NEWS (Melanesian/Pacific ) 18 September 2012.


1) PNG i makim indipendens dei

Updated 17 September 2012, 15:00 AEST

Long Sande, Papua New Guinea i bin makim 37 yar blong indipendens.

Insait long mainin taun blong Tabubil, antap long Star Mauden, klostu long PNG Indonesia boda mak, ol i bin soim pasin na kastom long makim indipendens beetde blong Papua New Guinea.

Ol ibin holim wan wik festival bung, ol i kolim Hamamas Celebration.

Jemima Garrett, husait ibin hap blong dispela ol bung na indipendens wikend, i salim ripot olsem ol pipol na maining kampani, Ok Tedi Mining Lmited ibin soim stret kala, pasin tubuna na hamamas blong 37 yar blong indipendens.

Ibin igat ol skul pikinini blong Wangbin primary school, laon danis grup blong Tami island long Morobe Provins, ol pipol blong Faiwolmin vilis blong North Fly River wantaim tu, wanpela singsing grup blong West Papua Provins blong Indonesia.

Michael Hayen, Principal blong Tabubil International skul i tok ol skul pikinini i bin enjoin gut dispela wanpela festival.

“Oh, it’s I mean it’s a very, very safe town, it’s a very peaceful town, facilities are very good. I think one of the main things about the town is the opportunities for people from Papua New Guinea for people to get well paid jobs, to use their skills to be trained, developed and also for the kids. A lot of our kids, I know talking to parents, sisters have gone to boarding school in Australia, university, becoming doctors. So I think the towns a real centre for Papua New Guinea development and for developing skills. I guess really with our school and the other schools, hopefully producing leaders in all sorts of different fields over years to come,” em ibin tok

2) Lawyer finds faults in PNG asylum seekers deal

By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 18/09/2012, Papua New GuineaA human rights lawyer has accused Papua New Guinea of being influenced by money to enter into an unlawful and inhuman deal with Australia to accept asylum seekers.

Lawyer Paul Harricknen questioned the PNG Government’s motives in accepting these people.

He said PNG could not rely on the Migration Act to allow asylum seekers into PNG because that legislation did not apply to them.

If Australia has legislated to bring these people in, PNG should also legislate to accept them into the country, and any such legislation should fully comply with the provisions of the Constitution, he says.

“What sense does it make for PNG to overlook and ignore the human rights of these desperate and vulnerable people? As it is, PNG has succumbed to the powerful influence of money to enter into an unlawful and inhumane deal,” Harricknen said.

“The governments of PNG and Australia recently signed an MOU in Russia to allow the boat people to be detained on Manus awaiting the processing of their refugee status. As we would expect from our 2003 experience, these people will comprise men, women and children. In 2003 there were 356 people: 232 adults and 124 children under 17 years of age.

“It is a fact that Nauru and PNG are not the destinations of choice for these asylum seekers. These people want to go to Australia. The Australian Government will be forcefully taking them to Nauru and PNG. In order to avoid condemnation, the Australian Government has passed legislation to legitimise its actions,” Harricknen said.

He said the United Nations High Commission on Refugees was deliberately staying away from these developments, saying it would monitor the situation at arm’s length.

“Is this a responsible attitude on the part of the United Nations? Has it no concern at all about the welfare and well being of these people? What about their human rights both in Australia and in the host countries? Are asylum seekers not within their mandate?” Harricknen said.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands has said in 2011 that a more humane response to asylum seekers was onshore processing in Australia, not in Manus in PNG.

“Whilst Australia has passed legislation to authorise its actions, what has PNG and Nauru done? Both PNG and Nauru have human rights provisions in their Constitutions,” he said.

“Both the PNG Prime Minister and Attorney-General assume that the acceptance of the asylum seekers into Manus by the MOU is legally compliant. It is not.

“The MOU is only an understanding between the two countries of their respective rights, responsibilities and benefits. PNG has jumped to embrace the deal for the economic benefits it stands to gain from.

“PNG has no concern and control over the welfare and well being of the asylum seekers. There is no concern about the human rights of these people guaranteed under the Constitution.”.


3)K15m for Manam Islanders relocation

By Online Editor
3:55 pm GMT+12, 18/09/2012, Papua New GuineaResettlement is imminent for the displaced people of Manam Island in Madang Province, thanks to K15 million (US$7.02 million) made available by Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion.

This was announced by Madang Governor Jim Kas during the 37th Independence Anniversary celebrations at Laiwaden Oval over the weekend. Kas said he would take ownership of the resettlement of Manam people during his term in office.

He thanked Dion for giving the people the K15 million and said the money would go a long way in progressing the resettlement of the islanders at Andarum in Madang’s Bogia District.

Governor Kas said the exercise was vital and urged people to refrain from politicising the issue, adding that East New Britain had gone through similar experiences with the eruption of its volcanoes during the 1990s.

However, he added that unlike the Manam experience, the resettlement in East New Britain had been swift and that Madang could do well to learn from them. Kas said the people of ENB were ready to assist.


4)Bougainville Government Urged To Review Peace Accord
Conflict veterans say 2001 agreement needs review

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 17, 2012) – The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville has been called on to review the Bougainville Peace Agreement by November.

The Bougainville Veterans Association, which represents ex-combatants from the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army, resistance fighters and the Mekamui group, presented a petition to the ABG President, John Momis, last week.

It calls for the immediate review of the Peace Agreement.

The Agreement was signed in 2001 and the association says it should be reviewed every five years but that has not happened.

New Dawn FM reports the association also calls on Mr. Momis to request that the United Nations send back monitors because they claim the peace process has been purposely delayed.

Radio New Zealand International:

5)Vanuatu Cabinet Minister defends super yacht owner

Posted at 03:32 on 18 September, 2012 UTC

Vanuatu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfred Carlot, has defended the businessman whose super yacht, Phocea, has been at the centre of controversy for the past two months.

Mr Carlot says Pascal Anh Quan Saken has helped him out a lot financially and he says the media is deliberately painting a poor image of him ahead of the election.

Mr Carlot and another Minister, Marcellino Pepite, are expected to appear in court later this week on charges of boarding Phocea before the official clearance from Customs.

Mr An Quan Saken is also due to face the court on a forgery charge.

Mr Carlot says Mr An Quan Saken’s appointment by the Government as Vanuatu’s honorary consul to Vietnam is still awaiting the approval of the Vietnamese Government.

Radio New Zealand International

6)Warnings Unchanged As Vanuatu Volcano Still Active
Visitors told not to hike near Tanna island’s Mount Yasur

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 17, 2012) – The warning level for Mount Yasur on Vanuatu’s Tanna Island remains unchanged today after violent eruptions last week prompted a warning level rise.

The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory raised the alert to level two on Thursday, which it says is unlikely to change in the near future.

Ash fell in villages surrounding Mount Yasur over the weekend and visitors are being warned not to hike to the summit following the eruptions.

The Observatory’s manager, Esline Garaebiti, says while the falling ash caused no damage, the warning level will remain in place.

Radio New Zealand International

7) Fiji lashes out at media over surgery claims

Posted 18 September 2012, 21:08 AEST

Fiji has denied reports that some locals were refused treatment offered by visiting New Zealand heart specialists because of a fee imposed by the Ministry of Health.

The Fiji Times reported that six patients could not be treated last week because they could not afford the $FJ575 hospital fee.

Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma told Radio Australia patients were not charged for surgery performed by the Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation.

“The media went into a frenzy and distorted the truth,” Dr Sharma said.

“No patient was left unattended for or untreated.”

Dr Sharma said people were only charged for angiograms because the organisation had not applied to have those fees waived.

Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation chairman Dr Vinod Singh said he was unaware of patients missing out on operations because of fees imposed by Fiji.

He told Radio Australia any fee imposed was small and would help provide equipment necessary in heart care.

“We’ve done in excess of $7 million worth of free open heart surgery so far and I’m pretty sure none – no patient – has been charged.”

Dr Singh said fees were only charged for coronary angiograms and stenting.

“My understanding is that a small fee collected goes entirely to upkeep of the machine and if we want the service to continue, then I see very little other options. I’m pretty sure the Government of Fiji is not making any money out of this.”

8)Former Court of Appeal judge in Fiji calls for AG’s dismissal

Posted at 07:26 on 18 September, 2012 UTC

A former Court of Appeal judge in Fiji has called for the dismissal of the interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The judge William Marshall who finished a two year contract this year also says there is no longer judicial independence in the country.

Sally Round reports.

Radio New Zealand International

“William Marshall made the criticisms on a website he says he was compelled to set up because of censorship in Fiji. William Marshall, a former senior QC in Hong Kong, is understood to have left Fiji after his contract ended mid way through the year. He says judges no longer do their duty and do not serve the people of Fiji, instead he says they do what the Attorney-General would wish them to do and in many cases this is specifically explained to them. William Marshall says Fijians are being cheated and deprived of justice and he says the tipping point for him was in April when it became known his contract would not be renewed. He has also revealed he petitioned regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama in June with his concerns. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was not immediately available for comment.”

9)Fiji Government May Waive $7.9 Million In Water Bill Debts
Customers given 3-month for cases to be considered

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Sept. 17, 2012) – More than 25,000 Fijian households, businesses, schools and places of worship will benefit from a government decision to waive the debts they owe to the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) for years of unpaid water and sewerage bills.

Unpaid bills amounting to almost FJ$14 million [US$7.9 million] will be waived, benefiting about one hundred thousand Fijians throughout the country.

Attorney General and Minister for Public Enterprise Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in a statement said the government recognizes that some customers simply cannot afford to pay their outstanding bills as many of these arrears have built up over the years and settling them is beyond the means of many ordinary people.

He said many people have been worried about how they would meet their obligation and this decision means that they can now rest easy.

The waiver applies to 25,529 accounts with the following partial breakdown: 22,345 domestic account customers or ordinary households and 954 schools and religious organizations.

Customers have a three month window from October 1 to December 31 to make contact with WAF to discuss their cases.

Each account is going to be investigated individually and the debt forgiven on a case-by-case basis.

According to the Water Authority, plumbing leakages are the main reason why some customers have incurred high bills and got behind in their payments.

More than twenty thousand accounts suffered from plumbing leakages, with total losses of FJ$6.3 million [US$3.6 million] dollars.

WAF will be making an announcement with more details later this week.


10)Timor-Leste Cyclists Ride Into Indonesia On Peace Tour
Tour de Timor hoped to rebuild relations between countries

By Meagan Weymes

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Sept. 17, 2012) – Night times during the Indonesian occupation meant staying indoors for Franchilina ‘Anche’ Cabral — she was too scared of the military to do anything else.

Now, 13 years after East Timor voted for independence, its fastest female cyclist and more than 300 others have cycled across the border into Indonesia on the Tour de Timor as a gesture of friendship between the two nations.

This year is the fourth Tour de Timor, but the first time the six-day mountain bike race has crossed international borders, weaving through Indonesian West Timor into the mountainous enclave of Oecusse.

“In 1999 it was really hard because of the Indonesian army,” said Cabral, who last year claimed victory in the women’s category of the race.

“We were afraid to go out at night so we’d just stay home. We felt there was no freedom,” she said.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and occupied the small half-island nation for 24 years, during which more than 183,000 people died from fighting, disease and starvation.

In 1999, East Timor voted for independence in a UN-sponsored referendum, but after the vote militias went on a campaign of violence, destroying much of the nation’s infrastructure.

‘Good neighbors’

“Everybody knows Timor and Indonesia had problems before, but this race is an opportunity for us to rebuild our relationship, so we can be good neighbors,” 27-year-old Cabral said, after finishing the fourth phase of the six-stage race, that began Monday and ends Saturday.

“It was really great to see so many Indonesians lined up along the route and cheering us on when we rode through,” Cabral said.

The Tour de Timor was originally an initiative of Nobel laureate and former president Jose Ramos-Horta to promote peace in East Timor.

“If Timor-Leste can host a successful Tour de Timor, a bike race that engages hundreds of participants, locals and internationals, then it must mean that the country is peaceful,” he said, using the country’s formal name.

Ramos-Horta says he discussed the tour crossing the border with Indonesian President Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono last May.

“He immediately understood and grasped the symbolic importance of the Tour de Timor crossing into Indonesian Territory on the way to Oecusse and back.”

Busy year

It has been a busy year for East Timor, one of the Asia-Pacific region’s poorest countries that celebrated a decade of formal independence in May and also held presidential and parliamentary elections that were largely peaceful.

By the end of this year it will bid farewell to UN peacekeepers, the present contingent here since 2006 after a political crisis in which dozens were killed and tens of thousands displaced.

The only major violence since then was a failed assassination attempt in 2008 on Ramos-Horta, who has remained steadfast in calling for forgiveness and reconciliation over the occupation.

Tour de Timor volunteer Helio Miguel Araujo crossed the border from East Timor into Indonesia for the first time in 1999, fleeing to a refugee camp in Kupung.

The now 22-year-old left East Timor for six months, but in that time lost family members in the violence.

“After six months I felt I had to go back home, and we decided to go back but had to hide from the Indonesian government.”

Despite losing many family members and friends, Araujo is adamant about the need to forgive and forget the past.

Focus on development

“If we just think about the past then what will happen to our future? We need to forget about the past and focus on our development.”

Despite offshore oil and gas fields, East Timor’s abject poverty is visible everywhere. There are few paved roads anywhere in the country, in the villages children walk barefoot and eat from the bare ground in slums, and even in Dili neighborhoods routinely flood during the rainy seasons.

In the tour, while some riders have full support teams, others sleep on cardboard boxes, a sign of the poverty that affects an estimated half the 1.1 million population.

Malaysian cyclist Sharin Amir was in the lead four days into the race, when two days of grueling cycling still remained.

Those racing on the 555-kilometer Tour de Timor include professional riders through to novices, with 96 riders registered from East Timor.

The tour finishes in Dili at the weekend, with the winners sharing a prize pool of more than $100,000.

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 – [email protected]

11)Tautua Samoa Claims PM Holds Too Much Power
Opposition alleges ‘conflict of interest’ in government branches

By Unumoe Esera

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Sept. 17, 2012) – The Opposition Party, Tautua Samoa, believes that Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi has become too powerful as he now controls both the Executive and Parliament.

The PM recently took over the portfolio from the Deputy Prime Minister saying his deputy, Fonotoe Lauofo has too much on his plate.

Leader of the Opposition, Palusalue Faapo II says what the Prime Minister has done concerns them.

“The Prime Minister’s statement that he has taken away the portfolio from the Deputy Prime Minister as he is overloaded with too many duties and taking it upon himself to oversee this portfolio, concerns us as all the power is now held by him.

“He leads the Executive and now he also has authority over the Legislative Assembly. We wouldn’t be worried if he had assigned the Legislative to another Cabinet Minister. The Judiciary is the only Independent arm now,” he said.

Palusalue also added that with this change, the Parliamentary Committee duties, such as visits which were formerly under the Speaker’s authority, cannot be carried out unless they get approval from Cabinet only then can they resume their duties. He said that this is something new and it was worrisome as they now have to seek the Cabinet’s approval.

Palusalue believes the difference of opinions between the Speaker of the House (Parliament) and the Prime Minister in previous matters such as the demolition of the old Parliament building is reason enough for the Prime Minister to want to control the Speaker so no more conflicts would arise.

The Tautua Deputy Leader, Aeau Peniamina says the three arms of government, the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary are independent of each other and only have respect between them. He says that all things should be done with integrity and should appear to be done so.

“The Speaker of Parliament has the authority, especially the administration of Parliament and the Members of Parliament. In parliament, the Education Committees for Schools are all under the administration of the Speaker,” he said.

The Committee’s decision to close some schools due to poor security and health status, angered the Prime Minister as the closure reflected badly on the Ministries of Education and Health and the administration. The PM then said that “it was a committee of loafers (au tafafaovale) whose power has gone to their heads.”

Aeau says this saddens him as democracy has not been served in this decision made by Tuilaepa.

Palusalue said that under the Constitution, the Prime Minister chooses which Minister to assign which portfolio that must be in writing, a letter which announces the portfolio and who it will be assigned to. But he says the Prime Minister has not done so and has created a conflict of interest in these three arms. He said now they had to ask for permission from the Cabinet and will have to wait for a week or two at the most for approval from Cabinet.

Aeau says that only the Judiciary is independent and he says the system will ultimately collapse.

“It is an intrusion of the Executive into Parliament. Parliament is no longer independent as was the norm according to the Constitution,” he said.

Tautua Party Whip, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi also expressed his views on the matter.

“The parliament of Samoa is not for one political party only. The entire budget that has been passed in parliament is decided by all members. Parliament shouldn’t have to seek Cabinet’s approval as it is only a subsection of Parliament. It goes against the Constitution. As for the Prime Minister’s reason for taking the portfolio, the Deputy PM does not have a lot of portfolios; he still does not have enough to do.”

Gagaifomauga No. 2 MP, Levaopolo Talatonu said that the people should pray for the Prime Minister to stop doing unlawful decisions but to do the right thing.

“I think what the PM has done is to suit his own purposes. He is aware that Parliament monitors Cabinet which is why he has done what he has in order to have absolute power. When we are in Parliament, we are all representatives or members from our constituencies and the highest respect is given to the Speaker. We ask that the Government respects the Constitution.”


12)Tuvaluans ‘Frustrated’ By Climate Change Aid Efforts
‘Inadequate, poorly researched projects’ disappoint residents

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 17, 2012) – An Australia-based campaigner on climate change issues in the region says people in Tuvalu are frustrated at what they see as a disjointed approach by aid donors.

Jill Finnane of the Pacific Calling Partnership at Sydney’s Edmund Rice Centre spent a week in Funafuti in July listening to the views of local people about climate change aid.

She says Tuvaluans spoke to her of inadequate and poorly researched projects which were not what local people wanted or which did not seem to be followed up.

She says people on outer islands, especially, are getting frustrated.

“Local people felt that there’d been a lot of pilot projects but then they hadn’t been developed into full on projects as yet. They felt that they need protection for their coastlines now. They don’t want it in ten years’ time when it’s too late.”

Ms. Finnane says local campaigners are exhausted and young people feel sad and desperate about their plight.

Radio New Zealand International:

13) Call for Australian aid to help neighbours develop EEZs

Posted at 07:26 on 18 September, 2012 UTC

A new study is calling for Australia to play a bigger role in helping its poorer neighbours manage and exploit their maritime zones.

The Australian Security Policy Institute paper says countries like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu all have large but underdeveloped offshore exclusive economic zones.

It says while the government aid agency AusAID does have some maritime aid programmes they tended to be unco-ordinated and lacking in focus.

The Institute says AusAID should make oceans a key theme of its work.

It says a dedicated focus across the spectrum of ocean management would support Australia’s aid priorities of fostering economic growth in neighbouring developing countries and helping them to protect the marine environment.

Radio New Zealand International

14) UN representative says Pacific region needs more peace builders

Posted at 03:32 on 18 September, 2012 UTC

A United Nations representative in the Pacific says there is a need for more local peace builders in the region.

Members of parliament, public officials and regional non-government organisations are meeting in Solomon Islands this week for the UNDP’s third annual workshop titled Sharing and Exploring Pacific Approaches to Dialogue.

The Fiji based UN resident co-ordinator and UNDP representative, Knut Ostby says the skills-training workshop is designed to teach leaders how to resolve conflicts.

“Clearly we have a need for more peace building and peace building that takes place in an indigenous manner. People don’t necessarily need outsiders to come in and tell them what to do. But they need peace builders in their own communities, in their own countries to help resolve what could become conflicts or what sometimes are already conflicts.”

Knut Ostby says the workshop involves 40 participants from Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.

Radio New Zealand International


15) Kate et William émerveillent les Salomonais

Mis à jour 18 September 2012, 10:27 AEST-Radio Australia.

Caroline Lafargue

C’est une image qui restera longtemps dans le souvenir des Océaniens.

Kate and William on a canoe-truck in the Solomon Islands

Le couple princier a eu droit à une parade dans les rues de Honiara, la capitale salomonaise, dimanche. (Credit: AFP)

Le Prince William et la Duchesse de Cambridge perchés sur un petit camion déguisé en pirogue, mais dont on voit toujours le chauffeur. Le couple princier est en visite aux Iles Salomon depuis dimanche. Dans un discours au siège du gouvernement, le Prince William n’a pas manqué de féliciter les membres des Jeunesses du Commonwealth : «Je trouve cela stimulant que vous ayez choisi de vous engager pour le Commonwealth, a-t-il dit. Car nous sommes ses héritiers, et nous devons perpétué son pouvoir, pour l’avenir», a-t-il ajouté. Kate, son épouse, a rencontré des femmes fonctionnaires, des groupes religieux et des représentants d’ONG. Le couple princier poursuivra à Tuvalu son tour en Asie-Pacifique en l’honneur des 60 ans du règne d’Elisabeth.


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