Saturday, January 16, 2010

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Trip to United States of America begins here

Hon. Sam Basil, Member for Bulolo in the 8th National Parliament of Papua New Guinea. The State Department of USA under its IVL Program has chosen many participants around the world including myself to take this program in this historical time to experience the Transition of Power from the Republican to the Democrats under the new president elect Barack H. Obama.

This will be my first Blog and I will be also update on the run and I apologise in advance about any errors which will be edited as soon as I am back home. The entries will be made like a diary and if there are any questions about anything regarding this trip then please you are welcome to contact me via e-mail and I will reply.

Other blogs.

Papua New Guinea

Hon. Samuel Basil, Member for Bulolo to attend the Inauguration of the President Elect Barack Obama in Washington DC, USA.


The 44th President of the United States. A new chapter in U.S. politics

Transition of Power in the U.S. Federal System

Hon. S.Basil & US Ambassador Hon.Leslie V.Rowe during the Press Conference Jan.07.2009 Port Moresby.

Photo. USA Ambassador Leslie V. Rowe and Bulolo MP paying attention to the reporters during the press conference. January 07 2009, US Embassy, Port Moresby.

Going to America...
I never dreamt of going to America in my life-time but now I have been given the opportunity by the Embassy of the United States of America in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The trip was announced unofficially before Christmas 2008 and the news spread like wildfire throughout my district (Wau/Bulolo, Morobe Province). I was very surprised that people from all walks of life enquired during my electoral visit.
During the festive season, I was summoned by Village Elders in Mapos One (1) Village to brief them about my trip. I thoroughly briefed the leaders. Some of the elders were very concerned about my security as they know and heard about the evils of this world and some were even worried about my personal security. After lengthy discussion, I got many words of caution and advise from the village elders. They also prayed for my safety and to return home in one piece as Wau/Bulolo District needed my leadership to deliver the much need basic goods and services.
The elders were right in some cases as I do still have six projects waiting to be launched in January but postponed to February due to the trip I will be taking to the United States of America.

The projects as they are listed below:-
1.Wagau Water Project
2.Moneyau/Gabansis Road
3. Upper Watut LLG HQ Office & Public Telephone Installations
4.Middle Watut Public Telephone Project
5.Wau Bulolo Urban Grader Project 6. Rural LLGs (Watut, Buang,Wau Rural & Mumeng LLGs) Tractors.
I would really want the “Wau/Bulolo Grader Launch” to be officially launched by Honorable Leslie V. Rowe, United States Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, as the grader was imported from a company (Cummins Engine Noram Model) in the United States. I will be sending a formal invitation to Ambassador Rowe to be Guest of Honor at the launch once I return from my trip.
My trip begins here…..
Thursday, January 08th 2009 - 11:00hrs.
I was privileged to have been nominated by the U.S. Embassy Port Moresby and selected by the Office of the International Visitors Leadership Program in Washington, DC to participate in the 2009 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) “Transition Power in the U.S. Federal System”.
A brief audience about my trip to the United States was scheduled with Hon. Leslie V. Rowe, United States Ambassador to Papua New Guinea. I called into the U.S. Embassy at 11:00hrs sharp, and I was led into the Ambassador’s Office by a friendly Embassy staff (Ms. Carolyn Ive). Ambassador Rowe and Ms. Kimberly M. Strollo (Political/Economic/Public Diplomacy Officer) thoroughly briefed me about the trip I was going to make. Following the brief audience, Ambassador Rowe and I attended a brief photo opportunity and Q&A with local press (EMTV, TheNational, Post Courier, Sunday Chronicle, Wantok Newspaper & Kalang FM100). EMTV (local television station) had the story as its lead story in its evening 6:00pm major news bulletin. The two leading daily newspapers - TheNational and the Post Courier published the story along with photographs in its Friday, January 9 publication.
The program will be held in the United States and is scheduled for January 13 – 29,2009. It is a two week project, designed for government officials, political leaders, academics and journalists reporting on American democracy and government, will focus on the transition of power in a civil society from one administration to another. At the national level, I will hear about the policy priorities and initiatives for a new administration in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. The national program will provide opportunities to explore transitions at the state and local levels of government and how priorities and initiatives may be shifting with changing administrations. While in Washington, DC I will have the opportunity to attend the “Presidential Inauguration”.
The Office of International Visitors manages and funds the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Launched in 1940, the IVLP seeks to build mutual understanding between the United States and other nations through carefully designed professional visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders. Each year over 4,500 IVLP participants from all over the world are selected by U.S. embassies to travel to the U.S. to meet and confer with their professional counterparts.

The National Friday 9th January, 2009.
Basil off to witness Obama take office
By ISAAC NICHOLAS. BULOLO MP Sam Basil will be representing Papua New Guinea to witness the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.Mr Basil will join millions of Americans in celebrating the inauguration of Obama in Washington DC on Jan 20.He will be the only person representing PNG and the Pacific Islands region to witness the change of guard in the US.The trip is fully funded by the US government, which will enable politicians, journalists, academics and others to witness the transition of power in a civil society and how democracy works in the US.US Ambassador to PNG Leslie Rowe said Mr Basil would have the opportunity to talk to local officials involved in the US elections.“He will have the chance to meet with winners – politicians who won the elections – and losers – people who lost the election – in North Carolina and Ohio as well as in Washington DC,” Ms Rowe said.Mr Basil thanked the US Embassy for the opportunity to travel to the US for the first time.“My people of Bulolo are happy and excited that I will be taking this trip. “They asked me to convey their thanks to the US Embassy, especially the ambassador, and they are delighted and happy for a politician to take the trip to broaden my mind and, also when I come back, I should have an in-depth knowledge of America.“It’s a very historical event where we will see the transition of an old administration to a new one,” Mr Basil said.Ms Rowe said this would be a unique trip that Mr Basil would undertake with 21 other delegates from at least 20 countries.“This is a very unique trip; he will be in the US for about two weeks, initially travelling to Washington and then to two other states, Ohio and North Carolina,” Ms Rowe said.Mr Basil will be joined by 21 other delegates from countries in Latin America, Africa and South Asia, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand.

During the press conference the Ambassador presented a book titled '' THE WHITE HOUSE'' By Betty C. Monkman. The book is about the Historic Furnishings & First Families.

Post Courier Friday 09th January,2009.

MP to party with Obama
By Harlyne Joku. Bulolo MP Sam Basil is thrilled to be among 22 world partici-pants who will join millions of Americans on January 20 to celebrate the inauguration of US President Barack Obama in Washington DC.He has been selected by the US Government to participate in the two week 2009 International Visitor Leadership Program.Mr Basil told a press conference at the United States Embassy in Port Moresby yesterday that he was privileged to take part in the program and thrilled to learn more about democracy in the US.He said being his first visit to the US, he is keen to hear and learn of President Obama’s policies when announced during the inauguration ceremony.US Ambassador Leslie Rowe said Mr Basil had been selected by the United States Government to take part in the program, having proven to be an outstanding aspiring young politician.She presented him with a book on the White House.Ambassador Rowe said Mr Basil will hear about President Obama’s policy priorities and initiatives for the new administration in both the executive and legislative branches of the government.She said the program is designed for government officials, politicians, academics and journalists reporting on American democracy and government and will focus on the transition of power from civil society from one administration to another.“The program will provide opportunities to explore tran-sitions at the state and local levels of government and how priorities and initiatives may be shifting with changing administrations,” Mr Rowe said.The program will begin in Washington DC with an overview of the US federal system, where participants will examine transitions of power at the federal, state and local levels.Mr Basil with other participants will also receive an overview of the role and powers of the presidency and of new priorities both foreign and domestic of the incoming Obama administration.He will be attending meetings with executive branch agencies like the General Services Administration, the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget.Mr Basil will also be visiting the State of Ohio and North Carolina.He leaves for the US next Monday.


Letters -The National News Paper, 12 January, 2009.
Congrats, BasilI AM delighted to read that Bulolo MP Sam Basil is the US Embassy’s choice as PNG representative for the official inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th US president. The MP is an impressive leader who epitomises a new breed of politicians in the US. When I first met Mr Basil some years ago, it did not dawn on me that one day, this young visionary leader will rise to lead his neglected people on a path to prosperity. Bulolo has a long and colourful history. It is where commercialism was born in PNG, ages ago. The MP is charting a new course and history for his people, just as Mr Obama will do for the people of USA. Congratulations, Mr Basil, you are a worthy ambassador in your own right. – Ted Sitapai, Port Moresby

Letters-The National News Paper, 14 January,2009.
Wrong countryTHERE was an error in my letter congratulating Sam Basil. The second sentence should have read “The MP is an impressive leader who epitomises a new breed of politicians in PNG” not “the US”. – Ted Sitapai, Port Moresby

Editor’s note: We apologise for the oversight.


Monday 12 January, 2009.
My flight was scheduled to leave today but due to some formalities at the US Office Visa section my departure was delayed until tomorrow, which means I will be travelling alomost 24 hours straight through Brisbane,Los Angeles and then to Washington. Well I am ready for the trip therefore I will have an early night tonight and look forward for the long trip tomorrow.
Tuesday 13 January,2009.
The American High Commission staff (Port Moresby) delivered my passport with the visa fixed at 0430am to my house in Korobosea. David Panap (my cousin) and Herman Sembon (my carpenter) quickly drove me to the Port Moresby international airport.
I checked in on an Air Niuguni fight number PX3 (Code sharing with Quantas) the plane took off a little bit late but we arrived in Brisbane.

Transit in Brisbane Airport
It took about an hour to transit out of Brisbane while there I met a few people and one of them was Mr. Michael Hasagama, who is a former acedemic staff with the Department of Forestry at PNG Unitech, and he is currently doing his PhD. studies in Forestry Economics at Lincoln University, Christchurch, NZ.
Photo: Mr.Michael Hasagama(and myself) at Brisbane Airport we shared coffee and some gossips back home before departing. He was kind enough to walk me over to the boarding area as he had to wait for some six hours before his his departure that evening.

While at Brisbane airport we saw a lot of Papua New Guineans heading back home after the weekend in Brisbane, most of them are senior government officers and citizens many are regulars.

I then boarded a Quantas flight number QF15 for Los Angeles for the twelve and a half hours flight. While on travelling from Brisbane to Los Angeles I met a PNGean woman by the name of Sandra Freund and she lives with her husband in Pensulvania, USA. we chatted and she helped me at the Los Angeles domestics but we soon found out that all our lugages didn't make it to Los Angeles.

Photo. Qantas plane ready for departure from Brisbane to Los Angeles.

Photo. Los Angeles 0700hrs 13.01.09


International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
The International Visitor Leadership Program annually brings to the United States approximately 5,000 foreign nationals from all over the world to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience America firsthand. The visitors, who are selected by American Foreign Service Officers overseas, are current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other fields.
Among the thousands of distinguished individuals who have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program since its inception almost seven decades ago are more than 290 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, 2,000 cabinet-level ministers, and many, many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.
International Visitors travel to the U.S. either as individuals or in group projects. The group or thematic projects focus on a particular issue such as the U.S. economy or electoral system. Group projects can bring together colleagues with similar professional interests from particular countries, geographic regions or worldwide.
The invitation to visit the U.S. under the auspices of the International Visitor Leadership Program is extended by U.S. embassies. For that reason, individuals can not apply to participate in the program.
Participants may be either fully or partially funded by the Office of International Visitors. Nominations are approved and program and logistical arrangements are managed by program officers assigned to the Office of International Visitors, who work in concert with a broad range of private, not-for-profit organizations operating under cooperative agreements with the Department of State.
In addition to program agencies, the International Visitor Leadership Program also relies on the commitment and skills of volunteer-based community organizations across the U.S. whose members offer professional program assistance and home hospitality. These volunteer organizations are known as Councils for International Visitors (CIVs). There are currently more than 90 CIVs in 45 states.
Current program - Transition of Power in the U.S. Federal System.

1.Egypt - Ms. Lobna Fadel El Ansary Mahmoud EL ANSARY - Senior Program Officer, North America File, Ministry of Communication & Information Technology (MCIT).

2. Ghana - Mr. Paul ANDOM-OTCHERE - Producer & President, Metro TV.
3. India - Mr.Madhavan Ramanathan MUCKAI -Head of Research, Parliamentary Research Service (PRS), Legislative Research, Center for Policy Research.
4. Macedonia - Mr.Saso KOKALANOV - Editor-in-Chief, Dnevnik (dailyu newspaper).
5. Malaysia - Mr.Chee Keong SIM - Special Assistant to the Penang State Cabinet Executive Counselor.
6. Mexico - Mr.Carlos Alonso SALINAS OSORNIO - Secretary to the Mayor of Guadalajara, Jalisco State. (Withdrew)
7. Nepal - Mr. Bhimarjun ACHARYA - Advocate, Alliance Law Firm.
8. New Zealand - Mr. Scott Anthony CAMPBELL - Television Political Reporter, NZ Parliament.
9. Nigeria - Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
10. Norway - Mr. Bjorn Willy ROBSTAD - Secretary General, Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region.
11. Pakistan - Mr. Syed Muhammad MEHDI - Cordinator, Foreign Affairs Liason Committee, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)
12. Phillipines - Ms. Rosario Sofia Santos VILLA - Head International Broadcast Services ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.
13.Turkey - Ms. Fatma DEMIRELLI - Managing Editor, Todays Zaman (Daily Paper).
14. Ukraine - Mr. Mykola SIRUK -Head, International Section, Den (Daily Paper)
15. Malaysia - Ms. Hannah YEOH - Member of State Assembly, Subang Jaya.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 23 January,2009.


The Columbus, Ohio Program begins.
The trip from Washington DC to Ohio was about an hours trip the jet plane was a little tight but we made it there safely into the good hands of Mr.Palmer and his driver Mr.Nicolai who delivered us safely to our hotel.

We were once again picked up by Mr. Palmer C.Mcneal (Executive Director of International Council, Inc. Ohio) at 0940hrs the next day and headed off to our first engagement at CBS Network/WBNS-10TV/Ohio Network News.
We met up with Mr. John Cardenas – TV News Director and Mr. Tom Griesdorn, President & GM and took the wonderful tour of the studio.Various issues were raised about the legality of public documents/news items, political sensitive issues, covering of elections and also the presidential coverage in Ohio.

Right: Photo of myself in front of the TV Station.

Left: Photo of the Ohio IVP Team at the broadcasting desk. Steven (Front left really looked like a presenter).

Other technical issues were the converting of the TV station from analog to digital plus the stations own independent weather scanning system which monitors the state of Ohio of any possible storms that might occur. The station employs more than 250 employees.

Lunch was hosted by David S.Bloomfield (A IVC Board Member) at a wonderful restaurant called Happy Greek Restaurant.

Photos left: Mr Preisse's office looking down.
Photo right; Ohio IVP team together with Mr Preisse after the meeting in his office.

The afternoon program continued, We had an appointment with Mr. Douglas J. Preisse (Republican Party Chairman, Columbus Ohio) Now it’s about time we heard something about a Republican after the Obama fever. Many issues were raised and he briefed us about the next election of Congressman which is held every two years and the Party in Ohio is now zeroing down to screen its possible candidates. About the recent election defeat he admitted that electronic media and the role of internet was maximized by the democrats and the republican’s will be better prepared for the next presidential election also with an upcoming star to take the democrats on. (I removed my Obama cap in the hotel before the meeting).

Left, Ohio IVP Team
with the Hon. CJ of Ohio.
Right, Ohio Supreme Court

We then proceeded without delay to meet the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio , The Honorable Thomas J.Moyer. The meeting was arranged in one of the Supreme Court Room and the Hon. Chief Justice was kind enough to have a bit of lecture and later we ask some questions. The CJ is elected into office just like any politicians but very silent of their political party alliances and the court proceedings involve juries randomly picked from the electoral role or drivers license. Different states have different laws and sometimes come into conflict with other states. There are about thirteen judges in the state of Ohio and three are women.
The days program ended and we caught up again at 630pm and boarded the Nicolai’s bus to go for an arranged dinner reception at one of the IVC Board of Trustees house Annette Trembly still in Columbus, Ohio.

Left; Dinner and chatting on the table.
Right; Speeches by all after dinner

The dinner was wonderful we met various IVC board members of Ohio and their family a wonderful American dinner was served and later that evening we were given chances to give speeches I did mine and then presented three bilums to the IVC board members to say thank you for the wonderful hospitality they have provided (The Bilums, courtesy of the people of Bulolo Electorate). Nicolai drove us back to the hotel at about nine PM and I read the phone messages to find that Mr.Kera (A PNGean living in Ohio) will visit me tomorrow with a Markham friend. Mi hamamas tru long tomoro kam hariap.

24th January, 2008.
Papua New Guineans in the State of OHIO & KENTUCKY, USA.
Website :

Left to right; Mr.George Gidisa, Myself, Mr. Akera Akalanana and young Gidisa.
Very interesting day today, I was picked up at 0900hrs by two PNGeans living in Ohio, Mr. Akera Akalanana (Wantoat mangi) and Mr. George Gedisa (Mangi Markham) and his son.
My sincere thanks to the PNG in USA organization that through their internet contacts they quickly notified each other and Mr. Akera & George organized the pickup and we drove to Kentucky (The birth place for Abraham Lincoln). On the way we stopped over at Bob Evans to a wonderful big American breakfast and then on our way we also stopped over at a servo and gassed up that was when my first ever snowfall happened, I was given a chance to feel and experience the snow flakes.
We arrived in Kentucky and there were all wantoks waiting for lunch at Cincinatti and we all met and had lunch and continued with great discussions covering their experience in USA, some of them are married and had jobs while others are students studying in USA.
Politics, corruption, law & order and good governance were our hot topic while many comparison was made regarding developments and infrastructures that PNG lacks. I also briefed the group of what I am doing back home too.
I am really fortunate to have first hand information of USA from PNG residents and I think I got more valuable information from them as they have experienced the PNG system and can effectively compare with their new home.

Photo: Lunch and discussions with the Ohio & Kentucky trupela PNG wantoks courtesy of Mr. Akera Akalanana.

The wonderful people that I have met with are as follows;

1. Akera Akalanana, 2. George Gidisa, 3. Brian Pim, 4. Nicky Poya, 5. Joel Soni, 6. Jesse Moke, 7. Faithon Levongo, 8. Ivan Mano 9. Mathias Arikapu, 10. Ben Agu,

Any wantoks heading up that way you can contact them through this website or they welcome any direct contacts regarding any information regarding USA. I once again say thank you to Akera , Gidisa and young Gidisa for the wonderful time.

Going to Church & Big Snowfall

It is now Sunday AM 1000hrs when I received a call from Mr & Mrs Darrell White (Meri Hagen marit long African/American) that they will be at my hotel by 1030hrs, I was ready and waited for them at the lobby as we have pre-arranged the Sunday service at Mr.Whites home church.

We arrived on time at the Bethany Presbyterian Church in Columbus Ohio, the Church is 90 years old and Mr.Whites monther is also a decon of this church. I was formally introduced by Darrell and as we were halfway through the service heavy snow fell and Mr. Darrell pointed to me through the coloured chapel glass and whispered to me about the heavy snow, well I was very exited and wished for the service to end quickly so I can have my share of the snow experience before it srops again.

The service was conducted by Reverend Irvin S.Moxley and the days sermon was Redemtive Anger with Bible Readings about Jonna being angry about God's command to go to Neniva and reroute to a different location and was thrown overboard to be swallowed by the large whale and then delivered to Neniva. Well thye message I got that day was it is OK to be angry but we have to compromise at the end of the day to be good, take the bad and turn it into good, well I was fighting to be awake all the time and I am pretty sure that was the message I got.:-).

The other reason why I went to Church that day was to learn how the christians conduct their sermons in America and there are few facinating things that I have observed that I want to share with you all. I have noticed that the church building is well furnished and decorated as well, with quoir group staged in the front of the alter moving with the rythym from every hymn sung while two pianists belting out holy tunes from their old styled pianos, I was amazed as such scenes were only seen from the movies featuring African Americans. There were also some church executive members being ordained during the church service.

I also observed one other very important issue here that we all must share and that is the church congregations who attended this Sundays service is made up of almost one third of elderly age group. Sadly this is also happening in Papua New Guinea and else where in the world as many young christians no longer choose to go to church. I would be very interested to know where will be the churches in fifty to a hundred years time from now? If these young people decided not to attend church any more including their children then churches might be forced to close down and then where does that leaves the Christian Faith? I think churches must put more effort to address the young adult church issues as to what needs to be done to stimulate their attendances. (Tingting bilong mi tasol yupela yet skelim).

Photo: Driving through the weather

As soon as the service ended I received warm welcome from the church elders and then rushed to the audio recording room to collect Sundays sermon audio record from the audio studio situated behind the church, Darrell's mother paid for the CD as a sovenier for me to take back home. We then proceeded outside the church to take some photo in the snow then we headed to the east side of Columbus to a Mall to have lunch with Mr. Dauane White (Darrell's father) who is a retired attorney and we had lunch in the mall to celebrate Mr.Darrell's certification as the retirement advisor.

Photo. Mr.Dauane White (Retired Attorney)

I ordered the (Garbage) Burger as it has the lot thrown in I enjoyed the lunch because I skipped dinner and breakfast that morning, Mr.Dauane I think knows where Papua New Guinea is after the lunch discussions we had, well I am the ambassador so I have to do my bit. Mr & Mrs White drove me back to the hotel and I gave a bilum for his Decon Mother Mrs.White and also gave some PNG souvenir and we all bid farewell to each other.

Still up dating .............last 1am 30.01.09

To be updated, last Monday 12.01.09...