PDL1 leaders return home empty-handed

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday 07th November 2011

VILLAGE chiefs and community leaders from a petroleum development licence area of the multi-million-kina liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Southern Highlands have returned home empty-handed.
Leading a delegation of nine village chiefs back to be with their PDL1 people last weekend, spokesman and chairman Stanis Talu said they had returned home to tell their people of the failure by the national government to honour a K19 million commitment made in 2009.
Talu said following commitments made by Arthur Somare, William Duma and Governor Anderson Agiru – who were all members of the government then negotiating the K40 billion LNG project – the nine chiefs had signed the umbrella and licensed-based benefits sharing agreements for the project to go ahead.
He said only K1 million had been paid and distributed among the chiefs.
“We will let our people, who are the owners of the resource project area, decide for themselves what to do.
“We have given the government enough time, and it is now up to the people to decide for themselves; and we will stand by them,” Talu said.
Separate reports had indicated a 14-day ultimatum, however, this could not be confirmed yesterday.
It is also understood that another list, containing another group of people to be paid, was produced last week for ministerial commitment payments.
“That extra list has caused my people and I to miss out on our payments.”