Former PNG chief justice explains state role after second Covid-19 case


Former Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet … emergency powers up to controller alone. Video: EMTV News

By Martha Louis in Madang

Papua New Guinea’s former Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet says the state of emergency (SoE) in the country means that no other authority has any ability or powers to make any orders, apart from the Controller.

Amet explained only the controller had the power to make any orders for the management of the state of emergency.

He was clarifying the state role after government appeals for calm following a second case of Covid-19 in the country amid the global pandemic.

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Sir Arnold Amet was at a stakeholders’ meeting with the Covid-19 technical team for Madang when explaining the SoE powers.

The former chief justice said no provincial governments or even governor had the power to make any other order.

No other authority had any legal ability to make any other kind of laws nor issue any laws, only the controller had the power.

Adding that if any other orders were issued that went against the orders of the controller they must be brought in line with the emergency orders and directions as directed by the controller.

Authorisation needed for curfews
Sir Arnold explained provincial authorities that wanted to impose additional measures like curfews must get the authorisation from the controller before executing any additional measures.

Amet said provincial governments and provincial coordination centre were not allowed to make any media statements regarding the National Emergency unless authorised by the emergency controller.

EMTV News reports that Prime Minister James Marape announced on Monday that Papua New Guinea had its first locally-detected Covid-19 case.

Three and a half weeks after it had announced its first case, an expatriate worker who was returning to the country, and who had travelled through Spain and Singapore before landing in Port Moresby, and transiting to Lae.

This second Covid-19 positive case was detected in East New Britain.

Prime Minister Marape explained to the media, and the country, that the 40-year-old woman, who had a history of asthma, had presented flu-like symptoms at Nonga Base Hospital on the March 23.

Martha Louis is a crime and court reporter with the EMTV News bureau in Lae. The Pacific Media Centre republishes EMTV News articles with permission.

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