By Rachael Shisei – EM TV News, Madang
Madang Governor, Jim Kas, has expressed his disappointment towards the national parliament in delaying the Manam Resettlement Authority Bill (MRA).
Governor Kas said with the bill being adjourned once more to a later date, he hasn’t attended parliament following this decision out of disappointment.
The bill is to have the displaced Manam Islanders resettled.
“I have missed the budget sessions to make a point that I am not pleased with the continuous delay of tabling the bill, and the adjournment once more by parliament,” Kas said.
Tension is building on the ground between the landowners of where the care centres housing the displaced group are. Governor Kas says the national government should not ignore the reality that’s brewing.
“The national government may say that the area where the care centres are is state land, but according to the landowners it is still their land so they should understand and be aware of the tensions on the ground,” he said.
The Madang Governor is also appealing to the Member for Bogia, John Hickey, to come to an understanding so as to have the bill passed for the sake of the Manam Islanders.
“I would like to appeal to the Member for Bogia for whatever reasons he’s interfering with the passing of the bill. I’m appealing that he see sense and reason between the bill that he’s proposing and the one that I have before parliament, so that the bill can be amended or passed,” Kas stated.
The Governor went on to mention that he is seriously looking at withdrawing his support from pushing the bill, given that elections are just around the corner.
“It is coming closer to another election and I do not want to be seen as politicising this issue to gain cheap votes from the Manam Islanders. So I am seriously considering pulling back, and letting the Bogia MP take full control of his people’s matters,” said Governor Kas.
The Manam Islanders have already experienced three deaths while living at the care centres, and as helpless as they are, they said they are still hoping for resettlement as soon as possible.