‘Sort out law and order before LNG’

National, Normal

By PETER WARI DWU journalism student

ESCALATING law and order problems in the Western Highlands province needs to be addressed immediately if Highlanders want to benefit from the spin-off of the multi-billion kina LNG gas project in the Southern Highlands province.
Before the LNG gas project begins, security should be tightened to make Mt Hagen city more conducive for business activities.
Las Laden Daul, a member of Melanesian Solidarity (MELSOL), an NGO in the province, said Mt Hagen had hotels and lodges, entertainment centres and was rich in agricultural products.
Mr Daul, who is MELSOL deputy provincial coordinator, said the people from Southern Highlands would come to Mt Hagen city to buy fresh vegetables in bulk, sleep in hotels or for recreational purposes.
“Many people, including business house operators, farmers or those engaged in the tourism industry would benefit.
“This would greatly boost the internal revenue of the province only if the elected Members of
Parliament and law enforcing agencies addressed the current escalating law and order problems.
“This will come about only if the problems in the province are resolved and did not pose any threat to people,” he said.
Mr Daul said failure to resolve the problems would only scare people away to do business elsewhere.
“I was saddened to see a Hela man weeping in front of the Tininga Best Buy yesterday because he was robbed off K3,000.
“This must stop because the good image of the city is at stake,” he said, appealing to the seven
MPs and Governor Tom Olga to hold a forum to discuss the issue.
He said police manpower must be increased and the highway patrol must be increased to patrol the Nebilyer area all the way to Mendi.
Mr Daul said the Gulf Highway was near completion and feared people would go to the capital city directly, bypassing Mt Hagen city.
“This issue needs to be addressed quickly so that people from the resource-rich province feel safe to come here,” he said.