Judge: Fly River govt needs to wake up, serve the people

National, Normal

The National, Monday 13th May 2013


DEPUTY Chief Justice Gibbs Salika has called on the Fly River government to wake up and provide basic services to the people of Western.

He said the province should not rely too heavily on Ok Tedi and the PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd.

He said this last Friday when a lawyer representing the Ok Tedi mine impacted area landowners told the court that the people in Western lacked basic services such as clean and safe drinking water and healthcare as a result of the court tussle over the funds withheld in the Western province people dividend trust account. 

“Fly River government must wake up from sleep. 

“If not they are still sleeping and the people must blame their government for not delivering up to the expectations,” Salika said.

He said it was the responsibility of the government to administer and provide services to the people.

Salika, from South Fly, Western, urged Governor Ati Wobiro to travel around the province and see how people were faring in Daru, Balimo, Lake Murray, Kiunga and Tabubil and provide what they needed. 

“Fly River government should not wait for Ok Tedi and PNGSDP to develop Western. It is your responsibility,” he said. 

“Ok Tedi and PNGSDP are there to supplement you.”

The Ok Tedi mine impacted area association is arguing in the national court in Port Moresby that mining  secretary Shadrach Imata, the chairman of the trust, failed to follow directives by the Mining Minister Byron Chan to release the funds to them as per their proposals to carry out projects in the community mine continuation area regions in Western.

Imata was confirmed recently as secretary of the Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management.

The association obtained a restraining order early this year stopping the use of the trust funds pending the full determination of the case 

by the court.

The defendants including Ok Tedi, Ok Tedi Development Foundation and Imata then sought a judicial review of the court’s decision to freeze the funds in the trust account. 

The review is also before the National Court in Port Moresby.

The landowners association is represented by lawyer Samson Jubi.