By Koke Pailepo
Kindly allow me space to express my views on Sir Arnold Amet’s comments relating to the court ruling on the unconstitutional re-appointment of Sir Paulias Matane as the GG. His comments were made during the government’s visit to the court ousted GG in Kokopo. “Shame on all parties involved in re-appointment of GG.”
I feel the leader’s statement should not go unchallenged given the unconstitutional appointment of the GG by parliament.
It is a shame for a very well learned senior statesman and former chief justice to come out and blame the unconstitutional process of re-appointing the GG as based on poor advice.
If so the question begs, what happened to the leader’s personal reasoning given his lengthy experience with parliamentary procedures? Was it thrown out the window so he could hide behind poor advice? Sir Amet’s grounds that the government’s blunder in bulldozing the unconstitutional reappointment as based on poor advise is very shallow with out substance.
Regardless of what Sir Arnold says to cover up this constitutional blunder one sure fact is that Sir Paulias Matane’s reputation and credibility has been tarnished and believe me all Papua New Guinea knows that.
The government is now hell bent to amend their deliberate unconstitutional mistake on the floor of parliament by paying Sir Paulias apologetic visits and adamantly pushing for his re-nomination. But let me remind Sir Arnold that this will not fix Sir Paulias Matane’s reputation and credibility that was tarnished by government’s unconstitutional acts fuelled by greed for power.
Furthermore, Sir Arnold Amet cannot denounce or brush aside insinuations from the public. You do not have to be rocket scientist to understand the constitution and the constitutional procedures followed to re-appoint a GG. The procedure is very clear yet the government chose not to follow it and he for one who is very well versed with the laws of the land including the constitution did not even stand up to point out that the appointment was constitutionally flawed.
Can Sir Arnold Amet tell PNG: Would the honourable parliament have honestly admitted the mistake with the re-election of Sir Paulias Matane and have the re-appointment undone without a court challenge? I doubt it and so applaud the Morobe provincial government leadership for boldly challenging in court the constitutionality of the GG’s election.
The government has seasoned leaders in the likes of the Prime Minister and the Speaker and even Sir Paulias Matane himself who could have known better the constitutional procedures to appoint a GG and yet find it fit to blame poor advice.
The prime minister being in politics for over 35 years would know by heart what the appointment procedures are. And Sir Paulais Matane to uphold his personal integrity and that of the vice regal office should have exercised some caution given his experience in public life when his appointment was openly opposed by the hoard PNG public.
To me it seems the government including Sir Paulias Matane, the Speaker and all other parties deliberately ignored the constitutional process hoping that it would be swept under the carpet like the many cases of national interest.
As such all of them are equally guilty of breaching the constitution. Nobody can claim innocence of their actions on the floor of parliament during the appointment of the GG earlier this year.
THE PNG Trade Union Congress (PNGTUC) has called for the resignation of speaker and clerk of parliament over the embarrassment in Sir Paulias Matane’s re-election as governor-general in June.
PNGTUC president Michael Malabag was responding to the Supreme Court ruling that declared the GG election null and void.
“Jeffery Nape and Don Pandan are responsible for this fiasco and it is high time they uphold and protect the integrity of parliament, otherwise, ship out.”
He said parliament had become a circus over the years under the leadership of Sinasina-Yongamul MP, Jeffrey Nape.
Malabag said the people of PNG had lost faith in the legislative arm of government and “nobody in his right mind can deny that fact”.
I am absolutely amazed that the former attorney-general and minister for justice and the secretary provided legal opinion on the election of the governor-general which was misleading in the first place as confirmed by the Supreme Court to be null and void.
Was the legal opinion simply to affirm the actions taken by government and most importantly by the actions of the speaker in confirming the re-appointment of Sir Paulias as GG for the second term?
The very people who came out publicly to support the actions of parliament should bow their heads in shame and resign if they have any dignity left.
Malabag said it was embarrassing because parliament had made a mockery of the position of the governor-general, the Queen’s representative.
What an embarrassment in the Commonwealth when due process was not complied with and yet was defended strongly by the very guardians of the legal system within the executive arm of government.
Sir Paulias is a person beyond reproach, a statesman of the highest degree and for parliament to treat this election process with total contempt is a complete mockery to a person of his standing.
If the government had the numbers which was plainly obvious on the floor of parliament that day, why did they not simply comply with constitutional requirements.
Sir Paulias has my undivided support and that of the trade union movement and I sincerely hope that common sense will prevail in the next sitting of parliament as directed by the Supreme Court
THIS could be one of the saddest and darkest moments of Sir Paulias Matane’s somewhat colourful and stellar career in the public office then and now. It didn’t have to take a complicated legal interpretation for Sir Paulias to see that the decision made to reappoint him was flawed. Learned men, professionals in law, from within the floors of Parliament and without had commented on the issue.
Conscience would tell him that something was not right. The best he could have done at that time was not to accept the reappointment until the issue was properly debated and settled within the norms of law.
The court’s decision for him to step aside is very shameful, as a person, a leader in his Tolai community, a respected statesman (among the last), a champion of transparency and Christianity, and above all as a husband, father, grandfather. I think time has caught up with him. He could no longer hide behind the guise of transparency and Christianity. He has been stretched enough he can’t stretch any more.
Time and time again, writers to both dailies have noted the greed and hunger for power that drove politicians to the point of not heeding to the plight of the little people and especially the letters of the laws. And I think the now former GG is no exception. Look at what had just transpired in the recent past. The appointment of Paul Tienstin as the Acting GG is just one of them while the Speaker and Chief Justice were available. Flying of his secretary to his village to execute the signing of documents to effect the appointments while he was on leave is just another.
Technically, he is not the ‘GG’ and cannot assume duties while on leave. That applies to all offices, both private and government. The GG should have known better. Yes, he may not have been directly involved.
As the Head of State he could have resolved so many corrupt practices that were going on under his rimmed eyes but he let it go. My conclusion is this; Sir Paulias Matane is nothing but one of Sir Michael Somare’s, rather NA’s greater syndicate. He just happen to meet his fate today.