by Sasha Pei – Silovo – EM TV Online
Close to 3000 people from the Porgera valley are protesting the removal of a cleaning contract previously held by a landowner company.
In a protest in the Porgera township yesterday, the Directors, Shareholders of Total Cleaning & House Keeping Services Limited (TCHSL) presented a petition to Barrick’s General Manager, Greg Walker.
The landowners claimed that the tender process was hijacked by Barrick and that TCHSL had not been allowed to go through the whole process resulting in another company being given the contract.
They said Barrick had insulted the landowners by not allowing them to participate in spin off business opportunities in the area.
It was also revealed through the petition that the Porgera Land Owner Association (PLOA) had written to Barrick Porgera in July 2014 and had written again this month, giving directions for there to be no alterations made to the contract held by the IPI Group and TCHSL. This notice was alleged to have been ignored by Barrick Porgera.
Managing Director of TCHSL, Be Pepo said that though it was highly unfortunate that the landowners had to resort to protesting but they had been left with no other option but to fight for what was rightfully theirs.
“You must realise that you, Mr. Walker and Barrick are not operating in Toronto or Perth. You are operating in Porgera and Papua New Guinea for that matter and you must respect our customs, our cultures and traditional land ownerships and kinships.
“You cannot take what is ours and give to others. If you want to give, it must be whole new contract.To do so will be creating problems among ourselves (land owners) and Barrick Porgera will be responsible for it”, said Pepo.