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Portion 49 landowners from Kavieng, New Ireland today did a peaceful sit in protest at Kavieng airport to attract the attention of Treasurer and Kavieng MP Ian Ling- Stuckey.
Office of the New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan said in a statement there there were rumours of civil unrest but social media photographs indicate a a peaceful sit in protest at the Kavieng Airport.
Spokesman Richard Moni said the motive by the landowners was to peacefully get the attention of Kavieng Open MP and Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey who was flying out of the province this morning.
Office Sir Julius Chan says arriving at the airport landowners questioned Ling-Stuckey about their outstanding compensation payments for the upgrading of the airport extension.
His response as quoted by the landowners was: “I have no time for you. Deal with NAC and the provincial government.”
Office of the New Ireland Government says the Landowners grievance comes after a K3 million cheque presented to them on the 15th of July 2020 during the ground breaking of Kavieng International Airport bounced back at the bank.
The cheque was changed to K1 million and even that bounced back.
New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan after being briefed about the situation said he was not surprised with the landowners reaction because he had demanded more from the National Government for his people to be compensated fairly.
“ I did not agree with the ground breaking 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.
However certain landowner members decided to broker their own deal with the Kavieng Open MP and the Prime Minister for an initial payment of K3 million to be paid. I was caught out, so I respected their decision and I hope now they can see I have been fighting alongside them all along ,” Sir Julius said.
The actual airport extension is 1.4 km. The new piece of land goes almost close to UTU Secondary. That compensation demand has been outstanding by the national government for 10 years for K10 million.
Sir Julius said the people have been very cooperative and patient, waiting for 10 years.
“How much more patience must the people have. Why is New Ireland being treated like this?”
The multimillion kina airport project is expected to be complete in July 2022.