PM must move on outstanding Issues


Is Somare leading PNG to a Totalitarian State?
On the 24 November, the Speaker of Parliament, Jeffery Nape wrote to Bart Philemon, the Deputy Opposition leader and MP for Lae. The subject of the letter was the notice of the No-confidence motion in the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.

“The Private Business Committee met today and considered the notice of Motion of No-Confidence submitted. Following its deliberations, the Committee decided that the notice of Motion of No-Confidence was not in order,” the letter stated.

Mr Nape went on to explain that even though the procedural requirements under the Standing Orders and Constitution were met, the subsequent withdrawal of four supporting members to the Motion means the requirements under Section 145 (1) (b) of the Constitution were not met.

The MPs that withdrew their support were Charles Abel, Powes Parkop, Paru Aihi and Fr John Garia.
Mr Philemon gave the notice on the Motion of No-Confidence to the PM on 20 July 2010, in accordance with Standing Order 130 (4) and consistent with Section 145 and Standing Order 130, subsection (1), (2), (3) and (4).
Parliament was adjourned to November, and when Parliament again met this month, the Opposition was unable to move the motion. What is of interest to many are the reasons for the vote, as stated by the Opposition on the motion paper, which are very serious issues. They are as follows:

1. The Prime Minister has himself broke laws. The Defence Board of Inquiry into Motigate recommended the PM’s prosecution on criminal charges and on leadership charges.
2. The Ombudsman Commission has referred the PM to the Public Prosecutor for failure to submit annual leadership returns.
3. The PM failed to investigate the Taiwan Cash for diplomacy scandal.
4. The PM failed to investigate the Singapore Logging account scandal.
5. The PM failed to act on recommendations from the Public Accounts Committee.
6. The PM is blind to the abuse of various trust accounts, particularly for health, education and agriculture.
7. The PM allowed the Benefit Sharing Agreements for the proposed PNG LNG project to be signed under duress and coercion.
8. The PM treats Parliament with contempt, by his irregular attendance and use of numbers to truncate debate and prevent questions being asked.
9. The PM has knowingly misled, indeed lied to Parliament over his shareholding and involvement in Pacific Registry of Ships.
10. The PM has no concern for the people’s welfare.

Parliament has been adjourned to May 2011, which effectively stops the Opposition from making another attempt to move a vote of no-confidence in the Government. But the issues raised in the motion will surface again and again in the reminder of this term of Parliament, like they have over the years. The government and even the PM, knows that these matters will come up and in the 2012 national elections, they will be taken to another pitch.

And the big event is about 20 months away and in the meantime, Sir Michael will have to face the people and tell them the truth or do something about them.

We stand up for nothing but respect for the common good, and this goes without saying that if any office, as high as the PM, is seen to be brought to disrepute, that office, owes it to the people to give proper explanations or take actions to deal with them.

The public and indeed, the common decency expect the Prime Minister to do so and it is not too late. Sir Michael may be leaving politics at the end of this term but the NA party and the Somare name will live on. The two are institutions Sir Michael has created, and it is really up to him now to decide whether they exist beyond this term of Parliament or not.

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