By MALUM NALU
NEW Ireland Governor and former prime minister Sir Julius Chan says Papua New Guinea “is not yet an independent nation”.
Sir Julius, one of the founding fathers of the nation, said in his Independence Day message to the people that the country had “failed to realise the true potential of our nation”.
“We are a rich country. We have gold, copper, gas, oil, forests and fisheries,” he said.
“We have everything God should have blessed us with. But still our people are not benefitting as they should.
“Think about it: With all the wealth that flows out of our country, we are still not financially dependent.
“We are not self-reliant. We still depend on foreign assistance.
“So I say to you that while we are a country that is technically independent, in fact, we are not truly self-reliant.
“We are not yet an independent nation.”
Sir Julius said everyone should be rich today.
“Why are we not rich? Why isn’t every Papua New Guinean rich? he said.
“We are being cheated out of our birthright. That is the truth.
“The riches and wealth, and the very treasure of our land, are being ripped out of the ground every day.”
Sir Julius said his government would change all that.
“We are demanding that revenues from mining be increased from K70 million per year to over K400 million,” he said.
“And I will tell you, if we do not get our fair share, then I say leave the gold, oil and gas in the ground until people get their fair share.
“I say leave the wealth in the land until the wealth from the land goes into the hands of the people.
“Until then, we are only robbing ourselves, by continuing to mine and continuing to extract oil and gas.”
By MALUM NALU