The National – Monday, January 31, 2011
THE government has denied speculations that the prime minister has sacked Treasury and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill and Petroleum Minister William Duma over the handling of the LNG landowner issues.
The Prime Minister’s office denied any such actions claiming the government coalition partners were intact.
“Duma is in fact briefing the national executive council meeting currently underway at Moruata House and that meeting is chaired by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare,” the spokesman said last week.
He said O’Neill had sought permission from both the prime minister and deputy prime minister for him to take his children back to school in Australia. Both were approved.
“The coalition is intact and there is no reason to undermine our coalition partners.”
The government is dismissing these speculations because the coalition partners go a long way, back to the signing of the agreement during the formation of government in Kokopo.
Leader of government business Paul Tiensten also dismissed the rumours of that by people with vested interest trying to destabilise the government.
“I do not know about (reshuffle) and where the source of your rumour is,” Tiensten said.
He said the government was intact and had a very clear agenda in implementing the 2011 budget.
Speculations had been rife since last Tuesday that the prime minister would be making a reshuffle to cabinet by this week and that both O’Neill and Duma would be affected.