OPPOSITION leader Sir Mekere Morauta has slammed Public Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare as an “arrogant” person who unashamedly promotes himself.
“I have never in my life heard any PNG politician so nakedly promoting himself,” Sir Mekere said in a statement yesterday.
He was reacting to yesterday’s front page report in The National, which contained comments by Mr Somare about the benefits of the proposed PNG LNG project and the need for the National Alliance party to remain in power to ensure its success.
Mr Somare made the comments while addressing the NA New Guinea Islands branch last week.
“To say that the LNG project depends on him and NA is utter nonsense,” Sir Mekere said, adding, “Does he have any common sense at all? And does he think that Papua New Guineans are so naive or stupid to believe him?”
Sir Mekere said the LNG project did not depend on Arthur Somare or the National Alliance party.
“This major project has a life of its own and would have reached its current stage of development under any government.
“In fact, another government might have packaged a far more beneficial deal overall for Papua New Guinea and for landowners,” he said.
Sir Mekere challenged Mr Somare to tell the nation the details of the fiscal regime that Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare agreed to give, without Cabinet approval and while the State negotiating team was still in negotiations.
“Come out Arthur and tell the people, the owners of the gas resources, what you and your father agreed to give away, on your own, and how it compares with the terms the State negotiating team was seeking,” Sir Mekere said.
“It would seem that Arthur Somare is not only arrogant, but also completely desperate.
“He is desperate for this project to go ahead at any price to the nation, as long as he is in charge of it.”
Sir Mekere also accused Mr Somare of selling the State’s shares in Oil Search “cheaply” to obtain financing for the State’s equity in the LNG project.
“It seems that you have sold Oil Search shares very cheaply.
“Instead of using that asset as a security, in combination with other measures, and giving Treasury the opportunity to explore such measures, you moved ahead on your own like a bulldozer and destroyed all other options in your path.”
Sir Mekere said the minister’s desperation showed in his statement that “NA was mobilising and lobbying supporters to keep the party in government”.
“How desperate can anyone be to say this and use the LNG project as justification?
“All he is doing is desperately trying to shore up public support with a vote of no-confidence looming,” he said.