Kantha remains steadfast over closure

National

By CLIFFORD FAIRPARIK on Manus
ACTING Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha says the regional processing centre on Manus is officially closed.
He said the refugees who have opted to stay inside after the closure on Tuesday as ordered by the Supreme Court were now “on their own”.
The supply of food, water and power has ceased, and security officers withdrawn.
“The old service provider has left and we will now be talking with the new service provider on arrangements to deal with these refugees,” Kantha said. He has organised to be made available in case the 600 refugees decide to move to the two new camps at Lorengau.
Kantha said the refugees would not be forced to move and should do so voluntarily.
“There are no workers to deal with the health needs (of those inside the centre),” he said.
“Power, water and food have been cut off, and they face uncertainties on security and health.
“We are not obligated to them although on humanitarian grounds, we can assist. But there is no arrangement for that.
“So if anything happens to them, we are not obligated to them. I have met with the governor (Charlie Benjamin) and he has expressed concern about their safety.
“I will talk to the new contractor to put security fencing and security guards. Non-refugees will have restricted movements and we will put a curfew.”
Kantha confirmed that one television set was stolen in the early hours of Tuesday.
“I have talked to the naval base commander to look after the assets and properties,” he said.
Kantha said he was discussing with PNG and Australia authorities about what to do with the refugees.

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