NEWS ( Melanesian/Pacific) 26/8/12
1)O’Neill response to budget deficits
BY Gorethy Kenneth
Prime Minister Peter O‘Neill announced yesterday that the government was living within its budget. He also announced that there was no deficit as stated by the Opposition and other leaders. Mr ONeill however assured the people of PNG that the K500million shortfall in the 2012 was due to low commodity prices on the world market. He however said that the PNG government has already come up with a strategic plan to rectify the problem.(24/8/12 PostCourier PNG)
O’Neill to discuss asylum processing centre with Gillard …
By Gorethy Kenneth
THE National Executive Council yesterday approved Australia’s request to establish a regional processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island.
The NEC also decided that the establishment of the centre will be funded separately under a separate Overseas Development Assistance package which will be over and above the existing Development Cooperation arrangement with Australia.
Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato confirmed this yesterday while responding to questions raised by the Post-Courier on the issue.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the Post-Courier last night that Papua New Guinea had signed various agreements with the Australian Government in 2003, 2005 and in 2011 and it was the responsibility of his Government to honour those bilateral agreements.
Mr O’Neill said he will be meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Cook Islands next week when they meet for the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting to discuss regional, multi-lateral and bilateral issues, and this will include Australia’s Development Assistance Program in PNG.
Prime Minister O’Neill also announced that Papua New Guinea will host the Australia and PNG Ministerial Meeting, which will be held in October this year in Port Moresby. The agenda will focus, as always at these meetings, on all issues affecting PNG-Australia relations, including development and foreign investments in PNG, Manus processing center etc. But he said arrangements and decisions on the Manus asylum proposal will be taken up by the Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato and Attorney-General Kerenga Kua.
Mr O’Neill said any negotiations and decisions with Australia on the asylum seeker issue will be dealt with by Mr Pato and his Australian counterpart Bob Carr.
Meanwhile, Mr Pato told the Post-Courier last night that Cabinet had also approved officials from relevant agencies, led by the department of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade, to negotiate a package with Australia in respect to areas not covered by the Memorandum of Agreement made on 21 August 2012.
The officials will comprise of Manus Provincial Government, PNGDF, Immigration, Attorney General and other departments.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration also said he would communicate the Cabinet decision of the Cabinet to his Australian counterpart Senator Bob Carr MP at the first available opportunity and he will report back to the NEC once an appropriate package of assistance has been developed for Cabinet’s endorsement on the Manus issue.24/8/12 – http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20120824/frhome.htm
The Papua New Guinea High Commission in Solomon Islands assisted to establish the Solomon Islands/Papua New Guinea Alumni Association on Wednesday in Honiara.
The organisation’s membership is drawn from Solomon Islanders who have graduated from Universities and Colleges in PNG. PNG High Commissioner to Solomon Islands His Excellency Brian Yombon-Copio said, the Alumni will provide value and allow its members to maintain contact, develop new professional network, establish new relationships & business connections, keep abreast on latest professional trends & developments and mentor undergraduate students.
High Commissioner Yombon-Copio who instigated the formation of the Alumni, said PNG had produced some of the prominent people in the public and private sectors in Solomon Islands and PNG is proud of its prominence for providing quality education to the people of the country and other people from South Pacific countries. The Envoy who has been exceptionally hard at work in maintaining and strengthening existing relationships between PNG and Solomon Islands, said the Association will be committed to its past, present and future students to discuss issues/concerns and questions on human capital development, investment and security etc,.
However more than 20 past students ofuniversities and colleges in PNG, met at the Commonwealth Conference centre in Kukum in Honiara and elected office bearers of the Solomon Islands/PNG Alumni Association. Those elected were Mr Leslie Kwaega(President), Mr Joseph Maelaua(Vice President), Ms Chelma Tauku(Secretary) and Mr Jeffrey Mekab(Treasurer).
Mr Kwaega in his new role as President of the Alumni said it is timely the association was formed. He said such an organisation should have been established long time ago because of the important relationship of the two countries. Mr Kwaega commended the PNG High Commissioner for his initiative.24/8/12 – http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20120824/frhome.htm
4)Women plant mangroves
By JASON GIMA WURI
Pari women are now better equipped to implement their mangrove project having attained the skills and knowledge of building a nursery and planting them the proper way.
Under their Five Year Strategic Plan, the Pari Womens’ Development Association (PWDA) had among their list of activities the mangrove project which had failed.
The women with assistance from the Global Green Fund (GGF) planted about 5000 mangroves in 2010. However, most of those trees had died because they were planted on the wrong zones or areas as these women later found out at the workshop.
The mangrove nursery and planting training workshop coordinated by the PNG Centre for Locally Managed Areas Inc. (PNGCLMA) earlier this month has now prepared them well for the second trial of their project.
“This training came to us at the right time and we are so thankful to PNGCLMA because we will now train our women to properly plant the mangroves.
“We didn’t give up when the first project failed because we have a big concern for our resources which are fast disappearing. We secured funds again from the same source, GGF and had prepared ourselves.
“It would have been another failed project had we not attended this training and we are so excited to tell our women folk the good news,” said Geua Henry, President PWDA.
Mrs Henry was accompanied by a member of the PWDA board, Mrs Venisi Oru at the training program which was held at the Motupore Island Research Centre from August 6-10.
PWDA with a membership of 500 representing 19 clans in Pari has four components under their five-year development plan, environment, law and order, infrastructure and capacity building.
As part of their environment component, they have been doing a lot of work in managing their resources including mangroves to save whatever trees are left.
“We even engaged youths to put up sign boards among the mangroves to prevent more cutting and destruction and we’ve seen some improvements. Besides that, we have planned to replant mangroves in the area that have been left bare.
“In the early days, we had so many mangroves but now with population increasing rapidly, we hardly see too many of them around and we would like to save the tree’s for our future generations,” Mrs Oru said.
PWDA will now utilise their funds with the knowledge that they have gained through the workshop and be able to successfully implement their mangrove project.24/8/12 – http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20120824/frhome.htm
5)Solomons PM i hamamas long raon ikam long Australia
Gordon Darcy Lilo ibin toktok wantem ol Australian lida, Praim Minista Julia Gillard na oposisan lida Tony Abbot.
Wanpla samting em tripla ibin toktok long en em wok blong RAMSI, em Australia igo pas long en long Solomon Islands, na hau despla wok ibin halvim long bringim bek loa na oda bihaenim ol bikpla trabal oa ethnic tensan long kantri.
Solomon Islands niusman, Koroi Hawkins itok olsem wokabaut blong Mr Lilo ikam long Australia emi wanpla impotant wokabaut.
6)Ruling too lenient
Radio New Zealand
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Vanuatu state prosecutors are appealing rulings by two magistrates on breaches of the Customs Act by crew of the yacht, Phocea, as too lenient.
Last Thursday, 13 crew were fined 850 US dollars (F$1517) each after they pleaded guilty to disembarking the Phocea before it had received official clearance from customs and immigration.
On Monday this week, American student Faviola Imgrad Brugger Dadis was ordered to pay 1400 US dollars ($F2499) for breaching customs laws and obstructing police.
The skipper of the Phocea, Richard Malaise, who is believed to be Swedish national, is due to appear in the Magistrate’s Court next Thursday.
State Prosecutors say they have launched an appeal and will be seeking a court order to prevent the 14 crew members leaving the country.
7)Prof Ghai: Guidelines have been set up
Sunday, August 26, 2012
ALL submissions received by the Constitution Commission will be given serious consideration before architects draw up Fiji’s new Constitution.
Commission chairman Prof Yash Ghai said guidelines have been set up by the Commission which underlines democracy for the people of Fiji.
“A decree under which we operate sets out certain principles and values.
“There are two or three certain values of democracy, human rights, social justice and there are a number of principles which relate to national unity.
“Speak about the separation of State and religion, talks about good governance, non-discrimination and a few other principles for elections,” he said.
“These constitute the broad framework in which we make decisions but that doesn’t mean we cannot recommend things which are in line with those principles.”
Prof Ghai was responding to queries by Yasawa villagers on whether the Commission would accommodate all submissions in the new Constitution.
“We have stories that people tell us about their lives and experiences that are very informative and for us to see what implications they have for the constitution and how we can use the constitution to address all submissions.
“All submissions will be considered. As commissioners, we will discuss amongst ourselves all the submissions we have received and we have a research team helping us to keep things systematic with easy reference for all submissions that have been made,” he said.
8)Speak your mind
Sunday, August 26, 2012-Fijitimes
VILLAGERS have been urged by the Constitution Commission to speak their minds on any issue without fear.
Speaking at the constitution consultations at Nacula Village, commission members Taufa Vakatale and Professor Satendra Nandan told the villagers not to be afraid of the government or the military.
“Do not be afraid, you can make any submission on any issue even if you are commenting against the military or the government,” said Ms Vakatale.
Prof Nandan said the commission was independent since the beginning of the exercise and people should not be afraid to voice what they really felt and articulate their vision for a better Fiji.
“There may be some hesitation in the beginning, there may be some comments from some that might not be very helpful but at the moment there is a new atmosphere, there is a new climate of fearlessness and freedom and full participation of the people,” he said.
Prof Nandan said it did not seem that people were scared and that there were some politicians who made bold suggestions along with some ordinary people and professionals.
“People should express themselves freely and fearlessly.
“There is nothing that should prevent them from saying what they want to say.
“The Prime Minister has urged the people, the chairman of the commission has been urging them on our vision.
“We must hear fearless and free submissions from our people and we must hear their views and their vision for Fiji and anything else they want to say.
“This is a great opportunity and a great challenge for the commission to take all these views and see what they can do to help constitutionally in helping our people build the new Fiji we all dream of,” Prof Nandan said.
9)Authority urges public to purchase land, homes
Saturday, August 25, 2012-FijiTimes
HOUSING Authority is encouraging members of the public to purchase land.
At the Hibiscus Festival, the authority is showcasing models of the different housing units that were being proposed for construction in the Waila city project.
“Considering that the housing expo brings together different stakeholders such as easy build kit home builders, house construction contractors and other partners, HA is looking at providing those interested in building a house with a home construction loan,” Housing Authority spokesperson, Dwain Qalovaki said.
Over 1000 people have come through the Housing Authority booth to enquire about purchasing a residential lot in the central and western divisions and also to discuss finance options for purchasing either an existing house or to build.
“As part of our efforts to encourage those with land to build a house, HA is actively writing to our customers who have purchased a piece of land and have yet to build a house. We are also utilising events like the Hibiscus that draws a big crowd to speak with people individually to explain how our home construction loan can help them build their house,” Mr Qalovaki said.
“Housing Authority launched a campaign in the last quarter to engage lot owners to build a house instead of leaving the land idle and renting.
This move is in line with encouraging the growth of our national construction sector that will also create employment opportunities for our citizens to be engaged in construction.”
At the 2012 Budget announcement, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama made a budget announcement that would encourage house construction by introducing the VAT refund scheme.
The scheme would essentially encourage the growth of new house construction by allowing people to claim VAT refunds to the value of $120,000 for the construction of a house.
10)Aussie diggers return to Milne Bay
Seventy years after they took part in a major victory during World War II, a group of Australian diggers have returned to Papua New Guinea.
The eight veterans aged between 88 and 93 have returned to Alotau on PNG’s eastern tip for the 70th anniversary of the battle of Milne Bay.
Here in 1942, Australian and US troops handed the Japanese their first land defeat of World War II.
All 88-year-old veteran Bill Hansen veteran remembers is the rain and the mud.
He says it is wonderful to be back but he is worried most Australians do not know what happened here.
“People have said ‘where are you going?’ and I’ve said ‘Milne Bay, do you know where that is?'” he said.
“They’ve never heard of it, but they all know about Kokoda.
167 Australians were killed during the Battle of Milne Bay.(Radio Australia)
11)Resilient to global instability
Saturday, August 25, 2012
AUSTRALIA’S economy is in a strong position to weather uncertain conditions offshore, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens has said.
Speaking to a House of Representatives Economic committee yesterday, Mr Stevens said changes to Australian banks following the global financial crisis had made Australia more resilient to recent global instability.
“Our reliance on foreign funding for banks is lower than four years ago because of how banks have changed their funding structure,” he said.
“We’re well equipped to handle things that could go wrong.
“Bad things can happen, but we should have quiet confidence that we should manage.”
Mr Stevens said although house prices remained high in Australia, household debt was being managed well.
12)An Eminent Person to review of Pacific Plan
By Makereta Komai
10:31 pm GMT+12, 25/08/2012, Cook Islands
An Eminent Person, supported by a team of four officials will carry out the review of the seven year old framework for regional integration and co-operation, known as the Pacific Plan.
And, the Terms of Reference for the review team is expected to be endorsed by the 15 Forum Island Leaders when they meet in Rarotonga, Cook Islands next week.
Without divulging more information on the composition of the review team, the Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Feleti Teo said the Eminent Person, is likely to come from the region.
“A few names will be floated with the Leaders during their Retreat and we are hoping that he or she will come from a member country. The Eminent Person will be supported by a four member team, comprising two officials from member countries and two consultants.
“Hopefully the Leaders will agree on someone that can speak to Leaders at that level and who will also have their respect.
“We hope to put together a team before the end of the year to start initial discussions. The outcome will be presented to Leaders next year, said Teo.
Teo said the proposed review of the Pacific Plan is ‘timely’.
“It is timely because its ten year life span comes to an end around the same time the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) lapses in 2015. So the review of the Pacific Plan must take into consideration these regional and global development agenda.
“The review must also take into account some of these global processes, examples like the outcomes of the Rio+20. Oceans issues and the special interests of Small Island Developing States must be reflected in an ‘updated and refreshed’ Pacific Plan.
Teo has ruled out the re-drawing of a new set of Plan after the review next year.
“The Pacific Plan is acknowledged by development partners and plays a central role in the development of the region. Many development partners use the Pacific Plan as their point of entry in the provision of development assistance to the region.
It appears that the group of countries that belong to the Forum’s only sub-regional group, the Smaller Island States (SIS) have received ‘real’ tangible benefits from the Pacific Plan.
“There is a sense of special treatment for these islands sub-group of the Forum. Obviously because of their financial resource constraint, a pooling of resources amongst themselves will be a better option than addressing those challenges on their own, Teo agrees.
One of the issues that will be considered by Smaller Island States Leaders on Monday is a proposal for a sub-regional strategy within the Pacific Plan framework.
“If the leaders agree to the proposal, then we need to consider the feasibility of the special request of SIS in the Pacific Plan.
The SIS comprises Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu…PACNEWS (PINA)
13)Des difficultés du métier de pédiatre aux îles Fidji
Dur métier que celui de Khalid Mahmoud, consultant en médecine pédiatrique à Suva.
Quoi de plus insoutenable pour des parents que de voir leur enfant mourir et quoi de plus difficile pour un pédiatre que d’annoncer la mauvaise nouvelle et dire aux parents que leur enfant est atteint d’une maladie mortelle.
Khalid Mahmoud a accepté de nous parler de ses difficultés dans un pays où chaque année le cancer est diagnostiqué chez 40 à 45 enfants.
MAHMOUD : « C’est très pénible pour les parents quand je leur parle la première fois pour leur annoncer la mauvaise nouvelle. Et il passe par toutes sortes de phases ; la colère, le déni, la dépression… toutes ces choses.
Mais je leur donne du temps et graduellement nous arrivons au point où on se dit : voilà où nous en sommes, et il faut gérer. »
Et qu’en est-il de l’enfant ? Enfants qui sont souvent très astucieux et qui savent que l’on est en train de parler d’eux.
MAHMOUD : « À Fidji, les enfants sont très forts, avec une forte volonté de vivre. En général, je les implique dans la conversation quand j’explique mon diagnostic et après ils encaissent et restent positifs. Parfois ce sont eux qui consolent les parents. C’est incroyable comment ils gèrent ces maladies. »
Mais alors quelles sont les maladies mortelles dans l’archipel fidjien, quelles sont les maladies qui tuent le plus les enfants?
MAHMOUD : « À Fidji, ce sont surtout les maladies infectieuses, les diarrhées, la malnutrition et les pneumonies. Mais en haut de la liste c’est un certain nombre de cancers. »
Toutefois, le taux de survie au cancer serait à la hausse et les médecins commencent à sauver plus de vie qu’ils n’en perdent. Une dernière question à Khalid Mahmoud. Quand un enfant malheureusement perd la vie, est-ce que des structures sont en place pour suivre les parents après la tragédie ?
MAHMOUD : « En général, c’est la communauté locale qui s’en charge. Nous avons la Société fidjienne de lutte contre les cancers, mais aussi des associations pour enfants qui s’occupent de l’enfant et des parents pendant la maladie. Et malheureusement, quand un enfant meurt et bien tous ces gens continuent de consoler les parents. Ils vont même aux funérailles. Ils les impliquent ensuite dans d’autres activités pour qu’ils restent les pieds sur terre et ne sombre pas dans une dépression d’où personne ne pourrait les tirer. »
Khalid Mahmoud, consultant en médecine pédiatrique au Colonial War Memorial Hospital de Suva, capitale fidjienne.
14)L’exode des Kiwis vers l’Australie inquiète
Près de 54 000 Néo-Zélandais sont partis pour l’Australie l’année dernière.
Les dernières statistiques l’affirment et révèlent que la tendance à l’exode s’est amplifiée entre juillet 2011 et juillet 2012.
Nous avons parlé de cette augmentation constante avec Helen Kelly, la présidente du CTU, la grande centrale syndicale de Nouvelle-Zélande.
KELLY : « Ce que nous avons ici, c’est un taux de chômage très élevé, particulièrement chez les jeunes, plus élevé qu’en Australie. Nous avons un gouvernement qui ne fait pas ce que fait votre gouvernement. Notre gouvernement prône l’austérité, alors l’économie tourne au ralenti mais pas la vôtre.
Et nous avons des familles séparées par la Mer de Tasman. Enfants et petits enfants qui s’en vont avec leurs compétences et qualifications. Oui, c’est une très mauvaise situation. »
Une précision : le taux de chômage est de 6,8% en Nouvelle-Zélande et de 5,2% en Australie.
C’est une très mauvaise situation, disait Helen Kelly. Alors comment faire pour y remédier ?
KELLY : « Il faut s’attaquer aux raisons qui poussent les gens à partir. Vos salaires sont nettement plus élevés, aux alentours de 20%. Et comme je le disais, il y a le chômage. Les gens ne veulent pas partir, mais ils doivent travailler pour avoir une certaine qualité de vie. »
Les Kiwis partent donc pour des raisons purement économiques ?
KELLY : « Pour une grande majorité ce sont des raisons économique. Et nous entendons tous les jours dans les syndicats des gens qui disent qu’ils vont devoir partir. Ici le salaire minimum est de $13,50 de l’heure et c’est insuffisant pour payer un loyer, les factures d’électricité… Alors pourquoi ne pas aller en Australie où les salaires sont tellement plus élevés ? »
Une précision sur le salaire minimum : 13,50 dollars néo-zélandais représentent dans les 10.50 dollars australiens et en Australie, le salaire horaire minimum est de près de 16 dollars de l’heure (15.96) ce qui ferait donc du 20 dollars néo-zélandais de l’heure.
Grosse différence donc entre 13,50 dollars en Nouvelle-Zélande et 20 dollars néo-zélandais de l’heure en Australie.
Comment les syndicats s’attaqueraient-ils au problème ?
KELLY : « L’ironie est que nous avons cet accord avec l’Australie où tout doit être uniformisé avec la libre circulation des gens, le libre échange commercial etc., mais notre gouvernement ne veut pas adopter vos conditions de travail.»