The National – Friday, December 17, 2010
SOUTHERN Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru yesterday said his Southern Highlands and Hela people have been fooled and lied to by several members of the ministerial economic committee.
He said those landowners who were milling about this week at Port Moresby’s Vulupindi Haus, the building housing the Treasury, Finance and National Planning and Rural Development offices, were there at the explicit invitation and promise of certain ministers.
The governor said he was aware that many letters of commitment had been made by several members of the committee to different landowning individuals and groups. These commitments amounted to K155 million and, yet, they were budgeted for in this year’s supplementary and next year’s budgets.
Agiru said: “At the umbrella benefits sharing agreement in Kokopo, certain members of the committee committed large amounts of money to landowners, but they never came back to factor those commitments in the budget.
“They wanted to create dissent and break up my group but the underlying age old ties, which bind the Hela nation together, is too strong for them to understand or break with their feeble commitments and lies,” Agiru said.
“Today, the government is faced with honouring the commitments without a single toea budgeted for it.
“It is sad that the acting prime minister and finance minister are burdened with honouring these irresponsible and unbudgeted commitments,” Agiru said.
“Yet, commitments are commitments and the government must pay up.”