"We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others".

- Papua New Guinea National Goals and Directive Principles

Monday, 31 January 2011

Public reactions to recent troubles at LNG PNG

The National- Friday, January 28, 2011
 I REFER to your article, “LNG plant will stay shut” (The National, Jan 25).
It clearly pointed out that police were involved in confrontations, and perhaps, brutality of a civilian which could have resulted in death.

The government had  ordered more police to the area to maintain peace and stability among frustrated relatives of the deceased of a previous incident over possible chemical poisoning.

It looks like the situation would get out of hand if a compromise is not reached among all respective parties.

One major threat of a possible civil war that the government of the day should take into consideration is the fact that what has transpired in Bougainville years ago can erupt again up in the Southern Highlands.

It’s like a time bomb ready to go off.
Facts to enlighten us are: 

(1) It was the mobile unit that initially started the war in Bougainville which resulted in a very dark historical page for PNG; and
(2) It always resulted in the government committing itself to the developer ahead of sorting out outstanding landing owner issues, hence a war on Panguna.
The potential for an even bigger war than Bougainville is here.

To date, the government has not completely addressed the firearm issues in the Highlands region.

What guarantee does it have to offer the people that it can forcefully bring in peace and stability through the use of its law enforcing agency?
It’s your call PM.

Gideon Maim
Via email
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The National- Friday, January 28, 2011
THE court will need to exercise sensitivity to find a way forward for all so-called landowner disputes over the PNG LNG project development and benefits sharing promised by the government under the UBSA/LBBSA. 

The PNG LNG project, driven by Esso Highlands and PNG government, will likely to be jeopardised because of the insensitivity of the judicial system in entertaining so-called landowners’ disputes over range of landownership, legitimacy, rights, benefits in the light of the umbrella benefit sharing agreements (UBSA) and landowner-based benefits sharing agreements (LBBSA), among others, to cloud the outstanding issues under the oil regime. 

The importance of the project and the potential benefits it will deliver will not be realised if the court system is insensitive to unwinding specific issues.
The issues under the oil regime should not be mixed with the gas regime in terms of outstanding MOAs, IBD grants and government/ministerial commitments. 

Some landowners are still disputing the UBSAs/LBBSAs/ where the notion of majority rules in a decision to an agreement. Some are disputing the ministerial determination.

In some cases, some elite proxy landowners have immensely siphoned off benefits in the oil regime and therefore the illiterate owners are making their way to Port Moresby to stop the same abuse on the gas resource benefits and so on.
Others who have missed out are disputing that payments were made to the wrong company within the licensed area or project foot print as per the provision of UBSA.  

Landowner representatives have been given some sort of power of attorney by their people to negotiate the UBSAs/LBBSAs and secure benefits for them in their respective project licensed areas.

The business development grant was one of the benefits to be made available for the landowners in the project foot print to be given in a form of seed capital to participate in the spin-off activities during the early works phase which started last year.

Some who had been given these responsibilities have abused by not keeping their own people informed of the grants paid to them. 

Hence, they have been labelled “paper landowners” in Port Moresby while others have been taken to the courts to prevent them accessing the grants.
If they wait for the social mapping which will start next month, they would miss 30 % of the opportunity remaining in the early works spin off minor contracts.

Plant site landowner 
Via email
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The National- Friday, January 28, 2011
 WHEN the PNG LNG deal was first signed between the government, landowners, financiers and the developers, the government gave security concerns top priority, or was it just interested in the billion bucks that was to be earned from the deal.

The security aspects involving such a multi-billion-dollar project is of a paramount importance, especially when the projects areas are located in more volatile area, it must be a top agenda by any government of the day when negotiating with stakeholders concerned.

Does the government employ security consultants or advisors and if it so, did they give the right advice to the government about sensitive landowner issues within the mine and projects sites located all over PNG?

It seems like we have not learnt yet from the Bougainville crisis and the government must envisage the future and be guided by the Bougainville scenario prior to arising to any project agreement.

We must always bear in mind that different ethnic groups have their own languages, cultures and behaviour therefore behave in their own different ways. 

The government must ensure that every one’s interests within the project areas are considered prior to kick start any projects.

Steven Supi Palisa
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The National- Friday, January 28, 2011
THE uncalled attack on the employees of the Clough Curtain Joint Venture at the LNG plant site recently must be condemned with the harshest terms there is.
There are avenues available to address such issues. 

The blame should have gone to the parents and guardians of the deceased for negligence than to anyone else.

It is bewildering to read of 700 hundred moaning relatives attacking the LNG plant site, when not one of those concerned 700-plus bothered to spare sometime to watch the boy as he roamed unattended into a billion dollar chemical plant construction site that fateful day.

I have read of such hideous episodes in many of PNG’s history and I am ashamed deeply to see it conjure up again in the21st century.

I wonder if any of those 700 relatives have hear of the word “autopsy” to determine cause of death

Fumbruk Erike
Via email

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