Minister urges colleague over controversial canneries deal

Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru has been urged by a Cabinet colleague to review the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone project in Madang.

Member for Madang and Minister for Petroleum and Energy Nixon Duban told PNG Loop today that he had not been shown any of the project’s designs or plans on how they will establish the project in his electorate.

“The project is in my district and I am not aware of any of the scopings or designs by the developer of the project. I am in total darkness, and yet the project is in my place,” a confused Duban said.

He called on Maru to check the contractors which involved a former government minister taking all the contracts with the projects without giving any of those contracts to the genuine landowners.

“How will my people benefit from this project when contracts have been given to former ministers like Gabriel Kapris and others who have been taking control of most of the contracts,” he said.

Minister Duban said that he had been keeping silent about the PMIZ issue for a long time.

“I am now calling on the good Minister to really review the contracts awarded to the contractors or shut the project.

“My people will not be mere spectators on their land and I don’t want the same mistakes happening in some provinces (to happen) in Madang.

“Review the contracts and I want Kapris to be removed as a contractor in the project,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Government has dropped its court case against opponents of the PMIZ project on Tuesday July 21.

The Government was ordered to pay compensation and costs to the defendants.

And it was treated as a special honouring of the late Nancy Sullivan, American-born anthropologist and ecology “warrior’’ who died in a car crash in the United States a few days ago.

She was one of the 11 defendants against an attempt by the Government’s Department of Trade, Industry and Commerce to restrain the defendants from holding meetings and urging activities that could have stopped the multi-million-kina fish canneries project from going ahead.

Outside court, Sumkar MP Ken Fairweather called on Minister Richard Maru to step down from his portfolio over the decision to try to obtain restraining orders on the defendants.

If the minister refused to step down, the Prime Minister should strip him of the portfolio, the MP said.

Lawyer Young Wadau represented several of the defendants in court.

He said the court ruled that the Government’s action in filing the action and then discontinuing it a few days before today’s scheduled hearing warranted the compensation and costs awarded to the defendants.



Freddy Mou