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PNG Speaker clarifies Parliament restoration and unity project

Date Posted: April 01 2014

Article from Business Melanesia April 2014

PNG Speaker Hon. Theo Zurenuoc says removal of two artifacts not an attack on culture and part of a bigger and more important process towards reforming and modernizing Parliament – as well as building national unity and identity.

The Speaker of the PNG Parliament Theo Zurenuoc has issued a stirring defence of his Restoration, Reformation and Modernisation of Parliament project firmly stating that it is necessary to develop and achieve national unity and identity.

Despite the criticisms and controversies that have surrounded his actions in removing two pieces of traditional artifacts from the national Parliament and seeking to replace them with a unifying Christian symbol – Zurenuoc remains undeterred.

He has also dismissed the furore over the removal of traditional artifacts saying the two items - the Totem Pole and Lintel - were divisive in itself, depicting indecent carved images that did not represent all of Papua New Guinea – and needed to be replaced by a symbol that unites the whole country.

The Speaker further contends that the reaction to the removal of the artifacts is a sideshow that is deviating from the main purpose of a bigger vision to restore integrity and respect to Parliament, and build national unity and identity.

“When I was elected as Speaker of the 9th National Parliament in August 2012, I committed myself to restore the integrity and return the respect of our people to our national Parliament,” says Zurenuoc.

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