13 May 2013

Signs of tensions in PNG's LNG project area

5:14 am on 13 May 2013

A former Papua New Guinea police commissioner says the recent bashing of two truck drivers at the Liquefied Natural Gas project site in Hela Province is exactly the sort of incident he predicted.

Gari Baki recently spoke out about a growing resentment among people who live around the LNG site and warned it could lead to aggression.

Mr Baki said people no longer had any respect for the law and urged the government to intervene and beef up police resources there.

Last week drivers of trucking companies contracted to work at the LNG site went on strike after two of their colleagues were assaulted in Southern Highlands.

Mr Baki says the Tari-Komo Road is particularly dangerous.

"There is no police presence on the road whatsoever, particularly when it comes to pay days, it's terrible. There's drunkards everywhere, people are doing all kinds of things and there is very little you could see of police presence. Trucking companies are becoming victims of illegal activities on the road."

Gari Baki says assurances from the Minister of Police that more officers can be deployed to the area if needed, are not enough.

He says the government should act now before the situation blows up