The National, Tuesday June 18th, 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
SOUTHERN Highlands Governor William Powi says people cannot use blackmail or threats to acquire funds.
He was responding to an article in The National yesterday on youths in Mendi preparing a peaceful protest to air their grievances on issues they claimed had not been addressed by the provincial government.
Powi said the provincial government would assist youths in the province when funds were available.
“They should understand that they can’t get things through blackmail and threat,” he said.
“We will pay as and when funds become available,” he said.
“There is no need for protest and protest is illegal unless it is approved by the police hierarchy in the province.”
He said people, including Pesu Manua, needed to follow processes and not resort to illegal activities, even a peaceful protest, because they would be dealt with by the police.
He also warned youth that destroying public facilities was a crime and police would not hesitate to discipline them.
Powi said the government would address all development needs through the master plan.
“I have never authorised anyone to collect registration fees and identification cards as claimed by the youth.
If you have a youth group then its fine. There is an office in Mendi that deals with youth groups and other community organisations,” he said.
He also denied making money available to Nipa Kutubu youths as claimed in the article.
He said the provincial government would work according to the development plan and that days of “cash handouts” were over.