Friday, March 2, 2012

PM: Decision on Tuesday

Source: The National, 01st March 2012
By JEFFREY ELAPA

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has told landowners camping outside Morauta Haus that he would make a decision on their money next Tuesday.
The landowners claimed they were owed funds under the memorandum of agreement, business development grants and infrastructure development grants.
They had been holding under siege the Morauta Haus and Vulupindi Haus in the past two week.
They claimed government ministers had been delaying the payment for too long.
Last Friday, the landowners stormed Morauta Haus after being misinformed that they were going to be paid on that day by Finance and Treasury Minister Don Polye.
But early this week, O’Neill removed the ministry from Polye, saying there would be a cabinet reshuffle soon.
He told the landowner leaders at his Morauta Haus office that they would be paid but he had to receive all submissions from the various departments before he could make a decision.
He would meet the leaders again on Tuesday to announce his decision.
But the landowners told him that all infrastructure development grants should be paid directly to them and to their respective provincial governments.
They wanted this done by Tuesday.
In another development, a group called from Hides asking O’Neill to consider the submissions endorsed by the developers and their partners who knew who the legitimate landowners were.
They alleged that there were many “paper landowners” in Port Moresby trying to claim funds belonging to the clans and warned the government to consider the submissions.
Ipuele Wap, the chairman of Ira Lama Aya Tamea and Chief Tayali Ola from the Tamea clan, said they were waiting for the payment in the village.
“Government must consider the cries of the landowners at home because we have never benefited from any government assistance even since the BP and Oil Search operated 20 years in the area.
“This is our first time, especially for the PDL 1 areas of the Hides LNG project. Therefore, we want the government to consider our application.”
They warned that many of the project activities were taking place on their land and if they missed out on the payments, they would take their land back.

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