NA faction irons out ‘bad blood’

National, Normal

The National

RUMOURS of a possible Cabinet reshuffle that could see senior National Alliance party minister displaced have been put to rest in a meeting by the party’s Momase wing last Friday evening.
During the meeting at the March Girls Resort outside Port Moresby, the MPs also raised questions on the use of the District Service Improvement Programme (DSIP) funds.
“Cabinet reshuffle was one of the issues discussed internally by the party and the general view is it is not advisable to make a reshuffle under the current circumstance and negativity,” an official said.
The official said the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had been advised against any reshuffle but it was his prerogative to make changes.
Although the changes in Cabinet were not discussed at length, the NA Momase grouping was happy to get together to share issues of common interest affecting the party, the region and their constituents.
“This is the first time that the members from Momase region had an opportunity to really sit together to sort out in-house issues and recommit themselves in providing stability as well as pledge their support to the Prime Minister. The Momase parliamentary wing has not met, although they (MPs) may have met at different forums and capacities,” the official said.
But other political sources said there had been “bad blood” running between members in this Momase faction, and moves were afoot to remove at least two in a Cabinet reshuffle.
It is believed this meeting was held to iron out the differences, and present a united front to the media.
The meeting, chaired by deputy leader, Treasurer and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch, was attended by Sir Michael, Public Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare, Forest Minister Belden Namah, Sandaun Governor Simon Solo, East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu Waranaka, Nawaeb MP Timothy Bonga and Wewak MP Jim Simatab.
At the meeting, the Momase bloc also raised concerns over the release of millions of kina in DSIP funds without any real impact in the districts.
They said the DSIP was designed to change the lives of 83% of the rural majority in the districts, but while millions of kina had been released, there had been no real impact and there were questions raised by the people on where all the money had gone.
“What is happening to the money going to the rural areas? Is it stuck somewhere in the bureaucratic and public service system?” a party official questioned.
The meeting came up with a number of resolutions including massive public relations exercise to address these major concerns.
The resolutions, which will be signed by all the members, will be released to the media today.