Address Hela issue, govt told

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 24, 2011

THE Hela Gimbu Association, which represents more than 300,000 people of Hela, has called on the government to “act decisively” in granting Hela a provincial electorate before the 2012 election.
Association leaders met in Port Moresby yesterday and raised their concern, saying time was not on their side and they feared “Hela will not attain full provincial status before the next general election”.
Former Komo-Margarima MP and associa-tion attorney, Alfred Kaiabe, said the people and leaders of Hela were united in their desire for the government to speed up the commissioning process.
“Since the establishment and commissioning of the Boundary’s Commission six weeks ago, we are still waiting for them to arrive in Hela,” he said, adding that they had waited for 30 years for this and to wait another five years was “too much”.
Chief Damien Arabagali said boundaries of provinces and provincial electorates must be identified together.
“Hela does not have a provincial electorate, hence, we have no regional seat to form a provincial assembly to sign as a host provincial government concerning LNG matters,” he said.
“Can Hela province have a provincial electorate in time for the 2012 national elections?” Arabagali asked.
Kaiabe said before the government passed the budget in November and other issues took precedence in parliament, the Hela issue must be addressed.
The association said they had confidence in the NA-led government and urged Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal and his senior ministers to have the matter fast-tracked before the elections.