Polye says he was concerned with the manner in which Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his government were engaged in a witch-hunt to suppress those who stood up to protect the country’s rule of law, institutions, democracy and to fight corruption.
“These pilots among the students and citizens have expressed their rights to dissent as provided for in our Constitution.
“The termination, by the CEO of Air Niugini, is not in the best interest of the country and that is an assault on democracy and our Constitution,” says the Opposition Leader.
Polye denied the Opposition incited or funded them, saying the company’s justification to terminate them is an ‘absolute lie to make its irresponsible action look genuine’.
“We have seen the students from the University of PNG paying the price for standing up for what is right and just.
“Now the pilots have followed suit. We will not be surprised to see more is looming,” he says.
Polye warns that the country, once renowned for freedom of speech and expression, has now deviated into a path branded as ‘kleptocratic’ ([of a government, state, etc] characterised by corruption amongst those in power. Dictionary.com).
The Opposition Leader says those who were patriotic had their share of similar fight-backs, citing his predecessor Belden Namah’s leadership tribunal, allegation of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare benefitting from a contractor and his own electoral fraud case.
He adds that these pilots have cost the taxpayers dearly for their training, therefore he calls on the CEO and his board to rescind the decision.
“I am afraid it will not only set a bad precedence for the country. It will also cast fear into the minds of those who want to express their dissent against successive governments in the future,” Polye says.