By PETER ESILA
N IXON Pakea hopes to one day see the peaceful co-existence, and big improvement in living standards, of people in the Porgera valley.
Pakea, the Porgera Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, is a landowner of the special mining lease and lease for mining purposes. He is also a member of the law and order committee.
He was influential in brokering peace deals in the valley in 2012.
“I brought six fighting clans together in 2012, with the support of Porgera Joint Venture.”
He believes that 95 per cent of the law and order issues in Porgera are alcohol-related, and 5 per cent relating to land issues.
Pakea completed Grade 12 at the Wabag Secondary School in 2002, then secured a job with the Porgera Joint Venture.
He has also completed a Certificate in Business course at the Institute of Business Studies and is planning to pursue a diploma in business programme.
“I will get my diploma next year hopefully. I wanted to complete it last year and this year but didn’t. I need to settle other things first.”
He has been married for eight years and has four children – two boys and two girls.
He hopes to see institutions established in Porgera such as the National Development Bank and Nasfund.
He became chamber president in 2017 and started pushing locals to be involved in small businesses.
He is now working with the SME Corporation to conduct financial literacy trainings for local people.
“I am proactive because I am a local and I want to see the economic viability of the area so that even after the mine closes, we have our own businesses running.”
Nixon sees law and order as the major issue facing Porgera where a multi-billion kina gold mine, one of the biggest in the region, is located.
“Our biggest challenge is law and order. There is also illegal mining where people trespass into mining activities. Alcohol was banned in the mining area in 1989. It was one of the clauses in the mine agreement that beer was banned within Porgera. But the provincial government lifted the ban and a lot of lives and properties have been lost because of that.
“This is an area I am looking at – how best to ban beer.”
He also hopes to see a lend mediator appointed to deal with the land issues.
“Five per cent of law and order issues is from land disputes. A land mediator can address that.”
He believes that illegal mining can be eradicated if people start their own business ventures to generate income.
“We can fix illegal mining (by introducing to the people) small-medium enterprises because people are going into the mining area just to steal. Not to destroy properties or other stuff but just to steal which is easy money for them.”
Nixon hopes that the people of Porgera and surrounding areas will change their attitude, do away with illegal activities, help in developing the area and improving their living standards.
“We getting stakeholders to support us in our plans, especially support for funding, so that people can involve themselves in business ventures to improve their lives.”