The National, Tuesday 21st May 2013
THE national government’s decision to build a maximum security prison on Manus Island has received a mixed response from the people.
Some say it is a good idea but it should be run by the State rather than a private agency.
Here are views of Port Moresby residents regarding the decision.
Rachael Pousai, Manus: I think it’s a very good idea because Manus is a small island and it will reduce the chances of prisoners escaping. It has a small airstrip which is the only way people travel in and out of the island. Otherwise, it is by boat or ship and geographically it is suitable as it is surrounded by sea. It will also benefit the islanders as it will bring development to them.
Walter Kelly, Southern Highlands: I do not like the idea of building a new maximum security prison on Manus Island simply because it will cost the State billions of kina which will be taken from the taxpayers’ money. Instead, the government should come up with alternatives to reduce prison breakouts. Why waste millions on building a new prison when we already have jails which are in great need of upgrading?
Rasheed Haro, Gulf: I commend the Government for this brilliant idea. I think it’s the best thing the Government could come up with to address the issue of breakouts in PNG. And Manus Island is a good location because it is isolated from the mainland. The only way for them to escape is by plane, otherwise they have no other option. The question is why should it be privately-run when it can be run by the government. And where will the funding come from. I think this money will certainly come out from us the taxpayers which is totally unfair.
Peter Samuel, Madang: That is seriously a bad concept of building a maximum security prison which is privately-owned. What makes the Government think that having a privately-run prison will stop breakouts? If there is prison breakout from state-owned prisons, it will be the same for the privately-owned one. I like the idea of building it on Manus Island as it is isolated but it should be run by the Government. The Government should know that it’s only the police and disciplined forces that can keep prisoners under control. Private security firms are no match to them. But are our disciplined forces really qualified in carrying out these jobs. And are they reliable for the job? Because if there is trusted people in our disciplined forces than they will be less corruption or bribery and less breakouts.
David E Mugarenang, Morobe: I commend the Government for choosing Manus because it is a good location. It would be quite hard for them to escape as it is surrounded by the sea. However, when they say it will be privately run, what does it mean? Does it mean it will allow overseas companies to run the prison or are they from within PNG? We have enough foreigners coming into the country already and allowing them to own a prison is just wrong. Why cannot it be state-owned?