NEWS ( Melanesia/Pacific) 2 August 2012.
1)Discrimination à l’égard des femmes : les Salomonaises ratent le coche
Les îles Salomon devaient récemment présenter leur rapport au Comité pour l’élimination de la discrimination à l’égard des femmes (CEDAW) des Nations Unies. Le gouvernement a toutefois refusé d’approuver en temps voulu le rapport préparé par le ministère des Femmes, de la Jeunesse, des Enfants et des Affaires familiales. Résultat : les Salomon n’ont pas respecté la date butoir.
Ce rapport traite des décennies de souffrance, de lutte, de défaites et de victoires des femmes salomonaises. Pour nous en parler, Ethel Sigimanu, secrétaire permanente au ministère des Femmes, qui a répondu aux questions de Koroi Hawkins.
SIGIMANU : « Puisque nous avons raté la date butoir, la vérité est que le Comité CEDAW se réunira sans notre rapport. Ce qui signifie que les îles Salomon n’ont pas réussi à saisir l’opportunité de se présenter à titre d’État partie du CEDAW et qu’elles ne pourront pas informer le Comité des progrès et des bonnes choses qui ont été faits pour être conformes aux obligations du CEDAW.
On ne pourra pas raconter notre histoire et ça veut dire aussi que nous ne recevrons plus certaines directives. »
Les États parties ont en effet des obligations à respecter. Le CEDAW par exemple « invite instamment tous les Etats parties à adopter effectivement des programmes d’éducation et d’information qui contribuent à faire disparaître les préjugés et les pratiques actuels qui s’opposent à la pleine application du principe de l’égalité sociale des femmes. »
Ce ministère des Femmes, de la Jeunesse, des Enfants et des Affaires familiales a beaucoup travaillé à la préparation du rapport et Ethel Sigimanu ne cache pas son amertume.
SIGIMANU : « Je dois dire que je suis très déçue et découragée à titre de secrétaire permanente du ministère, responsable du ministère, responsable des obligations que doit remplir l’État salomonais dans le cadre une importante convention. Je ressens que l’on a retiré à nos femmes le droit d’être entendues… Je suis très découragée, je dois le dire. »
Ceci dit, Ethel Sigimanu a bien l’intention de continuer son travail et de mettre en place les recommandations du CEDAW. Pourquoi le cabinet n’a pas encore approuvé le rapport ? Mme Sigimanu ne sait pas.
SIGIMANU : « Le rapport, pour je ne sais quelles raisons que seul le cabinet connaît est toujours à l’étude et quand il aura été finalisé et approuvé par le cabinet, il pourra alors soumis à l’ONU. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2012-08-02/discrimination-à-légard-des-femmes-les-salomonaises-ratent-le-coche/991552
2)PNG palament ino ken bung igo nap kandim blong vot i pinis: Namah
Lida blong PNG Party, Belden Namah, itok em ino stret long Caretaker Praim Minista Peter O’Neill i hariap long singautim palamen long bung long Fraide.
Mr Namah i mekim aplikesen long High Court no laikim palamen bung long wanem em i tok
em ino stret aninit long Constitution oa Mama Loa blong kantri.
Em itok olgeta 111 seats long palamen imas diklea pinis na em bai nap singautim palimen long mit.
Insait long dispela intaviu wantaim Radio Australia Tok Pisin Program, Mr Namah i tok, em ino sapotim Peter O’Neill i holim praim minista wok.radioaustralia.
3)PNG Electoral Commission Prepares To Present Writs
PNC leader Peter O’Neill expected to take up national leadership
By Shirlyn Belden
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 1, 2012) – Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen is prepared to present election writs for all except three seats to the governor-general today to officially conclude the 2012 general election in Papua New Guinea.
Trawen will also recommend that the leader of the People’s National Congress Party (PNC), Peter O’Neill, be invited by the governor-general to form the next government.
Trawen said yesterday: “It is now evident that PNC has secured the most members elected with 27 members so far equaling the record set by National Alliance in 2007.”
O’Neill confirmed last night that preparations were advanced on the recall of parliament at 10am on Friday when the chief justice and the clerk of parliament would conduct the election of the speaker and the prime minister.
His Alotau camp, now pushing 80 MPs, would decamp tomorrow to fly to the capital.
The Kokopo camp of Belden Namah had attacked the recall of parliament as premature, insisting that the election be properly concluded and all writs must be in before parliament met.
Should the governor-general invite O’Neill to form government, he has no more than seven days under the law to call parliament.
As of last night, Trawen confirmed receiving 81 writs while 30, including 24 from those already declared, were yet to be returned from the open and provincial electorates.
So far, 105 electorates were declared while six were still in their counting and elimination stages last night.
The three provincial seats of the National Capital District (NCD), Western Highlands and Enga had been given a week’s extension to conclude their electoral processes. They are expected to return their writs by next Wednesday.
Jiwaka, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands regional seats, which were still counting, were expected to be concluded in time today. However, their deadlines had also been extended to next Wednesday as a precaution.
“I have given advice to the governor-general to further extend the date for return of writs for the remaining provincial electorates of NCD, Western Highlands and Enga. The new date is Wednesday, Aug 8, which is next week.
“I have also covered Chimbu, Jiwaka and Eastern Highlands in that advice in case they run out of time to return their writs today.”
Trawen said from the election reports he received, there were 62 new MPs elected and 40 sitting MPs returned.
“In percentage, 61% are new faces while 39% are re-elected MPs,” he said.
The National: www.thenational.com.pg/
By Online Editor
4:24 pm GMT+12, 02/08/2012, Papua New Guinea
Medical humanitarian agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)has called for better keeping of data on domestic and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea, as research shows extremely high levels of domestic abuse in the country.
MSF says specific data-keeping will help address the problem in PNG, which has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the Pacific.
It says about two thirds of PNG women have been abused by their partners.
It also says sixty per cent of PNG men have reported participating in “lainap” (gang rape) at least once.
MSF project coordinator and midwife, Ruth Kaufman, told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific program that, like women who suffer abuse in other parts of the world, abused women in PNG often don’t know the best ways to seek help.
“They’ll try to go through the criminal justice system, they’ll try to get help in a health centre and yes, the injuries may be taken care of but the broader aspects of the psychological care, the social care and the legal support for them and their children is difficult to obtain.”
Kaufman said the World Health Organisation has done similar studies into domestic in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati, with similar levels of abuse.
Poor organisation of medical records in PNG may contribute to the lack of awareness about the problem, Kaufman said.
“In PNG they keep good records of medical care, but they include any kind of violence-related injuries as one topic also included under accidents.”
“In the data you would see someone who was injured from a car accident, someone injured from tribal violence and then someone injured from sexual violence all coming under the same category.”..
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS
Another opportunity for Bougainville students has opened on Bougainville.
Grades Ten and twelve school leavers can now futhervtheir studies through the University of Technology’s Department of Distance Learning(DODL) which now has agencies throughout Papua New Guinea.
This was revealed by the deputy principle (academic) of Hutjena Secondary School and DODL cordinator, WAMSIE SAI on New Dawn Fm’s talk back program this week.
MR SAI said that first semester had ended amd registration on for semester two applications.
He said similar to the UPNG Program, tyey are also offering courses at K200 per subject and another K100 for facility fees.
He said that classes are held for two hours per subject every Saturday morning.
The cordinator further explained that Grade ten leavers can complete their programs within two years whilst Grade 12 leavers can just upgrade within a year and apply to colleges or universities.
More information can be obtained by contacting MR WAMSIE SAI at the Hutjena Secondary School.
By Aloysius Laukai
Bougainville has a new Regional member.
He is the former Director for the University of PNG’s Bougainville campus and the former commissioner for South Bougainville region under the new ABG adminustrative structure.
MR LERA polled 26,199 votes after the 11th elimination early Monday morning at the HUTJENA Secondary school counting centre.
The former BRA General now businessman, Ishmael Toroama came second with 21,208 votes.
MR.LERA reached the absolute majority figure after the sitting member, FIDELIS SEMOSO was excluded and his 15,699 votes dustributed between the last two remaining candidates.
MR LERA was declared by the Returning Officer, REITAMA TARAVARU at ten am on Monday 30 th July,2012.
By Aloysius Laukai
Bougainville Police are happy that the election on bougainville was trouble free.
PPC for Bougainville Police, Inspector Cletus Tsien made these remarks at the declaration ceremony on Monday.
He said that before the election tgere has been rumors that some people would disturb the election on Bougainville.
He said that despite these, police was able to cover all polling booths throughout the entire region
PPC TSIEN said that law and order was everybodys business and he thanked all Bougainvilleans for maintaining peace and good order during the election period.
300712Lera loves to Milne bay
By Aloysius Laukai
The new Regional member for Bougainville,yesterday left Bougainville on a chartere planed to team up with two other Bougainville members who are in the Milne Bay camp.
They are the member for South Bougainville, STEVEN PIRIKA and JIMMY MIRINGTORO the member for Central Bougainville.
The re-elected member for NORTH BOUGAINVILLE LOUTA ATOI has joined BELDEN NAMAH’s team in Rabaul.
Parliament elects the speaker and Prime minister this Friday.
MOMIS ON PUBLIC SERVICE POWERS
BY Tapo Tovilu
ABG PRESIDENT,DR. JOHN MOMIS has commended the Department of personal Management and the Bougainville administration for working on the final drawdown of public service powers to the Bougainville admonistration.
DR.MOMIS made these remarks at the handing down of instruments for the drawdown by the Secretary for DPM, JOHN KALI yesterday.
Chief Momis said that Bougainville must have a public service that is unique from the others.
He said not only fullfillment, it must be effective in carrying out their roles and resonsibility.
The instruments were delivered to the chief afministrator, Lawrence Disin.
300712LERA EYES JANUARY
By Aloysius Laukai
The newly elected Regional member for Bougainville, JOE LERA has vowed to change some things on Bougainville by January 2013.
He made this commitment during his inauguration speech as the new member for Bougainville.
MR LERA said tgat he would like to review processes of service delivery to the people of Bougainville.
He reiterated his earlier plan to kove Bougainville into the next level.
Whilst thanking the people for placing mandate in him, he also thanked the outgoing member for his contribution to Bougainville over the last five years.
He also promised to seek some advice from the former member on certain issues affecting the region.
300712SEMOSO ACCEPTS RESULTS
By Aloysius Laukai
The outgoing Regional member for Bougainville, FIDELIS SEMOSO has accepted the wish of the people of Bougainville.MR SEMOSO in a brief ceremony to declare the new Regional member elect, JOE LERA thanked the people for having faith in him in the last five years.
He said that ye fully accepted the result and would continue to work for the development of Bougainville as a private citizen.
MR SEMOSO also called on the new member to work closely with the ABG To see autonomy work on Bougainville.
HE said the people would like to see law and order issues addressed quickly.
MR SEMOSO said that he tried to shortcut things to fast track development im the region and got his fingers burnt.
He wished Mr Lera good luck in the next five years in parliament.
By Aloysius Laukai
Bougainville Electoral manager, Reitama Taravaru tha the election process on Bougainville was ginaly over.
He made these comments at a declaration ceremony in hutjena on monday.
He said that although the process was slow and painful it was able to iron differences with candidates,scrutineers and the people of Bougainville.
He also thanked the ABG PRESIDENT and the Bougainville Police service for ensuring that the election process was done without trouble.
The election manager aldo thanked all polling officials, counting officials and the media for working tirelessly in the last three weeks.
30 July 2012
By Aloysius Laukai
The Bougainville Electoral Manager, REITAMA TARAVARU will shortly declare the new member for Bougainville Regional, Joe Lera who has won the seat after a long and tiring battle to get the seat.
As of the primary counts JOE LERA was ahead by one or two thousands to challengers,ISHMAEL TOROAMA and sitting member FIDELIS SEMOSO until the eleventh exclusion of Fidelis Semoso which made hom finally reach the absolute majority to win the seat.
By Aloysius Laukai
Counters are now counting elimination 11 to find out the winner for the Bougainville Regional seat at the Hutjena counting centre.
From exclusion 10, the figures are as follows,
JOE LERA 23,549
ISHMAEL TOROAMA 18,629
FIDELIS SEMOSO 15,699
Absolute Majority 28,939
Fidelis Semoso has been removed now and his votes would be distributed to the two still in the race, Ishmael Toroama and Joe Lera.
7)Vanuatu PM Kilman Called To Resign Over ‘Corrupt Practices’
Opposition leader slams state over Phocea yacht controversy
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, August 1, 2012) – The President of the Vanua’aku Party and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Edward Natapei, said the recent front page issues of illegal entry of a luxurious yacht, the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) saga, and the public concerns over possible plans to extend UNELCO’s concession throughout Efate are further evidence of Sato Kilman’s government’s corrupt practices, and acting outside the rule of law and with no regard for transparency and accountability.
“We are so concerned of reports that State Ministers and Members of Parliament and political advisors of the Kilman Government are reported to be accomplices in the illegal entry of the luxury yacht ‘Phocea’ into Vanuatu,” Natapei stated.
While it is understood the court is dealing with these issues, the President of the Vanua’aku Party stated that if Prime Minister Kilman fails to discipline those involved, including those already convicted by the courts for similar offences, then he should resign immediately.
If he were to refuse to resign then the people of Vanuatu should hold him fully accountable for the extensive corrupt practices in government since independence, Natapei said.
“The reported explanation by the foreign Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue of the “Diplomatic Status” of the yacht is misleading, to say the least. Even if the appointment process of Anh Quan Saken was completed, he would not be entitled to any diplomatic privileges and immunities within Vanuatu territories.
“Anyone with an understanding of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations, upon which the Vanuatu foreign relation act was based, will tell you that duly appointed Honorary Consuls do not enjoy any diplomatic privileges and immunities. So, the Police are to be highly commended on the raid on yacht Phocea, and bringing in to custody those who were claiming diplomatic immunity which they could not have had in the first place.
“The purported registration of the yacht in Vanuatu by the Vanuatu Maritime Authority (VMA) in 2008 raises a serious suspicion of corruption, because international registration of international ocean going vessels are normally by law, are done by the Vanuatu Shipping Registry and not the VMA,” remarked Edward Natapei.
On the issues of alleged questionable appointments, nepotism and contracts made by the Board of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF), the President of the Vanua’aku Party stated that he was very disappointed saying that those involved in the decisions have disregarded the good governance principles and practices established by reform stakeholders in Vanuatu over recent years.
He stated that a VP led Government after the 2012 General Elections would not hesitate to ensure full accountability by those involved, including on a personal basis.
Natapei continued that whilst not wanting to encourage sentiments leading to the VNPF riots of 1998, however the attempt by the Prime Minister’s Director General to silence serious concerns raised by contributors to the Fund including Civil Servants on this matter, definitely sounds like a cover-up.
“The Vanua’aku Party is concerned that there is lack of public consultation before the Lands and Energy Minister unilaterally agreed on the principle of extending the concession of UNELCO to cover Efate and its outlying islands.
“The party believes that any new concession to be awarded to any companies outside the Port Vila concession area must comply with the provisions of the relevant laws in particular the Government Tenders Act.
“This decision is likely to impact negatively on the proposed Takara Geothermal Energy project already endorsed by government and independently reviewed by the World Bank.
“This project is aimed at reducing the cost of electricity on Efate including Port Vila, and promoting Vanuatu status as producer of Clean energy and contributing to Carbon Trading.
“We have always taken the view that there must always be adequate public consultation on the development of telecommunications and Utility infrastructures so as to avoid establishment of monopolies that can pass on high costs to the poor people of this country,” the VP President said.
Natapei then said a VP led government after 2012 general elections would review an extension of a concession if it leads to the consolidation of an unacceptable monopoly in the generation and supply of electricity in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com
8)Vanuatu PM to tighten diplomatic appointment process
Posted at 06:41 on 02 August, 2012 UTC
The Vanuatu prime minister, Sato Kilman, has reportedly asked his foreign minister to transfer to him the power to make diplomatic appointments.
An advisor to the prime minister has told Radio Australia that Mr Kilman had put this to Alfred Carlot amid police investigations into alleged violation of immigration rules in connection with last month’s arrival and arrest of the yacht, Phocea.
The opposition says it has information that Vanuatu diplomatic passports were given to some people on board the yacht before the police raid in Port Vila harbour.
The advisor says Mr Kilman is aware which government minister was involved in making diplomatic appointments defying his instructions earlier this year that they needed to be approved by the council of ministers.
There has been a news blackout for about a week, with information only to be released by Mr Kilman, but who has left for London.
A senior police officer, who says drugs were smuggled onto the boat while it was in Port Vila, has been suspended from duty over the Phocea probe.
The yacht is reportedly owned by Vanuatu’s nominee as honorary consul to Vietnam, Anh Quan Saken, who became a citizen this year.
Radio New Zealand International
9)Kilman says country won’t meet MDGs
The Prime Minister said in his National Address at Independence Park to mark 32 years of Freedom from Britain and France on July 30 0f 1980 that it looks likely that the country won’t be able to meet its Millennium Development Goals one of which is for every child to be able to read and write by 2015.
The other challenging goals are for the country to graduate from the list of Least Developed Countries (which would affect some of the country’s privileges at LDC level), shortage of budget to meet essential needs of an increasing population (which means that while the economy is growing, but the collection of revenue has reached the ceiling and cannot go any higher), climate change (which currently occupies the agenda of all Regional and International Meetings), and sustainability issue of donor support programmes (which Vanuatu must be prepared to takeover eventually).
This reality is recognised by the Government which is why it must line its relevant strategic policies to address those problems and challenges. “This is why I am calling on the Government to consolidate its policies now to prepare them for future Governments”, he said.
He said all the issues are to be highlighted under two main items of the agenda namely Governance and Economic Capacity.
He said his Government recognises the need for an active development of the country’s human resource which was why the Government introduced a ‘Policy Trigger’ to place all senior public servants on contract last year. “The importance for the Government to focus on its human resource is clear because in any country, its biggest resource is its human resource”, he said.
In 2012 the Government through the Prime Minister’s Office organised a retreat during which the Prime Minister presented a Diagnosis of the Economy to the senior public servants in attendance.
The outcome was clear that the Government needs to address its structural problems. “When we count the years backward, we find that this year marks 16 years since the start of the CRP and the Government finds that there are still hurdles that need to be overcome to effect real economic development progress to match our expectations”, he said.
The Prime Minister did not beat about the bush when he said in his address that his Coalition Government has been in power for 19 months and in the period, the Government spent 8 months in the courts in connection to the democratic rights of individuals. When parliament closes in September, his Government will have focused on its duties for a total of 12 months.
In the next issue we will hear how the Government is addressing this issue through the National Curriculum Policy, National TVET Policy and National Skills Development Plan and more.http://www.dailypost.vu/
10)Fiji Constitutional Commission: No Restrictions On Submissions
Chair calls on public to voice concerns from personal experiences
By Mereani Gonedua
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, August 1, 2012) – There will be no rules restricting the kind of submissions people want to make for Fiji’s new constitution, says Constitution Commission chair Professor Yash Ghai.
“It is not easy to define the issues of the constitution, because some things which are not related to the constitution may in fact be very relevant,” said Professor Ghai.
Professor Ghai said from his experience in other countries, people often come and inform him that they do not have water supply, electricity, road conditions are bad, there is a lot of personal stories and a lot of issues about livelihood.
“All these are extremely important from our point of view because they give us insights into the problems people face,” he said.
“An important function of the constitution is to improve people’s livelihood, to give them rights and to ensure that every Fijian has access to medical services,” he said.
“This can be reflected in our constitution, and we want people to tell us, not necessarily in a tactical language of constitution, but in terms of their everyday experience,” he said.
He also said they have met with various organizations and are glad to hear what their views are.
The Commission will be first hearing submissions this Friday at the Suva Civic Auditorium.
11)Tongan Tapa Makers To Present Work In Australian Exhibition
Princess Tuku’aho expected to be in attendance at Melbourne opening
NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, August 1, 2012) – The Melbourne Tapa exhibition will be launched by Her Royal Highness Princess Latufuipeka Tuku’aho in Melbourne on Thursday 2 August as her first official duty as the High Commissioner of Tonga to Australia, at the start of a five-day Melbourne tour.
Princess Latufuipeka will also visit the Melbourne Museum to view the Princess Fusipala Collection, the National Gallery of Victoria to view Pacific Collection and The Hunt Club Community Arts Centre to meet Brimbank Council staff who have supported The Melbourne Tapa Project
The Melbourne Tapa is a 20-meter long artwork created over 10 months by 13 Pacific Island women who live in Victoria, and the first of its kind made in Australia. It will be displayed at Craft, 31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne with guest curator Loketi Niua Latu.
“This unique artwork has a special power as it encapsulates the thoughts and feelings of a wide group of Pacific women from diverse nations who have settled in Melbourne. As an artwork it both preserves and informs us of how a culture says strong and yet adapts. Each panel of the Tapa tells a particular story and its group format presents a kaleidoscope of views and striking colours. Animals, plants and forms contain elements of narrative, each arresting the eye through its beauty and honesty of depiction, a characteristic of great craft,” said Joe Pascoe, Craft CEO and Artistic Director.
Loketi Niua Latu told Matangi Tonga Online that The Melbourne Tapa is made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera), decorated in acrylic paint with unique designs. The Tapa is joined together in four layers with cassava paste that stretches 20 meters in length by 1.5 meters in width.
“The stories presented are deeply personal, celebrating ancestors and heritage. These stories resonate with the blend of cultural traditions and experiences of living between cultures, balancing family values and cultural expectations in the high-pressured world we live where quality demands to be par excellence.
“Despite many difficulties around financing such large-scale community collaboration, these women and I attempted through the making of The Melbourne Tapa to be recognized as part of Melbourne’s vibrant artistic culture. The artistic journey allowed us to help the general public to understand Pacific cultural experiences by interpreting our Pacific past, documenting the present and exploring our future here in Australia.
“The journey together has solidified ties between our individual homelands, the Samoan, Tongan, Fijian and Maori communities here in Melbourne. It is my hope that this journey will continue and that we as Pacific people celebrate openly who we are as individuals within a local, national and global community,” she said.
Also attending the launch tomorrow, other Pacific guests will include Adi Keresi Seka Senico, (Fiji), Rev. Samani Sila (FS) (J.P) and Tupolesava Pulepule Matu’u II of Solosolo, Samoa, and a representative from New Zealand.
Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/
12)Four people in Tonga charged with producing pornography
Posted at 04:13 on 02 August, 2012 UTC
Two women and two men have been charged with producing pornographic videos, in a police crackdown on pornography in Tonga.
The Matangi Tonga website reports the assistant police commander, ’Unga Fa’aoa, as saying four people have been charged with the production of pornographic videos.
He says there is a lot of pornographic material circulating in Tongatapu, sent from phone to phone.
Mr Fa’aoa says they are locally produced videos shot on mobile phones, and police are working with the phone companies to combat it.
The police commissioner, Grant O’Fee, says the police were concerned with this sort of crime as it involved young people, and it was an ugly and distressing crime that happened everywhere, including Tonga.
Radio New Zealand International
13)Guam Government Debt Stands At $2.2 Billion
Half of debts tied up in revenue bonds
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, August 2, 2012) – The government of Guam is immersed in outstanding debts totaling $2.2 billion, of which $1.128 billion is subject to a set ceiling based on the 10 percent aggregate tax value of real property on Guam as of the first quarter of this year, according to the Guam Economic Development Authority’s (GEDA) recently released debt abstract report.
In an April 20 memo to Gov. Eddie Calvo, Revenue and Taxation Director John Camacho said the total appraised value of real property on Guam as of March 2011 was $11.39 billion, hence pegging the debt cap at $1.139 billion.
Since the public debts covered by the borrowing limit have reached $1.128 billion, GovGuam is just $10.69 million shy of hitting the ceiling, GEDA Administrator Karl Pangelinan said. “We’re near it obviously,” he added.
GovGuam’s budget has appropriated $59 million for debt service in fiscal 2012.
Debt service payments will begin climbing to $70 million in 2013, and $77 million in 2014 before peaking at $94 million in 2015, according to GEDA records.
Debt service levels will begin descending every year from $86 million in 2016 to $24 million in 2042. By then, GovGuam will have paid a total of $2.398 billion, records show.
Of the total $2.2 billion debts, $1.117 billion are obligated by revenue bonds, which based on the Guam Supreme Court’s 2006 decision are “not considered public indebtedness” and therefore not covered by the Organic Act-mandated borrowing limit.
“Obligations that are paid from special revenue stream are not considered public indebtedness,” the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) stated in an opinion dated Oct. 20, 2008, citing the high court’s ruling.
Revenue bonds, according to the AGO, are those secured by special revenues “generated by public improvements.”
According to GEDA’s GovGuam debt abstract, the $1.117 billion revenue bonds include loans acquired by the Guam Power Authority (GPA), Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA), Guam International Airport Authority, the Judicial Council, Guam Housing Corporation as well as bonds secured by the tobacco settlement fund.
GWA issued a $118 million bond in June 2010, while GPA issued $206.5 million during the same period.
“Bonds payable from non-General Fund revenue sources, such as GPA and GWA, are not subject to the debt ceiling,” Pangelinan said.
General obligations, limited bonds
Covered by the borrowing cap are GovGuam’s general obligation bonds totaling $482 million, and limited obligation bonds amounting to $646.6 million – with a combined value of $1.128 billion.
Citing the Supreme Court decision, the AGO said obligations secured by “specific taxes” that flow into the General Fund were “counted toward the debt ceiling.”
These obligations include loans pledged with Section 30 funds, business privilege, liquid fuel taxes, license fees, and vehicle registration fees, among others.
Among GovGuam’s most recent loan acquisitions included the $235 million bond sold by the Calvo administration in December 2011 for tax refunds and cost of living allowance payments. By the time this bond matures in 2042, GovGuam will have paid $454.9 million in net debt service.
The administration sold an additional bond worth $108.7 million in June of this year to cover the remaining tax refunds for 2011 and health insurance premiums. This bond will mature in 2042 with a net debt service of $205 million.
Both bonds will be paid through business privilege tax collections.
Under the Camacho administration, the largest bond issuances were made in June 2009. One was the $271 million general bond that was used for payments of tax refunds, the court-mandated cost of living allowance and retirement contributions for the Guam Memorial Hospital and the Department of Education; and the other was the $202 million landfill bond backed by Section 30.
Currently pending in the Legislature is Bill 472-31, which proposes a borrowing of $75 million through the Grant Anticipation Revenue Bond (GARVEE) for Department of Public Works projects.
“GARVEE bonds are not subject to the debt ceiling as they are payable from Federal Highway Administration funding,” Pangelinan said.
GovGuam issued Hotel Occupancy Tax bonds in 2011 for “projects benefitting Guam’s tourism industry totaling $55.5 million,” which included an allotment of $27 million for the construction of the Guam Museum,” Pangelinan said.
Last year and this year, GovGuam issued new Business Privilege Tax bonds for approved financing to cover $15.7 million for the Department of Land Management building; $21.8 million for Okkodo school expansion; $100 million for Department of Education public schools; $21.6 million for University of Guam Student Services Center & Engineering Annex; and $6 million for GCC Crime Lab and Buildings.
“The HOT bonds and BPT bonds are included in debt ceiling calculations,” Pangelinan said.
Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com
15)Australia Welcomes Participation In Pacific Seasonal Work Program
Marles says program may pay workers up to $12,615 per season
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 1, 2012) – Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Richard Marles, has told an international conference to launch the Pacific Seasonal Worker Program that the permanent program has a bright future.
Mr. Marles says under the program, 12,000 workers will be able to come to Australia over the next 4 years.
This week 150 delegates, including 40 from Pacific Island countries, have gathered in Sydney to hear how the Seasonal Worker Program will develop.
Mr. Marles says teething problems which resulted in disappointing numbers during the initial pilot have been addressed, and he is confident all 12,000 visas on offer will be filled.
He told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the program, which is open to 8 Pacific countries as well as East Timor, is a win-win for economic development in Australia and the region.
“[The program] is going to make a real difference first of all the Australian economy, it really is going to make a huge difference to the productivity of our horticulture industry and other pilot industries,” Mr. Marles said.
“But I can’t tell you how important that is for the countries from which these workers come. On average they will be earning AU$12,000 [US$12,615] a season.
“This is revolution in terms of opportunity it provides these workers, and the prosperity it will provide for them back home.”
Since the Australian Government first set up its pilot Seasonal Work Program in 2009 1,500 workers have come from Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati to work in the horticulture industry.
Mr. Marles says horticulture will continue to play a central role in the program, which will include pilot schemes in the cotton, sugar cane, aquaculture industries and accommodation.
The program will also incorporate a tourism scheme for East Timorese workers.
Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
16)UN highlights violence against women in Pacific
Posted at 06:43 on 02 August, 2012 UTC
The United Nations has called for violence against women in the Pacific to be addressed.
In its annual report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says many Pacific countries should strengthen laws to crack down on violence and discrimination against women.
It says in Solomon Islands, two-thirds of women aged between 15 and 45 have experienced violence in their relationships according to a government-sponsored study from 2009.
Other Pacific countries, such as Tuvalu and Samoa, also have high violence rates, with almost half of women being victimised.
Tonga and Palau are two of only six countries globally not to have ratified the UN convention on the elimination of discrimination against women.
The other four are the US, Iran, Sudan and Somalia.
The report acknowledges that some Pacific countries have domestic violence units within their local police departments, as well as women’s counselling services.
Radio New Zealand International
17)Push for more aid to help smaller Pacific states
Posted at 06:41 on 02 August, 2012 UTC
Pacific development partners are being urged to support the Pacific Islands Forum’s Smaller Island States Development Fund.
The Fund supports short term development initiatives in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu.
At an SIS officials meeting held in Suva this week the potential of the Fund to support broader areas of the Pacific Plan reflecting the priorities of smaller states was considered.
The Forum is currently trying to secure additional resources from a wider range of development partners.
The meeting also welcomed proposals to review the Pacific Plan next year, with an emphasis on the specific requirements of the smaller countries, and the potential for the development of a sub-regional SIS strategy within the Plan’s framework.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International