The Basamuk People’s Voice was formed with the unanimous consent of duly recognized landowners and people affected by the Ramu Nickel Mine, starting from Bibi in the Astrolabe Bay LLG all the way to Dein in the Saidor LLG in the Rai Coast District. Our first public forum was held at Ganglau on 01 December, 2018 and a subsequent meeting held at the CWA Guest House in Madang on 05 December, 2018.
As the name suggest, it is a body of collective People’s Voices, an interest lobby group working with our duly elected representatives for the common purpose of development for our District. The membership is open to all the people of Rai Coast.
As you may have seen on Friday’s paper, the Mining Minister Hon. Johnson Tuke has again played the usual Government propaganda to shut us out. This is the exact “rule-confuse-and-divide” tactic the Government and Developer have used to shut the Rai Coast people out of any tangible development for over 13 years.
They shut out the educated elites of Rai Coast like you and I and manipulate the least educated ones, like dogs on a leash. No wonder we have ZERO major infrastructure development.
As the landowner from Prency in Basamuk and the Founder of the movement let me remind us all of our Constitutional right that “every person has the right of freedom of expression and publication”. This is also our basic human right.
Our demands for inclusion in development and access to basic rights like water, sanitation, medical services, education, infrastructure, safety, etc is NOT a crime. It is our basic human right.
Our National Goals and Directive Principles calls for Equality and Participation. It says all citizens are to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the development of our country. It calls for:
- An equal opportunity for every citizen to take part in the political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of the country; and
- Every effort to be made to achieve an equitable distribution of incomes and other benefits of developments among individuals and throughout the various parts of the country; and
- Equalization of services in all parts of the country……
It’s not a crime for the people to join hands and voices together for a common purpose and conveying the collective views and demands of the marginalised people to the few who represent us.
We recognize and compliment the work of the Landowner Associations formed for the purpose of the Ramu Nickel Mine. We aren’t here to undermine their work.
We also recognize andrespect our elected leaders, from the national down to the LLGs, and the Wards,which is the Government closest to the people. Our organized interests conveyed should shape Government policies, prioritiesand economic decisions for the good of Rai Coast people.
Working with our Elected Representatives and MP
The Basamuk People’s Voice work with the elected Government that is closest to the people – the Ward Members. The Interim Working Committee comprises of the following men, women and youth:
Ward 26 – Hon. Konga Muge, assisted by Nigel Uyam
Ward 28 – Hon. Kuel Gunaelem, assisted by Dagui Abin, Kuai Dup and Doreen Willie
Ward 29 – Hon. Uto Guin, assisted by Woe Gori and Asek Waksime
Ward 30 – Hon. Danny Kumbong, assisted by Dongembu Dugae and Damaris Wani
Ward 31 – Hon. Dege Doun, assisted by Lucas Nionio
Youth – Emil Yambel and James Yali Jnr
Founder and Chair of Working Committee – Ms. Kessy Sawang
All Honourable Ward Members in Astrolabe Bay, Saidor and Nayudo LLGs and their people and the educated elites of Rai Coast are all asked to join the Group.
In the month of December, education and awareness shall be carried out throughout Astrolabe Bay and Saidor LLG.
A detailed petition will then be given to our Member the Hon. Peter Sapia to take to Parliament.
Strategies and our Stand
We are a neutral body of concerned citizens lobbying for collective interests for major developmental issues like roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, fiscal policies, etc, in an effort to influence politicians, the Government, decision-makers, Developers and the public to get what we what.
During the initial Ramu Nickel Mine negotiations stages and our past Landowners’ representatives did not have intellectual capacity and the wit to negotiate aggressively for the benefit of all people. Even our past political leaders failed to raise these issues on the floor of Parliament.
Our activities includes:
- Writing letters to key people in Government and Developer;
- Socializing our issues on social media;
- Contacting policy makers;
- Demonstrations and Protests;
- Negotiations on behalf of our members;
- Working with our Ward Members;
- Raising issues with our MP and preparing position papers and policy proposals for him to take to Parliament; and
- Raising funds for our cause.
We are the people ofRai Coast. This is the place where Godplaced us. No Government, Developer, oranyone for that matter should question our legitimacy and shut us from exercisingour basic human rights to speak up against the social injustice we face.