15 Sep 2005

PCRC endorses Somare criticism of Pacific Plan

3:57 pm on 15 September 2005

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre says it hopes criticism of the Pacific Plan by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare will be sustained by other leaders.

The plan is being spearheaded by the Pacific Islands Forum which is expected to approve it at next month's leaders summit in PNG.

In a television interview, Sir Michael described the Pacific Plan as a disguise for Australia's intention to control the region, undermining the integrity of Pacific people.

PCRC spokesman, Peter Emberson, says Sir Michael is not too far off the mark in his comments about Australia and welcomes criticism about the Plan to drive moves towards regionalism and integration in the Pacific.

Mr Emberson says the Plan's purported vision and rhetoric about improving Pacific people's lives is not reflected in the consultation process.

He hopes Sir Michael will help change this when he becomes chair of the Pacific Forum next month.

"And I hope that Somare would take on board the considerations of grassroots individuals, as well as civil society groups, NGOs, church groups who are voicing their concerns about the lack of consultation. Even though there is a consultation process going on, some countries haven't even been genuinely consulted."