Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hela has many mountains of underdevelopment to climb:A message to the people of Hela from James Marape


I appeal to our citizens in Angore , Hides and Komo areas to cease the use of threats, intimidation and guns as a means of getting your grievances heard and settled.

I say this in light of the blockage and looting that took place on the fringes of Angore and Hides gas fields yesterday.

I know the present issue they have is a K20 million claim for Angore township and another K12 million for their business development grant allocated in 2011, which is presently locked in court by the doing of one of their own tribesmen.

Our people must restrain from threats and intimidation.

If genuine issues remain outstanding, then civilised dialogue is the way to go for us now and into the future.

Whilst there might be some elements of genuineness in those issues raised, the continuous use of unlawful means to secure attention is repulsive.

This in the face of many issues our Government must handle not only for Hela and Southern Highlands, but the entire country.

The O’Neill-Abel Government is not far from you landowners.

In fact, on record we are the most-fulfilling Government in the history of our nation responding  to the plight of many of our landowner issues.

This not only in oil and gas areas but mining as well in terms of delivering to outstanding commitments.

The  O’Neill Government has signature policies like greater free carry equity empowerments.

For Hela and Southern Highlands, our gas and oil fields have been producing since 1990.

Yet,only after 2012 are we seeing serious signs of development happening or about to happen.

Has Tari ever seen a sealed road?

 No,but it started to happen after 2012.

From what I am told, the Halimbu-Nogoli Road sealing was to have seen its first laying of bitumen yesterday but the uprisings of Angore forced its closure again.

This project was awarded in 2015, but lawlessness continues to hamper work.

I appeal to our local leaders of youths, clans, and PDLs as well as leaders of facility site areas like Komo and the Pina plant site:Use myself and my two colleague MPs and our Governor to be your middlemen with National Government in a peaceful way to get your grievances out to National Government.

If genuine legitimate commitments aren’t responded to, then I will be the first to support you tribesmen for court action as a final resort but not the use of violence and destructions.

So far, I have received no invitation personally to hear your issues and relay to Government.

How then can you say Government has not been responsive,hence your resort to lawlessness?

I am again opening my office to our people in Hela to channel your issues through,  instead of your continuous use of threats.

One day soon your guns will be rendered useless.

Mark my word as the hand of Government is much much longer then what many of you think.

In July I will take officers from national departments through our project areas in Hela to hear you again.

We will also tell you all how we are going in as far as getting your due benefits in royalties and equities.

One-off payments like outstanding commitments will disappear.

You only have to see how your cousins from PDL 1 and 7 have used up K20million and K15million respectively into thin air just this year.

I ask you all to be fair to the Government, assist us get the clan-vetting complete and we start to get your entitlements out to you all.

For your other issues, please channel through me and Governor Philip Undialu plus our two other colleagues in Minister Petrus Thomas and Vice -Minister Manase Makiba to pass on to Government.

Our Government is in office, hence why are you evading us?

I ask you all to remove blockages and we work through the normal channels of dialogue again.

This Thursday my office will facilitate a meeting between all concerned leaders of project areas.

 I encourage you all to meet us to air issues of common concerns and we collectively map a way forward.

Sometimes,answers may be right in front of us yet our differences of opinion, including politics, continue being blockages.

Hela has many mountains of underdevelopment to climb.

Hence we all cannot afford the luxury of differences to hinder us.

There is no long-term winner in an environment of differences.

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