The National, Tuesday October 29th, 2013
IN recent months, many have expressed their views over the government’s move to take over Ok Tedi Mine (OTML).
Sir Mekere Morauta, in particular, has been using the media to lash out at the government, arguing that the people of Western will miss out on their benefits as a result of this move.
Nevertheless, he should refrain from speaking on behalf of the Western people as he does not have their backing.
The people have come of age and there are many educated sons and daughters to guide their people in deciding their own destiny.
For far too long, outsiders with vested interests have been “remote controlling” the province due to the immense wealth of natural resources it possesses.
In addition, the status quo indicates that the people appear to be divided into two factions.
The CMCA and mine landowners are demanding the immediate release of the 63.4% shareholding in OTML previously held by PNGSDP, and those arguing for a proper negotiation to resolve outstanding issues relating to the mine’s operations.
The Western people should not fight among themselves as this defeats the purpose of determining a way forward.
Instead, they should be united.
Likewise, the Government should not keep the people in suspense as their patience is wearing thin.
Certain factions could resort to violence to get its attention.
It is imperative that an independent or neutral committee be established to facilitate the negotiation process, and the state not use its powers to bulldoze things through, given the volatile nature of the issue.
The Government must act swiftly to bring all
stakeholders together to negotiations.
Moreover, it would be more fitting if a holistic approach were to be taken in reviewing all previous agreements so that OTML is remodelled to suit the interests of concerned stakeholders.
Such a process may take time and stakeholders should allow for proper information to be made available before making any decisions.