Move to make Hela a province is effort of many people

Letters, Normal

I REFER to the letter “Who said Hela is URP’s turf?” by “Piri Ekopia Angobe” (The National, April 16).
It seems to me that he is the odd one among the Hela people who does not know the United Resources Party (URP) or when it came into existence.
For his benefit, URP is as old as the political life of Hela’s own son Anderson Agiru.
I concede that many Hela men and women gave selflessly in the pursuit of having their own province.
Since 1974, successive Hela politicians fought in Parliament for our desire to have a separate province.
Not once did Anderson Agiru or URP publicly claim the accolades when Parliament in its wisdom, by absolute majority, successfully passed the Hela Transitional Authority bill last year.
URP, as an important coalition partner in the NA-led Government, lobbied hard on both sides of the floor to ensure Hela’s bill received the required votes on that historic moment.
Except for the MP for Lae, all MPs on both sides of the floor voted in favour of the bill in an unprecedented way.
We owe them and their people for the support we received in times of political need.
We will reward them in a Hela way in due time.
No political party should claim the accolades, let alone a single MP from Hela.
Hela people delivered their abundant gas reserves to the nation in gratitude and that is why Hela sons like Mr Agiru ensured we kept our part of the bargain at the BSA Forum in Kokopo.
Despite what we read, Mr Agiru has not wavered from his firm commitment to ensure resource-owners and PNG receive maximum benefits possible.
Time would tell and Hela people will be his judge come 2012.
Until such time, Hela Transition Authority is mandated by Parliament to prepare for province-hood by 2012.
The NEC, in its wisdom appointed James Marape as the transition authority chairman and Mr Agiru his deputy.
However, there are grey areas in the legislation where the chairman is a State minister and an integral part of NEC, who reports to or receives directions from the Minister for Inter-Government Relations.
A reasonable person would discern that NEC wants to control Hela Transition Authority, even to the extent of undermining the spirit of the enabling legislation.
Other constitutional issues would also surface, but until such time the political and administrative arrangement between Waigani and Hela, is tested in appropriate forums, no one should claim the victory for the Hela province.
I agree there were certain Hela men and women who were at the forefront of the issue.
However, more often than not, most of them pushed for their own interests under the disguise of driving the issue.


Puria Igini