The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013
By GABRIEL LAHOC
VILLAGERS in one of the biggest villages in Wampar, Huon Gulf district, want the Lae tidal basin project developer China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to stop clearing a portion of their traditional land to extract rocks.
Provincial lands mediation officer and Seref clan leader in Gabensis, Awa Naimen, said his people did not give their consent to the company to extract rocks from their land.
He said since last month, CHEC’s sub-contractors had gone onto their traditional land, felled trees and cleared a hilly area with explosives to get rocks to be used at the port’s quarry.
Naimen said the Seref clan, with around 500 members, and the Marumwa clan, were the two biggest clans in Gabensis and shared a land boundary over the hilly area that was being cleared by CHEC contractors.
He said there was no awareness and consultation done with traditional landowners to find out where traditional land boundaries lay to establish who the rightful traditional landowners were.
“There was no agreement signed with the landowners for their land and the natural environment to be cleared and we want this operation to stop immediately so that the two clans can come to an agreement on the damage done and the sale of our rocks,” Naimen said.
“Everything must be in order before the developer can operate on our traditional land, we must equally get the benefits.”