Wednesday, June 30, 2010
From SUSUVE LAUMAEA
The declaration by attorney general Ano Pala is simply unconstitutional and has no "legs" to stand on.
It is a deliberate tactic to scare off the media and to prevent public debate on a piece of legislation that is draconian, harsh and oppressive.
Declaration by AG Ano Pala is unconstitutional
Justice minister warns media against reporting
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 28, 2010) – A senior reporter at Papua New Guinea’s Post-Courier newspaper says a government edict banning discussion on the amendment to the Environmental Law Act will not stop their coverage of the controversial issue.
The unprecedented edict, from the Justice Minister and Attorney General Ano Pala, says there is to be no more discussion, comment or reference in the media to the recent amendment.
He warns that media coverage of it runs the risk of being in contempt of Supreme Court proceedings in which Madang landowners are challenging a proposed marine tailings system for Ramu nickel mine.
The Post-Courier’s chief court reporter, Todagia Kelola, says they will ignore the edict if need be.
"We are still trying to understand if it’s a good piece of legislation or a bad good piece of legislation. When these guys come out to comment on it, there is nothing preventing us from discussing it. The new Attorney General, he doesn’t have any power to direct the media nor the police or any other constitutional body on making a statement on this issue."
Today’s editorial from The National,
THE legal advice provided to the prime minister on the appointment of the governor-general is seriously flawed.
The actions of Parliament in the recent controversial re-appointment of the governor-general were contrary to the explicit directions provided by the Constitution.
The appointment of Grand Chief Sir Paulias Matane for a second term as governor-general, therefore, cannot be held to be legal.
The legal advice or, as it turned out, the legal position adopted by the government and Parliament, is a clear misreading of section 87 of the Constitution and should not stand any serious contest of it in a court of law.
The part of the Constitution cited as the basis for the advice is section 87(5).
Clearly, and in plain English, that entire section deals only with “qualifications for appointment” to the post of governor-general.
It makes no mention of the process for the “appointment of the GG” which is, again, very clearly spelled out in the following section.
Section 88 of the Constitution provides for “appointment to office” of the governor-general.
The proper and legal process for “appointment to the office of governor-general” is via an “exhaustive secret ballot” in accordance with an Organic Law.
The relevant part of section 88(2) reads: “A decision of the Parliament to nominate a person for appointment as governor-general shall be made by a simple majority vote, in an exhaustive secret ballot conducted in accordance with an Organic Law.
An examination of the said Organic Law on “nomination of the governor-general” makes it clear that two things must happen: First, there must be an exhaustive secret ballot – even in the event where there is only one candidate for the post.
And, two, following such an exhaustive secret ballot, Parliament’s choice of a new governor-general must be declared by a simple majority.
These did not happen last Friday, June 25.
There was no secret ballot.
There was, however, an open ballot.
The open ballot was itself not illegal. This open ballot is provided for under section 87(5) of the Constitution to determine the eligibility of any incumbent governor-general, in this instance, Sir Paulias, to serve a second term in office.
The relevant part reads: “(5) No person is eligible for appointment as governor-general more than once unless the Parliament, by a two-third absolute majority vote, approves appointment for a second term, but no person is eligible for appointment for a third term.” Reading the above statement on its own would make it appear as if Parliament’s action of last Friday not to conduct a secret ballot is in order. That was what the prime minister’s legal counsel asserted was the proper reading of that sub-section.
But, when you read sub-section (5) along with, or in the context of, the heading of section (87), as it should be read, an entirely different proposition unfolds.
The law then reads: “Section 87: QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT . . . (5) No person is eligible for appointment as governor-general more than once unless the Parliament, by two-thirds absolute majority vote, approves appointment for a second term . . .”
It becomes abundantly clear here that the open ballot of last Friday was actually the beginning of the process, and, not the final outcome.
Via that open ballot, Parliament registered beyond any reasonable doubt, by a vote of 84-13, that Sir Paulias was qualified and eligible for appointment to serve a second term as governor-general.
Parliament only needed then to move on to the actual appointment process via “an exhaustive secret ballot”. That never happened.
The Organic Law on the “nomination of the governor-general” provides guidelines on how the exhaustive secret ballot ought to be carried out. There are no other procedures stipulated in the Constitution, and in the Organic Law, by which a governor-general can be appointed except via an exhaustive secret ballot.
Sir Paulias was not the only candidate.
In this case, there were three other contenders – former auditor-general Sir Makena Geno, a former contender for the post Sir Pato Kakaraya and former Enga deputy premier Ronald Rimbao.
The Organic Law stipulates that the speaker will announce all candidates and distribute ballot papers for Members of Parliament to write their choices. The candidate with the least number of votes would be dropped and the process would be repeated until only one emerges as Parliament’s choice.
Last Friday, there would need to have been three secret ballots after which the winner would have been declared.
It is clear that Sir Paulias, as the government’s candidate, had the biggest support and had it been subjected to the secret ballot, he would have emerged the eventual winner.
The fact that this process was thwarted denied the other three contenders their right to due process, justice and fair play by the highest law-making authority in the country – Parliament itself.
This is disgraceful.
The decision by Parliament, following only the open (eligibility) ballot, that Sir Paulias is duly appointed as governor-general of
It has to be void and of no effect.
Section 87(5), which has been relied upon as the basis for that decision, has been wrongly interpreted and the government wrongly advised. How such an advice could have been concocted for the Head of Government is mischievous, to say the least, and has made a mockery of the democratic and parliamentary processes and procedures.
Sir Paulias is himself a stickler for the law and all things proper.
We note that he has not taken the Oath of Allegiance or made the Declaration of Loyalty and Declaration Office before the chief justice as he is compelled to do by section 90 of the Constitution. He cannot take office or perform duties until this compulsory requirement is met.
It would only be proper if he were to refuse to do so until due process has been followed and the law complied with to the letter.
Parliament should be recalled so that a governor-general can properly be appointed in accordance with the law.
Of Sir Paulias’ re-appointment, we have little doubt.
Of Parliament’s conduct in this specific instance, and the kind of professional advisers the government keeps, we are very much in doubt.
Warring tribesmen in Komo,
Mission Aviation cancels all runs into remote Karimui
CHIMBU’S Karimui has been cut off from the rest of the world following an attack and robbery by four drunken men in the district’s airstrip last Friday, The National reports.
The highly intoxicated knife-wielding men attacked the pilot and his passengers after the MAF Twin Otter landed on the remote Karimui airstrip.
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), the only third-level airliner operating in Karimui, has suspended its operations indefinitely following the attack.
He turned up at The National office in Goroka yesterday morning to recall his ordeal at the hands of the drunkards.
“I returned from Goroka carrying
“We believed the district may have been cursed in terms of efficient flow of basic services and the churches, led by Lutheran church, are organising the gathering themed ‘breaking generation of curse proclaiming prosperity and growth’ to be staged from July 5-9,” he said.
“But, we were attacked soon after the plane landed and while we were unloading the cargo. The diesel container was slashed and the diesel spilled and the cargo, including the Bibles, was stolen.
“One of the assailants whom I recognised attacked and when I retaliated, the other armed men slashed me from behind.
“I was cut on the back of my head. Another slashed my hands and arm and I collapsed.
“The pilot rushed up to apply first aid but I fainted due to heavy loss of blood,” he said.
He said: “The pilot and my wife then carried me back into the plane, flew to Goroka and admitted me to the
Yalbai identified two of the assailants-cum-robbers as elementary school teachers.
He said 12 other passengers, who also sustained injuries in the attack, were still in Karimui with no access to medical treatment.
“The assailants are believed to have been frustrated by district officials who failed to settle outstanding payments for work done.
“The police must step up its manpower in Chimbu because law and order is getting out of control. Infants and young girls are being abused as youths get intoxicated by homebrew and marijuana,” he said.
“Health services and schools are closed;
Acting provincial police commander Albert Korin could not be reached for comments yesterday as several calls went unanswered.
The MAF office in Goroka yesterday confirmed the indefinite suspension of flights into and out of Karimui until the people of Karimui guaranteed the safety of passengers, pilots and crew.
The MAF source also said it was up to the Karimui community to resolve the matter with the injured and allow law and order to return and guarantee safety before flights could resume.
“For now, flights into Karimui are suspended indefinitely,” the source told The National.
NATIONAL Planning and Monitoring Minister Paul Tiensten said the government is working closely with the National Agriculture and Research Institute (NARI) in preparing for next year’s predicted drought, The National reports.
Scientists warned of the drought during the launch of the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) drought preparedness plan in Lae earlier this year.
They predicted that a severe drought would hit PNG in 2011 and 2012 and PNG was ill-prepared for it.
However, Tiensten said the government had taken the warnings seriously and was working on a plan with NARI to prepare for the drought.
“Reports on the plan was nearing completion and would be made available once they are released,” Tiensten said.
He was responding to questions raised in Parliament last week by Morobe Governor Luther Wenge, who had asked what actions under the plan the government would take in addressing the shortage of food and water likely to be faced by the people as a result of the drought.
With the rising sea level and temperatures at our doorstep, due to global warming, scientists have warned that this drought will be more severe than the last one and it is not known how long it will last.
The last drought experienced in PNG was in 1997.
NARI said yesterday that drought preparation was a major priority and that specific considerations had been given to addressing food security and other basic needs including water in areas where this was lacking.
A NARI spokesperson said they were also looking at more appropriate system for managing emergency food distribution including food distributing centres.
AUTONOMOUS Region of Bougainville President John Momis will order a full investigation into the deal with foreign firm Invincible that led to the establishment of the Bougainville Investment Corporation (formerly Bougainville Resource Development Corporation), The National reports.
Momis said yesterday that the deal was not only illegal but not practical for any government to attempt to make a contract that purports to tie the government’s hands as to future policy.
The president said he was concerned about these matters which strike at the core of
He said he would seek his cabinet’s approval to launch a full-scale review of this deal and related matters.
Momis said in his inaugural speech that corruption would find zero tolerance in his government.
He warned that corrupt ministers, elected members, officials and investors could expect to face criminal prosecutions.
He said there were many unanswered questions and issues relating to the BRDC and Invincible deal, and the review or investigations would put these questions to rest.
After taking office two weeks ago, and studying documents presented to him concerning the development agreement between the ABG and the BRDC, Momis said he was not satisfied that the arrangement was in the best interest of the people of Bougainville.
He said the agreement contravened significant provisions of the Bougainville constitution and parts of the
He said, in essence, the agreement and its corresponding legislation bind the hand of the
Momis said based on the documents provided to him, it seemed that BRDC was a company owned by four other companies or entities, namely:
1. AROB Equities Limited;
3. Bougainville Pioneers Corporation Ltd; and
He said the agreement, in its substantive clauses, deal with exploration for and exploitation of mineral resources covering the whole of
The agreement also called for investments in other areas of economic activities including a gold melt assay facility, bio-diesel, fishing, cattle production and other proposals including a tourism project.
He said the people of
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
So come along with the whole family for some artistic, acrobatic, urban bouncing.
* Heat 1 & 2 - Sunday, 4th July
* Heat 3 & 4 - Sunday, 11th July
* Semi Finals - Sunday, 25th July
* Grand Final - Sunday, 1st August
Time: 12pm to 4pm.
Food & Drinks sold at the Venue.
By SENIORL ANZU of NARI