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PNG Opposition Leader Pruaitch calls for Speaker to Consider VONC as Public Importance and Interest

Papua New Guinea Opposition Leader and Member for Aitape Lumi Patrick Pruaitch appealed to the Speaker to be impartial when considering the Opposition’s notice for a Vote of No Confidence against the Prime Minister when the committee deliberates on the matter in the next sitting of Parliament this month.

Mr Pruaitch said, “Following the convention of the West Minster system of Parliament, the Speaker needs to be fair in matters of public importance and interest that are placed before him as members of the Opposition are not individuals but representatives of so many constituencies around the country.

“Today the Opposition represents up to 4 million people of Papua New Guinea. We have not increased in numbers because of a mere power play. We as an Opposition have increased in numbers because over the last seven years we have seen our economy decline and our people cry for basic service delivery that is deteriorating at an unacceptable accelerated rate.

“While our revenue peaked in 2017, our services have significantly declined. This should not be the case when revenue from the commissioning of gas in 2014 caused a major spike in revenue to our country. The O’Neill Government blames the global financial crisis but this scenario could have been avoided as previously done during the Somare Government when PNG like the rest of the world faced the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and continued to grow well into 2011.

“Instead the O’Neill Government inflicted on PNG extensive borrowings and infrastructure development with little to no return on investment to government coffers. The Government of Mr O’Neill built sports infrastructure, resealed over and over again roads in Port Moresby and staged the APEC leaders meeting that drained every toea out of treasury.

“Other excesses include the gensets from Israel, the payout to Paraka Lawyers, UBS Loan and other unaccounted Chinese loans.

“Therefore, Speaker Pomat, the notice by the Opposition for a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister stems from genuine concerns about the direction that the present leadership is taking and the future that our children have to invariably face should we continue down the present path.

“An example is this lack of consideration by this present leadership is the treatment of Manus Island by the O’Neill led Government. After assuming office unconstitutionally in 2011, Peter O’Neill ran the Australian agenda by agreeing to reopening the Manus Detention Centre.

“Manus people did not have a say in whether or not their island could become the off-shore processing centre for the Australian Government. In return for this arrangement, the Australian Government made lots of promises that Manus Island would get various infrastructure projects and there would be spin off businesses that locals could engage in.

"After seven years Mr Pomat I cannot believe that you could still support a person like Prime Minister O’Neill who has not kept his side of the bargain. Very little has changed on Manus Island in the last seven years but its reputation has been dragged through the mud. To the frustration of Manus islanders, their once idyllic island is now seen globally as the end of the earth to send anyone. Surely they deserve better - a leader that can truly represent their interests in Parliament.

“So, it is a matter of public interest that the Opposition would like Speaker Pomat to consider the removal of the Prime Minister so that we can restore good governance and transparency not just for the sake of Manus Islanders but for the rest of the people of this country.

“Mr Pomat I appeal to you to use wisdom and foresight when deliberating on the notice that members of the Opposition who represent the other 4 million people of Papua New Guinea have put before you last week to consider,” said Mr Pruaitch.

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