Papua New Guinea Opposition has taken the U.S-PNG Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to the Supreme Court to seek legal interpretation.
Opposition Leader Joseph Lelang said that the Office of the Opposition filed a Supreme Court Reference pursuant to Section 18 of the Constitution, seeking the court’s interpretation as to the constitutionality of the DCA which Papua New Guinea entered into with the United States (U.S) in May.
Lelang said that whilst Parliament was allowed to debate on these agreements, the Government introduced the agreements without any opportunity for informed debate.
“Instead, it was acting like a salesman trying to sell the agreements.
“Unfortunately, their sugar-coated arguments had contradicted the actual texts of the agreement.
“It shows that they do not know what they are entering into with the US that much was obvious.
“The signing of the agreement was very unpopular, sparking so much public outcry right across the nation.
“People didn’t want the Government to enter into this agreement with the US,” he said.
“The opposition is here to make sure that we protect the nation’s sovereignty and interests of our people,” Lelang said.
The DCA and the Maritime Corporation Agreement was signed on May 22, by the US State Secretary Antony Blinken and PNG Defence Minister Win Bakri Daki, in the midst of a protest by students from the country’s four main universities.
Lelang said that whilst the Opposition recognised that the Government had the authority to enter into any multilateral or bilateral agreements such as the DCA, it must do so in compliance with the country’s Constitution and within the existing laws of Papua New Guinea.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS