Donigi correct to defend landowners’ right

Letters, Normal

The National, Monday, May 9, 2011

I REFER to the recent comments by Ambassador Peter Donigi on the question of who owns the land and natural resources under the ground, and the subsequent res­ponse by Attorney-General Sir Ar­nold Amet (The National, April 18).
My understanding of Donigi’s argument is more complex, spiritual and touches on the core issues of natural resource ownership and benefits by resource owners based on the broad intentions of section 53 of the constitution.
The gist of Donigi’s argument has been consistent over the years where PNG resource owners and the rest of us have become bystanders whilst foreign companies exploit these resources and the profit going overseas.
I support the argument that the resource owners should own at least 49% of all natural resource development projects with the state playing the facilitator’s role.
The current legal regime favours foreign investors and defeats the purpose of section 53.
The enabling legislation and British common law statutes inherited by PNG discriminate against the landowners as the spiritual guardians.
I believe that the attorney-general is well positioned to change all enabling legislation to favour the landowners, rather than foreigners exploiting our resources.
In doing so, Sir Arnold would make the government’s dream policy of Vision 2050 and the intention of section 53 of the constitution a reality immediately.
Sir Arnold’s response to Donigi, defending the current legal regime by quoting the existing laws that empowers the state to sell off our resources to the highest foreign bidder, misses the core spiritual arguments being advan­ced by Donigi.


Max H Rai