Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Prime Minister lashes out
Hear me out ... Prime Minister Sir Michael expressing his anger and frustrations over delays in the courts and calls on the judiciary to speed up cases
Sir Michael gives judiciary, NGOs and the media a tongue-lashing
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare yesterday attacked the judiciary, the NGOs and the media over delays in dealing with certain high profile cases, and criticisms of the controversial amendments to the Environment Act, The National reports.
Walking into the conference room of his office at Morauta House, aided by a walking stick because of a sprained ankle, and flanked by senior ministers and advisers, he launched his tirade.
He expressed outrage at the constant delays by the courts in dispensing cases, like his own with the Ombudsman Commission, that of Public Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare, and the case involving his former chief secretary Isaac Lupari.
“This is the first time that I will address my concerns about the judiciary,” Sir Michael said.
He said just like Members of Parliament, the judiciary owed it to the people of this nation to speed up cases that had been pending for years.
He pointed out the Tewai-Siassi election case as an example, where former deputy prime minister Mao Zeming had to wait five years before learning a decision.
“Why? We cannot go and question the courts. When there is no decision taken, it makes you frustrated.
“With me running a country with six million people, you will be very, very frustrated. We want reasonableness,” Sir Michael said.
“We are seeing the same with other election petitions like the Madang provincial seat.
“Equally, cases before the courts delay the government’s ability to effect change quickly.”
Sir Michael said former chief secretary Lupari took the government to court over his removal and the matter was pending, three years later.
In the meantime, Manasupe Zurenuoc and Margaret Elias can only act in their positions.
“The Prime Minister’s Department has been held to ransom (by the judiciary). We want some decisions made,” Sir Michael said.
Defending the amendments to the Environment Act passed by Parliament last week, he accused the media of misinforming the public and described NGOs as an unelected group representing no one.
He said the amendments were done after getting “the best advice from three best brains” in the chief secretary to government, secretary to the prime ministers office and the attorney-general and also from a Scottish consultant.
He said the deep sea tailings disposal was the best option for Ramu.
He admitted the Ramu nickel project delay by the courts was the main reason for the change of laws.
“We have to make changes to (the law) have a speedy process to carry out that project,” Sir Michael said.
“We want the mine to continue that’s why we make the change.
“That project has a target and we have to achieve that target.”
He said any delay would cost the country.
He credited himself for going to China to convince the regime there four years ago to come and invest a massive US$800 million to start the mine.
“The government will lose a lot. No country can come to PNG and put US$800 million on the spot.”