Hela situation hinders law review exercise

Chairman of the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission has raised concerns on security issues in Hela Province.

The situation has forced the deferral of the consultation on the review of the election laws in the province last week.

The Constitutional and Law Reform Commission team was in the province to carry out consultations on the 28th and 29th of November. However, Chairman Robert Atiyafa said they were unable to do so because of the volatility of the situation on the ground.

“We will make a second attempt to consult this province or get submissions from the provincial government and administration but if all else fails, then they will have to be summoned under the relevant laws of the Commission,” Atiyafa said.

He added that this will also apply to Enga Province where consultation on the 29th and 30th of November, 2018, was canceled due to prior commitment by the provincial authorities.

Atiyafa said with the year nearing the end, the Commission is pressed for time to complete the review within the government’s target time-frame of 18 months, adding that it was crucial for all the provinces to be consulted as required by the constitutional directive of the review.

“I am adamant we will pull this off,” Atiyafa said.

Apart from Hela, Enga, Southern Highlands, Western and NCD, all the provinces have already been consulted.

The consultation is expected to be completed before the year ends and a final report of the review is to be submitted to government by March 2019.

Meanwhile, consultation for Northern and Milne Bay Province were concluded successfully last week. Atiyafa, who led the consultation in Milne Bay, attributed the positive outcome to the good nature and cooperation of the people of the two provinces and the on-the-ground support from the stakeholders, including the provincial authorities.

Consultation for Southern Highlands Province is scheduled for Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th of December, 2018, followed by  Western Province on the 5th and 6th of the same month.

Consultation for NCD is yet to be confirmed.

(Chairman of the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, Robert Atiyafa, addressing a public forum in Alotau Town, Milne Bay Province, on Friday last week on the importance of the review of the election law and the need for the people to contribute their ideas and suggestions to this review)

Press release