Logger accused of defying customary protocol

A landowner from Danu village in West Coast New Ireland is threatening to take a logging company to court for defying customary protocols and causing environmental damage to his land.

Jonathan Mesulam said he has given the firm seven days’ notice to compensate and remove their logging machines.

On the 6th of January, the landowners put up the gorgor plant at the logging site as taboo; a custom in New Ireland society which bars individuals from entering another person’s territory, and one which developers in the province are all too familiar with.

However, the company did not honour this customary protocol. Instead, they removed the gorgor and continued operating.

Moses Taram, chairman of the New Ireland Provincial Forestry Enforcement Unit, said they visited campsites during the SoE and confiscated keys to the machines because loggers failed to comply with SoE orders.

Early this year, the Provincial Government established the Forestry Enforcement Unit to crack down on companies engaging in illegal logging in the province.

There are five Malaysian logging companies currently operating in New Ireland.

Governor Sir Julius Chan said the province has lost up to K22 million in infrastructure damage, and suffered environmental damages because of these logging companies.

Meanwhile, on Saturday 09th May, all stakeholders, including logging companies, landowners, NGO’s, permit holders and the provincial government sat together to discuss a way forward.

Jemimah Sukbat