Dominic D. Kakas | Chief Superintendent Director Media Unit
Anti-deep sea mining campaigner Helen Rosenbaum’s statement this week on Radio New Zealand that locals in Papua New Guinea were prepared to take up arms if a seabed mining project in PNG goes ahead is not only irresponsible but can be taken as an attempt to incite violence.
Ms Rosenbaum from the Deep Sea Mining Campaign was referring to Canadian company Nautilus Minerals which was given an Environmental Permit by the PNG government in 2009, to develop the Solwara 1 Project.
Ms Rosenbaum said locals in New Ireland Province and the Duke of York Islands were feeling so desperate that they would consider taking up arms against the project.
She was quoted as saying, “They know they can get access to explosives, it’s incredibly easy to get access to arms in a country like Papua New Guinea through the police, through the army”.
Whilst the efforts of activists such as Ms Rosenbaum are appreciated, grandstanding and making wild and reckless allegations do not help her cause. In fact it does more damage to her cause and also to the credibility of the country, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and the PNG Defence Force.
Despite what Ms Rosenbaum thinks, it is not “incredibly easy” to access arms in PNG either through the police or the Defence Force. And instead of taking up arms people in PNG are prepared to talk things over rather than resorting to violence.
So instead of making such wild and unfounded allegations and inciting violence Ms Rosenbaum should promote her cause more responsibly.