The day after tomorrow, our time, the nation of Papua New Guinea will most likely be declared bankrupt. This reality might affect us hardly at all or a great deal.Since it’s something we are thinking about and talking through as a team, we thought we would write a brief blog post about it so you all can be praying. God brought us here and we hope to stay here to accomplish our aim of preaching the gospel–so we’re praying that this won’t be a big deal and that our work here will continue uninterrupted.Here’s an e-mail sent three days ago from our logistic coordinator, Jeremy Lehman, stationed in Madang, who is keeping an eye on the situation from there. We think it sums up the information better than we could:
As you well know there is a looming economic issue in PNG. This has caused all mission organizations that I have interacted with to start keeping a watchful eye on the situation as it develops. June 13th is the day PNG must pay back it’s debit to UBS and on and after the 13th we will have even more insight on what the road ahead will look like. The shortage of Kina as well as forex (foreign currency) is creating quite the stir from the PNG people. It only makes matters worse that the Prime Minister (Peter Oneill) will not submit himself to investigation for corruption charges.
The economic issues as well as Peter Oneill evading investigation has brought about protestors. The majority of the protest movements have been lead by students from the University of Papua New Guinea in POM (Port Moresby). The students had demanded that Oneill step down from office as well as his cabinet. He did not meet their demands. The students continued to protest (peacefully) for about 2 weeks before Oneill had them evicted from school campus. Today, the students had organized a protest walk to parliament and the police stopped them. They demanded the Student Leader be handed over to them. When they refused, the police opened fire into the crowd. As of right now, I am hearing 10 students were injured – I am not sure how critical.
As a result of this single event the following things occurred in Port Moresby:
- Airlines were disrupted
- SIL had friends visiting PNG that were diverted back to Brisbane rather than landing in Moresby.
- Most business operations in POM were shut down.
The State Department (U.S. Embassy) released a statement on the 6th about the economy as well. They have moved to a more elevated security posture as a result of the unrest regarding the economy (I can send you these details if you would like).
The concern currently is unrest continuing as the issues with the economy escalate. We are not seeing issues like this in Madang currently (which is good). However, I want everyone to be praying about the economy in PNG as well as the current unrest around the economy as well as Peter Oneill.
Canns and Dodds, it would be good to inform the family that is coming in June of the current issues – just so they are prepared. They may have flight delays/cancellations.
I will continue to keep and eye on the issues as they develop. I will send out updates as I have them.
Links for further reading: