Basil Responds To Jomard Concerns

Concerns of the Milne Bay people of the Jomard Passage area were raised yesterday in Parliament by Member for Esa’ala, Davis Steven.

MP Steven reiterated calls made earlier this month by the Louisiade Peoples Foundation and the presidents of the local level governments for proper consultation before the commencement of any development project.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Sam Basil confirmed that the Transport Department advertised for pilotage services for the Jomard Passage.

The Minister assured MP Steven that plans will not eventuate until all relevant stakeholders are consulted. “That was why I instructed the Transport Department to make a special visit to the Milne Bay Governor. I believe they have done it last week, I haven’t got the report back yet, but they are still with the governor and of course the stakeholders.

On Friday 4th February a statement was released by the Louisiade Peoples Foundation raising serious concern regarding the pilotage service expression of interest advertisement that was done without much consultation.

In the last week, LLG presidents of Samarai-Murua made another call for a stop for any development to take place until a full consultation takes places with the provincial government, the LLGs and the inhabitants of the Jomard Passage area.

Minister Basil said, “So, upon the advertisement, we received a letter from the Governor and of course, immediately we dispersed the transport team to go to Milne Bay to have an audience with the governor and relevant stakeholders that we know that are concerned.

“I can assure the people Milne Bay and the Governor including the two open members, the LLGs concerned and the wards that this won’t eventuate unless and until when all the stakeholders are consulted and are happy.”

Marysilla Kellerton