5 Jul 2007

Poor services in PNG's west hamper polling

1:53 pm on 5 July 2007

There are reports that a lack of political leadership has resulted in a dramatic fall-off in the provision of government services in one of Papua New Guinea's remote Western province.

Our correspondent Alex Rheeney says the lack of functioning services in Daru is worse than in other parts of the country and the political leaders have failed to address problems that have been apparent for two years.

He says health facilities are very poor while the lack of a jail makes policing difficult.

"A good example was when polling started on Saturday, there was a presiding officer who actually failed to set up a polling booth, resulting in hundreds of voters missing out on voting on the first day of voting, because he was drunk. He was actually arrested by police for being drunk and disorderly but they could not put him in a cell because they did not have a jail."

Alex Rheeney says the corrections services have indicated that Daru will get a new jail but construction will not start until next year.