CHAMBER CALLS ON PNG GOVERNMENT TO JUSTIFY DEPORTATION

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Says O’Neill regime must ‘respect rule of law’

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 29, 2011) – The Papua New Guinea Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on the O’Neill-Namah regime to justify its actions to deport Graham Osborne. PNG CCI president John Leahy said the O’Neill government must respect the rule of law and added that the industry viewed with serious concern the latest development in the political situation in the deportation.

"The chamber views with serious concern the latest development in the political situation culminating in the deportation of Graham Osborne and has called on the O’Neill regime to justify its actions," Mr Leahy said.

"If the reports are correct and it is simply the association with the Somare regime that has resulted in the deportation of this longstanding and respected member of the business community, then this is a matter of deep concern calling into question the so-called O’Neill regime’s commitment to the rule of law," he said.

[PIR editor’s note: The PNG Post-Courier reported that the Somare appointed Deputy Prime Minister Anderson Agiru has "reminded Parliament elect PM Peter O’Neill and his camp that Papua New Guinea is a free country." Mr. Agiru said PNG ‘"is no longer a country of hamlets and villages. We are a cosmopolitan, multi racial, multi cultural, and multi lingual society. We are a country that promotes free enterprise. We are a [sic] open society where professional businessmen and working class all over the world congregate, live, and conduct businesses. Therefore the deportation of Graham Osborne by an illegitimate Government for an illegitimate reason is unlawful and very dangerous precedent.’" Meanwhile, The National reported that the deportation is being justified by the O’Neill government as ‘part of the government’s plan to get rid of "illegal aliens that are conducting illegal businesses and engaging in (local) politics".’]

"Papua New Guinea has steadily been growing in stature as an investment destination since the time of the government led by Sir Mekere Morauta and actions like this, if politically motivated, could serve to undermine the precious credibility that has slowly and painstakingly been accumulating under successive governments," Mr Leahy said.

"The PNGCCI calls on the O’Neill regime to respect the rule of law whether it be on the floor of parliament or in carrying out executive decisions."

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