|Wednesday, 27 June 2012|
BUSINESS chambers are upset that planned voting schedules in Port Moresby and Lae have been missed. In contrast, the ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project was not impacted by the weekend polling in the Hela and Southern Highlands provinces.
|Image courtesy of the PNG LNG joint venture.|
An Exxon spokesperson told PNGIndustryNews.net it was business as usual for the project with “no impact” from voting over the weekend, which did come with some election-related violent incidents.
While the PNG government went to great lengths to ensure there was adequate election security for PNG LNG-linked areas, which included international requests for assistance, it seemed planning for voting in major urban areas was not up to scratch.
Firstly, the voting which was meant to take place in the whole Lae urban area yesterday was delayed until today. Officials cited heavy rain as the cause.
“Whilst we told the provincial electoral officer that in our opinion this is a wrong decision and one we cannot understand, there is nothing that we can do about it at the moment,” the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry told its members yesterday.
“Many factories have closed production today to give employees the opportunity to vote and will lose in a big way and the general disruption to businesses will amount to substantial losses across the board.”
Over in Port Moresby there were a variety of several-hour delays to setting up polling booths yesterday.
Voting in the Moresby North West electorate was delayed until today.
“Clearly the logistics of reaching such remote hamlets such as Hanuabada, 5 Mile and Tokarara have been just too hard,” the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry quipped to its members yesterday.
The chamber was unimpressed about the prospect that voting might need to take place the next day, which was the case for Moresby North West.
“Disappointing to say the least when we cannot even get it right in the nation's capital,” the chamber said.
This morning the chamber warned employers to possibly soften their stance on the indelible ink proof of a worker taking time off to vote.
“Some genuine employees will have taken time off, failed to vote through no fault of their own and not received the indelible ink mark,” POMCCI said.
“We have received many reports from employees who genuinely tried to vote yesterday and either spent hours going from booth to booth looking for their names, had to put up with booths opening late, no ballot papers, or booths closing before the allotted time.”
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