by Rachael Shisei – EM TV News, Madang
The Governor and his delegates first visited Baliau village on the island, the village where the Manam Resettlement Authority Bill was discussed and put together, with the islanders’ council of chiefs, consisting of the Kukurais, the village leaders.
His next stop was at the Care Centres, starting with Potsdam, then to Asarumba, and finished off at the Mangem Care Centre.
The islanders say they couldn’t fully express their gratitude because the Governor’s visit was a very brief one.
“We the leaders want the Governor to spend at least 2 or 3 days to celebrate with us because the passing of the bill is a big thing to us. We want the Prime Minister and the MPs who supported the bill to come too so we can thank them all,” Peter Sukua, the Baliau LLG President, also one of the Kukuais said.
Governor Kas, in his speeches throughout the visits, apologised to the volcano displaced Manam islanders on behalf of the National Government and the previous governmen’s, for not attending to their resettlement needs for 12 years.
Kas also pointed out, that pushing the MRA Bill was his long time goal and not just because of the elections that are just around the corner.
“I know the elections are back on next year but I want to tell you that I didn’t push for the passing of the bill to collect your votes,” Kas said.
The Governor went on to assure the people that groundwork for the resettlement process is being taken care of.
“10,000 hectares of land has been acquired by the Provincial Government in Andarum, with the Landowners in favor of resettling all you 20,000 plus Manam Islanders on their land,” Kas said.
He stressed that this doesn’t mean that the islanders will leave immediately, but they will in time once everything is set for human settlement.