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Alan Bird: Its Time for a New Deal for PNG

By Allan Bird | ESP Governor and Prime Minister's Nominee.
Up until 1pm yesterday I was an independent radical MP going about my usual day working with the Opposition caucus.

When the subject came up, I spoke against getting a nominee and asked my colleagues to wait a week.

"We have a duty to show our people that we hear their cries. We must have a nominee today" Sir Puka Temu said. So the caucus took a decision and here we are.

I am deeply humbled that a founding father and former PM, a former PM and two former deputy PMs and MPs more senior than I, entrusted me with the honour of being the nominee.

Many MPs are actually beggars in Waigani. I have been trying to change this since I walked into Parliament in 2017.

I think PM Marape is a very nice man. I consider him a friend. But our country needs to respond faster to fixing our challenges. I have made many suggestions on how we can transform our country. Those suggestions fall on deaf ears.

This is not a job that we should all want but its a position that comes with immense power to do good and to do bad.

Our Constitution promises all PNGans an equal share of the nation's wealth. I think this New Deal should involve making this a reality.

We are a rich country and our people need to experience this. It's up to us to reform our systems and processes so our people can have an equal opportunity in our country. They should also have a say in how their individual communities develop.

We can't continue using Waigani to weaponise the budget as a tool for staying in power.

We can't wait 10 years for change. We need change in 18 months. If we can't do that, then we should also be thrown out of office.

The challenges facing our country have to be fixed urgently and we cannot delay anymore. These challenges are drowning all of us and government must be rapidly responsive in a transparent manner.

I know there are good leaders in government. We all fight for the same things, we only disagree on how to do it. This is not about myself, its not about the Hon James Marape, it is not about us as MPs, this is about our people.

All our people desire the same things: to live a happy, healthy life in relative safety and security knowing there is equal opportunity for advancement for everyone.

One man can't do this, Waigani has tried for 49 years and we see the results around us. All provinces need the freedom and the resources to develop the way they want to. The shackles of Waigani that hold the entire country imprisoned must be broken.

We have a duty and an obligation to give our people that freedom.


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