O’Neill’s illegal logging: 833 days and counting…
There has still been NO ACTION to cancel the huge SABL land grab, revoke the unlawful leases or stop the illegal logging in Papua New Guinea. The Chief Secretary’s latest pitiful attempt to fool us into thinking otherwise otherwise only emphasizes the Prime Minister’s failure.
It is now 833 days, since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.
On June 24, 2013 O’Neill was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.
O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.
In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:
“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”
In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision cancelling the leases, O’Neill said
“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”
“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people”
In May O’Neill promised a new Task Force to look at the Commission of Inquiry recommendations and legislation to cancel some of the leases, and just this weekend the Chief Secretary told us the government ‘hopes’ some of the land will be returned ‘in the not too distant future’… but, the fact is WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.
For 833 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and he has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.
Crucially, although the Lands Department Secretary has been suspended, the Prime Minister has failed to take any action to remove the many corrupt public servants responsible for the land grab or distance himself from the politicians, including key Minister’s, complicit in the illegal deals and who are now blocking any positive action to revoke the leases and stop the logging.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.