19 Nov 2002

PNG Minister says he has not assumed Governorship of Southern Highlands

6:14 pm on 19 November 2002

The Papua New Guinea Inter-Government Relations minister, Sir Peter Barter, has hit out at claims that his role in the Southern Highlands province is not supported by law.

A former MP Alfred Kaiabe says the move by Sir Peter in assuming the role of governor of the troubled province is unconstitutional.

But Sir Peter says the comments come from a failed election candidate and misinterpret his actions in the Southern Highlands.

Sir Peter says he is only doing his job.

"I've never called myself governor or acting governor of Southern Highlands.... my position is minister of inter-government relations which is responsible for all provincial governments including Southern Highlands....I don't think the constitution has anything in it to cover the event of a failed election."

Sir Peter Barter

He says claims that Mr Kaiabe was part of a committee overseeing the restoration of services in Mendi are also incorrect.