SETTLERS from Milfordhaven have submitted two separate petitions to the authorities in connection with the multi-million kina Lae port development.
One was addressed to Morobe Governor Luther Wenge in a public notice published in newspapers last Wednesday and was from the Lae Original (Papuan Compound) Waterfront Settlers Association.
The other was sent by Papuan Compound Numungi Tais, a group of 20 households, to the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) on Aug 15.
Both petitions appealed to the Morobe provincial government and IPBC to consider their plight if they had to make way for the port development.
The original settlers were Papuan carpenters, builders, policemen, and labourers as well as boss bois (supervisors) taken to Lae by the colonial administration and settled on the swampy land.
Their leaders, David Manau, Willie Manau, Asimba Mu’usi and Desmond Soro, said that their parents had cleared and settled on the land and paid for the titles in the 1950s.
They had also established traditional ties with the original Labu landowners, who lived in the other side of the Markham River, and were allowed to harvest reed, fish, crabs and wood.
They said their fishing and hunting grounds had been taken over by squatters who were now being paid to be repatriated to their homes or elsewhere in Lae city.
Those of the Numungi Tais compound said that they had previously been included in the repatriation exercise.
They said the IPBC had conducted household surveys and issued identification cards to each member. They said they suffered losses.Their case was being taken up by their ward councillor Vince Bob.