The National, Monday 17th June 2013
SCHOOLS in Northern that were affected by Cyclone Guba in 2007 will finally get new classrooms and teachers’ houses after a prolonged delay.
A shipment of 34 classrooms and 19 teachers’ houses from New Zealand destined for the schools, which was held up at the Lae port for almost two years, has finally been cleared.
Northern Governor Gary Juffa said this was one of his “clean-up action” since taking office last year.
“In this instance, 34 classrooms and 19 teachers’ houses were held up at the Lae port for almost two years due to non-payment of customs duties and storage and transportation costs incurred by the former Oro provincial government under Suckling Tamanabae,” Juffa said in a statement.
He said in 2011, the Oro administration and the government of former governor Suckling Tamanabae engaged three contractors to build school classrooms and teachers houses. Two of the contractors were Papua New Guinean and the other a New Zealand based company.
“The New Zealand based company had built 34 classrooms and 19 teachers houses in New Zealand and had shipped them into Lae for Oro province in 2011 but were abandoned by the Oro administration and the Tamanabae government.
“Efforts to contact either were fruitless as a fierce debate arose between the education adviser for Northern and the provincial administrator as to who had the authority to expand K20 million allocated for the rehabilitation of education infrastructure.
Juffa said while the battle went on, the contractor was unable to clear his goods and the children of Oro missed out on classrooms and their teachers had no houses.
“Soon after taking office, I as the governor, have been embarking on a review of the state of the province’s health, education and economic sector and the provinces infrastructure.
“I have visited many parts of rural Oro province, often walking to remote areas with no roads or bridges and by dinghy and helicopter and visited a number of elementary, community and high school facilities and hospitals and aid posts devastated by Cyclone Guba and the floods of 2007.”
Juffa said he also carried out a review of the projects initiated by the previous government and administration, many of which had been abandoned.”