By MATTHEW VARI
OPPOSITION Leader and Member for Kandep, Don Polye, stormed out of Parliament following his fired up debate over the APEC issue, during grievance debate in Parliament on Friday.
An irritated MrPolye, called for the cancellation of the APEC summit, something he said, would be done if the alternative government came into power after the 2017 elections.
“If the people give the Opposition the mandate to be in government after the elections, the Opposition will definitely cancel the APEC meeting,” Mr Polye said.
“I would like to inform our very valued members and friends of APEC cooperation of the 21-member countries that it is the opposition’s opinion due to the various reasons.
“It is a question of the life and death of the country’s economy, it is the question of providing the much needed services to the people that this government has been mandated to, it is a question to running an international meeting that will leave us a liability for many years to come or should we prioritize in addressing what the people have mandated us to do.”
The comments brought a jeer of disagreement from government benches, when the leader of the opposition compared costs of hosting APEC summits on a global scale, adding the K120 million to K200 million claim by government was way below the standard set by previous hosts to the prominent event.
This week’s Parliament session was rife with the APEC budget issue following mixed figures given by Minister for Sports and National Event Justin Tkatchenko and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
In his response, Mr O’Neill took swipe at his rival calling him a child while the opposition leader made his way out of the chambers.
“APEC is not only hosted by big economies, the smallest economy hosting APEC like Brunei, even Australia, New Zealand they did not spend billions on hosting APEC, even America when it hosted in Hawaii in 2011, they did not spend hundreds of millions,” Mr O’Neill said.
“If you want to know how much we are spending on APEC it is in the budget papers. Last year less than 100 million, this year it is going to be even less and next year we will spend close to K250 million that is it.
“He is talking about that K3 billion IMF has quoted. We spend K3 billion in one year, with our budget only K12 billion- I would be crazy to do that. We are not crazy people here in this house.”
Tempers may sure flare during next week’s budget session amid one of the most carefully thought through money plans following the year’s disappointing performance in the economy.