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Monday, July 22, 2013

Allow debate on constitutional changes

I CALL on the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and all thinking intelligent Members of Parliament to think very carefully before casting their mandated votes for the changes to be brought to sections 124 and 145 of the Constitution.

Let us not be fooled and blinded by the rhetoric from the prime minister and other MPs that the change will bring about stability to good governance of Papua New Guinea. They do not have the mandate from their voters to touch the Constitution as they please.

The suggestion made the by the prime minister during the current Parliament session that the Parliament is supreme over the Constitution is a very dangerous statement and trend. We are no doubt heading to a stage where democracy would be guided by the wishes of the few who claim to have mandate from their voters to do so. If democracy is guided then we have dictatorial government.

The initial drafting of our Constitution witnessed almost three years of pain-staking work by some of our intelligent lawyers at the time and it was by and through the spirit and wisdom of God that such a beautiful and meaningful Constitution was put together and accepted on the eve of Independence in 1975.

We have arrived at the situation where selfish thinking has led to the views that the Constitution must be amended for reasons of stability and what have you. The proposed changes are nothing more than changes designed to cling to power and further one’s personal economic interest.

I call on thinking citizens of Papua New Guinea to reflect on the business ventures that have been concluded internationally and onshore to know that certain politicians are behind changing the Constitution so that their parliament tenure is secured for them to make more money. That is the truth and what the parliamentarians are attempting to do now is to kill the very democracy enjoyed so far because of the Constitution.

The Parliament is not supreme over the Constitution which in fact gave life to the formation of Parliament. The “heartbeat” of the Parliament as if it was an infant baby was put into place by the Constitution. We are now doing everything to kill the source of that “heartbeat” and replace with a “mechanical heartbeat”.
There must be a public debate on the issue of constitutional changes and supremacy of Parliament and I will lead a team against a team put up by the prime minister.

We all have a duty to look into these threshold issues because of the very fabric of democracy inbuilt into the Constitution by the fathers of the Constitution. No one in his right mind would not allow a public debate on these issues to assist the people of Papua New Guinea better understand the intricacies of constitutional laws meant for the good of Papua New Guinea.

Moses Murray

Port Moresby

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