O’Neill replies to PNG university student petitions but seeks ‘advice’

The mass of students at the University of Papua New Guinea's Waigani campus forum for the handover of their "stand down" petition to Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Image: Xmedia/#UPNG4PNG

By Adelaide Sirox Kari in Port Moresby

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has responded to petitions presented to him by students at the two major universities in Papua New Guinea.

The Prime Minister said that appropriate responses would be made as soon as the government received satisfactory advice from the state agencies.

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Prime Minister Peter O’Neill … needs time to response to “technical and legal” issues. Image: EMTV News

The students’ petitions had asked him to stand down from public office and allow the police investigation into corruption allegations to proceed.

The UPNG students gave a 24-hour deadline for O’Neill’s response when their petition was handed over to a government delegation on campus on “black Thursday”. They have threatened a mass withdrawal from studies.

O’Neill said that the petition contained issues which were technical and legal in nature. It would require proper advice from state agencies before any responses were made.

“As such it will require proper due diligence and advice from the state agencies before any response is delivered to you,” he said in a letter to the two university bodies.

“You will note that some of the issues are in Court therefore legal advice is required so that we are not in breach or contemptuous of Court Orders and proceedings.

“It is therefore not possible for the Government or the Office of the Prime Minister to provide any responses in the manner requested,” O’Neill said

Not received
However, University of Papua New Guinea SRC president Kenneth Rapa told EMTV News that he had not yet received any response from the Prime Minister.

The University of Technology SRC president, David Kelma, in Lae confirmed he had received it.

Meanwhile, the UPNG Senate met yesterday to discuss the academic year.

The Senate has not released its decision yet, whether to continue the academic year.

But UPNG public relations officer Jim Robins said the university response would be given as soon as possible because most parents were concerned with their children’s future.

Adelaide Sirox Kari is an EMTV News reporter.

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  1. Simply step down and clear yourself. Senior Judge Sir Bernard Sakora has set a clear example for everywone to follow. He respected the rule of law when he was arrested and judged for some allegations against him. He stepped down from performing his constitutional duties pending court’s decision.

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