Maxtone-Graham tells why he switched sides

National, Normal


ANGLIMP-South Waghi MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham said he defected to the Opposition because the National Government was not taking care of its backbenchers.
Mr Maxtone-Graham told his people in Minj last Thursday, during the commissioning of the district treasury rollout programme for his electorate, that he was frustrated at being constantly overlooked in the distribution of goods and services among Government supporters.
He said this in the presence of the ruling National Alliance party stalwarts, Western Highlands Governor Tom Olga, Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said that he joined the NA-led Government with two other members from his PNG Country Party in 2007 but was not recognised for his loyalty.
He said that out of frustration, he joined the Opposition in the recent defection by MPs following the Goroka National Development Summit forum.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said he was frustrated that some major developments he planned for his electorate, like his K50 million request for Minj police barracks, K5 million request under the RESI programme for Minj High School rehabilitation and the district road improvement programme (DRIP), had fallen on deaf years in Waigani.
However, he said he was a patient man who would support the National Government with his votes on the floor of Parliament for any changes that would be good of the people and country.
Meanwhile, Mr Maxtone-Graham appealed to the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and Mr Pruaitch to use the K100 million allocated for National Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) last year and this year to revive the famous Waghi Mek plantations.
Mr Graham said the reviving of these plantations would be the economic base for the new Jiwaka province.
He said that unlike the new Hela province, which was blessed with rich hydrocarbon deposits, Jiwaka province would struggle in terms of raising its own internal revenue and the onus was on the Government to invest in reviving the Waghi Mek plantations.