NEWS (Melanesia/Pacific) 30 August 2012.

http://www.voiceofmelanesia.com/

1) West Papua lida itok tenk yu long ABC

Updated 29 August 2012, 16:33 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla lida blong West Papua itok emi givim bikpla tok tenk yu long Australian Broadcasting Corporation long soim trupla stori olsem Indonesia isave kilim na bagarapim ol pipal blong en.

Dr John Ondowame husat isave stap long Vanuatu i mekim despla toktok bihaen long ABC 7.30 ripot ibin ronim tupla stori long ol human rights abuse em ol soljia blong Indonesia isave mekim egensim ol West Papua pipal.

Nambawan stori ibin kamap long Mande nait we emi bin soim ol soljia na polis blong Indonesia ibin kilim nating ol indipendans ektivis long West Papua.

Namba tu progrem ibin kamap aste nait, na emi bin soim olsem Australia, aninit long wanpla progrem we emi save givim treining igo long ol Indonesia polis i halvim tu long kilim ol ektivis blong West Papua.

Despla emi nambawan taem long longpla taem em ol foran niusman igo insaet long Papua.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2012-08-29/west-papua-lida-itok-tenk-yu-long-abc/1007736

2)Australian Military Training Alleged In Papua Violence
Australia supposedly trained Indonesian anti-terrorist unit

By Alex Perrottet

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Aug. 29, 2012) – Fresh allegations of human rights violations in West Papua implicating Australian military training on ABC’s 7:30 Report this week have prompted calls for leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands to seek a fact-finding mission.

As new reports have emerged from West Papua Media Alerts of new violence at a school dormitory in Abepura, the 7:30 Report series – screened on Monday and Tuesday nights – exposed the ongoing accusation that the Australian government is responsible for the training and financing of the anti-terrorist group Detachment 88, or Densus 88, as it is known in Indonesia.

The group was originally trained to combat terrorism in Indonesia following the deadly bombing in Bali in October 2002, which claimed 88 Australian lives.

But in recent months media reports have spread, mainly from West Papua Media Alerts, that the anti-terrorist group was being deployed in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, suppressing insurgents as well as peaceful demonstrators.

Presence confirmed

The ABC interviewed Constant Karma, who is the secretary of the province of Papua. He said: “I don’t really know about West Papua but in the Papuan Police (Polda Papua) there [is] also Detachment 88 on duty.”

Apart from the reports from within West Papua by reporters Hayden Cooper and Lisa Main, ABC presenter Leigh Sales put questions to Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who confirmed the Australian government had raised its concerns with human rights abuses in the two West Papuan regional provinces as recently as earlier this month.

Senator Carr said the Australian training included training in respecting human rights, but the ABC reports featured a number of eye-witnesses to violence in West Papua at the hands of police as well as Detachment 88 troops, including in the recent killing of independence leader Mako Tabuni.

Senator Carr told the ABC: “We train Indonesians in counter-terrorism. We do that because it’s in Australia’s interest. We do it because we want the Indonesians to have a strong, a formidable, anti-terrorist capacity. It is absolutely in Australia’s interests that we have this relationship.

“But we don’t train them in counter-insurgency – it’s counter-terrorism.”

‘No distinction’

However, the ABC also sought comment from the Australian Federal Police, which made this admission in their responses:

“Detachment 88 is a specialist counter terrorism unit within the Indonesian National Police, however it should be noted that Indonesian law does not differentiate between terrorism, separatism and insurgency.”

In response to the reports, political parties and human rights groups have released statements urging leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum to take notice.

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, based in Vanuatu, said the violence was nothing new.

“Violence has always been Indonesia’s policy regarding the land of Papua over the past 49 years. Being an occupying power, violence is their only means of enforcing their authority in the Papuan society,” said spokespeople Rex Rumakiek, Dr John Ondowame and Andy Ayamiseba.

“For almost half a century since Indonesia annexed West Papua, our people have been subjected to terror and trauma.”

Political reaction

The Democratic Labor Party in Australia said the situation was “genocide happening on our doorstep.”

Senator John Madigan and Democratic Labor Party federal secretary Mark Farrell said: “Indonesia is not being transparent with the Australian people or the Australian government.

“It is difficult to understand how the government of a democratic country like Australia can ignore the oppressive behavior of a neighboring country.”

The Green Party of Australia also voiced its concern, with Senator Richard Di Natale drawing comparisons with East Timor.

“Australians are now becoming more aware of these atrocities being committed on their doorstep,” he said.

“They know what happened in East Timor under Indonesian rule and they know that we, as a nation, cannot sit idly by while it occurs again in West Papua.”

Joe Collins of the Australian West Papua Association said the PIF should take up the Indonesian government’s offer to encourage research and balanced journalism by sending a fact-finding mission from the Forum.

He also encouraged Pacific leaders to raise the matter with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

“The Leaders’ retreat is supposed to provide an opportunity for private and frank discussions at the highest level and we hope that the PIF leaders will question Julia Gillard on Australia’s involvement in the training of Detachment 88 which is accused of targeting West Papuan activists,” he said.

“We also hope that concern for the situation in West Papua will be mentioned in the official Forum communiqué”.

The Democratic Labor Party statement also argued for observers to visit.

“If Indonesia is seriously expecting us to believe it is not engaged in the oppression of the West Papuan people then they must allow human rights observers and international journalists in to the country.”

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation is pushing for more, calling on the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the PIF, as well as the US, the UK, the European Union and others “to sponsor a resolution at the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) to re-inscribe West Papua on the UN List for Decolonization.

“We also call on MSG and PIF to admit the West Papuan Independence Movement as an observer of these bodies as a sure way of encouraging peaceful solution to the conflict.”

One confirmed dead

The violence in Abepura yesterday was confirmed by West Papua Media Alerts, who reported one student being killed, and others badly wounded.

The news agency said the violence was carried out at the Liborang Asrama (dormitory) by a joint force of Army (TNI) and Police.

“The students were allegedly targeted because they come from the same tribal group as many members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), who have been consistently engaging in peaceful civil resistance in protest at the increasing terror tactics of the Indonesian security forces, which has escalated significantly since May 2012.”

West Papua Media Alerts confirmed today that 35 people had been arrested and 11 remained in custody after being subjected to beatings and torture.

The Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, in response to questions from the ABC, said the government was taking action.

The statement said the loss of life “is regrettable and is receiving attention from the Indonesian people, the media, and the President of the Republic of Indonesia himself”.

“The Indonesian government has taken steps to restore law-enforcement in the Papuan provinces.”

Just how it is doing that is the focus of the media attention that West Papua is receiving. The Pacific Islands Forum, as in previous years, has so far remained silent on the issue.

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre – pmc@aut.ac.nz

3)Anger at Carr’s call for inquiry into rebel shooting

By Online Editor
12:35 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, IndonesiaA senior Indonesian legislator has hit out at the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, for having “double standards”’ after he called for an inquiry into the police killing of a West Papuan independence leader.

Carr called for the inquiry after allegations that officers from the Australian-trained Indonesian anti-terrorism unit, Detachment 88, had been involved in the killing of Mako Tabuni in June.

Tabuni, the deputy chairman of the independence group the National Committee for West Papua, was gunned down in the street by police who were trying to arrest him.

In an interview with the Herald, the head of Indonesia’s parliamentary commission for security, Mahfudz Siddiq, seemed to confirm that Detachment 88 was present in West Papua, partly because, he alleged, Mr Tabuni was ”one of the actors behind a series of violent actions” there.

“That makes the presence of Detachment 88 and its involvement in some cases in West Papua as being very much about doing their job,” Mahfudz said.

Independence activists have denied that Mr Tabuni was involved in a series of killings in the lead up to his own death.

Mahfudz also chided Mr Carr because he said he had never heard Australian politicians complaining about Detachment 88 killing Muslim terror suspects.

“In my opinion, it is too far for Bob Carr to mention human rights training to Detachment 88. Did Australia give any comment when Islamic activists got killed or injured by Detachment 88 while the anti-terror squad was raiding a house?

“I think Australia must be careful about these statements because they could be seen as having double standards.”

Mahfudz is a member of the PKS party, which is strongly Islamic, and part of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s governing coalition. He is also the chairman of Commission I, the defence, foreign affairs and information committee of Indonesia’s parliament.

He insisted the police action against Tabuni was “’in the context of enforcing laws against armed groups”.

Carr told the ABC’s 7.30 on Tuesday that Australia had made representations at the highest level in Indonesia for a “full airing of all the circumstances” of the shooting.

The inquiry “would need to satisfy public opinion in the West Papuan provinces and satisfy us that it’s going to be a full and open affair,” he said.

Witnesses say Tabuni was killed while unarmed and running away, but police say he was armed. Detachment 88 has been trained by Australia and other countries for counter-terrorism operations, but their use in the independence movement in West Papua is highly controversial.

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

4)Academic says Indonesian anti terrorist group’s range of activities need to be curbed

Posted at 02:24 on 30 August, 2012 UTC

An academic at Sydney University says anti terrorist groups in Indonesia’s Papua region need to stick to their mandate and have their actions closely monitored.

Dr Jim Elmsie, from the Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies, says the special forces police group, Detachment 88, has extended its brief after being set up to counter the rise of Islamic terrorism following the Bali bombings.

He says while the group has been very effective in capturing terrorists in Indonesia, the recent fatal shooting of a Papua independence leader, Mako Tabuni, is alarming.

He says its outrageous that Australian Federal Police are involved in training groups like Detachment 88 and an independent investigation, perhaps by the United Nations, is needed.

“Any country today is potentially the victim of terrorism so you need units that are dedicated to countering that and to react when a terrorist act does occur. But that doesn’t mean that they can just spread their sort of brief, if you like, into assassinating domestic critics.”

Sydney University’s Dr Jim Elmsie.

Radio New Zealand International

5)PM O’Neill Denies Ban On Foreign Journalists In PNG
Ban allegedly applied during Australian asylum center inspection

By Henry Yamo

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Aug. 29, 2012) – Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O’Neill declared today there was no ban on foreign journalists entering the country and they were free to travel there anytime – contradicting his own foreign minister.

Contradicting recent reports that foreign media had been barred by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato, he said no restriction was in place and journalists were free to go to the country.

“Restrictions only applied during the period when the asylum detention centre facilities were being inspected and assessed by members of the Australian government. We did not want any media interference during this process,” he said.

Inconsistent messages

However, this contrasts with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister’s comments released today that the ban was in place.

“As the minister responsible, I have instructed all the PNG Heads of Overseas Missions, that all foreign media personnel are not to be granted visas to travel to Manus to cover the issue,” Pato said.

O’Neill said the asylum detention centre in Manus Province would be an issue discussed with Australian leaders during the Pacific Island Leaders Forum.

O’Neill said there was an understanding with PNG and Australia already in place, according to an agreement signed between the two countries 2003, 2005 and in 2011.

“As a government we are familiar with the issue of the asylum seekers’ centre, and as a partner to the agreements, we, as a government, have an obligation to help the Australian Government establish the processing centre in Manus Province,” O’Neill said.

He said he had held talks with his Australian counterpart on the issue and would like to see it developed into a regional processing centre that could cater not only for asylum seekers, but for other illegal immigrants who came through the “back door” of many Pacific countries where there was lack of surveillance and processes to deal with illegal immigrants.

Regional concern

Prime Minister O’Neill said PNG was looking forward to working with the Australian government to address this issue which was also a regional concern. He hoped that the centre eventually became a regional processing point.

Regarding upkeep of the facilities, he said it was an issue for the Australian government because the agreements stated clearly that Canberra would be responsible for the infrastructure and its maintenance.

He said the government was also talking to the Manus provincial government which was keen on participating and was willing to accommodate the asylum seekers.

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre – pmc@aut.ac.nz

6)Nautilus Minerals meet world class standards

By Online Editor
4:17 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, Papua New Guinea

Sea floor resource production is not new and Nautilus Minerals uses the world’s best technologies and safest processes to meet and surpass international risk management standards.

Chief Executive Officer of Nautilus Minerals Mr Stephen Rogers said in a statement to clarify misconceptions and misinformation about their plans to retrieve minerals from the Solwara1 project in the Bismark Sea.

Rogers said oil and gas turned to the oceans after World War II and today, a third of the world’s oil and gas are produced offshore.

He said much of the world’s heavy mineral sands containing zirconium and titanium come from under the sea, as do large quantities of aggregate for Europe and the USA.

“Advanced robotics and remotely operated vehicles monitor seafloor activities”, he said.

He said Nautilus Minerals also invites and supports independent scientific and research observation.

One question many ask however is “Why go under the ocean when these minerals can be found on land?”
“There are several good reasons. The grade of sea deposits can be more than 10 times better than on land. This offers commercial advantages.

He said there are environmental benefits in the project too. “For example no mountains need to be stripped or moved.

“No trees need to be cleared and the physical footprint will be very small — about a tenth of a square kilometre.

The Solwara 1 site is 30 kilometres away from its nearest coastal community and 1600m below the waves.
Solwara 1 uses no blasting and will not discharge toxic chemicals into the water.

In contrast to what some have claimed, the system is ‘closed’, and only filtered seawater is return to the deep sea, where it came from.

Everyone familiar with the project knows we are open and transparent. We have (so far) consulted with over 20,000 people, from remote villages to provincial capitals.

He said the economic, community and environmental benefits of seafloor resource production are compelling.

“As land based grades continue to decline and the cost of recovery continues to rise, seafloor production provides an economically attractive, environmentally safe and socially responsible alternative to serve worldwide mineral needs.

“This is also an opportunity for Papua New Guinea to be at the forefront of evolutionary developments in the resource industry, sharing in the profits, gaining new skills and commanding worldwide recognition,” Rogers said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

7)Newcrest faces $10bn PNG bill

By Online Editor
12:32 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, Papua New GuineaA Newcrest Mining rally was cut short Wednesday after pre-feasibility studies into one of its big growth opportunities, the Wafi-Golpu project in Papua New Guinea, indicated lower than expected production figures and a blowout in forecast capital expenditure to $US9.8 billion.

The pre-feasibility study disappointed investors buoyed by the resumption of mining at Newcrest’s flagship Lihir mine in PNG, also announced Wednesday. Newcrest shares rose to $27.26, before falling back to close flat on $26.70.

Newcrest revealed base case and enhanced production estimates for the Golpu deposit, of between 400,000-580,000 ounces of gold a year, and 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of copper a year.

This fell short of Deutsche Bank estimates of 600,000 to 800,000 ounces of gold a year, and 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes of copper a year, based on previous Newcrest forecasts.

In addition, Deutsche had forecast $3 billion to $5 billion in capital expenditure, but Newcrest estimated $US4.8 billion in initial capital costs before first production in 2019, while total capital expenditure over the 32-year life of the project would total $US9.8 billion.

Golpu, a 50-50 partnership between Newcrest and Africa’s Harmony Gold Mining, is part of the Wafi-Golpu project in the Morobe Province of PNG. Golpu would move into full feasibility in the first half of next year, Newcrest said.

Golpu was a ”world-class deposit with an expected mine life in excess of 25 years and project unit cash costs at the bottom of the industry cost curve”, the company said.

Newcrest lifted its ore reserve estimate for the Golpu deposit to 12.4 million ounces of gold (up from 1.3 million ounces) and 5.4 million tonnes of copper (up from 0.8 million tonnes).

Newcrest said a concept study was under way to assess Wafi development options, leveraging infrastructure planned for the nearby Golpu deposit.

For Wafi, Golpu and the nearby Nambonga copper and gold deposit combined, indicated mineral resources totalled 22.9 million ounces of gold, 7.46 million tonnes of copper and 42.4 million ounces of silver.

A further 5.7 million ounces of contained gold, 1.6 million tonnes of copper and 8.1 million ounces of silver were defined as inferred mineral resources.

Meanwhile, mining resumed at Newcrest’s Lihir operations after two days of industrial action following a dispute over a benefits package review.

“The parties have defined a pathway to resolve the causes of the dispute and agreed to work in a renewed spirit of co-operation to conclude the review of the Integrated Benefits Package,” Newcrest told the market Wednesday.

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

8)PNG’s Golpu deposit could become one of world’s biggest mines

Posted at 02:23 on 30 August, 2012 UTC

A new estimate of the ore reserve at the Golpu deposit in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Province has mining industry figures enthusing that it could become one of the world’s biggest gold mines.

The Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture participants, Harmony and Newcrest, have announced a significant upgrade to the estimate for the Golpu copper gold deposit following a technical pre-feasibility study.

The study proposes that the Golpu deposit be developed via an underground mine two kilometres deep, using the block caving method.

The method, where a deposit is essentially mined from the bottom upwards, has never been used in PNG but Newcrest has vast experience with it in Australia.

The joint venture’s General Manager of Sustainability & External Relations, David Wissink, says the study’s conclusions show that Golpu is even more of a world class deposit than previously estimated.

“Harmony did a pre-feasibility study in 2007 and what it showed was 1.3 million ounces of gold and just below a million tonnes of copper. So what this has done now is increase that almost ten-fold to almost to 12.4 million ounces of gold and 5.4 million tonnes of copper. So it’s quite a significant increase. It’s a better grade of gold and copper than you’d find at Ok Tedi or Porgera.”

The Executive Director of Papua New Guinea’s Chamber of Mines Greg Anderson says Golpu is an impressive deposit.

“We’re very bullish about its future but it’s going to take a lot of money to develop it and a long lead time and a lot of work in front of us because it’s a huge operation. That’s the problem with block-caves, it gives you low operational costs but a long lead time and high cost to develop.”

Greg Anderson says a benefit of the block caving method is that there is less waste rock involved.

This is unlikely to reduce grassroots opposition to mining in Morobe province where Harmony and Newcrest’s Hidden Valley gold-silver mine has been blamed for poisoning waterways and other environmental devastation.

The joint venture can also expect problems with landowners, according to local journalist Haiveta Kivia, who says a dispute over ownership rights to the Golpu deposit area has been locked up in court for years.

“The main players in the court battle for the ownership of land are the Yanta, Engabu and the Babuaf people. Wafi-Golpu project is now in construction phase. The exploration phase is slowly being phased away and they’re now beginning the construction phase. However the ownership of the land has not been established as yet. The government of Papua New Guinea and the developer are not waiting for the landowners to sort themselves out. The government of Papua New Guinea has given the green light for the developer to go ahead.”

The joint venture says it’s determined to learn lessons from its previous PNG endeavours and to introduce world’s best practice to develop the Golpu resource.

It’s deploying a large community affairs group to consult through the province as it seeks community approval, moving into the feasibility phase

The cost of the mine is estimated at over $US 4 billion with first commercial production slated for around 2019.http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=70588

9) NEWS OF AUTONOMOUS BOUGAINVILLE:

280812 more industries needed
By Tapo Tovilu

Investors currently in the region must bring in more and do more to start industries in the region to help strengthen the economy.
The call was made by Chief Francis Loio who called on the Chinese to do more than just retail shops.
He says that the retail business is small and should be left to the locals in whatever region of Bougainville they are in.
He also made a call to authorities to monitor the quality of goods coming into the region and going on to our shelves.

290812 calls to improve nova road links
By Tapo Tovilu

Calls have been made by the travelling public residing in the Kahule and Nova for more to be done to help fix their road to Buka Town.
They say that they have now for too long been travelling on poor road conditions to and fro town.
They thanked the works department which is currently upgrading the Ramunpan road area.
They made a call to member for North to look at doing more to help improve the road conditions from Buka to Kahule.

290812 decision criticised
By Tapo Tovilu

The decision by the National Police Minister to rid the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary of its Auxiliary Unit has been questioned by many.
A Police Cap from the Tinputz area says that auxiliary police officers are helping in areas where the police officers are not present.
He says that for Bougainville the auxiliary police have been part of their community policing program which in the last five years has been very successful.
He says that the decision to remove the auxiliary police will leave a gap in the community policing section of the Bougainville police service.
He made a call to those in power to look back at the decision and to consider what effects it will have on the community.

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290812 MANAGER WELCOMES SUPPORT
BY Aloysius Laukai

The General Manager for Team Bougainville, MR.WILLIE MASIU today welcomed Bougainville Copper Foundation’s support to team Bougainville.

He told New Dawn FM from Port Moresby that this support was needed as the team needed to get all its team uniforms for the games.

Mr. Masiu said that team Bougainville was in dire need of funds as funds allocated by the Autonomous Bougainville Government totaling FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA was not available until the ONE HUNDRED MILLION KINA funding from the National Government was received.

He said his team would still need some more sponsors in order for Bougainville to fully participate at this year’s PNG GAMES.

Meanwhile, PRIME MINISTER PETER ONEIL announced that the National Government as paid FOUR MILLION KINA to AIR NIUGINI so that the TWENTY TWO Provinces can get to the games in Kokopo.

He said this means all Provinces would get TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA each for air fares for their contingents.

290812BCF SUPPORTS TEAM BOUGAINVILLE
By Aloysius Laukai

The Bougainville Copper Foundation has approved THREE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND KINA to support Team Bougainville to get to KOKOPO, East New Britain Province for the 5th PNG Games in November this year.

BCL, Country Manager, PAUL COLEMAN said that the company was more than happy to support the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to participate at the national sporting event.

He said Sports was very important in PNG and Bougainville and they were happy to support team Bougainville.

MR. COLEMAN said that Bougainville may not be fortunate like other provinces in terms of financial assistance due to their situations and it was only proper for Bougainville Copper Foundation a subsidiary of Rio Tinto to come on board and support them take part in the games.

Commitment questioned

280812 why No pay
By Aloysius Laukai
A paramount chief in the Suir area and chairman of the Tinputz coastal Village court, JOSEPH PANIKUN today called on the ABG to make sure that the efforts made by village vourt officials are compensated well.

He told New Dawn FM that the village courts have not been getting funding from the ABG for so many years and was wondering why this was happening.

MR.PANIKUN said that in Bougainville village Courts settle most of the local conflicts before they escalate but the authorities have overlooked them for many years.

He said that when he enquired at the Selau district administration he was told the funds for the village courts were paid early this year but have heen diverted to other urgent prorgmmes.

Chief Panikun also warned that if the village courts decided to stop work there could be a total chaos in the communities.

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230812Road works praised
By Tapo Tovilu

The mothers of the Kubu Hahela market have praised the ABG and other donor partner for the road work currently has been carried out.
They say that the sealing of their market front now makes it easy for vehicles especially during peak hours to move in and out of the market area attracting many customers.
They have called for more similar work to be carried out in other parts of the roads in Buka as this will make transportation easier.
The mothers now have made an appeal to the general public residing in Kubu to help keep the area clean as this much of the area is part of the ABG headquarters.

230812quality control encouraged
By Tapo Tovilu

Quality control on goods coming into the region has not been tough as there are very evident signs of counterfeit products in our shop shelves.
These were comments made by a public figure who would like to remain anonymous during an interview on New Dawn FM.
He says that during the past month he has been carrying out a survey on the number of counter fit products in shops in Buka.
He says that from his findings there has been an increase in the number of counter fit products coming into the region.
He says this is a very worrying issue as Bougainville currently is going through the economic growth period and products like this are damaging this growth.
He called on the relevant authorities to look into the matter as this was an ongoing and very dangerous issue for the economy of the region.

10)Solomon Islands PMs Accused Of Abusing Tourism Funds

Officials allegedly awarded contracts to family members

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, Aug. 29, 2012) – Solomon Islands parliamentarians have been accused of diverting public funds meant for tourism projects.

The criticism is from the president of the Malaita Ma’asina Forum, former MP Charles Dausabea.

Mr. Dausabea says each MP was given US$194,000 dollars from the Tourism Development Fund for the development of tourism projects in their electorates.

He says while some projects seem credible, he’s critical of others where he claims the money went to projects outside of the tourism sector.

The Island Sun Newspaper carried a front page article naming some of the MPs that reportedly benefited from the project.

Projects ranged from US$5,000 to as much as US$60,000 with several projects awarded directly to spouses and family members of current and former MPs.

The report also stated that much of the funds were allegedly paid directly into the MPs accounts, ignoring clear financial instructions established by law.

Mr. Dausabea says the public prosecutor and police should investigate the matter or risk losing the public’s confidence.

Solomon Times

11)Vanuatu Court Rules Police Commissioner’s Suspension Valid
President’s order to suspend commissioner supported by judge

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Aug. 29, 2012) – The decision of the Head of State to suspend Vanuatu’s Commissioner of Police, Joshua Bong on 17 June this year has been declared legal.

In a judicial review case, Justice Robert Spear ruled in favor of the President of the Republic after suspended Commissioner Bong filed a complaint that the Presidents decision for his three months suspension from office is “unlawful and that it should be quashed.”

The court summarized the challenge by the Claimants counsel to the lawfulness of the decision of the President to suspend the Police Commissioner as follows:

  • That the President does not have the power to suspend a Commissioner of Police
  • If the President does have the power to suspend then, in this case, the President has exercised that power unlawfully.

But after reviewing what both parties undertook in regards to the issue of the suspension of the Police Commissioner, Justice Spear “considered that there is nothing unlawful and illegal in the decision of the President made on 17 June 2012 to suspend Mr. Bong from the office of the Commissioner of Police.” Therefore the claim was dismissed.

“By extension, the advice that the President received from the Commission that Mr. Bong should be suspended from office was not irrational or unreasonable having regard to the situation that had developed.”

The court stated that the decision by the President was made after the Police Service Commission was faced with the issue of dealing with the Commissioner, who was expected to be on leave to allow investigation into complaints by the Minister of Internal Affairs about his competency in conducting himself as Commissioner.

According to the court, the Commission sought advice from the Attorney General who advised that by application of s. 21 of the Interpretation Act CAP 132, as the President had the power to appoint a Commissioner of Police, the President also had the power to “remove, suspend, reappoint or reinstate any such person.”

“Mr. Ata (Chairman of the Public Service Commission) confirms that following that advice, the Commission resolved to seek the suspension of the Commissioner. Mr. Ata then attended the President on Sunday 17 June 2012 and advised the President on the matters before the Commission and the resolve of the Commission to seek Mr. Bong’s suspension.”

The court further stated that “What was sought was not dismissal from office but suspension pending the inquiry into the matters raised by the Minister’s complaint.

“It was for a fixed term of three months which would probably have been sufficient for the inquiry to be concluded if Mr. Bong had not brought this challenge to the suspension.”

In the decision which was handed down on August 10, Justice Spear noted in “conclusion that the suspension is to expire on 16 September 2012 and that Mr. Bong’s term of office expires on the 30th September 2012.

“While the three month term of suspension was obviously designed to permit sufficient time for the inquiry to be conducted, Mr. Bong’s challenge to his suspension has meant that the inquiry has apparently not yet commenced. That is a matter that will need to be addressed by the Public Service Commission (sic) given the difficulty that it now has working with Mr. Bong.”

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

12)Reinstated Vanuatu MP Korman Will Contest Efate Seat
MP Joe Natuman calls for review of parliament standing orders

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Aug. 29, 2012) – Former Speaker MP Korman has switched from the Port Vila constituency to contest in Efate Rural in the 2012 General election.

Forty-four votes in favor paved the way for veteran suspended Port Vila Member of Parliament, Maxime Carlot Korman, to be reinstated into his functions as an MP representing his voters in Parliament-five days before the life of the 9th legislature ends.

The Prime Minister’s coalition government’s gesture to reinstate the former Speaker of Parliament was welcomed by the Opposition in the 1st Extraordinary session of 2012 in Parliament yesterday morning after he was stripped of his MP privileges in Parliament 11 months ago.

However Vanua’aku Pati MP, Joe Natuman, said there is a need to relook at how the Parliament functions on issues of governance, applying to the government and Parliament and Standing Orders in the future.

MP Natuman questioned the wording of the motion which he said implied that MP Korman was punished for doing his work as Speaker, touching on the democratic right given to MPs by the people in a normal democratic process and suggested the possibility of reviewing Parliament Standing Orders.

On the question of why the Port Vila MP was reinstated now after unsuccessful previous bids, minister Carcasses responded a similar motion was carried in Parliament in 2007 but the government then did not reinstate the suspended MPs, compared to this case.

To recap on events, the Parliament in the 6th Extraordinary Session of 2011 resolved that; (i) MP Korman in his capacity as Speaker of Parliament acted in contempt of Parliament and the Constitution (ii) suspended him from Parliament for the rest of the parliamentary term of the 9th legislature and; (iii) he will not hold any Parliamentary posts partly because with prior knowledge he made unconstitutional rulings resulting in enormous expense to the public purse.

But this is now water under the bridge as the government moved the motion to suspend Parliament Standing Orders 46 in a matter of “urgency to remove the suspension against MP Korman,” seconded by Opposition Leader Rialuth Serge Vohor and carried out unanimously before Minister of Finance Moana Carcasses moved that MP Korman be fully reinstated to his role as MP, a move seconded by Education Minister Marcellino Pipite in the absence of the minister of Public Utilities.

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

13)Vanuatu Cabinet Ministers due in court over Phocea events Friday week

Posted at 06:42 on 30 August, 2012 UTC

Two Vanuatu government ministers are expected to appear in the Supreme Court next week in relation to customs and immigration charges surrounding the super yacht, Phocea.

The vessel has been detained in Vanuatu since last month.

On Wednesday state prosecutors submitted an application for nine people to appear in court on Friday next week, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfred Carlot and the Education Minister, Marcelino Pepite.

They are facing ten charges, including alleged fraud offences.

Mr Pepite has admitted being on Phocea before it was cleared by Customs but says he was attending on the Government’s behalf.

The skipper of Phocea, Richard Malaise, will also appear next Friday.

Two weeks ago 13 crew were fined for disembarking Phocea before it had received official clearance from customs and immigration.

And an American student who was also on the vessel, Faviola Imgrad Brugger Dadis, was fined 1400 US dollars for breaching customs laws and obstructing police.

Radio New Zealand International

14)Fiji govt to set new rules for political parties

By Online Editor
12:36 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, Fiji Fiji’s Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced that government will be looking at new rules pertaining to the registration or re-registration of political parties.

“We are currently working on those rules. These will include, for example, increasing the threshold of the number of people required to subscribe to a political party. There are some countries which require a certain number of subscribers from different parts of the country we are looking at that model,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He also alluded to the number of people required for a political party to be increased from the current standard of 180 to possibly as much as 5000 signatures.

The AG said government was also looking at establishing a code of conduct for political parties and for full financial disclosure by parties and standing members.

“Similarly political parties will have to make their assets known to the public. There has to be public disclosure and it needs to be audited. Office holders in political parties need to make their assets and liabilities known to members of the public,” the AG said.

He said only those registered under the EVR process would be allowed to declare their intention to support any political party.

Sayed-Khaiyum urged everyone in the country to register, not only to have a say in the voting process but also to support the political party of their choice.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Trade Union Congress (FTUC) national secretary Felix Anthony has voiced his disappointment about the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) saying that the party has lost its direction and that workers in Fiji face even greater challenges ahead

In a statement, Anthony said he walked out of the FLP Delegates Conference held last Saturday in frustration over the practices and operations of the party which he says is a total opposite to the very principles of democracy it preaches.

The FLP was formed by the FTUC in 1985 and four portfolios were given to versatile unionists in 1987 when the party formed the then government.

“The party was supported by workers of all backgrounds as we demanded to have a voice in Parliament to effectively address our concerns,” Anthony said

He said it is with extreme sadness to witness the party losing its direction under the draconian leadership of its leader and in the current climate the union movement and workers in Fiji will face even greater challenges to their very existence.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/ FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

15)Trade Union Leader ‘Disappointed’ In Fiji Labour Party
Says workers will suffer ‘challenges’ as party loses direction

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Aug. 29, 2012) – Fiji’s Trade Union Congress (FTUC) national secretary Felix Anthony has voiced his disappointment about the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) saying that the party has lost its direction and that workers in Fiji face even greater challenges ahead.

In a statement, Anthony said he walked out of the FLP Delegates Conference held last Saturday in frustration over the practices and operations of the party which he says is a total opposite to the very principles of democracy it preaches.

The FLP was formed by the FTUC in 1985 and four portfolios were given to versatile unionists in 1987 when the party formed the then government.

“The party was supported by workers of all backgrounds as we demanded to have a voice in Parliament to effectively address our concerns,” Anthony said.

He said it is with extreme sadness to witness the party losing its direction under the draconian leadership of its leader and in the current climate the union movement and workers in Fiji will face even greater challenges to their very existence.

FLP spokesman and prominent Suva lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry told FijiLive that the party will issue a statement this afternoon.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

16)Fiji Government Promotes Awareness Of Rising Sea Levels
Relocations planned for certain villages on Vanua Levu

By Serafina Silaitoga

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 29, 2012) – The iTaukei Ministry in Fiji has started working with villagers through provincial council offices to increase awareness about the effects of climate change. This follows reports of villages affected by rising sea level.

Deputy ministry CEO Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga said provincial council offices around the country had been working with villagers.

“It is very important that villagers know about climate change and its effects on the environment like rising sea level which has become quite visible in some villages,” he said.

“We are aware of villages being affected by climate change and it is a concern for all — it’s equally important for villagers to understand the effects of climate change. There is one village I know in which relocation has started, so we are working with villagers through provincial offices to take heed of signs of climate change.”

Col. Kurusiga said a committee to look after sustaining the environment would soon be formed with the first in the province of Macuata.

“We can already see the effects of climate change, so the committee that will be responsible for sustaining and preserving the environment will also work with villagers on this matter,” he said.

Col. Kurusiga said the formation of the committee would be spearheaded by the Macuata Provincial Council office.

He said the committee would include villagers as their views were important.

Divisional planning officer north Alipate Bolalevu confirmed reports of sea water entering village compounds have been received by his office and there was government assistance available through the Climate Change Project. But villagers would have to follow proper channels for assistance. “Reports of villages being affected by rising sea level in Vanua Levu have been discussed in district and provincial council meetings. We are aware of a few villages that are affected by climate change with rising sea level entering village compounds and the issue will be discussed again in upcoming district meetings to identify the villages,” Mr. Bolalevu said.

“Work for the relocation of the first village in Vunidogoloa, Cakaudrove will start this week with delivery of building material to the new site. We hope the villagers can be relocated to the new village site before the end of this year.”

He said 30 houses would be built at the new village site.

The villagers, Mr. Bolalevu said, provided timber for their new homes while government assisted with the leveling of the new site and other building material.

But he said there were procedures to be followed before government could assist with the relocation of villages.

“The villagers will inform government through district and provincial council meetings of the situation they face in their villages as a result of climate change. Then they will have to identify a new piece of land for relocation and liaise with the mataqali for consent. When that is done, the villagers together with the consent from the mataqali will inform their provincial council offices and then it will come to the Ministry of Provincial Development where assistance and other relocation details would be attended to.”

Mr. Bolalevu said having villagers follow proper procedures was imperative to avoid unnecessary hiccups later.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

17)New Zealand not impressed with Fiji establishing diplomatic ties with Iran

By Online Editor
4:31 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, Cook Islands Fiji and Iran have signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations, in the same week as the Pacific Island Forum is being held in the Cook Islands.

Fiji remains suspended from the Forum, although New Zealand and Australia have softened their stance towards it.

The issue will be discussed at tomorrow’s leaders retreat.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully isn’t impressed with the timing.

“I think you’ll find that the NAM meeting, the Non-Aligned Movement meeting, which is taking place in Tehran is the reason why Fiji, as a member of the NAM, would be signing a bilateral agreement. I’m not sure it’s the smartest timing I’ve ever seen but that’s a decision that others have to make.”

But he admits there’s not much we can do about it when Fiji remains suspended from the Forum.

“Fiji, as you would expect have gone out of their way to promote relationships with other places and say ‘hey if our old friends don’t like us you friends will have us ‘ and that’s a phase we’ll have to go through.

“It doesn’t change the fact that we should all be working to try and get our own relationship in this region back into a better space.”.

SOURCE: NEWSTALK ZB/PACNEWS

18)Nauru deal signed and sealed

By Online Editor
12:38 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, Cook Islands“So the pen works,” Labor’s man for Pacific affairs, Richard Marles, could be heard to remark as he swapped signed papers with Nauru to cement the government’s plan to re-open an asylum seeker centre on the island.

“A bit dry at the start,” responded Nauru’s Foreign Minister Kieran Keke, a comment that roughly summed up Labor’s slow embrace of the Pacific Solution.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard stood alongside this morning as the two men pressed ink to the page, in an ante room in Cook Islands ahead of a summit of Pacific leaders.

This deal, known formally as the “memorandum of understanding between the Republic of Nauru and the Commonwealth of Australia relating to the transfer to and assessment of persons on Nauru and related issues,” is the much hoped for lifeline

Labor has grasped in what it hopes will be an escape to a toxic political problem.

Gillard offered her “sincere thanks”’ for her Nauru counterpart, President Sprent Dabwido – not least, it must be assumed, for patiently waiting while the government came back to a policy Opposition leader Tony Abbott has long said should never have been abandoned.

“Australia has always helped us in the past, and we can return this kind gesture by helping Australia with its current situation. We are very happy to help,” Dabwibo told reporters after the signing ceremony.

But the deal is vague on details. The number of asylum seekers to be held on the island is yet to be settled, Mr Dabwibo said – as is the length of time they will be held.

“The amount of time that they spend on the island – that is still a work in progress. But the Prime Minister has assured us they won’t be there forever.”.

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

19)Grand Celebration Opens Pacific Forum In Cook Islands
Secretary-general calls for ‘united regional identity’

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Aug. 29, 2012) – All of the 15 Forum country leaders – minus suspended Fiji – in the Cook Islands for the week-long Pacific Islands Forum tonight received a turou challenge from a warrior.

They were carried to the National Auditorium entrance on a paata followed by children from their adopted schools.

Once in the packed auditorium, leaders received rousing cheers befitting rock stars with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand PM John Key getting the mightiest cheers of welcome.

A visiting veteran journalist said that the ceremony put on by the people of the Cook Islands for the leaders was the “grandest ever” in the Forum’s 43-year history, according to the Cook Islands News.

Officially opening the meeting, Forum Secretary-General Tuiloma Neroni Slade said the region faced unprecedented challenges and Pacific people were looking to their leaders for guidance.

“Economic growth of the Forum countries continues to be lower than potential growth performance, climate change remains the single greatest threat, and the achievement of the millennium development goals is unheeded,” Tuiloma said. “There is a host of others.

United identity

“My call for a united regional identity as ‘large ocean- island states’ is not a new one,” Tuiloma said.

“The cohesion and commitment of our members and peoples are key to the success of our pursuit of regional accomplishments, including our collective role as protectors of our Pacific Ocean and its resources.

“This is no mean feat. It is the Pacific challenge we face – and it is our major contribution to the well-being of humanity.”

“Advancing their regional identity as Small Island Developing States to Large Ocean Island States would be key to realizing a change in how the Pacific and the world managed the resources of the Pacific Ocean.

“In doing so, we will not lose sight of our special island uniqueness but augment it with a more balanced, and committed view of ocean and islands,” he said.

Many news media speculated this week on how regional rivalry between China and the U.S. – sending its largest ever delegation led by U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton – might impact on the Forum.

“China’s influence is a huge issue around the region,” wrote TVNZ’s Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver today on her blog.

Mortgaged to China

“Several Pacific countries are mortgaged to the hilt to China as a result of accepting a seemingly endless supply of soft loans.

“There’s a history of Pacific politics being influenced by China and huge amounts of Chinese money is flowing into a region that for the most part lacks resources,” said Dreaver, who was a prominent journalist in the Cook Islands for eight years.

“You bet [this Forum] is about China and you bet the media will be covering in depth the unprecedented visit of Secretary Hillary Clinton.”

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre – pmc@aut.ac.nz

20)Future Of Tongan Retirement Fund Board ‘Uncertain’
Bankruptcy laws complicate appointment of new members

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Aug. 29, 2012) – Tonga’s Retirement Benefits Fund Board faces uncertainties after half of its elected directors have left the board. One resigned after a criminal conviction and now two other directors have been told to leave after their employer opted out of the fund for a year.

Only three of the original six elected directors in Tonga’s first and newly established National Retirement Benefits Fund Board remain after they met for the first time on May 2. Only one replacement has been admitted, while there are integrity issues surrounding another candidate who was next in line, following the election for the board.

A legal challenge is also possible over the interpretation of employer registration, because the Act does not say that exemptions result in automatic deregistration, with regard to representation on the board.

Meanwhile, there is a petition from the local business community before the House this week to defer the whole National Retirement Fund Scheme for five years from July 2012.

Directors

The current directors are the chairman Tevita Kolo’ia Havea of the FWC (employees’ representative); with Peseti Ma’afu of Liku’alofa Resort and Simone Sefanaia of the Tonga Development Bank (employers representatives) and newly admitted Lata Tangimana of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga (employees representative).

‘Aisea Taumoepeau is the government’s nominee to the board, but he has no voting rights. The legal advisor to the fund is ‘Alisi Taumoepeau, but there are no women on the board itself.

Dr. Sione Leimoni Taufu’i, the CEO of the national fund said on August 28 that Mosese Manuofetoa’s directorship had ceased in June after he accepted legal advice following a conviction in the Nuku’alofa Magistrate’s Court. He was replaced by Lata Tangimana, who was next in line following the election.

Exemption granted

Leimoni said Tonga Power Ltd. had submitted an application for exemption from contributions to the fund on May 25, 2012, which was granted by the board on August 3. He believed that this made the two former directors from Tonga Power Ltd. ineligible to sit on the board. William Clive Edwards Jr. a former employers’ representative and Graham Steven ‘Esau a former employee representative were therefore advised to cease their directorship on 21 August 2012.

Leimoni cited the National Retirement Benefits Scheme (Election) Regulations 5(1) and (2) 2012 that the term of office which is three years shall “terminate earlier if a representative ceased to be a registered employer of the fund”.

No replacements for Edwards and ‘Esau had been appointed, he said.

Runners-up

The Minister of Finance was abroad at the Forum meeting, so the two eligible candidates who had the next highest votes in the last election, should they accept any invitation to become directors, would be appointed by the Minister under the act, before September 3, he said.

They are: Siosaia Maile Moehau of Nuku’alofa Investment Ltd. who had 54 votes in the last Registered Employers election, and Kinitoni Mafi of the Tonga Airports Ltd. who had 917 votes in the Registered Employees election.

The law is clear that no person shall be appointed or remain as a Director; who is an undischarged bankrupt, has been convicted of an offence punishable by two years imprisonment or more; or is to become a member of the Legislative Assembly; or a person having been disqualified or suspended from practicing his profession by any competent authority.

Integrity

Questions of integrity of candidates for election to the board were raised during the board elections because Tonga has no bankruptcy law.

A lawyer representing creditor banks in Tonga, Ralph Stephenson said that, “It is perhaps worth noting that Section 6 (2) (a) of the National Retirement Benefit Schemes Act provides, with respect to the requirements for appointment as a Director of the Fund that: “No person shall be appointed or remain a Director- (a) who is an undischarged bankrupt.’

“Clearly, the quite proper intention of the legislature was to provide protection to the employer and employee members of the fund with regard to the financial ability, integrity and acumen of the Board members who will be the guardians of their money.

“Unfortunately, however, the legislature’s intention is self-defeating by virtue of the simple fact that Tonga has no bankruptcy laws, and as such it is not possible for a person to be an undischarged bankrupt,” he said.

“In these circumstances it would perhaps not be inappropriate for the Minister of Finance, as the responsible Minister under the Act, to request some public disclosure from the nominees.”

Ralph believed that candidates should be required by the Minister to make disclosure on any unpaid judgment debts; and whether or not they are parties to any legal proceedings for recovery of debts; and whether or not they had been directors of any company which had been placed into receivership or liquidation.

“Regrettably, the National Retirement Benefit Schemes Act and Regulations do not appear to give the Minister the power to compel the nominees to provide such information, but should a nominee refuse to provide that information upon the Minister’s request, then at least the electorate could form their own opinions based upon that refusal…before casting what will be a very important vote with regard to the trusteeship of their hard earned money.”

Opinion

Ralph also pointed out that all companies are required to register for the National Retirement Benefits Fund, “but the act does not say that upon being granted an exemption for one year, like Tonga Power Ltd., that you are automatically deregistered, because Tonga Power has not surrendered that.”

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

21)Regional Seabed Mining Framework Launched At Pacific Forum
Framework provides ‘guidance’ to enact mineral legislation

By Henry Yamo

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Aug. 29, 2012) – With looming exploitation of the Pacific Ocean’s mineral riches on the horizon, a regional protocol was launched today to ensure deep seabed mining was controlled in a “conserved manner.”

This is the first regional legislative and regulatory framework for deep seabed mineral exploration and exploitation, introduced at the Pacific Island Leaders Forum in the Cook Islands.

Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister Tom Marsters launched the regional framework put together by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in response to the leaders’ call in the 2009 Forum.

“The completion of this important framework and its release by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) provides a key message from us gathered for the Forum, themed ‘large Ocean island states: The Pacific challenge,’” he said.

The framework was called for by Pacific leaders as one of the key priorities of the Pacific Plan for the 2009-2012 period.

The framework seeks to provide Pacific Island nations with the tools necessary to make a decision about whether or not to engage with the emerging deep seabed mining industry.

SPC Director-General Dr. Jimmie Rodgers said the legal framework was targeted at providing tools and guidelines for Pacific Island countries to develop their own national legislation in for seabed minerals.

Framework needed

“The framework is needed here in the region due to the fact that many Pacific Island countries have substantial deep sea minerals within their exclusive economic zones but lack the capacity to develop their own legislation,” he said.

“This new framework will now enable respective countries to comply with relevant standards for the deep-sea mining industry within the region.”

Marsters said that because of growing commercial interest in deep sea minerals in the Pacific, nations needed to develop national policies and regulations for “sensible management.”

He pointed out that the Cook Islands was the first country in the world to have enacted legislation, the Seabed Minerals Act which was designed to regulate future seabed mining in its exclusive economic zone.

Papua New Guinea had issued a seabed mining license to the Canadian company Nautilus Minerals Niugini to commercially develop the seafloor for high grade massive sulphide deposits – a major source of the world’s copper, gold, zinc and silver – in its exclusive economic zone in the first such operation in the world.

The government faces mounting opposition over this project.

Other Pacific island nations – including Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu – also have or intend to issue exploration licenses within their exclusive economic zones.

Sponsored companies

Nauru and Kiribati had each sponsored companies that had been granted approved programs to work by the International Seabed Authority “within the area” (being the seabed areas outside the national jurisdiction), the first developing states to do so and the programs were expected to take place over the next 15 years.

He said that with “exciting times” the region had shared responsibility to protect and preserve the health of the Pacific Ocean and this objective needed to continue to be at the forefront of national, regional and global agendas.

The framework was completed by the SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) for the Pacific (ACP) African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre – pmc@aut.ac.nz

22)Pacific Leaders Wary Of Economic Deal With European Union
Niue premier says EU uncompromising with arrangements

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 29, 2012) – Pacific leaders are frustrated and suspicious of European Union negotiations for an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the region.

EPAs were due to come into force in 2008, but from the region, only Fiji and Papua New Guinea have signed interim agreements, and there has been no formal negotiation since 2009.

Niue’s Premier Toke Talagi says there is a tendency to quote legal frameworks, but there should be flexibility.

“There is a degree of frustration on our part at the fact that this agreement has not been signed. There is also a suspicion on our side that maybe they are trying too hard to get all that they want, and there is no degree of compromise in the arrangements we need to put in place. We believe that there should be some degree, in fact a large degree of goodwill.”

Leaders have agreed that if an EPA has not been signed by October, a special meeting of the Pacific leaders of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group will be held.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

23)Australia boosts aid for Pacific sex equality

By Online Editor
4:29 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, Cook IslandsWomen’s rights in the Pacific will receive a $320 million boost from Australia to help tackle gender inequality.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development aid strategy in the Cook Islands during the Pacific Islands Forum on Wednesday.

The funding, over 10 years, will go to increasing the proportion of Pacific women in leadership and decision-making roles, improving women’s access to financial services and markets, and improving safety for women, through better violence prevention, and access to justice, health and counselling services.

Female MPs and candidates will be able to access mentoring and training to influence politics, while access to employment will be made more equitable and marketplaces will be made safer and more supportive for female vendors.

Pacific countries will also enact more domestic violence legislation to protect survivors of violence.

Currently, women hold just five per cent of the Pacific’s parliamentary seats, and more than 60 per cent of women in some countries have experienced sexual or physical abuse, according to figures from AusAID.

“We know that societies only reach their full potential if women are politically participating as equals … We know that food security is advanced by enabling women to work in the agricultural sector,” Gillard said.

“And we know, too, that a key indicator of economic advancement is the full inclusion of women in the life of a nation.

“Gender equality is the right thing to do. It’s also the clever thing to do.”

Information campaigns on gender equality will be run through churches, local governments and at markets.

The Pacific Islands Forum will also make a declaration on its commitment to gender equality.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

24)Warning on Pacific health crisis

By Online Editor
4:25 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, Fiji

Pacific Islanders need to take more responsibility for their own health problems, according to the Dean of the Fiji National University College of Medicine.

Professor Ian Rouse says it’s a dual burden for the Pacific Island nations.

He told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that non-communicable diseases like obesity and diabetes are adding to the burden of the ever present threat of diseases like malaria, dengue and typhoid illnesses.

“A number of Pacific Island countries are now saying this is a state of emergency,” he said.

He said it is “absolutely critical” to get in to schools and educate young people but even more critical to deal with the generation currently suffering from a range of diseases.

“There’s at least a generation who didn’t do that (get health education in school) and now have a significant burden that they’re carrying, in their arteries if you like, or who have adult onset diabetes who don’t take care of themselves and are dying at young ages,” he said.

He said Fiji alone has around 400 lower limb amputations every year among people suffering from diabetes, a figure that could be substantially reduced if people took better care of their health.

“Everybody now maybe in their 30s, certainly in their 40s, has to go and get checked up by their doctor. And if they’ve got high blood pressure, if they’ve got diabetes, then they’ve got to learn to look after themselves,” he said.

He said those people put a high burden on health budgets in the Pacific.

“We’ve got to prevent these people turning up in a really critical event to an emergency department which will then consume substantial resources,” he said.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

25)Fiji and asylum seekers dominate talks

By Online Editor
12:40 pm GMT+12, 30/08/2012, Cook IslandsManaging ocean environments is the central theme of the Pacific Islands Forum but Fijian politics and regional asylum-seeker problems have dominated preliminary talks.

The focus of the forum’s roundtable discussions is Large Ocean Island States – The Pacific Challenge, looking specifically at the role and responsibilities of small Pacific Islands within their marine surroundings.

Leaders will also discuss the governance and sustainable development of resources, including energy and fisheries.

However, the theme could be lost under talk about progress with Fiji, which remains suspended from the forum until it holds democratic elections.

Relations between Australia, New Zealand and Fiji have thawed following recent trilateral talks, with the countries considering resuming diplomatic ties.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard held talks over breakfast with New Zealand counterpart John Key on Wednesday morning, with the pair again discussing Fiji, along with Australia’s moves to reopen asylum seeker processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

With increasing concerns that a boatload of asylum seekers could make its way to New Zealand, Key’s government is working on legislation for how they would be processed.

But he says it’s not terribly likely New Zealand would follow suit with detention centres, either on or offshore.

“I think before you went to the step of setting up a detention centre, you’d seriously have to think that the flow of people would warrant that,” Key said.

“Now, we’re more concerned about one boat coming than lots of boats, so no I don’t think that’s on our agenda today.”

Following the bilateral meeting, Gillard met with Nauru’s President Sprent Dabwido and the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a regional processing centre in Nauru at the earliest opportunity.

Gillard also met with Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on Wednesday.

As the Cook Islands forum’s only female attendee, Gillard will make an announcement on a gender equality initiative – an issue she has championed – later on Wednesday.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

26)Fidjien ? Insulaire de Fidji ? Indo-Fidjien ? Fidjien de souche ? Mélano-Fidjien ?

Posté à 30 August 2012, 9:42 AEST

Seuls les Fidjiens indigènes sont des Fidjiens !

Tel est l’avis de Mick Beddoes, homme d’affaires et Président de United Peoples Party (Parti des peuples Unis).

M. Beddoes veut également que Fidji deviennent les îles Fidji et que le terme générique des Fidjiens soit les insulaires de Fidji ; le terme Fidjien ne devrait désigner que les Fidjiens de souche.

Une position diamétralement opposée à celle de Frank Bainimarama, le Premier ministre par intérim et dirigeant du coup d’État militaire de 2006 qui estime que la Constitution maintenant abrogée de 1997 est une constitution raciste puisqu’elle désavantage la communauté des Fidjiens d’origine indienne, les Indo-Fidjiens. Pour M. Bainimarama, tous les ressortissants des îles Fidji sont des Fidjiens (point barre). On écoute Mick Beddoes.

BEDDOES : « Le fait que cette imposition du nom Fidjien par le régime est une chose qui a été arbitrairement décidée. Il n’y a pas eu de discussions. Si vous connaissez un peu l’histoire de la dernière Constitution fidjienne, la Constitution de 1997, et bien il y avait eu beaucoup de discussions sur le nom et la conclusion a été que Fidjien n’était pas le bon nom [pour tout le monde].

Nous sommes les îles Fidji et nous sommes devenus une république [la République des Fidji] à cause d’un putsch. Mais nous avons toujours été les îles Fidji et nous sommes des Insulaires des Fidji comme aux îles Cook il y a des Insulaires des îles Cook et des Insulaires, c’est ce que nous sommes tous en général. »

Mais pourquoi réserver le terme Fidjien seulement aux Fidjiens de souche ?

BEDDOES : « À propos du peuple indigène, il devrait y avoir, et je l’ai toujours maintenu, une certaine reconnaissance pour lui. Et je pense que tant que nous n’aurons pas un débat collectif dans un système démocratique sur le nom à adopter, nous devrions rester à l’écart  de ces choses, parce que le terme de Fidjien n’est pas perçu de la même façon dans toutes les communautés. Ça viendra avec le temps, mais pour l’instant je sens que ce n’est pas le moment.  »

Il semblerait que ce n’est pas le terme Fidjien pour tout le monde qui tracasse Mick Beddoes mais plutôt la façon dont ce nom a été imposé ?

BEDDOES : « Oui, c’est mon point de vue, c’est ce que je pense parce qu’ils ont fait des changements fondamentaux depuis qu’ils sont arrivés au pouvoir en 2006. Mais ils ne sont pas élus, ce n’est pas leur rôle, personne ne leur a donné de mandant pour faire tous ces changements majeurs. Je ne suis pas contre le fait que certains veulent s’appeler des Fidjiens ou autres, là n’est pas la question. La question est de laisser les gens débattre pour qu’ils puissent décider de ce qu’ils ont envie. »

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