In a statement released today, Peter O'Neill said: “The Prime Minister has the prerogative to appoint anyone he pleases at his absolute discretion but the appointment of the Opposition Shadow Treasurer to the Treasurer’s post is a gross insult to Members who voted him into office.
“Surely, there must be one member in Government with the credentials to fill the treasurer's post. Even his own PANGU Pati ranks must be smarting from this new insult, now repeated a third time since the appointment of Opposition stalwarts Bryan Kramer and Kerenga Kua to their respective Cabinet posts. It will not be long before Sir Mekere Morauta and Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch join government so be prepared to make way for them.
“In the process the PM has removed one of the hardest working and honest Ministers in Richard Maru.
“Both Mr Maru and Mr Marape went to elections under the People's National Congress ticket. PNC won the 2017 National Elections convincingly.
“Now the Prime Minister has chosen to reject the people's choice and join another party that is his prerogative but it seems preposterous that he has created a post for the very man who opposed him numerous time in parliamentary debates on financial and economic matters. It seems the Hon. Ling-Stuckey has had the last word.”
The former PM said he has chosen to remain silent to let Marape get on with his job but said he will not stand by and let his successor derail all the hard work his team has put in in the last eight years.
“Apart from the attractive rhetoric, we have seen no solid policies and programs so far,” O'Neill said.
“All we have seen is witch hunts and reviewing, revising and reversing all of our programs and projects so much so that everything has shifted to neutral and nothing is moving. This is dangerous for the country.
“The review of the Papua LNG project alone has cost a multinational resource company, Oil Search, K8.5 billion. That is just the start. When the bill for voiding a legitimate contract comes in it will be many times that. And both will still pale by comparison to what the country will lose when the global investment community hear of what is going on.
“This just does not happen in today's cut throat world of business and commercial relations. The Prime Minister is reported courting the Australians, then the Chinese and the Australians again. This does not happen in today’s foreign relations. Despite all the rhetoric about taking PNG back, we see no evidence of this happening beyond the words. With each action we seem to be taking PNG backwards.”