The nationwide consultation on the Inquiry to Declare PNG as a Christian country ended today in West New Britain province, a month after consultations began.
“Despite time limitations and budget constraints, we were able to gauge the views of key segments of the society including representatives of different churches, women, youth, NGOs, businesses, educational institutions, provincial administrations and governments, political leaders and the general public as much as we could in all provinces,” CLRC Chairman Kevin Isifu said.
He said the Commission also took note of concerns and criticisms from the educated population and proponents of other religions and faiths through platforms like the CLRC Facebook page, website, and the mainstream media.
“Under the Constitution everyone is entitled to their opinion whether for or against the Inquiry, which CLRC welcomes, respects, and will accord due emphasis and analysis on merit, too,” Mr Isifu said.
He explained that consultation is a Constitutional requirement only the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) is mandated to perform whenever the Government directs CLRC to review the Constitution or the Organic Laws.
He said CLRC has until the end of this month to produce the draft final report with key recommendations, taking into account the implication on democracy, human rights, PNG customs and traditions, and Christianity itself.
“Given the seriousness, CLRC as an independent constitutional office is not insensitive to make blind, half-baked recommendations but meticulous analysis is guaranteed for a holistic final outcome,” Mr Isifu said.
Isifu thanked the government of Prime Minister James Marape for entrusting the Commission with the Inquiry and everyone else especially the Department of Community Development and Religion, the churches, provincial administrations and local MPs for their support.
He reiterated that without any discrimination against any individual, group, or organization, the Government’s intention of the Inquiry is not only for ease of government policy and national development agenda, but importantly to give prominence to PNG’s Christian identity and heritage in the Constitution and as a protection against growing negative influences, challenges, and ideologies that pose a threat to PNG’s way of life and the future generation.