The National, Thursday, May 26th 2011
By PATRICK TALU
A COMMUNITY leader has expressed concern over foreign developers having direct influence in the US$70 million (K169.49 million) fibre optic project.
Philip Undialu, a concerned landowner leader from the upstream PNG LNG project, said the country’s national security and intelligence could be exploited by foreign corporate entities, who would have direct access to national security and intelligence information.
Undialu said Esso Highlands Ltd, operator of the LNG project, and partners Oil Search Ltd were private entities that should not be allowed to have access to national security information channels.
“Their scope of work is specifically on the development of oil and gas and not in telecommunication,” he said.
“We see the government has sold its sovereignty without considering the wider implications and consequences that may arise from the involvement of foreign entities.”
Undialu was also concerned why the people of Hela, including the landowners, had been forgotten in this investment.
“How about the new Hela province?” he asked.
“All contracts gone to foreign companies and nothing left for the landowners.
“Landowners are forced to be spectators on their own land.
“They stand to lose their environment and livelihood, yet the project developers, in collaboration with leaders, are ripping off the people big time,” he said.
He appealed to Governor Anderson Agiru, acting Prime Minister Sam Abal and ministers William Duma, Authur Somare, and Peter O’Neill to review fibre optic pro-
ject and accommodate the Hela people and landowners.
“Esso Highlands and Oil Search shares must be relinquished to Hela people and landowners.”