Opposition keeping close eye on events

National, Normal

THE Opposition is intact and watching with interest how the impending Cabinet reshuffle will develop, deputy Opposition Leader Bart Philemon said yesterday.
Mr Philemon downplayed media suggestions of Opposition involvement in the reshuffle or that its members may be poached.
He told The National by phone from Lae: “We have been strong all along and are all together, despite everyone still being in their electorates.”
Speculation has been rife that several members of the Opposition had engaged in talks with Sir Michael Somare’s National Alliance-led Government.
Sources said the Opposition would take advantage of the cracks in Government when Parliament meets on March 2.
But Mr Philemon thought otherwise: “As far as I know, all our MPs are in their electorates attending to their duties, and I have not heard of anyone talking to anybody.”
Several Opposition MPs, when contacted yesterday, echoed Mr Philemon’s position that “we will wait and see … the ball is in the Government’s court, but yes we will be together in March”.
“We are just watching the Government, they know when to talk, when the time is right as the ball is in their court,” one MP said.
During their Christmas function in December, young Opposition MPs told their leaders they would “stick together” until 2012.
Mr Philemon said, “Yes, they have agreed to stand together.”
Opposition Leader Sir Mekere Morauta could not be reached for comments.
Western Governor Dr Bob Danaya, of the PNG Labour Party, said yesterday that a Cabinet reshuffle was imminent and that several governors were offered ministerial roles.
“I was not approached but I understand that several governors were approached for ministerial positions,” Dr Danaya said.
However, he said most would prefer to concentrate on provincial responsibilities rather be stuck in Waigani.
“While the reshuffle is imminent, I’d stick to focusing on my provincial duties where more important social and development issues are … that is where we need to work,” Dr Danaya said.