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Government strong number at 91, refused Ben Micah’s demands

Government strong number at 91. Photo credit : Ruth Magape
Minister for Finance and Leader of Government Business, James Marape  has welcomed the opportunity for members of the Government caucus to take a week to review polices developed as part of the Alotau Accord in the lead-up to the return to Parliament on Friday.

Speaking following a meeting of the Government caucus in Port Moresby, Minister Marape further questioned how serious Ben Micah takes his role as an elected member given the demands he had been making while in Government.

The Minister said Government numbers are strong with Government members meeting in unity from the People’s National Congress, National Alliance, United Resources Party, People’s Progress Party, New Generation Party and a number of independents.
“I assure all our investors, business community and citizens that our Government numbers stand with PNC at 59, National Alliance at 14, URP at 8 and a number from PPP, NGP, SDP, PDM and other independents,” Minister Marape said.

“We have 91 Members of Parliament in the Government as we speak.
“Contrast that with the 17 Members who were with the Opposition in Parliament on Friday.
“Whilst it is their democratic right to exercise section 145, the unstable image of the country being portrayed continues to derail work and development and investment in this country.
"I ask all political party leaders, to come to the Parliament with your numbers, and to stop ringing my Members offering inducements like money and ministries.

"In this term of parliament, our Prime Minister and government has been facing many battles sponsored by politicians and we know who they are.
“We will see you all this Friday in Parliament and you will have your day to show your numbers.
“The difference between the two sides is that in Government we are are all behind one person as Prime Minister, whereas in the Opposition you have seven people all with their knives out ready to back-stab each other."

The Minister said policy advancement would be the main subject of discussion as Members waited for Parliament to reconvene on Friday.
“While this recall of Parliament was unnecessary and expensive, when section 145 notice of Vote of No Confidence was placed on notice by Speaker as directed by Supreme Court, Members will make best use of our time.

“Going into camp provides an opportunity for our members of the Government to take time to look at what we have achieved in the past years, and what still needs to be done.

“The Alotau Accord is one of the most important policy documents ever seen in our history.
“Our people have seen real change in our country through the Alotau Accord commitments and this has delivered free school education, universal healthcare and improved law and order.”

The Leader of Government Business said he welcomes the move by Ben Micah and some members of PPP moving to the Opposition, saying Mr Micah’s demand while in Government we often unrealistic. This included the demand to be appointed as Deputy Prime Minister.
"Ben Micah asked to be appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister, and when this was refused he went away sulking.

“What he has to accept is that the post of Deputy Prime Minister is not some prize that is handed around, but is a very serious position in the administration of our nation.
“The Deputy Prime Minister has direct carriage of the affairs of Government when the Prime Minister has official overseas travel or if he was ill.
“Our Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Leo Dion MP, is a shining example of the caliber of a person who is fit and right to be in that position.
“Ben Micah does not have the stature, experience and respect required to be Deputy Prime Minister.”
The Minister said the Government Coalition members will continue to meet in the coming days and prepare to return to Parliament on Friday morning.

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