Landowners respond to petroleum and energy minister

Letters

The Minister for Petroleum and Energy has been reported in The National newspaper as saying the Government’s decision to start the PNG LNG project benefits the landowners.
The plant site and the downstream landowners, according to the minister, have already been cleared and paid while funds would be made available
This month to help in the work to identify the landowners of the pipeline and petroleum development licence areas.
The minister’s announcement to settle long-overdue benefits is welcomed by the landowners. However, we, the landowners of Angore PDL8 hereby ask the Government to consider the following:
(1)    That the funds allocated for the landowner-identification scheme be given to the court-annexed mediation team headed by Justice Ambeng Kandakasi. This will complete the ADR/mediation exercise which is sanctioned by the court, as it is a proper and legal process, to identify the landowners and carry out social mapping as required under the Oil and Gas Act 1998.
If social mapping has not been conducted then it shall be conducted as well by the court-annexed mediation team (The ADR/mediation team).
(2)    The clan-vetting exercise termed by the Government to identify landowners is illegal as we, the Angore PDL8 landowners, do not define clan vetting a terminology legally stipulated within the meaning of section 47 of the Oil and Gas Act 1998 (The Act). Clan vetting is a creature created by the Department of Petroleum and Energy to fast-track the process of identifying the landowners. To vet the clan is to do careful and secret checks on the clans before they are accepted.
If the Department of Petroleum and Energy has been doing or has or is planning to conduct their careful and secret checks on all the clans at the project area then we say it is wrong in law.
If the Government was contemplating all along to do such then the Government had terribly failed us landowners by going straight to the 2009 UBSA/LBSA forums without having the licensee (the developer) to conduct social mapping and landowners’ identification as required under the Act.
We, the Angore PDL8 landowners, therefore require the Government to urge the licensee and the developer to be part of the ADR/mediation team led by Justice Kandakasi.
(3) That the Government appoints the lawyer for the principal plaintiff of the court proceeding OS No.546 of 2010 to take lead as part of the Government team to organise and assist in preparation for the landowners’ identification exercise to be conducted in this month’s  ADR/mediation exercise led by Justice Kandakasi.
(4) The Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE) and its employees be banned and not to be involved in the ADR/mediation process as they have been collaborating with people who were not the genuine landowners in the 2013 so-called clan-vetting exercise which resulted in the identification of 84 ILGs in the Block 1715 of Angore.
The current court-annexed mediation exercise has corrected the identification of 84 ILGs in Block 1715 of Angore which had significantly dropped to less than 40 ILGs and that has been a great achievement made thus far.
We, the Angore PDL landowners now call on the Government to invite the lawyer for the principal plaintiff in OS No.546 of 2010 to come up with a strategy to assist and successfully resurrect the incomplete court-annexed mediation (ADR/mediation) exercise and complete the social mapping as well for all the land groups in the upstream project areas.

Hamiya Yulai,
Chairman Angore Gas Land owners’ Association Imiga Ipaliria and Yaluma Clans
Angore Block 1715

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