Manus people cut out: O'Neill concerned about refugee facility
19 November 2013
PAPUA NEW GUINEA PRIME MINISTER Peter O'Neill is annoyed that his people are not benefiting from an asylum-seeker processing deal with Australia.
"It is alarming to note that our Papua New Guinean businessmen and women are not given the opportunity to participate. That was the whole intention of setting up this centre in the first place,'' Mr O'Neill told the PNG parliament.
"The agreements are very clear and it's a blatant abuse of trust.
"That asylum centre is a permanent centre. The sooner the operators of the centre realise that they have to become part of the community, the easier it is going to become.''
Mr O'Neill says visitors and the expatriate workforce must ensure the local community benefits from available spin-off businesses.
Mr O'Neill said he will write to Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and the Australian High Commission after Manus Island MP Ron Knight (pictured) raised the concerns on Friday.
Mr Knight said guesthouses and hotels had benefited until the recent introduction of a Singapore-based accommodation barge for detention centre staff.
Australia is housing 1,157 male asylum seekers on Manus.
Is the most important man in PNG, who has resources more sufficient than enough to guarantee foolproof deals in writing, entitled to benefit of the doubt?
With all due respect, Bigman, yu pasim ai na sainim displa Manus asylum deal?
(Moreso when all around people were throwing their arms and legs in the air, didn't that give a hint or are we so used to ignoring even when the issues concern our livelihoods and security?).
Simply uncalled for. Fix it quickly. It's now or never. Poor citizens.
Posted by: Maureen Wari | 21 November 2013 at 06:55 AM
It is sad but I think the present PNG PM should take all the blame for that oversight. He was the soul negotiator of the deal.
For the PM to express surprise now means a lot of things. For one thing, he was not wise in the first place to go against the majority of PNG for a fairly represented voice when dealing on the matter with Australia.
I wonder if PMs could be classified 'security risks' to countries' futures if one-man decisions are many and shown to be continuing within a Westminster system of parliamentary democracy?
Posted by: Steve W Labuan | 20 November 2013 at 11:35 AM
I bet it might a bit too late for some of our local businessman on the island who have lost out to foreign companies, but why am not surprised?
These asylum centre deals and subsequent further adjustments were all done in Australia with very little participation form the local MPs and people in the first place. The local people's voices were hardly noticed or heard.
Posted by: Frank K Daosak | 19 November 2013 at 10:00 PM