Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Papua New Guinea > Paga Hill relocation was “legitimate”, developers insist

Paga Hill relocation was “legitimate”, developers insist

October 11, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

ABC Radio

The Paga Hill Development Company has insisted the forced relocation of a settlement in Port Moresby, PNG was legitimate.

The UK-based International State Crime Initiative recently released a report questioning the legitimacy of the company’s land deal and condemning the eviction of the community, which was to make way for a multi-million dollar marina and hotel.

“It contravened the UN principles on development-based forced eviction,” Dr Kristian Lasslett, the Initiative’s PNG co-ordinator told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program.

Media reports at the time described how 100 police officers backed by bulldozers stormed the settlement on May 12, just as a national court was granting an injunction to stop the demolition.

“The police went down there, they were armed, they used their firearms, they aimed their guns and fired them at civilians who were unarmed. They bulldozed properties without allowing the owners to remove their personal possessions,” Dr Lasslett said.

His report also questioned the Paga Hill Development Company’s ability to follow through on a promise to resettle the community at the Six Mile settlement.

Developer’s defence

The company’s director, George Hallit, also spoke to Pacific Beat, and insisted that the “legitimacy to our title is undisputed, it cannot be denied”.

“We’ve been subject to no less then three judicial reviews, public accounts commission inquiry, an ombudsman commission investigation, each of which have exonerated us,” he said.

He also said that in an “unprecented move” land to relocate the Paga Hill residents had been secured at Six Mile, and said that each household would receive a block of 300 square metres.

Unpaid land tax

Meanwhile, Dame Carol Kidu, who was the formally the member of parliament for the area, told Radio Australia that she supports the development of Paga Hill.

However, she said insisted the Paga Hill Development Company had no right to the land.

“On my last knowledge (earlier this year when I had records checked), they have still not paid PNG government millions of kina for outstanding land tax and their company was behind with submitting annual returns to the state,” she wrote in a statement.

“The land was never put on public tender and they have ‘acquired’ at no cost the title to multi-million kina land.”

Listen on-line to Dr Kristian Lasslett from the International State Crime Initiative discuss concerns over the Paga Hill land deal and community relocation and George Hallit, director of the Paga Hill Development Company insists their dealings are above board. 

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  1. JUDY
    October 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    What will it take for the Government of PNG to do the right thing by the people of Papua New Guinea putting Papua New Guineans before all others and especially those that deal in such corrupt way and use force to do their evil police work to force the marginalized of our society.One would think the PNG Government should be there to protect its people in this case…but no,how pathetic and stupid our government bureaucracy is for a few miserable thousand kina or dollars.Just makes me sick to the pit of my stomach.Where is the Government of PNG in all these dealing..surely they are not just pretending that this is not happening in their own country..come on wake up for goodness sake !!!!!!

  2. Joseph
    October 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Judy, are you serious?!
    As part of the agreement the settlement themselves nogotiated, each household is receiving a 300m2 block at Six Mile and financial assistance. They failed to challenge the agreement in the District Court and now they’re demanding more! It’s a slap in the face to the average Papua New Guinean who purchased/rents a legitimate block of land.

  3. ToPam
    October 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    This is not happening only in POM, but in every towns of PNG. Citizens of this country are being marginaized, leaving them with little hope of enjoying a good life, in a sizeable land for an average PNGn. What is the government doing.? Why is the government giving land to extraterrestrials? Is it because these people have the money to play and not simple PNGns? Come on, let us be real. This is our country, we will not die if it is not developed. Because for centuries we have lived off the land, and will continue to do so, no matter what happens to our land. Those involved in Paga saga should be ashamed of themselves, for being greedy and selfish. Recommend common sense to prevail, otherwise if not, than we are no longer PNGns.

  4. October 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Magority of the community members including myself, we were not given a fair negotiation hearing. The reality is this, 1- Our ancesters, the first settlers moved to Paga Hill straight after the second World War (II) in 1948. 2- Agreement between landowner, evidance available with me, in the form of written agreement.(state document), for settlers to look after land and use it for gardening etc, during their stay at Paga Hill.3- Prior to that Colonel Cole Willson from Australian Defence Force apointed Mairi Nakaia a war vetren from Kikori to remain and look after the War Bunkers straight after the war. Mairi Nakaia’s family moved from Kikori and stayed with him at Paga Hill.Land Owner Doriga Lohia of Geakone Clan of Hohodae Village near Hanuabada Village, adopted them as is brothers and sisters, culturally speaking they become his relatives to help him look after his land. This can be confirmed by the late Doriga Lohia’s son Dirona Lohia. Since then more Kikorians moved to settle in Paga Hill. My enthropological and Social Mapping Report on the people of Kikori and Paga Hill is with the Prime Minister, Hon;Peter O’Niel. Paga’s case was table on the floor of Paliament four times last year and yet the Government is turning a blind eye to poor people like us, The state obtain the land title to Paga Hill on our heads as custodians of Paga Hill Land since 1948 for that matter.. There fore we want to be a part of any development that takes place at Paga Hill. The company bribe two old men who can not fully understand the english language to sign an agreement with out the whole community of Paga Hill’s concernt I told the company lawer Stenly Liria that we will engage a lawyer to represent us of the notion of an agreement package or negotiate with the company (PHDC) on our behalf. While we were in the proccess of engaging a lawer, stanly Liria went ahead and obtain a court order to remove us. We did not agree with what the company offered. K20,00 for a shanty home, K5,000 for semi-permanent and K10,000 for a permanent home. Houses are very expensive trhis days. You can not build a good house using K2000, K5000, 0r K10,000 for that matter. Most of the houses are very old and as soon as they are pull down there’s hardly and remaining materials that can be used to rebuild a house.The land at six mile was not bought off as stated by the company. The company only made a deposit to the land owner and the land is about three kilometers out of Port Moresby town. There is no water supply, only two water tanks were provided, no power only a generator set provided for the few people about three or four families who are not a permanent residents of Paga Hill. There’s no roads and to comute between six mile and the city is very deficult. Magority of people of Paga Hill are working class and their children attend schools in the city. We were not given a fair hearing by the company as to our concern in relation to what this two old men had done. We were not given a copy of the eviction order prior to the demolition that took place on the 12th of May 2012. What we want is for the company to develop the land at six mile eg: water supply, electricity, roads sanitation and compensate us fairly before we can move to six mile. Moving people from Paga is just like moving people from Hanuabada because we have 100% land user rights to the land at Paga Hill. This is the fourth generation since 1948. And most importantly the piece of land we now settled in is on portion 26, Section 18, 19, and 20 and NOT PORTION 1597 which the company had land title. I have all the document that pertains to all of the above and we will present all our evidance in court when the final hearing of our appeal on the eviction order is heard in court.
    All I can say is that the company has no standing in terms of liabilities, assetts and never fulfill the lease covernment for the last 20 years which just came to light and also the title was granted in a dubious manner. The company PHDC has no document pertaining to obtaining the title again after the PA Report. I have all the evidence with me. My lawyers a organising all the necessary paper work to register our case at the National Court of PNG straight after the final hearing of our appeal.

    • Up N. Coming
      October 19, 2012 at 12:08 am

      Avapura Joe Moses, we will pray for your efforts and for our heavenly father to hear you and your peoples cry and give wisdom to your lawyers, and a good heart to the Judiciary.

  5. feekay
    October 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Avapura Joe Moses, one can’t help thinking that what you are saying isn’t just circumstantial but are convincing mitigating factors – and that if all parties were fully heard and the matter went to the court or ADR for adjudication the powers that be should and must take notice. Greed and self interest is on the side of Gudmundur and his group; human rights, respect for tradirional and cultural arrangements and survival of the meek and weak in an impersonal world is on your side and every PNGn including all law officers from police to judges should respect this.

  6. Eagle Eyes
    October 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Can anyone care to forward me Task Force Sweep’s contact details?

  7. Bonip Panuta
    October 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Aha! Now it comes out – in the actual words of Avapura Joe Moses, “Therefore we want to be a part of any development that takes place at Paga Hill.” This is greed at its best. They have lived on someone’s land for a long time – now they want to benefit for nothing. He goes on to say, “The company bribe two old men who can not fully understand the english language to sign an agreement with out the whole community of Paga Hill’s concern…” But who are those two old men? Did they have any rights whatsoever to the land? If so, did they really require the consent or concern of the other settlers. This is an ongoing issue. You allow someone to live on you land and in time they will claim it for themselves, as is the case of Paga Hill. Greed has crept in. They are being given a land free to their name. So what if it is not yet developed? You think other Papua New Guineans have it easy? Go to 8 Mile, Nine Mile, ATS and other areas and you will see Papua New Guineans struggling. No-one gave them land for free. They bought the land and are slowly but surely developing them. Wake up Avapura Joe Moses!!!

    Bonip

  8. October 22, 2012 at 12:40 am

    It’s a real pain in the ass when we do not understand the real context of a matter pertaining to the notion of cultural identity. All papua New Guineans in one way or the other, we are connected in terms of reprocity and more inportantly the tie between a particular clan for that matter. As PNG citizen, we have every right to participate in any development especially when it is taking place on the very land that you live on for 40 to 50 years.. When someone knows his rights to a piece of land regardless of who the developer is, be, it be Paga Hill Development Company or any other company for that matter. This is 2012 brother Bonip, wake up, we are all educated elite of this beautiful country Papua New Guinea and should be fighting for what is right for the small people and not give in to a few greedy developers who will distroy us and we become spectators in beautiful mother land.The principle landowner,Chief Dirona Lohia of Hohodae village, Kone is with me and the community in taking up this fight, ”just for your information”. Paga ommunity was here since 1948 and therefore do not compare us with other communities like ATS, 8 Mile or 9 Mile.

  9. Bonip Panuta
    October 22, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Brother Avapura Joe Moses, I am wide awake. I own a piece of land back home which God gave to my ancestors long long ago. You are actually living on someone else’s land. You are stopping them from optimising the benefits to their land. Perhaps its time to move on and actually own a piece on land yourself. Don’t be greedy. You don’t own Paga Hill. You have benefited for the last 50 years. Just quietly pack up and move on. It does not matter how long you have been on Paga Hill. It is not your land. People in communities like ATS, 8 or 9 Mile are living on land they own or are legitimately paying rentals. What about you?

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