Hela people want interim govt set up

Highlands, Normal


FRUSTRATION is building up among the Hela people, who are still waiting for the Government to establish the interim Hela Transitional Authority, to pave the way for Hela and Jiwaka to be full-fledged provinces in 2012.
Hela community leaders last week supported calls by Komo- Margarima MP Francis Potape, asking Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and Inter-Government Relations Minister Job Pomat to immediately establish the authority and appoint an interim chairman to act as an interim governor.
The interim governor can then start working on preparations for the new province before 2012.
Tari community leader Peter Andaija said the Hela people were excited when the National Parliament unanimously passed the bills for the new Hela and Jiwaka provinces last year.
However, Mr Andaija said while Jiwaka was working round the clock, including setting up their transitional authority, nothing much had happened for Hela.
“We have only political rhetoric and flamboyant announcements by local Hela MPs on their efforts to secure the numbers in parliament to pass the bill for the declaration of Hela province,” he added.
Mr Andaija said the transitional authority must be in place fast as the people were frustrated with the delay and “all the sweet talk but no action”.
“Tari town, which is set to be the provincial headquarters for the Hela province, is in total chaos as government services like police, district administration and other government divisions and agencies are non-functional.
“The town is still under prolonged power blackout with lack of proper civil services like banking, postal and telecommunication facilities.
“Law and order problems like tribal fights, revenge killings, armed roadblocks and other social problems related to alcohol abuse, violence, rape and thefts are now thriving again in Tari and Hela,” Mr Andaija said
He said with the early work on the multi-billion PNG LNG project set to start soon, Hela’s transitional authority must be established immediately to represent the Government to coordinate and liaise with the developer, ExxonMobil-led consortium.
“We want to see the transitional authority established early this year as any delay will only frustrate the people more.
“As a Tari-Pori man, I can objectively say that the Hela people favour Komo-Margarima Mr Potape to be the interim chairman.
“Other Hela MPs like Governor Anderson Agiru and Tari Pori MP James Marape have other responsibilities as Governor and Education Minister respectively while Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP John Kekeno can be Mr Potape’s deputy,” he added.