Peter O’Neill – serial raider leaves PNG with a bare cupboard
Two days to go – and bribery looms large in the political rhetoric

Husat inap sanap? Three cardinal sins O’Neill should not survive


“Peter O'Neill has committed three cardinal sins which no prime minister of a modern liberal democracy can expect to survive: blatant disregard of the rule of law, mismanagement of the economy and refusal to heed the public outcry to step down from public office” - Dr Anthony Deklin, one of PNG's first constitutional lawyers and former senior lecturer at the University of Canberra Law School

AMONG the hectic politics of money changing hands going on in Alotau and elsewhere at the moment, Papua New Guineans can easily lose sight of the three cardinal sins Peter O'Neill has committed as PNG prime minister.

These are the core issues that remain unresolved and have led to the confrontation between the national politicians that will take place on the floor of parliament this Friday.

These issues are apart from the social and economic costs the country has so far had to endure outside the parliamentary precinct, including the sacrifice of one university student's life.

In other liberal democracies, no prime minister or leader of a political party could expect to hold on to the leadership in these circumstances.

Peter O'Neill has committed three grave mistakes and still survives. Of course, we are talking about the so-called the Land of the Unexpected, but this is no excuse.

Disregard of the rule of law is no excuse for anyone whether they live in a land of the unexpected or a land of the expected. Let's take a brief look at each of these cardinal sins.

First, Peter O'Neill has consistently and blatantly refused to comply with the rule of law to answer allegations of fraudulent criminal misconduct by preventing the police to serve him a warrant of arrest to compel him to appear in court to answer the allegations.

The reason, he has repeated so many times to the media when confronted, is that there is no evidence.

Mr O’Neill knows well that the only place in our democracy and under the rule of law where that claim can be proved once and for all is in the courts - and yet he refuses to attend.

He thereby elevates himself above the law and therefore above the rest of us.

Secondly, Peter O'Neill has mismanaged the economy with unwise and huge financial borrowings from dubious international financiers and extravagant spending.

This has caused unnecessary financial hardship through all sectors of the national economy and beyond it to the rest of society. These financial difficulties are made worse by the recent downturn in commodity prices in the world market.

Capable management of the national economy has become one of the most important yardsticks by which government leadership in modern democracies is judged. Peter O'Neill has failed that test abysmally.

Thirdly, he treats the public outcry calling on him to step aside until criminal allegations against him are cleared by the courts, as nothing more than a sick joke which he disregards with nothing less than disrespect.

He holds the public and therefore our people of Papua New Guinea as a bunch of clowns who don't deserve his time or care. He holds us in contempt as if we were less than human.

How can anyone occupying the highest public office in the land have such a low opinion of his people and still be allowed to hold the position?

Any of these three serious mistakes by a prime minister in any liberal democracy would have that person out of the door in no time, either by the vote of his own political party or at an election.

This is simply unconscionable conduct which would have caused politicians of conscience and principle to withdraw support of such a leader.

This Friday we will see which members of parliament who are still in the government camp meet this real test of integrity of political leadership.

It won't be a question of whether they like Peter O'Neill as a man or his leadership or his policies as such. It will be the test of them as human beings - whether they have a conscience or principles in their personal lives, let alone in their lives as national political leaders.

Huset bai a man tru or meri tru standing up against the evil of political leadership this Friday?

This is the question our nation will be facing on the floor of its highest lawmaking institution in the nation on the last working day of this week.


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Bernard Corden

You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time - Abraham Lincoln.

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