THE word ‘compensation’ has at times taken on a negative connotation in Papua New Guinea.
This is due in part to the occasional behaviour of victims or relatives of victims demanding disproportionate compensation for injuries or deaths.
However, before rejecting claims of compensation or actions relating to compensation, it is useful to more carefully examine the concept and the legal processes underpinning it.
The word ‘compensation’ is derived from ‘com’ meaning together, and ‘pendere’ meaning to weigh. So the original meaning of the word is to evaluate or to restore a balance. The Pidgin phrase ‘skelim na stretim’ provides a good parallel.