By Jeffrey Elapa and Miriam Zarriga
Papua New Guinea’s predicted Cabinet reshuffle has taken place with Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey becoming the bombshell victim following last week’s Black Wednesday riots that left 22 dead.
Stripped of his Treasury portfolio, Ling-Stuckey — who oversaw the presentation of two record billion dollar budgets for 2023 and 2024 — finds himself stuck as a bench minister assisting Prime Minister James Marape.
The startling reason for his “demotion” was given as failure to implement the budgets he had framed, including not paying attention to the relief packages to the people.
The biggest mover in yesterday’s reshuffle was the controversial yet colourful “happy gardener” Justin Tkatchenko, who returned to his former position as Foreign Minister.
Ling-Stuckey is now the Minister assisting the Prime Minister while Marape takes over as Treasurer.
In total, there are now 37 Ministers out of 38 with the Sports Minister to be announced at a later date. Sports is currently juggled by Minister for Higher Education Don Pomb Polye.
With an expected vote of no confidence next month, the reshuffle was anticipated to consolidate government numbers.
A new ministry announced yesterday is the Key Constitutional Offices Ministry to be headed by Popondetta MP Richard Masere.
In another major twist, the key Ministry of Petroleum portfolio held by senior politician and leader of the PNG National Party Kerenga Kua was stripped off him and handed to Member for Esa’ala Jimmy Maladina.
In what might be considered a slap in the face of Kua’s National Party, the experienced Kua remains with the less important Ministry of Energy.
With the resignation of Aiye Tambua as Minister for Agriculture to answer police investigations, fellow Eastern Highlander and Obura-Wonenara MP John Boito is now the
new Minister for Agriculture.
Former Defence Minister Win Bakri Daki is now Minister for Commerce, which was left vacant by Sohe MP Henry Amuli after his dismissal from office by the courts.
Member for Rigo Sir Ano Pala takes over National Planning while his former Ministry of Mining goes to the Member for Kundiawa-Gembogl Dilu Muguwa.
Rainbo Paita remains Minister for Finance while losing National Planning.
Six new ministers
Six new ministers were also sworn in, who have been appointed based on party lines,
provincial and regional balance, a move the Prime Minister thinks will see them performing well to serve the nation and also to maintain his coalition government.
Congratulating the six new ministers, Prime Minister Marape said this was an opportunity to include new blood and experience in the Cabinet, representing the coalition partners.
He also thanked Ian Ling-Stuckey for his service as the Treasurer.
He said Ling-Stuckey had agreed to step down and move over as Minister assisting the Prime Minister.
Marape said he needed to look at the issues of Forex and the Puma and also needed to look at the government relief assistance that was not implemented.
Ling-Stuckey said that the decision was not about the interests of a single Minister of Parliament or a Minister of State.
He said it was about continuing the good governance they had and maintaining the integrity and stability of government.
Jeffrey Elapa and Miriam Zarriga are PNG Post-Courier journalists. Republished with permission.