People living in the Pomio district say the three local men who have been vocal in a logging company owned newspaper, supporting SABL leases and the operations of Rimbunan Hijau, do not represent the majority.
The local people say it is completely wrong to claim the Sigite Mukus Integrated Rural Development Project is an SABL success story, as claimed by Mathew Lila, James lelrea lutkal and Bruno Tevolman.
But the locals say they are afraid to speak out because of the intimidation and violence from company supported police officers, and we have agreed not to name them.
The locals say the three ‘company puppets’ are selfish and self-interested individuals whose statements are false and that the SABL is not a successful and sustainable socio-economic and infrastructure project.
The people say the three men were self self appointed as chairmen of their own landowner company that exists simply to serve the interests of the foreign logging and oil palm companies and do not represent local people.
The locals say the whole logging and oil palm operation was approved by the men in isolation from the communities and without the knowledge of the majority population. Authorities in Port Moresby were then manipulated to approve the operations without following proper laws and procedures.
They say claimed road infrastructure has just been built for the logging operations, is not certified by a professional road engineers and has already caused several deaths. The wharfs have been built on piles of rejected logs to be used for logging ships and are not part of a sea transport service for nearby communities.
Locals say the men’s statement was clearly written for them by the interests they represent and it is typical for the three to just sign any documents put in front of them.
Local people also say the logging and oil palm has destroyed their own sustainable saw milling operation and is threatening efforts to have the area listed for World Heritage recognition.