Madang MPs unite for Manam resettlement

Madang Governor Jim Kas and Bogia MP John Hickey have finally made peace over their differences on the resettlement of Manam islanders.

It has been 11 years since the displaced islanders settled in Bogia, and over 1000 lives have been lost already.

In a small ceremony today the two leaders shook hands and promised to put their differences aside.

They can now work together to find a lasting solution to resettle the islanders once and for all.

A notice for a bill for the creation of Manam Resettlement Authority is before parliament however Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has sent the bill back asking the two leaders to make peace and provide a unified effort at the political level.

Madang Governor Jim has who sponsored the bill said it will be refined and taken back to parliament in its October session.

“This is a humanitarian issue and not political therefore common sense must prevail to ensure our people are released from their sufferings,” Kas told reporters.

The proposed Manam Resettlement Authority functions as stated in the bill are

  • Identify and acquire land for resettlement of displaced persons, including to negotiate with landowners in Anduram:
  • Provide services and infrastructure for the resettlement area which is road access, an airstrip,  schools, aid posts and ensuring safe water supply
  • To provide for care centers and other services such as health care, education, food for displaced people until they are resettled.
  • Liase with donors and international donors and international organisations to ensure services to displaced people are properly coordinated and satisfy acceptable international standards.
  • To ensure rights of displaced people and host communities being those living in Asurumba, Magem and Portsdam areas are protected.
  • To develop a process for displaced persons to apply for permission to return to Manam Island.

Kas says he does not want political leaders to be involved in the authority.

Joy Kisselpar