Potape hits out at govt

National, Normal

The National – Monday, January 3, 2011

KOMO local level government president and chief oil head owner Thomas Potape has condemned the national government over its failure to honour commitments contained in the umbrella and licensed-based benefits sharing agreements.

“I have always been a strong supporter of the LNG project but the government’s inability to honour outstanding commitments, such as the memorandum of agreement funds and seed capital, clearly indicates that the government is incapable of handling landowner issues over the next 30 years of the project’s life,” Potape said in a statement yesterday.

“What is the guarantee that the national government can drive the LNG project if it cannot honour its first commitments with the landowners?

“I call on the government, project developer and the landowners to go back to the drawing board and formulate an agreement that will work rather than relying on the UBSA and LBBSA that are ineffective, illegal and not trustworthy.”

He said early works had started without landowner participation.

“My people cannot be spectators for life and the government must honour its commitment to release the seed capital and MoA funds in full for landowners to participate in the Komo airport development, Hides contain plant, Hides growth centre, Komo-Tari highway, waste management facility and other early works projects.”

Potape also warned that the government “must be prepared to shoulder any responsibility that may transpire as a direct result of landowner frustration in the New Year”.

“My support for the LNG project will cease and I am prepared to hang up my council badge and other government titles to rally behind my people to ensure they get what is rightfully theirs,” he said.