ALLAN BIRD: Should We Replace Prime Minister James Marape?

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Should we replace PMJM?

By Allan Bird | 16 November 2020.

When you vote for a Prime Minister, you actually place your trust in him and you hope he does the right thing. After you vote for him, it’s your responsibility to keep him on the right track.

Hon Marape is the first PM I ever voted for. So I tried to keep Government honest after I voted for Marape. I spoke up many times when I disagreed with certain aspects of government. I felt that was my duty to do so. I didn’t understand the Porgera decision but I respected the Engan MPs who pushed that.

I disagreed with the Pandemic Bill and the way we responded to COVID19. In the end, the COVID19 strategy was changed the way I argued for. I didn’t like the way NEC was used and I spoke against it. I boycotted Government Caucus for 9 months because I disagreed with many things. I am not always right but Marape knows that I am sincere in my disagreements and I felt he respected that.

Years ago I asked Sir Mekere why he supported Peter O’Neil to overthrow Somare. He said to me: “It was the worst mistake I ever made. I thought he would be a good PM”. So I used that as my guide.

Choosing a PM is always going to be your best guess and then you cross your fingers and hope for the best outcome. No PM will be perfect and they will make mistakes. Mistakes because they are friends with the wrong people or because other MPs who voted for them will make unreasonable requests of them.

I wish our PMs were directly elected by the people. That way they won’t be easily influenced by pressure from MPs.

So should PMJM be replaced? What evidence should I use to make that decision?

For me it’s how ESP was treated in the Budget under Marape. My experience under PNC was that from 2017-2019 my province received nil project funding.

The first thing Marape did was to approve the K340m EU Grant program 2 days before the funding was withdrawn. I fought bitterly with the PNC government who refused to approve this funding. This funding will transform our province and the country.

Under the Marape Government a total of K65m in PIP was extended to our province in 2020. To me that’s a strong indicator of what we can expect from PMJM. I believe all provinces got a better shake under PMJM. Under O’Neil only PNC provinces and districts got support.

For those decisions by Marape that will have a massive benefit to the Sepik people, I owe Marape my support.

“Taim nogut man kisim spia na sanap wantaim yu, taim nogut blong em yu mas sanap wantaim em” this is an Abelam principle.

If by supporting him I go to the Opposition so be it. I enjoyed being in Opposition and I miss being there. So I relish the idea of going back to Opposition.


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