Govt urged to give resource rights to locals

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 27th March, 2013

RESOURCE Owners Federation of PNG has urged the government to give back to the people their resource ownership rights.
The organisation said in a statement that they fully supported New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan who recently called on the state to return mineral and petroleum ownership rights to the landowners.
It said the government was required to abide by the United Nations declaration of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the world in 2007.
Article 26 of the declaration required the state to return land and resource ownership rights taken in the process of colonisation to its indigenous owners. 
“Almost all members of UN member countries have adopted the Declaration, including the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, who initially voted against the declaration. What is the PNG government waiting for?
“Most  Papua New Guineans  are  indigenous who  have  owned  the same mineral rights  which  were stolen by the State, the new entity formed by our colonisers upon  their  arrival on this island,” the statement said.
It said the government owed an explanation to leaders like Sir Julius Chan and traditional landowners as to why it could not return resource ownership rights to the originally owners.
“Certainly, the argument of the PNG Chamber of Mining and Petroleum that ‘only a few people will be rich’ cannot be the reason. Papua New Guineans who believe  such rubbish  must have rocks in their  heads because in other words  the  Chamber  is suggesting  that  Papua New  Guinea should  become  a Communist State, instead  of  a democratic state where  economies thrive on capitalism.
“We refer our Politicians who would like to believe the propaganda to the Oxford Dictionary for the definition of the word Capitalism. Capitalism means an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. In the same Dictionary, the word Communism means a political system whereby all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.
“Practising  communism  in  a  capitalist  society  like  Papua  New  Guinea  is  recipe   for  economic  disaster  as evidenced by the ‘rich but  poor’ tag that  this country continues to carry. 
“The greatest  economy of the world today  is still the  USA, and  it has been  built by private Capitalists, like  John Rockefeller, Thomas  Edison, J.P Morgan, Henry  Ford, Bill Gates and many  others  over  time.  If there is a country that we should follow as a model for our own economic development, it should be the USA.
“Natural resources in many states of  USA are owned by private landowners who enter into Production or Profit sharing Agreements with private developers.
“The State collects its revenues by charging its taxes, duties, levies and royalties. Many of the companies exploiting our resources come from capitalist economies where private individuals are major shareholders of the foreign companies.
“Why allow them to take our resources if we are afraid that only a few will be rich then?  Is the Chamber of Mining and Petroleum really saying that it’s okay for their member’s few shareholders to be rich but not for PNG Citizens?
“We call on the Prime Minister to once again stop procrastinating and pass the Boka Kondra Bill that is still on the floor of parliament,” the statement said.