The National, Monday 20th August, 2012
LANDOWNERS from the oil and gas wellheads in Kutubu and Moran have commended the initiatives taken by Finance Minister James Marape to instill discipline and a transparent and incorruptible work culture within his ministry and department.
They said in a signed statement that in his first five years in politics between 2007 and this year, Marape had proved to be a very hard worker, resulting in him being allocated senior cabinet ministries in this and the last parliament.
“We recognise and say thank you to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for the recognition and faith he has had in appointing our son, principal landowner, brother and leader James Marape to the all-too-important cabinet portfolio as minister for Finance,” landowner spokesmen and principal landowners John Kila and John Pipi said in the statement.
“Marape, with the backing of good managers like Hela Transitional Authority chief executive officer William Bando, has done a lot for the new province and its people.
“Both men have been with our people from the beginning to ensure they received the benefits that are rightfully theirs.
“Marape himself is the owner of the gas that will grow the PNG economy further when it starts flowing from next year.
As the owner of the pigs and the gardens, his responsibility as the Finance minister came at the right time and must continue to remain so for the next four years,” Kila and Pipi said.
Marape entered parliament in 2007 as member for Tari-Pori in Southern Highlands (now Hela).
In 2002, he contested the seat under the People’s Progress Party banner, but voting did not take place due to widespread election violence. In 2003, Marape contested the supplementary elections but lost to Tom Tomiape. He disputed the results in court but both his initial petition and a subsequent appeal were rejected.
He contested the seat for the second time as a National Alliance candidate in 2007 and defeated Tomiape. His first job as an MP was vice-minister for Works, Transport and Civil Aviation in the government of Sir Michael Somare.
Marape was later appointed minister for education, and played a major role in the effective and efficient distribution of the rehabilitation of education sector infrastructure (Resi) funds. He was later made the National Planning minister, a position he held until last December.
Marape went to the recent poll under the People’s National Congress ticket to win back his Tari-Pori seat.
He was then made minister for Finance in the O’Neill cabinet.
The landowners said Marape was a conscientious leader who would stop at nothing to serve all people, irrespective of their origins or ethnicity.
“Marape is a true Hela and national leader.
“To be accorded such a senior ministry in cabinet is not easy, and it only comes with recognition and merit, based on quality leadership and performance,” Kila had said last week.
“We, his people in Moran and Kutubu, are happy to say that Marape is the owner of the pigs and the gardens where the nation’s vast oil and gas resources are found. And to be given such a senior ministry is testimony to that recognition.”