PMIZ on Hold INDEFINATELY October 24 2012
Houses burn at the PMIZ site
More than a hundred people living within the area identified for the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone in Madang are now homeless after their houses were burnt to the ground yesterday by police and members of a security company.
More than 50 houses were torched with the assistance of members of the Madang based Savolon Security company.
The policemen arrived in three 10-seater Landcruisers and began physically and verbally assaulting the men, women and children.
“My two girls were scared and tried to run away but the police swore at them and forced them to go into the house and pack our things,” one women said.
Another elderly woman fell when police hurried her into the house to remove her possessions.
Several people also said police and security company people initially tried to force them to burn their own houses but they refused.
The eviction party also brought with them a front loader to demolish the houses. The driver had his face covered with a shirt to hide his identity.
Those who had their houses destroyed were brought in by the Filipino owned fish cannery, RD Tuna, several years ago to work on RD owned plantations. They were laid off without any repatriation plans or promise of work. Later, when RD Tuna sold 200 hectares of land to the government for the controversial PMIZ project, the people were ordered to leave the area.
People watch their homes burn Former workers and their families say they’ve been unfairly treated. “RD didn’t make it clear to us that we were not needed anymore,” said one former worker. “We were told to stand by and wait.”
RD Tuna’s record is less than impressive. In 2010, the company refused to pay its workers the minimum wage set by the government. It was only after a strike that the labor department stepped in to order the company to pay the wages. The people are now caught between a former employer that doesn’t want them, landowners who want them gone and a new government project that has no place for them.
Earlier this year, government representatives paid each family between K200 and K1000 and told them to leave the PMIZ area. Many can’t go home because the cost of airfares and ship tickets exceed the amount of money they were given.
People watch their houses burn at Vidar
September 6 2011: "More heads are expected to roll at the Department of Commerce and Industry following the uncovering by auditors of several executives who are alleged to have siphoned millions of kina from three different programs including the K900 million Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in Madang."
"I will be dying shortly, water is not like gold, nor copper or another mineral dug out from the belly of the ground. Water is forever, I am mindful of all of you my children here present and others not present, I am mindful also of my grand children, great grand children, and generations yet unborn, all of you and all of them will not have water, if you give it away to those people (company) who are urging you to give it away to them... Never give it away, because if you even think about or consider that offer by them (company), that is the beginning of your death and that of your children and generations after you." Chief Yamei Diwag, 20th August 2011
Should there be need for further information, please do contact the two people below: Samuel Tuwol on 71627123 Lazarus Daimas (Caritas Madang) on 7286223