TABOI AWI YOTO
| Governor, Western Province | Edited
DARU - As expected, lately there has been an increased Australian interest in Western Province after the signing of the memorandum of understanding for a Chinese-led fisheries park on Daru Island.
Last week a team of Australians [from the High Commission] came to Daru to meet with the provincial government to discuss the fisheries park.
I requested they meet with us in Daru so they could feel and appreciate the facts behind my government’s reasons why we have been knocking hard on their doors for assistance and why we have been advocating foreign direct investment into Western Province.
They did come to Daru for the planned meeting but as usual they came with no alternative plans to counter and deter any foreign direct investment especially to alleviate poverty and improve social services.
This is actually good for me so I can advance my plans to explore opportunities that are available.
It’s regrettable that all they want is for us to be subsistence farmers and fishermen and maintain our current status quo.
Those who were with me in that meeting can confirm that they lost the plot and minced their words.
Yet I am reliably informed that in Canberra it has been reported that we had fruitful meeting in Daru, when it wasn't.
I was not satisfied with their intentions for my people to remain the same when my people are demanding me for change. So we never reached any common ground.
I am aware that Australians are working behind my back to have my people not support any foreign direct investment.
Recently they have funded an awareness team to promote Australian interests against foreign investment along the coastline of South Fly including Daru.
I am also aware they sent ABC team to Daru to get feedback on the awareness they did against foreign direct investment.
The ABC reporter was on the flight with me from Daru to Port Moresby. She tried to interview me when I got off the plane.
When I refused to be interviewed, she said ‘your people do not support the fisheries park on the island, there’s some negative views. What would do you say?’
Well I have nothing to hide but I know what the Australian media are up to and what they are capable of doing. But a hint, they will use what I say to make my own people turn against me.
To give some comfort to my people, I know many of you will not trust me but when the details of the project are finally complete after all parties have been consulted, many of you will appreciate it.
We will involve all interested parties especially the resource owners for fair benefit sharing, environment protection and resource sustainability in any potential foreign direct Investment opportunities in Western Province including the Chinese-led Fisheries Park.
I will not let go of an opportunity to advance the aspirations of my people in my own land, in my own province and in my own a sovereign nation to explore the opportunity at hand to advance my people’s interest to have an improved standard of living.
We have an opportunity to carve out our own future.
ABC correspondent’s response to Governor Yoto
The ABC’s Papua New Guinea correspondent, Natalie Whiting, replied on Twitter to governor Yoto’s implication that the Australian government had sent the ABC to Daru.
“To be clear,” Whiting wrote, “the Aus Government has no influence over how or what I report. The ABC will continue to cover #PNG independently and fairly (which includes seeking interviews & offering right of reply).”