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‘Warrior Governor’ Gary Juffa calls for calm as tensions rise in Oro

Gary Juffa with tribesmenKEITH JACKSON

WITH his position as the democratically elected governor of Oro Province under threat from politicians allied with illegal logging interests, Gary Juffa has asked people to remain calm.

“I am calling on his people not to take matters into their own hands and resort to violence during this tense period but to respect the law,” Governor Juffa said at a media conference.

Yesterday Ijivitari Open MP David Arore and seven local level government presidents passed a vote of no-confidence against Governor Juffa in an attempt to oust him.

Since he was elected in 2012, the governor has been active in his efforts to clean out corruption in the provincial public service and to remove illegal logging interests in Oro.

At the conference, he was accompanied by deputy governor Evartius Bori and Kokoda Council president Jackson Iriro.

“The actions taken by Mr Arore are illegal and amount to a criminal offence with the destruction of government property.

“The [provincial] House of Assembly was broken into by the member and his counterparts and an illegal assembly called.

“I am most definitely processing criminal actions against Mr Arore and his counterparts and I will not let this matter rest,” Governor Juffa said.

“What has transpired is a shame and cannot be let go. I call on the Ijivitari Member to put aside this politics and personal differences and work together for the service delivery for our people.”

Mr Juffa has since lodged a formal complaint against Mr Arore and his cohorts with the Commissioner of Police.

It has been reported that a contingent of police flown from Port Moresby did nothing to prevent the destruction of the House of Assembly.

“The truth of the matter is that Gary Juffa has a solid, unshakable standing in the eyes of the local and international community,” commented the PNG Exposed blog, calling Mr Juffa a “warrior governor”.

“He served a distinguished career in various capacities in government including a long stint as the no nonsense head of PNG Customs who impounded illegal weapons and contraband and facilitated the jailing of Asians who entered the country illegally.”

PNG Exposed also said that “David Arore served a less than distinguished career as a high school teacher, paid off by the Somare government to join his party after the elections”

It is alleged that last year Mr Arore was arrested for bribery but is yet to stand trial.

Mr Arore is said by the blog to be backed by controversial Minister Delilah Gore.

PNG Exposed is now alleging that Asian loggers operating in Oro funded the vote of no confidence against  Governor Juffa. 

 "In the days leading up to the illegal vote of no confidence motion yesterday, executives of logging companies Viva Success  and Unirise co-funded a meeting by local level government presidents, Sohe MP, Delilah Gore and David Arore in Port Moresby. 

"While the amount paid to the various parties has not been disclosed, it is understood, it was enough to convince local level government councilors to agree to remove Gary Juffa as governor.

 "The logging companies have been at loggerheads with the Governor Juffa ever since he began calling for an end to illegal logging in the province, particularly in the Musa-Pongani area.

"The principal of one of the companies, Victor Yu, is a close friend of the Ijivitari MP, David Arore and Sohe MP [and Community Development Minister], Delilah Gore.

 "The  Asian logger also paid for the vehicles and fuel used in the small protest held in Popondetta town."


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Mathias Kin

I believe this is the work of evil forces in this country these days.

Firstly from foreign loggers, mostly of Asian origin, who are hell bent on going to the extreme to clear out timber. They will break all the laws in the book to achieve their ill dreams.

And secondly evil and sinister forces from within the reigning national government. Governor Gary has been a pain in the ass since his election into national politics to many of these in higher political circles.

These two forces combined will do anything and everything to ensure "big mouths" like Gary Juffa and Sam Basil are shut up for ever.

Very interesting developments. The people of PNG are watching carefully as these evil intents unfold.

Corney Korokan Alone

Governor, you will prevail - their last ditch effort will cause them to fall flat on their faces. Stand firm.

The province and the country needs your continued leadership in championing proper development agendas as being displayed so far.

Lindsay F Bond

Awaiting words with awareness of a way in propriety, national and provincial, and which doubly remove doubt, from a Prime Minister say on property responsibility and from a Party President say on procedural validity.

John Kaupa Kamasua

True Orokaivans and people close to their land are tired of the corrupt ways and should stand with the duly elected Governor and call this drama for what it is!

Papua New Guineans must stand up for what is legal, right and morally sound.

Lindsay F Bond

Another website reported that a PNG MP "paid for the notorious police taskforce of the Southern Command to travel to Popondetta".

About that many will be interested in seeing official comment from PNG police.

About a reported breaking-in of a Provincial House of Assembly, will there be any time soon, a comment from PNG Police?

No to mention a statement from prime minister O'Neill on this assault on the democratic fabric of the Oro government - KJ

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