THE former employees of PNG Sustainable Development Programme (PNGSDP), will be breathing a sigh of relief, now that the PNG Government has lost its protracted battle in the Singapore High Court to wrest control of an entity with assets worth about US$1.4 billion, as reported on Monday (April 8).
Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy, while ruling in favour of PNGSDP, said, “… the state of PNG had failed to prove it had a deal with PNGSDP’s co-founder BHP Minerals Holdings for joint control to develop PNGSDP assets”.
It was also reported that, given this High Court outcome,
“… PNGSDP is (now) free to carry out its objectives under the control of its independent board according to the 2001 contractual framework without interference from the state”.
Now that the dispute over the corporate governance of PNGSDP has been settled, the hundreds of former PNGSDP employees who lost their jobs and families made to suffer since, would be yearning for restitution fairly accorded to them by the government.
Cloudybay Sustainable Forestry Limited, a subsidiary of PNGSDP, for one, regressed drastically.
The 200-plus local employees lost their jobs.
The beneficiaries who were the communities of the logging site in Abau District were also deprived of education, health and road infrastructure services that Cloudy SFL provided.
Let’s hope that PNGSDP will be fully restored and sustainable service delivery resumed for the benefit of all Papua New Guineans.