By Scott Waide – EMTV News, Lae
Kiriwina-Goodenough MP, Douglas Tomuriesa, has revealed that that Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel, and Abau MP, Sir Puka Temu, called on Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, to resign yesterday at the PNC caucus meeting. Tomuriesa, who resigned today as Forest Minister and Leader of Government Business, said their calls went unheeded by Mr. O’Neill, resulting in the mass walkout of PNC cabinet members.
“When you lose the confidence of your caucus and of your government, you need to put the leadership on the table. The call was made very clear by Sir Puka Temu, by Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel and myself at the caucus meeting. It is only proper that the Prime Minister respects the caucus and puts the leadership on the table. Because of the failure to do so, it is in our power as leaders that we make this decision today.”
For the past two weeks, leaders of the Southern block – the Papuan region – have been publicly criticised for their apparent indecision and their lack of cohesion. On Monday, the group met to discuss their future in the coalition. They are also expected to meet again today to shore up their numbers. Many have viewed them as a large group of indecisive MPs who ‘make up the numbers’ for ruling coalition’s past and present – but in the PNC caucus meeting, they appeared to be the most vocal group, demanding a change in leadership. The Papuan block, however, had one notable absence: Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel.
“I am making this call to Charlie Abel to join us here,” Tomuriesa stated.