By CYRIL GARE
THE Marienberg Advocacy Forum (MAF) has said there is a difference between “compensation demand” and “a participatory development” package.
The MAF, representing the Marienberg people in East Sepik province, clarified this when responding to claims by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and people associated with the K10 million Marienberg Community College that they were seeking compensation over the college.
Sir Michael was referring to the compensation demand by Marienberg people during his address at the opening of the Wewak stadium last Tuesday.
MAF said Sir Michael was either misinformed or simply overracting to a submission they presented last Dec 9 which sought a “K500,000 landowner benefit sharing and development package”.
They said the submission presented was genuine and sought dialogue with the Government for an integrated benefit sharing package for landowners in areas of:
* Health: College students will get sick and utilise health services in Marienberg;
* Spiritual: Missal services and spiritual life of students are necessary. The use of the dilapidated and aging Marienberg Cathedral, a “national heritage” which will celebrate its 100 years in 2013;
* Education: The Marienberg primary feeder school and training of school leavers who can be teachers and health workers to support continuity and sustainability of manpower resources capacity of Marienberg in the medium and long term; and
*Sub-contracting and other spin offs: No Marienberg contractor is invited, thus overlooking the local indigenous people.
MAF said the submission was merely a call to the Government and the Catholic Diocese of Wewak that “we are around” and in no circumstances that they should forget them in any development activities in Marienberg.