Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato

​Gamato: I will not resign

Gamato said this when grilled during yesterday’s media conference in Port Moresby.

Since polling began on Saturday in the country, many negative reports have been made public. Among them was the late start of polling teams, resulting in less number of votes cast and people and students turned away due to missing names, despite registering earlier this year.

The deferral of polling in NCD from Tuesday to Friday, the detainment of the NCD Election Manager and several polling officials over suspected foul play has put more pressure on the Commissioner.

​Common roll issue in Simbu

Simbu Election Manager Tom Sine told Loop PNG that people have raised concern with the issue of common roll and names not on the list to vote.

Sine said most areas in the province have no names on the common roll.

“We are set to go except that the issue of Common Roll has been raised and we’re still waiting for directions from Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.”

He added that as soon as Gamato gives his directives, they will update the people of Simbu.

More to come… 

​Gamato impressed with duty break-up

The objective was to meet beforehand to make the officials, security personnel and the general public aware of do's and don’ts during polling in the capital.

Keynote speaker, Patilias Gamato, said he was impressed with the breakdown of the sets of duties for each of the parties involved.

He added that in his recent visit with the Inter-Departmental Election Committee meet, he didn't expect a wide range of challenges to be put forward with actual suggestions and solutions.

"The same can be said about the NCD team and I am impressed and satisfied," he said.

All polling materials delivered!

“All sensitive election materials are now in the provinces and being sorted out for distribution to each electorate, LLG and ward in preparation for polling,” says Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.  

These include ballot papers, candidate posters, polling schedules, CUG mobile phones for polling teams, indelible inks and electoral rolls.

Non-sensitive election materials such as polling kits, voting compartments, seals and stationery were sent via shipping to all provinces earlier.

Centralised polling for NCD

“This will be done for the first time in this election so that voters can easily find their place to vote,” Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said.

He said the new approach in conducting elections is voter friendly. 

“Additional benefits to centralized polling places are more concentrated security forces, more efficient delivery and retrieval of electoral materials, and more effective appointment of temporary election workers to local polling places,” Gamato said.

265, 000 voters in NCD

According to Electoral Commission, Moresby North-East Open has 105,000 voters, Moresby North-West 90,000 and Moresby South 70,000.

The total number of voters will also vote for the NCD Regional seat.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said, there will be approximately 370 polling booths in 170 polling venues in the city.

The key multiple-booth polling places within the three NCD Open electorates are as follows:

Moresby North-East

                BOROKO SUBURB: Apex Park (4 booths) and Lahara Park (2 booths)

Ballot papers will be delivered on time: Gamato

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said the distribution from Port Moresby to all provincial capitals will be completed on Friday.

They are giving one week for provincial election teams to prepare the disbursement of polling materials to all polling venues in each province.     

 Gamato said the polling materials consist of ballot papers, ink rolls and candidate posters.

The airlifting of the materials to nine provincial capitals started on Saturday.

No security threats on WSP polling

Provincial Police Commander Robert Gesa told Loop PNG “there are no direct threats that may (raise) concern at this stage”.   

He confirmed that ballot papers for West Sepik Provincial, Aitape-Lumi, Nuku, Telefomin and Vanimo Green River Open seats were delivered to Vanimo on Saturday on board an Australian Defence Force Hercules plane.

PPC Gesa is optimistic polling for the province will be trouble free, like what had been experienced during the nomination and campaign period.

​Gamato warns public about fake news

This follows a viral post last night on social media about defence personnel being involved in alleged hijacking and transporting of ballot papers into Kokopo, East New Britain Province.

Electoral Commissioner Patilius Gamato says these type of online posts are dangerous as they can cause tensions and unnecessary panic on ground.

He says no ballot papers were released as yet for Kokopo.

The public is being called on to be careful as the elections is an important democratic process.

Elections are adequately funded: O’Neill

He was responding to a statement by Treasury Minister and National Alliance Party parliamentary leader Patrick Pruaitch.

Minister Pruaitch said the ability for police to secure a free and fair election is now being compromised with inadequate funding.  

Pruaitch said, he was shocked to learn last Friday during a meeting with Police Commissioner Gari Baki that the police force had only received K8 million of its K121 million budget allocation for election operations.

“That’s just rubbish,” Prime Minister O’Neill told Loop PNG.