Commission ends inquiry

Main Stories

THE nationwide inquiry to declare Papua New Guinea as a Christian country ended in West New Britain yesterday, a month after public consultations started on May 2. “Despite time limitations and budget constraints, we were able to gauge the views of key segments of the society, including representatives of different churches, women, youth, non-government organisations (NGOs), businesses, educational institutions, provincial administrations and governments, political leaders and the public as much as we could in all provinces,” Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) chairman Kevin Isifu said. Isifu said the commission also took note of concerns and criticism from the educated population and proponents of other religions and faiths through platforms such as the CLRC Facebook page, website and the mainstream media. “Under the Constitution, everyone is entitled to their opinion whether for or against the inquiry, which the CLRC welcomes, respects, and will accord due emphasis and analysis on merit,” he said. “The consultation is a Constitutional requirement. “Only the CLRC is mandated to perform whenever the Government directs CLRC to review the Constitution or the Organic Laws.“We have until the end of this month to produce the draft final report with key recommendations, taking into account the implication on democracy, human rights, PNG customs and traditions and Christianity.“Given the seriousness, CLRC as an independent constitutional office is not insensitive to make blind, half-baked recommendations but meticulous analysis is guaranteed for a holistic final outcome.” Isifu reiterated that without any discrimination against any individual, group, or organisation, the Government’s intention of the inquiry was not only for release of Government policy and national development agenda, but importantly, to give prominence to move PNG’s Christian identity and heritage.