Having spent a number of years until 2004 working with the Coffee Industry Corporation, I have a fairly good knowledge of the industry’s internal politics.
The present CEO, Ricky Mitio, has spent a lifetime working within the coffee industry, with long spells at the helm of the original Coffee Industry Board and its successor, CIC.
Removed twice through pressure exerted by influential supporters of the late Walter Perdacher of Mt Hagen, a man who in his lifetime seriously damaged and impoverished PNG’s small-grower-based coffee industry, Mr Mitio nevertheless continued in senior positions within the industry and was twice reappointed to the CEO’s position when it became vacant.
It hardly needs to be spelt out that Mr Mitio has both experience and commitment to the industry.
Right now, the position of CEO is open and an appointment is expected soon.
The industry is aware Mr Mitio is committed to training a successor during his next term as CEO, which he expects to be his last.
This is what the industry wants.
Its memory is long and the picture of the CIC as the first semi-Government agency to pass with flying colours through the examination of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee several years ago, as CIC did, is well-imprinted in that group’s memory.
A new candidate will have to possess an extremely high level of experience and proven integrity to best Mr Mitio for this important appointment.
It is the question of integrity which is important here.
We are all well aware of the pressure in the way of both bribes and death-threats which were from time to time levied against CIC’s chief executive in past years; offers and threats which were resisted by all three recent incumbents, but not without great distress and strain.
The passing of Mr Perdacher did not leave the industry without its share of would-be conspirators and crooks after the licences as they are valuable and most sought after by people who are not only unqualified to hold them, but by their own actions, should be disqualified.
The anonymous scientist, who attacked Mr Mitio, in private lobbying and in print, is someone who is weak.