NEWS ( Melanesian/Pacific ) 10 September 2012.
1) Nauru na Manus redi long kisim asylum seeker
Ol nabawan asylum seeker aninit long offshore processing lo blong Australia bai go long Nauru dispela wik.
Oli wok nau long putim ap plenti long ol tent haus blong putim samting olsem 1,500 long ol asylum seeker.
Narapela 600 bai oli salim igo long Manus Island long Papua New Guinea, bihain long Australia na PNG i sainim wanpela Memorandum of Understanding agrimen long las wiken long APEC meeting long Vladivostok long Russia.
Palamen blong Australia bai toktok long dispela wik long ol dispela pepa blong ol peles oli makim blong offshore processing.
Gavman itok ol asylum seek husat ibin kam long Australla insait long sampela wik igo pinis, bai oli salim igo long narapela kantri long ol i prosesim.
Mausman blong Opposition immigration, Scott Morrison ibin tokim ABC Am program olsem gavman bai gat problem long muvim ol asylum seeker long Christmas Island igo long narapela Pacific kantri.
Oli tokim ABC olsem maski ol tent haus long Nauru i redi, oli stil nidim wok long sait long kakai blong ol na long sait long peles blong ol i save waswas longen, na dispela bai nonap redi inap long pinis blong dispela wik.
Nabawan lain bai oli salim go long Nauru em i sampela singel man husat i stap nau ia long Christmas Island.
Wanpela man long Imigresen Dipatmen itok ol Australian Federal Police bai yusim fos sapos ol lain ia i no laik kalap long balus blong go long Nauru.
Paris Aristotle, wanpela man husat i save halivim ol refugee itok oli hop olgeta samting i go orait na ol bai no nid long yusim fos.Radio Australia.
2) Manus deal sealed
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Papua New Guinea and Australia, paving the way for the transfer and processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island.
PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Rimbink Pato and Australian Trade Minister Dr Craig Emerson who signed the MOU to build on existing strong and cordial relations, have now reached an understanding in relation to the assessment in PNG of certain persons and related issues. The participants have determined that to combat people smuggling and irregular migration in the Asia-Pacific region is a shared objective. Transfer arrangements and the establishment of an Assessment Centre area are a visible deterrent to people smugglers. The MOU will enable joint cooperation, including the development of enhanced capacity in Papua New Guinea to address these issues.
The participants understand the importance of regional cooperation and have determined to continue discussions as to how the Assessment Centre might over time undertake a broader range of functions under the regional cooperation framework.
The guiding principles reached in relation to this MOU will be conducted in accordance with international law and the international obligations of the respective participant.
Both governments agreed in the MOU to conduct all activities in respect of this MOU in accordance with its Constitution and all relevant domestic laws.
The two countries agreed that the Australian Government will bear all costs incurred under this MOU. It also agreed that separate to the costs incurred for the specific operation of this MOU, the participants will develop a package of assistance focused on Manus province and other bilateral cooperation. This will be in addition to the current allocation of Australian development cooperation assistance to PNG and directed towards priorities which are consistent with the revised PNG-Australia Partnership for Development (endorsed by both Governments on 12 October 2011). The operation of the MOU states that Australia may transfer and PNG will accept transferees from Australia under this MOU. It states that administrative measures giving effect to this MOU will be settled between the two countries and any further specific arrangements may be made, as jointly determined to be necessary by the participants.
The persons to be transferred to Manus are those persons who have travelled irregularly by sea to Australia; or have been intercepted at sea by the Australian authorities in the course of trying to reach Australia by irregular means and are required by Australian law to be transferred to PNG.
The MOU states that Australia will make all efforts to ensure that all persons entering PNG under this MOU will have left within as short a time as is reasonably necessary.
Australia also undertook for the purposes of the MOU to arrange for the resettlement or transfer from PNG of all persons entering PNG under this MOU. Both countries agreed under the MOU to ensure that transferees will be treated with dignity and respect and that relevant human rights standards are met.
They also agreed that special arrangements will be developed and agreed to by the participants for vulnerable cases including unaccompanied minors.
3)Rains wreak havoc
By ANDREW ALPHONSE
CONTINUOUS heavy rain in Southern Highlands Province has resulted in several bridges being swept away while more than 80,000 people of Kagua Erave district are completely cut off without any road access.
SHP Governor William Powi and re-elected Kagua Erave MP James Lagea confirmed the disaster last Friday during a press conference at National Parliament in Port Moresby.
Governor Powi and Mr Lagea appealed to the National Government and the National Disaster and Emergency services to immediately assist with emergency relief assistance for the people affected and for the rebuilding of the bridges.
Governor Powi said the province had been hit by prolonged heavy rain over the past few weeks and there were reports of widespread natural disasters in various parts of the province.
He said the rainy season is creating havoc for his people and help is imminent as access for the smooth flow of goods and services have also been disrupted at various parts of the province.
He said the Yalo river that runs through the Imbonggu, Ialibu Pangia, Mendi and Kagua Erave electorates had washed away two bailey bridges downstream. Governor Powi said the main bridge linking Ialibu with Kagua- Erave district was swept away as well as the one at Kendalg village in Ialibu.
He said the third bridge was at Usa village and the fourth at Kuare in Kagua district was also damaged by floods.
Governor Powi said the Highlands Highway between Western Highlands and the province at Kumbame village in the Imbonggu district had also been covered by a landslip at 7am last Friday. He said road traffic into Mendi was disrupted for several hours until Department of Works officers from Mendi with a PNG Defense Force engineering battalion helped in clearing the road.
Governor Powi said the extent of the damage caused by the rain throughout the province could not be fully established as yet but the Provincial Government had sent officers from the provincial administration to visit these sites to compile a detailed report of the disasters.
Governor Powi said it was important that the National Government immediately assist at this time and address issues (like the roads) of the people affected by the flood.
By Online Editor
4:36 pm GMT+12, 10/09/2012, Solomon Islands
The Pacific media family is today mourning the untimely passing away of one of the region’s successful indigenous media owners and life member of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA), Father John Lamani of Solomon Islands.
Father Lamani, as he is affectionately known, died at his Skyline Ridge home in Honiara early this morning. He is a pioneering Pacific Islands newspaper publisher – owning Solomon Islands daily newspaper, the Solomon Star, PAOA FM radio and a printing business.
He is not only a celebrated regional media figure but also contributed immensely to the Anglican Church in Solomon Islands, where he was ordained a priest. In 2009 he was knighted and bestowed the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for his service to the media, church and community in Solomon Islands.
Recognising the late Father Lamani’s success as an indigenous newspaper publisher in the Pacific, the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) at its bi-ennial Media Summit invited Father Lamani to be its keynote speaker in Fiji in March this year.
“This was one of his last contributions to the regional media fraternity – encouraging Pacific Islanders to take on the challenge of setting up their own media organisation and report issues from their perspective, said PINA Manager, Matai Akauola.
“The untimely death is a huge dent on the regional media family, especially the words of wisdom that we need every now and then from our elder media statesmen who have come through challenges we are facing now.
“Father Lamani is a great believer in home grown solutions,” said Akauola.
Both the late Father Lamani and his wife Cathy were given the PINA Media Freedom Award in 2001 for their bravery and national leadership of the local media in Solomon Islands during the ethnic tension.
The national media association in Solomon Islands lamented Father Lamani’s passing away as a huge loss for the media industry in the Pacific nation.
Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) President, George Herming said the newspaper publisher was one of the pioneering figures in the development of the independent media in Solomon Islands.
“The sacrifice and dedication made by Father Lamani in the field of media has been very inspirational and contributed significantly to the development of the media both in Solomon Islands and the Region.
The late Father Lamani, who hails from Gegema Village in Malaita Province is survived by his wife Catherine, three daughters, two sons and a grandchild. A funeral service will be held in Honiara Tuesday morning before his body is taken to his home island for burial.
5)Solomon Islands Government unmoved by Opposition threat of no confidence vote
By Online Editor
1:40 pm GMT+12, 10/09/2012, Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands Minister of National Planning Snyder Rini says the Opposition Group will not succeed in its motion of no confidence.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Star, Rini said government members have “no second choice” in joining the Opposition group to topple PM Lilo’s leadership.
“I believe it is the Opposition members who want to join the government,” Rini said.
The Opposition on Thursday submitted to parliament a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.
Earlier, Opposition Leader Dr Derek Sikua said his members and those from the Independent Group in Parliament are concerned with the way the Prime Minister has been leading the nation since his election into office in November last year.
However, the Prime Minister is unmoved by the Opposition’s vote of no confidence.
Special Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Philip Tagini confirmed that government support remains intact.
“The government remains solid and unmoved,” Dr Tagini said.
An Opposition spokesperson said government’s claims of solidarity could only be proven when the motion is tabled in parliament.
“Let’s prove it on the floor of parliament,” the spokesperson said.
He said Dr Sikua had made it clear that his motion was based on national interest.
“Right thinking leaders should understand do we want to advance our own interest or national interest?” the spokesperson said.
The motion is likely to be debated Friday this week.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
6)Solomons Government Members Stand With PM
No-confidence motion likely to fail, insider says
By Eddie Osifelo
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 10, 2012) – Government members reportedly met last Thursday night to reaffirm their support to Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.
The meeting was held hours after Opposition leader Dr Derek Sikua submitted a motion of no confidenceagainst Mr Lilo, to parliament.
[PIR editor’s note: In defending his decision to introduce the motion Opposition leader Sikua said “”This motion is about ensuring good governance, transparency and accountability which the prime minister has failed miserably to achieve in his very short term in power. The corruption allegations against him are not at all a secret to the public as I have already exposed most of them in the media. Thus, I am certain that no right minded person would question the substance for the motion. This motion, therefore has nothing to do with being hungry for power.”]
The motion is likely to be debated on Friday, two days before Prince William and his wife Kate arrived here on September 16.
A government insider told Solomon Star yesterday the members’ support for Mr Lilo was firm.
“All ministers and backbenchers met and assured the prime minister they will be with him to the end,” the insider said.
“They said the Opposition leader is wasting his time.”
Parliament confirmed receiving the motion, but has yet to set a date to debate.
An officer said under parliamentary standing orders, the motion should be ready for debate after seven clear days from the day it is submitted.
This means parliament may likely to debate the motion next Friday.
By Online Editor
09:37 am GMT+12, 10/09/2012, Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea’s former Finance Minister, Bart Philemon, has warned the Solomon Islands government about the dangers of depending too heavily on mining for economic stability.
The warning comes soon after Gold Ridge, Solomon Islands’ oldest mine, restarted production on Guadalcanal.
“Mining is only valuable insofar as it contributes towards us laying down the firm foundation for the
development in the renewable resources such as agriculture and so forth,” Philemon told Australia Network.
Solomon Islands is forecasting a fall in economic growth this year from 10 percent to less than five percent, as the country’s forestry industry slows.
Solomon Islands Finance Minister, Rick Hou, says the country’s fisheries and agriculture sectors have also slowed due to international prices.
Hou says this slow-down in other sectors has necessitated growth in mining.
“Just this year…their share of the export sector has gone up to 39 percent, that’s a very huge increase,” Hou said.
“Now I recognise that that’s coming from no mineral exports to quite what is going to be quite huge exports in the coming years.”
The Solomon Islands government is planning to implement a new mining tax regime and other regulations, in order to avoid the land disputes and corruption that plagued the forestry industry.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS
8)Foreign missions in Solomon Islands warned not to meddle in politics
Posted at 03:30 on 10 September, 2012 UTC
A political pressure group in Solomon Islands has warned foreign missions not to meddle with the country’s politics.
The Malaita Ma’asina Forum made the warning before this week’s motion of no confidence in parliament against the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.
The Forum’s president, Charles Dausabea, says it has received information about three embassies hosting dinners for members of parliament and he says the embassies intend to influence the outcome of the no confidence motion.
Mr Dausabea says foreigners should refrain from meddling in Solomon Island politics and MPs should be allowed to determine their country’s destiny.
The Malaita Ma’asina Forum is a major critic of the Prime Minister and supports efforts to topple him.
Radio New Zealand International
9) Maritime safety key part of Vanuatu shipping development
Posted at 02:12 on 10 September, 2012 UTC
Improving maritime safety will be a key component of a multi million dollar upgrade of shipping services in Vanuatu being undertaken by New Zealand, the Asian Development Bank and the Vanuatu Government.
The work will involve a new inter island terminal in Port Vila and new jetties on Malekula, Ambae, Tanna and Pentecost.
The ADB is providing nearly 33 million US dollars in a soft loan with New Zealand’s aid programme contributing 12 point 6 US dollars and the Vanuatu Government just over 3 million.
New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Port Vila, Bill Dobbie, says the Vanuatu Shipping Project is not only about developing services that are more reliable, more frequent and cost effective, but also safer.
“Tht’s why one of the components of the project is to establish the Vanuatu Maritime Safety Administration which is going to be very much focussed on improving the way in which shipping services in Vanuatu are regulated, with a particular focus on ensuring safety. So setting safety standards but also enforcing them, which is the very much the responsibility of course of the Vanuatu Government.”
Radio New Zealand International
10) China, Vanuatu Sign Zero-Tariff Agreement
Up to 95% of exports from Vanuatu tariff-free by 2013
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Sept. 7, 2012) – Newly arrived Chinese Ambassador, Xie Bohua and Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini signed a Note of Exchange confirming China’s commitment to grant the zero-tariff special treatment of up to 95% Vanuatu originated products for export into the Chinese market within 2013.
Ambassador Xie said at the signing ceremony that took place in 2008 at the United Nations Summit meeting on helping developing countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced China’s goodwill of granting zero-tariff special treatment to 95% of products originated from the LDCs (including Vanuatu) and exported into the Chinese market within three years.
He said this gesture is a reflection of China’s commitment to actively endeavouring to help other developing countries achieve economic growth at the best capacity of the Chinese Government, although China is a developing country of its own.
“Through the mutual efforts between our two Governments, China and Vanuatu signed the Note of Exchange and confirmed that starting from July 1 2010; China took the lead in offering zero-tariff treatment to 60% products originated from Vanuatu into the Chinese market. Up till now, a steady progress has been made in that arena”, the Ambassador said.
He was delighted to inform the Deputy Prime Minister that in order to promote the economic development of Vanuatu and to strengthen the economic and trade relations between the two countries, the Duty-Free Treatment will be extended to products corresponding to 95 percent of the tariff lines within 2013.
Xie reiterated that China’s unilateral initiative towards Vanuatu manifests the importance the Chinese Government attaches to the friendly relationship between the two countries and feelings of the Chinese people towards the people of Vanuatu. “This arrangement will benefit Vanuatu exports to China, promote its economic growth and last but not the least will increase the export revenue and income of the local business communities and Ni-Vanuatu farmers”, the Ambassador said.
Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini expressed deep appreciation on behalf of the people and Government of Vanautu for the generous economic and technical support extended by the
People and Government of China to Vanautu over the long run. He would like to see more products particulary farm produce from Vanuatu to enter the largest market in the world now that the Note of Exchange has been signed.
Ham Lini assured the Chinese Ambassador that the arrangement will further strengthen the friendly relationship between Vanuatu and China and he was delighted to sign this Note before he officially visits China from Septmber 4 to 11 to promote trade and investment relationship with China.
Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com
11) Head Of Fiji Constitution Commission Concerned About Intimidation
Ghai says they are hearing a ‘range of views’
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 7, 2012) – The head of Fiji’s Constitution Commission says there are people too intimidated to appear, but it is hearing a range of views.
Women’s organisations in the country have alleged plainclothed police officers are attending the hearings and taking notes and people are afraid to speak out.
The Commission’s head, Professor Yash Ghai, says a lot of people have been speaking frankly, but it’s entirely possible others don’t come at all.
“It’s hard to say how many people are being deterred by…the police. I have noticed in some meetings when the police are taking notes that people seem to be speaking freely. But I know that some people have told me that they are a bit uneasy when the police are sitting there, so it’s a mixed reaction, I would say.”
Professor Yash Ghai says while anyone can watch the hearings, when he has detected police taking notes, he has asked them to leave.
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
12) Fiji journalism faces ‘toughest times’
By Online Editor
09:46 am GMT+12, 10/09/2012, Fiji
While journalism in Fiji has taken a beating, renowned Pacific Island journalism educator Professor David Robie believes Fiji is still setting high standards in the field.
Speaking to The Fiji Times Robie, the former head of the USP’s journalism program, acknowledged Fiji journalism faced some of its toughest times in recent years.
“Journalism has taken a beating in Fiji in recent years. Fiji journalism was once a famous standard and example for the region,” Prof Robie said.
“The strongest countries for the media were once PNG and Fiji in particular but we’ve now got a generation of journalists coming through that have actually not experienced living in a free media environment and that poses a lot of challenges,” he said.
However, Prof Robie, director of the Pacific Media Centre at the Auckland University of Technology, remained adamant that the standards of journalism in Fiji were not slipping.
He was responding to comments by the current head of the USP’s journalism program, Canadian journalist Marc Edge.
Edge told the two-day Media and Democracy conference at USP, Fijian standards of journalism were not good enough and he was working to raise standards to an international level.
“I don’t agree about the international standards comments made by Mr Edge,” Robie said.
“The fact is that a lot of really good Fiji journalists have gone out from Fiji and got good jobs all over the world from USP. So, yes, things are difficult at the moment but it’s a long-term process.”
Meanwhile, “if as much resources were devoted to an iTaukei language daily newspaper as to English language dailies, it would be successful.”
This was the thesis of a paper presented by iTaukei language expert and accomplished linguist Paul Geraghty at the Media and Democracy conference at the University of the South Pacific last Thursday.
In his paper, Geraghty said there were possibly 500,000 first language speakers of the iTaukei in Fiji, including not only ethnic Fijians but all Melanesians and other minorities in the country.
“Yet less than 5 per cent of newspapers are printed in iTaukei. Compare this with other multi-lingual nations like Belgium, where the language of media is roughly in proportion to speakers,” Geraghty said.
He said iTaukei language speakers were passively literate, however, this literacy was used infrequently in very few domains.
He said very few iTaukei language speakers had not read any other iTaukei books besides the Bible and hymn books with most correspondence taking place in English.
Speaking on local iTaukei newspapers in existence, Geraghty said the expectations of the public had dropped.
However, he said there was still hope if there was a concerted effort to educate for real active iTaukei language literacy in schools and invest in quality writers and iTaukei language print journalism.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
13) Guam Conference Highlights Value Of Traditional Medicine
Herbal knowledge ‘one of last links to indigenous culture’
By Arvin Temkar
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 9, 2012) – Guam needs to return to its roots — literally, cultural advocates say. Herbalists, healers and others met this weekend to discuss the value of Micronesia’s traditional medicine and the health challenges the islands face.
The conference started Thursday with a discussion about the state of health care in Guam and neighboring islands. There’s an alarming amount of cancer, diabetes, hypertension and other “lifestyle diseases” in the community, said Moñeka De Oro, an organizer with Haya Foundation, the nonprofit that sponsored the AMOT Conference. “Amot” means medicine in Chamorro.
“We were so much healthier and stronger before, but outside influences have really impacted our health and well-being,” she said.
Just six decades ago people hunted, fished and farmed for sustenance, but now many things are store bought and unhealthy, she said.
At the conference there were several herbalists — known as suruhanu (male) and suruhana (female) — on hand to share their knowledge, including eight from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Yesterday, attendees focused on strategies to perpetuate healing traditions.
“Chamorro medicine is one of the last links to the original indigenous culture,” said Toni Ramirez, a historian at the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Ramirez became interested in Chamorro medicine as a child. He said he had allergic reactions to aspirin, so he used traditional remedies for headaches and fevers.
Aspirin, in fact, has roots in tree bark, said herbalist and Haya organizer Ursula Herrera.
Herrera said she believes nature-based medicine is healthier than lab-created medicine, and the body is more receptive to natural remedies.
Mariana Guzman, an herbalist at Hurao Academy, said she learned her trade from her mother, who would go into the jungle to get plants to help heal her family.
Community members should keep traditional medicine in mind as an option for treating illnesses, she said. She’s seen results in using the medicine for asthma, congestion, coughs, fevers and arthritis.
“It’s not about shunning Western medicine, it’s about holding on to our own,” said De Oro. She added, “A lot of the medicines you can just grow yourself.”
Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com
By Online Editor
4:31 pm GMT+12, 10/09/2012, Australia
An Australian team comprising defence force personnel and immigration officials will head to Papua New Guinea in coming days to start work on setting up the asylum seeker processing facility on Manus Island.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told reporters in Canberra on Monday 30 ADF personnel and two immigration department staff were preparing to head to PNG.
The minister signed an updated memorandum of understanding with Papua New Guinea on the weekend to reopen the Manus Island facility.
Bowen also has signed the legislative instrument designating Nauru as a regional processing country under the Migration Act.
The document will be tabled in parliament on Monday and require a resolution approving Nauru be passed by both houses.
Logistics group Transfield has been given the contract to run the Nauru facility, Bowen said.
Bowen said the government also had contracted the Salvation Army to provide support services to asylum seekers on Nauru.
He said there had been extensive planning ahead of the transfer of people to Nauru.
“The governments of Australia and Nauru have been working towards a transfer to occur in the latter part of this week,” he said.
“After the parliament approval process is completed I will be making further announcements about logistical arrangements.”
Bowen said the government had worked closely with its lawyers to minimise the prospects of a challenge in the courts.
“This is a very litigious area,” he said.
“I’m sure that lawyers on both sides will be examining their options.
“Our obligation is to ensure our case is on as strong a ground as possible.”
The minister said the Salvation Army – a Christian organisation – was an appropriate agency to run services.
“The Salvation Army is not there to proselytise – they are there to provide services as they do across Australia on a daily basis to people of all faiths and backgrounds,” he said.
Pressed on who will decide which asylum seekers who have arrived since mid-August will be sent to Nauru, Mr Bowen said it was essentially up to him.
Under the Act, immigration department officials were obliged to take offshore any person who arrived by boat unless instructed to the contrary by the minister or his delegate under “public interest grounds”, he said.
15) Concerns Raised Over Increasing Use Of Guns In Pacific Crimes
Report identifies Tonga, American Samoa as main entry points
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 7, 2012) – There’s growing concern across the Pacific over an increased use of guns in crime.
A Pacific Transnational Crime report has in the past identified Tonga and American Samoa as the main centres for the movement of weapons into the greater Pacific region.
But in Papua New Guinea new data reveals more than 60 percent of major crimes now involve guns.
In May, most recently there was a police raid on a village in Samoa with three officers wounded and one person killed.
More widely across Melanesia there have not been any major gun crimes since the end of political crises in Solomons and Bouganville.
Dr Gordon Nanau, a lecturer in politics and international affairs at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that people must work with police to reduce the number of guns in their communities.
“In the past few months there was that incident where police raided a few villages in Samoa, and that resulted in three casualties,” he said. “In Tonga in 2010 police recovered around thirty semi-automatic assault rifles in Tongatapu – that’s an indication that there are illegal guns in communities.”
He added that there were reports of a small number of illegal arms in Solomon Islands, where three weapons amnesties (the latest in 2003) have been overseen by local authorities and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). “Even in rural Solomon Islands people talk about groups that still hold on to guns even after the amnesty period.”
Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
16) Warning over fake Pacific Seasonal Worker agents
By Online Editor
1:36 pm GMT+12, 10/09/2012, Australia
Australia and Solomon Islands are on the look out for bogus recruitment agencies trying to cash in on the Seasonal Workers Scheme.
The scheme underwent a major expansion last month to include East Timor, Nauru, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands.
Mark Roddam, from Australia’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat they are aware of at least one bogus agent in Solomon Islands.
“There’s been a case in the Solomons of a group claiming to be part of the seasonal worker program, and they are not one of our approved workers under the scheme,” he said.
“We have around 25-30 approved employers under the scheme…and they’ve gone through a process to get approval from the Australian Government to participate in the program.”
Roddam, who manages the department’s migration branch, says some people have lost money.
“The information we have from the Solomon Islands that there are many workers that have paid fees,” he said.
“That is obviously of considerable concern to us and we have been working with the Solomon Islands Government to make sure that the right information is out there for people in the Solomons who would like to one day participate in the program.”
Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati have been part of the program since 2009.
The department is directing potential new workers to the Solomon Islands Labour Mobility Unit, which will direct them to one of the approved recruitment agencies.
Roddam says the main focus is around accurate communication in both Australia and the workers’ home countries.
“In terms of Solomon Islands, they’ve got their four approved agents, so…for people in the Solomons it’s ensuring that you’re dealing with only one of those agents,” he said.
“From the Australia side, it’s ensuring that our countries have up to date information on who our employers are, and as more employers become approved, we let all of the countries know.
“So it’s ensuring that everyone has up to date information and clear information on who the people who participate in the program – who the approved ones are.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS
17) Esclave ou militaire fidjien ?
Une œuvre de bienfaisance britannique, Veteran Aids, trouve scandaleuse la manière dont le gouvernement traite des anciens combattants fidjiens.
13 de ces anciens combattants Fidji dont l’armée britannique n’a plus besoin risquent d’être expulsés du pays, dont le caporal Isimeli Baleiwai qui a servi 13 ans dans les rangs de l’armée britannique avec des missions en Irak et en Afghanistan.
Isimeli Baleiwai n’a pas pu obtenir la résidence permanente à la suite d’une mesure disciplinaire parce qu’il s’était battu avec un autre soldat.
Le directeur de Veteran Aids, Hugh Milroy, affirme que ces anciens soldats fidjiens n’ont pour ainsi dire aucun recours qui leur permettrait de contester ces ordres d’expulsion : « On se sert d’eux et on les jette. C’est l’esclavage des temps modernes. »Radio Australia.
18) Corruption : l’ennemi public No 1 en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée
Tout reste à faire, a déclaré Bart Philemon, un vétéran de la politique et ancien ministre des Finances.
Dans son tout récent discours sur l’état de la nation, le premier ministre Peter O’Neill a donné les grandes lignes de ses stratégies de lutte contre la corruption pour tenter de reconstruire les institutions publiques rongées par la corruption.
Pour l’ancien député, Bart Philemon, davantage doit être fait pour résoudre ce problème tentaculaire, la plus grande menace qui pèse sur l’avenir du pays.
N’oublions pas que selon l’Indice de Perception de la Corruption (IPC) de l’organisation Transparency International, la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée est à la 154ème place sur 180 pays.
Le président de Transparency international en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, Lawrence Stephens, est entièrement d’accord avec Bart Philemon ; davantage doit être fait. À commencer par collaborer avec des organisations comme Transparency.
STEPHENS : « Oui, il faut trouver ce que nous pouvons faire tous ensemble pour changer tout ça. Et l’organisation pour laquelle je travaille est disposée à travailler avec le gouvernement pour trouver les moyens de contenir cette corruption qui touche presque que tous les services du gouvernement de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. »
Pourquoi cette corruption persiste depuis maintenant 37 ans d’indépendance ? La réponse de Lawrence.
STEPHENS : « Quand Bart Philemon parle des attitudes que les gens ont prises, c’est vrai, il a raison. Les gens acceptent beaucoup trop la réalité de la corruption. Ils sont beaucoup trop disposés à participer à des activités corrompues et n’hésitent pas à donner des pots de vin à des policiers et à des fonctionnaires corrompus. »
Que penser de la volonté du gouvernement O’Neill et de plusieurs dirigeants politiques de lutter contre la corruption et de prendre le taureau par les cornes ?
STEPHENS : « Tout ce que nous pouvons faire, c’est de nous réjouir. Nous avons déjà entendu le Premier ministre nous parler, quand il était ministre des Finances, de la mauvaise gestion financière, de la corruption dans le pays et du besoin de changer la situation.
Nous sommes sur le point de recevoir d’importantes sources de revenus [de l’exploitation de gaz naturel liquéfié] et nous devons nous assurer que cela soit bien géré. Nous savons aussi que le Premier ministre est intelligent. Quelqu’un qui connaît les comptes. Et quand nous découvrons la création d’une mission contre la corruption, quand nous découvrons son engagement à la convention des Nations Unies sur la lutte contre la corruption, sans oublier son appel pour la transparence dans l’industrie du bois et le secteur minier et enfin quand il nous dis que nous allons nous battre contre l’attitude qui prévaut ; nous ne pouvons que nous réjouir et c’est avec enthousiasme que nous allons travailler avec lui. »
Bart Philemon, ancien député et ancien ministre ds Finances de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. [Radio Australia: Firmin Nanol