PNG Landowners Cautioned For Threatening State Assets

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PM warns residents to follow proper compensation procedures

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 31, 2012) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has advised villagers claiming to be owed money by Papua New Guinea’s government to follow proper processes in pursuing their compensation claims.

O’Neill said any threats to sabotage government-owned assets and deny the provision of vital services would not be tolerated.

He said this in response to media reports that a group of villagers in Port Moresby threatened to shut down the Jackson International Airport over claims that they were owed money by the state for the use of the land.

It was also reported that Rouna villagers outside Port Moresby were threatening to shut down water and power supplies to the city if they were not paid K5 million [US$2.4 million] they claimed they were promised.

Both groups said they would go as far as disrupting the royal visit by Prince Charles and Camilla this week.

"The Royal visit gives us an opportunity to showcase Papua New Guinea to the rest of the world. It’s a significant event which the people of Papua New Guinea are looking forward to.

"It is wrong and indeed against the law for a group of people to try to blackmail the government by threatening to disrupt the royal visit.

"The Jackson International Airport and the Rouna hydro plant are assets that belong to Papua New Guineans.

"I encourage these villagers concerned to be civilized and to direct their claims to the appropriate agencies to be dealt with in the proper and lawful manner," he said.

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