PORT MORESBY – Davis Steven has been moved from his position as Papua New Guinea’s deputy prime minister to be replaced by Sam Basil, consolidating Basil's political career and retaining the national planning ministry.
In a document seen by PNG Attitude, no mention was made of Steven or why he has lost the country's second top job.
However, prime minister James Marape’s statement that he saw a “need for political stability and delivering key government priorities” could provide a clue, especially the words ‘political stability’.
Marape mentioned this aspect a second time saying that the changes he’s making “will consolidate stability (and) enhance leadership at the political level to drive key policy priorities.”
Although Basil had previously disappointed many of his supporters with an extraordinary decision to flip over to Peter O’Neill’s side of the aisle as the former prime minister’s shine was fading, there is no doubting his political acumen and capability as a minister.
In addition to Basil, the other changes in the ministry are:
Sir Puka Temu to health minister, ceding his responsibilities for Bougainville Affairs to Marape
Former health minister Jelta Wong to civil aviation
William Onglo in the new portfolio of energy minister, which Marape called “critical” and said “will coordinate the development and implementation of benchmark policies to deliver (electric) power to our villages, regions, towns and cities”
Leka Gure from civil aviation to labour and employment
Walter Schnaubelt is the new Minister for Culture, Tourism and the National Museum
Marape’s new cabinet includes ministers from the National Alliance Party, the United Resources Party and the United Labour Party.
Yesterday the PNG Ombudsman Commission referred Temu to the Public Prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office.
The Commission said the charges against Temu relate to his alleged "failure in upholding his duties and responsibilities of office" but no other details were provided.
Gulf Provincial Administrator, Marc Orisuru Avai, was also referred to the Public Prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office.