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PM O'Neill leaves behind a "Development" legacy

“It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve this nation and lead government for almost eight years,” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said when he tendered his resignation in Parliament yesterday.

Mr O’Neill’s sombre statement to the nation brought tears from a few MPs and was the major factor causing a split in the opposition with MPs like Sir Puka Temu and Richard Masere crossing the floor to rejoin government.

“We have delivered profound accomplishments during our government through a policy agenda that has transformed our nation,” he said.

“The most important of these achievements are the issues that improve the lives of the children, women and men of our country.

“We have enabled more than a million more children to attend school through free education, most of them girls, and we have expanded universal healthcare that has saved many lives.

“We have delivered more critical infrastructure than at any time in the history of our country, particularly in remote and rural areas.”

Mr O’Neill said this includes the construction of many new teachers training colleges, new nurses training colleges, as well as new airports, jetties, roads across the country.

“This has created greater freedoms and opportunities for our people to travel, to expand business, and it has attracted billions of Kina in international investment that is creating more jobs,” he said.

“Our government has further transformed our country’s global engagement.

“We have strengthened relations with our traditional trading partners and built new friendships.

“Five years ago when the Leaders of APEC member countries awarded the hosting of APEC 2018 to Papua New Guinea, there were a number of critics who said Papua New Guinea could never deliver a summit of this magnitude.

“We proved them all wrong,” he said.

“Through 2018, and culminating with the APEC Leaders’ Summit and APEC CEO Summit in November last year, the eyes of the world were on our country.”

“God bless Papua New Guinea.”

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