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PNG’S LAMINGTON HOTEL SOLD TO COMFORT INN Oro Province hotel built in 1960s

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 1, 2008) – One of Northern Province’s famous landmarks — the Lamington Hotel — owned by Coral Sea Hotels and member of the Steamships Group of Companies has been sold to Comfort Inn Limited, a company based in Port Moresby. The sale has since been denied by the general manager of the Coral Sea Hotels Warren Daniel when the Post Courier called him yesterday.

Mr Daniel said the hotel had not been sold yet and that only arrangements were underway for the sale of the hotel to the company named.

However, reliable sources within Coral Sea Hotel confirmed that Lamington Hotel was already sold to Comfort Inn and arrangements were now being made for the transfer ceremony on the May 01. The insider also told the Post Courier yesterday that the logos erected on billboards in the province were pulled down on Monday to make way for the purchaser’s logos to be put up.

Vice Minister for Public Service and Member for Sohe Anthony Nene was surprised on the sale when the contacted yesterday.

He said Coral Sea Hotel should follow all due procedures before selling the hotel and that the provincial government should have been given the first preference to purchase the hotel especially during the disaster time to generate profit to support the work in the province.

He said he would fly into Popondetta today and demand that Coral Sea Hotel explain to the people on how the sale of the hotel was organized.

The hotel was built in the early 60’s and became commercially important running apparel to the Return Services League (RSL), comprising mainly ex-servicemen who used the venue for celebration and socializing during memorable events.

Wellington Jojoga, a former lecturer at the University Of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and currently a land and environment advocate in the province yesterday after hearing of the sale told the said that the hotel depicts a famous landmark and is historically significant to the people of Oro Province. Mr Jojoga said what Coral Sea Hotel has done is a slap on the face for the people of Oro Province. "The people of Oro should have been given the first preference to buy the hotel through its Provincial Government, as a concept of participating meaningfully rather than been observers," Mr Jojoga said. Mr Jojoga said the provincial government should be first consulted as what the Coral Sea Hotel has done is like a repeat of how the early foreign settlers did to all the crown land around the Sangara area to the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC).

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