NEWS (Melanesian/Pacific) 27/7/12

1) MSG forms Police Unit

By Online Editor
3:34 pm GMT+12, 27/07/2012, Fiji

Fiji is behind the formation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Formed Police Unit.

Assistant Commissioner (ACP) Isikeli Vuniwaqa is in Vanuatu for a three month secondment with the MSG Secretariat to develop the framework for the unit.

He is involved in the planning and formation of logistics, administration and to alignment of the unit with United Nations peacekeeping operation standards.

Superintendent Irami Raibe of the Police Commissioner Conference Secretariat – Fiji, confirmed that the United Nations, in 2008, had requested the Fiji Police Force to establish a Formed Police Unit and be ready for deployment when needs arise. This was supported by Commissioner of Police, Brigadier-General Ioane Naivalurua.

When Fiji became chair of the MSG, the UN’s request was floated to leaders and they supported it.

Superintendent Raibe said during the 1st MSG Police Commissioner’s Conference (PCC) in Honiara in June 2011 that they unanimously agreed for member countries to set up the Formed Regional Police Unit.

After further deliberations in Vanuatu, the proposal was then presented during the MSG Senior Officials Meeting in August 2011 in Port Vila, Vanuatu, where the proposal was endorsed.

An agreement was sealed during the 2nd PCC meeting in Suva, this year where the appointment of ACP Vuniwaqa was finalised as the Formed Police Unit Desk Officer to be based with the MSG secretariat in Vanuatu.

SP Raibe said the cost for the formation of the unit would be $20 million.

He said Fiji was the likely training venue because of its modern infrastructures.

Under the UN agreement – “The deployment and operations of FPUs will always be based on the principles of necessity, proportionality and accountability and all actions of FPUs will be aimed at the protection and preservation of human life, property, liberty and dignity. In particular, FPUs will assist and advise national law enforcement officials in the exercise of their duties by serving the community and by assisting in the protection all persons against illegal acts, consistent with their high degree of professional responsibility.”

SP Raibe said invitations had been extended to other small Pacific Island Countries for membership for the unit.


2)PNG ileksan sekiuriti wok igo hed gut iet

Updated 27 July 2012, 14:31 AEST

Pius Bonjui

Wok blong Kandim ol vot long Simbu na Eastern Highlands provins long Highlands bilong Papua New Guinea i go het gut na bai oli pinisim pastaim long 1st of August.

Dispela em i de, elektoral komisina ibin kisim tok orait long Governor General long surukim taim bilong ol vot kaundings bihain long tude Friday , em i ofisal de bilong oli bringim bek olgeta eleksen oda or RETURN OF WRITS.

Divisional Police Commander bilong Highlands Region, Assistant Police Commissioner, Tedi Tei, i toktok wantaim Pius Bonjui pastaim hau ibin gat tokaut bilong tupela winas bilong Imbongu Open Electorate, long Southern Highlands Provins.radioaustralia

3)Shell says in talks to buy into InterOil’s PNG assets
By Online Editor
12:39 pm GMT+12, 27/07/2012, Papua New Guinea

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said it is in talks to buy into liquefied natural gas producer InterOil Corp’s (IOC.N) Papua New Guinea exploration licenses and LNG terminal, sending InterOil shares up 12 percent.

“In Papua New Guinea we have been in discussion with various parties in the country,” Shell CFO Simon Henry said in a transcript provided by the company.

“We have been speaking with InterOil over quite some period of time,” he added.

InterOil declined comment on the discussions. Shares of InterOil were up $9.05 at $84.5 Thursday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.

In Papua New Guinea, InterOil has petroleum licenses covering about 3.9 million acres.

InterOil, which plans to build a 9 million metric ton a year LNG terminal in Papua New Guinea at a cost of $6 billion, wants to sell a 25 percent stake in the project.

“Yes, it is a country that is of interest but … it is just one of the possible LNG projects that we are looking at,” Henry said.

Shell has much at stake in the LNG market, hence its strong desire to get involved in potential new supplies through deals.

Tight supply and high demand has pushed LNG prices in Asia up to four-year highs earlier this year, prompting major oil and gas companies to hunt for LNG assets.

Dow Jones reported earlier that Shell Chief Executive Peter Voser skirted a question on whether Shell was preparing a takeover bid for the Houston-based InterOil.

“It’s an interesting play there,” said Voser. “We have talked to the government. We are looking at it.”

Shell abandoned a bid for Cove Energy Plc (COVE.L), earlier this month. Shell gave no reason for withdrawing, but a source familiar with the bid process said it did not want to overpay.


4)Solomons Commission Calls For Extended Reconciliation Period
More time needed for people to heal, recount stories from conflict

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 26, 2012) – The co-coordinator of the national peace and trauma program for Solomon Islands’ Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) says more time is needed for people to recount what happened to them during the ethnic tensions.

The Commission was launched in 2009 as part of the healing process from the five years of ethnic conflict between 1998 and 2003 on the island of Guadalcanal.

Martha Horiwapo helped prepare people to tell their stories at 11 public hearings conducted around the country over a two-year period.

She says although people are anxious for the commission’s recommendations on reconciliation, both the victims and the perpetrators need more time to talk about their experiences.

“I would like to see the government helping churches to go out there and do healing process. Because [through] true healing process, people will really accept forgiveness. We just can’t force people to forgive when you have experienced a lot of horrible things. And time given to TRC is very short. I think if they give more time to TRC a lot of people will come out and tell their stories.”

Martha Horiwapo says the government must work hard to resolve the issues that produced the tensions.

Radio New Zealand International:

5)Former Malaita premier calls for Solomons government to close poverty gap

Posted at 04:19 on 27 July, 2012 UTC

A former premier of the Solomon Islands province of Malaita says the government must cater for unemployed youth if it wants to avoid a resurgence of the sort of violence that occurred during the ethnic tensions.

Reuben Moli was one of this year’s recipients of the Cross of Solomon Islands, a recognition of services to the country awarded at recent celebrations marking 34 years of independence.

He says he believes Solomon Islands people want peace but the gap between the haves and have nots is a growing problem.

“This gap has to be bridged, and someone, in fact the government, has to work to bridge this gap. The boys who determine the destiny of this country are on the streets. And we need to look to them and we need to care for their needs. We need to look after their affairs.”

Reuben Moli says government members must work to the Solomon Islands’ motto, to lead is to serve.

Radio New Zealand International

6)Vanuatu says Phocea owner in line for Vietnam diplomatic role

Posted at 21:42 on 27 July, 2012 UTC

Vanuatu says the owner of a detained luxury yacht in Port Vila, Anh Quan Saken, has been proposed to become the country’s honorary consul in Vietnam.

The vessel, the Phocea, was searched last weekend and police seized documents which are part of a probe into possible passport fraud.

The director-general of the ministry of foreign affairs says he is concerned about the alleged false passport manufacturing on board, saying it could threaten Vanuatu’s national identity.

Johnny Koanapo says as far as the ministry is concerned, the yacht’s owner was only nominated for one diplomatic post.

“The owner of the boat, Mr Saken, the Vanuatu government had nominated him to be the honorary consul of Vanuatu in Vietnam. This is still a nomination. We are yet to receive an official response from the Vietnamese government concerning the nomination. So at this point in time he’s officially not an honorary consul yet.”

Johnny Koanapo says there may have been some government ministers on the boat before it came under the spotlight of customs and police.

Radio New Zealand International

7)Near-Shore Poaching Increasing Around Vanua Levu In Fiji
Authorities lack manpower, resources to thwart fish poachers

By Serafina Silaitoga

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 26, 2012) – Poaching in the qoliqoli, or shore areas, of Vanua Levu has worsened, says divisional fisheries officer north Gerald Billings.

The situation has seen his office receive at least three to four reports of poaching per week in the provinces of Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata.

Compared to last year, Mr. Billings said his department would receive about four cases a fortnight.

He said poachers, who come in from Viti Levu, enter the qoliqoli at night especially after midnight and towards the early hours of the morning.

“And they come in with advanced fishing equipment including boats that are much faster than the ones we have here.

“They come prepared, attack our qoliqoli with their illegal fishing activities and they leave for Viti Levu while it is still dark,” Mr. Billings said.

“It is also a risk for my team to go out there at night and not as well-equipped as the poachers. Anything can happen as they risk their lives.”

Mr. Billings has called on provincial qoliqoli committees to step in and equip their fishing wardens to stop the illegal fishing activities.

He said fishing license fees could be used to buy boats and other equipment for fishing wardens.

Mr. Billings added that the lack of resources and manpower in his department was a major challenge.

“We are lucky to have the assistance of the naval officers who come around to Vanua Levu every now and then to patrol our waters. Their presence to monitor the qoliqoli and apprehend poachers has been effective. During their patrol, poachers keep off and we notice this as we received fewer reports,” Mr. Billings said.

The fishing license holders in Vanua Levu would lose out, he said.

“With this poaching activity in Vanua Levu, business for our fishing license holders will be affected as the poachers come in to take whatever they can from the qoliqoli through illegal fishing practices.”

Fiji Times Online:

8)New Zealand lifts travel ban on Fiji regime minister

Posted at 21:42 on 27 July, 2012 UTC

New Zealand has lifted the travel ban on a key member of the Fiji regime, allowing the interim foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, into New Zealand.

The foreign ministry in Wellington says Ratu Inoke will be in Auckland before travelling to Australia for talks next week with his Australian and New Zealand counterparts.

Last week, he held talks in Suva with the visiting New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, saying the meeting would be etched in the history books of both countries.

Next Monday’s Sydney meeting will reportedly assess Fiji’s moves to return to democracy and its pledge to hold elections in 2014.

The Australian foreign minister Bob Carr says he doesn’t believe Fiji should be allowed back into the Pacific Islands Forum just yet.

Fiji was suspended from the Forum three years ago after it failed to honour its 2007 promise to hold elections.

Both Australia and New Zealand have pledged money towards the Fiji regime’s reform programme which involves drawing up a constitution to replace the one it abrogated three years ago.

New Zealand has had travel bans on Fiji coup makers and some of their associates since 2000.

Radio New Zealand International

9)Australia, NZ to hold Fiji democracy talks

Updated 29 July 2012, 15:42 AEST

Australia and New Zealand will hold talks with Fiji on Monday to assess the country’s progress towards democracy.

Senator Carr and and New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully will meet with their counterpart in the interim Fijian Government in Sydney, as part of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group.

They are expected to discuss efforts to return to democracy and preparations for elections in 2014.

Slow progress on these issues contributed to the decision to suspend Fiji from the 16-nation group in May 2009.

New Zealand and Australia have both imposed travel and economic sanctions against members of Fiji’s interim government.

Senator Carr told Radio Australia ahead of Monday’s talks he does not believe Fiji should be allowed back into the Pacific Islands Forum just yet.

“We will make a decision on lifting sanctions when it is clear the commitment to democracy is irreversible, and the consultation we have on Monday is part of that continuing engagement to see that the country is headed back towards democratic norms,” he said.

Senator Carr last met Fijian officials in May of this year, when he praised the regime for its ”positive progress” towards holding elections.

“When [New Zealand Foreign Minister] Murray McCully and I were in Fiji as part of the Ministerial action group for consultations with the interim government and with the opposition, and with non-government organisations and civil society, we were able to receive assurances about the constitutional consultation towards elections in 2014,” he said.

“This meeting in Sydney on Monday will enable us – New Zealand and Australia – to get an update.”

Senator Carr says that depending on the outcome of Monday’s meeting, the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group may decide to visit Fiji again, but said there were no immediate plans to lift sanctions against Fiji.

“We remain engaged with Fiji. We don’t want the people to suffer from the very targeted sanctions we applied when democracy was suspended – sanctions that applied to the travel and financial transactions of the government,” he said.

“But we are keen to see the country make the transition to democracy.” Radio australia.

10)Rise in American Samoa’s cost of living

Posted at 07:13 on 27 July, 2012 UTC

The cost of living in American Samoa rose in the second quarter of this year, with a 10 percent jump in housing costs and an almost seven percent lift in food prices.

The annual inflation rate for the quarter was four point eight percent.

All items on the consumer price index except for alcoholic drinks recorded increases.

The increase in the housing group was three percent higher than in the first quarter and is attributed to higher prices for building materials, housing repairs and appliances.

The food category was up two point two percent on the previous quarter due to the high costs of meats, canned mackeral and other basic food items.

The recreation category also recorded a four point six percent increase.

Alcoholic beverages dropped four point two percent, reflecting decreases in the price of beer and rum.

Radio New Zealand International

11)Les pays du Pacifique créent des emplois à l’étranger…

Posté à 27 July 2012, 8:43 AEST

Pierre Riant

De nombreuses nations océaniennes du Pacifique dépendent de l’aide au développement international. Nombreuses certes, mais pas toutes.

Nous allons parler de cette question avec Ann Maree O’Keefe, directrice adjointe du Programme mélanésien du Lowy Institute, un laboratoire d’idées australien. Elle est aussi ancienne vice-directrice de l’agence d’aide australienne AusAid.

O’Keefe : « Le Pacifique abrite en fait le plus grand nombre de micro-nations du monde. Quand vous prenez ça en compte, quand vous pensez à ces tous petits pays dont certains comme Niue ont une population de seulement 1 500 habitants environ ou Tuvalu avec 10 000 personnes, l’équivalent d’une petite ville de campagne en Australie, et bien vous réalisez à quel point cela doit être difficile pour ces pays d’avoir les ressources humaines et physiques nécessaires pour maintenir à long terme l’indépendance d’un pays sans avoir recours à des ressources extérieures. »

Ceci dit, certains pays possèdent de vastes ressources naturelles, la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, notamment. Un pays où l’assistance extérieure ne représenterait que 4% de son revenu national brut.

Toutefois, dans la perspective de la prochaine réunion des dirigeants du Forum des îles du Pacifique, un appel a été lancé pour que les nations océaniennes du Pacifique réduisent leur dépendance à l’aide internationale. Un appel qui nous vient de Transform Aqorau, l’homme à la tête des Parties à l’Accord de Nauru (PNA).

Le PNA a pour objectif de faire en sorte que les habitants des îles du Pacifique profitent des avantages économiques liés à la gestion durable du thon dans la région.  M. Aqorau nous explique qu’il faut revoir les accords de pêche dans la  région et c’est la raison pour laquelle il a lancé cet appel.

Aqorau : « Nous donnons les bénéfices de nos ressources à l’extérieur et nous créons ainsi des emplois sur des bateaux américains ou en Europe, aux Philippines, en Chine au Japon ou en Corée, en fait, nous sommes devenus des pays donateurs pour ces nations. »

Un point de vue partagé par Ann Maree O’Keefe même si les micro-nations auront toujours besoin d’une aide extérieure.

O’Keefe : « Elles doivent se débrouiller avec ce qu’elles ont et vous allez donc avoir besoin d’un certain soutien de l’extérieur étant donné les capacités limitées de ces pays. Une aide ne serait-ce que pour améliorer la gestion des ressources. Je sais que dans ce domaine, l’agence des pêcheries du Forum est très active. Mais est-ce suffisant ? Est-ce que d’autres choses pourraient être faites  pour améliorer les conditions des petits pays qui ont de vastes ressources halieutiques. »

Transform Aqorau estime que de donner à des pays étrangers l’accès aux ressources de la région est une solution de facilité pour les pays du Pacifique et que tout accord dans ce domaine devrait être renégocié.

Les parties à l’accord de Nauru comprennent les États fédérés de Micronésie, Kiribati, les îles Marshall, Nauru, Palau, la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, les îles Salomon et Tuvalu

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