State told rural workers remain on unpaid list

Islands

THE Department of Justice and Attorney-General has taken up with the Government the non-payment of salaries for some ward councillors and village court officials.
Secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, said only seven out of 11 village court officials were paid because there was no money to pay the other four although they had provided their bank account details on the payroll created by the department.
“They (four) will not be paid under the provincial government grants but we are asking the Government to sort out their pay,” Kalinoe said.
“We will back-pay them for the two years outstanding.
“We hope to sort them out this year.”
He was responding to concerns raised by East New Britain administrator Wilson Matava over the increase in crime in the province which he blamed partly on the non-functioning ward councillors and village court officials.
Matava raised the concern during the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Community Justice Service Centre in Rabaul.
“The increase in law and order is maybe because of police,” he said.
“(But) the other contributing factor is the number of village court officials reduced from 11 to seven.
“The LLG does not have the capacity to pay them under the village court secretariat.”
Matava said land mediators also faced challenges and the justice centre would assist church representatives on counselling issues and on cases referred from village courts.
He said ward councillors not being paid for the past 17 months was also a contributing factor to the increase in crime as they were not able to convene monthly meetings in their wards.

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