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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Press Statement to be delivered 9 March 2013 upon arrival at NADZAB airport Lae

(The statement which I never gave, because I was deported again on 9 March.

This time the excuse for my deportation was that I need to apply for a new visa and work permit. Last year, migration made an error and classified me as religious worker. We joked in the management team, this was because I was supposed to perform miracles: no extra funding and a lot more students for UNITECH.

For over 1 year, I used this visa to travel in and out of the country, and it was never a problem so far. Yesterday, I was not told what wrong with the current visa, I was just told to apply for a new one. As always, I was given nothing in writing.

My visa clearly states: work permit for University of Technology and is valid for 3 years with multiple-entries. Why should I apply for a new visa? It opens an opportunity to decline it for some other reason.

I guess this is a case of not trying  to apply logic to this. I hope to come back to PNG soon, maybe they offer me citizenship now for trying so hard? AS)

Press Statement Upon Arrival in NADZAB Airport, Lae 9 March 2013.
After 1 month of involuntary exile, I come back as Vice-Chancellor of UNITECH to bring peace and stability at the top, and serve the students, their parents, and all the stakeholders. Our management team will continue with what I started April last year.

I thank God for his special protection he has given me and my wife during this ordeal. I am very grateful that my wife Paulina has been here all the time to support me.

It is joyful to see the students and all my friends again, those smart, wise and cheerful Papua New Guineans friends and colleagues.

A little more than 1 year ago, I came to take over the Vice-Chancellor position carrying only 2 suitcases and 1 pair of shoes, and I come today again with my 2 suitcases.

I come back to help our wonderful UNITECH students, because that is the kind of thing I have devoted my life to. I have not come here to become rich or to make a political career.

First, I want to gratefully acknowledge Australia for having hosted me during the month of my exile, and in particular all our friends at James Cook University - where I am adjunct professor - who have supported me throughout. I am sure good things for UNITECH will come from these collegial friendships.

I took myself out of the conflict with the University Council in November. PM made a great gesture trying to solve the conflict, and decided to suspend me for 2 months, until 14th of March, while the issues were being sorted out.

Now it is time for me to come back. I used my time well, and I believe that my contacts will soon assure that UNITECH will have the fastest internet and the cheapest textbooks of all universities in the country. My stay abroad lasted longer than expect due to some awkward confusion with migration procedures.

The last weeks, UNITECH students have wisely decided NOT to boycott classes but use other means to express their view point.

We hope now that the members of the dissolved Council will finally let the management team, and the Interim Council do their jobs. We need a de-politicised, professional university management, if we want to move UNITECH forwards.
The last weeks and months, UNITECH Staff has also showed restrained and a willingness to postpone issues until UNITECH governance has been fixed, as per government policy.

I come to bring leadership and stability at the top. Parents need not fear. There is a Chancellor a Vice-Chancellor and Registrar to sign the degree for the graduation on the 6th of April, and there can be no doubt about who they are.

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