Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sorcery-related claims and compensations claims impeding development in Papua New Guinea

BY ZACHERY PER in The National


SORCERY-related killings and compensation claims in Simbu are major impediments to development in the province.

These issues are cancers on the community, corrupting many Simbu people and encouraging them to be immoral.

This, in turn, is compromising the people’s Christian faith.

PNG Law Society president Kerenga Kua pointed this out on Tuesday during the opening of the St Arnold Janseen human development centre at Mingende, Simbu.

He said there had been rampant compensation claims submitted for lands occupied by the Government, mission stations and the Okuk Highway.

Most of the claims were fraudulent, he said.

Most of the claims were from practising Christians, he added.

Addressing the packed gathering at the Mingende Catholic mission cathedral, Mr Kua said: “I am happy to see the church filled to full capacity.

“But the challenge is for us to stop compensation demands and sorcery-related killings because we all claim to be Christians.”

Mr Kua made a personal contribution of K30,000 towards the initial establishment of the centre.

He commended Fr Joseph Sakite for being instrumental in establishing the centre.

Mr Kua said the centre had huge potential “to create social revolution for people to become industrious in their households and in the community”.

“The centre is like a small seed sown with huge potential to grow towards changing our lifestyle,” he said.

“I urge the people to support the church and avoid compensation demands and sorcery-related killings.”

The outgoing bishop of Kundiawa Catholic diocese, Rev Henk Te-Marsen, a vocal opponent of sorcery, said he had been vigorously fighting sorcery killings in Simbu for 47 years without success.

“The people must change, otherwise, the issues of compensations and sorcery-killings will remain to affect their livelihood,” he said.

Rev Henk vacated his seat to Bishop Anton Bal in Kundiawa yesterday in another ceremony.


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