Thugs using accident as excuse, says Abel


ALOTAU MP and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel is concerned about a group of thugs using the fatal road accident as an excuse to create problems for the tourism industry in Milne Bay.
Two girls and a mother died when a police vehicle hit them last Tuesday on the road from Alotau to East Cape, sparking unrest in town.
Abel travelled to his electorate on Wednesday to help police calm things down.
Abel said the group of thugs, including notorious criminal Tommy Baker who escaped from custody in Port Moresby a few weeks ago, were disrupting the movement of tourists between Alotau and the Tawali Resort at East Cape.
“We are working with the Milne Bay administration and the police to deal with the matter.”
Tawali resort general manager Armando Agusto said he had emailed Abel after Baker told him to close down the resort.
“We are now cancelling all our international tourist bookings,” he said.
“This cancellation will be devastating to us. We struggle to convince tourists to come to Milne Bay and Tawali as it is the safest place in PNG.
“In the next few days we will start refunding payments to the tourists. All these repayments are in foreign currencies. I hope that the Bank of PNG will authorise these foreign currency remittances.”
Agusto said Baker had relayed a message to the resort to get all the tourists to leave for Alotau immediately.
Resort workers had to transport them to Alotau late on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“We have to take the risk to put all our guests on our boat mv Spirit of Niugini and sail to Alotau.
“We discreetly left at 12.20am on Saturday without any security or support from the police or the government and arrived at Alotau International Hotel at 6am,” he said.