Landowners warn of bloodshed

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A GRASSROOTS landowner leader has warned that there will be bloodshed before gas is extracted from Southern Highlands.
A frustrated chairman of Huri Kuni Development Corporation Peter Laki, sounded the warning after only 16 groups received their grants from the Department of Commerce and Industry last Thursday.
“Only 16 groups and individuals have been paid while others are still waiting at Vulupindi Haus in Waigani and project sites of Hela.”
Laki, who was a signatory at the UBSA and LBBSA in Kokopo and at project sites, represents a landowner group that reportedly missed out.
“I am calling on the acting Prime Minister Sam Abal, Treasurer Peter O’Neill, National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten and Petroleum Minister William Duma to tell us what criteria was used in deciding who gets paid.”
Laki said the acting prime minister had said landowners would be paid but was now sitting back without telling landowners how these issues would be resolved.
“Can the acting prime minister tell us how landowners will go back home? Can Abal tell us where we are from? Are we landowners or not? How will you sort out more than 2,000 landowners awaiting payments in Port Moresby and at project sites?”
“Can the ministers tell us how a few groups of people received seed capital? Has there been ILGs done? Has there been social mapping and land identification conducted to identify genuine landowners?”
Laki said if this had not been done than the ministers and government must answer to the thousands of people out there.
“Are you telling us that we are not genuine landowners and not allowed to participate in the LNG project?
Laki said, “We have registered our companies and made submissions to commerce and industry thinking that we have met the requirements but have missed out on the business development grant.
“The minister must tell us now that those who receive the seed capital are genuine landowners and we are not.”
 “Because of this oversight, I must warn here that blood will flow before the first gas gets out of the Hela province,” Laki said.