OPPOSITION Leader Hon Matthew Wale has questioned why five Asians that arrived on the Patrol Boat from Ontong Java over the weekend were allowed to ‘self isolate’ instead of being detained.
Hon Wale said why were the Asians not detained as the other foreigners on the boat.
This followed a report in the Island Sun today quoting the PS for Commerce, Labour & Immigration clarifying that the Asians were persons of interest under investigation for their visa status and their bechdemer operations in the country.
The Opposition Office is aware that these five Asians travelled back on the patrol boat that also transported the PNG Doctor and his family, who were wrongly accused by the Government for bringing Covid 19 into the country.
Hon Wale said, why were these Asians allowed to be self isolated instead of being detained if they are under investigations for potentially breaking immigration laws.
“If the PNG doctor and his family were detained upon arrival for posing a health risk to the public in Honiara, and for illegal entry, why were the 5 Asians treated differently? Aren’t they all foreigners hence should be given same treatment as foreigners under the Immigration law?” he questioned.
The Opposition statement also highlighted that the PS Commerce in the media report also stated that the immigration officer that accompanied the Asians was also tested positive for COVID.
“For health reasons, if the immigration officer was a positive case on the trip, surely the 5 Asians who were supposedly in his custody and any other person on the boat must also be treated as COVID suspects. Again, they must also be given the same treatment given to the PNG doctor and his family,” he said.
Hon Wale said given that they have been advised to self-isolate means that they were allowed to be isolated at their homes instead of being detained.
“The fact that they might be positive with COVID and also under investigation for immigration breaches raises a lot of questions,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said it also does not make sense as reported that police and immigration must wait for the immigration officer to come out from home isolation before proceeding with investigations.