Launched on the eve of the APEC CEO Summit by Governor-General, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, the book is one of four that have been written by select people to tell the story of PNG’s APEC journey as a reflection of the country’s Silver Jubilee.
In the main, the 191-page book provides an outline of the context and history of Papua New Guinea’s emergence as a sovereign nation-State, the making of the Constitution and the system of government that has evolved.
It deals with how the Constitution was made, the Constitution and system of government and how constitutional amendments are effected, with a list of amendments that have been made to date.
An interesting feature is that the book contains the list of laws that complement the Constitution and the relevant National and Supreme Court cases that have interpreted the provisions of the Constitution. This is complemented by a list of Statues; for instance, Attorney-General Act 1989, Citizenship Act 1969 and so on and so forth. There are 14 of these.
The Constitution itself is like a book with only one chapter, a flowing arrangement of sections, parts, divisions and sub divisions. The main document, however, is one of the laws supported by 21 Organic Laws.
What we have here is a book that has been written in a unique way that not only introduces the Constitution in a reader-friendly fashion, but to illustrate its uniqueness. It definitely exudes a sense of pride and awe.
Produced to mark the coming of APEC to PNG, the book is timely and the authors have done an excellent job. Any member country of APEC or anyone at all in the world who wants to know about the sort of people we are; at least by law and how our government system functions, can do that by reading this book.
Why is this so relevant? Well; before you do business with other people, you have to understand some things about them first.
As a source of knowledge and information, the book is a treasure throve. It will be a practical guide for students and practitioners of law such as judges, magistrates and lawyers. An instant guide is in the endnotes.
The sponsor and distributor is the Constitutional Law Reform Commission with Paradise Media and Institute of Massim Arts.
The Constitution of Papua New Guinea is one of four companion books. Six others are yet to come; they tell the APEC story. We will review the four that have been published so far and with the first one out of the way, three other reviews will follow after this.
Why are they called companion books? We will digress a bit here and mention the main book – The PNG APEC Story, 1993-2018, a Silver Jubilee Reflection. Work for this book has started and the publisher, Paradise Publishing hopes it will come out next June.
As far as APEC goes, the greatest story we can tell the world as a nation is our ways of dealing with people. This is the motivation for the books and it is where the intrinsic value truly lies. This then is the true celebration of PNG’s achievement in hosting APEC; the book project therefore needs popular support.
His Excellency, the Governor-General has taken the lead to encourage Papua New Guineans to do more story-telling; that is, write books. When we see something good, we place our hands on it; isn’t that right? The emergence of this publishing house is really the best-ever window in the world of book publishing.
The Constitution of Papua New Guinea has a prologue by former foreign minister of Australia, Gareth Evans – Four Adjectives in Search of a Noun. The Foreword is by Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. He says the Constitution has been the rudder that has guided the country (like a ship in stormy weather). Sir Michael gives credit to the founding Papua New Guineans.
It has got to be true. Our Constitution is one of 50 enduring constitutions among 190 independent nations of the world; some of whom became independent after PNG did. As such the book is an almanac for Papua New Guineans of all persuasions.
As we look to our 50th birthday and beyond, the Constitution will continue to play its role in achieving peace and prosperity for PNG and the book gives impetus to that hope.
The man behind Institute of Massim Arts is Chief John Kasaipwalova. He is one of the early poets to come out from the University of Papua New Guinea and after 43 years of independence, story-telling has reached a new dimension, on a scale like we’ve never seen before.
For the launch only 50 copies of each of the four APEC Journey companion books were produced and they’re all gone so 450 each of the four books are underway, says Chief John. When they do come out the people of PNG will be advised of purchase price and distributing arrangements.
Picture: Chief John Kasaipwalova and his wife Mary Kasaipwalova flank office assistant, Elaine Jinga (middle) to display the four books they’ve published.