Prime Ministers Media Releases

PAPUA NEW GUINEA SHOCKED AND SADDENED AT PASSING OF DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER HON. SAM BASIL

Papua New Guinea is shocked and saddened at the tragic passing of Deputy Prime Minister, Transport Minister and Bulolo MP Hon. Sam Basil after a road accident along the Bulolo Highway on Wednesday night.

We pray for God’s Hand on the country at this sad time.

It is a big loss to his family, people of Bulolo, Morobe, United Labour Party and Papua New Guinea as we try to come to terms with his passing.

He was a strong member of our present generation of leaders in Government who had our country in our heart

What makes his untimely passing even sadder is the fact that it happened only hours before nominations open for the 2022 General Election.

This young and vibrant leader had been preparing his United Labour Party well for the elections only to have this tragic accident happen on the eve of nominations.

The ruling Pangu Pati I now lead is due to the hard work of Hon. Basil in 2014.

He single-handedly resurrected the ruling Pangu Pati I now lead in 2014.

The one-man party became two in 2015 when the late Goilala MP, Hon. William Samb, joined Hon. Basil to revive this great PNG institution.

Hon. Basil led Pangu into the 2017 General Election winning six seats in Morobe and others around the country, bringing it back to life for – something for which we the present Pangu are indebted to.

We will give him a State Funeral befitting of his status as Deputy Prime Minister.

We thank God for the life of Hon. Basil and his many contributions to Bulolo, Morobe and Papua New Guinea.

HON. JAMES MARAPE, MP
PRIME MINISTER

PM MARAPE FULFILLS PROMISE OF K5 MILLION TO WARANGOI LANDOWNERS

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has fulfilled his promise to landowners of Warangoi in East New Britain to pay them K5 million for use of their land and water for PNG Power Ltd’s Warangoi Hydro Power Project.

PM Marape, when opening the K83 million 10 Megawatt Warangoi Hydro Power Project Major Rehabilitation Project last November, assured landowners that they would be paid the K5 million they wanted for use of their land and water.

The Warangoi landowners had been allowing use of their land and water to supply electricity to East New Britain for the last 39 years without demanding compensation.

The Prime Minister made a first payment of K3 million earlier this year, and paid the outstanding K2 million on Monday (May 9), when launching the Gazelle Agro Industrial Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Kerevat.

The presentation was witnessed by State Enterprises Minister Hon. William Duma, Lands and Physical Planning Minister Hon. John Rosso, East New Britain Governor Hon. Nakikus Konga, Health Minister and Gazelle MP Hon. Jelta Wong, and Kumul Consolidating Holdings Managing-Director Professor David Kavanamur, among other guests.

PM Marape said this intervention by his Government would ensure a reliable supply of electricity throughout East New Britain to grow the economy.

“East New Britain will no longer face electricity problems with this intervention,” he said.

“The currently electricity needs of East New Britain are about 2MW, but completion of the Warangoi project provides you with an excess of electricity.

“That extra electricity is for the tuna industry and for the agriculture industry – especially in downstream processing.

“Seeing processed galip nuts and coconut oil products today warms my heart and assures me that we can go into downstream processing.

“We no longer need to send out raw products from our country, when we can go into downstream processing, with a more-reliable supply of electricity.”

Rehabilitation of the Warangoi project was made possible through the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the GoPNG co-funded Town Electrification Investment Programme, with the contractors being Dongfang Electric Corp and AG Investments JV.

It will boost up the low production of Warongoi hydropower facility, which was originally commissioned in 1983, but has been supplying below its rated capacity of 10MW for the last 10 years into the Gazelle Grid.

PM MARAPE CALLS FOR PEACE AND ORDER AS 2022 GENERAL ELECTION BEGINS

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has called for peace and order to prevail as the 2022 General Election begins tomorrow (Thursday May 12) with opening of nominations.

He thanked the Australia Government for assisting Papua New Guinea with safe and secure printing and delivery of ballot papers, and the Indian Government for supplying the indelible ink for voters.

A total 118 seats will be contested for, including seven new ones recently passed by Parliament.

PM Marape said voters, especially women, must be allowed to vote on their own conscience and must not be coerced into voting for a particular candidate.

He reminded the people, on the eve of the 2022 elections, that life imprisonment is now the maximum penalty for illegal usage and ownership of firearms. The Prime Minister has instructed Police to monitor hotspots known for usage of guns during the 2022 elections.

He recently tabled the Firearms Amendment Bill 2022 in Parliament, unanimously supported by all MPs, for life imprisonment for unlawful possession of firearms.

Life imprisonment is now the maximum penalty for:

  • Manufacturing of homemade guns;
  • Illegal ownership and possession of firearms;
  • Illegal possession and use of firearms;
  • Illegal possession of prohibited firearms; and
  • Ownership and possession of machine guns.

PM Marape said the country had seen enough of illegal firearms issues, including in the 2017 General Election when there were several gun-related deaths, and added there would be zero tolerance this time.

“I remind people on the eve of elections that life imprisonment is now the maximum penalty for illegal possession of firearms,” he said.

“Candidates should tell their supporters, and themselves, not to have illegal guns in their possession.

“Supporters, youth leaders and others are reminded that you could be jailed for life for being in illegal possession of firearms.

“Illegal possession of guns no longer carries a maximum term of 10 or 20-years imprisonment, but life imprisonment, so I appeal to all citizens to be mindful of this.

“Is it worth spending the rest of your life in prison for being illegally in possession of a gun and supporting your candidate?

“I encourage those in illegal possession of firearms to throw them away now, because if Police catch you, you will get life imprisonment

PM Marape said there would be several reforms in the elections this year.

“For purposes of transparency, we will have Transparency International, National Research Institute and civil society representation in the Elections Planning Committee,” he said.

“We will have separate voting queues for men and women to cast their votes without undue influence, as in the past. It is the right of voters to make their choice based on their God-given wisdom – not on inducements, bribery, cash, food, wantok system or hype

“We will have CCTV used for counting to make the elections fair and friendly for all.

“We will use metal boxes in the Highlands.

“There will be no voting on Sundays or Sabbath (Saturday).”

PM Marape also said that severe penalties would be imposed on election officials who engaged in “improper and illegal conduct” during elections.

“There will be severe penalties for election officials engaged in corrupt practices at polling places,” he said.

“We have seen recently the imprisonment of a returning officer recently, on allegations of receiving bribes during the 2017 elections, which shows clearly to all that laws are there to prosecute those who engage in such illegal practices.

“A vote is the sanctified responsibility of each individual to cast his or her vote for a leader, who they feel will represent them in Parliament.

“It’s a high calling of each individual and must not be tampered by an ineffective process or corrupt election officials, campaign managers and officials, or candidates themselves.”

 

PM MARAPE WANTS RETURNING OFFICERS TO COME FROM WITHIN GOVERNMENT WORKFORCE AND CHURCH

PRIME Minister Hon. James Marape has called on the Electoral Commissioner to pick Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers from within the Public Service and the Church.

He said this while appealing to all PNG Electoral Commission workers to uphold the integrity of the Commission during their processing of the elections.

The Prime Minister was speaking today in light of the news of a returning officer’s sentencing by Justice Theresa Berrigan to seven years in jail for “corruptly receiving K184,300 to influence the outcome of the elections for NCD seat in the 2017 general election” as reported in today’s The National.

PM Marape said all returning officers, assistant returning officers, presiding officers, counting officials and security personnel must at all times do their jobs and conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity, dignity and decorum from the start to the finish of the National General Elections 2022.

“I appeal to them to take their tasks very seriously. This is not about allowances that you are receiving or the possibility of bribery that you might be offered. These is about country first. This is about the important task that you have in protecting the sanctity of the electoral process that the people are given once in every five years, which is their Constitutional right,” said the Prime Minister.

“Today’s headline is a reminder that election offence is punishable. We see one former returning officer being jailed for seven years.

“Under my watch, I intend to support and promote the integrity of the elections and their processes. My Government is making the money available to support a free and fair elections. We want the 2022 NGE to be safe and fair.

“We have invited Transparency International and observers into the steering committee for the election planning and so everyone is aware of the prevailing circumstances in which the election is held right around the country.

“I am recommending strongly to the Electoral Commissioner to pick good people for the positions of Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers to be public servants and church workers.

“Church workers are accountable to God and the public servants are accountable to the Government.”

The Prime Minister said many election-related petitions do end up in the Court of Disputed Returns and so those engaging in unscrupulous activities do stand a higher chance of getting caught and punished.

“It is time we eliminate this from the system and allow our people to cast their vote for the leader of their choice. It is their Constitutional right and it is the Electoral Commission’s duty to ensure that this right is translated into a vote.

“Hold yourself in good standing as we support the Electoral Commissioner deliver a safe and fair elections for 2022,” said the Prime Minister.