PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
O’NEAL GETS HERO’S WELCOME IN PNG HOMETOWN
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 29, 2011) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was treated to a red carpet welcome when he flew in for the first time as chief executive of the country last Thursday to his provincial capital, Mendi.
The Southern Highlands Provincial Government spared nothing in the welcome ceremony for Mr. O’Neill, whose Ialibu/Pangia electorate is part of the province.
Mr. O’Neill was welcomed at the Mendi airport tarmac by singsing groups, choirs and Southern Highlands dignitaries. He was accompanied by all seven Southern Highlands members of parliament, as well as National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop, Milne Bay Governor Luke Critton and several ministers in the new government.
Mr. O’Neill’s party flew into Mendi on a chartered Air Niugini aircraft which took off some two hours late from the original departure time of 9am because the National Executive Council had to meet first.
[PIR editor’s note: In August 2011,Peter O'Neil was installed as the new prime minister of Papua New Guinea after a move by Opposition leaders to declare the prime minister's office vacant in the absence of Sir Michael Somare. He previously held a position as work minister under the Somare government before his new appointment as leader of PNG.]
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