Racial slur upsets MPs

A number of Parliamentarians were quite upset today by an outburst from Peter Yama, who claimed Madang MP Bryan Kramer “is most dangerous because he is not from this country”.

During questions without notice, the Madang Governor asked the Attorney General and Deputy Prime Minister, Davis Steven, to clarify police operations regarding election petitions, claiming he was “confronted” by police personnel on two separate occasions.

“I was confronted by policemen, mobile squad, at the Jackson’s airport with my family for a very minor issue – election petition. I had an election petition filed against me and I won the case,” said Yama.

“After two-and-a-half years, this matter is now being brought to police for me to be charged for K50. And my family has been traumatised – with myself – at the airport when we were coming back from the Philippines.

“Yesterday (Feb 13), I left the Parliament at about 11.55 after the Parliament sitting. I went out of this Parliament right to the entrance of the gate, the policemen were waiting for me again.”

Yama said apart from uniformed personnel, some were in plainclothes.

“I got suspicious there were some policemen so I put the car in front of the gate and I stopped,” Yama continued. “And then the policemen came in and said: ‘Are you Mr Yama?’ I said ‘Yes, I am’. They said ‘we got a letter for you from the Police Commissioner’.”

Yama replied that he had no idea about the letter, then he turned his vehicle around again towards the Parliament.

“And I thought the rightful thing to do was talk to them and I stopped the car. The policeman came into the presence of the Parliament and issued me a paper; a letter from the police commissioner; I must go report there by 10.30 in the morning.

“In the standing order, section 13, no one can come into this Parliament to serve documents. If a policeman can come do it to me, who are you?

“It is very frightening for me to have a policeman in this Parliament.”

Yama then asked if the Attorney General could clarify how an indictable offence could become a criminal issue.

For his final question, Yama asked the deputy speaker: “Do you realise that this man is a most dangerous man?”

A point of order was then raised by East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, who said since the MP in question was not present, to maintain Parliamentary decorum, could the governor withdraw his statement?

Na sapos em na memba blo Madang tupla i gat hevi, i gat planti ples blo tupla lo stretim. They don’t need to do it on the floor of Parliament. This is the second time that this is happening, Mr Speaker. Please rule.”

Instead of withdrawing his statement, Yama went ahead and made discriminatory statements against Kramer’s race.

This saw Prime Minister James Marape and Governor Bird exit the chamber while an angry Lae MP and Lands Minister, John Rosso, said whether they are mixed race or not, they grew up in PNG.

“Twenty-percent of this Parliament is made up of mipla ol hap kas. I request, Mr Speaker, through your office, that my kandre withdraw the statement because em bagarapim bel blo mi.”

Meantime, Police Minister Kramer told this newsroom that he missed today’s sitting as he had a meeting and court-related matters to attend to.

“I notified the Prime Minister that I wouldn’t be able to attend the Parliament session, only to find out that the Governor for Madang raised some scandalous, baseless allegations against me. In response to his claim that I am the most dangerous: I am the only most dangerous person to those who are corrupt,” Kramer stated.

Minister Kramer also denied sending police to confront Governor Yama, saying his role as the Minister is purely policy-based.

“The office of the (police) commissioner is a constitutional office; he has absolute power and administration over members of the force. Even if I was to try and give him a directive, he can ignore my directive, and that’s his power to do so.”

Yama told Parliament that police were pursuing him over an election petition case where he allegedly bribed an electoral officer with K50.

“I’ve since been briefed in relation to Mr Yama’s allegations. I understand police have requested him to come in for an interview in relation to a bribery allegation in Madang in 2017 elections in Rai Coast.”

The case involved two electoral assistant returning officers who were found to be guilty of receiving K500 and K50 respectively from Yama.

“In 2018 there was a trial where they pleaded guilty, they were found guilty. The court then asked the question according to the judgement: Where is the principal offender? If the court is finding two accomplices to a crime of bribery, where is the person that gave them the money?”

Kramer said since Yama was named in the judgement, police are simply asking him to come in for an interview to give his side of the story.

“So I appeal to all members of Parliament, there’s no point going to the media or the floor of Parliament and making a show. Just make yourself available for interview, your rights are protected and you’ll have your day in court.”

Carmella Gware