Lands told to serve, not evict tenants

National, Normal

The National- Monday, January 10, 2011


THE Department of Lands and Physical Planning must give priority to current tenants instead of evicting occupants to satisfy personal and big corporate interest, Moresby Northeast MP Andrew Mald said last Thursday.

He said land occupants from Erima, Wildlife, 5-Mile, 6-Mile, 8-Mile, 9-Mile and Laloki had an urban development lease of 5 years and this had expired with the department forcing tenants out to make way for commercial development.

Mald said under the urban development lease arrangement, the land was automatically forfeited to the state after five years.

“Because of the LNG project, some of the land in these areas were being sold to commercial giants.”

He said the poor tenants had been forced out with no option given to them to re-apply for land.

“The Lands Department must carry out a major survey with questions of whether the current occupants wanted to occupy the land.”

“The current land occupants must be given an opportunity by the Lands Department to develop the land instead of mass evictions.” 

“I, as a local member for the Moresby Northeast electorate, want the Lands Department to give priority to Motuans, Central province people, the Koiaris, Keremas and people from this part of the region before other Papua New Guineans and commercial groups.”

“This is their land and they must have the rights to settle on this land.”

Mald said no Papuans could just go into any part of the Highlands region and force themselve onto a peace of land to settle because they would be chased out.

He said the current occupants and landowners of the nation’s capital must be given priority.