These were the words spoken by prominent Lawyer and President of Catholic Professionals Society PNG, Paul Harricknen, during a press conference on Thursday 16th March 2023, at the Catholic Bishops Conference Centre in Waigani.
An opening prayer and remarks were given by Sr Daisy Lisania, Secretary for Social Communications CBCPNGSI, before statements were given by keynote speakers, Mr Harricknen; and Member of CPSPNG, Michael Varpik.
Present were members of CPS, staff of CBCPNGSI, and media personnel.
According to the Press Release issued, “The announcement by the Prime Minister and the Government for changes to the Prime Minister’s & the NEC Act to increase the number of Ministries is more self-serving for the government MPs than for the common good and national interest.”
Mr Harricknen, reminded ministers of their mandated roles as leaders and warned how such a proposal for six new ministries would negatively impact the people.
“This is a clear indication that the government’s priorities are misplaced, and it only serves as a way for political expediency to keep those holding power in office,” he said.
Mr Harricknen added, “It will be expensive for six new ministries to be established and it is only a mockery of the state of our country’s economy. We are being upfront, truthful, and raising our voice on this matter on behalf of the majority of our people suffering in silence.”
Stressing the important role, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) served, Mr Harricknen, called on the different government departments and heads to fully support the commission to effectively stamp out the rampant and evident systematic corruption at play.
“Corruption is still a big problem. ICAC needs to be fully funded and enforced to be able to really tackle corruption. ICAC is a key institution and must operate independently to help resolve much of the political, economic, and social distress experienced by the nation,” he clarified.
Mr Varpik described the leadership of today as ‘one without the fear of God’ and said it was a disgraceful practice that still needed to be broken.
“It is shameful because they no longer have any fear of God and the concern and wellbeing of the people at heart. How do these new ministries proposed take precedence over the suffering experienced by so many Papua New Guineans? How much more will it cost the government,” he stated.