Land matters must be handled properly

Letters, Normal

The National, Thursday, May 26th 2011

Blah blah blah! I finally made it into the editorial, “Not so fast, Donigi” (The National, May 24).
The fourth estate has always considered bad news to be good news. And so, it is that to suggest something innocuous or in passing should warrant the highest esteem of an editor of this estate.
This is so when he has to use his editorial privilege to edit out my commentary on the Christian principles that we have also adopted in our constitution.
I would have preferred his diatribe on the religious philosophy that poverty is a created outcome of the religious curse which states “cursed is the person who moves his neighbour’s boundary stone”.
He chose to edit this statement, “Lawyer supports Boka Kondra bill” (May 24) and proceeded to castigate me in his editorial based on the philosophy that a “beggar wrapped in purple whom ignorant people take for a king” is more worthy of his paramount interest.
He states conditions on burial of bodies “is utter disrespect in the ancient traditions of our society as it is in our modern society”.
This statement alone is evidence that the editor is from outer space as in the ancient traditions of the Papua New Guinea society; both an untimely and timely death has always elicited demands from relatives from both sides of the families and even from adopted family members before the body is buried.
In fact, in our modern day where marriages take place between people of different nations within Papua New Guinea, there is actually a “tug of war” between the mother’s side and the father’s side of the family concerning unfinished business and the place of burial. This is especially so where the death is untimely.
The editor’s choice of words in highlighting certain changes to the Mining Act and the land laws (though limited) in my view by Sir Julius Chan marginalises and delimits the philosophical and legal basis of my arguments since 1985.
I may have lost battles over the years, but the war has yet to be lost. For me it has and will always be unfinished business.
I have now written two books on the subject as I believe “soft power” is more powerful than “hard power” and I may yet be proven correct in the fullness of time.
I am the author of Boka Kondra’s amendments to the Mining Act, the Oil and Gas Act and the Land Act.
The editorial concerning the need for land matters to be given priority over rights to mining and oil and gas resources is evidence that he has not read my book Lifting the veil that shrouds Papua New Guinea (2010).
The solutions to his editorial concerns have been given due prominence by me in that book.
I have always insisted that the Kondra amendments to the mining and oil and gas legislation cannot be effected without also dealing with land matters.
My suggested solutions are wholesale and are not piece-meal.
To suggest that parliament has fulfilled its obligations and constitutional roles also defy logic as parliament has been repeatedly adjourned for lengthy periods of time without substantial reason.
I have been ready since March last year to present to the members of parliament the explanation to the Kondra’s proposed amendments.
I am still waiting for parliamentarians to comply with their constitutional obligations.

Peter Donigi
Port Moresby