Home > Corruption, Human rights, Papua New Guinea > Claims PNG’s Paga Hill consists of mainly criminals dismissed

Claims PNG’s Paga Hill consists of mainly criminals dismissed

October 20, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Radio New Zealand

The Papua New Guinea co-ordinator of the International State Crime Initiative has dismissed claims by a developer that the Paga Hill community consists mainly of criminals.

Kristian Laslett has produced a report documenting human rights abuses that occurred during the forced eviction at Paga Hill in May, as well as allegations of misconduct by the lease holder, the Paga Hill Development Company including its chairman Gudmundur Fridriksson.

Various PNG parliamentary investigations accused Mr Fridriksson of illegally profiting from the proceeds of the estates of deceased Papua New Guineans.

Dr Laslett says that the company’s response to his report has been to attack the residents of Paga Hill themselves.

“Most of the people I’ve met on Paga Hill are working class people, they’ve got qualifications, they work for a living. So the evidence I’ve come across certainly contradicts this claim that they’re criminals. The Paga Hill Development COmpany is trying to remove a self-sufficient community, one that has been on the land for over fifty years.”

  1. Bonip Panuta
    October 22, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Dr Laslett, how many people/families on Paga Hill have you interviewed? How many people are actually living on Paga Hill? How many are living on NHC properties? How many are living on self-constructed buildings? In other words – how many got government approval to live on the hill and how many go approval from traditional landowners to live on the hill? What rentals are they paying? Do they have lease agreements? How many schools/health centre etc., are on the hill? How many have water supply? How many have electricity? How many men, women and children are we talking about? Do you have all these information? Please provide them for us to appreciate. Thanks.

  2. Kris
    October 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Excellent suggestion Bonip. UPNG Academic Dicks Rae Thomas and resident anthropologist Joe Moses did a detailed social mapping report in 2010 that answers many of your questions. Now the softcopy was destroyed in the demolition exercise. You might not know, but the police demolished Joe Moses’ property first, while he was at court seeking an injunction – very coincidental that the most outspoken leader was the first to have their home destroyed (with all his belongings). Inside was his laptop – it was damaged beyond repair. Fortunately, we still have a hardcopy – it certainly provides a most interesting and complex portrait of the community (employment data, ethnic make up, property valuations, etc), that provides an interesting contrast to the developer’s rather sullen image. I will ask the authors if I can scan the report and make it available online, I am sure many PNGeans would be interested to read it. Great suggestions Bonip, many thanks, your probing questions are really helping to clarify key issues!

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