THE proposed bill now before Parliament to give landowners full ownership of all resources found on their land is a death trap of this resource-rich country.
Every good thinking MP must study and debate this bill before being put to vote.
While the Member of North Fly, has good intention, this bill will cause more harm than good.
Let me explain why I said this.
First of all, not all land are owned communally. Ownership of resource lands is very few and localised to few tribes and clans.
What chances are there of equal distribution of wealth generated from resources found on the land with other villages, communities, LLGs, districts and provinces?
From experience, I would say none if this bill is voted through.
A good example is the good Member’s own district. Resource owners who are currently benefiting from compensation in Western province are some of the greediest people I have ever found anywhere.
The majority in Western are not resource owners and are very poor compared to resource owners, who live like kings and queens.
Who will benefit from the bill ultimately – the common people or the landowners?
Secondly, I do not think it is time to talk about such things as putting more money in the hands of few people who, in most cases, cannot manage the funds responsibility.
Look at our so-called tycoons in Western. They are not bothered about the needs of the small people and many have disappeared into Port Moresby and never come back.
We have seen enough greedy and self-centred people.
If the bill goes through, we may well end up like Somalia where the rich have their own mini-kingdoms and their own private armies.
Do we want that?
Thirdly, every Papua New Guinean is not a true landowner because, one way or another, resource ownership always ended up in the courts.
History has shown that our ancestors have been moving from place to place up until a few hundred years ago when they decided to settle down.
Then, we have a culture of inter-marriage and adoption, where our cultural settings have allowed this to happen in order to fend off tribal enemies and keep each other safe.
Because of this, it is very difficult to trace who are the actual resource owners and hundreds of legal cases between resource owners are still pending.
Giving resource owners absolute and total right to natural resource is like adding fuel to a huge fire.
People have spend thousands and even fought and died over a bone. You can expect worse when you give them real meat.
Gold, copper, oil and gas have always been here even before our ancestors set foot on this land.
It doesn’t belong to any individual, clan, group or tribe.
Rightfully, whatever has been here for thousands of years belongs to God and, therefore, to every one and must be managed by the government for the benefit of every one.
What, then, is the alternative?
My answer is that there is none except the one we have now.
We are not good managers and that is our problem.
Right here in Western province, I hear that there is a lot of money. But every year, most of it is returned to the National Government’s purse.
If that is correct, the province should have developed long ago.
The reason why there is no development is because the provincial leaders have no development plans.
The good governor wants to be the prime minister and the good MP has put a selfish bill before Parliament.
Both of them need to come back home, sit down and go back to the drawing board.
Just come back here and make use of the money that is there to use instead of coming up with all kinds of unrealistic ideas.
We want to see development, not rich people getting richer.