People in the Rempi and Kananam communities Madang know all too well Sali Tagau – the owner of Savolon Security.
On Thursday (Oct 21st) Sali and eight of his thugs accompanied by police burnt down more than 50 houses of people living within the PMIZ project site . More than 100 men women and children are now homeless as a result of his self serving actions .
Tagau is a direct beneficiary of contracts dished out by the former Commerce Minister Gabriel Kapris. The thug is also understood to be a pawn in a move to acquire offshore portions of land and beachfronts – land which belongs to the Kananam people. He is backed by a group of Filipino nationals who are eyeing waterfront land portions in the Kananam and Rempi communities.
Earlier this year, Sali Tagau and another lot of his hired thugs tried to shout down Kananam man, Francis Gem at a forum organized by government minister including Madang’s regional MP, Arnold Amet . Francis Gem labeled Commerce minister Kapris and environment Minister Benny Allan, conmen following all the garbage they spouted at a forum.
Sali Tagau will stop at nothing to get his “cheeze pops” from the PMIZ project. Who else is on your list, Sali? The Rempis and the Kananams?
Papua New Guinea’s ruling National Alliance party wants to make the Province of Madang into a Philippines style industrial zone using a combination of corporate tax exemptions and Chinese investment and labour.
The plan, which is championed by the Attorney General, and ex Madang governor, Arnold Amet, and current governor James Gau, was the focus of a recent trip to the Philippine’s by a delegation of bureaucrats and local leaders to the Subic Bay Freeport, established in 1992.
The National Alliance plan will see Madang become the mining capital of PNG with both the huge Ramu nickel and Yandera gold and copper mines pumping their toxic tailings in to the sea. Both mines are being developed by Chinese companies..
In addition the government wants to see up to 10 tuna canneries operating as part of the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone. The PMIZ is to be built by another Chinese company using funds loaned to PNG by the Chinese Export-Import bank.
The PMIZ will be designated by the government as a Special Economic Zone which means it will offer generous tax exemptions to foreign companies and operate as a fenced enclosure with private security to prevent unauthorized access. With the Zone normal migration, labour, health and safety and environmental laws will not apply.
The plan for the industrialization of Madang by the Chinese is also backed by former National Alliance minister and local businessman Peter Barter, owner of the Madang Resort hotel and a passionate supporter of Chinese investment. Barter features photos of the Chinese owned Ramu nickel mine on the menu’s in his restaurants.
The delegation to the Philippines, the second to visit in the last two year, was headed by Provincial Administrator, Bernard Lange.
Also on the trip was Stotick Kamya, chairman of Commerce and Industry and former ‘community relations’ officer at RD Tuna; Nalon Derr, from Siar village, who ran for election in 2007 and is first secretary at the Governor’s Office; Emil Gamog, a ‘community representative’ who works closely with disgraced former governor James Yali and was involved in the hijacking of the plaintiffs in the Ramu nickel mine marine dumping case last year; Babob Gatedai, senior planner and Riwo village resident; Maryanne Uraiwa, project partner representative and manager, National Development Bank; Paul Martin, Industry and Investment coordinator; Mario Berom Angurru, Fisheries Advisor, Madang provincial government; and Clarence Hoot, director, Investment Promotions Authority.
After a similar trip to the Philippines in 2009, one local leader, Framcis Gem told his people that he had not been impressed with what he saw. He described the Freeport as a zoo which had displaced local people and polluted the sea. Gemn recently challenged Environment Minister, Benny Allan, and other Ministers at a public forum on PMIZ saying of PMIZ
“It’s con job! And all of you sitting on this grandstand are con people!”
“…Starting from our regional member [Sir Arnold Amet] right down… Benny Allan [Environment minister], you are a conman… Gabriel Kapris [Commerce & Industry Minister] you are a conman.”
“You talk about managing [environmental] impacts and waste from the PMIZ… you look at Ramu Nickel… You haven’t managed Ramu Nickel! How can you manage the PMIZ?”
THE people of Karkar, Rempi and Kananam have filed a legal suit today to challenge the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone in Madang.
Through their lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr, President of Karkar Local Level Government Mr Bager Wam, Mr Francis Gem representing himself and 337 other members of Kananam and Iduwad villages, and Frank Kawol Don on behalf of himself and 95 other members of the Bama clan of Rempi village filed a suit against the National Fisheries Authority as the first defendant and Department of Commerce and Industry and the Independent State of PNG as the second and third plaintiffs respectively.
The plaintiffs claim that the PMIZ is being developed contrary to the Free Trade Zone Act of 2000. That means all acts done in the promotion and planning of the PMIZ to date are illegal and void.
Furthermore, they are also seeking a permanent injunction restraining the promotion and planning of the PMIZ as it contradicts section 28 and or section 25 of the Fisheries Management Act.
The plaintiffs are also seeking a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants by themselves or their agents from committing nuisances and injury to the plaintiffs and the people they represent in the use and enjoyment of their customary land and water rights.
The plaintiffs and the people they represent are also seeking that they be consulted by the defendants and be informed on any matter concerning the promotion, planning or construction of a Free Trade Zone in an area which impacts on their customary land.
From ACT NOW!
While the PNG government says in its budget unveiled this week that it wants to ‘lower barriers to foreign investment’ and remove ‘business impediments, lower import tariffs and reducing regulatory burdens’ it seems to have forgotten the interests of its own citizens in its rush to support foreign companies.
A new report by the International Trade Union Confederation says there are “serious and continued violations of fundamental workers’ rights” in Papua New Guinea.
The ITUC report says PNGs laws need to be updated and amended to give better legal protection to workers and to provide assistance to child workers and the victims of trafficking and forced labour – but none of this rated a mention in the government budget announcements this week.
The reports highlights the inadequate protection for female and disabled workers in current laws.
It also discloses the problem of child labour which it says occurs primarily in farms, in street vending and in domestic servitude.
Child prostitution is also reported as a problem with sometimes children forced into it by their own families.
While PNG laws do prohibit forced labour and trafficking, its provisions do not afford a maximum of protection, and penalties are not stringent, says the report. Forced labour occurs in mines and logging camps, as well as in the form of forced prostitution and involuntary domestic servitude.
Rather than announcing measures to tackle these problems and low wages, poor working conditions, debt bondage and cramped and unhygenic accommodation for workers, the PNG government it seems is intent on making it easier for more foreign companies to enter PNG and exploit the gaps in our laws and replicate the conditions that workers are already suffering.
The International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank, has recently published an information sheet about its support for the development of Special Economic Zones in Papua New Guinea.
The information sheet concludes with remarks about the proposed Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) in Madang.
“Is IFC involved with the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone? No” says the information sheet
Then, to make it quite clear, it reiterates “IFC has not been involved with any of the arrangements for the PMIZ.”
This is a far cry from the information the IFC was putting out in June 2009 when it confidently declared its SEZ strategy for PNG…
will also address the government’s plan to establish the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone promoting investment in onshore processing of regionally caught tuna. The project made an important step forward yesterday when the PMIZ project’s National Management Committee and Technical Working Group, along with IFC representatives and members of the private sector gathered in Madang to plan the administrative, technical, and financial strategy going forward.
It is also very different from information on the World Bank website about the IFC SEZ Country Strategy for PNG (which is being implemented at a cost of US$580,000). There it is stated the strategy will
in particular advise on the economic and legal conditions necessary for the eventual successful implementation of the proposed first SEZ, to be known as the Pacific Marine Industrial Park.
The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency said this about IFC and PMIZ in September:
PNG is working with the International Finance Corporation – a branch of the World Bank – to develop a ‘Special Economic Zone’ (SEZ) law. … Originally conceived for the PMIZ, the SEZ law has been broadened to be applicable across the country and for sectors beyond those related to fisheries products.
So, why is the IFC now trying to distance itself from the PMIZ project when obviosuly this was where its whole SEZ based relationship with the PNG government began only 18 months ago?
Is it because PMIZ is being built with public money through a loan from the Chinese government, which contradicts one of the IFC’s basic prerequisites – private financing – for a successful SEZ?
Is it because the IFC conducted a study that said the PMIZ should be built in Lae not Madang?
Or, is it because the World Bank can see the social and environmental catastrophes that the PMIZ will cause and is already trying to distance itself from the enevitable backlash?
Underlying all of this is the bigger question, if the IFC is so convinced SEZ’s are a good idea for PNG why is it NOT supporting PMIZ, which, after all, will be PNGs first SEZ?
Come on IFC, tell us why you are washing your hands of the PMIZ?
We alerted readers several days ago to the malevolent plans of the World Bank to push for the establishment of sweat shop factories in Papua New Guinea [read more]. Now the Bank has gone public with its intentions, advertising in the media for a lawyer to draft the legislation that will allow the establishment of Special Economic Zones.
Apparently oblivious to the blatant Colonial implications and completely contemptuous of Papua New Guinea’s own democratic procedures, the World Bank is advertising for a lawyer to draft legislation for Papua New Guinea before Parliament has even debated whether such legislation is desirable or needed.
Normal process would dictate that should Parliament decide Special Economic Zones are a good idea then it would be the job of Papua New Guinea’s public service to draft a policy and subsequent legislation.
But the World Bank clearly has no time for such niceties and is happy to run a bulldozer through notions of independence and National sovereignty in its pursuit of the economic interests of the transnational corporations.
Those corporations, of course, want duty free access to PNG resources and to process and add value to our raw materials without bothering with domestic niceties like minimum wages and health and safety laws – and they certainly don’t want to be bothered with paying any taxes.