More consultation needed for Manus naval base, says PNG Speaker of Parliament Pomat

PNG Parliament Speaker Job Pomat. Picture: ONE PNG

PORT MORESBY, 29 NOVEMBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – Papua New Guinea Speaker of Parliament Job Pomat has backed Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin for a need for greater consultation before a naval base is built on Manus Island.

Pomat, who is Manus MP, said  that from experiences American naval installations in Subic bay and the Clark Air Force base in the Philippines had brought many social issues to the local communities.

“These are social issues the people of Manus will carry, but that does not mean we have to stop it, we need to sit down and talk,” he said.

“We have to sit down and talk with the National Government and those that are coming in (Australia and United States). We talk and when we agree work will go ahead but it always must be a ‘give-and-take’ understanding between all parties concerned.”

Pomat said like all aid recipients, Manus needs development.

“We do not have good roads, power supply and infrastructure and if you are here, can you help us with that? That is the nature of the world we live in.” Pomat said that although Lombrum was for Papua New Guinea, for any development arrangement Manus also wanted its fair share.

He said the asylum deal with Australia brought some benefits for small businesses but they were developed through Australian thinking and direction.

“We want us to talk, when the initial agreement came out in 2012 as a ‘Manus Package’ which they did not fulfill, so Manus just became another part under the AUSAID program, all the same and there is no special treatment for Manus.”

On the naval base being proposed by Australia and the United States,Pomat said, “I support my Governor on his views, for greater consultation with the government and people of Manus.Benjamin had stated in no uncertain terms that Australia would not be allowed back to Manus anytime soon.

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