An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism
THE WAY Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has been using his position and powers to manipulate legislation, circumvent legitimate processes and mistreat opponents so he can accomplish his goals is akin to tyranny and poses a threat to PNG’s democracy.
Mid last year, Peter O’Neill unilaterally dragged PNG into shouldering Australia’s asylum seekers’ problem when he signed a deal with then Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd without the input of Cabinet or Parliament and against the outcry of the people of PNG.
Today, Manus Province is facing the consequences of this one man’s doing.
Then later last year, Peter O’Neill vigorously pursued the takeover of Ok Tedi mine and the PNG Sustainable Development Program even to the extreme of manipulating legislation - the so-called Tenth Supplementary Agreement Act - again against the outcry of the populace.
He succeeded in taking over Ok Tedi mine but not PNGSDP Ltd and its assets.
In recent times, Peter O’Neill sacked William Duma and Don Polye as Petroleum and Treasury ministers respectively and appointed himself as acting Treasurer to pave the way for expediting the UBS loan agreement and the purchase of Oil Search shares.
In 2012, Peter O’Neill, with the support of his then deputy prime minister and current opposition leader, Belden Nama, spearheaded the Judicial Conduct Act as a ploy to emasculate the clout and independence of the Judiciary. This was later repealed due to widespread revolt and condemnation.
This growing trend of Peter O’Neill using his position and power as prime minister to manipulate legislation, circumvent legitimate processes and mistreat opponents to accomplish his goals has become too frequent and is not good for PNG.
With effective control of the police force and the military, Peter O’Neill is becoming powerful. The more powerful a leader becomes, the greater his liberty to accomplish his ends by any means and this is very bad for the citizenry and the nation as a whole.
Something has got to be done about it.