NEWS ( Melanesian/Pacific) 12 August 2012.


1)Bikpela wari long nuklia posin long Pacific

Updated 11 August 2012, 18:33 AEST

Wanpela ripot, em sampela lain ibin givim aut i makim bikpela wari long Murorua Atoll, eria we France ibin testim nuklia bom insait long Pacific, klostu bai bagarap.

A mushroom cloud rises above Mururoa Atoll, French Polynesia, after a French nuclear test there in 1970.

Pairap kilaut antap longMururoa Atoll, French Polynesia, bihain long wanpeal French nuclear test long hap long 1970. (Credit: AFP)

Murorua e Tatou i tok dispela toktok i bin stap insait long wanpela ripot, em ol ino putim long pablik, tasol nau i stap long han blong ol i tok makim ripot blong Ministry of Defence igo long French gavman long March 2010.

Nuclear Association president, Roland Oldham, i tokim Radio Australia Pacific Beat program olsem posin blong nuklia iken igo aut long ples ol i haitim igo aut long Pacific Ocean sapos aelan i pudaun.

“Just in that little area there is over maybe twelve underground tests in that area and we have to remember that France have done altogether 193 nuclear test explosions in Murorua,” em i bin tok.

“In the soil of Muroroa, if something happens there is about 150 holes containing very dangerous radioactivity.”

Association i tok sapos atoll i bagarap em inap kamapim wanpela traipela si-bruk oa tsunami long 15 mita samting.Radioaustralia

Source:
The National, Friday August 10th, 2012

MEMBER states and media outlets must create and maintain opportunities for indi­genous people to voice their perspectives, priorities and aspirations using the media, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says.
In celebrating International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, Ban said the theme of this year’s event was “Indigenous media, empowering indigenous voices”.
He said in the five years since the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, communities and individuals had been taking advantage of the reach of traditional and new media to have their voices heard.
“From community radio and television to feature films and documentaries, from video art and newspapers to the internet and social media, indigenous peoples are using these powerful tools to challenge mainstream narratives,” Ban said.
He said this brought human rights violations to international attention and forged global solidarity.
He said indigenous people were developing their own media to reflect indigenous values and fight against myths and misconceptions.
Ban said indigenous voices recounted compelling stories of combating centuries of injustice and discrimination, and advocated for the resources and rights that would preserve their cultures, languages, spirituality and traditions.
He said they offered an alternative perspective on development models that excluded the indigenous experience, promoting mutual respect and intercultural understanding, which was a precondition for a society without poverty and prejudice.
Ban pledged the full support of the UN system to cooperate with indigenous peoples, including their media, to promote the full implementation of the declaration.
“Let us use the media – indigenous and non-indigenous, to create bridges and establish a truly intercultural world, where diversity is celebrated,” he said.

3)Corporation plans to improve Jackson’s International facilities

Source:
The National, Friday August 10th, 2012

THE National Airports Corporation will undertake projects to improve facilities at its international terminal in Port Moresby to cater for the increasing number of travellers, managing director, Joseph Kintau said.
He said this during the official opening of the third aerobridge at Jackson International airport on Tuesday.
The event was attended by corporation chairman Peter Neville, Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasiri, other service providers and partners.
Kintau said the corporation was obliged to provide international standard airport facilities but did not have the money to do so in the past five years.
Air Niugini contributed funds for  the six-month project which saw its full completion.
“The opening of the third aerobridge signifies a small step forward,” he said.
Kintau said extension work for both the domestic and international terminals costing K180 million would start later.
Neville said the aviation industry connecting most rural parts of the country could be improved.
Kumarasiri spoke highly of the collective effort put into the aerobridge project.
“This is music to our ears and to the ears of the travelling public,” he said.
He said such developments  would pave way for the company to buy bigger aircraft.
and Air Niugini’s increasing customers would pave way for the company to buy bigger aircraft.

4)Solomons Minister Allegedly Granted Licenses Without Approval

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 10, 2012) – If the Company Haus website is anything official to rely on, the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration of the Solomon Islands had made a grave mistake – an unforgivable lie.

Elijah Doro Muala in an attempt to clear the air yesterday on his controversial decision to award Pacific Exporters Limited (PEL) to export cocoa said PEL is a joint venture Company with majority local shares – 51 percent local and 49 percent foreign.

The Solomon Star yesterday investigated the Minister’s statement and came up with the opposite: PEL is a foreign owned company with no local shares.

The Solomon Star found out with the Registrar of Companies that PEL was initially registered under the name Carpenter Exporters Limited on April 16, 2012.

The Solomon Star found out that one of the two local directors Michael Maina (not a shareholder) changed the name to Pacific Exporter Limited (PEL) on May 3, 2012 with the Registrar of Companies as was shown on the Company Haus website.

It was further revealed that PEL only has one shareholder and it is foreign owned.

The total of 5,000 shares is owned by MH Cash & Carry Supermarket Limited.

Further search for the ownership of MH Cash & Carry Supermarket Limited generated a foreign company called WR Carpenters (PNG) Limited and only has one shareholder in possession of the 100,000 shares.

WR Carpenters (PNG) Limited does not exist in the Solomon Islands as shown on the company’s Foreign Investment Certificate Number 001319 and confirmed by the Company Haus.

This means Carpenter Exports Limited now PEL, is solely owned by MH Cash & Carry Supermarket Limited which is owned by WR Carpenters (PNG) Limited, a foreign company operating outside of the Solomon Islands.

The Minister Doro Muala yesterday said the reason why he awarded the license was because the company (PEL) has a local shareholding majority of 51 percent shares.

Mr. Doro Muala, upon the Commodities Export Marketing Authority’s (CEMA) continuous delay to act on his recommendation to award the license, used his vested power to grant the license and PEL was exempted.

He said 51 percent of PEL is locally owned and only 49 percent is foreign owned.

The Solomon Star found out on the official registration that there are only two local directors, Michael Maina and Delilah Lowe but are not shareholders.

The other two directors are a Malaysian Noel Rajan and Suran Abeywickrema of Sri Lanka who is staying in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The awarding of the license without the approval of CEMA has sparked outrage from local cocoa entrepreneurs who criticized the move for fear that the participation of the multinational company from Malaysia would eventually kill or put them out of business.

The Minister earlier said he was protecting the interest of cocoa producers because competition will push up cocoa price.

One cocoa farmer this week told this paper the argument by some critics that the granting of license to a foreign owned company was seen as a slap in the face of local buyers and exporters of cocoa is a minor issue.

“I very much favor local cocoa producers getting better prices for their produce rather than suppressing them to accept whatever prices offered by the local entrepreneurs which in most cases are minimal.”

But yesterday’s grounds, that the company PEL is mostly locally owned, given by the Minister for granting the license demands more questions as to whether the Minister knows officially what he was talking about and or if he was grasping for grounds and intentionally lied to the public.

Repeated calls made to the Minister’s office yesterday were not answered.

Solomon Star

5)Vanuatu Provident Fund Management Accused Of Nepotism
Favoritism allegedly rampant in organization

 

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Aug. 9, 2012) – Damaging media reports into alleged mismanagement practices within the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) by Anniva Tarilongi’s management allegedly run deeper than previously thought, with more revelations that nepotism and politics are taking a foothold on the people’s only retirement scheme.

This modus operandi seems to be having a hand in major management decisions—whether it is recruitment procedures, tendering processes or salary increments for certain members of staff and the managerial team.

There is clear evidence of nepotism by the management in the recruitment procedures—favoring either one particular province, namely Penama; former staff of Telecom Vanuatu Limited— where the General Manager was formerly employed; or applicants simply with connections with the Prime Minister personally or his People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

For example, the new head of VNPF’s corporate Services Ms. Nadia Kanegai, is an executive member of the PPP, holding the position within the party as treasurer.

VNPF Staff Code of Conduct purposely prohibits staff from taking part in political activities because of the experiences of the past that led to the January 12, 1998 VNPF riots. That code of conduct was basically shunted aside in the appointment of Kanegai, not to mention her Penama connections.

Kanegai recently took a one-week leave in order to attend the PPP congress in Mele where she presented the party’s treasury report. She had not even served one year with the Fund, in accordance with the Employment Act, following her appointment to warrant the right to take leave at the time.

Tarilongi had a major say in Kanegai’s recruitment, immediately after her appointment last year. But it would seem former Board members, Cherol Ala—whose term ended last week and Keith Hango (deceased), who incidentally was Tarilongi’s cousin, influenced the decision to appoint the GM.

Information surfaced this week that Kanegai had also applied for the post of General Manager, together with Tarilongi. And when the job was awarded to Tarilongi, Kanegai’s appointment became unavoidable in order to not only appease her but also to reward a ‘Wantok’ for not getting the top job.

It does not end there. Most of the new recruitments made under Tarilongi have the same imprints, as she spearheaded what some have described as a “head-hunting” recruitment process.

The process is simple: firstly, have somebody in mind, advertise the post to fulfill legal requirements—supposedly to give others a ‘fair chance’, and then hand-pick the person they have in mind.

The recruitment of Manager Human Resource is one such example. The incumbent, Madeline Sewere, is apparently the sister of Prime Minister Sato Kilman who before her appointment was back in Malekula—jobless.

In addition, the recruitment of the Fund’s current Risk Officer smacks of the same dodgy recruitment procedure. According to media investigations, while the interview panel recommended a different candidate, the job was given instead to a Dalcy Temakon, another former employee of Telecom Vanuatu Ltd.

According to what the media have been shown, two further recruitments for positions in the Members Financial Services Ltd (MFSL), a subsidiary investment arm of the Fund, are from Penama. One, Sterlin Tari, is a cousin to the General Manager while the other is George Wilbur, a former staff of the Westpac Bank.

Not only that, prior to Tarilongi’s appointment, the job of Secretary to the General Manager was being handled by VNPF staffer Linda Gibson. The job is now handed to one Anna Tapasongi, yet another recruit poached from Telecom.

In the meantime Linges Jones, a regular VNPF staff now on study leave at USP in Fiji, was sent purposely to study for the job by the former management. It has emerged she will have no position under the current structure upon her return. Further reports alleged she has lost all her study leave entitlements at the instigation of the new management, even though the Fund had approved her study and entitlements in the first place.

If the VNPF has one of the most expensive handymen in Pakoa Williams, who according to recent media reports was earning over Vt100,000 [US$1,085] a month, then imagine the type of salaries directors, managers and most of the new recruits are paid.

Mr. Williams is reportedly on “leave” currently, despite being under VNPF’s employment for only a matter of months because of the intensity of the media spotlight shone on his fat salary bill.

His income by comparison is way above that of a compliance officer, which simply defies all basic reasoning and is difficult to fathom. He is another former Telecom employee.

Meanwhile all VNPF top brass’ salaries are way beyond what was being paid former General Manager, Caleb Sandy, who in his final years at the Fund, was on an annual salary of approximately Vt5 million [US$54,259].

It has been revealed the annual salaries of the three directors sit within the range of Vt6.2 and Vt6.3 million [US$67,281 to US$68,366] while the managers’ annual salaries are in the region of Vt2.7 million [US$29,300]. Under the new structure, eight managerial positions were created. They alone would be costing the Fund almost Vt20 million [US$217,037] in annual salaries.

There are reports of low staff morale because of the huge salary gap separating management’s top executives from the general staff.

The situation is not helped when most of the 70-plus staff are in the dark about the Fund’s new salary structure, after the structure came into place since the arrival of the new general manager.

The icing must be this. Tarilongi’s own annual salary shot up overnight with a Vt2 million [US$21,703] increment, which means she is now on an annual salary of Vt9 million [US$97,666]. Such an increase is for someone who came in barely a year ago with her salary originally marked off at Vt7 million [US$75,963], plus benefits.

Further examples abound of bad management practices and shoddy decisions that could land the organization in deep financial difficulty if the organization is allowed to continue on the path it is taking.

And according to the fund’s 2011 annual report, the Vt156 million [US$1.7 million] deficit in the general reserve reflects the impact of poor management decisions undertaken under Tarilongi.

For instance, without properly assessing the status of the Fund, the Board proceeded to approve an increase in interest rates to be credited to members from 4.5% to 5.25%.

As the Fund struggles to keep up with its bloated overheads, funds have had to be diverted from elsewhere to meet the high interests credited to members’ accounts— creating the unusually high deficit.

Only a year before, this deficit was at Vt27 million [US$293,001]. Some insiders believe if the Fund were to have a repeat of the 1998 events, there would not be enough funds to payout all 51, 326 members.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed the accounting systems and procedures set in place by the savior of the Fund, Sri Lankan Ragit Kanagasabai, who was brought in after the riots to revive the Fund, is in the process of being flushed down the loo by the new management.

For instance, a computer software called Maximise System, introduced under Kanagasabai to handle the Funds accounting system has been replaced by one used by Telecom called Sun System. The duplicate, notwithstanding its high costs in licensing fees means staff have had to undergo further training in order to use it effectively.

Interestingly Maximise was already handling most of the Fund’s accounts, catering for members’ modules, the fund’s financial module and the investment module. In other words, there was no need for a new accounting system or the existing one could have been easily updated to cater for current requirements.

But the management had other ideas. It would seem the new GM was not all too familiar with Maximise so instead of teaching herself how to use it (which would have been cheaper and cost effective) she went for the most expensive option: install a completely new system and train everyone on how to use it because it is what she and her former Telecom colleagues were more familiar with.

The high costs borne was money spent that was not necessary, according to insiders.

Apparently two Telecom staff were hired in their private capacities to install and train staff on the new systems.

There is still more to come from this story and will cover some of the tendering processes and staff concerns over the scraping of their entitlements.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

6)Fiji’s foreign minister will lead delegation to Tehran

By Online Editor
3:06 pm GMT+12, 10/08/2012, Fiji

Fiji’s foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, will now lead the Fiji delegation to the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Leaders’ Summit in Tehran, Iran from August 30 – 31.

He will be replacing the Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama who will not be available on the dates of the meeting.

Prior to this, Ratu Inoke will attend the NAM’s Ministerial meeting from August 28 – 29.

A release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said the Tehran Summit will look at ways to revitalise and strengthen the movement and to reinforce its position on priority issues to developing countries.  It will also further advance the Outcomes of NAM’s Ministerial Meeting, which was held earlier this year in Sharm Al-Sheik-Egypt, which was attended by Ratu Inoke.

Fiji joined NAM last year as its 120th member and greatly values its membership of the organisation in line with Pillar 11 of the People’s Charter.

Through its membership, Fiji has now enhanced its relations with the other 119 member countries of the NAM.

A member of Iran Parliament said on Thursday that Tehran’s hosting the NAM summit meeting is a symbol of Iran’s power and its successful diplomacy on the global developments

Abed Fattahi said all West’s equations of Iran will be thrown into disarray by Tehran’s hosting the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting.

Holding NAM meeting in Tehran will globally introduce Iran as a powerful country which plays effective role in the international events, Fattahi noted.

About the NAM’s plans, Fattahi said it is to review the US, NATO and West measures against the world nations to occupy their countries.

The movement is also to examine the issues of the Islamic Awakening, Palestine and the crimes being committed by the Zionist regime there, he added.

The parliamentarian said the presence of the 120 world countries in the Tehran NAM summit meeting will not only lead to strengthening the Islamic Awakening movement but also prepare the ground for elevating the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foothold in the world.

Fattahi said the NAM meeting is also planned to voice out the message of peace and friendship and defend Iran’s peaceful nuclear rights.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/ IRNA/PACNEWS

7)Fiji Urged To Pass Laws Protecting Residents With HIV/AIDS
Pacific foundation calls for legislation, name protection

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Aug. 9, 2012) – The Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF) has renewed calls for the speeding up of legislation in Fiji and the region that will protect the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

PIAF has been advocating for all Pacific Island countries to have local legislation on the prevention of HIV as it has been proven to be most effective.

The call follows the reversal of a decision by a high school in Pennsylvania, USA to open its doors to a previously rejected HIV positive teenager.

“This is a classic example after 30 years of calls that the virus (HIV) cannot be transmitted by the presence of a person living with HIV in a school setting there are still unnecessary fear causing these bad decisions,” said PIAF’s legal trainer Laitia Tamata.

Only Fiji, PNG and Ponhpei, a state in the Federated States of Micronesia have bills protecting PLHIV.

Tamata said the pseudonym, Abraham Smith, used for the protection of the privacy of the teenager was also included in the national HIV Decree.

“Under the decree on Privacy of Proceedings; Section 34.1.iii says “that the publication of a report of the whole or any part of the proceedings be prohibited or a pseudonym used in place of the name of any person in any such report,” said Tamata.

He said when there is no equality, fairness and dignity for individuals whether HIV positive or otherwise, it is the legislation where people will be protected from further abuse.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

8)Qarase Back In Court For Land Trust, Fijian Affairs Allegations
Judge from previous case bows out of new trial

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 9, 2012) – Fiji’s jailed ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has been scheduled to appear in court today in another corruption-related case.

Qarase and two others allegedly conspired to transfer ownership and control of the extinct mataqali funds in 2002 without proper approvals of the Native Land Trust Board and the Fijian Affairs Board.

But Fijivillage reports that the High Court judge, Priyantha Fernando, won’t hear the case because he had already heard the previous Qarase case.

Last week, Qarase was found guilty in an abuse of office case and imprisoned for a year.

The latest case has been adjourned until November the 14th for a pre-trial conference.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, Amnesty International has urged Fiji to release Qarase from prison, citing concerns that “charges against Qarase were politically motivated.” Radio New Zealand Internationalreports that Amnesty International, which is also concerned with other leaders facing trials, including Daniel Urai and Mere Samisoni, contends that Qarase is being held “solely for his political beliefs and his opposition to the military government.”]

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

9)Meat shock

Nanise Loanakadavu
Sunday, August 12, 2012

HEALTH Minister Dr Neil Sharma is worried about how lamb sausages are produced.

Dr Neil Sharma revealed this during the Fiji’s Biggest Morning Tea hosted by Bank of Baroda in Suva yesterday.

Dr Sharma said in his recent visit to one of the manufacturers in Suva last week, he was “disappointed and shocked” to see that poor meat had been extracted and processed for lamb sausages.

“This is a worry and I have promised myself I will not eat sausage meat for the rest of my life,” Dr Sharma said.

He said chicken sausages were far better as were pork sausages.

Dr Sharma said this was the sausage enjoyed by people of all ages.

He said the ministry would now ensure that manufacturers improved their labelling so customers were well informed of what was in the packet.

“People also need to be educated on what labelling means and clear standard that foods displayed were either healthy or not healthy,” he said.

He said the ministry would also look in to the seals of labels that assured the customers that the goods were approved by the ministry.

When contacted yesterday William King of Fiji Meats Limited said each manufacturer produced different quality meats.

“The ministry should not condemn all food manufacturers but be specific with the particular processor,” Mr King said.

He said as far as Fiji Meats Limited was concerned they ensured customers were provided with the best and quality meats were used to produce lamb sausages.

Food Pacific Limited executive Jeewaka Liyanage yesterday said he was not in a position to speak referring all queries to their director George Patel.

Several phone calls made to Mr Patel’s were unanswered.

Meanwhile, Steven Ting, chief executive of Fiji Meats Industry Board said manufacturers needed to adhere to whatever ingredients were listed on the packet.Fijitimes

10)’Leaders’ in serious talks

Nasik Swami
Sunday, August 12, 2012

In an effort to ensure their plight is heard when Fiji’s new constitution is drafted, 84 youths from all over Fiji exchanged ideas at the Novotel Convention Centre yesterday.

Speaking to The Fiji Times, National Youth Council and Youth Assembly of Fiji head, Roshika Deo said the gathering of the youths from different ethnic backgrounds was a way to encourage active citizenship among youths and highlight issues of concern to them.

“All the discussions and issues coming out of the discussions will be put forward to the Constitution Commission as submissions,” Ms Deo said.

She said the issues participants highlighted were that young people in Fiji should be better represented and should not be considered as future leaders.

“We are already leaders. We should be given merit, taken seriously and we should be involved in all the processes that are taking place.”

Ms Deo said the youths wanted peace, democracy and human rights.

The youths also designed posters, paintings and art and crafts to highlight their importance in the society.Fijitimes.

11)Nuclear fears over French Polynesia atoll collapse

By Online Editor
3:02 pm GMT+12, 10/08/2012, French Polynesia

A leaked report has raised new fears that Murorua Atoll, the site of French nuclear testing in the Pacific, is in danger of collapsing.

Murorua e Tatou says the issue was detailed in a leaked report from the Ministry of Defence to the French government dated March 2010.

The Nuclear Association’s President, Roland Oldham, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program that radioactive material could be released into the Pacific Ocean if the atoll were to collapse.

“Just in that little area there is over maybe twelve underground tests in that area and we have to remember that France have done altogether 193 nuclear test explosions in Murorua,” he said.

“In the soil of Mururoa, if something happens there is about 150 holes containing very dangerous radioactivity.”
The Association says if the atoll were to collapse it could also trigger a 15 metre tsunami.

Oldham is concerned the government didn’t make the report available to the public earlier.

“This information was very discrete, I mean we only got this information now,” he said.

“I mean the report is from 2010, why wait so long?

“So the public is not very aware of this situation.”

Oldham says the report doesn’t properly emphasise the serious threat posed by the buried radioactive material.

“In this report that we got not too long ago, they’re not even talking about radioactivity,” he said.

“The way they present it it’s like it’s not very dangerous.”

Oldham says the association has been trying to raise the issue with the government and public.

“We’ve been trying to raise the consciousness of the people – our own people and our government and all the rest about this really frightening thing that could happen if actually one part of Murorua would collapse,” he said.

The association want independent experts to be allowed to conduct a study to provide more information about the danger of the atoll collapsing.

Oldham says if the atoll collapses there could be international ramifications.

“We have to warn everybody because the problem will not only concern some of the atolls that are only 100 kilometres from Murorua,” he said.

“But I think it will be a really big problem to the environment if this nuclear radioactivity is to be diluted in the ocean and from there we have no control over what would happen.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

12)Étudiants et lycéens testés sur leur consommation de drogues

Posté à 10 August 2012, 8:50 AEST

Pierre Riant

Ces tests de dépistage de drogue ont été vivement critiqués en Australie par les défenseurs des libertés civiles et par des spécialistes de la santé.

Les parents de The Southport School (TSS) sur la Gold Coast ont reçu une lettre les informant de cette nouvelle politique.

Chacun des 880 élèves de cette école possède un numéro d’identification et au début de chaque trimestre, plusieurs numéros seront tirés au sort, comme on joue au loto.

Les élèves sélectionnés au hasard seront alors tenus de fournir un échantillon de salive et d’urine.

C’est le directeur de l’école, Greg Wain, qui a eu cette idée à son retour d’un voyage d’études aux États-Unis.

Le Président du Conseil pour les libertés civiles du Queensland, Michael Cope, estime que l’école agit en dehors de son devoir de diligence et qu’une personne peut être soumise à un test uniquement quand on soupçonne cette personne d’avoir fait quelque chose de mal.

Les spécialistes de la santé publique ont critiqué cette nouvelle politique pour une toute autre raison. Ils estiment que des sociétés de dépistage privées vont tenter de tirer profit des écoles qui ont épousé cette politique de dépistage de drogues.radioaustralia

13)Fiji venue for first regional Hockey World League

By Matai Akauola
04:18 am GMT+12, 12/08/2012, Fiji

Fiji is to host the first regional round for the Hockey World League which was launched in London yesterday.
Fiji Hockey Association president Dr Robin Mitchell says this regional meet will involve Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu and hosts Fiji.
“The world league which will start this year will provide a pathway for teams that are ranked above 17 in the world because we are seven continents and especially for us in Oceania we are also in the same pool as Australia and New Zealand who are both in the top five in the world. So it makes any progress beyond the two countries difficult for small ranked teams like ours.
“So Fiji is the host for one of the first leg of the series and this should be held in December 12-19 thereabouts.
“The teams registered for this first round are Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa and Fiji playing in a full 11-a-side competition,” said Dr Mitchell.
The competition he says will also include the Australian Country Under-21 and a development team from New Zealand.
“It is the first time that New Zealand is recognising the tournament which runs with Oceania Pacific as a pathway for their elite players.
“So the New Zealand team will be a level below the Black Sticks.”
The winning teams from the Pacific nations will then progress to the second round in Delhi, India for men next February and the women to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In Rio the winning women’s team will face United States, Canada, China and hosts Brazil.
In India, it will be India’s two qualifiers and Malaysia.
“It will be quite a challenge for us to go beyond round two against such teams as India and Malaysia,” said Dr Mitchell.
He estimates that should Fiji qualify for both categories then Fiji Hockey will have to raise about $450,000.
Fundraising has already started and he is hoping to confirm some sponsors by the time he gets back to Fiji next week.
SOURCE: Matai Akauola reports compliments of ONOC, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Youth & Sports ‘Promoting Healthy Islands Through Sport’

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