Landowners: Do not bow down to politicians

National, Normal

The National, Monday November 11th, 2013

 The unity of two traditional archrivals, the Watut and the Biangai tribes in Bulolo since 2002, has opened doors for investors and given birth to the Hidden Valley gold mine and  politicians should not disrupt that unity for personal gain.

That is the call from the Nakuwi Landowners Association which represents the Nauti, Kuembu and Winina as traditional landowners of the Morobe Mining Joint Venture operated project.

It has warned other resources owners around PNG not to bow down to MPs who did not side with them.

Association president Rex Mauri from Winima, deputy president Wayang Kawa from Kuembu, secretary Jeffrey Yemi from Nauti and board executive Ben Joseph last Thursday held a joint press conference and denounced the actions of Bulolo MP and Deputy Opposition leader Sam Basil, who they claimed was not supporting them.

They said the Hidden Valley project was the first in the country to fairly share its royalties with all six local level governments in Bulolo, all the nine districts of Morobe through the Morobe provincial government and into the national revenue.

“You cannot get rid of my landowner rights, any MP going into customary land must respect the landowner,” Mauri said.

“If Basil is stopping the mine, he will be stopping the whole of Morobe province from benefiting and in the national interest it is wrong,” Joseph said.

“Member for Bulolo stay away from us,” Yemi said.

Basil confirmed that an interim court order had been served on him by the association stopping him from interfering with the landowners and the project and he would not comment until the court had decided on the matter.

The case has been adjourned to Wednesday but the association is planning to sue the MP for commenting in the media days after he was served the court order.