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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 4) – Villagers in the Papua New Guinea province of New Ireland are calling on the local government not to rely on small boats, or banana boats, as a means of transportation between the islands.

The call comes from the people of Tanga, Lihir, Anir, Tabar, and Lambom, all from the Namatanai district.

The islanders want the provincial government to work together with local level government presidents and councilors to put in place a long-term service for the people of New Ireland.

They said small boats are not the answer for the long-standing transportation problem among the outer islands and the main island.

Leader Joseph Lamangau said the provincial government had not considered the safety of the people before making plans and budgeting for the banana boats.

Mr Lamangau said many islanders had lost their lives in New Ireland waters and many more had drifted for days and weeks before being found, but yet government was encouraging the use of small boats.

Their call came after the Islands Post ran a story on Mussau islanders calling on Governor Ian Ling-Stuckey to abort plans for donating banana boats to islanders.

The banana boats have no safety gear on board although there were tool kits available for times of engine problem.

Ten such boats were donated to Lavengai LLG in New Hanover last week.

Mr Lamangau said MV Paul Tohian and MV Beaumaris had been left at the Rabaul waterfront to deteriorate.

He said this proved that there was no concern for an asset belonging to the people of New Ireland and called on Mr Ling-Stuckey to conduct an investigation into who was responsible for those ships.

May 7, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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