By Stanley Ove Jr – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Chairman of the Porgera Justice Foundation, Jonathan Paraia has appealed to the Porgera Landowners Association and Porgera gold developersdevelopers, Barrick Gold Limited, to put aside their differences and release funds for the Porgera Children Trust Fund.
The Porgera Trust fund was set up under the Porgera Mining Agreement.
In that agreement, 10% of landowner’s loyalties are put into the trust fund as school fee subsidies for every child under the special mining lease (SML) landowners group.
However, for almost two years, funds have been blocked between the mine developer, and the Porgera Landowners Association.
“The law is very clear. When the loyalties are distributed, it must be paid directly into the Porgera SML children’s trust fund,” Paraia said.
In July, the trustees of the trust fund took the matter to court. And on the 9th of September, the court ordered for Barrick to release funds into the Trust Fund. But to date, that has not happened following the Landowners Association getting a court verification order to stop the initial court order.
“The association (landowners association) is supposed to protect our kid’s interests, the SML’s interests and the landowner’s interests. Barrick has its own lawyers to file proceedings to verify the order against itself,” Paraia said.
“We are calling on Barrick and the Landowners to set aside their motives, their differences, their politics and don’t mix it with the future of our children,” Paraia said.
Meanwhile, Barrick Gold Limited in statement sent to EMTV News that they will not comment on the issue as there are current court proceedings in relation to the Children’s Trust Fund.