MOHAMMAD BASHIR - Post Courier 14/10/2010
The Sinali speaking people number just over 4,000 and live in the middle of nowhere between Koroba in the Southern Highlands Province and Nomad in the Western Province.
They are principle landowners of the Juha gas project licence No.PDL9 and they are not Hulis.
Sadly, none of them are educated accept only one who has reached grade 10 and is currently employed by the Department of Petroleum and Energy. The rest live like their forefathers, gardening the land and hunting the bushes everyday.
Politically, they come under the Koroba Lake Kopiago electorate but culturally, they are Nomads. To get to either Koroba or Nomad stations on either side, they travel 7 days and nights.
The multi-billion kina PNG LNG project is right on their door steps and has brought more confusion than good.
As a minority group in a backward area of the Southern Highlands and with only 12 clans, they have no access to schools, health services nor road links.
Mr Alex Tao has been the councillor of the Sinalis for 15 years. He is also the village court chairman and chairman of a new umbrella landowner company called Sinali/Juha Central Co-ordinating team Development Corporation Ltd.
The 12 clans include Demah, Yewesoso, Moyo, Kasomu, Gumitia, Sambu, Yowomo, Yetipi. Sili, Uwo, Waitie and Kofipi. Their leaders are Alex Tao, Frank Neabi, Moyo Beia, Sai Jerop, Pr Mekeya, Pr Sii, Egiso Yowomo, Dickson Dugubi, John Wapi, Jeremiah Kakala and Gua Ipi.
Mr Tao yesterday told the Post-Courier that God Almighty created Juha land and blessed it and placed his people there as custodians. He was concerned that people from Duna, which is in Tari and Koroba Kopiago who claim to be Juha landowners and were making submissions to the Government for grants and other entitlements.
"We still live a very primitive lifestyle (stone age) and the gas project at Juha is a blessing which will rescue us and God the creator is watching,"
"We do not want anyone, Tom, Dick and Harry from Huli, Duna, ie Tari, Koroba or Kopiago to claim as landowners and register companies with IPA under Juha project including umbrella companies on our behalf" Mr Tao said.
He warned the Government to be weary of such con groups going around in Port Moresby with such dubious claims.
He warned those not from Sinali that "the sun is watching and the sun will burn you, even at night and your days are numbered. Leave us, the Sinali people of Juha (PDL 9) alone and don't jeopardise the project."