June 28, 2017
BY GORETHY KENNETH
YESTERDAY’s one-day polling in the National Capital District was deferred to Friday when election officials refused to conduct it unless their camping allowances were paid up front.
Their sudden refusal took the PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato by surprise, leaving him with no choice but to defer, resulting in a chaotic turn out by thousands of voters.
Mr Gamato then rationalised that, because of the unexpected situation, all three NCD electorates and the regional seat, would undertake polling on another single day. He said the situation would have been uneven had other electorates proceeded without the other.
“I had to make the decision to stop the polling. Basically, some electorates or one electorate, was ready to start, whilst two others were not ready, simply because the polling officials wanted their camping allowance paid before they take up the polling stations to collect polling,” Mr Gamato said.
“So because of that, I didn’t want to allow one electorate to start and others later, I wanted everyone to start at the same time, and so I decided that we should all defer the polling to Friday, and regroup ourselves and go back to polling,” Commissioner Gamato said.
“This camping allowance is basically for people who go up and travel, and for NCD, they wanted to camp out before they went into poll,” he said.
Mr Gamato told reporters that they did not pay because there were no funds available, but names of all the polling officials were not presented on time, delaying the camping allowances to be distributed on time.
“This issue was simply because we have to come out with a list of officials, the list was available on Sunday, so it was difficult to put that together, to push their claim in to be processed,” he said.
“Allowances for polling is processed after they conduct polling,” Mr Gamato said.
For the 2017 National Election, NCD has approximately 265,000 registered voters across the three districts:
There are approximately 370 polling booths operating in approximately 170 polling places throughout NCD. Approximately 105 multiple-booth polling places will be in operation during polling (15 with four to seven polling Booths and 90 with two or three Polling Booths). The remaining polling places will operate only one polling booth.