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D-Day looms in PNG

People’s National Congress  (PNC) party leader Peter O’Neill and his grand coalition partners proudly displayed their solid team of 56 in Alotau Monday.

Last night, they expected to sign the second Alotau Accord together with four more members-elect to join. These MPs were still in Port Moresby and will travel to Alotau where the pact will be signed this morning.

“The Alotau Accord will be signed tonight and we will be working out a programme that’s going to guide our government over the next five years and we look forward to implementing the programs that we will list in our Alotau Accord, as we have done in the first five years in 2012,” O’Neill said.

“The second Alotau Accord is mainly strengthening the issues that we have had, education, health infrastructure, and the key ones for our government as it has been for the last five years.

What will be dominating is to boost the economy, rebuilding agriculture as one of our priorities to creating jobs, creating income opportunities for our people, tourism is another major agenda for us, the reforms that we are going to do in the financial sector particularly the foreign exchange controls, in terms of taxation, we trying to make sure we broaden the tax base of our country. Only few people are paying taxes today and we have a huge population that is not paying tax today, we are going to find a way that is going to implement reforms that are being discussed in the Alotau Accord.

“The country has spoken, I only listen to the country and the people out there, I don’t listen to the rubbish portrayed by my critics, and I don’t read rubbish on social media,” he said.

When questioned about the numbers, he said: “you see for yourself here, you know, you can feel it, touch it!”

On Parliament, O’Neill said that the Parliament sitting was the call of the Governor-General.

“We are advised that Parliament will start on Wednesday, August 2, and as I have said publicly, we elected the Parliament and the Speaker on August 2, 2012, it’s only fitting that we end it on the same day, as the real five year term comes to a complete end, rather than extending,” he said.

“We will expect more, let’s wait for the members on the floor of Parliament, where it matters most, our friends on the other side, who have been my friends for many, many years we wish them luck and we wish them all the best wishes, we have no ill feeling or animosity over anyone, when the government is settled down, we will work with everybody. We will continue to drive our country forward, that’s what the people expect of us, working together to drive PNG forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, Registrar of Political Parties Alphonse Gelu says the movement of MPs between camps is not in line with their party allegiances and will not restrict them voting for who they choose to be the Speaker and the Prime Minister.

Dr Gelu said the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates does not impede what is a right of leaders to choose and vote with free will as elected leaders.

He said despite the registry not encouraging such actions, the prerogative rested with the individual MPs.

His comments were made in relation to movements of MPs like MP-elect for Moresby Northeast John Kaupa and his decision not to follow his PNG National Party leader Kerenga Kua to The Alliance camp in Kokopo.

“They have the freedom to vote,” Dr Gelu said.

“We do not want to encourage that practice because as a responsible member of parliament you are endorsed by a political party. You should stick with your party.”

He said the idea of party hopping and the process to move to another party is one where the Registry needed formal notice; it does not impede the personal choice of mandated leaders voting for leaders of their choice.


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