Displaced Residents and Customary LOs Slam Paga Hill Development Company
Over the last fifteen years the Paga Hill Development Company (PHDC) and its CEO Gudmundur Fridriksson have hit the news for all the wrong reasons. Slammed by the Public Accounts Committee for acquiring a state lease over Paga Hill through ‘corrupt dealings’, condemned by the Auditor General for illegally seizing money from deceased estates, and rebuked by Sean Dorney for the embarrassing Destination Papua New Guinea saga that is etched in public service folklore.
But we were told, this time at Paga Hill it would be different, Paga Hill Development Company would relocate National Housing Corporation residents from Paga Hill to 6-mile, where they would join with customary landowners to produce a model community. On their website, PHDC boasts, ‘the master plan incorporates a shared 1,000m2 community centre, communal ablution, shower and kitchen facilities should households require them, along with market gardens, market stalls, along with sports grounds. In addition, many household plots will back onto common open/green space areas for play and gathering. Together, these elements foster a sense of community, creating opportunities for interaction and strengthening of community ties’.
But like Destination Papua New Guinea, the grand promises are failing to materialise. EMTV reports new allegations by customary landowner leader Sir Peter Bal that PHDC’s earthworks at 6-mile brought about a major landslide that has damaged properties and gardens. They also claim PHDC has failed to provide basic services to National Housing Corporation residents displaced from Paga Hill.
Once again the government, and the National Housing Corporation, has left hard-working Papua New Guinea citizens exposed to a company slammed as a foreign speculator by the public accounts committee.