I WANT to express my grave concern about the proposed declaration of autonomy by the New Ireland
Provincial Assembly and Governor sir Julius Chan.
I do not dispute the untiring efforts of Sir Julius and the autonomy committee nor do I want to debate its constitutional correctness.
In fact, I have the uttermost respect for Sir Julius and I believe his intentions for New Ireland Province would never compromise the sovereignty nor the national security of our nation.
If granting autonomy empowers New Irelanders to attain section 2 of the National Goals and Directive Principles, I don’t see any reason to deny them autonomy.What concerns me is the precedence that will be set by granting autonomy to New Ireland.
A fragile nation that is still immersed in tribalism where regionalism supersedes patriotism and where misguided leadership can lead to open disregard for the rule of law.
It is the foremost responsibility of any government to safeguard the nation against internal secession and disintegration.
How the O’Neill Government handles the Bougainville and now New Ireland autonomy challenges will have lasting ramifications.
On the eve of our 41st anniversary, I reiterate Governor Powes Parkop’s patriotism for provincial flags not to be flown on Independence Day, “Be patriotic, fly high PNG flag on September 16”.
Douglas B P Barara