The National, Friday October 18th, 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE lack of proper consultation by exploration licence holders of PPL 260 in the Tebi LLG, Hela, has forced customary landowners not to accept compensation payment for environmental damage.
Kole Tribal leader and landowner Pai Wasa said seven clans of his tribe and Makapo declined payments during prospecting work and improvements carried out between Hela and Enga provinces.
The licencees are believed to be a number of companies, including Oil Search Ltd
Wasa said the manner in which the landowners and the community were treated by the licensees prompted the landowners to take action.
“The ill-treatment included lack of properly-conducted landowner identification or social mapping, lack of proper negotiation and consultation on compensation for damage that may arise as a result of the licensees prospecting on private land and the unilateral determination of compensation without providing documentation as to how and at what rates were used to determine compensation for each clan,” Wasa said.
“This resulted in one person being chopped by disgruntled landowners, houses burnt and mounting tension in the area at the moment.”
Wape Morowa was chopped by his Tukure tribesmen.
“He was killed because he picked up payment on behalf of his tribe from the licensee when it was made at the Enopi Police Barracks in Tari,” Wasa said.
He said the licensee had consulted the landowners properly by outlining the terms and conditions for the parties to agree, then such an incident could have been avoided.
“To enter private customary lands and cause damage without seeking the consent of the landowners, in our view, amounts to trespass and is in breach of the constitutional rights of the customary landowners,” he said.
“This further amounts to an infringement on the right to privacy, freedom from the depravation of private property and other rights as accorded to us by the Constitution of Papua New Guinea and by our customary laws that govern our traditional land.”
“If the Government of Papua New Guinea had authorised such entry into our private property, then, it is complicated in the infringement of our customary laws and the Constitution of Papua New Guinea.
“We call on the minister responsible for the issuance of the prospecting licence (PPL260) to investigate this matter without delay,” Wasa said.