Potape says Hela has its priorities wrong


THE people of Hela want peace first before development, says former governor Francis Potape.
He said the people did not want guns, tribal fights, killings and violence.
Potape said major developments were not an urgency now when the fabric of a good community was being destroyed.
He said the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Hela government and Chinese company Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Company Ltd for the development of a 160-megawatt hydro power scheme was only a “dream”.
Potape said there was nothing wrong with using the Apec opportunity to sign a K1.7 billion hydro project for Hela, but the focus now should not be on hydro but the prevalent law and order problems crippling Hela.
He said if Hela was to progress then the rule of law must be the cornerstone for progress.
“Hela does not need support or international highways, international hydro or international airports,” Potape said.
“What Hela needs is a Hela city, development of the educational infrastructure, enforcement of the rule of law, building of public servants’ housing, empowering and increasing police manpower, the gun buyback programme and addressing the continuous killings in Tari and all over Hela with widespread tribal fights.
“Hela needs law and order, good leadership and governance, good administration and a working public service machinery.”
Potape said the signing of a memorandium of understanding was not a legally binding document.
“What we need to do is get back Hela first,” he said.
“Start with the basic and that is addressing the continuous tribal fights and the killings that go on.
“That restricts our people – who are now locked up and become prisoners in their own communities because of the fear of being attacked.
“We can dream of big industries, but the fundamentals of society must be the priority.
“Look at ways to address the pressing issues affecting Hela,” he said.
“We can have big dreams and plans for big developments later, not now, not when the province is sick.”

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