VETERAN SCHOOLED BY A ROOKIE
by BRYAN KRAMER
Today the Post Courier published a front page story under the headline "Uproar in the House."
The article was in relation to Member of Wau Bulolo and Minister of Communications & Energy Sam Basil's statement (personal explanation) on the floor of Parliament following question time yesterday. Basil's statement was in response to my article published on Facebook in relation to the recent defection of the Member of Wosera-Gawi Open from Opposition to O'Neill Government.
An article authored by reporter Jeffrey Elapa, which I'm of the view was biased confirmed by the fact the reporter made no attempt to get my comment to balance the story.
The central theme of the article and Basil's statement were expressed in the following terms:
1) Basil: the comments labeling me as “dumb and a stupid member of Parliament”, I felt obliged and convicted to stand up and speak as Mr Kramer’s comments are unacceptable and unbecoming of a national leader.
So did I state in precise and expressed terms Sam Basil is dump and stupid?
No, not once in my article did I state as much.
Both words where stated twice as follows:
"It seems the offer by O'Neill to Basil was a lie. The only question was whether one was (1) dumb enough to believe it. I explained to Basil only an idiot would believe O'Neill would honour his word. It seems in PNG Politics we don't have a shortage of (1) stupid people."
"In the end Pangu only received one Ministry. Basil may go down in PNG Political History as one of the (2) dumbest Political Party Leaders for taking 16 Members across the floor on the promise of four Ministry portfolios in Cabinet and only receive one. On the same token Yopyyopy himself stated O'Neill promised him six projects and delivered none."
The first asks the question whether "one" is dumb enough - it does not state Sam Basil is.
The second states he "may" go down in PNG Political History as one of the dumbest Political Party Leaders. The word "may" is not a statement of fact but expressing a view (opinion). - a view that may be considered fair comment - which is a legal defense to derogatory or defamatory statement.
2) Basil: I was accused by Kramer alleging that I met with the MP for Wosera-Gawi, Joseph Yopyyopy, and enticed him to move to the government"
“This is a lie. You said lair to others but you are a true lair,”.
I published what the Member of Wosera-Gawi told me - that before leaving for holiday's he met with Basil.
If Basil is disputing this claim then the person who he should be referring to as a liar is Mr. Yopyopy. However, the fact remains Mr. Yopyyopy did state as much - so Basil's claim I lied is misplaced.
3) Basil: Myself and the 16 MPs from Pangu Party crossed over to join the government based on collective decisions, and not even the Member for Madang can tell me what to do.
The fact is there were three caucus meetings where Basil moved the motion to join the Govenment. The first at Dynasty Restaurant, Gordons RH. It was rejected by the majority of those present. Two days later Basil convened another caucus meeting at Soul House Restaurant again the members opposed it. Basil withdrew the motion. He then convened a secret meeting in Lae only inviting those members of the party who supported it - making a point to exclude me.
So hardly a consensus decision as he claims.
4) Basil: I have never made any statement, saying I want to become the Prime Minister, and the statement posted by Mr Kramer is also a lie. "The Madang MP as a liar”.
Seriously??? So he expects the 8 million people of PNG to believe as a Party Leader of the second largest Political Party in Parliament he never wanted to be Prime Minister?
6) Basil: “We have not been paid K10,000 as alleged on Facebook to join the government. We are leaders, and as honourable leaders, we serve our people. So we have to be responsible and respect each other. My people of Bulolo do not owe Madang or Bryan Kramer,”
I never said Basil was paid K10,000 a fortnight for joining Government. I was referring to the members of parliament who joined PNC in the context of Mr. Yopyyopy. Basil is not qualified to make statements on matters that relate to PNC.
Even still I never stated it was a fact they were. What I did state was that I was reliably informed - which is a fact I was informed. I never stated what I was informed was confirmed to be true. Which is why I stated "an allegation I intend to get to the bottom of to confirm if there is any truth in it."
Basil is correct he doesn't owe me anything but does owe the people of Madang an apology after he lied to them about removing O'Neill during the campaign. They now insist Basil return to Madang to apologise for lying for them.
7) Basil: “You can call me dumb, stupid and insane, but I might be insane to continue to sit in the Opposition so I had to move for the interest of my Bulolo people.
This is where it gets rather amusing, at the start of his speech Basil makes the point that he has served 109 months in Opposition while I have only served 7. Therefore, Implying I'm not qualified to comment about him being dumb and stupid.
He then goes onto explain that he believes he would be dumb, stupid and insane to continue to sit in the opposition. So is he saying it took him 109 months of being dumb, stupid and insane sitting in the opposition before realizing???
Did Basil move in the interest of Bulolo? It's my view he didn't, it was all about himself. Members of Parliament move to join Government for convenience and comfort.
8) Basil: “I think one person who will miss me sitting next to him would be the Member for Madang. I think he missed me sitting next to him,”
Ok this statement is certainly creepy and disturbing. I don't remember Basil being seated next to me in Parliament. So it is either a poor attempt of humor which Basil is kind of known for or there is some underlying issue confirming some of the rumors about him that have been circulating over the years. I'm praying it's the former.
To conclude it is no secret Basil is not the sharpest pencil in the pencil case and struggles to understand complex issues.
And perhaps has a short memory. It is public knowledge leading up to he 2017 General Elections Basil made the statement that if Pangu Pati forms the next Government after the elections he is going to investigate all corrupt MPs in the Government send them to Bomana Prison to eat brown rice including Prime Minister Peter O'Neill - a statement that was published in National newspaper.
On 4 August 2017 following the re-election of O'Neill the National published a press statement by Basil saying the O'Neill Government will not last long as the strong opposition side will change it before long.
"At a media conference following Wednesday’s Parliament session, Basil said the Prime Minister will not last. “We will manage to change him with the strong opposition we have now,” he said."
“We the team in the opposition are fit and strong enough to make sure that we stand to hit this brick wall until Peter O’Neill will crumble in the next 12 months,” Basil said."
So Sam Basil has the audacity to call me a liar - after he unashamedly lied to 8 million people of PNG which included the thousands of Pangu Pati supporters.
In my view if there is one thing worse than stealing the peoples money it's stealing their trust.
For the record I have little interest in Sam Basil since he lacks the mental aptitude to debate complex issues and hardly considered a strategic player in the 10th Parliament.
Tok bokis: Basil tok sapos Pangu fomim Gavman Pita O'Neill bai go lo Bomana na kakai brown rice. Pangu stap lo Gavman tasol i lukolsem Pita O'neill kisim brown rice putim pia long em na singautim Basil lo kam kaikai pia rais.