The National, Wednesday 21st December 2011
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
MEMBERS of parliament loyal to Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare have refused to accept the decision by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio to recognise Peter O’Neill as prime minister.
They maintained that they were the legitimate government restored by the Supreme Court.
Sir Michael told a media conference that there was now a “legal and constitutional nightmare”.
He claimed that MPs who had chosen to remain with him had demonstrated their recognition of the Constitution as being supreme.
“My minority government does not want to see this country being led by members of parliament that use sheer numbers to hijack processes in parliament and trample all over our Constitution,’’ he said.
“The simple notion that the majority rule justifies their behaviour is detrimental in its simplicity. The significance of desecrating our Constitution over the past couple of days is far reaching.
“I call on Papua New Guineans to recognise the leadership style that has crept into one of our arms of government – parliament.
“The O’Neill regime has shown PNG what it will do to remain in power.
“The string of violations to the Constitution and the use of their numbers on the floor of parliament are indicative of what their approach to governance will be in the future.
“The pattern of intimidation used at the highest level – Government House – leaves my government speechless.
“We are not trying to protect ourselves. We are responsible leaders. Mark my word, the majority of those MPs will not come back after the 2012 general election.”
Madang MP Sir Arnold Amet said after the Supreme Court restored Sir Michael as prime minister, the speaker should have asked Peter O’Neill to vacate the seat and allow Sir Michael and his government to take up their seats in parliament.
“So long as Speaker Jeffery Nape continues to create a roadblock for the Somare government to take its rightful place on the floor of parliament, Sir Michael cannot go and sit in opposition or the middle bench,” Sir Arnold said.
Meanwhile, Sir Michael said MPs who called for his resignation should show respect.
“The call for me by certain leaders to resign is an insult to the voters of East Sepik province who elected me in the 2007 general election,” Sir Michael said.
“I have represented my people in parliament for more than 40 years and the loose talk by senior MPs at this critical time is disrespectful and cheap.
“They tried to remove me unlawfully in parliament but failed and now they are calling for me to resign,” he said.