The National, Wednesday 4th January 2012
By HENRY MORABANG
DEPUTY Prime Minister Belden Namah paid a surprise visit to a prison on his 42nd birthday last Friday – splashing out K45,000.
The Vanimo-Green MP visited prisoners at the Bomana Correctional Institution outside Port Moresby
and gave K25,000 to the staff and K20,000 to the prisoners for their belated Christmas and New Year celebrations.
He apologised for not visiting them on Christmas Day because of the political impasse in recent weeks.
Master of ceremony and prisoner Philip Vaki told Namah his visit
was timely and would certainly
give them a big lift in their prison lives.
He appealed to his fellow inmates to change their attitude, describing Namah’s visit as very inspirational and encouraging at such a time of the
He said Namah was one of their own but now has returned to his old place as a changed man and as the deputy PM.
Namah was accompanied by his PNG Party president Robert Akunai and his party secretary Henzy Yakham and members of the media.
He was humbled to visit the prison again. He has not visited the place for the last two years and his last visit
was in 2008 when he became the Forest Minister in the Somare government.
He recalled his days in prison urging the inmates that they must not be discouraged.
“You all must be thankful to be here and take the opportunity to reflect on your past life.
“You all must thank God to be in prison otherwise you would have been killed by the law enforcment agency,” Namah said.
He said he was jailed for his involvement with Sandline Crisis in 1997.
“I went against the government of former prime minister Sir Julius Chan who signed a contract with a deadly army – the mercenaries to wipe out the total population of Bougainville during the crisis.
“It was hard to be in prison when I had an eight-month-old daughter to look after but it was through God’s grace, I was pardoned and walked out of the Bomana prison in 2003,” he said.
Namah thanked members of the Correctional Services throughout the country for being neutral during the power struggle in recent weeks.