Autonomy delay a worry

National

THE move by New Ireland towards autonomy is long overdue, its Governor Sir Julius Chan says.
Speaking to members of the provincial assembly in New Ireland yesterday, Sir Julius said autonomy was about giving the people freedom to realise their full potential.
“Freedom is the ability to realise our full potential under the Constitution and the laws of this country,” he said.
Sir Julius said on April 25, the autonomy committee had presented to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill the proposed Organic Law on the autonomous government of New Ireland and Constitutional (Amendment) law for consideration and listing to introduce it during the next Parliament session.
“Despite this work, we have received little official action on our bid for autonomy,” Sir Julius said.
“This is despite the fact that the Alotau Accord of 2012 specifically identified New Ireland and East New Britain as the two provinces that would be “fast-tracked” to autonomy.”
“We do not want to confuse decentralisation as envisaged in the Constitution with power-sharing. Power-sharing is power delegation.
“The National Government will keep all the original powers granted by the people of PNG through our Constitution and share some of those powers with the provincial governments through negotiated arrangements or amendments effected to the current Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local-Level Governments.
“That is not what the New Ireland model is about. The New Ireland model is like federalism.”
Sir Julius said the province would want to keep original powers of the people in the autonomous government of New Ireland.
He said this power must be granted to them by the people through the Constitution.
“That is why we seek the Constitutional amendment to provide for an autonomous system of Government to be made constitutionally possible,” he said.
Sir Julius explained that the proposed Organic Law on the autonomous government of New Ireland provided for political, administrative and financial autonomy.

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