January 21, 2014
PM as he breaks ground using Backhoe
The Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC), implementing agency since 2011 for the Port Moresby Sewerage System Upgrading Project (POMSSUP) hosted the project's Ground Breaking Ceremony on January 21, 2014 near the Kira Kira Plant Site. The signing of the ODA loan for this project between Papua New Guinea and Japan took place in 2010 (JICA web page).
Despite the sultry weather, crowds continued to grow and guests, alongside local, traditional welcoming dancers and village bystanders waited in anticipation for the Guest of Honour - Mr. Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O'Neill.
Japanese Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Hiroharu Iwasaki opened his speech with a story of a time he recalled many years ago in his home town when even the use of the outhouse was quite a journey. He spoke of the importance of the project and his hopes for a positive impact and dramatic results.
Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investment Hon. Ben Micah shared the same sentiments when he said,
"No more piss-piss and pek-pek in pit toilets. We must live and dine in a sanitary, dignified environment."
As the Prime Minister helped himself inside the great backhoe loader, the media pressed aggressively through to capture every second of this exciting moment. He manoeuvred the bucket into the soil, lifting and releasing it back onto the ground, repeating this motion, seemingly in enjoyment.
"The population of Port Moresby has tripled and will continue to increase. Infrastructure must meet the demands of the growing population. POMSSUP has been in planning mode for over 20 years and I thank JICA for its patience over these 20 or so years. Let us complete this project in Japan Time for a change. Our people deserve better than what we have got today." -- Hon. Peter O'Neill
Setting sail as the largest project in the Pacific, today's ceremony certainly proved to be ‘ground-breaking' (no pun intended).
"JICA commits itself to continue our efforts toward the completion of the POMSSUP for the people of PNG and for a better future." -- Excerpt from IPBC's media release; Tuesday, Jan ‘14
JICA Chief Rep. Shigeru Sugiyama seated behind PNG's Prime Minister O'Neill.
JICA Chief Rep., Ambassador Hiroharu Iwasaki, PM O'Neill with State Enterprise Minister Ben Micah and IPBC MD Mr. Wasantha Kumarasiri after the breaking of ground.