The proposed Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in Madang province of Papua New Guinea which boasts to see ten (10) more new canneries has kick-started pre-construction activities. Initial clearance and construction of fencing started in January 2010.
The locals are lured by sub-contracts of K9000 per 300 meter fencing for each community groups.The locals are sweating their guts out for these lousy sub-contracts. No major contracts has been awarded to the locals, so again, another false promises of so called "spin-offs" for locals.
The most shocking thing is that, male school children are engaged to construct the fencing and have not been attending classes. Are there no laws for child-labour in PNG? These children are supposed to be in the classroom instead of working as adults under conditions unsuitable for their age.
The use or engagement of child labour for the PMIZ fencing brings on two assumptions.
1. It is most likely that these children are working to pay for their school fees as this is a major problem at this time of the years for many PNG families. Why does the government of PNG boasts about mega-investment projects amounting to over billions of dollars and it can't afford to provide free education for its people?
If Thailand, with a population of over 67 million, whose major income is generated by only one crop which is rice can provide free education for its citizens, why can't PNG with the vast reserves of oil and gas, forest, fisheries and mineral resources and just over 6 million population? It leaves no room for any other answers than "CORRUPTION".
2. Or, this might be a classical case of "Child Abuse" as those who got the contracts for the fencing are using children so they do not have to pay them much. Something which is common in the Asian countries. Why do we let it happen in PNG?
In any case, it is crystal clear that the PNG government is on a desperate mission to exploit all the riches and people of PNG.