Request for autonomy ‘not an attack’

New Ireland’s request for autonomy is not an attack on the country.

“Some people have interpreted it as if we are trying to separate ourselves from Papua New Guinea,” says New Ireland Province Governor Sir Julius Chan.

“As if we wanted to somehow weaken Papua New Guinea.

“That is the opposite of what we really want to do.

“We believe that the best way to achieve prosperity for all is to grant greater autonomy to the provinces as they show that they have the capacity and skills for this,” clarifies Sir Julius.

Speaking to the people of Namatanai during the Government haus opening yesterday, the Governor used USA, one of the most powerful countries in the world, in his analogy.

“It is a federal system where the states have as much power as the central government,” explains Sir Julius.

“The people who founded America said it was vital that the states have power because they had been through 50 and 100 years of oppression by the monarchy in England.

“A central government had tried to control their every move; the colonies were treated like second-class citizens.

“The monarchy actually collected tax from the colonies but when the colonies asked to be represented in parliament, the king said no.”

The Governor further revealed that the fathers of America believed that every state was different in its history, customs and needs, hence they also had different solutions to a problem.

He pointed out that PNG’s national capital, Port Moresby, is too far removed from the provinces to understand their problems, hence New Ireland’s request for autonomy.

Meantime, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill supported Sir Julius by saying frustrations in the lack of service delivery is one reason why autonomy should be given to provinces.

The PM and his delegation of government ministers travelled down from Namatanai yesterday and are now in Kavieng for the official opening of the government residence, which is scheduled for today.

Carmella Gware