Settlers told to vacate hill

National, Normal

The National, Thursday January 30th, 2014


THE National Court has given the people living at the Paga Hill settlement in Port Moresby 45 days to move out.

Justice Derek Hartshorn said Paga Hill Development Company (PNG) Ltd, which asked the court to have the settlers evicted, was registered as the lessee of the land known as State Leases Volume 24 Folio 159 and Volume 34 Folio 176.

“I am satisfied that the defendants and occupants have been aware that they must vacate the land for at least two years,” Hartshorn said.

“Therefore, it is appropriate that the defendants give vacant possession to Paga Hill Development Company Ltd within 45 days from today’s date and a writ of possession will be issued at the expiration of the 45 days.”

Acting on behalf of the Paga Hill settlers, Joe Moses, Ratoos Gari and Thomas Bulu claimed that the land had been mistakenly given to the company.

They said the land contained war surplus materials, was a state property and the company had no clear title to the land.

Former Minister for Tourism, Art and Culture Charles Abel had said: “There are a lot of historical monuments and relics at Paga Hill but they have deteriorated over the years due to complete negligence and lack of funding to properly preserve and restore them.”

Hartshorn therefore rejected the settlers’ submissions, saying there was no evidence that the land was mistakenly awarded to the company.

He said the land was not a state property and Paga Hill Development Company Ltd was entitled to have the land.

The company plans to include a “Ring Road” as part of the National Capital District Commission’s plan for Port Moresby to relieve traffic congestion in the city as well.

The proposal has already been declared as of “national significance” by the National Executive Council and has the support of the Ministry of Housing and Urbanisation, National Housing and Real Estate Ltd and the Ministry of Art and Culture.