Rallies force work at PMIZ to cease

National, Normal


ALL work on the multi-million kina Pacific Marine Industrial Park at Vidar in the Madang was forced closed.
The National visited the site last Friday and witnessed the work of clearing and fencing ceased after
landowners protested the day before (Thursday) demanding the Government to address outstanding issues.
They claimed that the huge cocoa and coconut plantation once owned by the Catholic church and now sold to RD Tuna canners, would be converted to an industrial centre where more than 30,000 people will be employed.
However, the Kananam villagers said issues like social and environmental damages would be a huge
concern for them and wanted the development to stop.
The National also found that not all landowners were behind the closure and did not take part in the
protest march to the Madang provincial government headquarters to petition the stop work until all outstanding demands and issues were settled accordingly.
During the noisy march to the provincial administration last Friday, the groups for and against the project engaged in a heated exchange of words.
When asked, a few landowners said they wanted the development to proceed without disturbances but major outstanding issues needed to be addressed.
But the majority of those that gathered, do not want any further development until their grievances were addressed properly.
Some of them claimed only a few would benefit from the project and did not want to support any of the groups and wanted to remain neutral.
Many mothers wanted the project to stop as their livelihood would be affected as they depended on the sea.
Other people interviewed said many social issues and problemd had affected the people,
particularly women, and, therefore, they did not want to see and experience the same kind of problems.
Meanwhile, youths from the area claimed that police were engaged to guard the place and feared they could be manhandled if they went near the site.
A huge signboard at the entrance to PMIZ’s project site was spray-painted with obscene language telling the developers to stop all work and leave.