The National- Thursday, February 3, 2011
By JULIA DAIA BORE
A SPECIAL meeting, described as “history in the making” comprising government bureaucrats and two judges of the National and Supreme Courts, was told yesterday that while the multi-billion-kina liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is still in its infancy, landowner disputes, squabbles and related issues already numbered more than 60 court cases.
The meeting was called to deal with these cases.
They were currently being dealt with by the mainstream court system and also at the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) hearings.
One such case would go before the Waigani National Court this morning.
ADR chairman Justice Ambeng Kandakasi told yesterday’s meeting that it was necessary for bureaucrats “to work as a team” to ensure any risks were managed.
Matters should be attended to in their infancy rather than left to fester until they were major issues which could get out of control, Kandakasi said.
The meeting was organised by concerned government departments including attorney-general, petroleum and energy, commerce and industry and finance and treasury, the law and justice sector and the judiciary.
Also in attendance was Justice John Kawi, who had thoroughly dealt with similar dispute resolution mechanisms relating to the Ok Tedi mine (before becoming a judge).
The general consensus reached yesterday was that all government institutions must strive to work as a team to achieve the government’s ultimate aim of shipping the first gas by 2014.
They agreed that there was a need to have a ‘think-tank” team within the government right up to the policy makers.
“This exercise is to guarantee the risk management of the more than K40 billion (US$17 billion).
“If we can adequately take care of the risks from the beginning, then everything else should flow smoothly,” Kandakasi said.
“This is history in the making and this will shape our nation for the future of our children and their children.
“So, put on your thinking caps and let us be very involved,” he said.