The National – Thursday, December 16, 2010
By DANIEL KORIMBAO
FOREIGN Affairs, Trade and Immigrations Minister Don Polye declared yesterday he holds no grudges against the prime minister, or those who might have plotted to have him removed from the second top executive post.
In a surprise move last week, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare removed Polye as his deputy and minister for works and transport, and elevated fellow Engan Sam Abal to the post. Polye was given Abal’s previous portfolio.
Within 24 hours of this change, the prime minister was given notice of his impending referral by the public prosecutor to the chief justice on charges connected with the late filing of his annual returns with the Ombudsman Commission.
The referral occurred on Monday, prompting Sir Michael to step aside, handing the reins of government to Abal as acting prime minister.
The move fueled speculations that Polye and his group would break ranks with the government and the National Alliance party, and link up with other factions in government and the opposition to overthrow the prime minister when parliament sits to elect a new governor-general.
But Polye attended a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the first convened by Abal, and gave his assurance that he was loyal to the government and NA, and accepted the prime minister’s decision. Polye reiterated his commitment to the government in a media statement he issued yesterday.
“As a senior state minister and deputy parliamentary leader of the National Alliance party (Highlands), I feel obliged to publicly reaffirm my undivided support and commitment as an integral member of the coalition government.
“I remain committed to upholding the policies, vision, goals and aspirations of NA and the government,” Polye stated.
“While I cannot deny my disappointment, with respect to the sudden and harsh manner in which I was removed, I cannot allow this to hamper the momentum of change and progress which the government has set in motion.”
He said the constitution gave the prime minister the power and prerogative to appoint and terminate, or reshuffle, and he respected that.
Polye said he was putting this episode behind and moving on.
“As an individual and leader, I do not hold any grudges or ill-feelings against the prime minister or anyone else who may have plotted behind the scenes leading to my hefty decommissioning.”
He said he hoped the change was done for the best interest and welfare of the people.
“I hope this was not done to serve the interest of a few, because that would be very disappointing,” he told The National.
He called on members and supporters of NA to remain united and maintain solidarity.
Polye was elected to parliament in 2002 as MP for Kandep. He was re-elected again in 2007.
He played a major role in ensuring the National Alliance won an unprecedented second term in government.
He vowed to be in the frontline again and go into battle in 2012 to win a historic third term in government for his party.
He said the party had presided over a period of stable political leadership, hatching the policies to boost economic growth and instill a lot of investor confidence.
Therefore, a third term was within reach, he said.