Category Archives: Politics

Carving Restoration Daunting, says Pomat

BY FRANKLIN KOLMA ( Post Courier )

 

Pre-independence artifacts destroyed in 2013 by the previous speaker of Parliament Theo Zurenuoc, will now be replaced says the new speaker.

Speaker Job Pomat said on Wednesday when starting the restoration of the iconic carvings that the effort was long overdue which his predecessor was ordered on May 30, 2013 by Justice David Cannings to restore them within six months.

“This of course has not happened and that is why after finding out last week, parliament will now ensure the carvings are restored,” said the Speaker.

Mr Pomat said he would abide by the court order which dictates that parliament is responsible for the repair or replacement of the adornments.

The speaker’s office confirmed yesterday that most of the artifacts seized during the 2013 removal operation were irreversibly damaged and that the hard task now would be to ensure that replacement carvings or the repair of the former entities, are reinstated in such a way that is reflective of the ornaments’ former glory.

Back in 2013, former speaker Mr Zurenuoc shocked the nation when he ordered the carvings pulled down and destroyed as part of his campaign to restore, reform and modernise parliament.

During Mr Zurenuoc’s controversial purge, he said that the carvings had an occult link to the bad state of affairs of the country and that their removal was pivotal to positive change. The totem pole that stood in the main chamber of parliament and a 19 carved face lintel above the main door into parliament were removed pending destruction.

Objections from the public saw Prime Minister Peter O’Neill intervene to halt the destructive process, but not before the masks were destroyed and totem cut up into small blocks rendering them unusable.

As it is, Mr Pomat has hinted that it will be a substantially costly endeavor to either repair or replace the artifacts but that it is an exercise that parliament will carry out with haste.

It was reported yesterday that Parliament Counsel Richard Whitchurch said that the restoration project will not be easy because many of the master carvers who made the pieces have died.

Mr Whitchurch said that the search is now on for master carvers potentially from East Sepik or Milne Bay to take up the crucial task of restoring the culturally symbolic carvings.

Mr Pomat while assuring the public of his prominent stand to restore the artifacts, did not mention just how much of the taxpayers money would go into the parliamentary exercise adding that this was a question that parliament would consider and reveal at a later date.

On another note, the speaker said he is still examining Mr Zurenuoc’s plan to install what he called a “Pillar of Unity” in the Grand Hall which would arch over the chamber with the words ‘Word of God’ inscribed at its pinnacle.

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.

PM: More to join Govt

By GYNNIE KERO and LUKE KAMA ( The National )

 

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed three more MPs who have crossed the floor to join the Government — and says he is expecting more.

He confirmed with The National last night that the Government side now had 85 MPs and he was expecting more to cross the floor from the Opposition benches.

The three MPs who have joined the government coalition are from the Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party, which founded by former Opposition Leader Don Polye.

They are Chimbu Governor Michael Dua, Salt-Nomane Karamui MP Geoffrey Kama, and Okapa MP Saki Soloma.

Kama, the party parliamentary leader, said the decision to join the Government was not easy but it was done after consulting the people in the electorates.

“Taking into consideration all that is happening in our nation, we have decided to move as a team,” Kama said.

“We decided to join the Government because we do not want to be involved in playing petty politics or the so-called blame-game. Rather, we want to deliver services to our people without negligence.

“We do not want to be spectators and criticise. We want to be players in development and in building a strong nation.”

Kama said they had consulted party executives, including Polye, who “respects our decision and we thank him for that”.

Dua said their alliance with the O’Neill-led Government was for a genuine agenda — to bring services to the people.

“As leaders, we have to provide solutions and we are pledging our support behind the O’Neill-Abel government for the 100-day economic recovery plan and this term of Parliament.”

PM APPLAUDS ABEL FOR BUDGET

BY : Post Courier

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has commended his deputy and Treasurer Charles Abel for successfully handing down the 2017 Supplementary Budget in Parliament yesterday.

“I commend the Treasurer as this is his first budget/money plan. There are now some renewed sense of energy in Treasury and of course as a result of that you can see some real drive into outstanding issues like over expenditure by public servants. The Treasurer is definitely getting things back on track.”

Mr O’Neill said that development is taking place across the country in the areas of infrastructure, health and education. “This is only the beginning and we will make sure we deliver before this term expires,” he said.

“You see, when we came into office in 2012, we built major infrastructure that you see now,” he said.

“If we did not build these infrastructure, the recession will be far worse than today.”

Mr O’Neill said the National Alliance-led government was in control for 15 years and they handed out about seven supplementary budgets when they had surplus, but never built any infrastructure.

“To date, they still can’t name an infrastructure they built, and they left no money in the Trust Account,” he said. “Treasury is the engine room, the heart that controls the body, and you should be very careful.

“It is a fact, that we are all responsible to correct the position when they are course blow outs, to correct it so we set new targets and that is 2.5 per cent of GDP,” Mr O’Neill said.

2017 Supplementary Budget Top Agenda

By : Post Courier

The 2017 Supplementary Budget tops the government agenda when Parliament resumes at 2 o’clock this afternoon.

Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel, is expected to hand down the mini budget during this session.

Leader of Government Business, James Marape, could not be reached for comments, but the government has indicated bringing in the Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill (ICAC) to at least test the numbers in this session.

The government is also expected to bring through legislations including the National Energy Authority Bill, for the creation of the similar entity like the Mineral Resource Authority, to aggressively drive LNG projects.

The House will start with Ministers giving their statements and entertain questions without notice.

The tabling of the 2017 Supplementary Budget is point 1 in the 25-point 100-day plan of the O’Neill Government.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, said cabinet had decided to support a supplementary budget to maintain the parametres of the 2017 Budget proper.

Mr O’Neill said after a period of sustained high economic growth spurred by the PNG LNG Project construction phase and sustained increases in government spending, circumstances such as the collapse of the price of oil and the El Nino drought, and a slowdown in global growth had dampened economic growth.

He said the mid-year economic fiscal outlook report from Treasury has highlighted these emerging issues with a downturn in government revenues as well as an increase in public service wages, interest costs and rentals, and the rationing of foreign currency.

He said the supplementary budget maintains a 2.5 percent budget deficit and 32 percent debt to GDP ratio in the 2017 Budget proper by deferral in the Service Improvement Program and cuts to the capital and recurrent budgets.

“The SIPs (DSIP/PSIP) are a very important pillar to our government, however, the cabinet has recognised the need for discipline during tough times. The deferral to SIPs will be replaced in subsequent budgets,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said the Supplementary Budget will also boost medicine procurement, coffee berry borer response and more funds to the Department of Works.

He said a range of other measures are also brought to support and give direction around the 100-day, 25-point plan.

Basil: Why I Crossed

By: CLIFFORD FAIPARIK ( The National )

 

PANGU Pati leader Sam Basil, after spending the past 10 years in Opposition, says he is “sick and tired” of it and decided with 11 colleagues to join the Government.

“For the last 10 years I have tried to change the Government after the national elections. And when moving a vote of no-confidence, every time I nominate an alternate prime minister and speaker, I always stand up knowing that I don’t have the numbers,” he said.

“And if I continue to do that, I will be seen as an insane person. Now I want to be part of the Government. I want to help Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the People’s National Congress Party run this country.

“I don’t want to talk (anymore) about changing the Government.

“I have been doing it for 10 years. And I’m sick and tired of (it). I’m a better person now.”

Those who crossed the floor on Monday were Basil, deputy Pangu leader William Samb (Goilala), Central Governor Robert Agarobe, Rigo MP Captain Lekwa Gure, Sohe MP Henry Amuli, Nawae MP Kennedy Wenge, Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu, Lae MP John Rosso, Menyamya MP Thomas Pelika, Tewai-Siassi MP Dr Kobby Bomareo, Sumkar MP Chris Nangoi and Lufa MP Moriape Kavori.

The Government now has 73 MPs in the 111-seat Parliament.

Basil said they would help the Government pass bills in Parliament including the Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill.

“This is the Government of PNG. We are not teaming up with a foreign government.

“So we are just doing justice for our people by joining up the Government so that we help steer the ship and help the Government run this nation,” Basil said.

Deputy Pangu Pati leader William Samb said they would maintain the party’s anti-corruption stand.

“It’s better to address corruption within (Government) than from the Opposition.

“I spent 18 months in the Opposition and have seen what happened,” he said.

“And Basil has been in the Opposition for 10 years. So our integrity is still intact.”

Meanwhile, Rosso and Kavori are now members of Pangu.

Rosso had contested the general election as an Independent candidate while Kavori was a member of the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party.

In Unity for PNG

The National

By HELEN TARAWA

TALKS are being held between the Government and Opposition MPs for a bipartisan approach to address some of the issues outlined in the Government’s 100-day plan.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel said he had meetings with Opposition MPs, including Northern Governor Gary Juffa, on how best they could work together.

Abel told an NBC radio talkback show yesterday that there were some very good, qualified people in the Opposition who had “vast knowledge” and could contribute to the nation’s development.

“The bipartisan approach the governor talks about, notwithstanding some of the criticisms that we get from our friends like the governor himself, is always open. My office is always open for discussions,” Abel said.

“I’ve already had Juffa come in to meet me. He’s a former chief commissioner for Customs and he’s got some very good ideas.”

Such cooperation among MPs has rarely been seen in PNG politics recently. Abel said there were some very qualified people in the Opposition who should be used.

“I’ve even suggested to the governor (Juffa) that if he is willing to support and assist us with the ideas in relation to Customs and IRC (Inland Revenue Commission) with his vast knowledge, I’m willing to work with him and other members of the Opposition,” he said.

Juffa thanked Abel for coming out in public to tell the people about Government’s first 100 days of leadership.

“It’s a tough stand that he has taken. He won’t be popular. But some of these difficult decisions need to be made and some of us are willing to stand up and support in a bipartisan approach,” Juffa said.

“I understand that the country is going through a difficult time and we should put aside political differences from time to time and do what we can for the country.”

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