PNG collective public grievances directed towards PM
As he prepares to face a motion of no-confidence vote in parliament this Friday, pressure continues to build on Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill to stand down.
As he prepares to face a motion of no-confidence vote in parliament this Friday, pressure continues to build on Papua New Guinea's prime minister to stand down.
The pressure is centred around Peter O'Neill's continued refusal to stand aside to answer to fraud police over his alleged role in illegal payments worth around US$30 million to the Paraka Lawyers law firm.
While a majority of MPs appear to be still backing him, there have been defections to the opposition in recent days and more key professional groups are withdrawing their services, demanding the prime minister's removal.
The Governor of Oro Province Gary Juffa told Johnny Blades Mr O'Neill could simply stand aside to clear his name.
GARY JUFFA: There's a great outcry from all sectors and all corners of the entire nation - civil society, the public - for the prime minister to step down, to answer to these allegations that are against him, to clear his name and there's concern that failure to do so is just causing greater problems in society, unrest. The, you know, the problems ... people are just associating all the current issues that are facing Papua New Guinea with his, this issue to step down.
JOHNNY BLADES: Hasn't he got a point when he says it's still in court even though it may look like he's tried to confuse the whole situation with all the challenges? Isn't he right that the matter is still with the court?
GJ: Well the investigators who have asked him to go down for questioning have followed due process in regards to the particular offence that they would like to question him about, in that that offence, if an arrest is warranted, would require a warrant and so they have gone and obtained a warrant for that. Now I can't comment too much on this because, as you pointed out, it's in court but that's what the investigators have done. The prime minister has taken out a court order staying that warrant or staying that process on the grounds that he believes that it's politically motivated or the due process hasn't been followed or whatever it is. But the allegations are there, that he is wanted for questioning in regards to his role in the payment of substantial amounts of money to (lawyer) Paul Paraka. You know what the public see in this, or read in this is yes, there are those that agree but there's a greater number here who believe that, you know, you ought to go for questioning and clear his name. But right now that cry is the national ... the doctors have just recently come in and said that they're going to stop going to work, pilots have already refused for the national airlines to go to work. It's disrupting flights. Dock workers are claiming that they might join in and stop working as well, so you know, in the greater interests of the nation, it is my belief that the prime minister should perhaps appoint someone to take care of this matter while he attends to this and yes, if it's in court, then go through the court process, if he needs to go down and answer questions with the police then he needs to do that. Whatever it is there is rising pressure for him to step away and attend to this and perhaps appoint a caretaker etc.
JB: Within his own coalition would people have been talking to him and saying, look, stand aside for a bit, or is it just so cut throat that if he does that he's never going to get back to the seat. Is that how he might see it?
GJ: I think you've got it right there, you know. It's probably just so cut throat that if he did step away he would (inaudible). There's this proclamation by people in the government that they're all loyal in supporting him but I doubt it you know, I doubt it very much and I sense that the prime minister knows that.
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