A former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, says the merger of two opposition political parties is an opportunity to force the country’s leader out of power.

Sir Mekere Morauta
Sir Mekere Morauta Photo: Post Courier

Sir Mekere, who is the MP for Moresby North-West, said the merger of the PNG Party and the National Alliance was a clear demonstration of the opposition’s desire to remove Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The PNG Party is led by Vanimo Green MP Belden Namah, who was formerly deputy prime minister under Mr O’Neill between 2011 and 2012.

The National Alliance leader is Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch, who was Treasurer under Mr O’Neill for three years until last year’s general election when they parted ways.

While both Mr Pruaitch and Mr Namah formed coalition governments with Mr O’Neill and his People’s Nationals Congress party, they now say the prime minister must be removed for the good of the country.

“We have created this monster, and we have a moral obligation to the people of this country to remove him,” Mr Namah said at a press conference where the merger was announced.

The prime minister appears to have a strong majority in parliament, but numbers could become fluid as the opportunity to move a motion of no-confidence against him in early 2019 approaches.

Together the two parties have around 20 MPs in the 111-seat parliament.

Sir Mekere said the opposition also knew there were MPs on the government side who wanted Mr O’Neill out.

He said Mr O’Neill has had six years to change from the path of destruction he had set the country on, and it cannot put up with him any longer.

PNG PM Peter O'Neill
PNG PM Peter O’Neill Photo: AFP / Peter Parks

In response, Mr O’Neill has described Sir Mekere as a “the most yoyo MP on record”.

In a statement, he said that the former prime minister had been with more parties than any other leader in PNG’s history.

“Sadly for him, this political opportunism will leave him isolated, lacking in friends and respect, with shattered dreams and no party will be his legacy,” Mr O’Neill said.

“Rearranging deck chairs in the same boat is not going to increase numbers for the opposition.”

But Sir Mekere continues to criticise the O’Neill government’s focus on infrastructure spending for the upcoming APEC leaders summit when basic services around the country were failing.

He said it was a public shame that polio and leprosy had returned to PNG; that there are drug shortages all over the country; that teachers had suffered a pay cut and schools are closing, yet the prime minister orders 800 vehicles for the APEC meeting.

He said Mr O’Neill will have to account for every toea he has spent on APEC.

 

Source (RNZ)

A Papua New Guinea opposition MP has written to the Ombudsman Commission and Police Fraud Squad calling for inquiries into the APEC luxury cars scandal.

Papua New Guinea APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko
Papua New Guinea APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

This comes after a public outcry over the government’s recent purchase of hundreds of luxury vehicles for use in transporting leaders at the upcoming APEC leaders summit.

The Minister for APEC, Justin Tkatchenko said the cars have been committed to be paid for by the private sector, with the state bearing no overall cost.

But Sir Mekere Morauta, a former prime minister and current MP for Moresby North-West, says the deal is suspicious.

He said that while the government has failed to answer questions about the deal, enough information has been gathered by himself and others to justify high-level investigations.

“This information indicates a strong likelihood that the Leadership Code, the Constitution, the Criminal Code and other laws have been broken,” Sir Mekere said.

“About K33 million in taxpayers’ money appears to have been spent on luxury cars without due process being followed. The people of Papua New Guinea have a right to know what happened to this money.”

After the controversial import of 40 new Maserati cars came to light last month, prime minister Peter O’Neill said the vehicles would be on-sold in a transparent process as soon as the APEC summit concluded in mid-November.

“Like many other international events that we have hosted in the past in the past 40 years, there has always been an arrangement where the private sector will buy those vehicles, so that it saves government money,” the prime minister explained.

But Sir Mekere and other opposition MPs claim the seriousness of the potential illegal conduct justified a wider inquiry into APEC spending, estimated to be $US900 million by the World Bank, based on PNG government advice.

“If the illegalities of the luxury cars spending are replicated across other APEC spending, then we have corruption as bad as any seen in the world in the past few years,” Sir Mekere said.

 

Source (RNZ)

Solomon Islanders bring their handicrafts to Port Vila
Port Vila Lord Mayor Daniel, Honiara City Mayor Andrew Mua and Luganville Mayor Onen Gaviga during the Solomon Islands Independence celebrations in Honiara.

Each time someone from Vanuatu travels to the Solomon Islands, he or she is usually inundated with requests to buy a Choiseul bilum (string) bag or a necklace from Malaita in the Market.

This is all set to change, now that the Port Vila Municipal Council and the Honiara City Council have agreed through their sister city relations for Honiara to literally bring the Honiara Market to Port Vila with their Solomon made handicrafts.

98 carvers will arrive today on board the Fair Lady with their products and fingers crossed, the Solomon Island vendors will bring with them too, Choiseul bilums and Malaita made necklaces.

The Port Vila town authorities have confirmed that the Seafront Stage will be allocated for our wantoks to sell their handicrafts. Fair Lady should set sail again on the 2nd of November.

Port Vila Lord Mayor Albert Daniel and his Solomon Islands counterpart, Mr Andrew Mua discussed the potential of expanding the sister-city arrangements to include cultural exchanges like this one when the two leaders last met in July.

Yesterday the Port Vila Acting Mayor Peter Yamack welcomed the Honiara City Mayor Andrew Mua and the Honiara City Town Clerk, Charles Kelly to Port Vila.

The First Citizen of Port Vila, Albert Daniel is away on official duty, attending the Global Forum of Human Settlements in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Source (Daily Post)

Vanuatu welcomes Prince Albert II
Vanuatu welcomes Prince Albert II

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade Alfred Maoh officially welcomed Prince Albert II of Monaco on his first visit to Vanuatu yesterday.

“I am pleased that you have made Vanuatu your country of choice to visit,” Minister Maoh conveyed.

“My Prime Minister who is unfortunately on duty travel overseas in Europe and fellow Government senior officials send their greetings and warm welcome to you and your esteemed delegation. I am very confident that your stay however short it may be, will be an enjoyable one.

“Your highness, on behalf of everyone here today, I extend very sincere thanks on the acceptance by the people of Monaco to partner with Vanuatu in affirming our commitment to our oceans through the Coral Reef Life Declaration.”

Minister Maoh mentioned that like many vulnerable island states in the pacific, Vanuatu ranks highest with a vulnerability index of well over 80%.

“But the warmth of our people, their natural smiles and friendliness is truly one with our land and the vast ocean that surrounds us,” he said.

“These are enshrined in our national constitution, which promotes a freedom to worship environment for our people, to enjoy the rich cultural diversity and natural sceneries of this small island country.

“Vanuatu has been classified as the Happiest Place on Earth twice. So, it is fitting that after the recent official signing of Diplomatic Relations between our two countries on September 10, 2018, I am particularly pleased to recommend your delegation to visit and site our beautiful shores and the warmth of our friendly people.

“Our country’s motto, in God we stand assures you of our lifestyle that is consistent with our Christian principle and custom Values. This is our world and the way it should be! Your interaction with my people will demonstrate this as a rewarding experience for you.”

 

Source (Daily Post Vanuatu)

The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Committee to New Caledonia is in Noumea, New Caledonia, to meet with relevant stakeholders and observe the November 4 referendum on full sovereignty and independence.

The visit responds to the outcomes of the Forty-ninth Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru.

Established in 1990 by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, the Forum Ministerial Committee is mandated to observe the progress of implementation of the Noumea Accord and its predecessor Matignon Accord, which set the agreed pathway towards self-determination for the people of New Caledonia.

The mission is led by Milton Dube, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nauru and Special Envoy of Nauru President Baron Waqa and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum. Other members of the Ministerial Committee are Vanuatu’s Minister of Education and Training Jean-Pierre Nirua, and Mr Daryl Mapu, Manager, Returning Services Division, Office of the Electoral Commissioner, Samoa.

The Ministerial Committee is supported by Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor and Forum Secretariat staff.

Minister Dube reaffirmed the Forum’s continued commitment to New Caledonia.

“This Ministerial Committee is the embodiment of the Forum’s ongoing support and solidarity with the people of New Caledonia, as they decide on their political future.”

He also congratulated New Caledonia on the immense progress made in implementing the Noumea Accord.

“The establishment of the institutions of governance under the Accord, the specific recognition of the Kanak identity, as well as the acceptance that New Caledonia is home to other communities are notable achievements that speak to the great value of the Noumea Accord as a mechanism for nation building.”

The Committee, which will consult with a wide range of stakeholders in the lead up to the referendum, also expressed its appreciation to the Government of New Caledonia and the High Commissioner of the French Republic to New Caledonia for their support in facilitating the visit.

“We are cognisant that New Caledonia is at a critical juncture in its political journey and we appreciate the opportunity to be here with you as you decide on your future” said Minister Dube.

“We also take this opportunity to convey the best wishes of the Forum region on this milestone event and reassure our continued commitment and support of the decision of the people of New Caledonia.”

This is the ninth visit of the Ministerial Committee to New Caledonia, having last visited in 2013.

 

Source (Daily Post Vanuatu)