National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop has appealed to the University of Papua New Guinea student leaders to deliver their petition to the Prime Minister themselves.
The petition is believed to call on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to stand aside while implicated in corruption allegations and investigations.
This was the way forward that the students had agreed to, said Parkop.
“An opportunity was given to them last week and they turned it down. It was consistent too with their demand that the Prime Minister or ‘his representative’ receive their petition,” he said.
“By reneging on their own position, the students have shown [a] lack of sincerity in their cause. I encourage them to allow the petition to be received on behalf of the Prime Minister or be delivered by a committee of the students and allow the Prime Minister time to consider and reply.”
Parkop pointed out that since independence, no prime minister has gone to UPNG or elsewhere to receive any petition, especially in the current environment of boycotts or protests.
All prime ministers in the past had maintained a stand to protect the integrity of the Office of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea so that a precedent was not set where the incumbent PM had to succumb to threats and or demands, Parkop said.
‘Keyboard warriors’ condemned
“At the same time, I condemn other members of society, or keyboard warriors, who took advantage of the situation to create fear and anxiety by distributing in social media and other means, a warning to businesses, schools and the public in the city of an impending civil unrest. Such actions are unacceptable,” the governor said.
“Those who seek to pursue a campaign by protest must show leadership and responsibility in their decisions and actions. In particular, they must seek to ensure minimal disturbance, [so that] neither fear nor anxiety is created in our country.”
Parkop said that inciting fear, threatening violence or looting and destruction was completely irresponsible and it would not be tolerated.
It also did not set a positive precedent to children and future generation.
“We are doing all we can, especially in the city, to prepare for international events, to build a city that is safe and peaceful for all, so I call on the student body at UPNG to support good in the country and to disassociate themselves from these agitators as they are a liability and will bring a bad name to the student body,” he said.
“I encourage the students to partake in actions and activities that will yield positive results and portray themselves as better future leaders in the country.”
Governor Parkop also appealed to residents of the city to remain calm and go about their business as usual.
The UPNG administration earlier today warned in a statement that the planned student boycott ballot could be bordering on contempt.