Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Disgrace of Democracy by the Papua New Guinea Government

The fiasco in the Papua New Guinea Parliament reported this week in the media can only be summarised as an excercise of self-preservation by a Government who has lost control in upholding and maintaining the intergrity of the House of Parliament. Shame to the Speaker of Parilament Jeffery Nape and to Sir Michael Somare and his government! Below is what The Post Courier Editorial has reported [ PNG Post Courier. ]


Shameless Exercise in Self-Preservation!

PARLIAMENT was subjected to a brutal show of strength by the reigning Government yesterday when it rammed through a four-month “holiday’’ for the Members.
It was a shameless exercise in self-preservation.
If the Government truly had the numbers, they would have let the Opposition motion of no-confidence be accepted and put to the ultimate test.
There is no visible excuse for the episode that enraged the Opposition members and many of the people in the public gallery.
It remains to be seen how the rest of Papua New Guinea takes the enforced holiday.
We would not be surprised if there is a major groundswell of resentment and disgust at what went on in the Haus Tambaran of the Waigani swamps.
The Government knew what was coming and did all it could to prevent it getting to the starting post, let alone letting the race be run.
People on both sides of politics are questioning the role of the office of the Speaker in this shambles of democratic practice.
The King of Morata is quoted accurately in yesterday’s report by our reporter, at first denying the motion of no-confidence had been accepted by his office, then conceding it had been.
There was considerable talk in the power circles of Waigani yesterday about the to and fro of key brokers to negotiate the “acceptance’’ of the motion. Some of that talk was rather negative and cast a dim light on the democratic process.
Now we are faced with the prospect of a further four months without the opportunity for our 109 elected members of having some say in the running of the country.
Academic Dr Ray Anere believes the whole exercise in adjourning Parliament and refusing to take heed of the motion is a flaunting of the Constitution.
There is a little matter of the Constitution insisting on a minimum of 63 sitting days in a year. This matter has previously been the subject of court interpretation.
Opinion is that Parliament has only sat for 41 days and will find it hard to squeeze in another 22 days before the end of the 12 months to satisfy the lawyers.
In the meantime, the Government of Waigani will continue to rule by virtue of the “kitchen cabinet’’ of a handful of powerful ministers and have their way with important affairs of state, like the ExxonMobil liquefied gas project.
Shame on them and pity the people of PNG!