, efficient ministers, just might be the way forward for the conundrum of energy and opportunism that is Papua New Guinea.
 
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