24 Dec 2003

PNG provincial government faces court over evictions

11:10 am on 24 December 2003

The Madang provincial government in Papua New Guinea is being taken to court over its treatment of settlers evicted from their homes last week.

A spokesman for the settlers, Paul Ropra, says the provincial government has failed to deliver on a memorandum of agreement it signed with the settlers committee in 1998.

The agreement, which was validated by the high court, stated that the government was required to evict illegal settlers in an orderly manner, after consultation.

But, police set fire to settlements and thousands of people are now homeless.

The provincial administration hasn't provided any of the settlers with transport to return to their home provinces or food or shelter.

Mr Ropra says the governor didn't plan the eviction properly and it's total chaos for everyone.

"I believe that the governor and the provincial government and its administration would be in contempt in court for not following the memorandum of agreement that was put into place back in the year 2000 to govern any eviction of settlers in Madang."

Paul Ropra says Sir Peter Barter and his intergovernment ministry have given more than 120-thousand US dollars for settlers which was released last week.

But, he says none of that money has come yet, and he's unaware of how and who will be responsible for distributing it.