Govt urged to settle commitments

National, Normal

The National, Friday, May 13, 2011

THE recent passing of a paramount chief from Hides in Southern Highlands has prompted calls for the national government to immediately settle its outstanding commitments for the LNG project.
Chief Himuni Ho­moko was the deputy chairman of Hela Laitepo (Gas) Development Corporation Ltd, who died in Singapore while undergoing me­dical treatment.
Reports said the Hides PDL 1 chief had fallen ill in Port Moresby while waiting for the government to pay up its outstanding MoA and ministerial commitments signed in Kokopo to progress the LNG pro­ject.
Homoko was referred to Singapore and died while undergoing treatment.
His remains are expected to arrive in Port Moresby this morning.
Komo local level go­vernment president Tho­mas Potape yesterday said Homoko’s passing had brought the number of village chiefs who had died, between last year and this year while waiting for their LNG monies, to 11.
“This is not good news.
“Homoko was our paramount chief, a father to the 27,000 people from the petroleum de­velopment licence areas one and seven.
“His passing had now left us with Pate Marago, Kuyali Ango and Kupiani Haluya.
“The government must realise what it is doing to our people and settle our outstanding payments now,” Potape said.
“Telling us to go back home and wait for our K170 million will only spell disaster for the multi-billion-kina project,” the Komo LLG president said.
He said these commitments could not be delayed further because, with next year’s election about 12 months away, the K170 million could come in handy among politicians.
“ExxonMobil is steps ahead of the government in meeting its commitments like building roads and bridges, community centres and the airport,” Potape said.
“The government, on the other hand, is still sleeping.
“People like Homoko and the other three chiefs should not be roaming around in Port Moresby and waiting outside Waigani’s Vulupindi Haus every day.
“They have a particular reason and the government has failed them terribly.
“I am not happy and I will soon withdraw my support for the project,” Potape warned.