Friday, December 23, 2011
The National, Friday 23rd December 2011
It comes from the K350 million allocated in the 2011 supplementary budget for the government’s free and subsidised education policy.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said last night the release of the money began this week and would continue for the next two weeks. It would ensure a smooth start to the 2012 school year.
Officers from the departments of Finance and Treasury and Education are involved in the exercise.
O’Neill said 6,000 school accounts throughout PNG had been identified and the money would be paid into them, covering all school levels from elementary to Grade 12.
The government will meet the fees for elementary to Grade 10 levels, while Grades 11 and 12 fees will be subsidised.
“I call on those schools who have not yet submitted their bank accounts to do so immediately. This will ensure the funds are deposited into your accounts so that the school year can begin smoothly,” O’Neill said.
He believes the fee-free policy would ensure each and every citizen receives a decent education.
“I am a firm believer in education for all and I am backing that by providing a strong budgetary support for the education sector,” O’Neill said.
Meanwhile, in his Christmas message, O’Neill touched on the recent political impasse which had gripped the nation since Dec 12.
“Put simply, the five days between Dec 12 and Dec 16 brought home to all the reality that we are a nation that can boast about our vibrant parliamentary democracy,” he said.
O’Neill assured the nation that it was not heading for “a bloodbath and ethnic cleansing” as many commentators were being led to believe.
“Our government is determined to put our nation on the road to developing a nation of reasonably happy, healthy and wealthy people who can afford to live productive lives,” he said.
He remains focused on the free and subsidised education policy, infrastructure maintenance and development programmes, better health services delivery and a revamp and overhaul of the law and order enforcement system to make it efficient and effective.
Reflecting again on the recent political events, O’Neill said the former government had been exposed, opposed and deposed.
“Their ways were no good for the people of this nation,’’ he said.
“Recent events have drawn a great deal of deliberate misinformation to the public.
“The true state of affairs, the issues before our nation are not about personalities. They are about maintaining our democracy.
“The national parliament is where all eight governments preceding the O’Neill-Namah government were elected and defeated.
“Governments are not appointed by the courts, formed in hotel rooms or created through the barrel of the gun.
“Our government was formed to stop the rot, restore confidence in government, stop the rampant corruption and theft of public monies and
reversed appointments based on wantokism rather than merit,” the prime minister said.
He blamed the former Somare-Abal government for failing to address a number of corruption issues by:
q Ignoring the Finance Inquiry Report;
q Ignoring and failing to investigate the infamous Taiwan scandal;
q Failing to investigate the suspicious circumstances in which millions of kina had surfaced in a Singapore bank account;
q Failing to investigate the actions of the East Sepik provincial government and other parties over the management of the Sepik Highway Trust Account, Wewak Storm Water Drainage Project and the Wewak Stadium;
q Failing to investigate the use of funds allocated for the community college concept and implementation; and
q Failing to investigate the contract with the apparently non-existent Revans university to provide tertiary courses for PNG public servants.
O’Neill said the highlights of his four-month-old government, apart from free education, was the establishment of Task Force Sweep, providing K120 million to improve government infrastructure and church-run health facilities in the supplementary budget and raising the tax-free threshold from K7,000 to K10,000.
While acknowledging the police force for finally exercising control in its command, he paid tribute to the PNG Defence Force for exercising restraint and remaining neutral throughout the recent political crisis.
“Against this background, the O’Neill-Namah government stands firm and dedicated to good governance, sound economic management and a bright future for all Papua New Guineans,” O’Neill said.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
PNG Governor-General Michael Ogio reinstated Sir Michael in a ceremony at Government House about 11am.
Somare sworn in as PM as rivals demand governor-general fronts parliament
SIR Michael Somare and his cabinet have been sworn in by Papua New Guinea's governor-general, but the political impasse continues with parliament voting to demand the governor-general swear in his rival Peter O'Neill.
In an emailed statement, Sir Michael said his 19-member cabinet had been sworn in by the governor-general on Wednesday morning.
''My coalition members have today been sworn in by the Governor-General, Sir Michael Ogio,'' Sir Michael said in the statement.
However, the Somare camp maintains the 76-year-old political veteran does not need to be sworn in because the Supreme Court reinstated him as prime minister on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, MPs loyal to Mr O'Neill passed a motion in parliament demanding the governor-general come to parliament to swear in Peter O'Neill as prime minister.
Mr O'Neill's leader of government business, Moses Maladina, also introduced a bill requiring police commissioner Tom Kulunga to ''assist'' the governor-general in getting to parliament.
The MPs also passed a motion to ban Sir Michael Somare and his cabinet from declaring themselves as the nation's government.
The MPs later passed a resolution requiring the governor-general to attend parliament at 2pm (1500 AEDT) to swear in Mr O'Neill.
''The governor general is required to be in attendance at 2pm,'' Mr Maladina said.
There were about 50 MPs supporting Mr O'Neill in parliament on Wednesday, including speaker Jeffery Nape.
Sir Michael's supporters had returned to Port Moresby's Ela beach hotel, where they have held cabinet meetings since Monday.
A heavily-armed contingent of guards were blocking the street leading up to Government House on Wednesday morning.
The governor-general's declaration was due to break a three-day political impasse sparked by a Supreme Court ruling that Mr O'Neill's August election was unconstitutional and Sir Michael Somare should be reinstated as prime minister.
Mr O'Neill has refused to recognise the court's decision, while Sir Michael has been attending cabinet meetings with members of his government held at Port Moresby's Ela Beach hotel.
Meanwhile, the nation's defence force has dismissed rumours of a military coup resulting from the political impasse.
"The defence force neither seeks, nor would accept, any part to play in the politics of this country," defence force chief Brigadier General Francis Agwi told the Post-Courier newspaper.
"The PNGDF has no political position and takes no political sides."
Mr O'Neill was elected prime minister after he and 73 other MPs voted to dump Sir Michael's government in August, but the Supreme Court declared the move unconstitutional this week and ordered Sir Michael returned to office.
Mr O'Neill, who has refused to recognise the court's decision, met with governor-general, Sir Michael Ogio, on Tuesday, after he and about 60 MPs loyal to him stormed past a police barricade to the gates of Government House.
After the short meeting, Mr O'Neill told reporters the governor-general said he would meet with Sir Michael on Wednesday before deciding who is prime minister.
Sir Michael has been attending cabinet meetings with members of his government held at Port Moresby's Ela Beach hotel.
Sir Michael Ogio - appointed Governor-General this year when Sir Michael was unquestionably the prime minister - swore in Mr O'Neill at the August 2 parliamentary sitting that elected him after Speaker Jeffery Nape ruled that the top office was vacant.
At that stage, Sir Michael - who has run the country for almost half of its 36 years of independence - had been away in Singapore for four months undergoing medical treatment.
The Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Salamo Injia ruled by 3-2 on Monday that the prime ministership was not vacant, since Sir Michael had neither resigned nor been ruled medically unfit to govern.
Sir Michael, 75, yesterday denied his health would prevent him from returning to office. "My doctor in Singapore believes that my health is as good as any. I'm well enough to be a 40 year old again," he told the ABC.
Sir Michael's claim to the prime ministership rests with the 3-2 ruling. Mr O'Neill's claim rests with his re-election yesterday by parliament, 69-0, following the judgment.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open. ~B.K.S. Iyengar and also somebody once said, “Greatest wealth is health”.
With that in mind RH Foundation Inc, sees that the health of our young children in Port Moresby General Hospital is of enormous significance to the community and Papua New Guinea generally. In one way or other this kind gesture from RH Foundation will in future have a rippling effect to these unfortunate kids who are sick today.
In addition to what it has contributed since its inception over the years, this donation today is in addition to the beds and cabinets it contributes in March of this year. As we all know Christmas is a time giving to your loved ones and friends, we at RH Foundation also take this opportunity to make this as our special gift to all the sick children and the staff of the Port Moresby General Hospital.
This donation is worth K 51,308.92 and so far for the Children’s wards alone, it has donated in 2011 only a total of K81, 336.48 for the children’s ward. RH Foundation wishes the sick children and the staff of the Port Moresby Children’s ward a Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year 2012.
Monday, December 5, 2011
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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Thursday, October 27, 2011
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Thursday, October 20, 2011
The National -Thursday, October 20th 2011
By SAMUEL RAITANO
THE Supreme Court has ruled that Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare had not, “at any material time, been of unsound mind and is not of unsound mind”.
Justice David Cannings, sitting as a single Supreme Court judge, also ruled that the East Sepik provincial executive council had authorised the reference invoked under section 19 of the Constitution.
The findings by Cannings will be used by the five-man bench hearing the constitutionality of the appointment of Peter O’Neill as prime minister.
The full hearing starts on Monday.
Cannings was directed by a five-judge bench to hear evidence concerning 47 disputed facts in regard to the ESP special Supreme Court reference.
The issues of the facts related to the following:
lSir Michael’s leadership tribunal proceedings of March 2011;
lMeetings of parliament in 2011;
lSir Michael’s absence from the parliament in 2011;
lSteps taken by the NEC regarding Sir Michael’s absence and health;
lEvents of Aug 2, 2011, relating to the appointment of Peter O’Neill as prime minister;
lEvents of Sept 6, 2011, relating to a declaration of a vacancy in the East Sepik provincial seat;
lMedia reports of events relating to the reference;
lSir Michael’s medical treatment and his unsoundness of mind; and
lDecisions and resolutions of the referrer, the East Sepik provincial executive council.
Cannings found that during the course of hearing evidence, many of the issues turned out to be irrelevant.
He said seven of the nine categories of disputed issues of fact had been proven on evidence to be largely uncontentious.
Two categories that remained in dispute and gave rise to what appeared to be the most relevant questions of fact were:
lThe authorisation of the reference by the East Sepik executive council; and
lWhether Sir Michael had been, at any time, of unsound mind.
Cannings found that the East Sepik executive council had authorised the reference and Sir Michael had not been and is not of unsound mind.
It was understood that the referrer and parties aligned with it have 14 evidences of witnesses.
Nine witnesses had been cross-examined last week while five had not been available in court.
The five included medical experts from Raffles Hospital in Singapore.
The first intervener, Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat, and parties aligned with him, had the evidence of nine witnesses, two of whom were cross-examined for claiming that Sir Michael had missed three consecutive sittings of parliament, and that an opinion by a clinical neuropsychologist purporting that he (Sir Michael) suffered irreversible brain damage.
Seven did not appear for cross-examination in court but had their
affidavits taken as evidence.
In addition, the constitutional interpretations on the disqualification of Sir Michael as member for East Sepik will be considered by the full bench.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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