Wenge to the aid of settlers

Lae News, Normal

The National, Monday, June 6th 2011

MOROBE Governor Luther Wenge has called on developers demolishing the ‘Banis Kau’ land block at Bundi Camp in Lae to consider the plight of the people living there.
Wenge issued the call last Friday after 5,000 settlers said they wanted Wenge, Lae MP Bart Philemon and city lord mayor James Khay to meet and do something to deter developer, Niugini Properties Ltd, a subsidiary of the Papindo group of companies, from destroying their homes.
The settlers called for help when the developers, with the aid of police, went in with bulldozers last week.
The settlers had called for, among other things, more humane treatment by the developers and for Wenge to keep his promise that the settlers “will not be evicted”.
The Morobe provincial lands and physical planning division confirmed that 43.9ha of the Banis Kau land was acquired by the Papindo group of companies from the previous owner, Livestock Development Corporation (LDC), some years ago.
Wenge said last Friday even though the developers had court orders to remove the settlers to develop their land, they should be considerate of the people as many of them had lived there for three generations.
He said many of the settlers provided the workforce for companies as well as the government and their labours boosted Lae’s economy.
He said there were sick people and children li­ving there and attending schools in Lae.
Wenge has blamed LDC for not making it known that it wanted to sell the land because the Morobe provincial government was ready to buy it.
He blamed the National Development Bank, which took out a mortgage on the land, and then sold it to the Papindo group of companies.
Wenge said he would meet with the secretary of lands department in Port Moresby to find out how this transaction was made.
He said a Morobe provincial legal team had already been organised to look into the matter.
He said although he supported Papindo as being one of the largest entities in Morobe to provide employment and services to the people, “it should be considerate because people support the company”.
He called on Papindo to be lenient with people on the ‘Banis Kau’ land.