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June 13, 2021
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Seven Sends SOS from Tuvalu

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By Jack Lapauve Jnr

On January 9th, 2020, this group of men left PNG for jetty construction work in Tuvalu: Tuvalu Island Maritime Infrastructure Project.

However, that project ceased when their subcontractor Nawae Construction Limited was liquidated under liquidation claims (The National, 23.11.2020).

In short video recordings, the men raise concerns of poor meal provided to them, difficulties to contact their family. And the poor response from PNG Government officials even from Nawae Construction, their employer.

“We were not paid for 21 fortnights and as a result my children are not able to go to school because we have no money,” revealed the group spokeperson Issac Ronnie.

“The company isn’t paying for our meal allowances,” says Jaros Akia another stranded victim.

He added they have resorted to fishing and later selling them to make money.

They are also relying on the little allowance provided by the Tuvalu Government.

Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Foke in an interview with ABC said they are looking at repatriating the seven men to PNG but it would depend on the current COVID-19 situation in Fiji.

While Government Officials in Papua New Guinea are keeping a tight lip about assisting the stranded men, they are left to fend for themselves and hoping to return to PNG.

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