Saturday, August 24, 2013

Manus landowners want a fair go on asylum deal


A landowner clan on Manus has called on the government to clearly spell out what specific benefits they will receive out of the asylum seekers agreements signed between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Kohonaleng clan spokesmen, Ali Panpan Pinakohon and Abraham Kia, told reporters that while they supported the project, Manus was getting a raw deal out of it.
Pinakohn and Kia speaking to reporters: ‘What benefits will we receive?’-Picture by MALUM NALU

“Just where do we as landowners and Manus people fit into the equation?” Pinakohon said.
“If the agreement between the two governments involves spending up to K500 million for the Angau hospital in the Morobe province, and hundreds of millions for infrastructure development in other centres of the country, what exactly is in it for Manus itself as host province?
“Physically the rest of the country, except for areas earmarked for resettlement, will be immune to the psychological strain, cultural and religious differences, unknown health-threatening inbound diseases, and other traumatic effects associated with people resettlement problems/”
Pinakohon called on the government to seriously address the impending issue of specific benefits for Manus, and not having the courtesy to involve its leaders, administrators, and landowners in the agreed terms for asylum seeker processing in the province.
He also called for K20 million to be set aside as seed capital for Manus to kick start businesses that would over the long term supporting the asylum processing facility.
Kia said: “We do not oppose this project.
“Since July 19, when they signed the agreement, we have not heard anything from our two MPs, Governor Charlie Benjamin and Ronnie Knight.
“Since the signing, we have not heard anything about what benefits we landowners, and all of Manus, will receive.”
Kia also expressed concern about job opportunities for the people of Manus.
“Since the signing of the agreement, we have all these Australian engineers on the island,” he said.
“We have engineers too.
“Are we talking about building a rocket?”

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