Islands NA leaders want Tiensten back

National, Normal

LEADERS from the Islands region who are members of the National Alliance Party met with Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare yesterday and urged him to retain National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten as Deputy Leader of the party for the region.
The leaders told the Prime Minister not to listen to the governors from the region.
They were referring to governors Leo Dion (ENB), Peter Humphreys (WNB) and Michael Sapau (Manus).
The three allegedly spearheaded the meeting that elected Bougainville Regional MP Fidelis Semoso as the new leader, replacing Mr Tiensten.
But the group of leaders from the region who flew in to meet Sir Michael considers the election illegal, and has warned the Prime Minister about a split that could destroy NA in the region if the governors got what they wanted.
The group led by former South Bougainville MP Michael Laimo, NGI regional coordinator Peter Manuka, chairman New Ireland NA branch Elias Thomas and John Merebo who is council member representing NGI region, and LLG presidents from West and East New Britain also presented a petition to the Prime Minister.
At a media conference at the Ponderosa Hotel, Mr Laimo said the group got assurance from the Prime Minister that Tiensten will remain.
“We are happy that he assured us all that deputy parliamentary leader is Minister Tiensten, despite the decision by the power hungry Governors of the region.”
Mr Laimo slammed the governors for failing to consult with LLG presidents and chairmen in the region who played various roles in shaping the party in the region.
“You see here are leaders who are always with the people  … and who have been working with the people to promote the party.”
The group called on the four Governors to rescind the decision they made last Saturday.
Mr Manuka who is tasked by NA to coordinate preparations for 2012 elections said the decision by the ENB branch and supported by the four Governors were just “cowboy recommendations” with no consultations with the people.
He  said:“Any organisation has a system in place and what the Governors did was not in the best interest of party. NA will be torn to pieces if processes are not followed and this may cause instability in the party in the region.”