Wednesday, March 21, 2012

O’Neill: Fisheries in chaos

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has assured the people of Manus that he has not removed the fisheries ministry from their representative, Job Pomat, The National reports.
 Manus Governor Michael Sapau had asked if Pomat was still the minister because O’Neill seemed to have taken over the ministry.
But O’Neill said he had acted in the position while Pomat was away overseas on government business.
Sapau also asked if the government was going to sack the managing director of the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and investigate serious and dubious deals he allegedly entered into with foreign companies.
He asked if the government was going to help the people of Manus to operate a fishing company because NFA had failed to issue them fishing licences.
On the other end, he alleged that several foreign firms were issued licences within weeks.
Sapau said the people of Manus had been denied the chance to actively take part in their resources while foreigners were taking over the fishing industry.
He said the Manus provincial government had bought several fishing boats but they were not granted licences.
He claimed foreigners were issued licences under suspicious circumstances.
O’Neill said there was a real problem with the fisheries sector and blamed the Somare government for removing powers from the minister and giving it to the NFA managing director.
He said these powers were removed when they took over government.
The prime minister promised to have Pomat look into the licensing issue.

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