"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

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Story of Two Fatal Events at PNG LNG

On the 5th of April, LNG Watch reported on an alleged fatal shooting at PNG LNG’s Tamadigi camp, after receiving testimony from local workers. Since that post Exxon have publicly denied that the worker was shot-dead by a RPNGC Mobile-Squad unit (no mention has been made of the injured worker, featuring a gaping head wound).

Recently we returned to the PNG News Page (Facebook) post, where a worker at the camp  broke the story with photos, this is the message we received:

So be it. We are now told by Exxon’s spokesperson that the cause of the worker’s death is unknown, moreover, at this stage the company is only prepared to acknowledge a security incident occurred; its nature remains a closely guarded secret.

However, we are promised by Exxon that an inquiry will take place. If you just had a moment of déjà vu, thats because we heard the same thing in January when a landslide killed dozens of people from the villages of Tumbi and Tumbiago. 

In the aftermath of this fatal event – when all eyes were on Exxon’s local quarry – the National Disaster Centre focused its resources on clearing an arterial road blocked by the landslide. As a result, relatives were forced to dig by hand for their loved ones.

Desperate families dig for their loved ones at Tumbi

As families dug amongst the rubble Exxon and the government built a new road so that PNG LNG construction work could proceed at pace. The road was built over the top of the buried bodies, leaving family members in a state of shock (Mobile Squads and the PNGDF were there to 'keep the peace').

The road built over the top of bodies buried at Tumbi

And what about that Inquiry that was promised to the landslide victims by Prime Minister O’Neil, and members of his Cabinet. It, of course, never happened. Now those displaced by the landslide live in tents with no sense of closure. Others, whose homes were not destroyed, continue to reside in dangerous proximity to an unstable area. 

Given the lessons of Tumbi, there are credible reasons to be concerned over the current inquiry into the  fatal incident at Tamadigi camp.

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