Marape chairs Hela Authority

National, Normal

EDUCATION Minister James Marape has been appointed chairman of the Hela Transition Authority.
Cabinet decided on this appointment on Monday.
Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru, who some had hoped would get the nod, was made deputy chairman of the authority.
There are more than 20 representatives on the authority, and all sectors of the community have
a voice, including churches, youth and women.
The purpose of the transition authority is to develop a plan or a strategy for the transition of Hela from a region of the Southern Highlands to a province in its own right by 2012.
The authority has to develop a plan for districts and towns for the new province, its public service machinery, infrastructure and other sectors.
It is understood various senior public servants, drawn from the Provincial Affairs and Personnel Management departments, will work with the authority to develop the plan.
Mr Marape and some of these officials flew to Tari just before Easter to announce the appointment of the transition authority by the National Government.
Mr Marape said with his presence in Cabinet, any needs identified by the authority would be taken straight to Cabinet.
He explained to a big crowd that there was nothing suspicious or sinister about his preference as chairman of the authority over Mr Agiru, adding that the governor had a lot to deal with at the moment, including raising funds for impact projects for the province (Southern Highlands), and this would ease pressure.
Mr Marape assured Agiru supporters that he would not challenge the governor for the post of governor of Hela province in 2012.
He said seat was for Mr Agiru, adding that he would defend his Tari-Pori seat.