1st October 2014
Following the considerable work in establishing Tagua community, its self-determination and sustainability, the Six Mile site was officially handed over today in a magnificent ceremony attended by a number of special guests, including Moresby North-East MP Labi Amaiu, UN Resident Coordinator Mr Roy Trivedy, NCD-Central Assistant Commissioner Jerry Frank, French Ambassador Pascal Maubert, Korobosea customary landowner Martin Maraga Tabu and Dame Carol Kidu.
An estimated 400 people attended the historic event to witness Paga Hill Development Company (PHDC) assign its rights over the 14ha of land to individual families who have relocated from Paga Hill. PHDC CEO Mr Gudmundur Fridriksson said
the handover marks a significant milestone in the ten year Paga Hill resettlement journey which PHDC CEO, which commenced in 2004 when PHDC in partnership with the Paga Hill Settlement Committee carried out a thorough social mapping of all informal settlement housing at Paga Hill. What flowed on from that study was the agreement that the parties would work together in relocating the people from Paga Hill to a more permanent location. This resulted in a formal agreement in early 2012 and now finally in the harmonious relocation of all informal settlers from Paga Hill.
Handover ceremony in the media
PHDC Director, Mr Stanley Liria stated that today’s event showed that PHDC has delivered on its promise of a comprehensive resettlement of the community. Over the last few years, PHDC acquired the 14ha of land, undertook a master planned approach to preparing what is to become a village-like community, implemented key infrastructure, allocated plots, provided education support to residents, as well as facilitated the establishment of self-determining governance, all the while tackling and overcoming legislative and regulatory obstacles along the way.
During the ceremony, the positive precedence of the Paga Hill resettlement model was noted by Mr Roy Trivedy, UN resident co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for PNG, who said it was
“a fantastic achievement” as it is “the first time a national corporation like PHDC supported the resettlement of communities”
and broke new ground in PNG and in the region. This sentiment was echoed by Dame Carol Kidu who said that the resettlement was creating history, and that she was proud to be part of what had the potential to be a model community for Port Moresby. The Honourable Labi Amaiu MP praised the company for “successfully relocating the settlers”, and the NCD-Central Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner Jerry Frank commended PHDC and its CEO
“for going out of your way, spending your own money, to resettle people from Paga Hill. What you have done is tremendous. You have shown us what other state lease holders can and must do if they sincere and committed.”
Mr Frank went on to apologise on behalf of the police force for any harsh handling during the various eviction exercises, including the 2012 one where former politician Dame Carol Kidu was man-handled.
Mr Gudmundur (Gummi) Fridriksson advised that today’s ceremony represented
“a start of a new beginning, with foundations laid for better things to come for each family and their children”
as each family was allocated a block of land at Tagua community secured by a land use agreement. UN Resident Coordinator Mr Trivedy and Moresby North East MP Labi Amaiu encouraged families to avail of the opportunity of gifted land, and committed support respectively for working with community members going forward. PHDC CEO publically pledged that PHDC would continue to stay involved with the community through its support of the newly established Community Development Committee over the next 12 months.
Past and future resettlement partners – Ginigioada Bisnis Foundation, Digicel Foundation, CPL and Rotary were recognised for their contributions to-date.
PHDC CEO, Mr Gudmundur (Gummi) Fridriksson stated that
“what has been achieved here at Tagua Community is proof that harmonious resettlement can be achieved in PNG”
and urged the National Government to develop a national resettlement policy. Dame Carol urged the Government and Service Providers to work with the community going forward.
The celebrations continued after the official ceremony with a feast organised and prepared by the Community Development Committee, and a range of family-fun activities.