The National, Wednesday 25th July, 2012
WOMAN candidate Loujaya Toni’s first words soon after being declared new Lae member of parliament was to praise and thank God.She had toppled her uncle Bart Philemon in the race for the Lae open seat, polling 7,364 votes.At the counting centre where she was to sign her declaration forms, Toni continued to praise God and was blessed by a man of the cloth in the presence of her husband, relatives, women groups, individuals and supporters.Before giving her maiden speech, Toni knelt and sang in Hebrew for about two minutes. Then her speech came, a mixture of English and Tok Pisin.
“I thank you my God of Israel. With your blessing, we will develop Lae district.
“The women of PNG, the women of Lae district have changed your people.
“Development in Lae will be second to none,” she said on radio and to a gathered crowd.
Toni said under God’s guidance and blessing, development in Lae district would prove to be a major achievement. “We will be the pride of the Pacific to the glory of the God of Israel.”
She attributed her win to the many prayers by women and the small people throughout Morobe’s nine districts.“The prayers of our mothers did not go to waste. Our prayers have been answered.
“It is true that women are the means for change. We are the root of change.
“We, the women of Papua New Guinea, women of Morobe province, women of Lae district, we have changed dramatically.“God has seen this change in us and has given me this leadership.”
She acknowledged the electoral officials, returning officers, the security personnel and public servants for their tireless efforts in ensuring the smooth flow of elections in the city.
Toni also paid tribute to her uncle Philemon for holding onto the parliamentary responsibility for the last 25 years.“I also thank all the candidates who contested the Lae open seat in this election,” she said.
“I thank all our people from Lae’s 16 wards who had come together and voted in this election for uniting in ensuring the electoral process in Lae started and ended peacefully. I thank you all.”