Sir Moi clears air on role in dispute

National, Normal

FORMER parliamentarian Sir Moi Avei has denied giving any directive to use force to resolve the dispute between landowners and the Porebada-Boera road builder.
“My family and I are not involved in any illegal activities that unfolded last weekend,” he added.
Sir Moi said he was returning from Port Moresby last Saturday when he found work on the road had stopped.
“I made some enquiries and was told that individuals from Porebada were claiming ownership of the land and wanted all work to stop immediately,” he said.
“I then traveled to Boera and asked the Boera Gadona vice-chairman to go to the roadblock and persuade the people to allow work to progress and take up their grievances through the normal process.
“At no stage did I give any direction that force be used to resolve the issue or that people’s gardens in the area be removed.
“My objective was simply to prevent any unnecessary stoppages that might cause project delays.
“I only learnt later that there was a fight and destruction of people’s gardens,”  Sir Moi said.
He said it was unfortunate that tensions resurfaced on Sunday when Porebada youths travelled to Boera village, invaded houses and burnt down his sister’s residence.
“My sole involvement was to try to end the fight and so preserve the lives and properties of all involved.
“This senseless vilolence is not the Motuan way of solving grievances of any kind and I extend my condolences to families who lost loved ones in the tragic occurances last Sunday, as well as to those recovering from injuries,” he said.
“I will provide the police with my full cooperation in their investigations to ensure that this sad occurrence is resolved and peace restored.”