Settlers decline to relocate

National, Normal

The National, Thursday, May 19, 2011

Guv Stoa settlers outside the Divine Word University are not moving, saying no one has told them of a 14-day ultimatum issued by students and staff of three institutions.
The students and staff have demanded the relocation of the settlers claiming they were being targeted by criminal elements from there.
Students and staff of Divine Word University, Madang Technical College and Maritime College, presented a petition to provincial officials and set the deadline that now has five day to go.
Madang Governor James Gau yesterday morning said after protest march by students and the presentation of their demands that an urgent meeting had been convened.
Gau said during the meeting of senior divisional heads, it was decided the settlers from that area be asked to voluntarily move before the deadline expired.
But yesterday afternoon a resident of Guv Stoa, Mathew Apisah, said, “Mipela bai mekim wanem toktok em kam pinis tasol nogat wanpela wokman blo gavman or polis ikam tokim mipela or givim pas”. (What can we do. We have been warned but to date there has been no one from either the provincial government or the police who has come down to talk with us or given us notice).
Apisah insisted that no police officer had shown up in the settlement despite an undertaking by police station commander and acting provincial police commander, Insp Steven Kaipa that he would “do something”.
Gau said despite more than 500 people were genuine settlers, all had to go as they were infringing on two major developments in the area.
One is the expansion of the Maritime College into becoming the Pacific Maritime University and the access road to the airport.
The maritime school and settlement share a common border.
“The genuine settlers have been told by my administration that they will be compensated but figures will be given when I return from parliament sitting,” Gau said.