Hard to leave PNG for bossman James


J AMES Rice is torn between leaving the country he has come to love, and returning to his family in the United States.
As the chief executive officer of Paradise Foods Limited, it is almost natural to him to come down from that high level to mix
around with ordinary Papua New Guineas, visiting villages, sleeping in their huts, sharing their meals.
“I am stuck between a country I love and my family. I will be stepping down from my role as CEO of the Paradise
Group of companies so that I can return to the US.  The Covid-19 pandemic has left me
separated from my friends and family from the start. That situation probably has another year to go.”
He told of how more than one year ago when he and other expats went on a motorcycle trip from Madang to Mt Wilhelm.“You will not find our route on a map because we did not take a road. We travelled on a track but miscalculated the time. The sun had set before we arrived in Kundiawa. We found a village and asked the people if we could stay with them. They agreed. The family slept outside and let us foreigners sleep in their hut, sharing only two beds. They fed us a small dinner and breakfast. But I know this was Melanesian hospitality at its best. I will never forget that.”
James grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles, California and attended the University of California.
“After I graduated from university, I went to China to work. I have been working outside the US all my life. Discovering new places and new cultures has always been fascinating to me.”
Since becoming the Paradise Food’s bossman in July 2019, James has visited 18 of the 22 provinces.
“I tell every foreigner that Port Moresby is not PNG. The best of PNG are the people outside the cities. In the Highlands and Niugini Islands, you will find a country that never lost its traditions and culture. The people are amazing and friendly. This country is full of smiles and people waving.
“I have loved seeing the traditional way of life. I have appreciated seeing the life of everyday Papua New Guineans and I have really enjoyed the stories that local people have told me.
“The country is full of sounds, smells, and sights that cannot be duplicated anywhere else. It is really paradise.”
Rice has a large PNG following on LinkedIn, an influencer in PNG issues.
“I have enjoyed my direct connection with the people of PNG. Other foreigners say I became famous for stating the obvious, but I do not agree with them. I say things Papua New Guineans think but are too polite or too humble to say. Maybe it’s better for me to say it. I can brag about PNG so they don’t have to.”
Looking back, James is honoured to have led Paradise and Laga. He will remain involved with the company and continue to work for the board of directors on strategy, business development and new markets.
Under him, Paradise Foods:

  • BECAME the first private company to have a full time pastor;
  • PAID full wages to employees during the Covid-19 State of Emergency last year;
  • BECAME the first company to announce a freeze in prices at the beginning of the SOE last year;
  • RECORDED a growth of up 32 per cent last year during the pandemic;
  • CREATED Rok Rok Ice Cream “because I wanted a PNG version of Cookies N’Cream”;
  • CREATED 175 new jobs in 2020;
  • LOCALIZED production of ice cream cones creating 18 new jobs;
  • LOCALIZED sourcing of raw materials such as peanut butter, vanilla, and coffee flavorings;
  • PUT a Bible verse on its packaging;
  • REDUCED expatriates from 12 to 6.

“Leaving PNG will be sad for me, but I’m happy not to be losing my connection with the country, the company, and all the friends I have made here.”


  • Grest mpact and a compliment with humble and sincere heart.to the company you serve its employees and the people of Paua New Guinea

    Words can not express what you have accomplished in a short.period of time ..

    You have set a milestone and Challenge to others

    God will bess your you and your loving family

    Papua New Guinean we don’t forget ..easily our Wantok
    Our Portman..in Enga we say our.kaiminingi
    Our brother…see you again …on your next trip to Enga

    …Mendep kandapeng…Enga for. ..see you again one day.

    • Really appreciate your efforts and dedication to the people of PNG, your support will always be remembered

  • You been sent to PNG in a time of need and has accomplished what’s already been planned for you by our Heavenly Father.
    Thank you James and hope to have you back in PNG,
    God bless and safe travels

    • Glad to hear that from such a highly person want and desire to live with us Papua new Guineans.May the GOD be with you and your family eventhough you and your family are separated by the covid.

    • White man with a black heart. May our good Lord blessed you and your family in USA.

  • It’s great to see and know a God fearing company executive in you James Rice, may the good Lord richly bless you and your wonderful family in the US, SHALOM

  • James has done well for Paradise Foods Limited. Great man with a great personality. God bless you and family in your return to the States.

  • Well done James Rice. PNG is a Christian County and GOD of Israel has become GOD of PNG with Biblical Agreement signed by Late Michael Thomas Somare with Israel Government. In saying these, no Firm or Institution in PNG has a Full Time Pastor attached to their Work Place.
    Paradise Food Products and Laga Industries had done a wonderful job with GOD fearing, putting GOD First and employing Full Time Pastor. Much respectful and greatly appreciate your time in Christ Jesus attached to your Work Force.
    Good example set for Schools, Institutions, Colleges, Universities, Firms and Companies in PNG to follow as a Christian Country. Richest Black Nation on Earth founderment being started by James Rice of Paradise Food Products.
    Thank you so much. I pray our LORD GOD YHAWEH ALMIGHTY bless Paradise Food Products Company.

  • Tank you so much my brother James, you are a true man of God and this country needs more of you,,God will cont to bless you and your family back in the US. We hope we will see you again in PNG some time in the future.. Tanks for exposing the Light of Jesus Christ by putting scriptures on some of the products you were selling. This is the first time ever for a company to this in this country and I believe around the world too. Truly you are a God Fearing man and I salute you for this.. I have never met you James, but just by reading about your stories, I know who you are. Tank you so much for putting this Powerful Nation of PNG on the world map.. God bless you Mr James Rice..

  • Someone from the first world to whole heartedly do his job making a lot of impacts in the company as CEO and also having a lot of influences on professional group like LinkedIn in a short period or so, yet he’s been able to travel and mingle with the people of png and I love the way he was able to appreciate and see the best and the unique sound, smell and sights and the recommendation he’s made that the real PNGans are outside port moresby. Very true.

    What a great man who even appreciates sleeping in kunai huts!

    We need more expats like him at the higher administrative positions in the country. Someone who appreciates people and loves doing his job. I mean he was able to create jobs and products in no time with an increase in revenue that’s pretty awesome,Right?
    We don’t need those who who come for money and have less impact in whatever task they are hired for.

    We need more James for a better PNG.
    I love this person.

    May God bless him and his family in abundance.
    He deserves our respect.

    Blessings and kind regards James!

  • Great man with the great heart..
    May Good God may Bless you and your beautiful family in USA..
    Your services to those country will be remembered.

    • Man! I don’t know this guy! But I tell you what! If words could build bridges across nations, across cultural and racial divides, James Rice would be king…too good you are Bro! Lukim yu!

  • Mr. Rice on behalf of my village rural people of Mt.Wilhelm we wish you and your immediate families God’s Jehovah Blessings..You are our “Angra” mean brother in Chimbu Province..You are welcome back anytime with your families and friends if you decide to revisit and hike Mt.Wilhelm again in future..

  • Man! I don’t know this guy! But I tell you what! If words could build bridges across nations, across cultural and racial divides, James Rice would be king…too good you are Bro! Lukim yu!

  • James, you have seen and experienced a World of Nature, in fact natures last frontier. This is a world of my ancestors, only tempered by your kind in the quest for your ancestor’s culture of civilisation. You saw the jungles of rainforest and tall trees as opposed to your jungles of brick walls and high rise buildings. You had the opportunity to breathe freshest of air straight from Nature as opposed to impure air. You smelled the scent of nature as against your tempered perfumes. You felt the coolest breeze as opposed to air conditioned rooms and the natural heat as against man-made heater.

    But above all, what interests me most is your last name ‘RICE’, because that is one of my stable food, which is by far the best gift your civilisation brought to our mothers in the huts. You will take away your name but our mothers will always have a meal of rice for us.

    Goodbye a true friend fond of PNG

  • Really sad but time chances and given the opportunity to live and work in PNG, I believe James had make use of the opportunity.

  • Mr Rice you are truly an amazing and unique person.. You have led Paradise group of companies at a very high note. Under your leadership you have created more jobs during the pandemic while other companies did not employ but instead laid staff .
    The most beautiful part of your stay was you mingled with our local people and appreciated the try Papua New Guinea.
    I believe you will take with you all this memories with.
    We thank your family for their support while you were here some thousands of kilometres.
    It is not a mistake your coming here was planned by our good Lord .
    We pray for His traveling mercy as you travel back to your lovely family.
    PNG will always welcome you when you ever come back for a visit.

    God’s blessings be with you.

    Thank you

  • A great white man with a heart painted in PNG colors….Thank you for your Leadership…Safe journey back to your family…God bless

  • I’ve heard about this great man. He served us with great passion, love and care. Very unique personality. You touch PNG’s heart. God will guide you back to State. Pls leave your contact address and number.

  • Mr. Rice understood the ways people of png think and behave. He is a great person who have steered the company in a profitable direction and growth.

  • Mr Rice, you are someone who is one of a kind hining out amongst so many expatriates who have been to PNG for various reasons and walks of life.

    Your love for this country and people had surely converted you into a Papua New Guinean but the white coloured skin will still remain US.

    I love your story on your work and life appreciation of being in PNG.

    PNG is still your country as you have remarkable input in it and you have your people still here.

    Sharing your experiences in this article is appreciated with all heart as in realty, PNG is not only Port Moresby but good, loving kind and respectful people and beautiful amazing places in PNG exists and is yet to be explored.

    Thanks and our heavenly father may continue to bless you and your family.

  • I dont know this man, but I have heard so many positive comments from poeple and media, staff who worked for PFL.
    Thank you Rice. May God bless you and family, always.
    From bougainville. Shalom ……..

  • James, you have done a lot for PNG. We will remember you for decades. Wish you a safe trip back to the US and the mighty GOD will protect you and your family during the covid-19 pandemic. Thank you for serving PNG and promoting PNG to the global community. GOD bless you, James.

  • James Rice, though I don’t know you personally, I can tell you that, you have a big following by me and most Papua New Guineans far and wide. You are the only one that has travelled in our 18 provinces and your feedback of our hospitality was well received. It would be a bonus for PNG if our government can offer you a role as our ambassador in USA. You leave a big shoe to be filled but I believe you have trained some nationals to take over. God bless you and hope to seeing you again in the near future.

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