Concerns Over Demolition of 40-Year-Old Church Building

by Fabian Hakalits – EMTV Port Moresby

Lands Minister, Benny Allan, has expressed his disappointment in the manner in which a 40-year-old Catholic church located just outside of Port Moresby was demolished in an eviction exercise yesterday.

Bisogo Catholic Church had been serving over 1,000 people in the Laloki area of Kairuku-Hiri district since the 1970s.

Allen said that if a developer acquired that land title in the right way, it was only proper not to destroy the building because it was a place of worship.

Earlier reports from EMTV indicate that the land’s new title holder demolished the building without a second thought, with Archbishop of Port Moresby, John Ribat, condemning the actions of those responsible. 

Archbishop Ribat said that this shows people do not care about what Christianity and what the church is bringing to the communities. It shows that people put material things ahead of Christian beliefs and teachings.

He added that there was an understanding between the landowners and the church, and the demolition came as a big surprise to many.

After several attempts to get clarification from the lands department, the church found that the boundaries of the piece of land earlier sold-off were not quite clear.

It seems portion 230 was sold to the aforementioned title holder, and the church sits on portion 292. The church says there must have been some misunderstanding resulting in the demolition of their building.

“It is not clear to us whether the land is customary land or state land, however more investigations must be conducted to clarify these doubts,” said the Archbishop.

The damage though appears to have been done, and the church will be working in close consultation with the lands department to see how this can be resolved.

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