Govt told to honour agreement
Post Courier, 9 February, 2012
SETTLERS at the LNG project area want the Government and developer ExxonMobil to fulfill the relocation exercise signed in the agreements before the Tumbi debris is cleared and LNG road link reopened.
Hides landowner Chief Yokoya Piwago and Kobalu Chief Ega Ango said the Tumbi disaster should prompt the State and developer to speed up the relocation process before the start of the LNG project. Mr Piwago wants the LNG stakeholders to explain why they failed to deliver the relocation exercise and 25 of his immediate relatives perished and buried under the debris.
He said by the Government using the police and army to remove the debris and reopen the road showed it did not have concern for its citizens, their rights and their welfare. Mr Piwago said that policemen were heavily present at Tumbi to force the locals out of the area without due respect for the genuine landowners who perished in the disaster and were still buried.
Kobalu Chief Ango called on the police to be wary of using excessive force as the landowners were fighting for their rights that were overlooked which were simple and appropriate such as relocation of people.
Mr Ango said due to their failure the disaster had claimed the lives of the landowners who would have lived today if not of the LNG developments.
He asked the Government to be more realistic on whose interest it was serving - to get the maximum benefit for its citizens or serve the developer.
“It disappoints and brings fear on us when excessive force is used by the Government to reopen the road without fulfilling the documented and signed agreements for the safety of the locals,” he said.
Chief Ango said his people wanted the Government and the developer to deliver the promised packages with emphasizes on relocation as the priority and follow suit with other promised commitments made to the landowners.
He said those agreements penned at the Kokopo UBSA and LBBSA were important commitments ever made but the deliverance part of it was slow and urged the Government to also rectify before the debris were cleared.
“They said today we are fighting and tomorrow you our fellow Papua New Guineans will fight when such situation arises in your area and urged the locals serving in the project and State agents to fall behind them,” he said.
They want the State and developer to:
* retrieve the bodies in good shape to process for funeral service;
* fully comply with relocation exercise immediately before the reopening of the road;
* other promised benefits to be delivered and ;
* if not complied, he urged the locals to withhold their equipment and labor workforce so that the expatriates can be employed to work.
They said Papua New Guineans must stand together to fight for their common good and in this case show respect for those who perished as part of their culture
"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
Thursday, 9 February 2012
NBC and the Post-Courier have issued worrying reports on the disaster efforts in Tumbi. All energies are being directed at helping ExxonMobil, while the victims are left to suffer in silence.