PNG Government Loses Case Against Fish Cannery Opponents

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Activists to continue campaign against Pacific Marine Industrial Zone

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 22, 2015) – The Papua New Guinea government has dropped its case against opponents of a massive fish cannery development planned for Madang.

The government was trying to restrain the group from campaigning against the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone which would involve up to ten canneries and other industry around a port complex on the Madang Lagoon.

A court has ordered the government to pay compensation and costs to the 11 defendants involved.

One of the defendants Dorothy Tekwie says a responsible government would not have tried to restrict their rights to campaign but would have addressed the many outstanding issues involved.

"We said, hey, it's our right to deal with these issues but for the government, they decided to stop us. They were taking a restraining order to stop us from talking about PMIZ which is wrong. The government of PNG has been incompetent in dealing with PMIZ issues for the last ten years," says Tekwie.

Among the eleven defendants of the case around the government gag attempt was the eminent anthropologist Nancy Sullivan.

Dr Sullivan died last week in a car crash in the United States.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘Activists working to resolve issues around a controversial industrial zone in Papua New Guinea say they will dedicate their win at court to the eminent anthropologist Nancy Sullivan. ... The court has ordered the eleven defendants to be compensated and the case has been dropped. ... Dr Sullivan was one of those leading the PMIZ campaign and a fellow activist Dorothy Tekwie says her death is a blow but that it has also spurred them on. ... Dorothy Tekwie says the court action caused a lot of stress for the defendants and they also faced police harrassment.’]

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