Home > Uncategorized > Rimbunan Hijau has Catholic lay missionary deported

Rimbunan Hijau has Catholic lay missionary deported

Rimbunan Hijau has dictated the deportation of a Catholic lay missionary, Mr Doug Tennent, who was trying to assist the people of Pomio negotiate a fair deal over the illegal appropriation of their land by RH.

Tennent, a New Zealander and former law lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea, has become the latest victim of the SABL land grab.

Below is the full Letter from Archbishop Francesco Panfilo sdb concerning the deportation, a letter that ends with a question:

Does this mean that the level of corruption reached by the Government is beyond remedy?

10 June, 2017

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

On August 15, 2015 I issued Pastoral Letter 7 on how to respond in very practical ways to the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis “Laudato Sì” on the “Care of our Common Home”.

I wrote: “Convinced as we are that ‘the earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters’ (EG 183), we need to ask ourselves: how can we as Church, in very practical ways, care for our common home and be a Church that is poor and for the poor? … The Archdiocese of Rabaul is committed to the following:

  1. Disposing of the land, especially of large plantations;
  2. Starting a housing project for low income earners;
  3. Helping achieve a broad consensus in the Sigite Mukus Palm Oil Project in West Pomio”.

We committed ourselves to these very challenging goals not only in response to the call of Pope Francis and in fidelity to the Social Teaching of the Church, but also because the Archdiocese could avail itself of the services of Mr. Douglas Tennent, a lay missionary from New Zealand and a former lecturer of law at the UPNG.

As mentioned, Mr. Tennent came to the Archdiocese as a lay missionary with an Entry Permit “Special Exemption/Religious Worker”. In the Archdiocese he serves as the Administrator.

The Archdiocese provides him with board and lodging and with an allowance. He is not paid an expatriate salary. Those who live at Vunapope know very well that he works 15 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to solve the many land issues that we still have.

On Friday, 9 June, in the afternoon two officers from the Office of the Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority came from Port Moresby to serve Mr. Tennent with the “Notice of Cancellation of Entry Permit” and “Direction as to Custody and Removal Order”.

He was told that he no longer held a valid entry permit or visa to remain in the country lawfully and that he had to leave the country immediately. The document presented to him stated: “Should you fail to comply with this instruction you are subject to be detained and removed involuntarily”.

There was no previous notice, no chance to appeal since the notice was served on Friday afternoon and he would have to leave on Sunday, 11 June.

What crime did Mr. Tennent commit? The document served to him says: “The cancellation of your entry permit by the Minister is due to the blatant abuse of the conditions of your Special Exemption/Religious Worker visa by engaging in sensitive landowner issues in East New Britain Province”.

As mentioned, Mr. Tennent is a lay missionary and is not paid an expatriate salary.

In regards to our commitments to “Disposing of the land, especially of large plantations” and of “Starting a housing project for low income earners”, Mr. Tennent is tasked to carry out the decisions of the Finance Council and of the Land Board of the Archdiocese. He does not act on his own.

As for the involvement of the Archdiocese in “Helping achieve a broad consensus in the Sigite Mukus Palm Oil Project in West Pomio”, Mr. Tennent provides legal advice to the Archbishop, who was asked by the people of West Pomio to speak up for them. This, the undersigned as done and is very grateful to Mr. Tennent for his advice and concrete help.

It should be very clear that in regard to land matters and in the advocacy for the people of West Pomio, the ultimate responsible is the Archbishop. Consequently, if anybody needs to be deported for what we are doing, then it is the Archbishop.

It is sad to realize that people who are hard working, dedicated and committed to serve the people of Papua New Guinea are treated in such a way.

Does this mean that the level of corruption reached by the Government is beyond remedy?

I would like to believe that there are still decent people in Government who are trying their best, just as we are trying our best to serve and care for those who do not have voice.

Let us pray that the upcoming National Elections may give us leaders who are committed to the achievement of a just and peaceful society.

+ Francesco Panfilo, SDB Archbishop of Rabaul

cc.

Right Hon. P.M. Peter O’Neil
Hon. Leo Dion, DPM
Hon. Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Dknorm
    June 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Does the ENB provincial government and aware of this issue ??
    Why wasn’t the priest given enough time to appeal his case ?
    Why would the PNG government allow a foreign company to manipulate the immigration department to deport the Priest?

  2. Biga Lebasi
    June 13, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I am ashamed of the O’Neil government and his Immigration officers’ corrupt actions that lead to the illegal deportation of an innocent Catholic missionary. It amazes me to think that such corrupt practices are still the order of the day even during this pre-election period during which corrupt sitting MPs are out in force enticing and forcing voters to help them re-enter Parliament only to continue their corrupt behavior. What are the authorities of this so-called Christian country are saying about this elegal deportation? Their silence obviously tells us all that they – MPs – are condoning corruption in PNG politics. This is terrible and it gives an absolute negative and degrading image of our nation to the rest of the world. I pray justice will prevail to help decrease corruption in all spheres of PNG society. BIGA LEBASI Alotau.

  3. Gabriel Tovo
    June 14, 2017 at 10:30 am

    It is sad to hear about an innocent hard working Lay Missionary be deported from the country(PNG) for doing what is right.

    Fr. Gabriel Tovo
    Kimbe, WNBP.

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