by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister, Richard Maru, has responded to on-going issues raised by Madang resource owners who have called on the government to stop the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone.
Minister Maru said today that the government will build the PMIZ, he dispelled claims of potential environmental damage saying he personally visited industrial zones in the Philippines and there are measures to treat wastes from the ten proposed canaries.
“We have told the Chinese contractor to take us to the Industrial Parks that they have designed so that the Provincial government, the department of environment and conservation and all other stakeholders can be satisfied before work starts,” says Minister Maru.
Minister Maru says the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone will be built on land that belongs to the government bought off RD Tuna canary’s.
“The land was bought by the Catholic church and turned into a plantation, then the second owner was RD Tuna Canaries the second owner, and now the state has spent millions of kina to buy the land, so really when you talk about landowner its state land,” says Minister Maru.
He also dispelled concerns raised about environmental damage and reassured resource owners that waste will be treated before it is released into the sea.
Last month, the Kananam people held a series of canoe protests to draw government attention to their plight.
The customary resource owners have in the last three weeks held discussions at six impact villages to put together a petition to present to the Government.
The petition was handed to members of the Madang Provincial Government to present to the National Government.
The petition calls for the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, and Madang Governor, Jim Kas to stop the PMIZ. It also calls on the Ombudsman to investigate those involved in the project since it began.
Deputy Opposition Leader, Sam Basil, has backed the customary resource owners call for the Ombudsman to investigate the PMIZ funds, money borrowed from China’s Exim Bank.
The deputy opposition Leader has also raised concerns about the legal processes agreed upon during the deal with the Chinese exam bank.
The Deputy Opposition Leaders support comes after that of Sumkar MP, Ken Fairweather, who has been going against the idea since it was tabled in 2000.