By Edwin Fidelis – EMTV News, Kokopo
Dozens of Local Level Government workers in East New Britain province are expected to gather for a protest march in Kokopo on Friday, June 29.
Those who will be taking part in the protest are Ward members, Ward Recorders, Village Court Magistrates, peace officers and election service providers.
They will be petitioning the national government, demanding a payment of outstanding allowances owed to them since the 2012 elections.
Bitapaka LLG President and East New Britain Deputy Governor, Cosmos Bauk, says the LLG workers will be giving the government 21 days to sort out their grievances.
Mr. Bauk says failure to pay the dues will result in the boycotting of the LLG elections in East New Britain Province.
The third tier of government has since been hit hard by a budget cut since 2016. The LLG Budget has been trimmed from K500,000 to a mere K100,000 for each local level government in the country.
Meanwhile, PNG Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, recommends that the LLG elections be deferred to 2019. This is to give government ample time to secure funding to stage the elections for the third level government in light of the country’s economic downturn.
Minister for Inter-government Relations, Kevin Isifu, however, has announced in May that the elections won’t be deferred, but continue as scheduled.
While LLG workers in East New Britain Province have spoken out, there are many in other provinces too who are facing similar issues, but who, for the time being, have chosen to remain silent.