Just like Papua New Guineans watched live on television last Friday when hordes of government MP’s and 13 ministers crossed the floor to join the opposition, the government however pulled off another surprise yet again yesterday.
Score 1-1 as far as PNG Parliament surprises are concerned.
There was mounting pressure for a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister James Marape from the Opposition camping out in Vanimo.
They had last Friday suspended standing orders and adjourned Parliament to December 1, a critical date that falls outside of the 18 months grace period that a vote of no confidence can be mounted.
But almost less than 24 hours notice by Speaker Job Pomat to recall Parliament made late Monday afternoon moved the goal post for any vote of no confidence further.
During yesterday’s sitting, the Speaker called for questions without notice and Nuku MP Joe Sungi was first asking the Prime Minister to explain to the country and MP’s what was going on in light of last Friday’s events pulled off by the opposition and he was concerned about passing the budget.
Sungi pointed out and queried if any delay in sitting would affect the budget- health and education services among many essential services would be affected.
Sungi received accolades from PM Marape who quipped he thought all West Sepik politicians have abandoned him but acknowledged Sungi for being loyal to his government.
The leader of the opposition Belden Namah is from Vanimo Green River electorate, West Sepik, and together with him are Aitape Lumi’s Patrick Pruaitch and Governor Tony Wouwou.
But Prime Minister Marape then went to business saying he was working tirelessly in the last 18 months to manage the economy and fix a lot of misfortunes brought about by previous governments.
He reflected on previous events and assured the people not to be disappointed about the recent political happenings orchestrated by Belden Namah and his opposition group.
“The country is bigger than politicians,” Marape said.
“They clouded sanity and voice of law.”
He said he was the Prime Minister for grassroots people and he knew the challenges people in the remote places have as he grew up in remote Western and West Sepik eating sago and taro in respective provinces.
Marape said the budget would be about the helping everyone but at the same time maintaining the recurrent budget.
He then dropped the bombshell the opposition camping in Vanimo may have not wanted.
“We are only sitting for the treasurer to deliver the budget,” Marape said.
His government of 50 MP’s went on to pass a K19.6 billion budget on voices.