Polye blames O’Neill for Highlands Highway negligence

Opposition Leader Don Polye has warned Prime Minister Peter O’Neill not to cover up his government’s negligence over the landslip at Guo village in Chimbu Province.

Polye said O’Neill should have admitted that due to the country’s cash flow crisis, the government did not intervene swiftly to remove debris blocking the road.

Polye called on O’Neill to respect much-needed contributions and efforts by the business sector to help open the highway for the public, something which his government gave blind eye to.

He made these remarks after O’Neill announced that a tougher law on people blocking highways will be imposed by the government.

The Prime Minister has announced that the Cabinet will consider a comprehensive policy to strengthen the national road network, with high attention provided to dealing with damage caused by extreme weather that is made worse by climate change.

O’Neill also issued a stern warning to individuals who might seek to profit from road closures and public inconvenience, or might seek to obstruct public officials, saying these actions will be dealt with through prison terms.

He said the National Government is approaching this as an emergency case and will provide special intervention directed by Cabinet when it meets tomorrow (Thursday).

O’Neill further warned that strict laws will be brought into force preventing people from obstructing access to highways

He also called on businesses to refrain from making payments to land owners in order to remove road blockages.

However, Polye said O’Neill talking down on the businesses’ contribution adds more stress to what he has already inflicted on them-depletion of foreign reserve due to his government’s economic mismanagement

“If he is really serious about passing a tougher law to penalise our people blocking highways, he must first pass bills like the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and Whistleblowers Act,” Polye said.

He said these important legislations were collecting dusts for more than two years yet the Prime Minister thinks fit to pass this law which will impose tougher penalties on highway blockers.

Polye, a civil engineer, added he learnt that the landslip was a result of the government’s failure to maintain the highway like many others nationwide.


Picture courtesy of Sarah Shelley

Freddy Mou