School landowners refuse to back off

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday February 11th, 2014

 A WEEK has passed and still the landowners of the Fatima Catholic Mission have refused to remove their roadblock at the station’s main entrance.

They say nothing will move them unless there is a favourable response from the Government.

They do not want to listen to district and provincial authorities, believing their demand of K13 million in compensation for their land has nothing to do with them but with the national government.

“We want an answer from the Finance and Treasury Department, other than that we won’t back down or listen to anybody.

“If only the people in Waigani speed up the process and print out the K13 million cheque, we will open up the blockade,” spokesman Mond Frank said.

“We apologise to the Catholic Mission for the inconvenience caused, which is affecting the services their institutions provides for the community, district, province and the country. 

“However, everyone understands that we are expressing our rights and it’s very simple, the state responds to us quickly so that further problems can be prevented.”

Frank said they did not want important institutions in Fatima to be affected but that depends on the government.

The landowners claimed authorities from the station, Western Highlands Catholic Archdiocese and the surrounding tribes were providing moral support in their pursue for compensation demand.

Senior councillor from the Komblo tribe, Peter Ak has thrown his support behind the landowners’ compensation claim, saying they had genuine reasons.

“Fatima is the pride of Jiwaka and it has served its purpose by benefiting not only its people but Western Highlanders, Chimbus and Papua New Guineans. There is a good reason for such an issue to arise,” Ak said.