PNG Treasurer, Labour Minister Sacked From Cabinet

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PM O’Neill dumps leader of second biggest coalition partner

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 11, 2014) – Treasurer Don Polye and the Labour and Industrial Relations Minister Mark Maipakai have been sacked from cabinet.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday dropped the biggest political bombshell by dumping the leader of the second biggest coalition partner and THE Party leader and Treasury Minister Don Polye and his Southern region deputy leader and Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations Mark Maipakai.

The Prime Minister said the removal of Mr Polye, who is also chairman of the World/Bank/IMF board of Governors, came as result of him "causing instability in the Government" while the decommissioning of Mr Maipakai as Minister was done to "preserve the integrity and public confidence of the Government after he was arrested and charged by police" – a matter which is now before the National Court.

The dumping of the two senior government ministers comes just two weeks after the sacking of United Resource Party (URP) leader William Duma and Higher Education Minister and THE Party member David Arore.

The sacking of the URP and THE Party leaders comes amid unconfirmed reports of secret meetings being held to overthrow Mr O’Neill as Prime Minister but some political observers claimed the decision to kick them out will come back to haunt Mr O’Neill.

"Mr Polye’s conduct as Minister for Treasury and a senior partner in the Government has been ongoing concerns for the Government," Mr O’Neill said.

He occupies one of the key positions in the Government dealing directly with financial and economic management issues of the country and as such his conduct has a direct impact on the stability and confidence of the Government," Mr O’Neill said.

"The sacking of Polye has been done in the best interest of the Government and the country and this does not however affect THE Party.

"THE Party remains an integral member of this government."

Mr O’Neill said in any Westminster system of government, all members including ministers are expected to work together cohesively to develop and implement Government policies.

"PNG is no different. By working as Government, public including international community confidence is achieved, which is a vital ingredient for our country’s development aspirations. This Government since coming into Office after the 2012 general election has introduced a lot of innovative policies, aimed at improving the quality for life of our people – and any lack of solidarity dissents amongst our coalition partners or individuals including ministers will defeat the stability, trust and confidence of our people and investors."

The Prime Minister said he was not going to risk economic opportunities available to PNG by allowing others to bring instability to the Government and its policies.

"It wasn’t easy but for the good of our country, I have after consulting leaders in the government, decided to decommission Honorable Don Polye as Minister for Treasury."

The PM has taken over the Treasury Ministry while his deputy Leo Dion, a senior THE party member, will hold Labour and Industrial Relations until permanent appointments are made after consultations with coalition leaders.

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