Roads of Scars
A Smiling Baby

Plans for a coup against Marape led me to join the government

Bird Juffa
Governor Allan Bird and Governor Gary Juffa - two eminent independent politicians join the Marape government

GOVERNOR ALLAN BIRD | My Land, My Country

WEWAK - To my beloved Sepik people, I make this explanation because I am accountable to you all.

When the [political] events of 2011 came about, I was outspoken against it. Since 2011, the economic climate in Papua New Guinea has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate.

The East Sepik Provincial Government was particularly punished from 2011–17 because of the position taken by Sir Michael Somare.

Our grants were cut consistently by more than 80% during that period. This was unjust, uncalled for and vicious way to treat the Sepik people.

I stood against People’s National Congress [the part of Peter O’Neill] and it’s vindictive and punitive practice and policies in 2017 and won elections on that basis.

Over the past two years we fought the PNC government. During the vote of no confidence, we tried to depose PNC with the help of the Marape splinter group.

We worked hard to remove PNC. Things didn’t work out well but we kept pushing.

After James Marape was installed as prime minister, our fight with PNC seemed over except that they were still there working in the background.

When I was in the United States recently, I received information of a possibility of another parliamentary coup to remove Marape.

Elements within PNC and others were behind it. I objected strongly and said I would not be a part of such a move.

PNC and its leaders have now been ejected by James Marape to join the opposition.

When the opportunity to help the country arose for some of us to assist the government, we took it.

My fight was against PNC and its repressive policies. I have no argument with the Marape government, unlike the O’Neill government.

In opposition we operate as a team, I am sad that we had to split up the team but I didn’t get elected for position or power.

I got elected because I wanted to help Sepik and our country ultimately.

One of our MPs has the opportunity to help the country in Treasury, myself and others are in government to help him perform that role.

Members of opposition join Marape
Coup averted. James Marape with new Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, Bryan Kramer and other opposition members who have joined the Marape government

Ultimately, if the country collapses, we all pay the price. So if we have the opportunity to work with a good PM and save our country, then I want to do that.

It wasn’t an easy thing to do to leave the opposition. My friends are there. But some of my friends are now in government and I want to support the new Treasurer so he can contribute to putting our nation back on track.

Finally, I will remain as governor because we have much to do at home. We have the massive European Union grant program and others that are earmarked for us. I want to protect those investments from those who want to derail the good works we intend to do at home.

James Marape wants us to build the economy of Sepik to support the country. His views are consistent with mine and I want to work with him for all our benefit.

Maulu tumas na God bless

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