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Stanley Liria to contest Peter O’Neill’s seat – Is there more than meets the eye?

April 24, 2017 1 comment

The Post-Courier has reported that Port Moresby Lawyer, Stanley Liria, ‘has put up his hands to challenge Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for the Ialibu-Pangia seat’.

Stanley Liria

Liria told the Post-Courier:

‘I can no longer stand by and allow the unprecedented levels of mismanagement continue, both within Ialibu-Pangia and across Papua New Guinea as a whole’.

These are strong words, directed at a man, Peter O’Neill, who in fact has championed Stanley Liria’s career, first as a lawyer, then as a real-estate developer.

Is this simply the case of ‘biting the hand that feeds’, or is there more to this political challenge than meets the eye?

Lets review some key facts:

  • Liria is a close wantok of the Prime Minister.
  • Peter O’Neill helped champion Liria’s legal career, and even launched Liria’s book encouraging MPs to buy it (see ‘additional evidence’ below).
  • Liria is the sole shareholder of Paga Hill Development Company (PNG) Limited (PHDC), a controversial real-estate developer behind the Paga Hill Estate.

 

In October 2012, there was an international media storm when it was discovered key executives in the project, had been slammed in 3 Commission of Inquiries, 4 Public Accounts Committee inquiries and 2 Auditor General Reports. Rather than investigate PHDC for ‘corrupt dealings’ (to quote the Public Accounts Committee), in late October 2012 the Prime Minister declared Paga Hill Estate a project of national significance (see below).

  • Since 2012 the O’Neill government has agreed to act as a formal partner in the Paga Hill Estate project, offering any investor significant tax breaks.
  • Prime Minister O’Neill features in the investor brochure issued by Liria’s company this year. In it O’Neill declares the Paga Hill Estate a ‘key project site’ for APEC 2018.  

So how can Liria publicly claim to oppose mismanagement by the O’Neill government, when arguably his real-estate development company is a prime beneficiary of this mismanagement.

Are we getting the full picture?

One theory is that Liria is, in fact, an ally of Prime Minister O’Neill, and is being sent into the Ialibu-Pangia electorate to split the opposition vote. If he can successfully do this, it will ease O’Neill’s return to the throne.

An alternative factual scenario, which is being put forward by PNG Blogs, is that Liria has turned against his former friend and benefactor – and joining forces with a number of senior politicians who want to steal the O’Neill throne.

There is evidence to support this hypothesis:

  • Stanley Liria is close friends and has business links with Governor William Powi, who wants to topple the PM.
  • Liria is the long-time front-man for the Icelandic-Australian businessman Gudmundur Fridriksson, a man whose businesses have been censured for corruption and other illegal activities in 1 Commission of Inquiry, 4 Public Accounts Committee inquiries and 2 Auditor General reports.
  • Peter O’Neill’s close friend and ally, Minister Justin Tkatchenko has accused Fridriksson and PHDC of bankrolling a rival candidate in his seat of Moresby South, to the tune of K1 million. The rivalry between Tkatchenko and Fridriksson goes back to the Bill Skate days, when both were foreign businessmen competing for the profitable affections of Mr Skate.
  • Tkatchenko has lobbied for a Commission of Inquiry into the Paga Hill Estate, which if O’Neill enacted could lead to Fridriksson and Liria’s downfall.
  • William Duma is a hidden partner in Paga Hill Estate.

So there are two hypotheses:

  1. Stanley Liria remains a close ally of Peter O’Neill, who has benefited from the PM’s support, and in repayment will help divide the opposition vote, as a fake rival.
  2. Liria has split from O’Neill, and believes his own business interests, and those of his close associates, will be better served by forming a rival coalition that can take the Prime Ministership from O’Neill.

Additional evidence

O’Neill vouches for new law book 

Post-Courier, 12 January 2005, page 2
A LOT of parliamentarians do not know much about Papua New Guinea law despite being the country’s lawmakers, Opposition Leader Peter O Neill said yesterday.
Praising Southern Highlands lawyer and author Stanley Liria for writing a book titled A Law Awareness for Papua New Guinea – Our Guide to The Rule of Law, Mr O Neill said he would recommend to his parliament colleagues that they buy the newly published book.
He said the book would help MPs understand the basics of PNG law, which was important as most parliamentarians passed laws without having a sound knowledge of the legal system.
I will try to see if I can get some members of Parliament, as I said many of us don t come from a legal background, we pass laws on the floor of Parliament that we don t sometimes understand,  Mr O Neill said.
There is no real explanation before the bills get passed.
A book of this nature will assist us (MPs) in doing so, we will certainly write to each member and see if they are interested in trying to get this book (in order) to understand the workings of the law and the judicial system of the country.
Talking about his first book that took five years to put together, Mr Liria said the title was written in simple English and should attract readers from all walks of life.
He said the book should dispel the perception that only lawyers and law enforcement officers should know about law and would strive to ensure its selling price is kept to a minimum to attract a wide readership.
Mr Liria said the 94-page book would cost between K25 and K30 and people wishing to buy a copy or place orders could contact him on mobile 684 8273 or e-mail crossrds@hotmail.com

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Preparing for War… A CALL TO ARMS

December 26, 2015 6 comments

Gary Juffa

Today we are besieged. The so called elites in power who do the bidding of the pirates that control our resources are fast selling PNG off, neither protecting nor promoting PNG interests.

Just walk into any business and ask yourself how is PNG protected here? A few genuine businesses and investors struggle while a many are merely here as vultures to take what they can while they can.

Just reflect on all decisions made regarding resource development and ask yourself, how has PNG being protected or promoted here? Not a single decision has been made with the people of PNGs interests at heart. Zero, zilch, none.

Go to the nearest Police and Army barracks. These are our badges of sovereignty, they lie in shambles, rotting, dilapidated and sad. They tell our story of National Security.

The public service is no longer a machine that delivers goods and services for PNG, many a good public servant has been shut out, removed and even attacked. The civil service is now an evil service and public servants are fast being replaced by public serpents.

Justice is now only affordable to those who can pay for it. Law is for those who can take it into their own hands.

That is our reality.

Next year on, our efforts to fight for a PNG worth saving must not be confined to social media chats, discussions at buai markets or during coffee and tea sessions, they must actually culminate in physical action.

I myself have prepared for this, I hope other Papua New Guineans who care about their country and its future will do the same.

I am hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Time and time again, I have found that in PNG during times when we need to rise up and fight, sadly, courage is very much lacking and overshadowed by apathy.

By our very inaction, we are allowing ourselves as a people to be led to the slaughter. A terrible and sad situation we find ourselves in today as we stare into a bleak future where we are marginalized and no longer own our land, are no longer in control of our resources and are but spectators in a future designed for others by others.

This is NOT the PNG I want for my children. I am sure it is NOT the PNG you want for your children either.

Today, it is a PNG where elected leaders and a public service machinery work against their people, instead of protecting our interests they are busy selling of our resources to hostile forces for 30 pieces of silver.

How did we arrive here?

How is it that just about every State organ created and designed for the very reason to protect and promote PNG interests have turned against its people? Brutalizing our people, selling off our land and doing so with careless abandon and an almost arrogant impunity?

How is it that a PNG with so much hope and promise has instead became a land of lawlessness and lost opportunities?

How is it that our systems of education and health have deteriorated so bad that we have come to accept that we are now intentionally managed to be a population of weak, unhealthy, unintelligent and pacified zombies allowing ourselves to be herded and moved here and there by ruthless pirates and their puppet MPs?

Today, our resources, our jobs and our opportunities are not guaranteed.Our voices of dissent and protest and concern are brushed aside and we are instead told to be happy, we are encouraged to sing praises as infrastructure, often low quality at inflated prices are built with monies borrowed at outrageous interest rates that we and our future generations are expected to pay back.

Many of our people have fallen, mesmerized by the bright lights of false promises, and raise their voices and sing praises without realizing the bitter price our future generations will be paying.

Even what is wrong and unethical and immoral we have come to accept and expect and now are promoting but telling ourselves “as long as there is something being done”. What is being done is your country and your people are being sold lock, stock and barrel to powerful forces that do not care about you and your children and want only your resources and the profits they can make at your expense.

Yes, whenever we raise concern about the state of PNG, we are labelled doom and gloom prophets. But these are NOT prophesies, these are but realities.

Meanwhile, those in power move to shut voices of dissent, manipulate the media to churn out propaganda to divert the attention of masses, rule and divide with money and weaken systems of good governance and render them useless.

2017 is WAR. It is NOW or NEVER. RISE or FALL.

It is a war you and I must fight to SAVE PNG. No one else will do this for us. Our so called friends and neighbors are busy with their own problems and besides their vision of what we must be is NOT what we should accept as it is but a mere fraction of what we can be.

I see all the usual political gimmicks moving again. Its the time for politics. “Its just a game” say the usual conmen, middlemen and puppets and muppets.

A game where people die…our people.

So scan all the political parties you admire, subscribe to and enthusiastically embrace and promote and sing for and drink beer for and tell your inlaws about proudly…and in quiet moments….in the still of a PNG night when you can only hear is TRUTH…ask yourselves…ARE THEY FIGHTING FOR PNG? Most are merely pandering the same old mediocre statements that have kept them in power either contributing directly or indirectly to where PNG is now…

I may fight this battle alone, I don’t have the riches and backing of powerful financial pirates that they do, but I believe in a PNG owned by Papua New Guineans…I have a few loyal friends and family…they love this country too

Choose your leaders carefully, ask yourself, since we are at war, are they the person you want by your side fighting for you, will they be at the forefront of our battle fighting with energy and patriotic passion to save our people, our land and our future or will they be whisked away by the pirates that control our resources and are sucking the very life out of our nation while we sit and watch silently?

Yes, many are NOT your leaders, they are THEIR leaders….fighting NOT for you and what is yours but for what their MASTERS have paid for.

So rise up and fight for PNG if you believe that it is a PNG worth saving. Just saying that this is true and liking this page is NOT enough, live every moment as if it is your last and remember the faces of your children and ask yourself, WHERE WILL THEY BE TOMORROW IF I FAIL THEM TODAY?

WE MUST FIGHT!

If we don’t, we have firmly helped the boot of the oppressor be placed on the neck of our children and we have folded our arms and shut our mouths and blindfolded our eyes and crossed our legs and sold out…

I am preparing for war. I will fight every which way to save my people, our land and our future, I believe you can choose that too…I may go down alone but I go down knowing I did not merely give up or watch like a coward, I fought.