Sam Basil


May 23, 2022

Samuel H. Basil, known as Sam Basil, is a Papuan New Guinean politician. He was the country's Deputy Prime Minister at the time of his death on May 11, 2022.


Educated in a Lutheran school, Sam Basil became a businessman in the wholesale trade and then in a security services company.


He entered the National Parliament as deputy for Bulolo and under the colors of the People's Party for Progress in the 2007 elections, and sat on the benches of the opposition. A member of the parliamentary committee on public accounts in 2009, he denounced the refusal of almost all government agencies to respect the legal standards of transparency. In January 2011 he joined the Papua New Guinea Party, the main opposition party. In May of that same year he was elected Deputy Leader of the Opposition, under Belden Namah.


In August 2011, he was made Minister for National Planning in the new government of Peter O'Neill. Re-elected deputy in the 2012 elections, he is again deputy leader of the parliamentary opposition. He organizes a program for the development of the electricity network in his constituency. Most of these opposition deputies joined the government majority, to the point that in May 2013 this parliamentary opposition had only four deputies in addition to its leader (Belden Namah) and its vice-leader Sam Basil: Tobias Kulang, Allan Marat, Ross Seymour and Jim Kas. In August 2014, Sam Basil joined the Pangu Pati, still in opposition, and became its leader. He is later described as having revived this moribund party. Retaining his MP seat in the 2017 election, he was appointed Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. In April 2019 he was made Minister of Finance, but was only kept in this position for a month before being transferred to that of Minister of National Planning. On this occasion, he once again changed parties and became leader of the Melanesian Alliance Party. The following month, in June 2019, he became Minister of the Public Treasury in the government of new Prime Minister James Marape. In August, he was transferred again to the post of Minister of National Planning. In November he created a new political party, the United Labor Party, associated with the trade union movement of the Trades Union Congress of Papua New Guinea. In October 2020, he was also made Deputy Prime Minister, while retaining his ministerial portfolio for Planning. In November, he left the government and joined the opposition led by Belden Namah, accusing the government of mismanagement of the country's economy. Having failed to help form an alternative parliamentary majority, Sam Basil rejoined the government majority in December, and regained his post as Deputy Prime Minister.


Sam Basil died on May 11, 2022 when his car was hit by another vehicle on the road between Lae and Bulolo. A policeman is also killed in the accident.


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