Compo demands too high, local says

National, Normal

The National, Monday December 16th, 2013

 HIGH compensation demands in the Highlands region are a serious and growing problem and compensation laws in Papua New Guinea should be reviewed immediately, A’aron Dou from Tubiri village, in Imbonggu district, Southern Highlands, says.

He said excessive compensation claims and enormous payments were hindering development.

Dou said customary compensation payments as a means of settling disputes were not a new phenomenon as they stemmed from the traditional form of justice but had got out of hand.

Demands today have reached a million kina.

“The practice of compensation varies slightly from society to society within the country but the Highlands’ region compensation claims are very high when compared with other regions,” he said.

Dou said people had claimed huge compensations from the state, non-government organisations and other business organisations but the greatly affected ones were indigenous businesses because the money to finance them had often been used for payment of compensations. 

“This has resulted in the disruption of public development efforts, private sector activities and the provision of essential services and we cannot let such practice continue in this developing nation,” he said.

“Think about demanding a hefty compensation amount from a son of a poor villager who owns a little trade store. He would not meet that demand but will do his best to collect all his resource and fire them at once in the compensation. He goes back to zero.”

Dou said the elected leaders and all provincial governments should come up with standard fees, depending on the nature of the crime and incident. 

“It is not a problem to the rich people but it is tearing families of poor people apart and they are becoming poorer,” he said.

Concern has now been strongly expressed by the people throughout the region that a law should be made immediately to control and legalise the practice of compensation, with the purpose of abolishing abuses.