The National, Friday July 20th, 2012
By FRANK SENGE KOLMA
ARTHUR Somare yesterday expressed deep regret that he had left “unfinished business” at both the electorate and national level.
The three-term MP who was this week ousted by former MP, Ludwig Schulze, congratulated his opponent and thanked his people for their support during his term.
“I have spent an inordinately long time away from my electorate dealing with national issues and in the electorate the people missed their leader,” he said.
“I accept their decision. I will not in any way affect their decision. The elections have been free and fair. The people of Angoram have been kind to me. I am sad to leave behind unfinished business in many plans for agriculture and telecommunication.”
At the national level, Somare said he would have liked to do some more work on the Sovereign Wealth Fund which he said would propel the PNG economy to greater heights if managed responsibly.
“We have to ensure that the revenue that comes in does not become squandered like all the other mining and petroleum projects.
“There has to be deliberate government policy to ensure that revenue from LNG is planned out; that it goes towards appropriate areas.”
As a person who was pivotal in the LNG project and the Sovereign Wealth Fund, Somare spent a lot of time on these projects and this may have affected his attendance to electoral duties resulting in his defeat.
For now he says losing does not mean abandoning ship. He wants to stand steadfast to ensure that the next government is comprised of dignified people who protect constitutional democracy and respect the rule of law.
“We want a good, sane, stable, firm thinking government,” he said. “We do not want to go back to the nonsense of the past 12 months.”
And after that…well “its early days yet,” he said. “I will give more time to my children. Get to know them better. In the past 15 years we have missed each other.”
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Hela Governor-elect Anderson Agiru both expressed sadness that Somare would no longer be in Parliament.
O’Neill said: “He is a good and hard working leader. He will be missed in parliament but he is a young man. There will be chance again in future.
“I also congratulate Ludwig Schulze for his win and hope we can work well together.”
Agiru said: “I am sad that Arthur and Wararu (Peter) lost. It is rather unfortunate. Parliament will be the poorer without them.”