Agiru tells O’Neill, Namah to respect rule of law

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The National, Wednesday 21st December 2011

SOUTHERN Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru has called on Peter O’Neill and Belden Namah not to hold members of parliament in “captivity” and respect the rule of law and the constitution.
Agiru also hit out at Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc for recognising the O’Neill regime.
“The chief secretary has no powers to curtail the Supreme Court decision. He has no discretion. Under what law does it give the chief secretary to curtail a Supreme Court decision?” Agiru asked.
He said the country enjoyed a constitutional democracy and the people’s constitution spoke very clearly on Dec 12, where the Supreme Court restored Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and his government.
“The O’Neill government continues to create road-blocks for Sir Michael to return to parliament.”
Agiru said the solicitor-gene­ral’s advice to governor-general was correct.
“Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare did not become prime minister under the barrel of the gun and likewise the members of parliament must not be held under captivity,’’ he said.
“If the O’Neill-Namah group think they have done what is right, then they do not have to drive around like school children under heavy police escort.
“The world is watching and we must demonstrate leadership.
“They must not be held under captivity. They must move freely to perform their duties to the people, the country and their children and not make decisions under duress.” Agiru said
It was revealed that members of parliament loyal to  O’Neill had been locked up at Sir Mekere Morauta’s residence for the past two weeks and attend parliament under heavy police guard.
“I call on the O’Neill group and MPs held under captivity that we must respect the rule of law and keep the integrity of the Constitution,” he said.
“The Constitution is supreme. It establishes the office of the prime minister. Section 11 of the Constitution says that Constitution is supreme.”
Enga Governor Peter Ipatas urged the media to investigate why the police mobile squad was flown into Port Moresby.
“Is it to protect our people or to protect an illegitimate government? We all here have to be res­ponsible,’’ he said.
Ipatas said the Somare group lived in their own homes and did not need mobile squads or riot squads to escort them around.