LAE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CHRISTMAS FUNCTION
As advised last week the LCCI will again put on a Christmas function this year.
This function will be run conjointly with our member “International SOS Limited”, who will be bringing their Health Directors, to make a presentation of their operation as well as discussing the value of pre-employment and annual health checks, vaccination programs, health risk assessments, health promotion, first aid training and medical emergency response plans.
This joint function will be on 11th November at the Lae International Hotel Conference centre and poolside. The SOS presentation will commence at 5 PM and run for an hour, after which all guests will join the Lae Chamber of Commerce, in celebrating the Christmas and New Year festive Centre.
Whilst most of you I am sure will be looking forward to seeing just what International SOS can do for you, there will be some that will not be able to come due to work commitments or otherwise. You will note that the SOS invitation has a “click here” which will automatically accept your attendance but if you find you only can come to the LCCI function after the SOS presentation, please ring through to JENNA on 472 2340 or by email on Admin@lcci.org.pg and reserve your spot.
Lae Chambers of Commerce Councillors are very active in the PNG Games. Long term Councillor and former President Phil Franklin has taken on the responsibility of being Chairman of the Host Organising Committee for the games, and has devoted much of his own time to ensure the games are a success. Phil has done a lot work to raise the profile of the games with the Private Sector, not only in Lae but throughout Papua New Guinea, and the support he has received has been wonderful as well as very generous.
An item on page 57 of Wednesdays Post Courier shows Phil with the Lae Chambers former Vice President and current Councillor Peter Diezmann, who as General Manager of Puma Energy PNG, announces a support package by Puma for the games. Witnessing the event is PNG’s favourite athlete and weightlifter Dika Toua – Click here for the article.
Yesterday the Lae Community Safety Network Committee held a meeting in the Trukai Board Room. The network has been established for about a year after various Private Sector members decided to look at ways to enhance security and safety measures in Lae City. The meetings of this network are always attended by senior RPNGC Officers and members of the AFP.
Security during the forthcoming PNG Games was raised and the Metropolitan Police Commander Iven Lakatani said that the Police are taking every measure they can to make sure the games are as safe and peaceful as possible. Mr Lakatani said that 442 Police would be on duty during the games, and there will be Portable Command units strategically located in the City, particularly around and near the games Stadiums.
All roads will remain open during the games, even those near and around the Stadiums where most of the sporting activities will take place.
Mr Lakatani said that the Police have introduced regular Patrols on the Highway between Lae and Nadzab. This was made possible after the Metropolitan Police Commander and the Provincial Police Commander got together to combine their resources to make this patrol work. Up till now this has not been possible as the Metropolitan command ended at 9 mile (Wau Junction) and the Provincial Command was responsible for the road from this point to Nadzab and beyond.
This Patrol was deemed essential due to the rise in crime caused by the deterioration of the existing Highway and the new works taking place on the New 4 Lane Highway.
Prime Ministers Visit
Prime Minister O’Neill was in Lae on Wednesday this week to officially open the new wharf extension at the Lae Port, as organised by PNG Ports. This extension will add a further 120 metres of wharfage to the existing Lae Port, so as to better handle the ever increasing number of ships berthing at Lae.
During the opening I took the opportunity of discussing with the Prime Minister some of what I consider to be urgent matters for Lae:
- New Nadzab Road – before I could discuss this point, the PM saw for himself first hand that the existing road was not being maintained in good trafficable order, and the work on the new 4 lane highway was very slow. Mr O’Neill made a point of including in his official speech, his dismay with the contractors, and he mentioned that he got straight on the phone to the Secretary for Works, to get the contractors to speed things up or else replace them with a company that could. To me Mr O’Neill said that he was proud of the fact that his Government had made huge inroads in reviving PNG’s failing infrastructure and he was not going to put up with any contractor that wasn’t pulling their weight.
- Mr O’Neill said that his Government would be including a further K150 million in next year’s budget, for the Lae City Roads. I made a point of getting Milfordhaven included on the funding, as it really suffered badly from the increased traffic this year caused by the upgrade to Mangola Street. Milfordhaven from the Port to the Mobil Service station is actually gazetted as part of the Highlands Highway. It is necessary for this road to be able to cater for the heavy traffic needed to get the goods from the Port, especially to the Highlands.
- Street Lights- the PM said funding would be made available to install appropriate Solar lights in Lae. He said he is looking at lights from which it will be difficult to steal batteries and solar panels. These lights would get rid of the current reliance on the LULLG to pay electricity bills for electric powered street lights.
- Lae Fire Station – bearing in mind the quite recent spate of fires to a large number of company premises particularly in Lae, but also in Goroka and Mt. Hagen, the PM said that there will be K100 million in next year’s budget for the PNG Fire Service. Some of this will be directed to Lae to build up the capacity of the Lae Fire Station. I mentioned that there needs to be at least 2 more Fire Stations in Lae – one in Taraka and one more in Lae, to which he said he would keep in mind. Also I pointed out the fact that Lae is now down to one workable fire truck, which is insufficient a city the size of Lae.
- Lae City Commission – I pointed out the deteriorating services, and the possibility of the existing LULLG collapsing thus exposing the organization to a lot of debt etc. My advice to the PM was to suspend the current organisation and appoint an Interim City Commission whist waiting to set up a full City Commission. Mr O’Neill said the NEC had already decided to establish a Commission, but he would consider my advice. He said that he wanted more Private Sector participation on the Commission. The PM also wants a qualified CEO and Managers to run the affair, understanding that running a Local Government is a highly specialised field.
During the week we reported on disruptions to travelling on the Highway. First the family and fellow villagers of the teacher from Barola that was killed some weeks ago, blocked the Highway between Goroka and Barola when they brought the deceased body from the Goroka morgue on Wednesday.
Then yesterday we reported there had been several landslides on the Daulo pass. I haven’t got an update on clearing these landslides but will pass information on to members when it comes to hand. I have received some recent photographs of the landslides, of which the following shows just what the opening of the highway to traffic is up against.