IT PROVED TO BE a long struggle but former top public servant Gary Juffa (People’s Movement for Change) finally prevailed in the Northern provincial seat and seems set to become an influential force in the new parliament.
Juffa, who was Controller of Customs before resigning to contest the seat, is credited with separating PNG Customs from the Internal Revenue Commission and turning it into a vibrant organization.
In his victory speech he said the province had suffered from lack of good governance and management over the years.
“In 2007 there was a cyclone, a natural disaster that devastated Oro province,” he said. “The disaster that followed thereafter was worse and that was the lack of response, the lack of response to bring adequate service to our people in the remote lands of this beautiful province.
“Our bridges and roads remain devastated, not repaired. Our hospital and schools are in dire need of maintenance and our people continue to suffer without these services. There are adequate resources, there is money, there is funding available but there is improper management and there has been poor management and leadership over the last five years."
Juffa said the rehabilitation process will take time.
"I don't have a magic wand, I will not come and suddenly improve things overnight. It takes time, it takes hard work, it takes effort and this effort must be made by all of us, not just by myself but each and everyone of us here, all the citizens of this province.
“They have to cast away some of their bad habits. They have to take up grass knives and bush knives and forks, spades, axes and start cleaning this province up. They have to stop begging and sitting down and expecting something to come to them for nothing.
“Getting into parliament, getting into the provincial government office, is only one step. We have much more steps to take, a longer journey awaits us. The next five years will be difficult, they will be trying, we will need to find ways and means we will have to plan, we will have to find resources so we can build this province and it takes the effort of all of us."