PNG Governors discuss greater autonomy.
Governors of Papua New Guinea's provinces have been meeting in Kavieng to discuss common issues and efforts to gain more autonomy.
The mood for gaining autonomy is strong among the Governors of Papua New Guinea's 20 provinces.
The Governors are this week meeting at the Governors' Council Conference in Kavieng, New Ireland province.
One of the Governors, Oro Province's Gary Juffa, spoke to Johnny Blades about some of their salient issues being discussed at the conference.
GARY JUFFA: And they're discussing a number of issues including some of the provinces that are wanting autonomy and government's concern about the creation of a district authority which they feel will remove their powers and remove their presence as leaders. So those concerns are being debated, there's land issues that they're discussing - a number of issues of concern.
JOHNNY BLADES: So Sir Julius's province, who are hosting it, they're one of the provinces that are quite keen to look at autonomy, is that right?
GJ: Yes, yes today, everywhere we went all the ceremonies and all the forums there was a hint of autonomy. Seeing it, you get the idea that everyone wants it and look, to be fair, most of the governors are of the view that if some provinces are already doing well and they're able to survive on their own and they have good governance measures in place that are satisfactory then by all means they should have autonomy. But there are other provinces that are obviously not doing so well; they need attention, they need some encouragement and guidance and if you leave them alone too their own devices goodness knows what'll happen. So you've got to be there, but yeah, all those situations. What we're proposing now is the rest of the governors, I'm proposing that they put in place similar laws and they create similar capacity and they fund it and they do that to prevent land grabbing and protect themselves against illegal logging and other such illegal activities. I just did a brief presentation on that too, there was a huge discussion, there was a huge discussion about land grabbing and unlawful use of land and the sale of land by persons, and it is our proposal from the province that we've done this and we would ask them to do similar or follow suit and take note of what has happened and see if they can do the same thing, you know. If they can put in place a system to prevent land grabbing and not only prevent it, but deal with the persons involved and who are behind it.
JB: Is there a sense among the governors that the national government has sort of let them down on this front, or sort of undermined moves to kind of....
GJ: Most certainly. Many governors are expressing great frustration that the national government and state agencies are not consulting with them or they're not acting in coordination with their concerns, the often-times permits and licences are issued for resource development projects without the consultation of the provincial governments or the input of the provincial governments and the governors are very concerned about it and they're expressing their concerns quite loudly.
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