Civil servants put government on alert

National, Normal


GOVERNMENT workers in Southern Highlands have warned of problems at the liquefied natural gas project sites over the alleged stripping of ministerial powers from Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape.
An announcement published in the National Gazette over the changes was made public last week. However, Potape denied such ever happening.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare is expected to make an official announcement on the matter soon. He arrived back in the country from New York yesterday.
Komo-Margarima district administrator Tumbi Yari said the general feeling among the people on the ground was one of frustration. But, there had not been reports of any violence.
Potape’s Komo-Margarima electorate hosts the bulk of the rich hydro-carbon projects at Hides (PDL 1 and PDL 7); Moran (PDL 5); Angore (PDL 8); Juha (PDL 9) and the southeast Mananda oilfields.
Potape, who was at the airport with United Resources Party founder Anderson Agiru to meet the prime minister and Minister for Public Enterprises Arthur Somare refused to comment.
Police in Tari yesterday said they were monitoring the situation.
At Komo, rural police station commander Sgt Fedelis Pele said the people there had reacted angrily when they heard about the stripping of Potape’s ministerial functions.
Pele said some went to the extend of trying to burn down machines working on the Komo International Airport and the LNG conditioning plant.
Last week, Potape said he was not aware of the changes and would wait for the prime minister to return and clarify the matter.
However, government sources and the government printer were adamant that the prime minister had signed the instruments contained in National Gazette No.G208.