By Mickey Kavera – EM TV, Port Moresby
The Southern Highlands province has received recognition from the PNG-Australia law and justice sector partnership program for its effort in advancing law and justice restoration in the province.
The PNG-Australia law and justice sector partnership presented the ‘Most Improved Performance Award’ to members of the Southern Highlands Law and Justice sector at the closing of its annual review workshop in Port Moresby last Friday.
The PNG-Australia law and justice sector partnership is an Australian government development agency supporting government in empowering and enabling advancement in the law and justice sectors in the districts and provinces around the country.
In awarding the recognition, PNG-Australia Law and Justice Sector Partnership (PALJP) deputy team leader, Andy Selton said Southern Highlands has demonstrated a huge improvement in installing and enabling presence of law and order in the communities.
“The work up there in Southern Highlands has taken an unstoppable surge in performance level, particularly in the training of village courts officials in the villages,” he said.
Southern Highlands Governor, William Powi thanked PALJAP for the recognition and praised the invaluable partnership that is producing results for the people of Southern Highlands.
He said the recognition serves as an indicator of how his government is performing to the 5 year master plan in restoring law and order in the province as the fundamental cornerstone for development and growth in the province.
“I’m pleased to report that in the recent past, we have adopted an integrated and holistic approach, consistent with the provincial master plan,” he said.
He said the establishment of the law and justice committee, a sub-committee of the provincial coordination monitoring committee (PCMC) has set the stage for performance framework.
In the police modernisation program, the provincial government has provided K10 million for police operation, including the purchase of five police vehicles and police uniforms, the construction of a new police barracks for Kagua Erave and the Nipa police rural lockup.
In addition, the provincial government has also supported the training of 100 police personel to be deployed to the Southern Highlands with a total funding of K1 million.
In the village court sector, out of 130 proclaimed village court areas, 1380 officials have been gazetted and will be put on payroll when gazetted.
Governor Powi said, with the support of K250 000 from the PNG-AUS law and justice sector partnership program, 176 village court officials have been trained currently in Nipa while the number would increase when more village court officials are trained as it continues into other districts.
He said some other achievements are, the establishment of the provincial lands dispute committee chaired by the provincial senior magistrate to deal with land issues while the provincial government has also funded K1 million for the construction of a residential judge’s residential area.
He said other major intervention program in the sector is the appointment of provincial public prosecutor and the public solicitor for the first time since independence while a provincial family sexual violence action committee.
“Restoring law and order is a multi-sectoral effort and I thank PALJAPP for this recognition which highlights our invaluable partnership at all levels that is producing good results on the ground,” Powi said.