Ling-Stuckey said during formal meetings conducted with the Minister for Civil Aviation, Sekie Agisa, the National Airports Corporation CEO, Ephraim Wasem, and senior officers, he was advised that there was no legal basis for the compensation claim of K10 million for portion 49.
Similar sentiments were shared recently by the Secretary for Lands as well.
“It seems that the national government was also misadvised to pay the compensation claim of K10 million in July last year. Furthermore, the completed extension of the runway was satisfactorily settled for K6 million, which has never been the subject of a dispute, according to the NAC,” said Treasurer Ling-Stuckey.
Ling-Suckey further drew attention to the tabling of a Court Order dated 5 April 2016, resulting from O.S. No.674 of 2014, in effect, preventing any Omo landowners or representatives of the original landowners, Epel and Rose Tito, including members of the Makanuk (Balus) and Tivingau (Malip) Clans to protest on the Kavieng Airport property.
“This splinter group would be well advised to relocate their protest tent and placards and air their grievances with the New Ireland Provincial Government, wherein they signed an MOU on or about 2016, with the governor to resolve their claims,” stated the Treasurer.
The landowners’ peaceful sit-in protest on January 11th eventuated after a K3 million cheque presented to them on the 15th of July 2020 during the ground breaking of the Kavieng International Airport bounced back. The cheque was changed to K1 million and even that bounced back.
In response to the protest, New Ireland Governor, Sir Julius Chan, said: “I did not agree with the groundbreaking of the Kavieng International Airport to go ahead unless the landowners were paid K10 million-plus on the 15th of July 2020. In fact, I put in writing to the aviation Minister and Prime Minister the sum of K15 million as compensation. That was my demand because our landowners deserve more from the National Government after being denied any land compensation for 10 years for the extension of the airport.”
(A picture by Brendon Bauelua showing the landowners protesting at the Kavieng Airport on January 11th, 2021)