‘Improve settlements’

8-Mile settlement village court chairman Henry Sape (right), from Samberigi village, Erave, Southerm Highlands, and block neighbour Moses Yabara at 8-Mile settlement recently. – Nationalpic by Joel Hamari

A VILLAGE court official is urging the Government to help improve the living conditions of people in settlements, towns and cities, including Port Moresby.
Chairman of 8-Mile settlement village court, Henry Sape, said the Government should create proper pathways and policies for everyone to manage and upgrade settlements in urban areas.
“The Government should set up the settlement upgrading committee and enact a policy to upgrade and improve the lives of people living in every settlement in the urban areas,” he said.
Sape, a long-time resident of 8-Mile settlement and block-holders association chairman was responding to the launching of a National Research Institute (NRI) discussion paper No. 190 Strategy to improve living conditions in informal settlements in Papua New Guinea – evidence in Port Moresby on Thursday.
He said increasing rental fees in the urban areas had forced people to live in the settlements, but the Government continued to ignore them.
“Even lawyers, police personnel and other public servants, and low to middle income earners are living in the settlements,” he said.
“We can’t develop the settlements because there is no proper planning for infrastructure service.
“We did not have a land title for the proposition of land we are currently occupying.
“How can we develop it?”
Sape is former officer of the Justice Department through State Solicitor’s Office.
“I cannot afford to live in the city so I have to come and stayed in the settlement,” he said.
He said people living in settlements were ready to work with the Government and shareholders to upgrade settlements.
“We (settlers) are willing to participate with the Government and other shareholders to develop and convert the settlement into a suburb,” he said.