Free up land in Jiwaka


THE recent court ruling on Wahgi Mek plantations in Jiwaka regarding government budgetary funds does not really address the root problem.
It is following the bandwagon of blindly pumping public funds into a sinking hole allegedly created by certain greedy and selfish individuals (or group of individuals ) who hijacked the ownership per IPA records of 14 plantations from illiterate council presidents of North and South Wahgi local government council and divested into Eastern Pacific Mines covering tenements within Ramu Nico grid.
In plain words, the funds to maintain and sustain operations have been allegedly diverted nto a mining exploration company called Eastern Pacific Mines solely owned by late Dick Hagon and his family, while leaving the entire 14 plantations to run down.
That is when various factions of landowner groups rose against the management.
But the damage was already done.
The forefathers of the entire land hosting the 14 plantations had surrendered their customary land to be converted into special agriculture business lease under goodwill for the people to benefit.
But those goodwill have been grossly abused by those custodians.
No amount of money injected under the existing structure and status quo will ever revive those plantations because it does not have the spiritual consent of the forefathers.
The best way forward is for the Government to intervene and free up the land by cancelling all 14 leases and nullifying all mortgages and inherent liabilities held by financial institutions as bad debt after 20 years.
The land should be freed up for a new state entity to take ownership in partnership with the provincial and local level government and landowners under a new benefit-sharing agreement to revive the plantations to their former glory days.

GS, Observer