Semri urged to fulfil promises

National, Normal

The National , Monday, May 30, 2011

A Catholic youth coordinator from Anjai village, in the Josephstaal area, in Middle Ramu, is calling on the “road man” Fisheries Minister and local MP Ben Semri to fix their roads as promised during his last election campaign.
Ernest Skand said people faced hardship, especially those living on the border of the districts, as a result of the poor road conditions.
Skand said during Semri’s last election, a poster was pasted around and on it had “Mr Road” in big bold letters.
“Where is the road that he was preaching about? It costs us K300 one way to fly either the MAF or Islands Airways,” he said.
“A lot of lives have been lost already in trying to bring the sick to the hospital.”
Skand said a first-time mother heavy with twins and who was having a breech birth had to be carried on a makeshift stretcher over mountainous terrain.
He said it took a day before they reached the hospital where she lost her twins.
“We are on the fringes and that has been part of the confusion over whose side we are on in terms of getting vital government services,” he said.
“In Bogia, our people share border with the Almami people, in Middle Ramu the border is Josephstaal station, in Sumkar district it is the Wanuma people.
“The Wanuma people do not know if they belong to Madang district or Sumkar as they live along border areas.
“Recently Bogia MP John Hickey completed a road to the Guam River, which is the border mark, and left the Middle Ramu side of the road, which is a one or two day walk to the station,” he said.
For several villages between Almami to Evuar and Josephstaal station to Asbati, “nothing has changed”.
“To bring cocoa to town one has to hire groups along the road for K200 and for a night stopover at a house would be K50.
“We are going through a lot of pain and suffering.
“All we want is for Semri to seal the roads before next year.
“Cargo being brought to the station at Katiati is a six-hour walk in bad weather,” he said.
Skand said the two-time MP, who has two primary schools, one community school and six elementary schools in his electorate, had failed to keep his electoral promise, making life
harder for young children who had to trek hours to go to school.