Wewak Residents Unhappy with Foreign Supermarket Plans

By Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby

News about the sub-leasing of a part of Wewak market to a foreign company to build a modern supermarket has not gone down well with certain residents of Wewak town.

Among those who are against the idea is former Managing Director for Fisheries, Sylvester Pokajam, who was instrumental in negotiating a deal with the Japanese Aid Agency JICA (JAI-KA), to construct the Wewak Market.

The large unoccupied area between the town police station and market has been sub–leased by the Wewak Town Commission to a foreign company to build a supermarket.

He was concerned that if the deal proceeds, then other projects associated with the JICA funded construction, such as ice making and a jetty facility, may be halted.

Sylvester Pokajam was the man behind the K25 million deal between the Japanese Government (JICA) and Papua New Guinea Government that constructed the new Wewak market in 2008.

The huge unoccupied area between the Wewak town police station and the Wewak town market has been designated and used as public car parking area, however, this area has now been sub-leased by the Wewak Town Commission to a foreign company to build a modern supermarket.

Mr Pokajam said the idea of a foreign-controlled supermarket was never the intention of the project financiers and developers in the beginning.

Hailing from Wewak, Mr Pokajam said when he was a small boy; he sailed in canoes and would stay overnight at the area near the old Wewak town.

He urged the Wewak town major, Mr Charles Malenki and his commissioners to re-think the idea of building a supermarket at an undesignated area.

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