Down but not out

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The National – Friday, December 17, 2010

ACTING Prime Minister Sam Abal flew to Kokopo yesterday for a chat with former governor-general Sir Paulias Matane.
Sir Paulias, who was ousted from office by the Supreme Court, had indicated his desire to run again, and it was believed the government’s endorsement of his candidature was conveyed to him.
Accompanying Abal on the Falcon jet flight to Kokopo was Justice Minister and Attorney-General Sir Arnold Amet, Kokopo MP and Minister for Information and Communication Patrick Tammur and Civil Aviation Minister Benjamin Poponawa.
Sir Arnold, who spoke on behalf of the team, explained that their trip to East New Britain was to, as a government, pay respect to Sir Paulias.
Sir Arnold said their trip had the blessing of sidelined prime minister Sir Michael Somare.
He said Sir Paulias should be honoured for his service to the nation.
The attorney-general said Sir Paulias had not been the cause of what eventuated and the government was saddened by the process carried out by parliament.
Sir Arnold also revealed that Higher Education Minister Michael Ogio would be acting governor-general starting on Monday.
He did not say what would happen to Speaker Jeffery Nape, who is now acting governor-general. East New Britain Governor Leo Dion, who was on hand to welcome the acting prime minister and his team, said the province had been grateful for services provided by both Sir Michael and Sir Paulias.
Sir Arnold also confirmed reports that Sir Paulias had expressed his desire to re-contest the position of governor-general.
Tammur, who joined with the visiting government members in paying their respects to Sir Paulias, called on his entire colleague MPs in the province to stand together and support Sir Paulias re-contest the position.
The acting prime minister hosted a luncheon at the Gazelle Hotel yesterday and also presented to Sir Paulias and Lady Kaludia goods like sugar and tea as a token of appreciation and respect.