By VICKY BAUNKE
A LOCAL businessman in Manus supports the closure of the refugee processing centre on the island, saying it has created a financial burden on local businesses.
Ken Kuso, the owner of Lukuni Lodge in Lorengau, said after the Australian and PNG governments had agreed to establish the centre, people were promised that there would be spin-off benefits from the project. Kuso said before the legality of the centre was determined, it was seen as an impact project for existing businesses providing accommodation.
“When we saw a floating hotel brought in from overseas and have it anchored at the Lombrum fisheries wharf, that alone proved a huge demand for more accommodation. So without hesitation I secured a large loan of more than a million kina from the National Development Bank,” Kuso said.
“I constructed my second 12-room self-contained hotel with a loan from NDB still current. When the project is terminated, the refugees will be resettled elsewhere.”
However, after a court decision that the centre was illegal, Kuso is worried about the repayment of the loan.
He claimed the Government was at fault for illegally establishing the centre and his business was being affected badly.
“Those of us affected by the centre now have many issues that require Government attention.
“Had this project not introduced, I wouldn’t have secured that loan to establish another hotel when I was doing fine with just one. I have become a victim of the Australian and PNG governments problem.”
By VICKY BAUNKE