PNG PM O’NEILL LASHES OUT AT MEKERE

PNG PM Peter O'neill. EMTV Photo
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has lashed out at the chairman of Ok Tedi and PNGSDP, Sir Mekere Morauta for comments he made about the future of PNG Sustainable Development program.

He said the claim that the government is planning to expropriate Ok Tedi Mine is false and misleading.
He accused Sir Mekere of being self-serving adding that he would not do the same injustice Sir Mekere did in 2002 when he gave immunity to BHP.

Prime Minister O’Neill was replying during a media conference yesterday to separate press releases circulated to the media by Sir Mekere Marauta’s Office.

Sir Mekere claimed the state was planning to steal Ok Tedi Mining Limited from the people of Western Province.

He threatened to take legal action if Mr. O’Neill brought the legislation to parliament.

Mr. O’Neill alleged Sir Mekere does not represent the people of Papua New Guinea, he represent foreign interest.

What his government (O’Neill – Dion) is trying to do is correct mistakes of the past.

“He represents BhP on that particular board.  He does not represent the people of Papua New Guinea; he does not represent the people of Western Province; and he does not represent Western Provincial Government in any shape what so ever,” said O’Neill.

Prime Minister O’Neill said his government has sought to negotiate with Sir Mekere and PNGSDP to ensure an orderly and transparent transition for the last nine months but he has chosen not to comply.

He said PNGSDP has had mix successes. Social Indicators in Western Province are testament that the funds are not utilized well.

He brushed aside the notion that PNGSDP will be done away with altogether.

He said it will continue but its focus will be totally on the Western Province.

“I want to assure the people of Western Province that they will be the biggest beneficiary out of this,” said O’Neill.

He said a structure that will make PNGDSP accountable will be established.

North-Fly MP Boka Kondra backed the governments’ move.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill confirmed that the Bill will be deliberated on in parliament and will most likely be passed through voices.

“Firstly, we are not taking over the management but we are taking over the ownership of the shares which is rightfully ours in the first place,” explained O’Neill.

“Secondly, we are saying, Restructure the PNG Sustainable Program,” he said.

EMTV
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