Engaging provinces in development
The Law and Justice Sector story
The challenges of meaningfully engaging with provinces to progress the country have constantly been an up-hill battle as provinces are still coming to terms with the 1995 reforms.
Coupled with lack of budgetary support, capacity and mechanisms, some of these provinces have literally seen the break down of services and processes, triggering urban migration, in some cases.
The Law and Justice Sector is making headways into provincial engagement through its sectoral approach.
"We have to bring our activities to the provinces. They need to be stakeholders in addressing law and justice issues, says Valentine Kambori, Chairman and Facilitator of the National Coordinating Mechanism (NCM).
The NCM which is the Heads of the Law and Justice Agencies were in Goroka last week, listening to stakeholders in the Sector as well meet with NGOs, CBOs, community groups and the public.
Mr Kambori also thanked the Eastern Highlands Administration for their leadership in addressing law and justice issues.
He said the Eastern Highlands was also a pilot province to initiate some of the key activities in the sector.
"EHP has a strong leadership and commitment to the law and order. I want to commend the Governor Mal Smith and his deputy for this effort," said Mr Kambori.
Public Solicitor Frazier Pitpit made a head start, visiting the Aiyura National High School, Kainantu Community Justice Centre and the troubled Barola Hill.
"There are people out here who are working hard to address law and order issues. I am well informed and am awed by the level of commitment. Some of these in perilous scenarios," said Mr Pitpit.
Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno, who attended the Stake Holder's forum, applauded the NGO partnership with the formal agencies.
He however stressed the need for greater awareness of women rights and the shift from cultural barriers to contemporary developments.
"If we are to get rid of some of these traditional practices, then so be it. Women play a very important role in our country's development and we need to embrace these roles," said Mr Geno.
He also commended the efforts of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, especially its efforts on the Highlands Highway.
Chief Magistrate John Numapo took a drive from Goroka to Kundiawa to get a feel of the road conditions as well as see the difficulties faced by the people.
Public Prosecutor Chronox Manek took time to mingle with members of the NGO community, offering advice and direction on his role with the Consultative Implementation Monitoring Committee (CIMC).
As Chairman of the CIMC Family and Sexual Violence Committee's Focus Group 2, Mr Manek has been impressed with the kind of developments in Goroka.
"We will be starting a number of trainings in the Eastern Highlands to train some of formal agencies embrace some of the changes," said Mr Manek.
And the response from the provinces has been overwhelming, seeing that heads of the Law and Justice Agencies were all present.
Acting Principal of the Aiyura National High School Rieme Alo praised the Public Solicitor Frazier Pitpit for speaking to the school.
Mr Alo commended Mr Pitpit for explaining the sectoral approach as well as some of the progress in the sector.
"We now know that there are some positive developments in the sector. Our challenge is to ensure our students go out with that message," said Mr Alo.
Kainantu Police Station Commander Senior Inspector Albert Corin also thanked Mr Pitpit for the opportunity to visit the school.
"It boosts our morale that some one senior in the Law and Justice Sector has taken time from his busy schedule to come and visit us," added Senior Inspector Corin.
The Eastern Highlands Law and Justice Division have also welcomed the high delegation to the province.
Its manager Abel Voyorite said it was important that the NCM members have first hand information on how changes are occurring in the EHP.
"It's crucial because they will meet and learn about these developments with the very people who have contributed to some of these changes," said Mr Voyorite.
Prominent NGO advocate Naomi Yupae of the Eastern Highlands Family Voice said the visit has also flagged the success, achieved by the NGO movement.
"It is a good chance for these law and justice folks to see how the NGOs and CBOs fit in the whole law and justice sector.
"These visits will help consolidate the rapport we have and hopefully ascend to new heights," said Ms Yupae.
Commander of the Bihute Jail, Charles Au'u also met with other members of the NCM, and briefed them of the successes at the jail.
"Apart from meeting the commissioner, other members of the NCM were appreciative about the successes, we have initiated.
Mr Au'u also said that he hoped the NCM members can see how they can assist, now that they have seen for themselves how, the agencies are working within their means to make these achievements.
In all, the two-day program involving the Stake holder's Workshop and the NCM retreat was successful and everyone who met and was visited by the members of the NCM was thankful of the visit.
The NCM will travel to Kavieng later on this year, where they hope to visit some of the key law and justice sector projects.