Basil Joins Cabinet
By GYNNIE KERO ( The National )
PANGU Pati leader Sam Basil has joined Cabinet, and will be assigned a portfolio today by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in a minor Cabinet reshuffle.
Basil and two party colleagues were sworn in at Government House on Friday by Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae. They are Lufa MP Moriape Kavori, the new vice-minister for fisheries and Sumkar MP Chris Nangoi, the vice-minister for education.
In another development, Information Technology and Communication Minister Francis Meneke, the Talasea MP, has been decommissioned and is likely to be assigned the chairmanship of one of the parliamentary committees.
O’Neill said Basil brought with a him a wealth of experience to Cabinet.
“I welcome Minister Basil to Cabinet, and the appointment of two new vice-ministers, who I know will all make a valuable contribution to the development and implementation of Government policy,” he said.
“Pangu has joined to participate in the management of the affairs of the country and will serve our nation with diligence.” O’Neill said there would be a minor reshuffle of ministers today during which Basil would be assigned a ministerial portfolio.
“We will do a reshuffle of ministries,” he said.
“This is a natural part of ensuring we get the best outcomes for the departments and agencies for which we are responsible.”
Basil and 11 others from Pangu crossed the floor to the Government side last month “so that we can also be a player, to make sure that we implement policies of the PNC-led government”.
He told The National after the defection that he had tried hard but failed in past attempts to form the Government.
O’Neill, in a statement yesterday, thanked Basil and his party for supporting the Government’s policy agenda.
“We have a coalition of parties and members in Government who bring together a range of knowledge, with many years of Government and private sector experience. Following five years of implementation of the First Alotau Accord, all members of Government are working for the implementation of the Second Alotau Accord,” O’Neill said.
“Together, we will take education, healthcare, infrastructure, law and order and the devolution of authority to new levels in PNG.”
No comments could be obtained from Basil yesterday.
Meanwhile, a Government spokesperson yesterday confirmed the decommissioning of Maneke.