THE YEAR 2016 IN SUMMARY
HEADS OF MISSION CONFERENCE:
Heads of Mission returned to capital for a 2-day conference in February. They were invited by the Prime Minister to sit in and observe the Leaders’ Summit which he chaired on 18th February. Leaders at the summit included provincial governors and ministers.
On 19th February, the Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, and Chief Secretary to Government met with the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Heads of Mission for a breakfast session. The Prime Minister made two important announcements:
i. Appointment of few of Heads of Mission including our own HE Winnie Kiap, would be extended. This means those few would serve a second term of 4 years. In High Commissioner Kiap's case, this second term would commence from August 2015.
ii. He wanted to announce the foreign policy at the Leaders’ Summit in February 2017, and Heads of Mission were to be at the summit.
PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS:
The High Commissioner presented credentials to the President of the Republic of South Africa, HE Mr Jacob Zuma on May 13th.
The High Commissioner finally presented Credentials to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, HE General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on 25th December.
ENDING OF TERM:
Mr Nasser Tamei, who served as First Secretary at the London Mission, completed his three year term and returned to PNG on 30th December.
UK GOVERNMENT DELEGATIONS VISITING PNG:
Discussions had commenced for a royal visit but were aborted as a result of the UPNG students’ unrest in Port Moresby.
PNG GOVERNMENT DELEGATIONS VISITING LONDON:
i. In April, the Head of National Maritime Safety Authority, Mr Paul Munas led the PNG delegation to an IMO meeting.
ii. In May, the Governor of Northern Province, Hon Gary Juffa, attended the parliamentary committee on decolonisation at the Houses of Parliament. Particularly on the independence of Papua and West Papua from Indonesia.
iii. In June, the Governor-General, Sir Michael Ogio and Lady Ogio attended the Queens 90th Birthday celebrations in London.
iv. In October, the Governor of Milne Bay Province, Hon. Titus Philemon, led the PNG delegation to the IMO Maritime Environment Pollution Committee meeting which for PNG resulted in the important declaration of the Jomard Passage in Milne bay as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) under the International Maritime Law
First Secretary Nasser Tamei continued to represent PNG at International Cocoa and International Coffee Organisations meetings as well as at the International Maritime Organisation meetings.
The High Commissioner represented PNG at the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors meetings and at the Commonwealth Foundation Board of Governors meetings.
In May, the High Commissioner led the PNG delegation to the UN Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and represented the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting at the margins of UNGA in New York in September.
The High Commissioner represented PNG at the funeral of former Israeli president, Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem at the end of September.
In November, the High Commissioner led the PNG delegation to the Vatican for the consistory of Cardinal John Ribat, the first cardinal for PNG.
(i) The office space secured in January 2015 to serve as the PNG Mission in Geneva was surrendered in December as a result of lack of definite policy on establishment of that particular mission.
(ii) The High Commissioner was among a number of High Commissioners receiving certificates from the Queen for forest conservation under the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy programme. The NGO Cool Earth is coordinating a forest project in Milne Bay, registered under the QCC.
The High Commissioner is holding two important offices in the Commonwealth family since 2016.
i. Chair of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors;
ii. Chair of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Foundation Board of Governors.
The Commonwealth Secretariat BOG is overseeing reforms at the Secretariat.
IMO meetings including sub-committees meetings are convened all through the year and where possible are attended by the First Secretary. During the year, Captain Rahman of the National Maritime Safety Authority has attended some sessions. Highlight of the year is the approval of the Jomard Passage in the Milne Bay Province as a Particular Sensitive Sea Area.
PNG parliament ratified the International Coffee Agreement 2007 during the year, and the Instruments of Ratification were deposited at the ICO Headquarters in London on 16th December.
The International Cocoa Agreement 2010 is still to be ratified by the PNG parliament.
- PNG Nationals:
Kundu London processed 21 PNG passports in 2016, either for revalidation or renewals.
Mrs Debbie Oli-Pongi arrived from PNG in January to take up her position as Audit Manager with Deloitte LLP in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and the Baure family (Chevron) departed the UK to return to Kazakhstan in the summer.
More PNG employees of Chevron International took up their positions in Angola, West Africa, and registered with Kundu London - the Uberawa family from Milne Bay, and Mr Jinghan Phalanger and his family.
Mr Leonard Lapiso, a Senior Field Professional, arrived in the UK in May 2016 to commence employment with Halliburton Management Services based in Aberdeen in Scotland.
- PNG Students:
As we said goodbye to the students of 2015/2016, a new intake for 2016/2017 arrived. Registered with Kundu London so far is a PhD student in Scientific Computing at University of Warwick and 3 Chevening scholars undertaking Masters programmes - MSc Medical Physics at University of Surrey, MSc Accounting and Finance at University of Leeds and MSc in Clinical Oncology at the University of Birmingham.
Also registered with us is a PNG graduate student in France attending the Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management, a business school in the South of France, part of the Aix –Marseille University, founded in 1409.
A female Masters student from the Gulf Province is also registered at Kundu London and is attending the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the largest international graduate water education facility in the world based in Delft, The Netherlands
- Visa Issuance:
A total of 413 visas were issued at Kundu London. The majority of applications were for Tourist Visas (140), followed by the Business visa (96) and applications for Aid Worker (42) and Employment (40) visas. The rest of the applications were distributed across the 19 visa classes applied for.
There were 44 different nationalities who applied for the various visas to visit PNG; the majority of which were from the United Kingdom. The rest of the nationalities were predominantly from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
- Dual Citizenship:
During 2016, there was an increase in enquiries about dual citizenship from PNG nationals residing overseas and from foreigners with connections to PNG who are interested in applying for PNG citizenship.
The enabling legislation has been passed so now work on finalising the administrative process such as application form, fees, etc. is in progress and will formally advise the public once all processes for application is in order.
INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSAY CELEBRATIONS:
Evensong at Westminster Abbey was followed by a small reception for the diplomatic community in London and by a large PNG community celebration in Ipswich.
Three groups of young Papua New Guineans attended special events in the UK:
i. Bal Kama, David Rupa and Christina Giwe participated in the Commonwealth Youth gathering in London in March. Bal Kama received the Pacific Region Commonwealth Youth Award.
ii. Karau Kuna received the Whitley Foundation Award for conservation of tree kangaroos in April.
iii. Christina Giwe and Seini Fisi’ihoi-Rageau received the Queen’s Young Leadership Award in June.
HONOURS & AWARDS:
Neil Whiting formerly of M&E Partnership (PNG) and Paul Parven were invested with MBE and OBE respectively.
High Commissioner Winnie Kiap was invested with CBE.
- April – BBC4 interview on the PNG Supreme Court ruling on the asylum seekers in Lombrum, Manus Islands.
- October – Video interview by Andrew Wilkins of the “Pacific Advantage” Magazine.
A speech to the new Commonwealth Diplomats at their Induction programme.
NOVEMBER 2016 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner attended the Asia House black-tie dinner where the annual business award was presented to the president of Japan’s Hitachi Corporation.
The Commonwealth Secretariat was a major concern to High Commissioners in London who are governors on its board. UK envoy on board called on the High Commissioner in her capacity as the Board Chair, to discuss matters of concern about the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The High Commissioner was invited to visit Clarence House, residence of HRH the Prince of Wales, where Christmas gifts were on display. Proceeds go toward the charities of the Prince in the Prince’s Trust.
The High Commissioner attended the Wantok Support Charity meeting in Harlesden, London.
The High Commissioner attended the Antigua & Barbuda Independence Day service.
The High Commissioner as Chair of the ComSec BOG cancelled a special board meeting scheduled for this day. The reason for the meeting no longer existed as advised by the Commonwealth Secretary-General. The Board secretary met with the High Commissioner/Chair to discuss going forward.
The High Commissioner along with First Secretary Tamei, attended the Commonwealth Foundation Board of Governors meeting. The High Commissioner is vice-chair of the CFBOG by virtue of being chair of the Foundation Executive Committee.
The High Commissioner attended rehearsals at Wellington Barracks, with all other High Commissioners for the Remembrance commemoration scheduled for 13 November.
The High Commissioner met with the High Commissioner of Cyprus to discuss matters on the agenda of the pending Executive Committee of the ComSec BOG.
The High Commissioner and Consular Assistant Eva Vickerman attended the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund fair at the Kensington Town hall. Kundu London contributed £300.
Remembrance Sunday when all High Commissioners joined Her Majesty and members of the Royal family and senior UK government representatives including the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph, Whitehall, in remembrance of the fallen during the world wars.
The Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General with the secretary of the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG briefed the High Commissioner/Board Chair on the agenda matters for the Board Executive Committee to meet the next day.
High Commissioners of the Pacific (Fiji and Tonga) met to discuss the agenda issues on the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG ExCo.
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG ExCo meeting as ex officio (chair of the BOG). First Secretary Tamei attended as the PNG representative given High Commissioner was chair of the meeting.
The High Commissioner attended the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy presentations at Buckingham Palace and received a certificate for the forest conservation project in Orangerie Bay in Milne Bay Province. Several other High Commissioners received certificates for similar projects in their countries. The Milne Bay project is basically an initiative of the NGO Cool Earth.
The High Commissioner attended Kuwait’s book awards to best writers on Middle Eastern subjects. Received two books by Sheik Mubarak of Kuwait who was presented the awards.
The High Commission received instructions from the Papal office in Rome for the High Commissioner to attend the consistory of Cardinal Ribat of PNG to be held on 19 November at the Vatican. This was in response to the High Commissioner’s request on 18 October to the Vatican.
The High Commissioner attended the debriefing of UK Prime Minister’s recent visit to India at FCO.
The High Commissioner left for Rome.
The High Commissioner led the PNG delegation in Rome for Cardinal Ribat’s consistory and was presented to His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Church and Head of the Vatican State.
The High Commissioner and Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe, accredited from Brussels to the Vatican, attended the ceremony where Cardinal Ribat received congratulations of hundreds.
In the evening the High Commissioner and Ambassador Kalinoe hosted dinner for the PNG delegation.
Still as the leaders of the PNG delegation, the High Commissioner attended the open-air Mass at St Peter’s Square, in honour of the jubilee of the year of Mercy.
Back in London the High Commissioner received the Director of the Commonwealth Foundation to discuss membership of the Board of Governors of the CF.
The High Commissioner also attended the launching of the Commonwealth Elections Network at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The Commonwealth Secretariat BOG secretary briefed the High Commissioner on the forthcoming meeting of the Board.
21 – 24 November:
First Secretary Tamei attended the 97th session of the Maritime Safety Committee meeting at the International Maritime Organization.
The High Commissioner attended and spoke at the Roundtable on violence against women at Marlborough House.
First Secretary Tamei attended the Ypres Company dinner at Sandhurst Military Academy in Camberley, Surrey. His attendance was at the invitation of Cadet Officer Babun Kombage of the PNGDF doing his military training there.
The High Commissioner attended the UAE reception at the National Art Gallery. The UAE Embassy had sent gifts of Christmas hampers to Kundu London in the past.
The Private Secretary to the Queen hosted lunch at Buckingham Palace for the Realm High Commissioners.
OCTOBER 2016 ACTIVITIES
In the lead up to October 10th meeting of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors meeting, the High Commissioner who is the Chair of the Board, met with the High Commissioners of St Kitts & Nevis (Vice-chair) and Barbados to discuss issues on the Board meeting agenda including reform to the Secretariat proposed by the Secretary-Genera.
The High Commissioner met with the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General for Operations, as well as the secretary of the Board of Governors for briefing on the BOG meeting agenda.
The High Commissioner was interviewed by Andrew Wilkins of Business Advantage.
The High Commissioner chaired her first meeting of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House.
The High Commissioner attended a Roundtable on death penalty hosted by the UK Foreign Office and the Australian High Commission. The message was for abolishing death penalty.
10 – 12 October
First Secretary Tamei attended the 66th session of the Technical Cooperation Committee at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). At the meeting, PNG jointly with Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Zealand. Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu and in agreement with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP) presented and got approval for an IMO presence in the Pacific region.
An IMO professional would work within the SPC based in Fiji and in tandem also with SPREP in Samoa to implement the IMO mandate for safer shipping on cleaner oceans.
The Commonwealth Foundation held a briefing session for the Pacific High Commission officials on its activities in the Pacific.
The High Commissioner gave a speech at the opening of the induction programme for new Commonwealth diplomats in London. The other two speakers were the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and Lord Howell, former UK Minister responsible for the Commonwealth and current Chair of Commonwealth Associations.
Albert and Lollou Tan of the TST Group of companies in PNG, called on the High Commissioner in a courtesy call.
The High Commissioner in her capacity as Dean of the Pacific High Commissioners and Commonwealth Deans of Africa, Asia and Caribbean regions, met with the Commonwealth Secretary-General at her invitation. Subject of discussion was the dire financial position the Commonwealth Secretariat finds itself in.
The High Commissioner attended the closing of the Commonwealth diplomats induction programme at Marlborough House.
The High Commissioner attended the reception hosted by the Fijian High Commission in honour of the Fiji President, HE Mr Jioji Konousi Konrote.
17 – 20 October:
First Secretary Tamei attended the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds at the IMO, in particular the 1992 Fund Assembly of which PNG is a member.
The High Commissioner met the Governor of Mile Bay Province, Hon Titus Philemon, on arrival at Heathrow. The Governor and Milne Bay Provincial Administrator Michael Kape, were to attend the IMO Environment and Pollution Committee meeting as declaration of the Jomard Passage in Milne Bay as Special Sea area was on the agenda.
Captain Nurur Rahman, Director of Operations, NMSA, was also in London for the meeting. The High Commissioner, First Secretary Tamei, Assistant Consular Officer Eva Vickerman, briefed the Governor and delegation on the programme of their visit to London.
The week-long IMO 70th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting opened and was attended by all members of the PNG delegation, which comprised of the High Commissioner as Permanent Representative to the IMO, Captain Nurur Rahman of PNG National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA), the Governor of Milne Bay, Hon. Titus Philemon, his Provincial Administrator, Mr Michael Kape and First Secretary Tamei.
PNG Coffee during coffee/tea break was provided for IMO delegates by NMSA and Kundu London.
The PNG delegation presented its proposal for the Jomard Passage to be declared Particular Special Sea Area to the MEPC. From there, the proposal was referred to a working committee of the MEPC.
During a break in the IMO MEPC meeting, the High Commissioner and Capt Rahman accompanied the Governor of Milne Bay to present a gift to the IMO Secretary-General Ki Tack Lim. The gift was an ebony bowl.
The High Commissioner attended the launch of the Prince’s Trust International at the Guildhall. The Prince’s Trust went international after its 40 years existence.
PNG’s submission for to designate the region surrounding the Jomard Entrance, part of the Louisiade Archipelago at the south eastern extent of Milne Bay Province, as a Particular Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) was approved; making it the 14th in the world.
The High Commissioner met with the secretary of the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG to discuss Board matters.
The High Commissioner hosted lunch for the Governor and Provincial Administrator of Milne Bay, attended by as many Milne Bay UK residents as possible and other Papua New Guineans.
The High Commissioner then took the Governor and Provincial Administrator for a tour of the Houses of Parliament including visiting the chambers of the Commons and the Lords and observed debates in progress. The tour was kindly facilitated by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association staff members.
The High Commissioner attended the Barbados reception in honour of Barbadian Prime Minister.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei took the Governor and PA of Milne Bay to the Heathrow to depart for PNG.
SEPTEMBER 2016 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner, as chair of the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG, met with Commonwealth Secretary-General Scotland to discuss the pervasive negative media attention on her and implications of these on her, on the Commonwealth Secretariat and on the Commonwealth.
The High Commissioner informed First Secretary Tamei of the instructions for him to return to PNG at the end of his three-year posting come December 2016 and for his part-time UK law studies, of which he had successfully concluded two years to cease. He will reassume his part-time legal studies at the University of PNG given the similarities in PNG law derived from British common law and jurisprudence (case law).
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council briefing on the Commonwealth Green Finance Facility available to the private sector for small green projects.
High Commissioner Kiap hosted the meeting of the Wantok Support Charity at the office.
Dr Nabeel Goheer of the Commonwealth Secretariat and Secretary to the BOG called on the High Commissioner who is chair of the BOG to discuss matters of the BOG.
Albert Mariner, Policy Director for Caribbean and the Pacific at Commonwealth Secretariat called on the High Commissioner to discuss planned visit to PNG in relation to the PNG’s 2017 general elections.
High Commissioner Kiap attended a briefing on marine economy by the Minister of State for the Commonwealth, Baroness Anelay.
First Secretary Tamei attended a briefing at the Foreign and commonwealth Office on the project called "Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme (CMEP),"which aims to have direct beneficial impact on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Officers of the Commonwealth Secretariat called on the High Commissioner to discuss the work they are doing for the PNG sovereign wealth fund under the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation.
In her capacity as chair of the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG, the High Commissioner met with the Deans of Commonwealth regions to discuss the negative media attention on Secretary-General Scotland and how to address these.
Evensong was held at Westminster Abbey for the Independence anniversary of PNG. The High Commissioner did the Second Reading.
First Secretary attended the passing out parade of three (3) PNGDF soldiers at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland drumming in Edinburgh, Scotland. The soldiers were namely, Warrant Officer Billy Vele, Private Tom Epo and Private Megaiya Keyaga. Private Keyaga, to his credit and that of the PNGDF, was voted best piper on the course by the Piping School's instructors.
A small reception was held at Dukes Hotel, St James’s, to celebrate PNG’s 41st independence anniversary.
The High Commissioner attended the Roundtable on UK/EU/Commonwealth relations held at Australia House and co-chaired by the High Commissioners of Antigua & Barbuda and Australia.
PNG Independence Day anniversary. Office closed.
PNG community celebrated independence in Ipswich. The High Commissioner gave the key-note address.
The High Commissioner left for New York to attend to the Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting at the margin of the UN General Assembly.
Formal opening of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The High Commissioner and other DFA officials and Kundu New York diplomats accompanied Minister Pato to the opening.
The High Commissioner deputised for the PNG Foreign Minister by attending the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting.
Sir Puke Temu, leader of the PNG delegation to the UNGA, presented PNG’s country statement at the General Assembly on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
The High Commissioner hosted dinner for the Ministers and delegation members.
Kundu New York hosted a PNG independence anniversary celebration which was attended by Pacific delegations at the UNGA.
19 – 23 September
First Secretary Tamei and Mr Mick Wheeler, the Coffee Industry Corporation representative based in the United Kingdom, attended the 117th session of the International Coffee Council at the International Coffee Organization (ICO).
The general decline in trend of coffee production should hopefully see an increase in global prices that could help the industry in PNG. Mr Wheeler’s contribution to the strategic review of the ICO has been invaluable and noted by the Executive Director of the Organization along with member state representatives.
The High Commissioner returned to London from New York.
UNITECH Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert Schram called on the High Commissioner. The Vice-Chancellor was visiting Oxford.
The High Commissioner was instructed by Prime Minister O’Neill to attend the funeral of former President Peres of Israel who died on that morning.
Arrived at Tel Aviv and met by PNG Hon Consul in Israel, Dr Jacob Weiss, and Roving Ambassador to the Pacific, HE Tibor Shalev-Schlosser. Amb Shalev-Schlosser was to be High Commissioner’s liaison officer.
The High commissioner, as Ambassador accredited to Israel, leader of the PNG delegation and sole representative of the PNG Government attended the funeral service and burial of former President Shimon Peres of Israel.
27 – 30 September
First Secretary Tamei attended the 94th session of the International Cocoa Council where the Council was informed of PNG finalizing the ratification process of acceding to the International Cocoa Agreement of 2010; and committed PNG to being on the Review Working Group of the mentioned Agreement when the review is set to commence in October 2017; five years after the Agreement came into force in 2012.
AUGUST 2016 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner, as chair of the ComSec BOG, met with the Dean of the Commonwealth, the High Commissioner of Botswana to discuss persistent press statements about the new Commonwealth Secretary-General. A very worrying situation which had to be found addressed.
Rohan Baure and family of PNG called in to say “good bye” to staff of Kundu London before their return to Kazakhstan a second stint, still with Chevron, the largest oil company operating there.
The High Commission, in consultation with PNG National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA), directed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to transfer interest accrued from PNG’s early financial contributions, as a member state of IMO, to the Organization’s International Cooperation Fund. Interest accrued from early payment of annual contributions is an incentive to get member states of the IMO to pay their contributions early so the Secretariat can do its work to regulate international shipping to make it expedient and safer on cleaner oceans.
The High Commissioner met with officers of the NGO Cool Earth to discuss the forest conservation project it is running in Milne Bay Province. For which it is proving difficult to obtain endorsement of the PNG Forest Authority. The project is to come under the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy programme.
High Commissioner Kiap was invited to lunch with the Chairman of the John Swire & Sons, Barnaby Swire and CEO Merlyn Swire, at Swire House.
The Diplomatic Police Group was called to disperse a small crowd of West Papua protestors who demanded to present a letter to Prime Minister through the High Commission. The letter was forwarded on through the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The High Commissioner called on Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr William Dihm in Port Moresby. A few matters were discussed including the proposed visit of the Duke of York to PNG, and re-appointment of the High Commissioner.
First Secretary Tamei along with Acting High Commissioner for Tonga, Mr Sonata Tupou visited the Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) to view the facilities and to discuss the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme (CMEP), which aims to have direct beneficial impact on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The overall aim of the project, funded by the UK Government and based on former UK Prime Minister Cameron's commitment at the 2015 CHOGM in Malta, is focused on developing a better understanding of marine resources in Commonwealth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) assisting with practical management initiatives with a view of supporting sustainable, growing marine economies in SIDS that creates employment, drives national economic growth, reduces poverty, ensures food security and builds resilience against external shocks.
High Commissioner Kiap called on Peter Langslow, CEO of Steamships in Port Moresby, to introduce herself and to inform of the close relations between herself and the John Swire & Sons chair and CEO in London.
The High Commissioner met with officials of the Department of Personnel Management, Port Moresby to discuss formalising her re-appointment as she had served one year of the second term of 4 years without formal appointment by the NEC.
The High Commissioner of Antigua & Barbuda called on the High Commissioner to solicit support for their membership of IMO.
High Commissioners met with Baroness Anelay, Minister of State for Commonwealth, to discuss Brexit and its implications on the Commonwealth.
The High Commissioner received advice from HQ for First Secretary Tamei to return to HQ at the end of his 3-year posting.
JULY 2016 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner of PNG, Her Excellency Winnie Kiap, was welcomed at Marlborough House by the Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland as the new Chair of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors. High Commissioner Kiap’s 2-year term as Chair commenced on this day 1st July
The Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Foundation called on the High Commissioner to discuss civil society programmes including film-making to be introduced to PNG and other Pacific member states.
4 – 8 July:
First Secretary Tamei attended the International Maritime Organization Council Session at IMO headquarters at Albert Embankment in London.
High Commissioner Kiap and Fiji’s High Commissioner Jitoko Tikolevu met with Sir David King, climate change expert at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to discuss how the Pacific islands can access the UK Climate Fund of £8bn for building resiliency and adaptation. Such advice was not readily available and we requested that it be sent to the PNG and Fiji High Commissions later.
Two officers from the Amnesty International called on the High Commissioner to discuss the Australian asylum seekers camp on Manus Island, PNG. They were advised of the recent PNG’s Supreme Court ruling against the Australian mechanism and calling for the disbandment of the camp and for Australia to take the asylum seekers out of PNG.
The UK had a new prime minister in Theresa May.
The High Commissioner received Melanie Hopkins, UK High Commissioner designate to Fiji. Ms Hopkins was about to depart for her new post in Suva.
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Women’s Summit held at Marlborough House. Interesting as many female parliament speakers were present including the Fijian speaker.
The High Commissioner hosted the fund-raising BBQ for the Wantok Support Charity at the residence.
18 – 22 July:
First Secretary Tamei attended the Sub-Committee meeting of International Maritime Organization instruments at IMO headquarters at Albert Embankment in London.
First Secretary Tamei attended the Education Conference organized by Embassy Magazine at Kings College, Strand in London. In addition to scholarships available for PNG scholars through the British Foreign Office Chevening scholarship and the Commonwealth, participants were informed of the British Council scholarships that can also be accessed.
The High Commissioner attended the Queen’s Canopy meeting held at Buckingham Palace.
The High Commissioner attended briefing on Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting to be held in New York on 22 September 2016.
First Secretary attended the farewell lunch of outgoing Malaysian Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization, Mr Zulkurnian Ayub. He will retain his title as Chair of the Technical Cooperation Committee and will be still attending IMO meetings from Malaysian maritime headquarters. His support for PNG and the Pacific on maritime affairs has been invaluable.
The High Commissioner, who is accredited to Egypt, attended the Egypt’s day reception.
First Secretary Tamei assisted Cadet Officer Babun Zetelo Kombage with a cultural presentation consisting of PNG artefacts, photographs, and cuisine at the prestigious Sandhurst Military Academy in Berkshire. CO Kombage a new recruit of the PNG Defence Force is undertaking a one-year intensive junior cadet officer training at Sandhurst.
The High Commissioner met with Dr Nabeel Goheer, Secretary of the ComSec board of governors to discuss workings of the BOG.
The 2017 budget estimates were finalised and forwarded to HQ.
JUNE 2016 ACTIVITIES
The board of the Commonwealth Secretariat met for the first time to conduct board business since the new Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC took office on 1st April 2016. In this meeting, the PNG High Commissioner, Winnie Kiap was appointed Chair of the Board of Governors for a period of two years.
First Secretary Tamei attended the UK United Nations Association event – The Next UN Secretary General: Meet the Candidates at the Barbican Hall in Central London. The candidates, from Europe, outlined their vision for the UN if selected as the new UN Secretary General later in 2016. The candidates were António Guterres: Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and former Prime Minister of Portugal.
Vuk Jeremić: President of the Centre for International Relations and Sustainable Development, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Serbia.
Dr Igor Lukšić: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Montenegro.
The Governor-General of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Ogio, Lady Ogio and entourage arrived in London for the celebrations of the Queen’s 90th birthday.
High Commissioner Kiap, First Secretary Tamei, and Personal Assist Mrs Herath, met and briefed the Governor-General and party on the official programme of the Queen’s birthday celebrations, and other events during their stay in London.
The High Commissioner hosted the Governor-General and party to a dinner at her residence.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary met with HRH The Duke of York at Buckingham Palace to discuss his proposal to visit PNG at the end of July or early August 2016. To be deferred as a result of university students protests against the prime minister and shooting of students by police on 8th June, the day before.
First Secretary Tamei took the Governor-General and Official Secretary Tipo Vuatha to the meeting of Governors-General at Buckingham Palace in the afternoon.
High Commissioner Kiap and the Governor-General with Lady Ogio attended the Queen’s birthday service at St Paul’s Cathedral. High Commissioner then went on to a reception at the Guildhall while the Governor-General and Lady Ogio went to lunch at Buckingham Palace with other governors-general.
The High Commissioner with the Governor-General and Lady Ogio attended the reception hosted by Prime Minister Cameron at No. 10 Downing Street. All other governors-general and high commissioners are at the reception, after which they attended the Queen’s Birthday Trooping the Colour.
The Governor-General and party left for PNG in the evening.
Public holiday in PNG. The High Commissioner met with the Director of the Commonwealth Foundation to discuss the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Foundation Board of Governors. The High Commissioner chairs the ExCo.
The High Commissioner attended the Foreign Secretary’s reception in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday.
The High Commissioner chaired the second meeting of the Commonwealth Foundation BOG Executive Committee.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary hosted the new UK Deputy High Commissioner to PNG, Simon Burton to lunch to farewell him.
The High Commissioner attended the Royal Ascot.
The High Commissioner attended the meeting of Wantok Support Charity held at Kundu London. The Charity will host the community 41st independence celebrations in Ipswich on Saturday 17th September 2016.
Mr Nigel Merrick of the PNG law firm Warner Shand called in to Kundu London to collect documentation regarding his investiture at Buckingham Palace. He was invested with an MBE.
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s garden party at Marlborough House to celebrate her 100 days in office.
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Foundation BOG meeting at Marlborough House.
The High Commissioner attended the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace where 60 young people chosen from across the Commonwealth received their awards from Her Majesty the Queen. Two young women from PNG Christina Giwe and Seini Fisi’ihoi were among the awardees.
The brief on the Brexit referendum held the day before on 23rd June, was commenced.
In support of the two PNG young awardees, the High Commissioner attended the Queen’s Young Leaders gathering at the Commonwealth Secretariat where the Young Leaders and their High Commissioners were photographed with the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
First meeting between the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) took place when the High Commissioner of Fiji, HE Mr Jitoko Tikoleveu and the A/High Commissioner of Tonga, Mr Sione Tupou, met with the High Commissioner at Kundu London.
The brief on Brexit implications was finally completed and dispatched to HQ.
The High Commissioner attended a briefing on De-risking held at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
First Secretary Tamei attended the Consular Corps Lunch at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, where Jacob-Rees-Mogg MP spoke on the result of the Brexit vote and way forward for Britain and the Conservative Party.
MAY 2016 ACTIVITIES
A public holiday in the UK, but the High Commissioner and First Secretary met with the Governor of Northern Province, Hon Garry Juffa, who was to attend the parliamentary meeting on independence of the Indonesian province – Papua.
The High Commissioner attended the meeting on Papua, as an observer. Governor Garry Juffa attended the meeting on his own, not representing the Government of PNG. The Pacific sent a high level delegation led by the Prime Minister of Tonga and consisted of ministers from Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. The meeting was at the Houses of Parliament.
High Commissioners who are members of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors, met with Secretary-General Scotland in an introductory session.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary hosted Governor Garry Juffa to lunch. They also met with him later in the day to discuss a project to conserve the forest along the Kokoda Track sponsored by Australia, UK, and PNG. UK has pulled out and PNG is yet to make its financial contribution. Australia suggested that the project be part of the Queen’s Canopy programme which focuses on forest conservation.
The Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen called on the High Commissioner to discuss the Queen’s Canopy programme and the possible visit of a member of the Royal Family to PNG.
High Commissioner Kiap was invested with the Commander of the British Empire award at Buckingham Palace.
The High Commissioner hosted the meeting of the Wantok Support Charity at Kundu London.
The High Commissioner called on the High Commissioner of South Africa to discuss her pending presentation of Credentials to the President of South Africa.
The High Commissioner departed for South Africa to present her Credentials.
In Pretoria, the High Commissioner joined other 15 diplomats in a rehearsal in preparation for presentation of Credentials.
The High Commissioner presented a copy of her Credentials to the Chief of State Protocol at the South African Department of Foreign and International Coordination. High Commissioner Kiap then joined the other diplomats and all presented Credentials to the President of South Africa, HE Mr Jacob Zuma.
The High Commissioner was taken on a cultural tour of Pretoria before departing for London.
The High Commissioner attended Israeli national day reception.
The High Commissioner departed for Egypt to present her Credentials to the President of Egypt.
The High Commissioner presented a copy of the Credentials to Chief of Protocol in Cairo. As the Recall Letter for the previous High Commissioner as not available, an issue arose when the High Commissioner met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs who insisted on the Letter of Recall. Kundu London searched the records and Her Majesty signed the Recall of Mr Noel Levi, who was High Commissioner in London until 1996.
The presentation of Credentials scheduled for 22nd May was cancelled by the Egyptian government.
The presentation of Credentials was reinstated but deferred to 23rd May. Considering the High Commissioner was to lead the PNG delegation to the Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23-24 May, it was not possible for her to remain for the rescheduled ceremony.
The High Commissioner left Cairo for Istanbul.
The High Commissioner held a breakfast meeting with the Mr Fred Sarufa of Kundu New York, and the Hon Consul of PNG in Turkey, Dr Celal Metin.
The High Commissioner and Mr Sarufa met other Papua New Guineans representing civil society, the disabled, and academia.
The rest of the PNG delegation did not arrive in Istanbul.
After the closing ceremony of the Humanitarian Summit, Hon Consul Metin hosted dinner for the whole PNG contingent.
The High Commissioner attended a lunch meeting with other deans of the Commonwealth regions to discuss the proposal for a group of high commissioners to form a collective Vice-Chair of the ComSec BOG.
The Forum of Small Island States met and among other matters agreed to support the candidacy of High Commissioner Kiap for the ComSec BOG chair.
The High Commissioner and the High Commissioner of Seychelles participated in the WAMM Roundtable at Marlborough House. Discussion was on banking and access of credits by women entrepreneurs.
The High Commissioner received a phone call from the office of HRH The Prince of Wales seeking opinions on a project to be sponsored by HRH.
The High Commissioner attended the Wantok Support Charity AGM.
APRIL 2016 ACTIVITIES
The new Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, took office at the Commonwealth Secretariat. The High Commissioner attended her welcome celebrations at Marlborough House.
The High Commissioner decided to be a Pacific nominee for the chair of ComSec Board of Governors.
The High Commissioner attended the policy dialogue on climate change after Paris COP21, coordinated by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
High Commissioners who are members of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors, met with Secretary-General Scotland in an introductory session.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary hosted PNG students to lunch. Regrettably, not all the students were able to attend due to distances or study pressure given students sit exams in May.
The Government of the Republic of Cyprus gave an award to Mr Amitav Banerji a long-time senior officer at the Commonwealth Secretariat. The award was in recognition of his contribution to the Commonwealth. High Commissioner attended the award ceremony at the High Commission of Cyprus.
The High Commissioner hosted the Managing Director of the PNG National Maritime Safety Authority, Mr Paul Unas and Captain Narur Rahman of NMSA to dinner, which was also attended by First Secretary Tamei. Mr Unas and Captain Rahman attended some critical sessions of the International Maritime Organisation.
The High Commissioner hosted lunch for the Commonwealth female high commissioners in London to farewell the outgoing High Commissioner of Jamaica, and to welcome the new High Commissioner of Rwanda.
The High Commissioner joined some High Commissioners in laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph, to commemorate ANZAC Day and attended the ANZAC Day reception at Australia House.
A delegation from the Commonwealth Countries League Fund visited the High Commissioner to discuss viable means of accountability of scholarships they offer to girls in some Highland schools.
The High Commissioner attended the press conference for young Whitley Foundation awardees. A young Papua New Guinean, Mr Karau Kuna was an awardee for his work in conservation of tree kangaroos in Morobe Province. In the evening, the awardees were introduced by Sir Richard Attenborough and received their awards from HRH The Princess Royal at the Royal Geographic Society.
The BBC4 Radio interviewed the High Commissioner on the PNG Supreme Court judgement concerning the Australian asylum camp in Manus.
The Whitley awardee Karau Kuna visited Kundu London to pay a courtesy call on the High Commissioner and to show the award itself.
MARCH 2016 ACTIVITIES
1 – 4 March
First Secretary Tamei attended the 3rd session of the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue at the International Maritime Organization.
1 – 5 March:
The High Commissioner took one week leave after the Heads of Mission Conference in Port Moresby mid-February.
First Secretary Tamei met with Sarah Linton of the Political Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat to help organize to her visit to PNG to discuss electoral support for the 2017 PNG National general elections.
6 -7 March:
The High Commissioner travelled back to London.
First Secretary Tamei attended the 8th Chemical and Tanker Conference given attempts by the International Maritime Organization to push through international legislation, on the back of COP 23 meeting in Paris, which affects tankers. Tankers export PNG LNG to Asian markets.
The High Commissioner attended the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Women’s Association in celebration of the International Women’s Day. Interesting was the women who told their stories about being the first women to be appointed to the British foreign service after the WW2.
Kundu London Staff meeting.
As part of Commonwealth Day, a seminar on education was held at the Parliament House attended by the High Commissioner. Followed by the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey attended by Her Majesty The Queen and senior members of the royal family.
Flags of Commonwealth member states were carried into the Abbey. The PNG flag was carried by Mrs. Tamara Babao-Sadgrove, Programme Assistant, Economic Policy Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The day ended with a reception at Marlborough House, attended by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
High Commissioner Kiap and First Secretary Tamei assisted Hon. Labi Amaiu, MP for Moresby North-East and his staff to acquire Schengen visas to travel to Germany to finalize procurement of a mobile health facility and equipment for his electorate.
Sir Anand Satyanand, Chair of Commonwealth Foundation and Mr Vijay Krishnarayan, Director of the Foundation, called on the High Commissioner to discuss matters concerning the foundation.
The High Commissioners held a dinner and reception courtesy of the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Guild Hall, in honour of the Queen’s birthday. Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh attended the reception.
First Secretary Tamei met with Mr Bal Kama, the Pacific Regional Winner of the Commonwealth Youth Award. Mr Kama is a PNG PhD scholar in Law at the Australia National University in Canberra.
The High Commissioner was elected chair of the Commonwealth Foundation Executive Committee and chaired her first ExCo meeting.
First Secretary Tamei attended the annual Maritime Attaché Representatives Committee lunch with fellow International Maritime Organization member state representatives.
The High Commissioner welcomed and hosted HE Mr Joshua Kalinoe, Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the EU, and his family to dinner at the Residence.
Received advice from DFA HQ that First Secretary Tamei would be replaced in December 2016 after serving the designated 3 year term. Thoughts prepared on how to defer Mr Tamei’s departure in consideration of the 4 year law degree course he is undertaking at the University of London.
Dampness and bad smell in some parts of Haus Somare, the High Commissioner’s residence, were inspected and found to be caused by water dripping inside the kitchen wall.
Two young people attending the Commonwealth Youth gathering called in at Kundu London: Christina Giwe and David Rupa.
The Realm High Commissioners had lunch with the Private Secretary to the Queen and his team at the residence of the Australian High Commissioner.
The High Commissioner attended a farewell reception in honour of the departing Commonwealth Secretary-General, HE Mr Kamalesh Sharma.
The High Commissioner attended Mr Kamalesh Sharma’s Valedictory Speech at Kings College, London.
FEBRUARY 2016 ACTIVITIES
Mr Mick Wheeler, representative of the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation in London, called on the High Commissioner to discuss International Coffee Organisation matters including the World Coffee Conference in Addis Ababa in March 2016 which a delegation from PNG was to attend.
The High Commissioner attended a panel discussion on the new health concern – Ziga – at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Mr Vijay Krishnarayan, Director of Commonwealth Foundation and Chair of the Foundation, Sir Anand Satyanand called on the High Commissioner to discussion pending Board of Governors meeting mid-year.
1 – 5 February:
First Secretary Tamei attended the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watch-keeping at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
First Secretary Tamei attended and defended PNG positions at the Preparatory Discussion Group 3rd Joint Ministerial Conference of the Paris and Tokyo MOUs on Port State Control at the IMO. The actual conference will be held in Vancouver, Canada in April 2017.
Mr Lluis Gilbert of the Media World Focus called on the High Commissioner to discuss outstanding contracts with GOPNG agencies.
Ms Eva Vickerman, Consular Assistant, attended the “Destination” exhibition with the PNGTPA/London officials, on behalf of Kundu London.
The High Commissioner attended Wantok Support Charity meeting in Essex.
The new Fijian High Commissioner Tikolevu called on the High Commissioner.
Certificate of Identity was issued to a PNG student (from Rabaul) on holiday from a university in China. Her travel documents were pickpocketed while on holiday in London.
The High Commissioner left for PNG for the biennial Heads of Mission/Post conference.
Heads of Mission/Post attended a church service at the St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Port Moresby and attended dinner at the Grand Papua Hotel, hosted by the Foreign Minister, Hon Rimbink Pato.
Heads of Mission/Post’s conference.
Heads of Mission attended the annual Leaders’ Summit chaired by the Prime Minister.
A group of HOMs met with Secretary for Personnel Management, Secretary for Justice and the State Solicitor on the matter of outstanding contracts of employment.
15 – 19 February
First Secretary Tamei attended the Sub-Committee on Pollution, Prevention and Response at the International Maritime Organization.
Heads of Mission/Post met with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill the Hon. Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration for breakfast. The Prime Minister undertook to ensure outstanding contracts are attended to.
The High Commissioner attended the commissioning of new Heads of Mission/Post by the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration and on the same day, attended the meeting of the Women in Leadership in the Public Service.
First Secretary Tamei had a working lunch meeting with INMARSAT, a British satellite telecommunications company relating to International Maritime Organization usage and regulation of mobile telecommunication on vessels.
JANUARY 2016 ACTIVITIES
The High Commission opened for official business.
Tabloid newspaper, The Sun, carried an article on cannibalism in PNG. The integrity of the article is questioned and its implications on business and investment and tourism for PNG have to be managed.
With illegal activities in the neighbourhood, CCTV cameras and security lights were fitted to the frontage of the High Commissioner’s residence.
The High Commissioner hosted a dinner in honour of the Primate and Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, the Most Reverend Clyde Igara. The Archbishop had come to the UK to attend a meeting of Primates at Canterbury Cathedral.
The High Commissioner, First Secretary and Consular Assistant met to discuss how to respond to the The Sun article on cannibalism in PNG. A draft response was prepared thereafter, sent to DFAHQ for endorsement however, received no response.
Mr Vijay Krishnarayan, Director of Commonwealth Foundation, called on the High Commissioner.
The High Commissioner joined few other Heads of Mission at the home of Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Dr Josephine Ojiambo as she returned from her son’s funeral in Kenya.
In following up on the British business delegation’s visit to PNG in October 2015, the High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei met with Niko Asset Management Vice Executive Chairman, Mr John Howland-Jackson who was to depart for PNG to further investigate the possibility of establishing in PNG.
THE YEAR 2015 IN SUMMARY
HEADS OF MISSION CONFERENCE:
Heads of London, Brussels, Washington DC, and New York (HEs Winnie Kiap, Joshua Kalinoe, Rupa Mulina & Robert Aisi via telecon), constituting the Europe/America region, met in a two-day meeting in Brussels on 22-23 May. Resolutions of the meeting were forwarded to DFAHQ with expectation of further discussion of these in the 2016 HOM Conference in Port Moresby.
PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS:
Irrespective of very short notice from the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt given on a weekend in December to travel immediately, the High Commissioner was about to travel to Cairo to present her Credentials in December when the short notice was withdrawn by the Embassy. Reasons for cancellation have not been revealed.
ESTABLISHMENT OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS:
The High Commissioner was instructed to travel to Geneva on a scoping mission in January to secure office space in the Commonwealth Small States Office. A suite of 3 rooms was secured as well as an offer from the Canton of Geneva of rental payments for the office as well as for the residence of the Head of Mission. The scoping report was immediately filed with HQ.
An earlier instruction for a similar scoping mission to Israel was not activated as the proposed Mission in Israel did not receive funding in the 2015 budget.
ESTABLISHMENT OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS:
The High Commissioner received instructions in February to conduct scoping work toward establishment of relations with 15 countries approved by the National Executive Council: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Guatemala, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Paraguay, Qatar, Seychelles, and Ukraine.
By year end, scoping of six of the countries had been carried out and ready for relations to be established with.
TRADE AND INVESTMENT MEETINGS IN LONDON AND PORT MORESBY:
The inaugural trade and investment forum was held in London on 16 June. The forum attracted a large number of business houses as participants. The PNG Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill led a large delegation to the forum.
In October, a delegation of 15 business people representing five business houses travel to PNG to follow up on the June forum in London. The High Commissioner accompanied this delegation.
PRIME MINISTER’S VISITS TO LONDON:
Whilst in London for the Trade & Investment forum in June, the Prime Minister called on Her Majesty The Queen at the Windsor Castle. He also called on and was guest of Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron at the Queen’s Birthday Trooping The Colour Parade.
In December, the Prime Minister attended COP21 in Paris. On his return to PNG, he stopped in London for two days. He presented the ML award to a British scientist Mr William John Tennent for his work on butterflies in Melanesia.
RELATIONS WITH HEAD OF STATE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA:
Her Majesty sat for a portrait which was a gift from the Realm Countries to mark her becoming the longest reigning British monarch on 9 September. The portrait was presented to her on 27 October at St James’s Palace. The project was coordinated by the High Commissioner.
HRH Prince Andrew the Duke of York represented Her Majesty in opening the Pacific Games in Port Moresby on July 4th. The High Commissioner travelled to PNG to receive him on arrival.
Her Majesty met with PM O’Neill at Windsor Castle in June.
High Commissioners and the Queen’s Private Secretary and Palace officials continued to meet over lunch at least three times a year. Information is exchanged re: Queen’s programmes and Realm Countries updates.
UK: The trade and investment conferences in London and Port Moresby established a new perspective to the bilateral relations. The meetings lifted the visibility of PNG in London’s business sector. The PNG/UK prime ministers meeting took the relationship another rung higher. Prime Minister O’Neill issued an invitation to the UK PM Cameron to visit PNG.
Egypt: Presentation of Credentials by the High Commissioner to the President of Egypt was cancelled by Egypt at the last minute in December.
Israel: The Agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption between PNG and Israel was ratified by Israel in November. PNG has to ratify the Agreement in order for either country to bring it into force.
Commonwealth: The principal events were the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Malta in November and appointment of the Secretary-General. The preparations including compliance with the Abuja Guidelines had been coordinated by Kundu London. The High Commissioner was the Leader of the Officials delegations at pre-CHOGM officials’ meetings.
Both the High Commissioner and First Secretary participated in recruitment panels for the Commonwealth Secretariat.
ICCO: The International Cocoa Council met in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in March and London in September. First Secretary Tamei and a PNG delegation attended the September meeting.
ICO: The International Coffee Council met in London in March and in Milan in September. The PNG Coffee Industry Corporation resident representative, Mick Wheeler attended the London meeting and was joined by a PNG delegation in Milan.
IMO: The International Maritime Assembly and Council met in November and appointed the new Secretary-General and elected new members to the Council.
First Secretary was among diplomats who travelled to Egypt to view the Suez Canal and its impact on shipping after it was redesigned and upgraded by the current government.
- Visa Issuance:
There were 217 tourists who visited PNG, either sightseeing on their own, touring as part of a tour group or visiting relatives.
Twenty three (23) different nationalities applied for tourist visas from Kundu London during 2015; the majority of which came from the United Kingdom (131) following by 29 Australians and 15 Irish Nationals.
- UK Border Security:
A young PNG national was again refused entry into the UK and was held at the airport until he was put on an aircraft to Singapore.
Lawyers for a man who had previously lived illegally in PNG and refused residence in the UK sought the possibility to have the courts return him to PNG on the basis of a marriage to a Papua New Guinean citizen. Kundu London did not assist in the case on the basis that his so-called marriage may not have been legal.
40th INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSAY CELEBRATIONS:
Evensong at Westminster Abbey on 15 September was attended by more than 200 people and handful of Papua New Guineans. The High Commissioner did the 2nd Reading.
The PNG community celebrated the 40th anniversary in grand style in Leeds. For the first time, Papua New Guineans danced their traditional dances courtesy of Movement of Paradise established by the Consular Assistant Eva Vickerman.
With the current lease maturing in 2020, searching for an appropriate space to relocate the High Commission to is work in progress.
Four new Chevening students from PNG took up studies in various universities in the UK replacing the four who completed their post-graduate studies in September.
- In celebration of International Women’s Day, the High Commissioner gave a speech at the Commonwealth Secretariat on “Progress in Post-2015 MDGs – Women in PNG”.
- The High Commissioner gave a paper to the new Commonwealth diplomats induction programme on 9 September.
HONOURS & AWARDS:
Many people came from PNG to be invested by the Queen with different Honours:
- Justice Sir Gibbs Salika – OBE
- Justice Ambeng Kandakasi – CBE
- Mrs Lata Milner – MBE
- Sir Kostas Constantinou – Knight Batchelor
- Justice Sir Warwick Andrews – Knight Batchelor
- Sir Peter Ipatas – OBE
- Mr Rio Fiocco - OBE
DECEMBER 2015 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner as the senior of the Pacific Heads of Mission in London hosted a small farewell dinner for the outgoing High Commissioner of Fiji, HE Ratu Solo Mara who was leaving London to take up a new posting in Washington DC.
The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG, arrived back in London from attending COP21 in Paris. The Prime Minister was hosted to a dinner by the High Commissioner. The Minister of Agriculture for Tonga, Hon Semisi Fakahau, was also a quest at the dinner as was the Member for Nipa-Kutubu, Hon Jeffrey Komal. Among the PNG UK residents at the dinner were officers of the PNGTPA London and Air Niugini Agents in London.
The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG, presented a Member of Logohu Award, ML, to Mr John Tennent for his scientific work on butterfly species in Melanesia.
The Prime Minister hosted a luncheon for the High Commissioner and staff of Kundu London.
The Prime Minister met with Mr Amitav Banerji of the Global Leadership Foundation who introduced the GLF and its mandates and activities to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister departed London for PNG.
1 – 3 December:
First Secretary Tamei continued to attend the International Maritime Assembly and the International Maritime Council meetings, which had commenced from 30th November 2015.
The High Commissioner along with First Secretary Tamei and Mrs Tamei attended the annual Queen’s reception and dinner for diplomats at Buckingham Palace.
The Realm Countries’ gift to the Queen in the form of the 6ft portrait for which she had sat, was announced on Kundu London’s official fb page. The gift had been presented on 27 October 2015. It should have also been announced by other realm countries’ missions. The project was coordinated by the High Commissioner on behalf of the Realm Countries Missions.
11 – 12 December:
The High Commissioner received instructions from the Embassy of Egypt to travel to Cairo on Monday 13th for the purpose of presenting her credentials to the President on Wednesday 16th. Twenty-four hours later however, the travel was called off by the Egyptian government.
The High Commissioner attended the Christmas Carols at Southwark Cathedral hosted by the Mayor of London.
The High Commissioner attended the funeral of a member of the PNG diaspora.
The UK Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Philip Hammond hosted a Christmas reception for the diplomatic service.
First Secretary Tamei took one week recreation leave.
Mr Rio Fiocco of PNG called in at Kundu London. He was invested with an OBE by the Queen.
Sister Dr Rose Mary Harbinson called on the High Commissioner to introduce Sr Gertrude Atua of Wewak and Fr Jacob Aba of the Solomon Islands, both attending courses at the Institute of Anselm, Margate, Kent.
Kundu London was opened for half a day for business officially closing at 1.00pm for the year.
PNG Ambassador to Belgium and EU, HE Mr Joshua Kalinoe, and children who were holidaying in London, were High Commissioner’s dinner guests at the residence.
NOVEMBER 2015 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner of the Bahamas called in and was received by the High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei. The High Commissioner was seeking support from PNG in the election of countries to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation. Elections were to take place during the IMO biennial session at the end of the month in London.
The High Commissioner and other small states’ High Commissioners attended a dinner hosted by the High Commissioner of Barbados to farewell the High Commissioner of Rwanda who was then the Chair of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors and returning to capital.
The High Commissioner took part in laying-of-the-wreath rehearsal with other High Commissioners at Wellington Barracks. This was preparation for the Remembrance Sunday commemoration.
Suva-based South Pacific Tourism Organisation’s Rusila Drekeni and Makelesi Lewaravu Muloilagi paid a courtesy call on the High Commissioner. They introduced new products the SPTO will soon be implementing.
The High Commissioner was a panellist for the topic of Relevance of CHOGM to member states. The other speaker being the High Commissioner of Barbados. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Commonwealth Fair organised by the Commonwealth Countries League was held at the Kensington town hall. Kundu London put up a stall selling hot and packaged coffee. Proceeds of the fair go toward education of high school girls in the Commonwealth. Many PNG have been beneficiaries of these scholarships over many years.
Remembrance Sunday to commemorate the lives lost during world wars. All Commonwealth High Commissioners lay wreaths at the Cenotaph at Whitehall after the Queen and senior members of her family.
The High Commissioner attended and listened to Indian Prime Minister Modi’s speech at the House of Lords.
First Secretary Nasser Tamei travelled to Egypt as part of Egypt’s 4 day sponsored visit of IMO country representatives to the Suez Canal. The main purpose of the visit was to view the US$8.2 billion upgrade of the canal to a two-way lane and how that has increased global shipping and world trade.
The High Commissioner attended the meeting of the Wantok Support Charity at Upminster, Essex.
The High Commissioner was briefed by First Secretary on the Egypt visit and especially on security given the ISIS attack in Paris on 13 November, when he was already in Egypt.
The High Commissioner finalised the brief for CHOGM.
Mr Richard Stone who painted the Queen’s portrait presented to Her Majesty on 27 October called on the High Commissioner to discuss possibilities of public announcement of the gift considering the Palace had not announced the event at St James’s Palace. It was agreed the High Commissioner seek permission from the Palace so Realm High Commissioners could announce the gift.
The High Commissioner was briefed by the DFA delegation to the CHOGM in Malta. The delegation of three was led by Ms Barbara Age and included Mrs Pidiwin Tau-Vali, Protocol Officer and Miss Glynis Farari, Policy Officer.
Secretary Dihm and Mrs Dihm arrived in London on their way to Malta to attend CHOGM.
First Secretary Tamei took Secretary Dihm and Mrs Dihm on sites visit around London.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary briefed Secretary Dihm on the operation of Kundu London and challenges requiring collaboration of the Department.
Secretary Dihm hosted the staff of Kundu London to lunch.
The High Commissioner and Secretary Dihm and Mrs Dihm transferred to Gatwick in order to depart early the next morning for Malta from Gatwick.
The PNG officers team in Malta led by the High Commissioner and included Mr Frank Aisi from the Prime Minister’s Department, Ms Barbara Age and team from the Foreign Affairs Department, briefed Secretary Dihm on administrative as well as substantive CHOGM matters. Secretary Dihm was to represent the FM Pato at the pre-CHOGM Ministers’ meeting.
The High Commissioner and Mrs Tau-Vali met with and were briefed by the Maltese Liaison Officer assigned to the Leader of PNG delegation who was to be FM Hon Rimbink Pato.
The Committee of the Whole (COW) was convened attended by the High Commissioner (delegation leader), Frank Aisi, Barbara Age and Glynnis Farari.
The High Commissioner and other officers briefed Secretary Dihm over breakfast.
The Officers’ delegation attended the COW while the High Commissioner sat in at the Ministers’ pre-CHOGM meeting.
The High Commissioner joined the COW which continued to midnight.
The High Commissioner returned to London to await arrival of the Prime Minister transiting to Paris for COP21.
The Prime Minister and delegation arrived at Heathrow, transferred to Northolt airport and left right away for Paris by charter.
The First Secretary attended the biennial meeting of the International Maritime Organisation Assembly and Council which continued until 3 December.
OCTOBER 2015 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner arrived in Port Moresby as part of the UK business delegation to PNG. Companies on the delegation included Aggreko, Clarke Energy, BSW, Gardline Group, IRIS Land, Oxford Business Group, and Nikko Asset Management Group.
2 -4 October:
The High Commissioner and James Martin of Developing Markets Agency, the agency coordinating the mission, worked all weekend (in Port Moresby) to secure appointments with PNG political and agency heads in the government and private sector for the UK delegation.
Meetings began for the UK business delegation in Port Moresby.
First meeting of the day for the UK delegation was with the Prime Minister Hon Peter O’Neill. Prime Minister also hosted a reception for the delegation in the evening.
The final day for the delegation. Members met with individual companies in PNG.
The High Commissioner returned to London.
Arrival in London of Ms Barbara Age, Director of Bilaterals, DFA, to attend the Committee of the Whole and Senior Officials (COW) Meeting of the CHOGM process.
Mr Mark Lynch called on the High Commissioner. Mark Lynch was the Secretary to the Administrator’s Council during colonial administration in PNG. On independence in 1975 Mr Lynch transitioned to the new National Executive Council as Secretary so was the first Secretary to the NEC.
The High Commissioner and other High Commissioners of small states met for lunch at the Singapore chancery.
The meetings of the Senior Officials and COW commenced with the High Commissioner leading the PNG delegation.
The High Commissioner attended Rt Hon Baroness Analay, UK minister responsible for climate change. At the small dinner were four diplomats representing the small states of global regions and the French ambassador in consideration of the upcoming COP21 in Paris.
The High Commissioner and Ms Barbara Age attended the Pacific region group’s breakfast at NZ House. Main interest was the candidates for the office of Commonwealth Secretary-General.
The COW continued into the next 2 days. Ms Age served on the drafting committees.
A momentous event when Realm High Commissioners gathered at St James’s Palace to present to Her Majesty the portrait of herself to mark her becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history on 9 September 2015. The Queen had sat for the painter Richard Stone. The project was coordinated by the High Commissioner from February 2014.
The Pacific High Commissioners were briefed at the Commonwealth Secretariat on Commonwealth programmes and projects in the Pacific.
The High Commissioner attended briefings at Buckingham Palace in relation to the project: Queen’s Canopy. The project concerns forest conservation.
The High Commissioner attended the meeting of the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG to discuss among other things, the agenda for the upcoming CHOGM.
SEPTEMBER 2015 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner was called to Clarence House, home of HRH The Prince of Wales, to meet the new Deputy Private Secretary to the Prince, Jamie Bowden.
The High Commissioner had a telephone discussion with Mr Atam Sandhu of the Developing Markets Agency about the possible business delegation from UK to PNG early in October. The mission to PNG looked good and most likely to proceed.
The Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen took the High Commissioner to lunch for the expressed purpose of introducing her to Catherine Mayer, the founder of the Women’s Equality Party in the UK.
The High Commissioner was accompanied by Mrs Carolyn Tamei (spouse of the First Secretary) and Ms Eva Vickerman (Consular Assistant at Kundu London) to the Back-tie dinner to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the CCL.
The High Commissioner attended the Wantok Support Charity meeting in Ipswich.
The daughter of the PNG Honorary Consul in California called into Kundu London. A very wonderful experience.
The High Commissioner called on the High Commissioner of Seychelles to discuss possible establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
The High Commissioner gave a speech to the new Commonwealth diplomats who were participating in a week-long induction programme at the Farnham Castle, Sussex.
The High Commissioner was one of only two diplomats invited to the dinner at Jesus College, Cambridge, in honour of the week-long symposium on Economic Crime attended by many countries. With only Fiji from the Pacific participating.
7 – 11 September:
First Secretary Tamei attended a workshop on Public-Private Partnership Program organized by Public Administration International of London at Bloomsbury, Central London.
The Movement of Paradise Dance troupe has its dress rehearsal at the home of Ms Eva Vickerman in Surrey. The High Commissioner attended the rehearsal leading up to the Independence celebrations.
Having returned from PNG where she would have met many of the Pacific Commonwealth Heads of Government during the PIF, Rt Hon Baroness Patricia Scotland hosted breakfast for Commonwealth women High Commissioners. This was still part of her campaign for the office of the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
The High Commissioner took the staff to lunch as an Independence celebration as not all will attend the big celebration in Leeds.
PNG’s Independence Day was commemorated with Evensong at Westminster Abbey. The High Commissioner read the Second Reading to a large congregation.
PNG’s 40th INDEPENDENCE DAY!
The office was closed for business.
The High Commissioner met with the High Commissioner of Barbados to discuss matters deemed important to small Commonwealth states and to look at how best to have these addressed by the Commonwealth Secretariat or by the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors.
The High Commissioner met with the High Commissioner of Malta to discuss possible establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
A delegation from PNG to the International Cocoa Council meeting called in on the High Commissioner and had a brief discussion on matters of importance to PNG on the ICC meeting agenda. The delegation consisted of Desmond Nambri of PNG Cocoa Board, David Yinil and Jeffrie Marfu of Cocoa & Coconut Institute.
Mr Luis Gilbert of the Omnia Group called on the High Commissioner to express concern on behalf of a publishing company which has issues with the PNG government.
In anticipation of replacing the High Commissioner’s car, the High Commissioner visited the showroom of the BMW and inspected and selected a car for purchase on trade-in basis.
The weeklong International Cocoa Council meeting commenced. It was attended by First Secretary Tamei and the PNG delegation.
The PNG community and friends of PNG met in Leeds and celebrated PNG’s 40th Independence. Eva Vickerman’s Movement of Paradise danced for the evening and the High Commissioner delivered the keynote address.
The High Commissioner left for PNG with the UK business delegation.
AUGUST 2015 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner attended the baptism of the baby of a former resident of PNG and also attended the Tongan National Day celebration.
The High Commissioner met with Mick Wheeler, the CIC representative in London, and discussed agenda matters of the International Coffee Council meeting to be held in Milan at the end of September. It was agreed that as the delegation from PNG led by the Acting Secretary for DAL was attending the meeting, only Mick would attend from London.
The High Commissioner also met with Mr Atam Sandhu of the Developing Markets Agency to discuss possible business delegation from UK to PNG early in October. Interest from business houses that participated in the June UK-PNG Trade and Investment Forum in London was being shown in such a visit to PNG. At this point 9 people had indicated that they would be on the delegation.
The Hansard Group officers seeking opportunities to invest in PNG met with the High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei. In view of the business delegation planned to visit PNG, it was suggested the best opportunity would be for the company to be on the delegation.
Briefs on Qartar and Georgia toward establishment of diplomatic relations were completed and sent to HQ.
The High Commissioner was guest of the Australian High Commission at the Queensland Ballet Company’s performance of “La Sylphide”.
The High Commissioner commenced her 13 day leave to be back at work on 24 August.
High Commissioner’s term of duty ends on 24 August.
The High Commissioner returned to work after the holiday.
The High Commissioner attended a briefing on the Commonwealth Education Ministers’ meeting held in the Bahamas in June 2015 and which was attended by the PNG Minister for Education.
JULY 2015 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner briefed Foreign Affairs A/Secretary William Dihm on the programme of and protocol accorded HRH The Duke of York who was arriving in Port Moresby the next day to open the Pacific Games on 4th July.
The High Commissioner joined the Department of Foreign Affairs Chief of Protocol and officers in briefing the Acting Governor-General Mr Zurenuoc on the programme of and protocol accorded the Prince. The Acting Governor-General was receiving the Prince on arrival at Jacksons Airport.
At 5.00pm PNG time, the PNG government jet carrying HRH The Duke of York from Singapore touched down at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby. Heading the receiving line-up was the Acting governor-General Mr Theo Zurenuoc and Mrs Zurenuoc, Governor of the National Capital District, Powes Parkop and Mrs Parkop and included Foreign Minister Pato, Foreign Secretary Dihm, High Commissioner Kiap, the British High Commissioner to PNG HE Simon Tonge, and the EU Representative HE Martin Dihm. The Defence Force gave a military salute then the Duke was taken to Airways Hotel to rest.
The High Commissioner attended the reception in honour of HRH the Duke hosted by the A/Governor-General.
HRH The Duke of York opened the 15 Pacific Games by reading out the Queen’s message.
The High Commissioner accompanied HRH to a service at St Martin’s Anglican Church in Boroko, Port Moresby where he delivered the Second Reading.
The Duke presented gifts of his framed and signed portraits to the High Commissioner and to Protocol officer, Barbara Mimino.
HRH The Duke of York departed on the government jet to Singapore. The same line-up seeing him off.
The High Commissioner joined Secretary Dihm and senior members of the Department of Foreign Affairs at a luncheon to farewell the EU Rep to PNG, HE Martin Dihm whose term in PNG had ended.
The High Commissioner met with and had a brief meeting with the Foreign Minister Hon Rimbink Pato.
First Secretary attended Marlborough House Conversations with the Confederation of Indian Industry – India’s role in the Commonwealth. The event was hosted at the Commonwealth Secretariat by Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.
First Secretary Tamei attended the UK Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) 2015. SDSR 2015 reviewed the full range of threats that the UK faces; examined the capabilities the UK needs to handle them; and helped the British Government judge how to resource those capabilities, aligned with the Spending Review.
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office played a central role in the formulation of the SDSR, alongside other government departments, and under the overall coordination of Cabinet Office.
This event was held in the Main Conference Room of the Ministry of Defence Main Building in Whitehall.
The High Commissioner attended the Wantok Support Charity meeting held at the PNG Mission.
First Secretary Tamei travelled to Hull to watch the rugby league match between former PNG Kumul Stanley Gene’s old club Hull Kingston Rovers play against Hull FC. Hull KR played in PNG colours in honour of Stanley Gene. A percentage of the proceeds of the match went to his foundation, which is funding education materials for a high school in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province.
Mr Tamei presented a cheque worth £500 towards this cause to Mr Gene at the club following the match.
The High Commissioner and the High Commissioner of Canada co-hosted a luncheon for the Realm High Commissioners and the Queen’s Private Secretary and senior officers from the Palace. The luncheon was at Canada’s new Mission at Trafalgar Square.
Prior to the luncheon, the High Commissioners viewed for the first time the 5 ft. study of the Queen by Richard Stone as a gift from the Realm countries to mark the Queen becoming the British longest reigning monarch on 9th September 2015. Portrait would subsequently be enlarged into a 6ft picture.
The Cocoa Producers Spokesperson called on the High Commissioner to seek PNG’s support for relocation of the Headquarter International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) to be relocated from London to Côte d’Ivoire. Mr Aly also advised of a ministerial team travelling to Asia/Pacific to seek support for the relocation and that the delegation would visit PNG and speak to relevant Ministers. Kundu London was asked to coordinate meetings with ministers in Port Moresby.
The High Commissioner also received the Executive Director of the ICCO seeking support for relocation of the ICCO HQ to Côte d’Ivoire.
The High Commissioner attended a briefing of the High Commissioners by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Houses of Parliament.
The High Commissioner received instructions from HQ to travel to NY for the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting on the margin of UNGA, but was not able to travel given the short notice.
The High Commissioners were briefed on the status of preparations for the CHOGM.
18 – 23 July
First Secretary Tamei travelled to Malta as part of the PNG Malta Advance Party Visit before the scheduled 27 – 29 November 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which was held in Valetta, Malta.
The purpose of the visit was be briefed and see arrangements in place for the CHOGM and to brief the Department of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister’s Department of the protocol and arrangements in place for the meeting.
First Secretary Tamei attended the reception hosted at the Canadian High Commission for the Queen’s Young Leaders Award recipients from around the Commonwealth. Former Prime Minister of UK, Sir John Major, Chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Trust that funds youth leadership in the Commonwealth, was with the recipients at the reception and the duration of their program in UK. Mr John Taka one of the recipients from Papua New Guinea who travelled to London to receive his award from Her Majesty was at the reception.
The High Commissioner attended the farewell reception in honour of the Israeli ambassador who was had been posted to the Israeli Embassy in NY.
The High Commissioner was introduced to Catherine Mayer who established the new political party – Women’s Equality Party – in March 2015. The introduction was a result of the High Commissioner’s own interest in women’s issues.
JUNE 2015 ACTIVITIES
A telephone call from the Palace on 15th May suggested the possibility of availability of the Duke of York to open the Pacific Games in Port Moresby on 4th July 2015. Preparations over the past 2 years for such an eventuality which were abandoned early in the year were revived including having the Prime Minister formally request for such a visit.
On 1st June, the High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei attended the first of briefings with the Private Secretary to HRH The Duke of York at Buckingham Palace to discuss principally a programme of visit and logistics.
The High Commissioner was a luncheon guest of Sir Ronald Sanders of Antigua & Barbuda. Sir Ronald is a candidate for the Commonwealth Secretary-General job. Appointment will be made by the Commonwealth Heads of Government during CHOGM in Malta in November. All candidates are campaigning vigorously.
Six weeks away from the UK-PNG Trade & Investment Forum to be held in London and to be attended by Prime Minister of PNG, the High Commissioner and FS Tamei met with the organisers of the forum, DMA (Developing Markets Agency). The Mission had made direct contact with the office of the Prime Minister seeking confirmation of such an event and the proposed visit of the PM to London. The response from the PM’s office a few days earlier had been positive, thus this meeting with DMA for DMA to update the Mission on progress of preparations so far including a draft programme for the forum as well as delegations from PNG and associated logistics. Thereafter, Kundu London commenced preparation of its own programmes for the PM’s visit as well as logistics. Advice from the Palace was that HM The Queen could not receive PM O’Neill.
The High Commissioner met with the Ambassador of Qatar to discuss possible establishment of diplomatic relations between PNG and Qatar. Qatar had actually proposed such relations back in 2010. Kundu London received instructions early this year to prepare the ground work for establishment of such relations with 15 countries approved by the NEC, including Qatar.
The Duke of York’s Equerry and delegation left for PNG on recce. Travel expenses paid by Kundu London.
A telephone call from the Palace advised that HM The Queen would receive Prime Minister O’Neill on 16th June. At the same time, another call from FCO advised that PM Cameron would receive PM O’Neill on 13 June.
Mr Michael Lake, Chief Executive of the Royal Commonwealth Society, called on the High Commissioner to discuss establishment of a PNG chapter of the RCS to be announced in PNG by the Duke of York on his visit to open the Pacific Games. The timing was too soon for conclusive discussions with capital, so the suggestion was not pursued. But it will be looked at again.
Prime Minister O’Neill arrived in London.
Ambassador Kalinoe also arrived in London to brief the PM on his Brussels and Paris visits.
Trooping the Colour, the ceremony that officially celebrates the Queen’s birthday, is an annual event performed by regiments of the British Army. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill joined the Commonwealth High Commissioners for a reception at No.10 Downing Street, then accompanied Prime Minister Cameron to observe the Trooping the Colour parade which was presided over by the Queen, HRH Prince Phillip and other members of the Royal family.
The High Commissioner accompanied the prime Minister to a dinner hosted by Developing Markets Associates, convenors of the UK-PNG trade and Investment forum, at Merchant Taylors Hall in the City.
The one-day UK-PNG Trade & Investment Forum was held. It was opened by PM O’Neill. It was attended by 300 business houses including a big government and business delegation from PNG.
Prime Minister paid a call on Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle after opening the forum. PM also met with HRH The Duke of York at Windsor.
The High Commissioner and Mr Cephas Kayo of HQ accompanied the PM during his many meetings on the margins of the forum.
The Prime Minister left for Brussels and Paris.
The High Commissioner and the British High Commissioner to PNG Simon Tonge, were summoned to the Palace to meet HRH The Duke of York in relation to the UK-PNG Trade & Investment Forum.
The High Commissioner attended dinner with Julius Violaris of Nawae Constructions and his Cypriot friends. Mr Violaris was a member of the PNG business delegation to the Forum.
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Foundation Board of Governors meeting, Marlborough House. She also attended an extra-ordinary meeting of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors.
All High Commissioners form the Advisory Board of the Queen’s Jubilee Trust. They were briefed by the chair Rt Hon Sir John Major on the progress and programmes of the Trust. A call was also made to countries still to make donations to the Trust to do so. PNG is still to honour the PM’s commitment to the Trust, made to HRH The Prince of Wales in 2012.
The Prime Minister of PNG arrived back to London from Paris.
The Prime Minister and delegation departed London for PNG.
Her Majesty The Queen gave awards to 60 young people from the Commonwealth, a programme under the Jubilee Trust. John Taka from PNG was a recipient of the award. The High Commissioner attended the event at Buckingham Palace.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei were debriefed by the DMA and discussed follow-up strategies to the UK-PNG forum.
Justice Sir Gibbs Salika called into the Mission to meet the High Commissioner and Mr Tamei.
High Commissioners of Canada, Malta and PNG met for lunch to discuss some of the issues likely to be the CHOGM agenda in Malta.
Mr Amitav Banergi, recently of the Commonwealth Secretariat but now Director of Global Leadership Foundation, called on the High Commissioner to introduce his organisation and the possible assistance it can offer the PNG government.
Met and congratulated Justice Kandakasi and Mrs Lata Milner both of PNG who had on that day received their honours and awards of CBE and MBE respectively from Her Majesty the Queen.
The High Commissioner departed for PNG to await the arrival of HRH The Duke of York on 2nd July in Port Moresby.
Reported to Secretary Dihm at HQ and commenced working at HQ.
MAY 2015 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner attended discussions at the Commonwealth Secretariat on the Climate Finance Skills Hub sponsored by Mauritius. The discussions related to capacity building in how to formulate proposals to access climate change financing. Discussions are still in its early days.
The High Commissioner chaired a recruitment panel for the Commonwealth Secretariat. The position being recruited for was at the Director level. The three-person panel included Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General (Policy) and a professor from the London School of Economics.
The High Commissioner was to attend the PNG Anglican Church Partnership meeting at Lambeth and say a few words, however, due to confusion in timing, regrettably was not able to do so.
All diplomats attended the VE Day 70th Anniversary Service at Westminster Abbey in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen.
The High Commissioner and Consular Assistant E Vickerman attended the annual Spring Fair held by diplomatic missions in London raising funds toward Children and Family Across Borders charity. Kundu London donated £500.
The Deputy Ambassador of Georgia called on the High Commissioner seeking PNG’s assistance at the UN for its resolution on internal refugees and territory. At the same time, the High Commissioner discussed the possibility of establishment of bilateral relations in response to Georgia’s earlier request for such addressed to the PNG Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in 2010. Georgia is among the 15 countries Kundu London is instructed to carry out ground work toward establishment of bilateral relations.
The High Commissioner was guest of Mr Simon Foo, CEO of Air Niugini and Sir Frederick Reiher for lunch. Both were in London on Air Niugini business.
A call from the Palace informed of the possibility of HRH The Duke of York opening the XV Pacific Games in Port Moresby on 4 July 2015.
11– 15 May:
First Secretary Tamei attended the Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting at the International Maritime Organization.
Movement of Paradise dance troupe managed by Consular Assistant Eva Vickerman, practised at the High Commissioner’s residence. Movement of Paradise is to perform at the PNG 40th Independence anniversary celebrations on 19th September 2015 in Leeds.
The High Commissioner attended the gathering at Australia House in memory of former Australian Prime Minister Malcom Fraser who had recently died.
The Europe/America regional Heads of Mission met in Brussels. The group consisted of HOM London, Brussels, Washington and New York. Ambassador Aisi of New York was able to join the meeting through teleconferencing at the appropriate time only.
Having heard from different sources that the Prime Minister of PNG was visiting London, but not having received any instructions from Capital, a programme of visit of the PM was prepared and sent to HQ. In response official instructions were received on the visit of the PM to the UK-PNG Trade and Investment Forum to be held London on 16 June 2015.
The High Commissioner attended the State Opening of the British Parliament by Her Majesty The Queen.
Official information on the visit of the PM was received from the PM’s office. Kundu London staff began programme and logistics planning for PM’s visit
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors meeting.
APRIL 2015 ACTIVITIES
John Shewell called on First Secretary Tamei to discuss the potential for International Chef Exchange between Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom, with the Brighton International Food Festival being considered a great opportunity to showcase PNG cuisine and culture.
The High Commissioner was the only guest of the Sheriff of London with other guests consisting entirely of judges of the Old Bailey. The High Commissioner later sat in the courtroom of one of the judges who presided over a murder trial.
In the evening the High Commissioner attended the reception in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Scholarship programme. Papua New Guinea did not participate this year in the programme. The reception was hosted by the Princess Royal.
The High Commissioner completed and provided a short article on education in PNG to the Commonwealth Education Council for publication in their newsletter.
Kundu London received advice from the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff that the Prime Minister would visit London in June 2015.
The High Commissioner attended the Diplomats Award evening. Awards were provided to an outstanding diplomat of a region nominated by diplomats of the region. Regrettably, Pacific is not considered a region therefore does not benefit from these awards.
High Commissioners were briefed by the Maltese Task Force on the preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting to be held in Malta in November 2015.
The Media Liaison Committee also of Malta provided briefing on media programmes and logistics during the CHOGM.
Diplomats met at the FCO for wreath-laying ceremony for the Gallipoli Centenary commemoration. Prime Minister O’Neill was to participate in this ceremony but his visit being cancelled, the High Commissioner had to step in.
The High Commissioner being accredited to the Republic of South Africa, attended the South African National Day celebrations at South Africa House, Trafalgar Square.
Representing the Prime Minister, the High Commissioner took part in the Gallipoli/ANZAC wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph, Whitehall.
The High Commissioner attended the ANZAC Day service at Westminster Abbey, also attended by Her Majesty The Queen.
Mrs Cecilia Hutton and Mrs Elizabeth Allen met with the High Commissioner and Eva Vickerman to discuss the programme for the 40th Independence Day celebrations to be held in Leeds in September. Mrs Hutton and Mrs Allen coordinate this year’s celebrations.
The High Commissioner attended the ComSec BOG special meeting to discuss proposed new assessed contribution scales to be effective in 2016.
Baroness Scotland of Dominica called on the High Commissioner to discuss her candidature for the office of the Commonwealth Secretary-General and to seek support of PNG.
Mrs Carolyn Tamei, spouse of First Secretary Tamei, briefed the High Commissioner and Eva Vickerman on the Commonwealth Countries League Fair meeting she attended on 14th April at the Malaysian High Commission. The meeting considered fund raising matters to address the basic needs of disadvantaged people in Commonwealth countries.
MARCH 2015 ACTIVITIES
The International Coffee Council meets twice a year - in March and September. The first session commenced on 2 March for a week. It was attended by the High Commissioner and Mr Michael Wheeler, the London-based CIC representatives.
The High Commissioner attended the Women’s Day celebrations at the Irish Embassy and co-hosted by the Irish Ambassador and the High Commissioner of Kenya. Speakers included a women minister of Kenya.
The High Commissioner met an English couple who had worked with ODI in PNG in 30 years ago but still speak Pidgin. They are now registered with Kundu London.
Her Excellency received the new High Commissioner of Singapore HE Ms Foo Chi Hsia at Kundu London. Discussion centred around the new assessed contributions to apply to member states of the Commonwealth now under discussion.
The High Commissioner also attended the Waitangi Day commemoration at New Zealand House.
The Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with other organisations staged a panel discussion to celebrate the International Women’s Day. The panel speakers included two British MPs, and the Singapore High Commissioner. The PNG High Commissioner’s speech was on “Progress in Post-2015 MDGs – for Women and Girls in PNG”. The speech could have been better if information and data had been forthcoming from HQ and other relevant government agencies requested.
2 – 6 March
First Secretary Tamei attended the Sub-Committee on Safety, Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue at the International Maritime Organization.
Sir Ronald Sanders of Antigua & Barbuda and a candidate for the office of Commonwealth Secretary-General called on the High Commissioner to seek PNG’s support for his candidature. Appointment of the new Secretary-General will be made by CHOGM in Malta later in the year in November.
The Commonwealth Day was celebrated with a service at Westminster Abbey attended by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The High Commissioner had the privilege of being seated 3rd from the Duke after Lord and Lady Howell. Lord Howell is the chair of Commonwealth Exchange. The High Commissioner was accompanied by Eva Vickerman, Consular Assistant, in place of First Secretary Tamei who was not available. The PNG flag carrier was Miss Kendja Somare, a student at Kingston University.
The day ended with the reception at Marlborough House, hosted by HM The Queen.
First Secretary Tamei with other diplomats attended a lunch presentation at Fitzroy House by Ms Mary Shuttleworth, the founder of Youth for Human Rights. This Civil Society Organization along with Scientology and other dedicated partners are working teach children across the globe the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The second part of the program includes teaching university level young people these human rights principles.
The PNG High Commission will be working together with the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Education especially to ascertain whether the UN Declaration of Human Rights can be included in our national education curriculum.
First Secretary Tamei met with Ms Yvette Vaughan Jones, Chief Executive of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. The meeting was to explore the possibility of having her Civil Society Organization work with the PNG Office of Tourism, Art and Culture, as the former has received EU funding to assist Pacific states promote their performing artists and creative businesses.
The High Commissioner attended the black-tie reception and dinner at St James’s Palace hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales and organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society.
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth reception hosted by the High Commissioner of Jamaica. An interesting aspect of the event was the large number of Jamaican students in the UK studying under Commonwealth scholarships. PNG presently has only one student on Commonwealth a scholarship.
Mr Peter Vincent, CEO of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority called on the High Commissioner. Mr Vincent commended the strong working relations and collaboration between Kundu London and PNGTPA/London.
The High Commissioner met with Miss Mele Amanaki of Tonga who represents the Pacific countries civil society on the Executive Committee as well as the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Foundation. The discussion was on the relevance of the Foundation to the Pacific. The Foundation BOG comprises High Commissioners.
A Special Meeting of the Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors considered the revised rates of assessed contributions to apply to members from 2016. Revised rates will eventually be considered by CHOGM in November. The BOG comprises High Commissioners.
The High Commissioner attended an informal meeting of the ComSec BOG to consider the issue of collaboration between the ComSec and agencies accredited to the Commonwealth and carrying the brand Commonwealth. These agencies seek to attend CHOGMs for example.
In an effort to strengthen the networks between the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), and members of the Commonwealth, women High Commissioners and women officers of FCO met over tea. Further meetings were agreed with particular subjects for discussion.
The High Commissioner then joined the High Commissioners of Fiji and Tonga at the opening of the Pacific bark cloth exhibition at the British Museum.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei travelled to Norwich to visit the Gardline Marine Services and the University of East Anglia to acquaint themselves with their various activities and to scope out the products of possible benefit to PNG. Both the Gardline and UEA are part of the North Sea Marine Cluster, and alliance of companies involved in marine research, activities and conservation.
The High Commissioner did not attend the week-long International Cocoa Council session commencing on this day in Côte d’Ivoir but PNG would still be represented by the CEO of Cocoa Board.
The High Commissioner signed the Condolence Book at the Singapore High Commission on the death of Lee Kuan Yeu.
The High Commissioner attended the Lord Mayor’s black-tie Easter Banquet at the Mansion House.
The High Commissioner is a member of a working group attempting to produce a scale of assessed contribution for member countries for the Commonwealth Youth Programme. More meetings are forthcoming.
The High Commissioner attended the Wantok Support Charity meeting held at St Philips Church, Earls Court.
In the hall of the same church, Eva Vickerman’s PNG dance troupe was practising for the independence celebrations in September.
Kundu London received advice from the Department of Prime Minister that the Prime Minister had accepted PM Cameron’s invitation and would be in London to participate in the Gallipoli Centenary Celebrations on 25 April.
First Secretary Tamei met with Mr John Shewell, an Australian citizen of mixed PNG parentage residing in UK. The purpose of the meeting was to explore how to work collaboratively to promote PNG as a tourist destination through cuisine as an alternate means. The International Chef Exchange and Brighton Food Festival were discussed as avenues for this purpose. The International Chef Exchange televise international cuisine programs they film around the world.
FEBRUARY 2015 ACTIVITIES
2– 6 February:
First Secretary Tamei attended the second session of the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Watchkeeping and Training at the International Maritime Organization. The meeting covered updated training requirements for vessels operating in Polar Waters and also for the overall protection of the marine environment and passenger safety under existing international maritime shipping and passenger safety legislations.
The newly recruited Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Dr Josephine Ojiambo called on the High Commissioner to introduce herself. She was accompanied by Mr Albert Mariner, Head of the Caribbean and Pacific Policy Unit at the Commonwealth Secretariat. The recruitment of Dr Ojiambo was the third and last of the three Deputy Secretaries-General at the Secretariat.
Assistant Consular Officer, Eva Vickerman’s dance troupe assembled for the first time to commence training for the 40th independence anniversary celebrations in September. The dance teacher is Martha Bunch from the Trobriand Islands. A massive thank you extended to the Baure family for meeting the cost of the venue.
The High Commissioner gave a speech to the Commonwealth Countries League (CCL) on Women’s Affairs in Papua New Guinea. The CCL and CCLEF provide scholarships to secondary school girls in the Commonwealth. These scholarships have been of assistance to many PNG girls.
First Secretary Tamei attended a diplomatic briefing at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding the 4th – 5th sixth P5 conference that the UK hosted. The conference gave the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nuclear-weapon P5 states (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) the opportunity to discuss the next steps for the P5 Process. Diplomats were briefed about the P5 considerations of the implementation of the 2010 Action Plan adopted by consensus as a roadmap for long term action. The P5 also considered a wide array of issues related to and steps towards making progress on all three pillars of the NPT: disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In addition, the P5 had constructive and productive discussions with a number of non-nuclear-weapon states and civil society representatives.
The High Commissioner was asked to be a panel member at the Commonwealth Council for Education conference on International Higher Education – Private Funding. The High Commissioner was not able to accept the request as it was a last-minute approach, but did attend the meeting which was streamed live and people could participate online. The topic was interesting as in PNG the private sector has become a major competitor to the government in the domestic skills market. The government trains but lose to better rewards in the private sector.
The High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth women’s meeting held at the Jamaican High Commission. The meeting was convened by the Commonwealth Business Women’s Network. The Commonwealth Business Women’s Network has now made contact with the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Kundu London expects a good working partnership developing between the two entities.
The High Commissioner chaired a recruiting panel at the Commonwealth Secretariat interviewing for a senior position at the Secretariat. Short listed candidates around the world were interviewed via skype. This was the second time the High Commissioner had chaired such panel for the Secretariat.
Miss Siobhan Phillips a Grade 12 student at Colyton Grammar School, Devon, commenced a week work experience at Kundu London. A report on her attachment was sent to the school at the end of the attachment period.
First Secretary Tamei attended the Launch reception of the London Education and Research Network (LEARN) - London’s first diplomatic club for education attachés to help each diplomatic mission to expand their respective countries’ academic and education ties with the UK.
A small working group chaired by the High Commissioner of St Lucia met to continue discussion on a scale of annual assessed contributions for the Commonwealth Youth Programme. The High Commissioner who is a member of the working group took along Miss Siobhan Phillips to the meeting as part of her work experience.
The High Commission initiated a consular response for the Baure family to acquire new passports following the unfortunate theft of their passports while on holiday in Italy. The Baure family eventually received their new PNG passports from PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority and returned in early March to the UK.
Instructions from HQ on preliminary scoping work on 15 countries to be carried out with the view to establishment of diplomatic relations with these countries.
Rt Hon Hugo Swire, Minister at UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and responsible for the Commonwealth, hosted a lunch for the Commonwealth High Commissioners. This was the second such gesture by the Minister who faces elections on 7th May.
Mick Wheeler, Coffee Industry Corporation representative in London, met with the High Commissioner to discuss the agenda issues for the upcoming International Coffee Council Session to be held in the first week of March 2015.
The High Commissioner of The Bahamas and team briefed the High Commissioners on the meeting of Commonwealth Education Ministers to be held in The Bahamas in June 2015. High Commissioners were advised that documents on the meeting would be distributed in the second week of March.
The Commonwealth Business Forum which will be held on the margins of the CHOGM in Malta in November 2015, was launched at the Commonwealth Secretariat in the presence of the prime minister of Malta Dr Joseph Muscat, and High Commissioners.
Mr Gary Bustlin of PNG Tribal Foundation and Ms Michelle Lucero, Chief Administration Officer of Children’s Hospital, Colorado, USA, called on the High Commissioner to brief on their work in PNG concerning violence against women.
JANUARY 2015 ACTIVITIES
The PNG Public Service year commenced and Kundu London opened for business.
As a response to MI5 upscaling of security in the UK after the jihadist killing of Je Sui Charlie journalists and Jews in Paris, First Secretary Tamei met with LES members of staff and counselled them to be extra alert while traveling to and from work on public transport, in particular to avoid using the underground train services for the time being.
In the evening First Secretary Tamei and High Commissioner were contacted from PNG to assist in the case of a young Papua New Guinean who had been refused entry to the UK and held at Heathrow airport waiting to be returned to PNG. The young man entered without a student visa so there was nothing the Mission could do to assist him. This same young man was refused entry for the same reason six months earlier.
Prior to the 2014 Christmas/New Year break, Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr William Dihm, had instructed the High Commissioner to investigate the Commonwealth Secretariat small states centre in Geneva for available space as PNG intends to open a small mission in Geneva. The High Commissioner began discussion with the Commonwealth Secretariat seeking approval to visit the Centre. The ComSec was happy to assist and sent an officer to work with the High Commissioner in Geneva.
High Commissioner had discussions with officials of the FIRST Magazine as follow-up to the earlier discussion with the Chairman of FIRST for a special edition to be done on PNG for its 40th independence anniversary in September 2015. A very exciting project.
The High Commissioner spent the day at the Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva looking at spaces suitable for a PNG mission. The High Commissioner also held talks with a Swiss Mission official for possible assistance to PNG as it establishes in Geneva and met with the PIF Secretariat and other Pacific countries representatives housed at the Centre.
The High Commissioner met with the Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen to discuss the request from PNG for a member of the Royal Family to open the Pacific Games in July in Port Moresby and to discuss the final steps of another project concerning Her Majesty’s reign and involving Realm countries.
In the evening the High Commissioner attended the reception at the Houses of Parliament in honour of the visiting Fiji parliamentary delegation led by the Hon Speaker Dr Jiko Levueni.
The High Commissioner met with the Chair of the British Monarchist Foundation and the portraitist working on the Queen’s portrait to discuss the progress of the project.
First Secretary Tamei’s wife Mrs Carolyn Tamei attended the launching of the newly established Diplomatic Spouses Club at the Kuwaiti Embassy, which was hosted by the wife of the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps (the Ambassador of Kuwait to the UK).
The High Commissioner and Assist Consular Officer: Eva Vickerman attended the DESTINATIONS expo held at the London Olympia. Eva Vickerman joined the two officers from the PNGTPA/UK and Air Niugini/UK manning the PNG booth.
THE YEAR 2014 IN SUMMARY
HEADS OF MISSION CONFERENCE:
Heads of Mission returned to capital for a 3-day conference in February. Missions were grouped according to regions viz: Pacific (Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, and Solomon Islands), Asia (China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea), Europe/US (Belgium & EU, UK, US Washington, US/UN New York). The expected outcome of the conference is a Foreign Policy. For more details, see the February report.
PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS:
The High Commissioner was still to present credentials to the Arab Republic of Egypt and to the Republic of South Africa but was not able to do so in 2014. Egypt has changed government three times during the term of the High Commissioner and as a result the process of presenting credentials is still work in progress. In the case of South Africa, the two invitations from that country to present credentials could not be acceded to due to timing inconvenience. The process has recommenced with the South African Mission in London.
UK GOVERNMENT DELEGATIONS VISITING PNG:
In May, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum held a regional meeting in Port Moresby resulting in the Port Moresby Declaration on Pacific Futures: Building Our Local Communities. In this same month a delegation of military personnel from 19 countries travelled out of London on a study tour to PNG.
Mick Wheeler, the CIC representative, took a team of international coffee buyers to PNG in June.
PNG GOVERNMENT DELEGATIONS VISITING LONDON:
In March the Hon J Koim Kuman, MP for Hela visited London on private business.
In April, Maurice Brownjohn, Commercial Director of PNA, called and briefed the High Commissioner and First Secretary on regional fisheries initiatives as well as issues relating to PNG fishery industry.
In May, the first 19 officers in the education industry in PNG were attached to the Oxford University. At the same time, Andrew Abel brought his successful “Splinter” documentary on surfing by girls as a vehicle for breaking down cultural exclusiveness of girls from some sports. This was sponsored by the PNGTPA/UK.
Also in May, officials from the Department of Treasury, National Petroleum Co, and Petromin attended the oil producing countries conference in London. The Mission was instrumental in getting them to attend the Chatham House meeting.
In June the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, Hon Minister Rimbink Pato, attended the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence in Conflict, in London. The four day summit attracted world leaders. It was organised by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs Secretary, Rt Hon William Hague, and Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ms Angelina Jolie. A draft NEC information paper was prepared for the Minister.
In June as well, the Clerk of Parliament and officials attended a seminar at the UK Parliament.
In February the First Secretary attended security briefings in Glasgow relating to the Commonwealth Games.
In March the High Commissioner and First Secretary travelled to Glasgow for the diplomatic briefing on the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow in July. First Secretary and Consular Assistant returned to Glasgow in May to inspect hotels and venues for possible receptions as the Prime Minister was expected to attend the Grand Opening of the Commonwealth Games.
The International Cocoa Council met in Zurich, Switzerland, in March and was attended by the High Commissioner. The International Coffee Council met in London at the same time and was attended by the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation resident representative, Mick Wheeler.
In April, the High Commissioner was one of 9 diplomats among 50 people from all over the world and in politics, business, civil society, diplomacy and academia, spending two days discussing the future of the Commonwealth. The High Commissioner led a discussion group.
In June, the First Secretary attended the CABI Executive Board meeting in Delément, Switzerland. In September the High Commissioner travelled to New York to attend to the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration in the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
(i) Walkabout project, coordinated by Lord Clement-Jones was launched at the Houses of Parliament in July. The Prime Minister of PNG was to attend this event. See the July report.
(ii) The High Commissioner is co-ordinating another project relating to the Queen’s long reign on behalf of Realm countries.
WORKING WITH LONDON TPA AND AIR NIUGINI AGENTS:
The London Mission works on ensuring that a close working relationship exists with the two organisations. In November TPA and the PX agents mounted the PNG tourism booth and gave interviews on PNG to tourism and travel writers during the annual World Travel Market at the Excel Centre, London. London Mission officials visited the booth.
SPORTS TEAMS VISITING THE UK:
In June the Under 19 PNG Kumuls won the Commonwealth Rugby League Championships in Glasgow.
The High Commissioner was invited by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation to speak to the new Commonwealth diplomats at which First Secretary Tamei was a participant.
The High Commissioner chaired a recruitment panel interviewing short listed candidates for a senior position at the Secretariat through skype.
COMMONWEALTH GAMES JULY, GLASGOW
Hon Justin Tkatchenko, Minister for National Events, Sports and Pacific Games, attended the Games in Glasgow at the end of July. The High Commissioner and First Secretary joined him and dignitaries of the PNG Sports Federation in the Grand Opening of the Games. The First Secretary stayed on in Glasgow for the duration of the Games and until the Minister had left for PNG.
The Minister stood in for the Prime Minister and attended the Heads of Small States Governments meeting hosted by the Prince of Wales in Dumfries House, Scotland, prior to the Games. The London Mission prepared the briefs for the Minister.
PNG won two gold medals in weight lifting.
REALM HIGH COMMISSIONERS’ LUNCH WITH OFFICERS OF THE QUEEN:
These lunches commenced during the lead-up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the summer of 2012 and have continued. Its principal impact is the sense of close relationship between the Queen and her Realm governments.
INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANISATION:
IMO meetings including sub-committees meetings are convened all through the year and where possible are attended by the First Secretary. During the year, Captain Rahman of the National Maritime Safety Authority has attended some sessions. Highlight of the year is the approval of the Jomard Passage in the Milne Bay Province as an international shipping lane.
- Visa Issuance:
A total of 588 visitors were issued visas to travel to Papua New Guinea in 2014. These comprised mainly the various classes of the Tourist visas numbering 211, followed by Business visitors numbering 144 followed by those in the Special Exemption category at 106.
Kundu London continues to issue visas for wide ranging nationalities. 45 different nationalities applied for visas during 2014. They were predominantly British at 346 followed by Swiss nationals at 34, Australians and Belarusians at 22 and 20 respectively. There is an increase of applications from Australian nationals which prior to 2014 was negligible. This may be attributed to the fact that Australians are no longer eligible to apply for a visa on arrival resulting in them applying to us for visas before they travel to PNG.
Meeting New Arrivals to the UK:
In November the High Commissioner hosted a lunch for all new Papua New Guinean arrivals to the UK. The majority of new comers to the UK in 2014 were students but a few were professionals relocating to the UK for work purposes.
UK Border Security:
A young PNG national was refused entry into the UK while another was held at the airport for 8 hours for entering without a work visa and was eventually released. A PNG man living in the UK without a valid PNG passport avoided the Mission and has become an illegal immigrant.
At the same time, an African illegal immigrant held by police in Norway tried to pass himself off as a Papua New Guinean.
INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSAY CELEBRATIONS:
A small reception for the diplomatic community in London was followed by a large PNG community celebration in York, and ended with Evensong at Westminster Abbey.
HONOURS & AWARDS:
Sir Mekere Morauta received KCMG at Buckingham Palace while Bernard Chan received OBE at Windsor Castle.
In September First Secretary Tamei commenced part-time degree studies in law at the University of London..
In October two academics from PNG University of Goroka came to do 2 weeks induction programme at Oxford University. They will study in PNG, online, with Oxford.
Three new Chevening students from PNG were among the 700 new students under the Chevening scholarship programme. They arrived in London in September and are all doing masters programmes. Ms Dodi Sirewata Doiwa is at the University of Sussex, Ms Catherine Buis is at the SOAS, University of London and Austin Edo is at the University of Swansea.
- April – member of a panel of discussion on the future of the Commonwealth, House of Lords.
- May – Keynote Address at the Pacific Islands Society of UK & Ireland.
- July – Walkabout Project launch at the Houses of Parliament.
- September – induction programme of the new Commonwealth diplomats, Farnham Castle, Surrey.
- October – short speech to Chevening scholars from Asia/Pacific region during their induction programme.
- November - Video-taped interview on Elimination of Violence Against Women & Girls, Commonwealth Secretariat.
- December - Video-taped interview on Women Above the Platform – London School of Economics.
WANTOK SUPPORT CHARITY:
The High Commissioner is the ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees of the Wantok Charity. The Charity donated 5 mobile blood pressure machines to the Port Moresby General Hospital as a result of a visit by PNG diplomats to POMGEN in February.
NOVEMBER 2014 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner attended the meeting of the Wantok support Charity and thanked the Charity for the 5 mobile blood pressure machines presented to the CEO of Port Moresby General Hospital by a trustee of the Charity in October. The donation of the machines arose out of the visit of the HOMs in February 2014 to the POMGEN on the invitation of the Chair of the POMGEN Board, Sir Theophilus Constantinou.
The High Commissioner, First Secretary Tamei, and Eva Vickerman, Assistant Consular Officer, attended the first day of the 4-day World Travel Mart at the Excel Centre, London. The Pacific booth was manned by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, PNGTPA & Flight Directors for Air Niugini, Fiji, Samoa, and Tahiti. PNGTPA gave a number of interviews to travel writers over the days of the exhibition.
High Commissioner and Eva Vickerman, Assist Consular Officer hosted two new PNG students to lunch viz: Catherine Buis, postgrad at University of London, and Kendja Somare, undergrad at ……
The Realm High Commissioners (15 including Aus., NZ, PNG, Solomons & Tuvalu in the Pacific) had lunch at Buckingham Palace with the staff of the Queen. This event takes place about three times a year alternating between the Palace and a high commission. High Commissioners are briefed on Her Majesty’s programmes as well as programmes of other members of the royal family. High Commissioners in turn provide briefing of any issue of relevance that Her Majesty should know about.
PNG High Commission participated at the Commonwealth Fair at Kensington Town Hall. Mumu was served along with freshly brewed PNG coffee. All monies raised go towards education of girls in Commonwealth countries. Many girls from PNG have been and continue to benefit from these scholarships.
All High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries joined the Queen and senior royals and senior government leaders to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph, Whitehall, to mark Remembrance Day which falls on 11 November.
The High Commissioner signed the Book of Condolence at the Zambian High Commission following the death of President Sata of that country.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei hosted PNG new students and new arrivals to lunch. The opportunity was for all new arrivals to know each other and for Mission staff to welcome them to the UK.
The Pacific High Commissioners met with the ComSec Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj and staff for briefing. From Brussels, only the High Commissioner of the Solomons came across for the meeting. Highlighted were programmes and projects the ComSec is undertaking in the Pacific countries as well as in SIDS in general. The format was interesting and new: High Commissioners briefed in regional groupings.
The High Commissioner attended the reception held at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for new Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows in the UK. Out of the 1,000 students, only two are from the Pacific and they are from Tonga. Why PNG is not making use of these opportunities is not clear.
The High Commissioner attended the crematory service of Mrs Agnes Hanson-Derby from Kiribati who played a huge role in organising gatherings of Pacific communities in the UK.
High Commissioner attended the annual dinner hosted by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, the distinguished Ambassador of Kuwait to welcome the new diplomats taking up duties in London.
The High Commissioner was a guest of Mr Amitav Banerji of the Commonwealth Secretariat giving a talk at the London Academy of Diplomacy. The title of the talk: The Commonwealth its Relevance in the 21st Century.
The High Commissioner was interviewed by the Commonwealth Secretariat about steps PNG is taking to eliminate violence against women and girls as part of the White Ribbon Day activities. The interview was video-taped.
Pacific High Commissioners met for lunch at Australia House. Dr Luteru, Samoan High Commissioner joined from Brussels. Discussion ranged from UK engagement in the Pacific, China’s presence in the Pacific, next PIF to be held in PNG, Bougainville, and vacancy in the office of Commonwealth Secretary-General. The discussions were chaired by His Excellency Alexander Downer, the Australian High Commissioner.
Officers of the Commonwealth Business and Enterprise Ltd met with the High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei for briefing on the new programme coordinated by the CBEL on women in business.
The High Commissioner met with Mr Rupert Goodman chair/founder of the FIRST magazine, a world opinion/issues forum. The two explored the possibility of producing a FIRST edition on PNG to be launched during PNG’s 40th independence anniversary.
Women in Diplomacy attended a briefing on safety and security conducted by officers of the Metropolitan Police responsible for the Diplomatic Corps.
OCTOBER 2014 ACTIVITIES
The Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, the Hon. Rimbink Pato and Mrs Pato attended a luncheon hosted by Mr Nobuchika Iharathe, Honorary Consul of PNG, at his residence in New York. Other guests at the luncheon included Ambassador Rupa Mulina and Mrs Mulina of Kundu DC, High Commissioner Kiap of Kundu London and Mrs Robert Aisi of Kundu NY. Honorary Consul Nobuchika Ihara is based in Toride City, Ibaraki, in Japan.
The Minister thereafter met with members of the PNG officials’ team with the exception of Ambassador Robert Aisi, to discuss the performance of the team in the previous week, and how improvements could be made for the future.
Mr Michael Lake, Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) met with the High Commissioner to discuss:
(i) Work of NGO Cool Earth in Milne By province. The NGO’s focus is on saving forests by providing impetus for sources of income for village people so they do not sell their forests for logging.
(ii) PNG’s participation in the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme 2015. This programme is funded by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Trust. The High Commission is not comfortable about this programme for the reason that PNG’s commitment of £1m to the Trust is still to be honoured.
(iii) Possibility of establishing a RCS Chapter in PNG.
Two University of Goroka students undertaking studies at Masters level at Oxford University visited the High Commission. In 2013 an arrangement between UOG and Oxford was firmed up and the first lot of participants came for a short attachment at Oxford. UOG participants will study from home and visit Oxford for particular sessions.
The High Commissioner is a member of a group which is to determine level of country assessed contributions to the Commonwealth Youth Programme and to the Youth Affairs of the Commonwealth Secretariat. The group commenced its work on this day.
The High Commissioner attended the opening of an art exhibition at the Cyprus High Commission. The exhibition was opened by the First Lady of Cyprus, Mrs Andri Anastasiades. Cyprus is one of the many countries High Commissioner Kiap is accredited to.
The High Commissioner met with surveyors at the Residence, Haus Somare, to establish the structural condition of the wall separating the Residence and the next door property where renovation work is being carried out. In the event of damage to the wall as a result of the renovation work, the owner of the relevant property will be liable for replacement or repair to the wall.
13 – 17 October:
First Secretary Tamei attended the Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting at the International Maritime Organization at Albert Embankment, Central London.
The meeting covered the draft Polar Code environmental provisions, Ballast Water Management, International Maritime Organization Greenhouse Gas emissions, ship energy efficiencies, fuel consumption figures for ships, and related issues.
The Papua New Guinea High Commission is working with the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Maritime Safety Authority to have Parliament consider and ratify the Ballast Water Management Convention.
The High Commissioner was a luncheon guest at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Richard Stone in Colchester. While there she was taken to see the world famous Beth Chatto Gardens, although gardens are not at their best in autumn. The High Commissioner is working with Mr Stone and the British Monarchist Foundation on a particular project concerning Realm countries.
Mrs Carolyn Tamei and Eva Vickerman attended the final meeting of the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF) before the CCL Fair on the 8th November.
Two officers from the Chevening Scholarship secretariat called on the High Commissioner to discuss this scholarship. As PNG participates in this programme every year at masters level and currently has three scholars, Catherine Buis at SOAS, University of London (The School of Oriental and African Studies), Dodi Doiwa at the University of Sussex, and Austin Edo at Swansea University, the High Commission should have direct contact with the secretariat and should receive relevant advice from the secretariat concerning arrival of new students. At the present time, unless students present themselves at the Mission, there is no way of knowing of their presence in the UK. A direct relationship is now established with the scholarship secretariat.
The High Commissioner attended a breakfast briefing of business people on Egypt in transition. Being accredited to Egypt the substance of the briefing was compatible with information sourced independently and reported to HQ each week. The value of the briefing was that confirmation.
The High Commissioner attended a speech by Rt Hon Hugo Swire, Minister of State at Foreign & Commonwealth Office and responsible for the Commonwealth and Asia/Pacific. The title of the speech: the ‘Modern Commonwealth’.
Dr Rosemary Preston, Chair of Council of Education in the Commonwealth, once conducted research work in PNG, met with the High Commissioner to discuss possibilities of cooperation between the Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat. The High Commissioner is a director on the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG, as all other high commissioners in London and Brussels.
20 – 24 October:
First Secretary Tamei attended the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund meeting at the International Maritime Organization at Albert Embankment, Central London.
The sessions covered were the 1992 Fund, the Supplementary Fund and the 1971 Fund, which are Funds established by international conventions and administered by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds based in London to deal with oil spill claims by member states during different periods.
The 1971 Fund was dissolved following voting during which PNG voted along with the majority for this action.
The 1992 Fund will take care of any oil spill should it occur in PNG along with the insurance company of the offending ship.
The High Commissioner was the only diplomat invited to the induction programme of about 700 new students under Chevening scholarships attending different educational institutions in Britain. Her Excellency was asked to say a few words to the students from the Asia-Pacific region. Three of the new students are from Papua New Guinea. There were also 3 students from Fiji and one from NZ making a total of 7 from the Pacific compared to about 30 from China and 15 from South Korea. Clearly the Pacific region is not making more use of this scholarship.
The High Commissioner attended a gala evening at Asia House to honour Madam Ho Ching CEO of Temasek, Singapore who was the recipient of the Asian Business Leaders Award.
SEPTEMBER 2014 ACTIVITIES
High Commissioner and First Secretary worked with the police in Norway concerning an illegal visitor to that country claiming to be a citizen of Papua New Guinea. Without a passport or any form of identification document, the person did not satisfy Kundu London that he was a citizen of PNG.
The High Commissioner gave a speech at the Induction programme for new Commonwealth diplomats in London. First Secretary Nasser Tamei was a participant at the programme. The week-long programme was held at Farnham Castle in Surrey and co-organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation.
The topic of the speech was: The Commonwealth Going Forward.
The High Commissioner met with Mick Wheeler, London-based representative of the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation, to discuss the agenda items of the International Coffee Council session held in London mid-Sept. It was also decided that as PNG’s voting rights had been withdrawn as a result of accumulating financial obligations, the High Commissioner was not to attend the session, but Mick Wheeler would and would prepare a report thereafter to be shared with the Mission.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary attended the Wantok Support Charity trustees meeting held in Ipswich.
The High Commissioner and Assistant Consular Officer, Eva Vickerman, attended the fund-raising “Evening of Splendour” of the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund held at the Mayfair Hotel, London. Present at the gala evening was Lady Judith Bona, spouse of former PNG High Commissioner to the UK, Sir Kina Bona (1996 – 2002). Lady Bona is the CCLEF focal point in PNG. Lady Bona brought gifts of necklaces made by the girls on CCLEF scholarships which were given out to the participants of the evening. Funds raised during the evening go toward scholarships for girls in the Commonwealth countries. In 2015, 16 girls from PNG will be beneficiaries of these scholarships.
The High Commissioner chaired the Commonwealth Secretariat panel interviewing candidates for the position of Director Governance & Natural Resources Division. The incumbent reports to a Deputy Secretary-General. Having interviewed half a dozen candidates around the world through skype, a short list of 3 was submitted to the Secretary-General to make an appointment from.
12 - 13 September:
On Friday 12th, the High Commissioner hosted the 39th Independence Anniversary reception at the Returned Overseas Service League, St James, London.
On Saturday 13th, the PNG community as well as friends of PNG gathered in historic York for a wonderful celebration organised by David and Misbil Wilkins.
15th – 19th September
First Secretary Nasser Tamei attended the International Cocoa Council & Subsidiary Bodies Meetings held in London during which the ‘Gentlmen’s Agreement’ for PNG and Nigeria was extended as both countries are financially contributing members to the International Cocoa Organization. The extension was made specificially to allow both countries’ parliaments ratify the 2010 International Cocoa Agreement.
Evensong at the Westminster Abbey concluded the Independence Anniversary celebrations. The 200-300 worshippers present contributed to the poignancy of the service making it very special occasion.
The High Commissioner arrived in New York and joined the briefing by HE Ambassador Robert Aisi on the programme of meetings for the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs & Immigration attending the 69th UN General Assembly as well as Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meetings on the margins of the UNGA. The team of officials was led by Deputy Secretary Alexis Maino. The team included officials of Foreign Affairs Department, Health Department, Climate Change Office, London and Washington Missions.
The entire team met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, Hon Rimbink Pato for final briefing on programmes of UN, bilateral, and Commonwealth meetings and receptions.
22 – 30 September:
As the prime Minister did not attend UNGA, the Minister attended Heads of Government meetings as well as his own and officials including Heads of London and Washington Missions, covered some of the meetings as well as attending some of Minister’s evening receptions. The finale was the Minister’s presentation of the PNG Country Statement on Tuesday 30th.
AUGUST 2014 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner attended the World War 1 Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey.
JULY 2014 ACTIVITIES
Mr Tamei attended the Centre for Agriculture and Bio-Sciences International (CABI) Executive Board meeting, which was held from 1st – 2nd July 2014 at the CABI Office in Delémont, Switzerland.
Mr Tamei continued to encourage CABI to roll out its mobile telephone agricultural extension work to include PNG in the future.
The High Commissioner attended a meeting of the NGO: Cool Earth. Meeting was briefed on activities in Milne Bay, PNG. There is still no information from PNG Government about this NGO’s activities.
Mr Tamei attended the Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) with Captain Nurur Rahman, Executive Manager of Maritime Operations with the PNG National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA).
The NCSR approved the establishment of two-way routes and a precautionary area at Jomard Entrance in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea to enable a two-way shipping lane in the area. The rationale is to avoid collision at sea given the increased ship movements in the area.
The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which will meet in November 2014 is the IMO Committee that will be final approval for the establishment of the PNG and Australia proposed two-way route for Australian ships especially that have increased in number transiting the Jomard Entrance.
High Commissioner and First Secretary attended Wantok Support Charity trustees meeting held at the Mission.
High Commissioner and First Secretary met with and were briefed by Captain Narur Rahman of PNG National Maritime Safety Authority who had been attending IMO meetings in London.
High Commissioner attended HRH The Prince of Wales’ reception for Realm High Commissioners held at his country home: Highgrove. High Commissioners were required to each bring 4 guests. Two officers each from PNG Tourism Promotion Authority London, and Flight Directors who are agents for Air Niugini, constituted the four guests.
Her Majesty The Queen consented to sit for a portrait that will be presented to her in September 2015 by her Realm countries when she becomes the longest reigning British monarch, overtaking her ancestor, Queen Victoria. High Commissioner coordinated this project with Realm countries missions in London, then with the Buckingham Palace.
High Commissioner attended HRH The Prince of Wales’ conference on financing of Blue Economy held at St James’s Palace, London. Deputy Secretary of Pacific Islands Forum, Ms Crystal Pratt gave a paper on fishery and ocean activities in the Pacific.
High Commissioner, First Secretary and family, and Eva Vickerman, attended the Wantok Support Charity fund-raising barbecue in Sussex. Part of the funds raised were earmarked for Arawa school building fund.
High Commissioner travelled to Brighton to attend the memorial service in honour of Professor Scarlet Epstein OBE who passed away in April.
The Mission was informed by the newly formed UK Visas and Immigration (now part of the Home Office replacing the UK Border Agency) of a young Papua New Guinean who was held in custody and eventually transferred to Child Welfare Services, and deported back to PNG. High Commissioner’s attempts to speak to the young person by phone were rejected. Where the young person was held was not disclosed to the Mission.
High Commissioner was guest of Mr Bernard Chan’s celebratory dinner in honour of his investiture with OBE on that day at Windsor Castle by Her Majesty The Queen.
Project Walkabout which the High Commissioner had been assisting in planning with Lord Clement-Jones and others, was launched with a reception at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association premises in the Houses of Parliament. Prime Minister O’Neill was to be at this event. The High Commissioner gave the speech. The footages and photographs taken pre-WW2 in PNG by Lord Clement-Jones’ ancestors and Lord Moyne were on display. The High Commissioner was presented with an original book by Lord Moyne published in 1936. At the reception were descendents of the two people who travelled to PNG in the 1930s.
High Commissioner and First Secretary attended flag-bearers ceremony for the Oceania teams held at the Caledonian University in Glasgow. In attendance were the PNG Minister for Sports, Pacific Games and National Events and part of the PNG contingent to the Commonwealth Games.
The Mission again had to deal with the UK Visas and Immigration at Heathrow airport where a young PNG national was detained for 8 hours for entering without an appropriate visa. The young person was eventually released.
High Commissioner and First Secretary along with Sports Minister and delegation attended the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
23 July – 1 August:
Mr Tamei remained in Glasgow to accompany the PNG Minister for Sports, Pacific Games and National Events until the latter’s departure on 31st July and also attended the court case of a PNG athlete until the athlete was acquitted of the charges laid against him during the period leading up the Glasgow Commonwealth Games period.
JUNE 2014 ACTIVITIES
High Commissioner and First Secretary met with Sportsworld UK which was coordinating events and logistics for Oceania teams expected in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. Timing and venue of a proposed reception to be hosted by the PNG Minister for Sports Pacific Games & National Events, Hon Justin Tkatchenko, was discussed as well as Oceania flag-raising ceremony.
Mick Wheeler, UK-based representative of PNG Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), met with the High Commissioner in a debriefing session upon his return from PNG in May. Mr Wheeler had taken an international team of coffee buyers to PNG where they met with CIC and coffee producers and visited some plantations. Mr Wheeler also met with relevant officials in the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Finance to discuss outstanding ratification of the International Coffee Agreement 2007 and outstanding assessed country contribution to the International Coffee Organisation respectively.
High Commissioner, First Secretary Tamei and his spouse attended the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace. 4,000 other people attended. The High Commissioner was able to invite 6 other guests who were mostly staff of the Mission and Papua New Guineans living in the UK to the party and two living in north England to the party a month later in Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, the Hon. Rimbink Pato, and delegation arrived in London for the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict. The Summit had been organised by UK Foreign Secretary the Rt Hon. William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The Mission had been preparing for the Minister’s visit in the previous weeks. High Commissioner accompanied the Minister to the meetings and hosted dinner at the residence for the Minister and delegation on the eve of their departure from London. The Minister was accompanied by his spouse. PNG Ambassador to Brussels and the EU, His Excellency Mr Joshua Kalinoe was able to join the delegation for dinner.
The Minister & delegation left for Nairobi, Kenya, to attend another meeting and from there travelled back to PNG.
High Commissioner attended the Queen’s Birthday Parade: Trooping the Colour at the Horse Guards. High Commissioners were guests of Prime Minister Cameron and met first for drinks at No.10 Downing Street. While Ambassadors were guests of Foreign Secretary William Hague.
High Commissioner and First Secretary waited at Heathrow for PNG parliamentary delegation led by Assistant Speaker to attend seminars at the Parliament, London. Change of arrival schedules & delegation membership had not been communicated to Kundu London resulting in waste of time and costs of hired chauffeur.
High Commissioner attended Foreign Secretary Hague’s reception in honour of the Queen’s birthday.
High Commissioner met with Lord Clement-Jones at the House of Lords to inform him of changes to Prime Minister O’Neill’s plans to visit London and travel to Glasgow for opening of the Commonwealth Games. PM was no longer travelling to the UK. As he was to make a speech at the launching of the project Walkabout at the Houses of Parliament, the programme needed to be altered.
High Commissioner attended a Chatham House discussion on Pacific-Australia Interest. The speaker was the current UK Permanent Representative to the UN. The session disintegrated into a discussion about the relevance of the UNSC vis-a-vis spreading instability in the Middle East and North African regions.
High Commissioner attended the Royal Ascot as a guest of the Queen. High Commissioner had not been able to accept previous invitations to this annual event.
High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Foundation Board of Governors meeting. The BOG is constituted of High Commissioners. Countries late in payment of assessed contributions were reminded of their arrears.
High Commissioner had discussions with an official of the Commonwealth Secretariat who had recently returned from visiting Bougainville. Discussions related to how and what type of assistance the Commonwealth Secretariat can render the ABG in preparation for independence referendum possible from 2015.
High Commissioner attended the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra concert at St James’s Palace. Special items were children from Glasgow performance as lead up to the Commonwealth Games.
High Commissioner was guest of Rt Hon Sir Mekere Morauta, former Prime Minister of PNG, during his knighthood investiture (KCMG) by HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.
High Commissioner travelled to Glasgow for the day and proudly watched the PNG Under19 Kumuls rugby team win gold as well as the Commonwealth Championships.
MAY 2014 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner attended the very first meeting on preserving rain forests organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society and Cool Earth. Cool Earth is an NGO which is already working with indigenous peoples in the Amazon and in Columbia with income-generating projects so that the people will not sell their forests for logging, etc. They have begun to establish two such projects in Milne Bay in PNG. The nature and location of the projects in Milne Bay are still to be specified.
The Fiji and PNG high commissioners attended a session of the All Parliamentary Parties Group on the Pacific at the House of Commons. This was the first time that both High Commissioners attended the session and they gave quite good off-the-cuff briefings on Fiji and PNG before they faced an array of questions from Members of Parliament from both Houses.
They both agreed that it was a great privilege that the Pacific was being discussed at such a very high level.
There are separate APPGs for Australia and for New Zealand.
The High Commissioner and First Secretary briefed a group of 19 senior military personnel from 14 different countries at the UK Royal College of Defence Studies, before the group departed on an international study tour of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia.
The high ranking officers and civil servants are currently undertaking a post-graduate level programme in international strategic studies, focussing on the themes of security, stability and prosperity.
High Commissioner and First Secretary attended the Wantok Support Charity AGM. First Secretary Nasser Tamei was elected to the board of Trustees. High Commissioner is ex-officio trustee.
The High Commissioner met with The Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, Bishop of Lynn over coffee, with the Reverend Lynn Fry and her husband Anthony Fry, an Anglican couple intending to work in PNG for a short term.
Women diplomats were invited to the residence of the Lebanese Ambassador, Her Excellency Mrs Inaam Osseiran, for a luncheon. They were delighted to have George Clooney’s future mother-in-law among them. Of the 180 or so heads of missions in London, only 22 are women.
In the evening, the High Commissioner attended a dinner hosted by the Director for the Asia/Pacific desk at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Mr Stephen Lillie. Also invited to the dinner were the British high commissioners to Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and High Commissioner designate to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Simon Tonge. Other High Commissioners to the United Kingdom also in attendance were the High Commissioner for Tuvalu and Acting Heads of Mission of the Solomon Islands and Tonga. Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands diplomatic missions are based in Brussels.
Meetings of oil and petroleum producing countries were held at Chatham House. PNG was represented by Mr David Kiwa from the Department of Treasury, Mr Igitava Yogiva from the National Petroleum Company, and Mr Dominic Sebong from Petromin. The High Commissioner and First Secretary from Kundu London attended some sessions.
The three officers had attended another oil conference organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat from 13-14 May.
The High Commissioner attended a talk at Chatham House by the UK Ambassador to the UN on the UN Security Council. The Ambassador’s depth of knowledge was fascinating.
UK High Commissioner designate to PNG, H E Simon Tonge called on Kundu London and was briefed by the High Commissioner and First Secretary. His Excellency was to be cross-posted from Côte d’Ivoire to PNG.
High Commissioner accompanied officers of the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority UK, to the annual Chelsea Flower Show. The plan is for PNG to enter the show in 2016. There is every reason to believe that a PNG entry would be successful.
High Commissioner attended a talk given by the former Secretary-General of the UN Mr Kofi Annan, at Kings College.
Was the Queen Elizabeth’s garden party to celebrate her birthday. Held annually at Buckingham Palace, it is spread over several days in London, and a day at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, with 4,000 guests per day. This year, high commissioners guests included Miss Antonietta Baretto, receptionist and chauffeur Pedro Baretto from Kundu London, his girlfriend Miss Roshnie Patel, Mrs Oe Jameson, Mrs Rhonda Lundberg, and Mrs Theresa Natera Wolford Buckingham Palace.
Stanley Gene and Robert Agen attended the garden party at Holyrood Palace in Edinburg.
The High Commissioner gave the key-note address at the Pacific Islands Society of UK & Ireland (PISUKI), held at New Zealand House. The subject of the talk was “PNG in the 21st Century”.
The High Commissioner attended the farewell lunch for Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mrs Gabaipone Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba. Mrs Masire-Mwamba held the position for six years.
The Pacific heads of missions met at the New Zealand High Commission for a working lunch in advance of the Commonwealth Secretariat BOG meeting. The High Commissioners of Samoa, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu travelled from Brussels where they are based. The BOG is constituted of high commissioners of the Commonwealth. A particular matter for discussion was the election of the chair of the BOG Executive Committee as it is the Pacific’s turn to hold the chair. PNG was agreed to but as Her Excellency’s term will end mid-way through the 2-year term, Australia was agreed and duly elected by the BOG.
The High Commissioner and Eva Vickerman, Assistant Consular Officer attended the London showing of Andrew Abel’s film: Splinters. An interesting film on the use of surfing to change cultural attitudes to the participation of PNG girls in sports and activities denied them. Proceeds of the three full-house showings in London, Bristol and Cornwall amounted to $4,000. This fund will purchase surf boards for girls in PNG. Mr Abel’s visit was made possible by the UK office of Tourism Promotion Authority.
The Commonwealth Secretariat first Board of Governors meeting of the year was attended by the High Commissioner who is a governor as all other high commissioners are.
After the BOG, the High Commissioners attended the briefing at Buckingham Palace on the imminent launching of the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme as part of the youth leadership development under the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Trust. The new programme is to be launched on 9 July 2014. High Commissioners were required to source young people from their countries to participate at the launching and the subsequent programmes to be determined.
A morning tea was hosted by Kundu London for a group of PNG academics, school administrators, high school principals, who were participating in upgrade programmes at Oxford University. Work of the UOG VC Ben Sabumei on exchange programmes with Oxford, coming to fruition.
Andrew Abel was also invited to join the morning tea prior to his departure that day for PNG.
The High Commissioner and Eva Vickerman attended the “Evening of Elegance” dinner of the British Monarchist Society at the Millennium Hotel, Mayfair. Proceeds of the evening went to the Duke of Cambridge’s Tusk Charity.
APRIL 2014 ACTIVITIES
1 - 2 April:
The High Commissioner remained at Wiston House in West Sussex to continue the Wilton Park discussions on the future of the Commonwealth. The 50 participants included members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, heads of International Red Cross and African Development Bank and university students from Australia and Cameroon. There were also eight High Commissioners who participated in the discussions. The Canadian and PNG High Commissioners had facilitated group discussions.
Wilton Park is an international forum for strategic discussion and global change and where meetings are conducted in a neutral environment. Wilton Park organises over fifty events a year in the UK and overseas, bringing together leading representatives from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, academia, business, civil society, the military and the media.
Carl Wright, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) briefed the High Commissioner on the forthcoming third Pacific Local Government Forum, Port Moresby Declaration on Pacific Futures: Building Our Local Communities, to be held in Port Moresby from 19th to 24th May 2014. The purpose of the forum was to deliberate on the future role of local government in building communities in the Pacific.
The High Commissioner and Mr Nasser Tamei had dinner with Mr Maurice Brownjohn, Commercial Director of the PNA (Parties to the Nauru Agreement – sub regional fisheries agreement) when he briefed them on the work of the PNA and on aspects of the regional fisheries initiatives. Mr Brownjohn was previously from the fishing industry of PNG where he was a member of the National Fisheries Board for many years.
Former UK Prime Minister, Sir John Major, who is the Chair of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Trust, met with the Commonwealth High Commissioners at Marlborough House (seat of Commonwealth Secretariat) to update the High Commissioners on the progress of the Trust. The High Commissioners constitute the advisory committee of the Trust. The Trust has raised £100 million in donations so far and this fund will contribute to the goals set by Vision 2020, a global initiative to end avoidable blindness worldwide, by tackling three major causes of avoidable blindness and developing fellowships, research and technology to strengthen eye care services across the Commonwealth
On returning from the Easter holidays, the High Commissioner attended the ANZAC commemoration day with wreath laying at the Cenotaph in the morning, followed by a Service at Westminster Abbey and a reception at Australia House.
Her Excellency Winnie Kiap attended a huge luncheon in honour of the Commonwealth Games, hosted by HRH Prince Edward, the Lord Mayor of London, and the Lord Provost of Glasgow. The Worshipful Lord Mayor and Lord Provost are women! The Lord Mayor of London, Ald. Fiona Wolfe is only the second woman to hold the position since 1189 - over 800 years ago.
High Commissioner was on a panel discussing the future of the Commonwealth at the House of Lords. Members of the panel were Rt Hon Lord David Howell of Guildford, who was Minister responsible for the Commonwealth at FCO at the time High Commissioner Kiap took up the London post. The High Commissioner of Canada, for 10 years Premier of British Columbia, and a senior official of the Nigerian High Commission. It so happened that the four panellists were also at the 2-day Wilton Park discussion early in the month.
MARCH 2014 ACTIVITES
The International Coffee Council met in London which was attended by Mr Mick Wheeler, the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation representative in London. Participation at ICO sessions are becoming more and more difficult with loss of voting power resulting from PNG’s non-payment of assessed contributions for some years now.
The International Coffee Agreement 2007 is also yet to be ratified by the PNG parliament although in 2009 the NEC had approved and advised the Head of State to have PNG be party to the Agreement.
5 -6 March
On the 4th March,the High Commissioner and the First Secretary, Mr Nasser Tamei, travelled to Glasgow where a diplomatic briefing on the preparations of the XX Commonwealth Games, was held over two days. The briefing was opened by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Rt Hon Cllr Sadie Docherty. It was arranged by the Commonwealth Games Committee and covered logistical preparations, security, and recce to games venues and athletes village. Further briefings in the following months will be held in London as well as Glasgow. There is a high possibility that Prime Minister O’Neill will be attending the Games opening ceremony on 23rd July so it was important to view the relevant venues for accommodation, ceremonies and the general games arenas.
10 – 13 March
The High Commissioner attended the 89th International Coca Council meeting in Zurich, Switzerland. Contrary to popular expectations, meeting participants in Zurich did not visit a chocolate factory. A delegation of three from PNG was to attend the meeting but sadly did not make it. Among other things, the meeting prepared also for the 2nd Word Cocoa Conference scheduled for June in Amsterdam. PNG will send a delegation to this important conference to be led by the Acting Secretary for DAL and including the chairman of the Cocoa Board and a farmer representative.
The Board of Trustees of the Wantok Support Charity met in Essex. Nasser Tamei was introduced to the Board. The high commissioner is ex-officio member of the board.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is recruiting at its top executive level. A new deputy secretary-general just recruited and making the rounds introducing himself to the members of the Board of Governors of the Secretariat, also called on High Commissioner Kiap. Mr Deodat Maharaj is from Trinidad & Tobago. All high commissioners constitute the BOG including Pacific high commissioners based in Brussels.
Kundu London received report from the Commonwealth Secretariat that the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had downgraded sanctions on Fiji and as a result Fiji can participate at the July Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Horror! Arrived at the office to find the PNG flag flying in front of the chancery on Waterloo Place, London, had been removed overnight. The matter was reported but no report has been provided by the appropriate authority.
Hon J Koim Kuman, MP, member for Hela, PNG, came to London for private business but called in at Kundu London and was met by the High Commissioner and First Secretary Tamei.
A “curry night” was held at St Phillip’s Church in Earls Court, Kensington, as part of Wantok Support Charity fund-raising activities. The event was well supported by Fijians, Tongans, and friends from the Caribbean and Cameroon.
The Princess Royal HRH Princess Anne hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for young leaders in London for a few weeks under the Commonwealth Scholarship Conference, a scheme established in 1956 by HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. The High Commissioner attended and was disappointed to find that PNG had not participated in this round as it did in 2013. Her Royal Highness mentioned that she will be travelling to the Pacific later in the year to close the Emerging Pacific Leadership Dialogue. To open in PNG and close in Vanuatu? While in private life High Commissioner Kiap was involved in the organisation of the 2010 EPLD which opened in Samoa and was closed by HRH Princess Anne in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.
The Commonwealth Business Council has had some changes in the new CEO and new chairman. It convened a briefing session at the Commonwealth Secretariat for the high commissioners, on its mandate and its capability. One of its emphases is on infrastructure which is one of the three priorities of the PNG government.
Private Secretary to the Queen, Sir Christopher Geidt, hosted lunch for the 16 high commissioners of the Realm, at Buckingham Palace.
The New Zealand Penthouse came alive with Pacific chanting and Maori songs when the Pacific participants attending cultural discourse on “Pacific presence” at Cambridge were hosted to a reception by the NZ High Commissioner Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith. High Commissioner Kiap attended the reception and was pleasantly surprised to meet PNG’s own Michael Mel in the group. Michael did PNG proud by bursting into a Highlands chant which was extremely beautiful. Sir Lockwood singing the hymn “Oh Lord My God” in Maori was equally enchanting.
FEBRUARY 2014 ACTIVITIES
Her Excellency took a much needed 3 week holiday from 1st February when she travelled to her home in Manus Province. While she was there, the disturbance at the Asylum Seekers camp in Lombrum occurred on the 17th Feb resulting in the death of one asylum seeker.
The High Commissioner also attended the Heads of Mission conference in Port Moresby while she was in PNG.
First Secretary Nasser Tamei held office as Chargé d’Affaires during the period.
The Heads of PNG Missions abroad, gathered in Port Moresby to attend the Leaders’ Summit held at the new conference centre of the Gateway Hotel. The Summit was opened by the Prime Minister, The Hon. Peter O’Neill. Participants of the Leaders’ Summit were comprised of Provincial Governors and Heads of Government Departments. The principal agenda was status reports on programme implementation in 2013. The Prime Minister had made 2013 his government’s YEAR OF IMPLEMENTATION.
Taken away from the Summit, inter alia, was the Attorney-General’s defence of the recently passed death penalty law which had attracted a lot of attention internationally calling for its abolition. The Attorney-General said PNG has the sovereign right to make its own laws. Furthermore, all systems and mechanisms in place will have to be thoroughly exhausted before a death penalty is implemented or not.
11 – 13 February:
The 3 day Heads of Mission and Post conference was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port Moresby. Present were heads of missions in Australia (Canberra), Belgium & EU, China, Fiji, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the Solomon Islands, United States of America, United Nations Organisation. Heads of post from Brisbane, Cairns, Jayapura and Sydney were also present.
The conference was said to be the first in over 30 years or so and it is hoped it will become a bi-annual event. It was opened by the Prime Minister, The Hon. Peter O’Neill. Its theme: Connecting Globally With Purpose.
Other than normal briefings, the conference provided the opportunity for heads of missions to come together and share experiences. Regional groupings were formed: Europe and America consists of London, Brussels, Washington and New York. The groups are authorised to meet perhaps once before the next HOM conference. The Asian and Pacific regions are larger.
Meanwhile, Mr Nasser Tamei, First Secretary, continued to expand his network and familiarise himself with how Government and Business is conducted in London.
On the 13th February Mr Tamei attended an informal lunch to meet with key contacts in the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds and also International Maritime Organization delegates. He was pleased to note that PNG had met its financial commitments for 2014 for oil pollution compensation, as compared to other financial obligations to London based international organizations.
From the 17th – 21st February, Mr Tamei attended the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watch Keeping at the International Maritime Organization. This meeting was his first IMO meeting since assuming his posting.
On the 19th February he attended the first security briefing at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with Police Scotland and Commonwealth Games Personnel regarding the upcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow.
Mr Tamei attended a luncheon hosted by the Minister of State to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Hon. Hugo Swire for all High Commissioners on the 24th February. The purpose was to gauge their views on Commonwealth member states perceptions on how the Commonwealth could be more relevant to member states. Mr Tamei expressed his view that more should be done by the Commonwealth in terms of enhancing trade and economic relations with member countries, taking particular note of the APEC tariff reduction and ACP-EU preferential arrangements as comparative models currently used by member states.
For the rest of February, Mr Tamei attended numerous diplomatic functions as part of networking with fellow diplomats since his arrival in December 2013.
JANUARY 2014 ACTIVITIES
Kundu London re-opened for government business on 6th January after the Christmas break. All staff returned from their various holidays on the same day to resume their duties. Mr Nasser Tamei, First Secretary, who replaced John Balavu in December, spent the festive holiday with his family settling into their new home and finding their way around London.
The Staff lunch was held at the newly-opened Villandry restaurant at 12 Waterloo Place.
The High Commissioner left the lunch to meet with the Chairman of the British Monarchist Society, of which she is Patron, to discuss activities planned for 2014.
Her Excellency and Mr Tamei met with the Officials of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in Kundu London.
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust was established to celebrate Her Majesty’s 60 year reign, and also to mark her contribution to the Commonwealth.
The Trust was established during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia in 2011. Former British Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Sir John Major is Chairman of its Board of Trustees. It is hoped that within its five year span, the Trust will make a real and enduring impact on the lives of those who live within the Commonwealth, across all generations and geographical boundaries.
The Trust has joined the global initiative to end avoidable blindness by 2020, and aims to make significant progress towards resolving this major issue faced by the Commonwealth.
Over the next year the Trust will also work with experts from around the Commonwealth to develop a programme that can maximize the potential of young people in the Commonwealth.
The death of the former Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, was announced. As Ambassador to the State of Israel, Her Excellency prepared a Condolence Message for the Prime Minister of PNG through DFA Secretary Dihm, and signed the Book of Condolence at the Israel Embassy.
The High Commissioner held discussions with journalists of the Global Fortune Magazine about a planned interview with Prime Minister O’Neill while another team was on the ground in Port Moresby having background discussions with relevant people and organisations.
This magazine and the Fortune 500 are read by serious international business circles and it is hoped the interview with the PM, which will be spread over a couple of editions, will be successful. As PNG emerges as a serious investment location, it requires to be known and in the right circles.
The Times magazine journalists called on the High Commissioner to advise that an interview with Prime Minister O’Neill had been successful. Kundu London does all it can to assist planned interviews with the PM in cases where the publications concerned are credible and where these will lift and broadcast PNG’s profile internationally.
The High Commissioner and Mr Nasser Tamei attended a meeting of the PNG Wantok Support Charity held in Essex, in the home of Mrs Margaret Miller, a trustee of the Charity. The High Commissioner is the ex-officio trustee of the Charity and they meet every other month.
The High Commissioner gave a speech at the Rotary Club of London. The title was “PNG THEN AND NOW” which was challenging, given its lack of particular focus. However, the speech was well received and got a small mention in the Telegraph, the next day.
Public speaking is a mechanism to provide information about PNG and what the country has to offer by way of investment and business. Much is known in London about Africa, the Middle East, ASEAN countries, and the Caribbean, but little is known about the south Pacific region.
The British Monarchist Society Patrons held a meeting at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair which the High Commissioner attended. On this day, Her Excellency also attended the New Year reception for High Commissioners hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, HE Mr Kamalesh Sharma’s.
The High Commissioner was present at the New Year Reception for Diplomats at City Hall, which was hosted by the Mayor of London, Mr Boris Johnston.
As a show of solidarity, partnership and teamwork in promoting PNG in the UK and Europe, the High Commissioner hosted a luncheon for the Tourism Promotion Authority London, and the Air Niugini team from Flight Directors.
It was a pleasure to receive the British High Commissioner to the PNG, HE Miss Jackie Barson, at Kundu London. Her Excellency’s term in PNG is nearing its end. I am sure she will be missed in Port Moresby.
The High Commissioner left for PNG for some holiday as well as to attend the PNG Heads of Mission conference in Port Moresby.
THE YEAR 2013 IN SUMMARY
PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS:
As the High Commissioner and Ambassador to a number of countries, the High Commissioner is expected to present her credentials to all those countries upon her appointment. During 2013, the High Commissioner presented her credentials to the Heads of State of The Republic of Cyprus, The State of Israel and The Republic of Zimbabwe. The High Commissioner has yet to formalise engagement with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of South Africa.
UK GOVERNMENT DELEGATIONS VISITING PNG:
Three UK government delegations visited Papua New Guinea in the early part of the 2013. The Permanent Head of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Mr Simon Fraser visited the British High Commission in Port Moresby and held discussions with the PNG Foreign Affairs and representatives from the Investment Promotion Authority. There was a visit by the UK Commonwealth Parliamentary delegation led by the Rt Hon Baroness Taylor of Bolton on a fact finding mission and met with the PNG Commonwealth Parliamentary Office. A visit was also made by The Minister of State, the Rt Hon. Hugo Swire at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Minister Swire led a small business delegation when he attended the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting held in Port Moresby in April. The Minister was visiting at the invitation of the Hon. Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration.
PNG GOVERNMENT DELEGATIONS VISITING LONDON:
A high level Papua New Guinea judicial delegation, headed by the Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea, Hon Sir Salamo Injia KT, arrived in London on an official visit en route to the Channels Islands to attend the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges Associations conference in Jersey in September. The judicial delegation included the Justices Nicholas Kirriwom and Salatiel Lenalia and their spouses and officials. The Justices graciously accepted Her Excellency’s invitation to attend the independence reception while they were in London.
In October, there were visits by the Minister for Sports, Pacific Games & National Events, the Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, and the Minister for Public Enterprises & State Investments, the Hon. Ben Micah. Minister Tkatchenko was accompanied by the Hon. Powes Parkop, MP, Governor of the National Capital District, the Hon. Labi Amaiu, MP, Vice Minister for Sports and the Hon. Wera Mori, MP, Vice Minister for Mining. This delegation was in the UK to support the PNG Rugby League team during the World Cup and to inspect sports facilities. Minister Micah’s delegation was returning from a fact finding tour of thermal power installations in Iceland.
PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICIAL VISIT TO ISRAEL:
The Prime Minister, The Hon. Peter O’Neill, made a state visit to Israel in October. The visit was the result of a long standing invitation by the government of the State of Israel to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. The ministerial delegation accompanying the Prime Minister was led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, the Hon. Rimbink Pato. Accompanying officials were led by the Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador William Dihm. Her Excellency Winnie Kiap travelled to Israel to join the delegation.
PNG GOVERNMENT DELEGATIONS VISITING ISREAL:
In August a delegation led by the Minister for Public Enterprise & State Investment, Hon Ben Micah, held talks with the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC). A follow-up delegation led by the Chairman of PNG Power Mr Joshua Bakirie, was made in October at which time a MOU was signed between Mr Bakirie and Mr Yiftah Ron Tal, Chairman of IEC to facilitate technical assistance from Israel to PNG Power.
The High Commissioner was in Port Moresby again in April when she accompanied the Rt. Hon. Minister Hugo Swire on his visit.
In September the High Commissioner joined the delegation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, the Hon. Rimbink Pato when he attended the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting held in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
REPRESENTATION AT FUNERAL SERVICES OF DIGNITARIES:
In April, Minister John Balavu attended the funeral service of the Rt. Hon. Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain.
In December the High Commissioner attended the Memorial Service held in honour of the Hon. Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa.
WORKING WITH LONDON TPA AND AIR NIUGINI AGENTS:
Air Niugini, Papua New Guinea’s national airline picked up a new Boeing 737 aircraft to add to their fleet in September. Air Niugini’s technical crew headed by the Executive Manager Maintenance Control, Mr Benedict Oraka, picked up the aircraft in Iceland and brought it to Basingstoke in the UK for modifications before delivering to PNG.
In November, the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority’s London Office participated in the World Travel Market (WTM), a UK event for the global travel industry. This year, the PNG TPA won an award from Lonely Planet for Best Beaches and Small Islands, which was presented to them during the show.
SPORTS TEAMS VISITING THE UK:
In September, the PNG triathlon team participated in the World Triathlon Final in London from 11-16th and the Papua New Guinea Kumuls took part in the Rugby League World cup during October and November.
In April, the Commonwealth Youth Ministers meeting was held in Port Moresby which was chaired by the PNG Minister for Religion, Youth & Community Development the Hon. Loujaya Toni-Kouza. The High Commissioner participated in some sessions.
The 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was held in November in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister was represented by his deputy, Hon Leo Dion. See November report.
INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANISATION:
Response from Capital had been good with IMO committee meetings. Dr Balavu attended the meetings as usual from Kundu London. In September and November meetings, he was joined by officers from the National Maritime Safety Authority and PNG’s Department of Transport including CPT Narur Rahman, Nicholas Pion, Charles Siniu, Mathew Wowoni and Jerry Geno.
In 2013, a total of 635 visitors were granted visas to travel to Papua New Guinea.
There were 49 different nationalities from across Europe, Africa and the Middle East and also from United States, New Zealand and Australia applying for visas during 2013. There is an increase of visitors from Poland and Ireland travelling to PNG. Overall, the majority of all the visitors were from the United Kingdom numbering 422.
In August, the High Commissioner hosted a gathering for post-graduate students currently studying at various universities in the UK.
The High Commission website was launched in September.
Dr John Balavu, Minister, completed his term in December and was replaced by Mr Nasser Tamei, First Secretary, who took up duty on 19th December.
INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSAY CELEBRATIONS:
See September report.
HONOURS & AWARDS:
A number of people from Papua New Guinea were honoured by Her Majesty during 2013. Those who visited the High Commission while they were in London receiving their Honours from Buckingham Palace included Mr Hilary Wong, Mr Richard Kassman, Mr Mohamed Sultan, Sir Yii Ann Nii, Sir and Lady Luciano Craglioni, Sir John Luke Crittin, Mr Jeff Wall and Mr. Julius Yeoh.
On March 10th, to mark Commonwealth Day, several people including MPs gave speeches on Enterprise through Training, the Commonwealth theme for the year. The High Commissioner was invited to respond to the speech by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable.
On 13th March during the UKCPA Lunchtime Lecture Series held at the UKCA premises, Houses of Parliament, the High Commissioner spoke in response to academics Dr Melissa Demian from the University of Kent, and Dr Tony Crook from the University of St Andrews who spoke on legal issues and MDGs relative to PNG.
On March 19th, the High Commissioner took part in the London University School of Oriental & African Studies Spring Lectures Series. Pacific high commissioners gave papers on different aspects of Threats faced by the Pacific. In June the High Commissioner was guest speaker at the British Monarchist Society. In August, the High Commissioner gave a paper in Port Moresby on activities of the London Mission to the newly appointed heads of mission about to be deployed to their various posts.
NOVEMBER 2013 ACTIVITIES
The High Commissioner hosted a dinner at the residence in honour of the Minister for Sports, the Hon Justin Tkatchenko, his wife Catherine and delegation. A dozen or so from the PNG London community joined in the festivity making the evening an enjoyable one. In thanking the High Commissioner for her hospitality, the Minister presented two framed stamps collection to hang at the residence.
The World Travel Market opened at the ExCel Centre in East London - a global travel event aiming to increase tourism trade deals, international networking with travel professionals, buyers and providing travel business intelligence.
The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority’s London office (TPA London) and Air Niugini UK representatives did an excellent job in promoting and manning the PNG space. This year, the TPA Head Office was represented by the Marketing Coordinator (UK and Europe) Ms Alice Kuaningi. The High Commissioner attended the opening day and was interviewed by a number of travel writers.
The High Commissioner attended the Edwin Smith Memorial Lecture at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association rooms at the Houses of Parliament, London. The speaker was His Excellency Ratu Solo Mara, High Commissioner for Fiji. The High Commissioner spoke on the progress of political development in Fiji to culminate in democratic elections in September 2014. Other members of the Commonwealth are looking forward to welcoming Fiji back into the Commonwealth and that will happen after the elections.
The CCL fair was well attended this year and we raised £500 to go towards educating young girls in the Western Highland.
Thank you to all the volunteers whose help we could not have done without.
Dr John Balavu, Minister at Kundu London, represented PNG on Remembrance Day by laying a wreath at the Cenotaph, Whitehall. Her Majesty The Queen and senior members of the royal family attend the ceremony as they do every year.
11th – 17th November
The 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 11 to 17 November. Mr Dennis Bebego, Acting Director-General, Multilateral Organisations, DFA, led the delegation of officials which included the High Commissioner London, and the High Commissioner, New Delhi, accredited to Sri Lanka. The Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, the Hon Rimbink Pato attended the ministers’ meeting on 13-14 November and in place of the Prime Minister, his Deputy the Hon Leo Dion, attended the Heads of Government Executive Sessions on 15-17 November. The CHOGM was opened by HRH The Prince of Wales, standing in for HM The Queen.
The High Commissioner, Dr John Balavu and Eva Vickerman attended a dinner hosted by Mr Simon Foo CBE, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Air Niugini and Mr Daniel Wanma MBE, Chief Operating Officer. Also at the dinner was Mr John Pope, UK agent for Air Niugini. Mr Foo and Mr Wanma were in the UK talking to various insurers for the airline
25th November to 4 December
John Balavu, Minister, and two officers from the Transport Department and the National Maritime Safety Authority respectively, attended the week-long International Maritime Assembly, at the IMO Headquarters, London.
Countries vying for appointment to various IMO agencies, host receptions at the margins of the Assembly as last-effort in the year-long and quite vigorous campaigns.
Work commenced on initiating a partnership between PNG business women and business women of Lesotho based on coffee. Women of Lesotho are interested in importing coffee from Papua New Guinea. To be pursued.
Officers of Nexus, called on the High Commissioner to discuss possible collaborations to produce a publication to commemorate the 40th Independence anniversary of Papua New Guinea in 2015.
The High Commissioner attended a dinner hosted by the Most Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey, with 10 other guests from varying backgrounds which made for pleasant conversation. After dinner, Dr Hall conducted a tour of the Abbey. The Abbey dates back to the 10th century and is the traditional place for coronations, burials and weddings for English/British monarchs.
Mrs Tandy Lubett organised a dinner in honour of Mrs Barbara Slade who was visiting from Africa where she lives. Mrs Slade will shortly be relocating back to the UK so the dinner was to introduce her to a few Papua New Guineans living in the UK. The High Commissioner was kind enough to attend and said it was an enjoyable evening.
On 9th October, the Queen’s Baton Relay was launched by the Queen at Buckingham palace at a ceremony in which Her Majesty placed her message to the commonwealth in the baton. Her Excellency Winnie Kiap and other commonwealth High Commissioners attended the ceremony. The baton was relayed by thousands of people throughout the commonwealth. The baton passed through Port Moresby and Kavieng on 5-7 November. The Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from 23 July – 3rd August 2014.
The High Commissioner attended the launch of a collection of interpretation of art in Melanesia by different researchers and scholars contained in a book titled Melanesian Art, at the British Museum on Friday 11th October. The launch attracted many people and those in academia included nationals of New Caledonia who had conducted field research in PNG at some point in their professional lives. The book was launched by Dame Marilyn Strathern PhD, who herself spent decades studying the cultures of the Highlands of PNG.
As Ambassador to the State of Israel, Her Excellency travelled to Israel from 13 – 18 October during the official visit to the country by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG. Mr O’Neill was accompanied by his wife, Ms Lynda May Babao. Arriving separately during that week was a large delegation headed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration, the Hon. Rimbink Pato. The officials’ delegation was led by His Excellency, Ambassador William Dihm, Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
The Prime Minister visited a defence factory and training institutions, the Holocaust Museum where he laid a wreath and planted a tree in the Grove of Nations. Mr O’Neill was also given a tour of Golan Heights in a helicopter. He unveiled a plaque of a Bible text in Tok Pisin at the river Jordan, and visited the Knesset where he was announced by the Speaker. During his visit, the Prime Minister met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and agreed to PNG establishing a diplomatic office in Tel Aviv. They signed the Joint-Declaration of Co-operation and an agreement allowing nationals of both countries to receive entry visas on arrival. The Prime Minister also met with President Shimon Peres.
Dr Jacob Weiss, PNG’s Honorary Consul in Israel, did an excellent job with the Israeli MAF on the visit programme.
21 Oct – 5th Nov
On 21st October, the PNG Sports Minister’s advance party led by Mr Api Kassman arrived in Kundu London, ahead of the Ministerial delegation to finalise logistical arrangements. The Minister, the Hon. Justin Tkatchenko BEM OL, and his delegation arrived on 25th October and attended the opening of the Rugby League World Cup at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff the next day on 26th October. They were accompanied by Her Excellency Winnie Kiap. The delegation then travelled to Hull on 27th October to watch the Kumuls first match with France. The team did extremely well losing by one point.
During their visit, some members of the delegation attended the Prince of Wales’ reception for the 40 nations competing in the World Cup. The Minister himself visited Clarence House to meet Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, to present her with the orchid Dendrobium Camila, bred especially for the Duchess to commemorate Their Royal Highnesses visit to PNG for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
The Minister hosted a reception at the Sofitel hotel on Thursday 31st in which he spoke of the preparations for the forthcoming Pacific Games and the future of sport and facilities in PNG. In his speech, the Governor of NCD, the Hon. Powes Parkop, spoke of the steps being taken by his government to make Port Moresby safe and attractive to encourage more visitors to the capital. On the 2nd November everyone gathered at Haus Somare for dinner hosted by Her Excellency.
The Ministerial party went to Windsor Castle which was organised by Clarence House. They also visited Kew Gardens, the London Zoo and on Sunday 3rd October they visited Wisley Gardens in Surrey, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society.
The Delegation departed on 5th October.
Meanwhile, on 23rd October, the Executive Director of the International Cocoa Organisation, Dr Jean-Marc Anga, called on the High Commissioner at Kundu London to discuss changes to the organisation. He announced that the next World Cocoa Conference will be held in Amsterdam in June 2014.
The High Commissioner also attended a reception hosted by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace to thank those Commonwealth countries, organisations and individuals who contributed to the Diamond Jubilee Trust.
During this period, another Ministerial delegation was in London. The Hon. Ben Micah, Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investment, and his delegation arrived in London on 28th October. The Minister was returning from an official visit to Iceland where he had been inspecting thermal power to ascertain whether it would be suitable for PNG as an alternative source of energy. The delegation travelled to Hull to lend their support for the Kumuls in their match against France. They departed on 28th October.
For a reception at Buckingham Palace on 28th October, Her Majesty the Queen invited High Commissioners to attend and asked them to bring four guests. Her Excellency chose to bring Mr Michael Wheeler of PNG Coffee Industry Corporation, Mr Stephen Plunkett of Pacific Business UK, Mr Menzie Yere of the Sheffield Eagles Rugby League club and Mr John Balavu, Minister at Kundu London as her guests.
The High Commissioner ended the day by hosting a small dinner for Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe who was in transit through London to take up his new post at Kundu Brussels, and which included Minister Justin Tkatchenko and Ms Barbara Mimino of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The High Commissioner met with Lord Clement-Jones at the Houses of Parliament for further discussion on the project Walkabout Exhibition. This project is an exhibition of photographs and footages taken in PNG in the 1930s. It is hoped that Prime Minister O’Neill will attend the opening which will be at the Houses of Parliament.
September was a busy month for Kundu London. Dr John Balavu, Minister, travelled to Bristol on 14th September to represent Kundu London at an event organised by the PNG community living in the UK, to celebrate the 38th independence of PNG. This is an annual event when the small community including students and friends of PNG gather from across the UK to enjoy the occasion as well as each other’s company. Dr Balavu gave a speech as did Mr Chris Lee, Marketing Manager of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority UK office.
This event was followed by a service at the Westminster Abbey on Independence Day, Monday 16th September. The evensong is by courtesy of the Dean of Westminster Abbey the Very Reverend Dr John Hall who kindly holds the service on the national day of each of the country’s represented in the UK by a diplomatic mission. The service was attended by Dr Balavu who delivered a reading. Also attending were members of the PNG community including representatives of the visiting triathlon team.
The High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Winnie Kiap travelled to Cyprus on 15th September in order to present her credentials on 16th September. Her Excellency was fortunate enough to meet with members of the Violaris family and they celebrated Independence Day with a dinner on Sunday evening. Her Excellency returned to London immediately to host a reception to mark the 38th independence anniversary on the 17th September, which was attended by diplomats, representatives of International Organisations, other dignitaries, friends and members of the PNG community.
In her speech, the High Commissioner spoke briefly of PNGs colonial past and of how since independence in 1975, Papua New Guinea is going from strength to strength despite facing challenges such as the geographic isolation of PNG and other pacific countries which deters commercial investors from far afield, the impact of climate change and global warming affecting small islands and coastal areas, and the continued portrayal of the negative aspects of the country. In highlighting the positive aspects, the High Commissioner spoke of the success of managing a country of such diversity in culture and language and the rich bio-diversity of the flora and fauna which is still contributing to world knowledge as new species are discovered and recorded. She talked about the abundance of the country’s natural resources – with gold and copper exports bringing in the highest revenues for the country and the growth of the petroleum sector, highlighting the development of the large scale LNG Behemoth project which is at 75% complete, and which goes into production in 2014.
The High Commissioner referred to a speech given in parliament by the Papua New Guinea Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration when he had stressed that Papua New Guinea must connect with the international community. She added that as part of this global community, the country is facing the same concerns like the rest of the world – climate change, money laundering, terrorism, piracy at sea, to name a few - and how Papua New Guinea is already endeavouring to establish and maintain good relations with all countries of the world and to live in peace with them all. The fact that PNG was host to a number of high-powered visits from the UK recently, shows a re-kindling of interest between the two countries, she said. The High Commissioner called upon the UK government to extend its policy of prosperity to Papua New Guinea and the pacific and not just be focussed on the ready markets of South East Asia. Her Excellency ended her speech by addressing all Heads of Missions present at the reception to take note and inform their governments of the vast investment opportunities still available in Papua New Guinea.
On the same day, a high level Papua New Guinea judicial delegation, headed by the Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea Sir Salamo Injia KT, arrived in London on an official visit en route to the Channels Islands to attend the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges Associations conference in Jersey, from 23rd to 26th September. The judicial delegation included Lady Peam Injia, the Justices Nicholas Kirriwom and Salatiel Lenalia, Mrs Rachael Kirriwom, Mrs Sandy Lenalia and their officials. Dr John Balavu was at Heathrow Airport to meet the delegation and, despite arriving from a long flight, the Justices graciously accepted Her Excellency’s invitation to attend the independence reception.
In the UK at the same time was an Air Niugini technical crew, recently arrived from Iceland where they had taken charge of a new Boeing 737 to add to the Air Niugini fleet. The team comprised Mr Benedict Oraka, Executive Manager Maintenance Control, Technical Consultants Mr David Tohi and Mr Keong Chan, and Mr Stephen Karuka from PNG’s Civil Aviation. The Aircraft was based in Lasham Airfield, near Basingstoke in Hampshire, undergoing modifications to meet Air Niugini’s specifications. The crew took time out of their busy schedule to attend the independence reception. Also attending the independence reception was the remaining PNG Triathlon team which had been in London to take part in the ITU (International Triathlon Union) World Triathlon Grand Final between 11th – 16th September.
On 21st September, Her Excellency hosted a dinner in honour of the Chief Justice and his delegation at Haus Somare, the official residence of the Head of Mission in London. Guests included the visiting Air Niugini crew, representatives from the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority UK office, representatives from Air Niugini UK agent and members of the PNG community.
At the invitation of the Air Niugini team, on Tuesday 24th September, friends and members of the PNG community gathered at Lasham Airfield to view the aircraft. The team, which at this point was joined by Captain Ben Lopa and Captain Lindsay Rixon, provided refreshments and gave a tour of the aircraft. The team departed the UK on Wednesday 25th September for PNG.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Her Excellency departed for New York to join the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration of Papua New Guinea and delegation attending the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting which took place in the margins of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
As soon as Her Excellency returned from New York, Kundu London was thrust into another round of planning for further official travel abroad, and preparations began for the visit of PNG’s Minister for Sport, the Hon. Justine Tkatchenko and his delegation to attend the Rugby League World Cup being hosted by England, attend meetings and visit sporting facilities.