From THOMAS HUKAHU in Kavieng
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has assured New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan and the people that they will be granted autonomy before the current term of Parliament ends.
O’Neill said this during the opening of the new provincial government residence last Friday in Kavieng, witnessed by former prime ministers Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Paias Wingti.
O’Neill told the people of New Ireland that he would do his best to effect the autonomy which the province had been pursuing before Sir Julius retired from politics.
He also promised to get the departments responsible to:
l Have the Boluminski Highway sealed before the end of the
- improve the road on the West Coast; and,
- Extend Kavieng Airport and build a new airport terminal.
O’Neill told the crowd that New Ireland was leading the nation in many aspects of development.
“New Ireland continues to lead the country in many initiatives – many policies and programmes that you are now implementing under the leadership of your governor,” he said.
“We have some of the most progressive policies here in New Ireland like free education, looking after the disabled and the elderly in our society.
“These are very progressive policies – social policies that will continue to benefit out people. We are adapting some of them at the national level.”
Sir Julius has been pursuing the issue since 2008, saying the province was capable of looking after itself.
He said last year it was time “that the people of New Ireland take full ownership of their resources and inheritance. We can do it”.
“We must have a greater share of our resources and their benefits,” he said.
“The people must be able to govern themselves, sustain themselves, stand up for themselves and look after themselves.
“The vision for autonomy as declared in the Malagan Declaration and Malagan Declaration Forward is simple and clear, that this province aims to be self-reliant, efficient, market-oriented and internationally competitive.”