PNG landowners threaten royal visit

30 Oct 2012

PNG Facts

LANDOWNERS in Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby, are threatening to shut down the airport ahead a visit by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall this weekend.

The landowners are reportedly demanding 4.5 million kina ($A2.1 million) in outstanding compensation from the government for the land Jackson's Airport is built on - land they claim they own.

Claiming to have 200 supporters willing to march on the airport, landowner spokesman Kila Joe Gabutu said they were frustrated the government had not honoured a deed of release for the land signed six years ago.

"We will resolve to shut down the airport," he told the Post Courier on Tuesday.

"The government must know that the Prince will land on our land. If it means shutting down the airport on the arrival of Prince Charles then we can do it and face the consequences."

The newspaper said Mr Gabutu produced a deed of release for five million kina ($A5 million) in business grants signed by his late father, Joe Henao Gabutu and former Lands secretary Pepi Kimas on September 5, 2006.




Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are scheduled to land in Port Moresby on Saturday night as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The royal couple will tour Port Moresby before leaving on Monday for a six day visit to Australia.

Landowner protests have been a thorn in the side for governments in PNG for decades.

Most of the protests are over money that groups say have been promised to them but not paid.

Earlier this year a group of landowners interrupted the power and water to Port Moresby, leaving thousands in infrastructure poor communities with intermittent supply.

Landowner groups are also threatening the Australian government's Manus Island asylum seeker facility amid demands for compensation for the right to build the facility on the island. AAP

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