Restoration of Resource Right to Indigenous
The Resource owners Federation of Papua New Guinea supports the very strong stand by Honourable Sir Julius Chan, Governor of New Ireland Province that the state must now return mineral and petroleum ownership rights to the landowners, which is what is expected of this current government, by the people of this country and the international community. The United Nations Assembly in its declaration of the rights of the Indigenous peoples of the world in 2007 requires the Papua New Guinea Government to adopt the Declaration. Article 26, requires the State to return land and resource ownership rights stolen in the process of Colonisation to be returned to its indigenous owners. Almost all members of the UN Member countries have adopted the Declaration, including the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand who initially voted against the bill. What is the PNG government waiting for? Most Papua New Guineans are indigenous who have owned the same mineral rights which were stolen by the State, the new entity formed by our colonisers upon their arrival on this island.
The National Government at least owes an explanation to leaders like Sir Julius Chan, lifelong Advocate for the return of mineral rights to traditional landowners, Ambassador Peter Donigi, traditional landowners across the nation and United Nations, as to why it cannot return resources ownership rights to the originally owners. Certainly, the argument of the Chamber of Mining and Petroleum that “only a few people will be rich” cannot be the reason. Papua New Guineans who believe such rubbish must have rocks in their heads because in other words the Chamber is suggesting that Papua New Guinea should become a Communist State, instead of a democratic state where economies thrive on capitalism. We refer our Politicians who would like to believe the propaganda of the Chamber of Mining and Petroleum to the Oxford Dictionary for the definition of the word Capitalism. Capitalism means an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. In the same Dictionary, the word Communism, means a political system whereby all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.
Practising communism in a capitalist society like Papua New Guinea is recipe for economic disaster as evidenced by the “Rich but Poor” tag that this country continues to carry. The greatest economy of the world today is the USA, and it has been built by Private Capitalists, like John Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, J.P Morgan, Henry Ford, Bill Gates and many others overtime. If there is a country that we should follow as a model for our economic development, it should be the USA. There is no democratic society in the world today that builts its economy by adopting communist principles.
Natural resources in many States of the USA are owned by private landowners who enter into Production or Profit sharing Agreements with private developers. The State collects its revenues by charging its taxes, duties and royalties. Many of the companies exploiting our resources come from capitalist economies where private individuals are major shareholders. Why allow them to take our resources if we are afraid that only a few will be rich then? Is the Chamber of Mining and Petroleum really saying that it’s okay for their few shareholders to be capitalists but not for PNG Citizens?
We call on the Prime Minister to once again stop procrastinating and pass Boka Kondra Bill that is still on the floor of Parliament.
Resource Owners Federation of PNG INC.