By ISAAC NICHOLAS in Kimbe
THE National Alliance party’s internal power struggle has spilled to the National Executive Council (NEC) with National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten told that he was not welcomed to West New Britain province for the Cabinet meeting.
The National understands that the message was conveyed to Mr Tiensten from the Office of the Governor of West New Britain, Peter Humphreys.
It initially appeared that a number of ministers were going to stay away in protest over the treatment dished out to Mr Tiensten. This was fuelled by the non-appearance of Public Enterprises
Minister Arthur Somare, Treasury and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch, Forest Minister Belden Namah and Fisheries Minister Ben Semri when the Prime Minister flew in earlier in the day on the Falcon jet.
But the ministers flew in late on a commercial flight to a low-key arrival.
The NA New Guinea Islands faction has been split after Mr Tiensten was removed as deputy party leader for the region and replaced by Bougainville Governor Fidelis Semeso, who is backed by East New Britain Leo Dion and Mr Humphreys.
The three governors were at the Hoskins Airport on Tuesday in a sign of solidarity to welcome Government ministers attending the Kimbe Cabinet meeting.
On his arrival, Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu, in thanking the people of WNB for the huge welcome at the airport, gave his endorsement to Mr Semoso as the NA leader for the NGI.
Sir Puka and Mr Tiensten have differences on policy issues, and often clash publicly.
Mr Tiensten could not be reached for comments and did not arrive with the delegation of ministers or the Prime Minister.
WNB officials said the attitude towards Mr Tiensten was not in the best interest of the province as this was an opportunity for the people of WNB to consult with a minister who is responsible for the disbursement of development funds. The delegation that arrived on Tuesday was led by Sir Puka, included Transport, Civil Aviation and Works Minister Don Polye, Education Minister James Marape, Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris, Communication Minister Patrick Tammur, Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma, Attorney-General and Justice Minister Dr Allan Marat, Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu, Environment and Conservation Minister Benny Allan, Health Minister Sasa Zibe, Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill, Defence Minister Bob Dadae, Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi and Minister without portfolio Tony Aimo. Sir Michael arrived yesterday on the Falcon accompanied by Lady Veronica and was given a red carpet treatment and made Chief of the Hoskins people.
Hundreds of school children lined up the Hoskins to Kimbe section of the 20-minute drive highway showering the Prime Minister’s convoy with flowers.
The Prime Minister and his Cabinet attended the dedication service at the Kimbe Catholic church before starting the meeting in the Provincial Assembly building at 2pm.