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THE judiciary and business community yesterday condemned the deferral of polling in the National Capital District (NCD), calling it a “waste, disruptive, unacceptable and inexcusable”.
Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, who visited the Electoral Commission office to find out the reason for the postponement of polling, said the day was wasted as staff of the judiciary had already been allowed time off work to go and cast their votes.
Ian Tarutia, the president of the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it as disruptive, unacceptable, inexcusable, and costly to the business community.
The one-day polling in the NCD, which was initially scheduled for Monday, had to be deferred to tomorrow because election officials said they still had to sort out some election materials.
Yesterday, NCD Election Manager Kila Ralai blamed the candidates and their scrutineers for the deferral of the polling, saying they had “disrupted the election process”.
Tarutia said workers, taxpayers and eligible voters did not deserve to be “inconvenienced because of the incompetency of the electoral administrative process”.
“It is disruptive, costly and an inconvenience to workers and business houses in the NCD,” Tarutia said.
“This is unacceptable and inexcusable.
“Now we hear that it is Friday.
“Is this a certainty?” Tarutia said it was “bad enough” that “half the voting population will miss out because their names were missing from the common roll.
“If the new date for voting is Friday, make sure the voting takes place on Friday.
“No more changes,” he said.
Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Rio Fiocco said it was disappointing that the deferral was decided “late”.
Ralai blamed the candidates and their scrutineers for disrupting the election process.
“During our election preparation, there was interference by the candidates and scrutineers which delayed the whole process,” he said.
“We are trying to manage the administration and the efficiency of the election process in the NCD.
“I attended to their grievances which prolonged the process.”
Ralai apologised to the voters in the capital city.
“I understand that the voters, candidates, scrutineers, supporters, partners, security personnel were at the polling sites,” he said.
“The process and efficiency of the election are more important than the date set.
“Friday, July 8 is the date we have now confirmed for polling in NCD.”
He warned the scrutineers that their “line of duty is to observe, not to direct (election) officers”.
“It is the duty of Returning Officers and their assistants to give (instructions). Get instructions from (them),” he said.
“We will regroup and prepare ourselves to conduct a free, fair and just election for NCD.”