By Rayon Lakingu – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Over one hundred plantation workers and their families from the Doa Rubber Plantation in Central Province have been left stranded in Port Moresby after they were evicted by the Chinese company managing the plantation.
The workers said one family had lost their mother and wife whilst being stranded here in the nation’s capital.
Stranded and homeless, they have been living under a rain tree at the Unagi Oval for over four months. Brian Huk, a plantation worker said, they were forcefully evicted from the plantation. “We are living out here under poor living conditions,” said Huk.
The plantation workers were brought in from other provinces and have been working at the plantation for a very long time. One worker, Moreen Kago, said they now have no place to go because Doa Rubber Plantation has been their only home for many years.
“Life in the city is not easy. We get disturbed by thugs every night and sometimes we don’t sleep at night,” said Kago.
Mathew Amonea is also a plantation worker who has spent all his life working at the plantation. According to Amonea, the plantation workers were overworked but paid only K150 a fortnight.
In March this year, they staged a sit-in protest to petition the company to increase their salary, and pay their royalties accordingly. However, as a result of the protest, they were served with an eviction notice by the company.
Whilst being stranded in the city, Mathew Amonea also lost his wife – the mother to his children.
After living on the streets for over four months, the families are now living with the member for Maprik, John Simon, at his Taurama residence.
“I want to thank the Minister for Agriculture and Life Stock and the member for Maprik, John Simon, for his help. We are now living at his residence,” Mathew Amonea said.