Monday, November 21, 2011

O’Neill Govt intact

Source: News, Post Courier, November 21, 2011
By SIMON ERORO
Political and mind games are already in play as Papua New Guinea awaits the December 9 Supreme Court decision on the validity of the Government.
Just 18 days before the verdict is handed down, the old regime under Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, has come out in one of the weekly papers stating its claim.
Interestingly enough, Sir Michael’s son Arthur has come out and claimed that they have the numbers in anticipation of the verdict.
However, the Government yesterday said that the “Somare camp numbers rising to 59 as reported in Sunday Chronicle” was completely false.
Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Jamie Maxtone-Graham told the Post-Courier before boarding his flight to Kuala Lumpur to attend the water and sanitation conference that the government had 70 votes and was still intact.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said the country must be reliably informed that the recruitment exercise by parties in government after the change of government has placed the government comfortably with 80 MPs.
The national president of the People’s Progress Party (PPP), Brown Sinamoi has denied reports that PPP is part of a cabinet lineup by the previous Somare government in anticipation of the December 9 Supreme Court decision on the validity of this government
Mr Sinamoi strongly condemned this and said the two PPP MPs who are ministers in the current government — Mining Minister Byron Chan and Education Minister Theo Zurenouc — are intact with the government (See separate story on P5).
Leader of National Alliance Party and Finance and Treasury Minister Don Polye also said NA party was solid in government and their numbers are still intact. He blamed the media for publishing speculations.
National Planning Minister Sam Basil also condemned the report yesterday and joked about the desperation by one or two MPs in the former regime who cannot accept defeat.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said the government was solid and they know very well that the article on Sunday Chronicle was completely untrue.
“Report if you have visited their camp — not just speculate,” Mr Maxtone- Graham said.
“This report was crap because our numbers are intact and this will be shown when Parliament sits...we are ready and with such a big number, we can do anything on the floor of parliament for the good of the people of this country.
“We can pass the outstanding Constitutional Amendments and suspend the Standing Orders. “There are so many moves up our sleeves.
“What we can do in the best interest of the country is to make sure this government continues.
“The government is for the people – it’s a popular government the country has had for a very long time since Independence.
“The people of Papua New Guinea do not want to see a change of government,” the Minister said.
Mr Maxtone-Graham, however jokingly said what those young MPs in the previous government should be doing is to elect an Opposition Leader which the country does not have right now.

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