WORKS, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye should surrender these portfolios back to the Prime Minister and accept a seat in the backbench of the government. On Tuesday, he reportedly attacked his own government for allocating only K30 million for road maintenance this year. He said the Works Department needs K300 million each year to maintain roads in the country. He described the K30 million allocated in the 2010 Budget as paltry and absurd.
Mr Polye has been Works Minister for over six years. For most of that period, he was part of Somare’s executive government. He held the position of Deputy Leader of National Alliance party, and is considered a very influential member of the Somare Government.
He is a Civil Engineer by profession, and worked with the Department of Works prior to entering politics in 2002. He has been a member of the inner circle of the Somare Government since.
He therefore would have known since the first day he stepped into the Works Ministry what PNG’s infrastructure and road system is like, and how much it would take each year to maintain those roads in the country.
As a leader and Minister responsible, he would have tried to use the power and influence he wields to increase funding for this purpose. PNG’s road network plays an important role in supporting the economy of PNG. He knows that, but has been unable to do anything to increase funding over the years.
Mr Polye has chosen an opportune time, when grief and sorrow is high after the horrific accident claimed 43 lives, to attack the government about road funding. He is effectively trying to link the accident to the Government at a time when elections are on the horizon.
If this is the case, Prime Minister and NA should be wary of this man. The leadership of the party for the highlands region should remain with Education Minister James Marape, and not given back to Polye.