The National, Monday, May 16, 2011
By PISAI GUMAR
THE Morobe provincial government has ordered the Bulolo care centre be closed down.
A provincial government team, headed by deputy administrator district services Patilias Gamato, visited the site twice at the end of April to identify and arrange repatriation logistical processes of 3,300 displaced people there.
The settlers were left homeless after a fight between Bulolo landowners and Sepik settlers last year and remain in tents at the care centre built surrounding Bulolo police station.
Based on survey reports, Gamato advised them the four stages of government-sanctioned voluntary repatriation procedures that included moving them within Bulolo and Lae, around Morobe, out to other centres in the country or sending them back home to East Sepik.
But the settlers declined the offer and to show their displeasure, they avoided the government officers.
When the government officers entered the tents to talk to them, the displaced people fled through the other tents’ openings to avoid the officers.
“The money will be genuinely and wisely spent on actual repatriation stages and procedures if settlers honestly and faithfully make their intentions clear to the government,” Gamato said.
“I advise settlers not to go back and settle at Karanas land as they could trigger another disaster,” he said.
After refusing the government decision, the settlers demanded the provincial government pay K35,000 per family, give them land to resettle and a claim to Bulolo township land.
Gamato said the provincial government did not have to provide land.
He said the provincial government could not pay the K35,000 they wanted
and only the Lands Title Commission could give Bulolo township land.
Meanwhile, a fight between Warias and Pateps in Bulolo town hindered movement of the government officers.
Gamato told the settlers that anyone who wanted the government to send them home or elsewhere in Morobe or other provinces must call the provincial disaster office.