Letters & Opinions

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Has license approval in order?

BANG, we did it again! Despite the existing ban on new logging licenses, a new license has recently been reissued to revive the massive Lolo TRP area in Cape Gloucester district, West New Britain province.

Perhaps the National Forest Authority (NFA) could tell Papua New Guinea how this became possible. NFA should also tell the country why everything about it has been kept "top secret" including the signing of the project agreement in Port Moresby. The usual media exposure expected for any major resource development had been excluded from this signing ceremony.

The National Executive Council, Forest Minister and the National Forest Board should also tell Papua New Guinea if they were involved, and if they did, on what basis was the approval made, especially against an existing ban. Or was it because it was only a renewal of an existing license? It is in the best interest of PNG, the resource owners and more so, for the sake of good governance and transparency, that the official version be registered.

I am one of those who will be affected by the project and I am very concerned. I and my Lolo people had seen and felt the pain of exploitive logging activities between 1989 and 1995. The project had given us nothing but an absolute destruction of our social livelihood and our environment.
From the millions of kina earned from the project, we were left with nothing except a destroyed people, rusting machine parts and accessories including vehicles, and a stretch of road and an airstrip that had long been overgrown with thick jungle.

Where had all the millions gone to? May be those very people that are now again at the helm of this project should know the answers. If they did not know directly, they should know one way or another because they were part of the landowner company.

Everything they attempted to do from the excessive wealth derived from the project doomed to failure. The agriculture efforts in cocoa development failed, the business development effort in wholesale ventures failed, the investment effort in real estate failed, the construction effort in roads and buildings failed, and so as everything else they tried to do.

What they were known for, at least one significant feature that survived, was excessive and lavish lifestyles they pursued that included reckless spending with booze topping the list, unnecessary leisure trips and travels around the country and the list was endless.

Unfortunately this started already when they were in Lae and then in Port Moresby to sign the second agreement recently. Several of them were refused to fly to Port Moresby because they were pissed to their eyeballs. While in Port Moresby, the whole time was spent on excessive booze up and parties. 

I challenge the executives of the landowner company to do it right for the people this time. Though they have deliberately kept out some elite landowners, "an act that bordered on nothing but pure greed and narcissism", Lolo is home and Lolo is where we all end up. Namir_sam@yahoo.com

Iau Lektatano Pou
Port Moresby

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