Juffa calls for fair treatment

Oro Governor Gary Juffa has accused the Government for unfair treatment of provinces, saying it has treated provincial governments with contempt and is deliberately making efforts to dismantle the provincial government system.

Juffa has accused the government for disrespecting provincial governments and making a deliberate effort to dismantle the provincial government system.

Governor Juffa said the creation of District Development Authorities was a significant step in that direction; to remove the powers of the Provincial Governments.

“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 also accused the O’Neill-Abel Government of creating tension between open members and Provincial Governments by encouraging Open Members to be Project Managers instead of legislators.

He said the deliberate exclusion of Provincial Governments from major resource projects in their own provinces was a telling sign.

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.

However, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill denied Juffa’s claims, instead he said each province has received its full SIP grant for 2018.

In turn, he called on Governor Juffa to focus on serving his province; accusing the governor of having done nothing for Oro.

Freddy Mou