SOUTHERN Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru has urged the Government not to panic over the National Court’s decision to restrain the development forum in Kutubu.
“I call on the State, the National Government and the developer not to panic and make unnecessary commitments which will open the doors for all manner of claims,” Mr Agiru said yesterday.
Mr Agiru also urged all landowners in Port Moresby and other major centres to return home to participate in the licence-based benefits sharing agreement (LBBSA) development forums.
“I call on all landowners to return to their respective villages and participate meaningfully in the benefits that I have carved out for them at the Umbrella Benefits Sharing Agreement in Kokopo,” he said.
The Southern Highlands governor said he respected the court’s decision but said the Digimu landowners were covered under the existing Petroleum Development Licence 2 (PDL 2).
“Land identification and social mapping has been done for Kutubu PDL 2 landowners.”
Mr Agiru said that there was no need for new clan identification, new landowner associations and Integrated Landowner Group studies to be undertaken as most
of these groups were already covered under the existing PDL.
“I respect Hami Yawari and Foe landowners who are beneficiaries in the Kutubu Petroleum Agreement, receiving a 10% gift by Fasu people who are the rightful PDL2 landowners.
“Kutubu is an existing project and there is no need for additional landowners as Digimu are the same people benefitting from Kutubu,” he said.
He also called on all State agencies to respect all leadership structures on the ground.
“Divide and rule tactics and dealing with individuals will not work,” he said.
Mr Agiru said while the State was getting itself ready, the provincial team was also ready to assist the State deliver at the development forums.
Mr Agiru was commenting after the National Court on Monday restrained the development forum for Kutubu PDL 2 until all outstanding landowner issues were sorted out through mediation.
Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika halted the forum until issues of social mapping, landowner identification and outstanding MoA and SSG funds are resolved by mediation through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process.
The matter will return to court on Oct 16 for further directions.