Zeming says Siassi Island not ‘forgotten’

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday November 6th, 2013


TEWAI-Siassi MP and Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming says he has not forgotten about the Siassi Islands of Morobe despite what his critics are saying.

He said that when asked about a public perception that Siassi was basically falling apart due to lack of services and allegations that it was not being given the attention it deserved.

“Siassi is very isolated from the rest of us,” Zeming said.

“They have a very peculiar situation where the basic infrastructure has been deteriorating really fast.”

Acting Morobe administrator Geoving Bilong said Lutheran Shipping no longer services Siassi, third-level airlines no longer flew there with the two airstrips on the main island of Umboi were now covered in bush, and teachers were reluctant to go there, resulting in Siassi Lutheran High School being closed down earlier this year.

Islanders are now risking their lives on outboard motor-powered canoes, known as mon, to cross the treacherous Vitiaz Strait to get basic services such as health and education.

Zeming, however, is confident that there is a silver lining to the dark cloud.

“Siassi Islands are a good tourist destination for the future,” he said.

“We’ll be working hard to make sure Siassi Islands become a tourist destination.”