Women leaders protest during board meeting

Frustrated women leaders staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Morobe Sustainable Investment office whilst a board meeting was underway.

The ‘Mama Morobe’ were demanding a response from the provincial government to their petition that was presented over a week ago.

The petition followed the November 16th welding of the Manolos Aviation fuel depot gate over claims of rental arrears.

Morobean women leaders, or mama Morobe, presented the three-point petition to the provincial government on November 18th, where the women demanded the opening of the gate, a copy of the court order regarding the closure from Morobe Sustainable Investment Ltd, and the resignation of Elizabeth Bradshaw as the head of the provincial government business arms. The business arms are Morobe Resources Holdings, Kum-gie Holdings and Morobe Sustainable Investment.

On December 2nd, while Bradshaw, the provincial administrator and members of the boards met for a meeting, the women stood outside the premises with their placards, demanding an answer from the PA, Bart Ipambonj.

While the fuel depot gate has remained open since November 20th when the mama Morobe forced it open, woman leader, Carol Yawing, says they are yet to receive a response to points 2 and 3.

“Narapla em mipla laik lukim kot oda stap lo we. Narapla, mipla laikim olsem Elizabeth em i mas go nau,” she stated. “Go nau. Em risain na i go nau.”

After a full day of meeting, the boards called a press conference in the evening where Ipambonj was asked about his response to the mama Morobe. He queried whether the petition was addressed to him and if it was, he is yet to sight it.

“But if it was given to our leaders, I think it is a matter for them to respond to it,” he stated.

The PA was then advised by media that the women were aware that the Governor is away in one of the political camps, hence they are calling on him to step in and address their concerns.

Ipambonj however, said it was not his place.

“I shouldn’t be the one to take his place,” he told media. “He’s a politician and I’m an administrator. I deal with my own scope of work so I don’t represent the governor. We just wait for him to come back and respond.”

The boards further voiced their support in Bradshaw in a prepared statement, with their legal counsel, Ralph Saulep, saying there is no basis for the widespread attack on the CEO and managing director of the business arms.

“The board members have issued a very strong statement confirming their confidence in the management capacity of the managing director, Mrs Elizabeth Lolo Bradshaw,” he stated. “She enjoys a four-year contract that will expire sometime in 2025 and in the interim, the board has said clearly that they believe she’s doing a great job in reviving the business arms. That is the position of the board and they will support her in the work that she’s performed and will continue to perform.”

As the members of the business arms exited the MSIL premises, their headlights shone on the women group who were still waiting for them with their banner and placards, screaming “We want you out!”

Carmella Gware