The easiest way for O'Neill to silence critics is to deport them - The Mark Davis Story

On Tuesday 5 November I got a call at about 9.30am from someone called Mark at the Department of Commerce and Industry. He said he was representing his director, who wished to talk to me about MediaMark Limited, a PNG family company in which I am one of the shareholders. I asked him what he wanted to talk about, and he said there were some questions that needed clearing up. 

I told Mark that I would be happy to make an appointment, and he said he would call back. On Thursday 7 November at about 10.30am, Mark from the Department of Commerce and Industry called again. He said an appointment to meet his director had been set for 11.00am at the Department of Commerce and Industry at Moale House in Waigani. I arrived at 11.00 am and parked my PNGSDP vehicle in the street outside, and walked up to the front door. As I approached the front door a man walked up to me. I introduced myself and asked if he was Mark. He said he was. 

At that moment I was surrounded by three uniformed and armed policemen, and a man in civilian clothes who identified himself as being from the Major Fraud Squad. He informed me that I was under arrest, and instructed me to accompany him and the three uniformed policemen. They took me to a dark Toyota Hilux with tinted windows. The plainclothes policemen sat in the front passenger seat, and I was in the rear in the middle, between the two armed policemen (one had a pump-action shotgun and the other an M16). The plainclothes policeman read me my rights and said I was to be deported that day according to a three-page set of Orders he gave to me. 

He took my mobile phone and my car/unit keys. We then started driving around town, with apparently no set destination in mind. We finally drove back to Moale House, where the plainclothes policemen gave my keys to an unidentified man there. They said they would take my vehicle, but gave no other information. I do not know what they did with the vehicle. We drove around town for quite some time. During this period the police responded to a number of radio calls including reports of a car hijack, a report of a group of youths carrying home-made guns and various other incidents. I was concerned for my safety at these times. However the three uniformed police officers were very courteous, professional and understanding in their treatment of me. 

We talked about various topics of interest, including the performance of the Kumul's, the run-down condition of MacGregor Barracks at Gordons. At no time was I questioned in relation to my deportation, nor was I given any explanation or reasons for my deportation other than the Orders handed to me at Moale House. We drove around town again for a while, and then they took me to my residential unit, where I was allowed to retrieve some personal belongings. I took my most valuable items including my laptops, notebook computers, camera, wallet and various other portable items in a backpack. 

We drove around town some more, until about 2.15pm when we went to the Six-Mile police station. The uniformed policemen said the Commander of the station was in charge of the operation. He got into the car and at about 2.45pm we went to the aviation security building at Jackson’s airport. There were more police there, some ANG and NAC security people, and a group of others who I was informed were Immigration officers. Shortly after 3.00pm I was ordered to get into a microbus with a plainclothes policeman who identified himself as Joe. I was ordered to leave all my possessions in the police car. I asked both Joe and the uniformed police officers whether my belongings would be delivered to the plane before I left. They said they would be.

 We went onto the tarmac via a side gate, and were met by a woman from Immigration. I asked which flight I was being put on and whether my possessions were being brought to the plane. Joe responded that it was the Brisbane flight, and that yes, my possessions would be brought to the plane. I protested that I lived in Cairns, and not Brisbane. Joe just shrugged his shoulders. The Immigration woman refused to speak to me. I am a diabetic and at no time between being arrested and being on the plane was I given water or food. The uniformed police offered to stop so I could buy water, but I had given all my money to my housemeri. By the time I got on the plane I was extremely dehydrated and felt quite woozy. I had been sick with a stomach upset for more than a week, which made matters worse.

 We went directly from the microbus onto the plane, before all the other passengers boarded and were seated in row 25. We traveled to Brisbane, and soon after leaving the plane I asked the Immigration woman where my personal possessions were. She informed me that arrangements would be made to forward them to me in Australia, but would provide no other details. I had been consistently assured by the police that my possessions would be given to me prior to departure. All that was returned to me was my passport and my mobile phone. I left the international terminal and was met by a colleague from PNGSDP, who took me to the domestic terminal. I had no Australian possessions, money or credit cards, only the clothes I stood up in. I managed to book a flight to Cairns that night using a BSP debit card. My Deportation Orders state that I was in Papua New Guinea unlawfully.

 However I have a Work Permit and Working Resident Visa valid to 2015. The Prime Minister has stated that I have engaged in politics while in the country. That is not true, as with many things he says. I am the Media and Communications Director of PNGSDP. All the material I prepare, ranging from media and communications strategy to advertisements to media releases, is done at the request of either the Chairman or the Chief Executive Officer. I do not make any public statements on my own behalf, and I never have in all the years I have been in Papua New Guinea. 

I respect the sovereignty and independence of Papua New Guinea and behave appropriately as a guest in the country. Media releases exposing the many untruths, half-truths and deliberate distortions spoken by the Prime Minister, are made on behalf of PNGSDP, not me.Advertisements outlining the highly damaging consequences for Papua New Guinea of the Prime Minister’s illegal and immoral expropriation of Ok Tedi, and his desperate attempts to get his hands on the $US1.4 billion in the PNGSDP Long Term Fund are prepared on behalf of PNGSDP, not me. 

The only reason I can think of that might be behind my deportation is the continuing attempt by the Prime Minister to silence his critics. The Prime Minister’s attacks on the media and his instruction to police to ban last week’s proposed public forum show how afraid of public criticism he is. The more his failures are exposed, the more desperate he gets. And deportation of someone with a legal right to be in Papua New Guinea is an act of a desperate man. Deportation can never be a happy experience, especially for someone like me with a very large extended PNG family, and a deep attachment to the country formed over almost 40 years. But I wear my deportation by Peter O’Neill as a badge of honor