He said its been eight (8) years of hard work “to transform New Ireland Province into a self-reliant autonomous part of Papua New Guinea that is efficient, market-oriented and internationally competitive”.
The only hitch is that it comes without the blessing of Waigani because “we have received little official action on our bid for autonomy”.
“We are asking only that the spirit and letter of the PNG Constitution be upheld. The spirit of the PNG Constitution calls for a self-reliant economy with a decentralized form of government system.”
The Provincial Autonomy Committee was set up in March 2008, headed by the late Stephen Mokis, had worked for five years to prepare the ground for the autonomy of the province.
The Mokis committee held consultative meetings and workshops with a number of National Government agencies and stakeholders like the Department of Provincial Affairs, held awareness tours throughout New Ireland, presented the autonomy policy to the Department of Provincial Affairs to consider and use in drafting their National Autonomy Policy and drafted and had accepted several submissions on the autonomy policy for the provincial executive council.
The committee also presented a draft Constitutional (Amendment) Law and the Organic Law on the Autonomous Government of New Ireland together with NEC Submission to the National Government presented through the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Provincial Governments and Local-Level Governments in Kokopo.
“As an integral part of PNG, we stand on solid constitutional foundation to seek substantial decentralization or autonomy.”
He said they have made the work of the National Parliament easy.
“We have prepared the necessary Bills and served copies on them not once, not twice, not even three times, but four times.”
The New Ireland position, Sir Julius said, is that:
The highest form of autonomy with legislative, bureaucratic, administrative and financial powers be devolved from Waigani.
New Ireland Province will remain an integral part of PNG, and will not seek independence or break away.
New Ireland Province will cooperate with the National Government to seek mutually agreeable position on its pursuit of Autonomy.
New Ireland firmly believes that Autonomy is the way forward for it to progress and realize its Vision and Mission embodied in the Malagan Declaration.
New Ireland believes that Autonomy should be granted very cautiously on a selective basis – to provinces which are ready, prepared and have the capacity to manage competently their autonomous powers.
|PNG former Prime Minister and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan.|