By JEFFREY ELAPA
DEFENCE Minister Solan Mirisim has denied speculation that he is quitting Cabinet, saying he remains loyal to the O’Neill-led Government.
“I am here to clarify to my family, my voters, the people of Telefomin, the people of PNG and the members of the defence force the social media speculation that I have resigned as the Minister for Defence,” Mirisim said.
The Telefomin MP branded those circulating the “fake news” that he would follow Tari-Pori MP James Marape out of Cabinet as “liars” and having “self-interest”.
Marape, had resigned last week as the Finance Minister and Leader of Government Business in Parliament.
But Mirisim said: “I’m still the Minister for Defence under the O’Neill-Abel Government. I am a member of the People’s Congress Party led by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who is my party leader. I have been a member of the party since 2012.
“I’m a strong believer in stability and consistency in government with stable programmes that bring more services to the people.”
He would have needed to consult the people of Telefomin first if he was to make a decision on his political future, he said.
“If I decide to resign from the party or as a minister, I have to get their consent first before I make such a move,” he said.
“I must consult my family, my voters and my people of Telefomin before announcing my resignation.”
He said such social media “speculation” had “no value”.
“I want to inform the nation that Marape’s decision to resign as a minister is his alone as the mandated leader of Tari-Pori. It is not that easy to make such a decision. We respect his decision as a leader,” he said.
Because he enjoys a very close working relationship with Marape, he said people thought that he had resigned.
“I am a leader in my own right. Marape is a leader in his own right. I also have the same kind of working relations with the prime minister for the common good of this nation,” he said.
He said Telefomin was “very remote and the least developed district. It is not easy to deliver goods and services to the people in the district”.
“I have major projects such as the road from Tabubil to Telefomin and Oksapmin road. I want it delivered by this Government during this term. I’m appealing to the Government to continue to fund this road until it reaches Telefomin. The other major projects in my district is the Freda River project. This Government will have to deliver this project including other major and minor project that I want to deliver until we go to the election in 2022.”
By JEFFREY ELAPA