LEADERS and outsiders have been warned not to mislead people on the issues surrounding the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) at Vidar in Madang province.
Madang Governor Sir Arnold Amet and Minister for Trade and Industry Gabriel Kapris issued the warning during a protest march, by the community, to the provincial government office to present a petition over outstanding issues which were never addressed by the National Government and the company last Friday.
Sir Arnold said leaders were misleading the people for their own interests and told them to refrain from further protests and demonstrations organised by the so-called leaders.
He said there were better avenues to resort to in addressing the landowner issues and presenting petitions and staging protest marches on the street was not Madang’s way of solving problems.
Sir Arnold said the leaders should not mislead the people and not to use the children in such protest as they were not in a position to know what was right and wrong and, furthermore, it was a human rights abuse.
He said the project was one of the biggest projects that would last for a long time and he was prepared to facilitate the dialogue with the people and the National Government.
Sir Arnold said he was trying his best to help and not confuse the people.
He said there was a lot of time for further consultation and dialogue in a peaceful and in the true Madang and Melanesian way.
Mr Kapris further added that outsiders should refrain from misinformation and misleading the people.
He said NGOs should be assisting the Government in educating the people of what was right and wrong and not to twist and turn things around.
Mr Kapris said this after receiving information that some NGOs were misleading the people to jeopardise the multi-million kina project.
It is believed to be one of the biggest in the Asia-Pacific region where tuna will be processed and exported overseas.
He said the NGOs and the people should work together to address issues and not to disrupt any project that are facilitated by the National Government for the common good and benefit of the country.
Mr Kapris also called on the media to report about development and not too much negative publicity that will signal a bad reputation of the country to investors.
The two leaders said that the Government was committed in the project and in addressing the concerns of the people but through the normal meeting processes.
Sir Arnold has set a meeting schedule to address such issues once every month and people should be using the avenue to air their concerns.