Watuts told to act

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday, June 8th 2011

THE Lower Watut communities have been urged not to wait for royalty payments and miss out on opportunities they could use to help improve livelihoods.
At the opening of a health clinic at Wangkins, in Babuaf village, Wampar LLG, Huon Gulf district, Morobe provincial health adviser Dr Likei Theo said if the Morobe Mining Joint Venture had not gone into the area, “people from that part of the area would still remain in the dark”.
Theo said he was hurt by the mortality rate among pregnant women and children and saddened that the provincial health office had no statistics on such deaths.
He said they were very fortunate in having set up a local landowner company, Wale Babuaf, to work closely with MMJV.
“You have the chance now. Don’t talk about royalty and royalty payments. Organise yourselves, create a business coordination team in the local landowner company to lead and guide the 10 communities with clear goals and visions. Never be like other mining areas,” Theo said.
“Where mistakes and problems arise, it is not the company. It is the law of the country that was set to guide our resources, therefore, go and solve it with our government. Otherwise you will disturb this important partnership.”
MMJV paid for a health clinic, a staff house and a water supply system that the Lutheran Development Services was contracted for and completed 14 water supply projects.
Wampar president and provincial forest chairman Peter Namus was emotional about the standard of basic services provided to his people over the past 30 years.
“Such infrastructure could have been delivered some 30 years ago to save human lives. But to date only a run-down aid post at Tsilitsili and three primary schools without road accessibility remain,” he said.
“All health and teaching staff travel up and down the river on dugout canoes powered by 40 horse power outboard engines.