SOUTHERN Highlands Governor
The incident happened when the prime minister was in Tari for the swearing-in ceremony of Hela Transitional Authority (HTA) members.
Agiru made the apology during the swearing-in of local level government (LLG) presidents as provincial assemblymen in Mendi last Friday.
“I apologise to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and the people of PNG for what happened in Tari yesterday (Thursday). Please forgive us.
“The incident was disrespectful, disgraceful, regrettable and stupid act and has also given us bad media publicity.”
Agiru said PNG was moving forward and he challenged his Hela people “to grow-up, change and move with the rest of the country”.
He also apologised to ExxonMobil, developers of the multi-billion kina PNG LNG project, saying that “with or without these little thugs in the stone-throwing incident”, he welcomed the LNG project and would still push for it.
Agiru also took the time to apologise to the people generally “for any wrongdoings the Hela people had committed against them either in the plantations or in the streets of the main towns over the years”.
“The people of Hela want to build their own province but Helas would need the support of their brothers and sisters throughout the country.
“Therefore, it is important to reconcile with them for any wrongdoings and work together in peace and harmony to move Hela and PNG forward.
“HTA does not belong to one electorate but to the Hela people from the far-flung areas of Komo-Margarima and Koroba-Lake Kopiago who were never given a fair representation at the ceremony in Tari.
“I think the timing, with poor planning and coordination saw many Helas not turning up for the occasion in Tari,” he said.
Agiru also challenged the university students from Hela, whose protest over Hela missing out on LNG benefits during the ceremony in Tari, “to
show some maturity and leadership”.
“They (students) must start showing leadership at family, community, tribe and village level before they can take on bigger responsibilities at district, province and national level.
“We have no time for people who want to intimidate and cause problems.”