Prime Ministers Media Releases

PARLIAMENT ADJOURNMENT IS ABOUT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL

I welcome all those who are here today for this important press conference. Thank you for your time. I have called this press conference to speak to the nation plainly about our parliamentary processes and why it was important that we adjourned parliament yesterday.

Following the conclusion of parliamentary business, Parliament arose, and adjourned to 10th August 2021 at 10am. It is important to note that this happened only after Parliament ensured that its required business was concluded. Important business including the passage of the National Energy Act 2020 and the Electricity Amendment Act was concluded. Parliament also received an important statement from the Treasurer on the State of the Economy. The Treasurer noted in his statement that COVID-19 is both a fight for the economy, as well as a medical fight. There are enormous challenges in implementing the 2021 Budget, and there are serious shortfalls in revenue collection. There are also procurement challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have affected the implementation of key projects which are designed to help stimulate economic activities.

He had pointed out the need to, on the one hand, address clearly the spread of the virus, but to do so responsibly so that the economy does not suffer. This is a responsible Government making sure that at a bare minimum, the elements of Government continue to tick over, and that there is genuine effort to address the spread of the virus. He called for urgent and responsible leadership at all levels of the Government to ensure that the effort is coordinated. It must be about taking responsibility of maintaining a critical balance.  

Yesterday afternoon, when I took to the floor of Parliament, I was concerned about the state of play in the country as far as COVID-19 was concerned. I said that since the first index case detected on 23rd March 2020, the cases as of yesterday are at 10,338 cases, with 99 deaths recorded so far, an increase of eight deaths since Tuesday. I noted that positivity rate is now running at 25 per cent, case fatality at 5 per cent. It means that if we ramp up on testing, we expect to see at least 25 per cent of the testing population to be positive and of those positive cases, at least 5 per cent of them will die, if this trajectory is maintained. This is no longer a matter to ignore.

Hospital capacities are now overwhelmed and the cases show no signs of relenting. I called for a total and complete leadership attention to this matter. I appealed to those who have ambition to be Ministers or Prime Minister to place those ambitions at the back burner and to rally with the Government to address in totality the raging pandemic before us. The safety of our people is at stake while we worry about our own interest.

I also was very concerned earlier in the day, when the Parliament Speaker, Job Pomat, presented a situation report for Parliament. I noted with utmost concern that 42 Parliament staff have tested positive for COVID-19 from that report. Indeed, there has been a related death, and members of its leadership have been infected. Parliament is now a red zone. These are people who provide direct and indirect chamber services. They have the potential to come in direct with a carrier of the virus and the rest may be come history. I am concerned that this poses a direct risk to the health and safety of our elected leaders, many of whom are at a demographic category that is vulnerable. It is also dangerous to the families of both staff as well as the leadership of this country.

As the Prime Minister of our country, I am not willing to sacrifice the health of our elected leaders while at the same time observe the Parliamentary process that can pose immediate and real danger to our MPs, their staff and families. I have rallied members of Parliament on both sides of the house to take this threat seriously, and to ensure that our safety is not compromised.

In that regard, it was incumbent upon the Government with its numbers, to exercise care and responsibility to ensure that all members of Parliament, from both sides of the house, are protected from the potential spread of the virus. He noted that while the Controller has classified these workers as essential workers for the purpose of the Pandemic Act 2020, the physical risk of potential outbreak in Parliament can never be underestimated. This action is in the interest of all who sit in Parliament and all who work in Parliament. It is not about the Government and the Opposition, it is about all of us human beings, who a susceptible to the virus. We have taken responsibility because we have to be responsible for lives, including lives of politicians. Parliament in its debate confronted directly the loss of the former Member for Kerema to the virus. 

I also noted that Parliament debated the update on COVID-19 and its impact on the economy, both domestically and internationally. At the end of formal business in Parliament the Deputy Speaker, followed by the Speaker, allowed time for Members of Parliament to debate the COVID-19 issues and statements made by the Prime Minister, the Treasury and various leaders. I have noted strong support from members of Parliament about the leadership that Parliament needs to take on the pandemic.

Of note, leaders like Governors Allan Bird, Pais Wingti, Powes Parkop and Dr. Puka Temu spoke strongly and with wisdom about Parliament taking leadership in the fight against COVID-19 because our national security is at stake. Governor Wingti said leaders should take leadership in ensuring that large gatherings are avoided. He was very vocal about the extra ordinary times we are in and the need for leadership at all levels to be working together on measures to fight the spread of the virus. Governor Parkop had said that indeed convening Parliament in itself was against the directives which have already been issued pertaining to gatherings with less than 50 people in assembly, and that although as an institution, Parliament was constitutionally independent, the seriousness of the pandemic should warrant the Speaker take extreme precaution. Governor Parkop noted that with the prevailing challenges should be about preventing its spread because once infections reach a high level, the medical capacity we currently have will not be able to cope with those challenges.

I have noted specifically the appeal by the Minister for Communication who wanted to make sure that the State services such as NBC are fully empowered and supported to carry the correct information to our people about this virus and the measures which are important to save theirs and their families lives.

I have challenged leaders at all levels to use the down time to address serious pandemic measures in their own electorates and districts. Our people also need to be informed correctly on these issues and therefore it is for all of us to work together on address any information disconnect that exist in the country. It is not about politics

PM MARAPE UNVEILS SOMARE PEACE & UNITY PARK AT WAIGANI

Prime Minister Hon James Marape MP unveiled the billboard for the Somare Peace & Unity Park in Port Moresby this morning.
 
It will be constructed at the vacant block of land at Independence Boulevard opposite National Parliament at Waigani in Port Moresby.
 
Present were Dulciana and Arthur Somare, National Capital District Governor Hon. Powes Parkop, Moresby North-East MP Hon. John Kaupa, Lands and Physical Planning Minister Hon. John Rosso, City Manager Bernard Kipit and Commissioners of the National Capital District Commission.
 
PM Marape thanked Governor Parkop, National Museum and Art Gallery and Lands and Physical Department for making available the land. 
 
The Somare Foundation has been tasked by Government to undertake this project, as well as another in Sir Michael's hometown of Wewak. 
 
PM Marape said the Somare Peace & Unity Park would be an institution celebrating the life of our Founding Father for generations to come.
 
“At the National Government level, we are all in total support of what wil be the continuity of the Somare influence in our country going forward into the future, " PM Marape said. 
 
"So I do acknowledge all of you who are here, and I do thank my brother and sister Arthur and Dulciana (Somare) for coming here."
 
PM Marape said unveiling of the Park signals a body of activities that would" ensure Somare lives on in the psyche, the mindset, our public policy space and the national character". 
 
"Even in his passing, he lives on going into the future," he said. 
 
"Somare is PNG and PNG is Somare, they are synonymous. 
 
"In 1968, as I was saying during his funeral programmes, he bulldozed everything in front of him in seven years. 
 
"His entry into Parliament was in 1968 and by 1975 we were politically independent. 
 
"From then in, he marched on into ensuring that our country remained united. 
 
"There can be no greater evidence than his passing, when the country came together in total unity. 
 
"Unity in our country is personified in the late Grand Chief and his influence on our country. 
 
"We want to construct a future in which the Father of the Nation is still speaking to the nation, even when he's rested. "
 
PM Marape said he envisaged a park with a library, a monument, and a place to see the history of Sir Michael and PNG. 
 
He said it would impact upon neighbouring Parliament and the Judiciary, businesses in Waigani and PNG, and the Executive arm of Government. 
 
"Though a thousand tribes we may be, we still remain united under one Flag, one Constitution, one people - the ideals that Somare stood for," PM Marape said. 
 
"Upon his death, it was clearly evident that the country came together in total unity."
 
PM Marape said the Somare Foundation started by Sir Michael would be revived,so that he, even in passing, would be a beacon for the future. 
 
"I look forward to associating myself with the Somare Foundation, with the NCD and City Hall, for this place," he said. 
 
PM Marape said apart from this park, other  monuments would be established around the country, to honor Sir Michael. 
 
"The entire arm of the Executive Government looks forward to ensuring that this unveiling gives rise to creation of many monuments, many institutions, especially those that rotate around the Somare Foundation, for Grand Chief to speak on to us even in his passing," he said. 
 
PM Marape said this included a National Unity Pillar to be mounted by the PNG Council of Churches along Waigani Drive. 
 
He said space would also be created for other former Prime Ministers on the other side of the Boulevard, which would become a public precinct. 
 
PM Marape said K3 million had been allocated by Cabinet for the Somare Foundation last year, and K2 million for Sir Michael's planned national tour, which did not eventutate due to COVID-19 and his passing.
 

NEC endorses request from Hela Province for National Government support to restore rule of law in province

The National Executive Council has recently endorsed a request from the Hela Provincial
Government, for the assistance of the National Government to restore the rule of law in this important province that host the PNG LNG Gas Field.
 
Chairman of the National Executive Council, Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP said the National Executive Council (NEC) has approved the following to ensure law and order is maintained in Hela; for a Police Mobile Squad, within the existing structure of Police, to be relocated and permanently stationed in Hela Province.
 
“Cabinet also noted that over 500 Police positions for Hela Province have been approved and directed that the positions be advertised immediately; the recruitment and selection to take into account work experience and candidates from other parts of the country as well; Training for the Police officers to be made through the existing Police Structures; and for a Reserve Police in Hela to assist the Police.
 
"Cabinet has also approved for the following to be considered by the Management of the Police in the current review of their Legislations and Policies on the well-being of Police Officers' and disciplinary Issues;
 
(i) Extra protection of Police Officers assigned for special police operation;
(ii) Insurance cover for Police Officers in these areas;
(iii) Loss of firearms, ammunition and damage to State vehicles to be categorized as
serious offences with appropriate penalties instituted to theses offences.
 
"Cabinet also approved for the Attorney General and the State Solicitor to expedite the review, if already commenced, or institute the review, if not done yet, on appropriate
legislations to outlaw compensation in tribal fight areas to enable perpetrators to be held
accountable and brought to justice with their traditional land forfeited to the State as a penalty."
 
Prime Minister Marape said Cabinet also approved a funding of K8 million and an additional
funding of K5 million to assist build the Correctional Services facilities in Hela Province.

PM MARAPE PAYS LAST RESPECTS TO LATE MENDANI

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, today paid his last respects to the Member for Kerema, Late Hon. Richard Mendani, MP, in Port Moresby.

PM Marape with Deputy Speaker Hon. Koni Iguan, Opposition Leader Hon. Belden Namah, Government Ministers and other MPs paid their final respects as the casket laid-in-State in the Grand Hall of the National Parliament.

“On behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea and my family, I would like to pay our last respects to the Late Hon. Richard Mendani,” PM Marape said.

He said the Late Hon. Mendani was a serving member of Parliament, when he passed away on March 20th, 2021, after a long illness.

“He was elected into Parliament in 2012 and was very vocal about corruption in his own province of Gulf,” PM Marape said.

“Late Hon. Mendani was a young leader who had a lot of potential to contribute extensively to the development of his electorate and the country.

“His passing is a great loss to the people of Papua New Guinea.”

X

Mobile Menu