Deportation shocks chamber

Business, Normal

The National, Friday 30th December 2011

THE Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce – the largest chamber in PNG with more than 300 member companies – yesterday reacted with shock and dismay at the deportation of long-time resident and businessman Graham Osborne.
The chamber also challenged the government to be fair and consistent by targeting foreigners who had enriched themselves by riding on the coat-tails of  prominent leaders and politicians.
The way Osborne was deported “sends horrible signals to the business community … who is next?” chamber chief executive Dave Conn said.
He said 12 Immigration and police officers arrived at Osborne’s house at 6am on Wednesday in several vehicles, denied him even a telephone call or access to legal advice and they did not officially charge him with an offence, then held him in a vehicle and drove him around for a couple of hours before “throwing him on a plane is just beyond all sense of decency”.
“Had he no rights? Why do we have a Migration Act for? Is any foreigner now subject to such arbitrary treatment? And of course, now the rumour mill is running that there are 25 others on the list. So who is next?” he said.
“Purging all illegal aliens out of PNG is a worthy aim of government but ordinary Papua New Guineans would welcome that, starting at certain logging camps around the country or tucker boxes down 6-Mile – not at Paga Hill residences or the plush Ela Beach Hotel!
“So what do I tell the investor who wants to come to PNG? What do I tell the New Zealand delegation planning to come here early next year when they see their fellow Kiwi businessman treated this way?
“The PM has tried manfully to assure investors their money and business is safe in PNG, but is everyone singing from the same song sheet?
“Every foreign businessman or woman should know mixing politics with your business can bring you down and is unwise and not allowed under our laws … and we stress this to all newcomers.
“But let us be fair and consistent,  many foreigners have done very well riding on the coat-tails of prominent leaders and politicians. Will they be targeted too?
“Graham’s involvement … most would rather call it close friendship, with Sir Michael, has clearly made him a target.
“But to suspect him of directing the course of the nation from his restaurant kitchen like some egotistical Gordon Ramsay, is, to be frank,  a bit far-fetched. Even he would agree.
He’s not that good,” Conn said.