Manus islanders plead directly with govt

Landowners and Manus Islanders have taken matters into their own hands to directly plead their plight with the government.

Wep Kanawi, chairman of the Ndrakorkor clan, owners of the Lombrum lands on which the original asylum seekers facility was constructed, lamented that their ongoing calls to stakeholders to become equitably involved in spin off service provider industries have fallen on deaf ears.

And with the Supreme Court ruling to shut down the processing centre, the LOs say this will adversely affect them, especially jobs, business and SME opportunities.

Kanawi said although the Australian Government has spent and provided between K1-2 billion on the establishment and running of the asylum seekers centre and by way of developing aid to PNG, only a percentage of this has been of tangible benefit to landowners.

Kanawi further stated that the announcement of the closure of the detention facility is now becoming a sad reality for the landowners and asylum seekers alike.

Manusians will also get hurt financially and socially as the centre’s closure will see a 75-80 percent drop in economic, industrial, financial, business activities and SMEs.

Further short and long term effects of the facility’s closure include:

  • Senior officers of National and Provincial Government failing to honour their commitment to provide K10 million business development package for landowners;
  • Loss of over 2000 jobs;
  • More than 150 SMEs closing down

Kanawi said they have written to the Prime Minster to consider the following for the benefit of the landowners and the people of Manus:

  • That all service provider landowner companies provide services until the eventual closure;
  • Foreign-owned companies to hand over service provision contracts to landowners and Manus Islanders; and
  • The government consider the possibility of maintaining the facility as a permanent Pacific Refugee Processing Centre.
Carolyn Ure