Marape ‘can’t pass the buck’ for PNG riots, says East Sepik governor

PNG Prime Minister James Marape makes plea to the nation's youth
PNG Prime Minister James Marape makes plea to the nation's youth after some critics blamed out-of-work young people for last week's rioting and looting. Image: RNZ Pacific

RNZ Pacific

East Sepik Governor Allan Bird says Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape must take responsibility for the Port Moresby riots two weeks ago.

The National reports Governor Bird saying the police cannot be punished for the looting and burning, the government is totally responsible for what happened.

“You can’t just pass the buck, we’ve got to take responsibility for that,” said Bird, a government MP.

He said the rioting — dubbed Black Wednesday — was a stain on PNG’s history, a stain on all members of Parliament, and a stain on all of decisionmakers, who for many years had failed to deal with the underlying issues in the country.

Allan Bird.
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird . . . “a stain” on all members of Parliament. Image: PNG Parliament/RNZ Pacific

Governor Bird said the lack of employment and increases in living costs had contributed to the buildup of frustrations that led to the riots in which lives were lost, women raped, and businesses destroyed.

Last week, Morobe Governor Luther Wenge said a change in leadership would restore confidence in government, and called for Marape to put his leadership of the Pangu Party on the table.

Wenge said he was not going anywhere, that he was a Pangu Pati member, but a change in leadership was necessary.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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