K10-K15m to repair parliament: Speaker

The cost of repairing damages done to the parliament stands between K10 and K15 million.

Speaker of the House Job Pomat told media that assessments are currently underway.

After observing for a week the activities that unfolded following the rampage at the parliament house, Parliament Speaker Pomat spoke for the first time regarding the incident.

He opened up the conversation in Tok Pisin, saying part of the cost could include that of the damages done to private property, like cars that belonged to parliament employees.

“To come to the parliament and show their frustration is not right. They not only destroyed what belongs to Papua New Guineans, but what were private properties like staff vehicles. These things cost thousands of kina to repair. I believe private properties should be included in the cost.”

The Speaker was more disappointed that the very people trained and sworn in to protect state assets would attack the very building that represented PNG’s sovereignty and democracy.

“This is the last place to touch or destroy for that matter. We seem to be doing things backwards. My staff here at the parliament house were traumatised. They are also cooperating with police investigations.”

The Speaker said he hoped assessments can be over soon so they can submit a cost to the government to get repairs done before parliament sits next January.

Speaking only briefly about the underlying issue, Pomat questioned the purpose of a work allowance.

He said the system of paying allowances needs to be fixed; the reason being that allowances are supposed to be paid before a job is carried out.

He stressed that allowances are paid beforehand to cover for necessities such as meals and incidentals.

The Speaker said frustrations built up overtime and spilled into the Parliament House because these public servants already knew the trend where work is done first, and then allowance paid later.

Salome Vincent