Prime Ministers Media Releases

Prime Minister Marape conveys condolence to the people and Government of Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP has conveyed his condolence to the people and Government of Solomon Islands in a letter to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, on the passing of the Late H.E Barnabas Anga.
 
The Prime Minister said on this very sad and solemn occasion, he wishes to convey on behalf of the Government and People of Papua New Guinea our deepest sympathies to the spouse and immediate families on the passing of late H.E. Barnabas Anga, Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea.
 
He said the Late High Commissioner Anga was a long serving resident Diplomat in
Papua New Guinea and was a dear friend to many in Government and the diplomatic community.
 
“His contributions are immense to the enhancement of our bilateral relations and is evidenced through the many existing Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands cooperative arrangements,” Prime Minister Marape said.
 
“As a seasoned senior foreign Diplomat in Papua New Guinea he was appointed as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, a responsibility he carried with much finesse and ease in managing and guiding the interests of his colleague Diplomats.
 
“I personally knew High Commissioner Anga and appreciate his untiring efforts to the furtherance of our bilateral relations.”
 
The Prime Minister said as a token of our appreciation to his long services here, my Government will bear all responsibilities to ensure the late High Commissioner Anga's
body is repatriated to HONIARA after all necessary formalities are completed here.

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT PROTECTED – PM MARAPE

The Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, MP assured the country that our freedom of movement is a fundamental right, which is protected under the National Constitution.

PM Marape said this following the release of a measure by the Controller of the COVID-19 National Coordination Centre that purports to restrict any unvaccinated persons from travelling domestically.

He assured that country that the Government is not about to undermine this right in any way.

“At the same time, the Government takes full responsibility to ensure that COVID-19, and any variants of the virus, is prevented from spreading to other parts of the country.

“It is a fundamental responsibility of any government to protect its citizens from harm. The spread of the virus through people movement is a continuing concern as long as the virus continues to exist in our midst.

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic and we still have a responsibility to ensure that the virus does not spread. The virus does not spread by itself. People spread the virus.

“The control of people movement locally and on inter provincial travel is therefore a fundamental strategy to take control of this spread. It is not designed to curtail freedom of movement as a fundamental right, but a strategy to minimize the spread of the virus. It is no different to the lockdown imposed in 2020 and in early 2021.

“This is why we locked the country down in March 2020, and this is why we may have to consider banning overseas flights again so that we secure our borders from the delta variant virus,” the Prime Minister said.

“The Government has long recognized the fragile state of our health systems and the capacity of our provinces to cope with any surge in the virus. Controlled movement of people is the only way we can lock down parts of the country and isolate the vulnerable provinces from the incursion of the virus through domestic travel. Our people’s lives are at risk and we must take responsibility.

“We must take strong responsibility to address the health ramifications of the virus but at the same time ensure its effects on the economic landscape is minimized as much as possible,” he said.

He said that the Government continues to hold out that taking the vaccine is a personal choice.

He also pointed out that personal choices must also not interfere with the rights of other individuals to pursue the right to live. These are the balancing acts that we have to make. If our personal choices place someone else’s choice to good health and life in jeopardy, what sort of responsibility should we have?

“My Government continues to emphasize that taking the vaccine is not mandatory. But if exercising your choice interferes with someone else’s right to be healthy and well, then we have to take some responsibility. Your personal choices come with responsibilities to your family, your community and your country,” PM Marape said.

He encouraged those who are willing to take the vaccine to go ahead and visit facilities around the country offering vaccines. Those vaccinated will be freer to move around with less protocols including overseas those who want to take trips abroad.

“Those who do not want to take the vaccine must continue to live in a responsible manner ensuring their own safety and safety of those they contact.”

The Prime Minister welcomed the review of the measure that caused an uproar in the social media and with commentators.

He said that the larger picture is to control the movement and spread of the virus.

“The National Pandemic Act 2020 allows the Controller to make independent calls based on expert advice on COVID-19 trends and assessments, we have encouraged him to be balanced to ensure that we allow responsible flow of passengers domestically but consider other measures including imposing that all incoming passengers on international flights to demonstrate having taken the vaccines.

“The revised measure has recognized that anyone who has been vaccinated now has unlimited choices to travel domestically. We want to encourage more people to be unlimited in their travel options,” the Prime Minister said.

PM MARAPE POINTS OUT CRITICAL FOCUS ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY PROCESSES

The Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, MP today pointed out the need to take note of the important constitutional and parliamentary processes which will ensure that the results of the Bougainville Referendum and the outcomes of the consultation are taken to Parliament for its final blessings.

PM Marape made this critical observation as the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government met for the second round of post referendum consultations in Wabag, Enga Province. High on the agenda is a proposed time frame within which to conclude the peace process and deliver a political settlement for Bougainville.

“While getting to an outcome is important, we should also recognize the importance of building a pathway constitutionally and where necessary, insert parliamentary processes that will shepherd the tabling of the referendum results and the outcome of the consultation.”

He observed that this is the key to the next steps as prescribed in the Bougainville Peace Agreement. The process will not stop until Parliament receives and deals with the referendum results and the outcome of the consultation.

He said this in acknowledging that some work has been done since the last meeting held in Kokopo in May.

In noting the results of the referendum, the Prime Minister said that he considers it his role to direct the work to ensure that the next steps are complied with.

“As Prime Minister, my role now is to lead our national consultation team and provide the direction that is needed to seek a long-term political settlement by ensuring that the next steps are taken appropriately and carefully.”

He expressed disappointment that while the priority was highlighted in Kokopo, the focus was clearly only on the road map.

“In Kokopo, we directed the officials to deal with four issues, namely to consult on the definition and process of giving effect to the result of the referendum. They were to identify the constitutional issues relating to the referendum results and the tabling of the outcomes to Parliament, develop a road map on Post Referendum Consultations, and fully implement the Sharp Agreement.

“I note with concern that the matter and process of giving effect to the results of the referendum, and the identification of the constitutional issues relating to the tabling of the result of the referendum and the consultation outcomes have not been dealt with in sufficient detail.”

He urged that both sides recognize that these are two important issues to consult on.

“Once the motion goes before Parliament, it becomes the property of Parliament. I want to note therefore that this will dictate the Road Map in a significant way. Let us deal with these two issues upfront, before we get too far down the track.”

Meanwhile, PM Marape also noted the critical need to consult the rest of Papua New Guinea on this matter.

“I said in Kokopo, that this process cannot be rushed. The future of our nation is at stake. This process is the single most important agenda any government is faced with. Far bigger than COVID-19 or our economic challenges. All our people around the rest of the country must be consulted.”

“Our Constitution and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea was established on the back of wide national consultations. Therefore, we must give our people an opportunity to give their views on the outcome of the Bougainville Referendum before Parliament meets to consider the referendum results.”

He said that when the 111 members of our Parliament vote on their own conscience, it must be on the basis that their constituents have been consulted properly.

He noted strongly that Bougainville is a special consideration that all successive governments since the crisis have recognized.

“I continue to reiterate that we must be allowed to ring fence the rest of the country. Bougainville remains a special case. My job is to ensure that the rest of the country remains united.”

He said that this process has been a long one but as it comes to the most important stages, we must all tread cautiously.

“Until such time Parliament takes a position and until such time the requisite amendments are effected on the national constitution to detach one part of our great country from ourselves, my government is committed to work closely with the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to seek out a long term political settlement.”

The Prime Minister said it was important that consultations and continued dialogue happen. By continuing to talk through the issues, whilst maintaining our focus and resolve to put in place the practical measures to transfer powers to the ABG, we can lay the foundations for Bougainville’s long-term economic future. That is what we must focus on, ensuring that we position Bougainville for success – to manage its own affairs, in the form of a final political settlement.

“Today, I would like us to look at these practical processes and steps, and to agree on a joint roadmap. The Road Map must inform the steps that we take to get to a final position where the Parliament can make an informed decision.”

The consultation consented that both sides should take all actions required to ensure that 11th Parliament makes a decision, and work towards an outcome no earlier than 2025 and within the years up to 2027.

PM Marape calls on Japan, Australia and New Zealand to open ‘Economic Bubble’ with Pacific Island Nations

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP has called upon Japan, Australia and New Zealand to open

up an economic bubble with Pacific Island countries as part of their interventions in the fight

against COVID-19.

The Prime Minister made this appeal during the 9th Pacific Alliance Leaders Meeting (PALM) that

was held virtually today.

He said at this stage, COVID-19 in as far as Pacific Islands are concerned, was not just a health

issue but an economic issue as well.

“In Papua New Guinea we recognize that COVID-19 has had a strong negative impact on our

economy,” Prime Minister Marape said.

“Speaking on behalf of my 14 other sister nations in the Pacific, especially those who are

dependent on tourism or external trade, dependent on fisheries, agriculture and the export of our

raw resources, who are totally exposed to the ravages and the damage COVID-19 is causing to our

local economies, so we need international trading and commerce for our economies to function.

“Papua New Guinea, having recognized the need for our economy to be functional, has elevated

our COVID-19 response by way of the passing of a specific Act of Parliament called the National

Pandemic Act that defines how we live, work, operate and trade.

“We have not closed our borders and we are still open for business to ensure our 10 million people

survive COVID-19.

“At this juncture, let me thank Japan for your continued interventions and interest in our small

Pacific Island nations. They are totally vulnerable and exposed to the contraction of the global

economy and the close of international borders.

“Therefore I ask for your continued presence in helping us, not just in the area of health but more

importantly, on how we can ensure trade and economy remains functional and relevant.”

Prime Minister Marape asked Japan, Australia and New Zealand to help the Pacific Island nations

keep their economies going, by operating in a specific trade and economic bubble so that our

countries’ economies can survive through these tough times

The Prime Minister further thanked the Prime Minister of Japan, Hon Yoshihide Suga for the help

Japan has given to the region and he also thanked Australia and New Zealand for their continued

support.

 

Mobile Menu