On May 12, Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister, Justin Tkatchenko, announced his resignation following controversy surrounding spending on the country’s official delegation at King Charles III’s coronation.
Tkatchenko traveled with his daughter Savannah, who posted a TikTok video showing her first-class plane journey and shopping spree in Singapore.
The video sparked anger in Papua New Guinea, where some argued that public money would have been better spent on basic services.
Tkatchenko and his daughter were criticized for traveling with at least 10 officials to see the coronation of King Charles, at a cost of almost $900,000, according to local newspaper Post-Courier.
The government spokesperson, Bill Toraso, confirmed that 10 staff members of the government had traveled to London, alongside 10 guests.
In his statement announcing his resignation, Tkatchenko said he wanted to ensure that recent events did not interfere with upcoming official visits by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I also want to ensure the truth of this matter is cleared and the misinformation and lies are corrected,” he said.
In a since-deleted video, Savannah filmed her visit to luxury fashion stores in Singapore and her meal in the “stunning” first-class lounge on her way to London.
Tkatchenko’s comments branding her critics as “primitive animals” sparked protests in the capital Port Moresby on Friday outside Parliament House.
Although Tkatchenko later apologized about his comments, which he said had been “taken the completely wrong way,” his resignation was accepted by Prime Minister James Marape, who asked Papua New Guineans to accept Tkatchenko’s apology, saying that he too had been offended by the remarks.