In his address at the closing ceremony of the XV Pacific Games in Port Moresby he said PNG is proud of its cultures and traditions and can exceed anything.He said PNG can and wants to host the commonwealth games.He said PNG must bid to host the next commonwealth games here in Port Moresby and around the country.Ogio said this has been a very a successful games thanking the volunteers, sponsors and the governemnt for the games.” We wish Tonga good luck for 2019. Your brothers and sister from Papua New Guinea will help you. I now declare the 2015 Pacific Games closed,” Sir Micheal said.
A request to drop two senatorial nominees of the ruling Unity Party (UP) from contesting the pending special elections has been denied by the National Elections Commission (NEC).Sinoe County District#3 Representative, who is an executive of the UP, Matthew G. Zarzar, claimed that the two UP senatorial candidates, Milton Teahjay and Willington G. Smith, whose names have appeared on the NEC’s preliminary listing, were in violation of section 5.2 of the Legislative Code of Conduct of 2014.Teahjay is the Superintendent of Sinoe County and Willington G. Smith is also the Superintended of Rivercess County.Rep. Zarzar claimed that the two UP senatorial aspirants had not resigned their appointed positions as provided by the Code of Conduct.The section requires appointed official desiring to canvass or contest for elected public office to resign said post, at least two years before the date of such elections.However, in NEC’s ruling, delivered by its Chief Dispute Hearing Officer, Muana S. Ville, the elections body declared the “Rep. Matthew Zarzar’s complaint against Milton Teahjay and Willington Smith is hereby dismissed.”Delving into the merits of the entire case, Ville narrated that on August 18, 2014, the lawmaker reminded the Commission that its qualification of two UP’s nominees to contest the special senatorial elections was in violation of Section 5.2 of the Legislative Code of Conduct.The NEC Dispute Officer quoted the UP executive as saying that he named Milton Teahjay and Willington G. Smith as those in violation of the code.He continued, “Based on the lawmaker’s request, we conducted an investigation and determination.”“Citations were issued and served for the parties to appear for hearing of the matter on August 28, at the hour of 11: AM,” adding “Rep. Zarzar made no representation when the case was called for hearing.”His absence, the Dispute Hearing Officer said in the ruling, prompted the UP’s legal counsel, Atty. Miller Catakaw, to file a motion for dismissal, claiming “the lawmaker has abandoned the case and his absence is an attempt to delay the proceeding.”Atty. Catakaw, who is the deputy secretary general of the UP and lawyer for both Teahjay and Smith, won the acceptance of NEC’s Hearing Officer to the attorney’s argument for dismissal.Immediately following the ruling at NEC’s office, Atty. Miller Catakaw, in an interview with journalists, disclosed that the “cardinal obligation of a UP partisan is to support the party candidates through campaigning and to provide other support within his or her capacity at any elections.”Atty. Catakaw claimed that the lawmaker’s compliant was in total violation of Article VII, Section 1(e) of the UP’s constitution.“What the lawmaker needs to understand is that if anybody wishes to challenge our party’s candidates, it should not have been Rep. Zarzar, who is an executive of the UP.”The attorney added, “Zarzar’s action is seen or perceived as challenging the signature of the UP’s National Executive Chairman, who signed the nomination papers for these partisans of our political party.”According to him, Rep. Zarzar’s complaint that the UP nominees should have resigned their positions in order to be candidates for the Liberian Senate was belated. “What he doesn’t recognize is that this law took effect on June 20, 2014, the date, on which it was published.”“This law not intended to affect the 2014 senatorial elections, which is pending. This is because it requires that government officials, such as Superintended should resign their appointment at least two (2) years before the elections they wish contest in,” he clarified.“This means that these candidates were to resign in 2012, the minimum time required by this law.”Also, Atty. Catakaw said, the law could not and was intended to operate retroactively to the Liberian Constitution.“The constitution forbids ex-facto laws and his complaint against our candidates, Teahjay and Smith should comply with a statute, which is not applicable to the 2014 senatorial election and is therefore untenable,” he further clarified.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Officials at a polling center in rural Montserrado County try to calm down a crowd of voters who had become frustrated over the slow process and disorganized queue system.Although Election Day Was PeacefulThe conduct of the polls in Montserrado County Districts # 15, 16, 17 and some parts of 11 was marked by several lapses on the part of National Elections Commission (NEC) workers. In these districts, the voting process was early faced with challenges, including the late start of polls and complaints from voters over not finding their names on the voters roster. Furthermore, two voters were initially denied for over an hour from voting at the Caldwell Bethel Christian Community School because their names were not on the roster – although they had valid voter ID cards.However, when this same situation occurred at the Maranatha, the names of the voters were recorded on a separate page on the voter roster, and they were subsequently allowed to vote. Also, when a similar situation occurred at other polling stations in Districts # 15, 16, 17 and 11, the voters were not denied to vote. Their records were immediately jotted down, and they were allowed to vote. Both schools are located in Caldwell, District # 15.With violence playing a central theme in the history of elections in Liberia, the need for security (mainly police and soldiers) officers cannot be overstated. However, at Maranatha, there were no security personnel on the ground. Although no violent incident was reported, the question most voters had was ‘what if there was a fight?’ Despite this obvious lapse in planning, the voting process was peaceful and things went on smoothly in spite of the aforementioned challenges.The issue of the photos of voters or their names not being identified on the final voters’ roll that were later remedied by NEC workers was also reported at other polling stations like the Sims Community School in Caldwell, District # 15, Caldwell Assembly of God High School and the Elizabeth Tubman Memorial High School, both in Caldwell. This is one issue that the NEC would have to work on for the next election cycle, as District # 11 also reported similar situations.Despite some polling stations opening late in Districts #16 and 17, another problem that quickly emerged early on in the voting process was the lack of poll workers in the queue to assist voters to identify which precinct or center they were supposed to vote in. This caused serious problems for voters as many of them ended up attempting to vote in the wrong rooms; at which point they were sent back outside to another queue, despite waiting in very long queues to reach that far. This caused some very tense confrontations as these people were not allowed to head into the right/correct room to vote, but were expected to start off at the back of a new line. This dilemma was not only reported in Districts # 16 and 17; it was also reported in 11 and 15.On Election Day, as also in life, time is of the essence. However, poll workers in Districts # 11, 15, 16, and 17 were apparently not conversant with this maxim as they took almost four to five minutes just to identify a voter’s name on the roster, which caused unnecessary delays and long queues. But thanks to some quick thinking, NEC presiding officers and poll workers, were able to bring these situations under control , especially the process of identifying names on the roster, which had caused the queues to swell.Meanwhile, the standard bearer of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), Simeon Freeman, and the President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Charles Cuffey, voted at the Lott Carey Baptist School in Virginia, District #17. Mr. Freeman was happy to report that his voting process was problem-free, adding that he is very hopeful of winning the election because he has been an advocate for the Liberian people for a very long time. Freeman said there will not be a first round winner, and is hopeful of putting up a good fight in the second round. The MPC leader said that if he loses the elections, he will continue being a businessman.Making a comment, PUL President Charles Cuffey hailed the poll workers for doing their best to allow citizens to vote, despite the challenges.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)