The National, Thursday 5th January 2012
GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare has urged parliamentarians to maintain a level of good conduct and decency in their public statements and actions.
“Above all, basic human rights must be protected fairly and transparently,” Sir Michael said.
He made the call in response to the fear and intimidation tactics employed by the government in trying to weed out corruption.
“We are elected representatives of our people and cannot pretend to be pushing programmes such as combating corruption, supporting the women’s vote, ridding the country of paedophiles and illegal aliens when in fact our true motives are deceitful and self-serving,” he said.
“Sadly some elected representatives are demonstrating very dangerous leadership traits.
“We have become too personal and vindictive in our attacks on others.
“This is not the role of elected leaders. Leaders cannot pretend to be policemen, judges and jury, incriminating people without trial or before investigations are started.
“These actions are eroding basic human rights in Papua New Guinea.”
He said the recent decision by acting Foreign Affairs minister Jamie Maxtone-Graham in deporting Graham Osborne was “petty and deplorable”.
“Osborne’s home was invaded, his personal belongings searched, and he was then immediately deported without any formal charges and thereby deprived of his family, friends, property and businesses,” said Sir Michael.
“No charges, no evidence, no trial, no proven guilt.”
Sir Michael said it was a new political agenda of fear and intimidation.
He said Maxtone-Graham followed this with a ‘cover-up’ by telling the public his regime had started to weed out illegal aliens and clamp down on paedophiles.
He said in fact no
illegal aliens had been deported since the regime ‘took’ office last Aug 2.
“Nonetheless, others in the regime continued with irresponsible accusations of abuse of public funds without affording the opportunity to those defamed to defend themselves,’’ Sir Michael said.
“The Task Force Sweep team was then deployed as a tool for political vendettas, compromising their credibility and effectiveness. All of this reveals a new and dangerous trend.”
Sir Michael said since independence, PNG had staunchly upheld basic human right wherein a person was innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
“However, as I have found out personally, some members of this parliament believe they are above the law.
“In fact, they have repeatedly created new laws with no public purpose and trampled on basic human rights for no reason but to maintain their grip on power.
“Papua New Guineans will not allow this trend to continue.
“This reckless and dangerous behaviour will become worse if we remain complacent.”