PNG Prime Minister Reappoints Sacked Minister To Cabinet

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Duma returns as Transport Minister after Kouza resignation

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 11, 2014) – Hagen MP William Duma, who was sacked as petroleum minister, has returned to cabinet as a new minister in a minor reshuffle announced by PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last Friday.

Mr Duma, Leader of United Resource Party (URP), was sworn in by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio at Government House as new Minister for Transport.

Mr Duma, together with Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party Leader and Kandep MP Don Polye, were sacked earlier this year over what the Prime Minister described as causing instability in government.

The reinstatement of Mr Duma was made possible with the voluntary resignation of Community Development Minister Loujaya Kouza, who is now the interim chairperson of the proposed Lae City Commission.

Mr Duma takes over the Transport Ministry while Gazelle MP Malakai Tabar moves over as Higher Education Minister and Delilah Gore takes over as Community Development Minister.

The swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister O’Neill, Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko, Public Enterprises Minister Ben Micah, Usino Bundi MP Anthon Yagama, Justice Minister Ano Pala and Southern Highlands Governor William Powi.

MR O’Neill, in a short media conference later, welcomed back Mr Duma to Cabinet. He said URP is a very strong member of the coalition government since its formation in 2011.

"I want to thank Minister Duma for his leadership and his support despite differences but he has remained a strong supporter of government and for that we are very thankful," Mr O’Neill said. "I also would like to acknowledge that under the Alotau Accord, URP has always remained committed to the agreement that we have signed and under that agreement the URP is entitled to three ministries and this occasion fulfils that agreement."

Mr O’Neill also thanked Ms Kouza, who has voluntarily stood down and has now taken up chairmanship of Lae City Commission.

"She is a courageous leader and I am certain that that strong determination will be reinforced in the management of Lae city."

Mr O’Neill said the minor reshuffle concludes the talents and expertise each one of the MPs brings to cabinet.

He said Mr Duma was responsible for delivering the LNG project and his experience will help deliver major infrastructure programs over the next few years.

Mr Duma thanked the Prime Minister for his reinstatement as minister and said MPs go into Parliament to serve the people and to be given a ministry is a bonus.

"My Prime Minister made his decision to decommission me as a minister I accepted it with humility and accepted his decision," Mr Duma said.

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