THE Panguna Landowners Association is supporting the government of Peter O’Neill, reports The National newspaper.
Association deputy chairman Michael Pariu, who is the chairman of its business arm, Road Mining Tailings and Leases Ltd (RMTL), has decided to break his silence to voice official support for the O’Neill regime.
Pariu said the association was ready to stand behind the government because “it is a genuine and people’s government which is prepared to be pro-active on many important issues affecting Papua New Guinea and Bougainville today, especially in combating corruption”.
“The people of Panguna commend this government for tackling this problem head-on and which the former Somare-led government had for a long time failed to address in an effective and honest way,” he said.
Pariu called on the government to support the association with funding for Panguna landowners to organise themselves in preparation for the re-opening of the Panguna mine.
On the Panguna mine and extension of licence, Pariu said the association urged the government not to renew the mining licence to Bougainville Copper Ltd.
“The ownership of any licence over the mine must now go back and remain with the landowners. The landowners are the rightful owners of the resources”.
In relation to the 2012 general election, Pariu said Panguna landowners were already seriously thinking about selecting and nominating their own candidate who would contest the Central Bougainville seat on an association ticket. The seat is held by Minister for Communication Jim Miringtoro.
“We want our own man, a landowner himself from Panguna with appropriate leadership qualities who understands our issues to represent Central Bougainville in the national parliament this time.
“We have had enough of being misrepresented and lied to in the past by leaders who pretend to understand our problems and issues. Enough is enough. We cannot take it anymore,” Pariu said.
“We are sick and tired of being tricked with so many empty promises.”