Locals protest re-opening of school

National, Normal

The National, Friday 12th April, 2013

 LANDOWNERS of the Dawapia traditional land in Rabuana and Rakunat wards in the Rabaul district, East New Britain, have expressed their disappointment over the restoration of Boison High School on their land.

Brothers Allan and Ivan Tagai spoke on behalf of their grandfather, Tulue Lepan and their families yesterday, saying there was no proper consultation with their grandfather who is the legitimate landowner of the land where the school was located.

Allan said the school was established in the 1960s on their land without proper consultation, however, the landowners allowed the school to be established to allow their children to be educated.

He said his family was disappointed after learning about the restoration of the school this year in the media adding the provincial authorities have repeated the same “mistake” of ignoring  proper consultation with the legitimate landowners.

It is understood that the area has been cleared and work is expected to begin on Monday.

“There was no proper consultation with us. We are the rightful landowners,” he said. 

“Who did the provincial authorities consult to reach an agreement on restoring the school?

“There will be no work next week on our land. We protest the restoration of Boison High School until we are consulted properly and formerly.” 

He added the whole family will pursue other avenues in the event that authorities do not heed their call for formal consultation.

“We plead the provincial authorities to do their homework and consult the rightful landowners before work begins,” he said.

The Tagais said the landowners had a meeting on Sunday to discuss the restoration of the school on their land.

Allan, who works for Ok Tedi mine and Ivan, an employee of Newcrest mine, both had to take special leave to return home upon the request of their grandfather and their families to assist them with the land issue.

“Although the school has the blessing of all stakeholders, they have failed to consult the landowners who are the very important stakeholders in the restoration,” they said.