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Provincial Governments ignored : Juffa

The National Government does not care about Provincial Governments, their mandate and their responsibilities to the people they represent.

Governor for Oro Gary Juffa said It was obvious that the Government only cares about a select few Governors and that is due to their seniority and nothing else.

Meanwhile, all other Provincial Governments were being treated with contempt and a deliberate effort was underway to dismantle the Provincial Government system, he said.

Juffa said the creation of the unconstitutional District Development Authorities (DDAs) was a significant step in that direction and greater efforts to remove the powers of the Provincial Governments was manifesting itself in the usurping of revenue powers via the creation of the Road Transport Authority and other entities that would erode away the already weak revenue systems that Provincial Governments had left after the ill-fated 1995 Provincial Government reforms.

“Disrespect and circumvention of the Provincial Government systems is at the highest ever since PNG gained independence by any National Government. Sir Michael Somare and indeed other Prime Ministers ensured Provincial Governments were respected as they represented their people,” he said.

Juffa said the O’Neill-Abel Government has no respect for the Provincial Governments and is instead creating tension between open members and Provincial Governments by encouraging Open Members to be Project Managers instead of legislators.

Juffa said the deliberate exclusion of Provincial Governments from major resource projects in their own provinces was a telling sign that Waigani and the National Government had sinister plans to undermine genuine landowners in resource development projects.

“Wafi Golpu and Frieda Mines are classic examples. Licenses and permits are now issued with no consultation or input from the Provinces. This is a form of State endorsed neo-colonialist fascism and left resource owners and Papua New Guineans vulnerable to exploitation by powerful sinister forces which were driven by profit and had no care for the peoples’ environment or future,” he said.
He said It was totally laughable that the Treasurer who is no fan of Provincial Governments demands appreciation from Eastern Highlands Governor when the National Government has consistently and contemptuously neglected to ensure functional grants and other funds due to Provincial Governments are paid in a timely manner.

He added that Provincial Governments represent the people of a province and best know their people and resources and must be empowered and not undermined.
“Governors in Government were like sheep who were being led to the slaughter and should rise up and represent their people and speak out and not fantasize that the Government cares for them,” Juffa said.

Meanwhile Provincial Support Infrastructure Program (PSIP) removal and the increase in District Support Infrastructure Program (DSIP) should be signs that the Provincial Governments are earmarked for removal and Governors who did not see this are totally blind and doing their Provinces a disservice, he said.

“I welcome Governor Numu to the Opposition, a place you will be punished for standing up but where you can truly represent your people without fear or favour,” Juffa said.

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