MKA evicted

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday July 2nd, 2013


THE Motu Koita Assembly (MKA) will lose its home under the Government’s plan for the 2015 South Pacific Games.

The assembly is to lose its headquarters at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium which is targeted for complete upgrading.

An eviction notice was served on the MKA and yesterday Prime Minister Peter O’Neill confirmed the facility would revert to the state. 

The Government has offered K25 million to MKA to relocate and build new offices for itself and O’Neill said the offer was still on the table.

MKA chairman Miria Ikupu would not have any of it. 

“After sacrificing the majority of our land in the name of development for the country, we are now forced to give to the state the only asset we have left,” Ikupu said yesterday.

“This is an unthinkable, unacceptable and improper way of acquiring the only piece of land that we own in the city which also houses our assembly office and where will we go if we are forced to vacate.”

O’Neill said the facility was given to the MKA to manage by former prime minister, late Sir William Skate, as a gift.

“However, over the years the facility has been run-down and not being looked after and considering all issues the Government offered the MKA K25 million as a special grant to re-establish its administration office,” he said.

“This was rejected by the chairman but we are still moving in to retrieve the asset and the offer still remains to establish their administration office,” he said.

The government is in the process of acquiring compulsorily the three stadiums in Port Moresby – Lloyd Robson, Sir John Guise and Sir Hubert Murray – to renovate and upgrade for the 2015 SP Games.

Sports, Pacific Games and National Events Minister Justin Tkatchenko said the Hubert Murray Stadium never belonged to MKA. 

“It was not even traditional Motu Koitabu land. 

“It was reclaimed land,” he said.

“All sporting facilities owned by the State will be compulsorily acquired and given to the PNG Sports Foundation to be operated under trusts.

“You cannot operate an assembly out of the back of a stadium. Where in the world does that happen?”

Tkatchenko said in addition to the K25 million offer, the proposal is to have three Motu Koitabuans and a Poreporena landowner sit on the trust that is appointed to run the Hubert Murray Stadium.

Ikupu countered that he would not stop fighting to retain the asset and would seek legal advice. 

He said the prime minister had been misinformed about the development of the stadium “because there is a master plan already in place to transform the stadium into a commercial and sporting complex”.

He added that MKA had invested more than K250,000 for the project and had engaged a consulting firm to do the ground work for the development.

“Our plans are already in place and are similar to the Sports Ministry’s plans of the stadium in preparation for the 2015 Pacific Games so we should be working in partnership.”  

Tkatchenko said Ikupu was using the emotional issue of Motu Koitabu on the eve of elections for a personal agenda while the Motu Koitabuans would miss out on a golden opportunity to have a new office building as well as benefit from a refurbished stadium complex.