Source: Nou Frederick Vada
We the students of the University of Papua New Guinea condemn the statements made by the Justice Minister Dr. Allan Marat to Radio New Zealand International.
Dr. Marat’s claim that the protest march mounted by UPNG students against the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 on Friday the 23rd of March 2012 was the workings of the students of Enga Province, who are biased towards the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia who is himself an Engan.
What Dr. Marat needs to understand is that the protest March to occupy Waigani that took place on Friday was the direct result of a resolution passed by the Student Body at the General Forum Meeting of Thursday 22nd March 2012. In this meeting representatives from all 22 Provinces, after close consultation with their Student provincial groups, aired their official stance to the Student Body.
Students from all 22 Provinces motioned to march the following day – and we did. The Organizing Commtittee consisted of students from various Provinces and not just Enga. In fact students from Dr. Marat’s own Niugini Islands region were some of the most vocal and active members of the March and the Committees behind the March. Now we do not deny that of UPNG’s 5 SRC executives, 3 are Engan. The other two are from the Mamose Region. But in organising this march, young Papua New Guineans from all the different Provinces played important roles in key aspects of the March and the Petition.
The Petition was drawn up by a Committee chaired by a student from Sepik. The Committee that prepared the Opinion on the Bill was chaired by a Papuan. We did not see along regional lines when we stood together for each other and for Papua New Guinea, organising our successful March to Parliament. We find the Justice Minister’s statements most unhelpful and is the kind of thinking that would tear up unity in the Campus right now.
Even the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea acknowledged the UPNG Petition in his address to the nation on Sunday night as being “in the public interest”. Therefore, this kind of hate speech designed to break student morale here in UPNG must be condemned with the strongest of terms. Prime Minister O’Neill’s Government is one made up of Members of Parliament from all 4 regions of Papua New Guinea and all 22 Provinces, including Enga and East New Britain.
We therefore seek an apology from Dr. Allan Marat for these most reckless statements made on air to Radio New Zealand International as we are of the view that such statements are deliberate attempts to dishearten and break up the common resolve of the student body to have the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 repealed.
We are asking the Prime Minister to speak with his Justice Minister and make sure such dangerous statements are not made ever again. Such statements may cause public unrest and unnecessary violence which we must all condemn no matter what side of the argument we take in this issue of the Judicial Conduct Act.