Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Budget tabled...but all eyes divert to December 9 decision

Source: News, Post Courier, November 06 2011

Parliament meets today to pass the delayed 2012 National Budget but all eyes are on the Supreme Court which is going to hand down its decision this Friday on the election of Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister.
The talk in the country right now is not about Christmas parties; rather it is on the impending decision of the Supreme Court reference filed by the East Sepik Provincial Government on the legality of the election of Mr O’Neill.
The Supreme Court may rule either way but already remnants of the former Somare regime and the O’Neill Government are positioning themselves for any possible outcome.
“It is no secret that Don Polye and Belden Namah want to become Prime Minister. We are seeing Polye consolidating his National Alliance faction in Government while Belden Namah is recruiting and building up its numbers,” a political observer told the Post- Courier. Political groupings have been meeting behind closed doors in recent weeks and they are keeping their eyes on the Waigaini court house, like everyone else in the country.
Former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, now out of hospital and recovered from his heart operations is in Port Moresby. He was at the National Museum and Arts Gallery – not far from the National Parliament building - seemingly wowing the “tumbuna spirits” in the Museum.
In one of his few official engagements since he returned from hospital, Sir Michael appeared happy as he launched a historical masterpiece, a book detailing more than 35,000 artifacts of the country titled — “Living Spirits with Fixed Abodes”. This book, he claimed was close to his heart, as it detailed the history of PNG through carvings and others. Author of the book, Dr Barry Craig was PNG’s former museum curator in the 80s and he and Sir Michael were instrumental in charting the way forward for the national museum and its artefacts.
While making his speech Sir Michael repeatedly joked about the rare carvings as the “spirits” of our ancestors.
It was rather ironic that on the same day, Sir Michael was calling on spirits of the past, Mr O’Neill was on the other side of Port Moresby, receiving much needed heavenly blessings anointed by the prayer from Seven Day Adventists pastors.
He later described his SDA experience has quite moving and confidently told the congregation that despite the uncertainties being faced by the Government, he has the numbers, blended with the young and experienced MPs to take the country forward. Meanwhile all available police manpower and resources in NCD will be deployed in a special security operation starting tomorrow until after December 12.
NCD and Central Commander Fred Sheekiot said the heightened security alert was necessary to maintain law and order in the city during this week’s parliament session and the upcoming December 9 Supreme Court decision. ACP Sheekiot said police recruits and staff from Bomana Police College and Police Headquarters will join operational units to maintain security and surveillance at parliament house, the national court premises and all other vantage points around the city.
A strong mobile squad contingent from Lae was also flown into the city this week to participate in this operation, Mr Sheekiot said.
“There will be increased police deployment on the streets of Port Moresby, and as such, I expect our good peace loving citizens to respect the law and remain calm throughout this crucial period,” he said.
He said random roadblocks will be mounted around the city and regular foot patrols will be conducted in designated spots to curb crime.

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