He said LLGs will be given the option of allowing their people to vote for the president, or for council members only to vote for presidents.
O’Neill, replying to the East Sepik Governor Allan Bird’s query on how the Council presidents will be voted in, said it will be entirely up to the provinces.
“There are provinces in the country where they wish to have the council presidents elected by the people – that is fine, and there are other provinces where they want the ward councillors to elect the presidents.
“So we will allow the options to the provinces,” said O’Neill.
On the question of reviews, Governor Bird asked if the government had sighted a report on the review of the 1995 provincial and local level government reforms.
“Was the report presented to the house? And will that report form the basis of any reviews of our LLG system?
“If cabinet is going to make decisions without the benefit of proper studies by experts and those decisions are then carried over and converted into laws, which then affects how we do business at the provincial level, that may cause further issues,” pointed out Governor Bird.
The Prime Minister conveyed that neither he nor NEC had sighted the review but he would make it his business to look for the report.
The PM said: “We will find out where it is and we will deal with it accordingly, including proper consultations.
“But let me assure our government and provincial governments that I have stated, on many occasions, that we are not here to change the system of provincial governments in the country.
“As far as I am concerned, provincial governments are here to stay.”
O’Neill said there will be proper consultations and his government is in the process of referring some changes to the constitutional review commission.
“In fact, a cabinet submission is underway to have the Governor-General endorse work that the constitutional review commission will take out in respect to these reforms that are being proposed.”
(PM Peter O’Neill with Treasurer and Deputy PM, Charles Abel)