Review unlikely, says Gamato


A NATIONWIDE review of boundaries for provincial and open electorates may not be conducted by the Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC), chairman and electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato says.
EBC is an independent body tasked under the Constitution to review and redistribute electorates.
Gamato said funding approved by Cabinet for the commission were not appropriated.
Under Section 125 (1) of the Constitution, the commission was required to conduct a review of provincial and electorate boundaries and present a report to Parliament prior to the conduct of a national election.
“Unfortunately, this was not done. And it is a serious breach of the Constitution by the government because the last boundaries review was done 14 years ago in 2005,” Gamato said.
He said in 2018, the National Executive Council (NEC) approved a funding of K14 million for EBC but no funding was appropriated although the Electoral Commission had made submissions to the national budget steering committee.
“I wish to get the EBC to conduct the review on the electoral boundaries before the 2022 national election.
“The government is already in breach of the Constitution in 2017 and I do not want to see that repeated before the next election in 2022,” Gamato said.
“I’m therefore calling on the government to appropriate necessary funding to allow the EBC to complete this important constitutional process.”
Gamato said many electorates and provinces wanted to change their current electoral boundaries based on ethnic, cultural, and traditional affiliations.
“In general, many communities sharing common provincial and/or open electorate boundaries continue to be critical of their apparent lack of recognition by both the provinces and electorates they legally are in, and those they claim to be getting services from.”
Gamato said the boundaries of electorates in PNG had not changed since the first elections in 1977, despite boundary reviews being conducted in 1981, 1985-1986, 1991 and 2005.
“Recommendations by the boundaries review were all rejected by successive parliaments resulting in boundaries of provincial and open electorates remaining the same,” he said.
“In the legislative amendments to election laws, and regulations currently before the Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC), the Electoral Commission has proposed that veto powers of Parliament be removed,” Gamato said.
He said an independent committee comprising three commissioners would be appointed to accept or reject Boundaries Commission reports so that Parliament would only endorse accepted EBC reports.
Gamato said concerns had been raised at all levels of government regarding service delivery, equitable distribution of wealth, and fair representation.
Hence the need for an increase in the number of open and provincial electorates.
He said various groups in the country believed that the current provinces were too big affecting delivery of services.
“These calls were also made in 2005 and expressed in the Boundaries Commission Report of that year to Parliament,” Gamato said.
“All instrumentalities of government are called by the National Goals and Directive Principles of the Constitution, to facilitate and not frustrate the will of the people.”

One thought on “Review unlikely, says Gamato

  • Why is Gamato still preaching in the media. This person is incompetent and should have be removed to face court charges of misappropriation of public funds.

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