The National, Wednesday March 5th, 2014
THE stripping of the Petroleum and Energy portfolio from William Duma by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on grounds of non-performance is childish.
The nation has witnessed and seen a lot in the petroleum industry under Duma’s 10-year tenure.
Let us reflect on Duma’s predecessors in the likes of Sir Moi Avei and others.
They knew that we had a massive petroleum reserve prospect up in the Highlands but they did not develop it.
Why did they not negotiate with investors like developers or buyers and secure markets?
They did not do it because they lacked the ability and depth.
Then came 2002 when Duma was elected to represent the most powerful seat in the country where the people of Hagen Central were the masterminds.
Into the ‘House of Commons’ in the capital, former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, in his wisdom and with no hesitation, tried Duma out as environment and conservation minister which he overwhelmingly performed.
After three years of good performance, Duma was granted the economy-generating petroleum and energy ministry portfolio by Somare which he held until last week.
Somare has trust and confidence in him because of his strengths and qualities. Duma grew stronger and the PNG LNG project is a reflection of the man’s work.
Duma was the mind behind the 2011 overthrow of the NA regime.
Out of nowhere O’Neill jumped to the top post of the nation’s CEO.
Now the reality is that, the first LNG shipment is in July and O’Neill’s intention to lay a hand in the LNG matters may not be liked by Duma.
Therefore, he has thrown his own men in there so that he can manipulate them.
Let us recall 2011, when Sam Abel made the dumbest choice to dump Duma and Don Polye, the NA regime trembled.
The scenario has resurfaced, but now it is Duma alone.
For now, let us wait and let time decide who the patriotic leader is and who will speak the voice of the 7.8 million people of PNG.