Komo leader blames govt

National, Normal

The National- Monday, January 24, 2011

 THE national government must accept responsibility for the current problems forcing the closure of operations at the project sites in Hides, Southern Highlands, a local level government leader said.

Komo local level government president Thomas Potape said landowners of Hides PDL 1 and PDL 7 and the international airport were in full support of the project, however, the failure by the government in honouring its financial commitments had resulted in the latest incidents.

He said the people wanted the gas project to be developed and have no problems with the developer and its sub-contractors.

“We are happy with all other stakeholders including Governor Anderson Agiru, local MP and Minister Francis Potape and ExxonMobil.

“It is the national government that is failing us and creating all these problems,” Potape said.

He attributed the problems to the government’s failure in fast tracking a social mapping for the project area and integrated landowner group identification and demarcation.

“This has not happened and what we have now is everyone pushing their noses into all matters relating to the LNG project.”

The LLG president said it was important that the government must give priority to addressing all outstanding issues involving the Komo international airport, Hides conditioning plant, the growth centre, plant site and the access road from Tari to Komo airport.

He said in a meeting with the local MP and Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris last week, the issue over the landowners’ outstanding K6 million in business development grants was raised.

“Now we are seeing the consequences of these failures and shortfalls.

“The problem is not with the developers and landowners; it is the government that did not honour its commitments,” Potape said.

On the reported death of two children over alleged poisoning, he said the developer’s community affairs officers needed to go out to each locality, meet with the villagers and get them involved in all discussions.

“My people have not killed any contractor; we want development and want the LNG project to go ahead,” he added.