Crime rates along highway to increase, says leader

Highlands

CRIME along the notorious Barola section of the Highlands Highway is likely to reoccur after the Government failed to honour a K6 million commitment, local leaders say.
Barola Crisis Working Committee chairman Ben Yafive and his deputy chairman Allan Mosa told The National last Friday that the committee that consisted of well-respected community leaders along Barola were very concerned that their efforts have been exhausted with no assistance from the Government.
Yafive said Barola was a very notorious section of the Highlands Highway where the travelling public were held up by armed criminals and many lives and properties were lost along that part of the highway.
“The rise in law and order issue has become a concern and a particular event that triggered the establishment of the committee when a secondary school teacher from the area was killed by a PMV operator from Western Highlands,” he said.
“After that incident in September, 2014, the highway was closed for almost two weeks, properties were damaged and that has affected businesses in the Highlands and also the PNG LNG project.
“It became a national issue and as a result, the National Government had to make a decision to fund impact projects in the area to cut down on law and order issues and create positive opportunities for the communities.”
He said NEC had a special meeting and made a decision and allocated K6 million for projects in Barola.
“The money was committed and it’s the responsibility of our leaders to follow up and bring in projects but they have been hiding and avoiding every opportunity given to address this issue,” Yafive said.
“We are frustrated and the whole committee came to Port Moresby in April this year to follow up on the money but were unsuccessful.
“Therefore, we call on the Government to promptly intervene.”

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