Proposed refugee site meets stiff resistance

The proposal to resettle refugees from the closed down Manus Regional Processing Centre to a new location on the outskirts of Lorengau Town has been met with stiff resistance.

A meeting was convened on Monday between Manus community leaders and the Provincial Government. However, community leaders were disappointed that Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin and Migration officials were not present.

Community leaders in Manus called for the meeting yesterday to air out their grievances regarding a proposed move to have the refugees resettled near Pere Camp, at Ward 1 Lorengau, at a private property belonging to a businessman in Manus.

Topping their agenda was for the Provincial Government to honour the Supreme Court’s decision to shut down the processing centre.

The people were curious as to who was behind the move to maintain the refugees in Manus and have them resettled at the private property.

In the absence of Governor Benjamin, who is currently in Port Moresby for his election petition case, Deputy Governor John Popot relayed to the community leaders and the people of Manus that even the Provincial Executive Council is not aware of who gave the approval for the proposed new site for resettlement.

The community leaders have requested for another meeting, demanding that the Governor and Migration officials be present to respond to their queries or by 31st of October, they will stage a protest march to the Provincial Government.

(Community spokesperson, Ben Pokarup)

Glenda Popot