January 27, 2019

PM O’Neill to pay repair costs of PNG Parliament

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has taken it on himself to pay for repairs to properties at Parliament House allegedly damaged by a group of police and prison officers in November.

“I got fed up with the broken doors and broken glasses not being fixed, and after a few months, I am not going to wait,” he said.

“So I will pay myself to avoid all the processes. Not a good image to not attend to this issue.”

O’Neill told The National that parliament did not have the money to pay for the repairs.

“I am paying for it myself,” O’Neill said.

He did not say how much money he would spend. He toured the damaged areas on the ground floor of Parliament House on Friday.

It is expected that a parliamentary damage assessment report will be tabled in Parliament this week after it is approved by the House Committee.

Police and prison officers had stormed into parliament to protest the delay in the payment of their allowances incurred while providing security during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit last November.

Speaker Job Pomat said late last year that the preliminary cost assessment was more than K15 million (US$4.5 million). It included the damage to the personal properties of some Parliament staff.

Clerk Vela Konivaro confirmed that he had been told about the decision by O’Neill to pay for the damaged properties.

“Funding is not our area. It’s Government’s responsibility. That’s where the PM stepped in.

He did not advise anyone. He said he will take it on board,” Konivaro said.

He said the broken windows and doors needed repairs.

“Looking at the building as it is now is not a good sight,” he said.

“It is our intention to get the proper glasses and the proper people to do it. I saw the paper work being carried out and asked about it and was informed that PM had taken it on himself.” Meanwhile, Parliaments will continue this week.

“If there are more businesses to present to Parliament, the Government would then make a decision to continue after next week,” Konivaro said.

Konivaro said six bills were introduced of which two were passed. The other four will be considered when Parliament resumes tomorrow.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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