NEWS ( Melanesian/Pacific ) 16/10/12
1) Buzz FM 96 launches
- Local News-Vanuatu Daily Post.
Vanuatu’s first FM station that is not owned by the Government or a politician was launched in Port Vila yesterday.
In the democratic system which exists in Vanuatu, the media is the 4th pillar of democracy, there is the executive, legislature and judiciary and the media as a watchdog.
Graon mo Jastis Pati founder Ralph Regenvanu who said the above made an important observation, “I note FM 96 is the first FM station in Vanuatu that is not owned by a politician.
“The Vanuatu Broadcasting Television Corporation is owned by the government, which includes FM100 and Paradise FM.
“FM 107 is owned by a candidate who is contesting the election as well as FM 90 whose owner contested the 2008 election.
“It is really good that we are now having independence in media and I hope that the news reporting coming out from this station reflect this independence.”
He was an invited guest alongside interim Minister of Finance Moana Carcasses who officially clipped the red ribbon and launched Buzz FM 96, Vanuatu’s newest FM station.
On behalf of the Vanuatu government minister Carcasses congratulated and welcome the competition on the airwaves, saying, “It is good to see more competition and more service to the people.
“On behalf of interim Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, who is responsible for media I have the honour to officially launch Buzz FM 96.”
Both Carcasses and Regenvanu congratulated the Daily Post Management and Buzz FM team for the accomplishment, in particular Publisher Marc Neil-Jones whose birthday anniversary coincided with the launching yesterday but who opted to keep the double celebration a low key event.
KUNDIAWA-based Post-Courier correspondent Michael Koma was viciously attacked over the weekend by four men.
This follows a news story he wrote, published last Thursday in this newspaper.
Four men walked up to Mr Koma who was relaxing at a relative’s house in front of the Kundiawa Hospital, questioned him first and then bashed him badly.
Police are now in pursuit of the perpetrators who are still at large, but while this is being carried out, Mr Koma is nursing blackened, swollen eyes.
The attack comes after disgruntled supporters of newly appointed Administrator Francis Aiwa and his deputy Marcus Warip were not happy with the contents of a story run by this newspaper.
“Our story stemmed from concerns raised by many prominent leaders of Chimbu’s far-flung Karimui Nomane and Chuave Districts at the manner in which the appointments were made, Mr Koma said.
Mr Koma was beaten, fell into unconsciousness and was rushed to hospital where he was treated. Yesterday morning Mr Koma gained the strength and immediately called the Post-Courier bosses about the incident.
This is how Mr Koma recalls the violent encounter: “At around eight in the morning on Saturday I was sitting in front of a house at the Kundiawa Hospital when four men approached me and bluntly asked me a question over a story I wrote last week which we published on Thursday last week.
“Why did you write Francis’ name in the newspaper?” one of the four men asked me. They were referring to the acting district administrator for Karimui Nomane district, about whom I wrote last Thursday’s story. I wrote a story published on Page 15 of the Post-Courier under the headline: “Appointments questioned”.
“The story was centred on the Chimbu Provincial administration’s appointments of acting district administrators who were being questioned by very senior public servants and the public,”
“Bystanders, who witnessed the unfortunate incident said it was a shameful attack, to a journalist.”
By GRACE TIDEN
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill will be in Kokopo today to be part of the joint supervisory body (JSB) meeting between the government of PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville government.
An ABG delegation led by President Chief John Momis arrived in Kokopo yesterday from Buka. Other national members of the JSB also arrived, and were met by senior government officials at Tokua airport.
As for the PM’s arrival today, a formal reception will be held at Tokua airport to welcome him.
Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion and ENB Governor Ereman Tobaining Jr are expected to be at the airport for the welcome reception.
After meeting with the leaders and members of the JSB, Mr O’Neill and his delegation will proceed to the Takubar Sports grounds where he will inspect the upcoming PNG Games facilities.
Minister for Autonomy and Bougainville Affairs Steven Piraka will host a welcome dinner at the Gazelle International Hotel this evening for the Prime Minister and his delegation.http://www.
By Online Editor
2:11 pm GMT+12, 16/10/2012, Papua New GuineaTrauma is one of the leading causes of mortality in the country, yet it is given little attention by the government, Dr Sam Yockopua says.
Yockopua, chief of emergency services at the Port Moresby General Hospital, told doctors during the Pacific International Hospital continuous medical education programme (CME) last weekend in Port Moresby that trauma cases were preventable but costly.
He said a study carried out at the Angau Memorial Hospital showed that the cost of treating one trauma patient from a simple laceration to bigger cases such as road traffic accident ranged between K2,000 and K10, 000.
He said in Port Moresby General Hospital alone, over the past three years, trauma accounted for 20% to 30% of the total number of cases admitted at the emergency unit.
As for surgery cases, he said trauma made up 40% of the total number of cases and took up a lot of theatre time.
He said despite that, the government had been focusing more on maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
He said there was high rise in crime, domestic and inter-personal violence and alcohol consumption leading to increase in trauma cases.
PNG chief surgeon Dr Osborne Liko said it was a socio economic burden, too surgical burden but also a socio-economic one.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
5) Students against seabed mine
By GRACE TIDEN
STUDENTS of the PNG University of Natural Resources and Environment are calling on the state to rethink the deep sea mining project.
In their petition to state representatives last Friday, the students outlined a number of concerns including environmental issues.
The student body met with representatives from the Mineral Resources Authority, Department of Treasury, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of Justice and Attorney General’s office and East New Britain Provincial Administrator Aquila Tubal at the school campus at Vudal.
The gathering followed a protest march staged by students, civil societies and community leaders last Thursday in Kokopo to carry out awareness to the general public on environmental issues.
PNGUNRE Student Association President Rodney Aku said they were concerned that there would be minimal job opportunities for the local people, no direct benefits to the local people and minimum opportunities for spin off benefits.
He said they were concerned that the Environmental Permit for Solwara 1 Project which was granted by the Department of Environment and Conservation in 2009 was not predicated on comprehensive understanding of such new ventures.http://www.
By Online Editor
2:13 pm GMT+12, 16/10/2012, Solomon Islands Solomon Islands ministry of health and medical services (MHMS) is working with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) to recall local doctors working in PNG hospitals to return home and serve the country.
The ministry’s permanent secretary (PS) Dr Lester Ross revealed this last week in an interview.
More than half of the local doctors graduated from the medical school remained in PNG to work after completing their studies.
Most locals undergo their medical studies each year in PNG, the Fiji School of Medicine (FSM) in Suva, Fiji and Cuba.
Most of those who completed their studies in Cuba and FSM have returned to work in the country.
Last month health minister Charles Sigoto and Dr Ross met with the PNG’s health minister where discussions were based on the proposal.
Dr Ross said there good number of local doctors who graduated with degrees and masters that are working in PNG.
“The ministry will still consult with the PNG government regarding the matter to ensure these doctors return to serve in the country.”
Most of the students went on government scholarship but failed to return and serve the nation.
However a medical officer at the hospital speaking on condition of anonymity said the idea to recall the local doctors working outside of the country is good thing for the country.
“The country has few large hospitals that need qualified doctors, so the concept is good,” the officer said while adding doctor’s working condition must also be addressed by the government if it is to recall our doctors.
Currently the country is facing shortage of medical doctors despite a lot of them graduating each year.
Some of them who have spent few years in the country opted to work overseas based on the good package on offer from the host country.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
7) Former Advisor Calls For 2013 Stimulus Plan In Solomons
$13.5 million proposed to boost economy, employment
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 16, 2012) – A former consultant to the National Coalition for Reform and Advancement (NCRA) government has called for a SB$100 million [US$13.5 million] economic stimulus package in next year’s budget for the Solomon Islands.
This is to address growing unemployment amongst young people.
“Unemployment amongst our young people is a time bomb ticking away. It can go off at any time unless something is done urgently to address it,” Alfred Sasako, who headed the major projects unit in the NCRA-instituted National Bureau for Social and Economic Reform (NBSER), said in a statement yesterday.
Mr. Sasako said something had got to be done, and now.
He said the SB$100 million stimulus package he’s proposing is intended to address two things – expanding the nation’s narrow and stagnant economic base in the provinces and creating training opportunities for out-of-school youngsters through training attachments.
Mr. Sasako said each province as well as the Honiara City Council (HCC) would be allocated SB$10 million [US$1.3 million] each from the stimulus package.
A guideline to administer the scheme would be put in place. It will stipulate, among other things, eligibility criteria for accessing funding from the scheme.
“The money will be used to pay a youth wage to those engaged, a fee to host companies as well as costs associated with setting up the scheme,” he said. “It’s a three-way investment partnership and a win-win situation for all stakeholders. “What the three-way investment partnership means is that it involves the national government who will provide the funding, the provincial governments as hosts of the program and private Solomon Islands companies providing training opportunities for young Solomon Islanders who have the qualifications but could find no jobs.”
“The idea is to empower local companies to expand their economic activities in the provinces, thereby contributing to an expanded economic base for the nation. At the same time, the training to be provided, in chosen fields, would help build a pool of cadre for nation building.
“We must move away from the notion foreign advisers pumped into our brains every day that the only way for the government to provide services is to increase taxes every year. We can no longer entertain such a notion at a time when inflation has outstripped individual earnings.
“You cannot forever rely on just 12% to 15% of the population to keep supporting the rest. There must be a break and a way to address this bottleneck,” Mr. Sasako said.
“The economic stimulus I am proposing is one way to expand the tax base, by providing employment opportunities through training schemes, particularly in the provinces.
“We want Solomon Islanders to build Solomon Islands, not advisers who have no interest except a heavy pocket,” Mr. Sasako said.
He said he believes such a package would trigger an avalanche of economic activities in the provinces, which are pretty dormant right now.
The former Cabinet minister said Solomon Islands leaders must never make the mistake of thinking that an army of foreign advisers we have year in, year out will ever advice on this.
“One thing I can assure everyone of is that they love their air-conditioned offices and night clubbing more than anything else. Solomon Islands leaders must now wake up to the reality that if they are to help their nation economically, and the young people in particular, they must be innovative and active,” Mr. Sasako said.
The former MP for East Kwaio said a SB$100 million economic stimulus package is a small asking when one takes into account the fact that politicians shared SB$145 million [US$19.6 million] in discretionary funding this year alone.
“Come to think of it, it’s chicken feed when one fathoms the economic benefits which would come from my proposal.
“The economic benefits far outweigh any other consideration. The Government must do it, instead of relying on RCDF and other handouts, which are totally unsustainable.”
8) Bible Passages Used To Fight Domestic Violence In Solomons
2 in 3 Solomon Islands women reportedly abused by partner
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 15, 2012) – An Australian aid agency is using passages from the Bible in an effort to curb rates of domestic violence in Solomon Islands.
The World Vision program, which is already in place in parts of Africa, teaches about Bible passages which are often misinterpreted.
World Vision Australia CEO, Tim Costello, told the ABC many men misinterpret passages from the Bible to justify violence against women.
“Many of them [in Solomon Islands] know the Submission text, where Paul appears to say ‘Wives, submit to your husbands’,” Mr. Costello said.
“We completely unpick Submission and the woman being not created by God and therefore not equal, and there is an ‘ah-ha’ moment and the penny drops.”
Mr. Costello says two in three women in Solomon Islands are victims of physical or sexual violence from a partner, which is the highest recorded rate in the world.
Honiara Pastor Jack Maega tells the story of a father of seven children who would go out drinking every weekend and then “bash up” his family.
Pastor Maega says the man recently went through a program to study the biblical passages which are sometimes used to justify violence.
He says the man is one of the program’s success stories.
“He said ‘These are my first two weeks of peace in my family. I don’t go out to the pubs, even though my friends come and invite me but I say no, enough is enough,” Pastor Maega said.
For the past six months the program has been trialed in five more troubled areas of Honiara.
Pastor Maega says the program works in ways others have not.
“When you say ‘This is what the Bible says’, they will listen.”
The Solomon Islands program costs AU$600,000 [US$613,968] over three years.
World Vision says it is partly funded by the Australian Federal Police, who are in the country as part of a peacekeeping mission.
Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
SICA signalled this warning after an unidentified man allegedly fired gunshot which just missed an Asian logger near Geza village, North East Guadalcanal over the weekend.The logger is currently recovering at the National Referral hospital after narrowly escaped death from the gunshots.
SICA general secretary, James Funa said the time to use guns are over as people want to experience a peaceful environment to do their daily economic activities.
He said by using force was not the right way to solve a problem.
“There are right avenues to be used to solve any dispute,” he said.
Mr Funa said it was sad to see people in the community did not cooperate to hand back their guns when Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) came in 2003.
“This showed that people are still feeling insecure in their community,” he said.
“We need to hand back our guns and live a normal life now.”
Meanwhile the incident was immediately reported to Tetere police, who are currently conducting investigation.
The cause of the incident was not immediately known.Solomon Star:
By Eddie Osifelo
This was confirmed by Freddy Me’esa permanent secretary ministry of justice and legal affairs yesterday.He said the specialist arrived last Tuesday, 9th October.
He is Desmond Stainer from Australia. Mr Stainer is a public service expert who has wide experiences around the world including Pacific especially in Papua New Guinea.
Mr Me’esa explained the expert will work mainly to collect information and draw up the scheme of service.
He is recruited on a short-term (three months) basis.
The second expert will be a lawyer who will join in after the draft scheme is drawn up for scrutiny. The lawyer will be contracted for 20 days to finalise the scheme of service for the Magistrates and Government Lawyers.
Mr Stainer has already begun his work after his arrival in Honiara last week.
He will meet the stakeholders in the coming weeks or months.
In the line-up of his research to draw up the scheme, he will meet with the stakeholders as the Ministry of Public Service, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, the Judicial Legal Services Commission, members of the Justice Sector Consultative Committee (JSCC), the Heads of Agencies such as Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutor, Director Public Solicitor, Chief Magistrate, Magistrates, Government Lawyers and may also travel to some provinces to talk with the magistrates and judges there.
As such Mr Me’esa calls on all the relevant offices to assist Mr Stainer when he visits their office to talk, ask questions or documents to make his work easier.
The scheme of service will address most of the concerns the Magistrates and government lawyers have raised such as their conditions of service which includes pay structure, clothing allowances, convenience allowances, trainings, accommodation, security and so forth.
It is believed that once the scheme of service is drawn up and accepted by cabinet and implemented, it will solve most of the frustrations the magistrates and lawyers have which leads them to give notices of mass resignation.
As at current the Notice of resignation by the government lawyers still stands until November 3rd 2012.
The fact that an expert has been recruited to work on their scheme should be a good news for all government lawyers and magistrates.
The recruitment and facilitation of the coming of the expert was made possible by the RAMSI Justice and Law Program.
“I therefore, on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and Legal affairs thank the RAMSI Law and Justice Program for recruiting the expert and meeting all related costs to ensure that the Magistrates and Government Lawyers do have a scheme of service.
“This assistance was requested by the Justice Sector Consultative Committee after the said committee turn down the magistrates and Lawyers previous scheme of service in their meeting of 1st May 2012,” Mr Me’esa said. Solomon Star
11) Kalsakau confirms new dawn for Epi with declaration of Public Land
- Politics-Vanuatu daily Post.
“Today marks a milestone for the people of Epi, Shefa Province, the Vanuatu Government and the people of Vanuatu because God has given you the people of Epi this land, not to give it to other people but to use your land to develop your island.”
Caretaker Minister of Lands Steven Kalsakau made the statement before declaring Rovo Bay the first Public Land and handing over a copy of the Government Gazette to the President of Shefa Province, Lami Sope, witnessed by former MP Ioane Simon Omawa (representing caretaker Minister of Internal Affairs George Wells), Police, Council of Chiefs of Epi, Landowner Fred August, Staff of Rovo Bay and a packed Market House.
He praised the chiefs, landowners and people of Epi for adopting a similar vision to that adopted by the people of Ifira, Pango, Erakor and Mele to allow their lands to be turned into public land to be used by the public.
Everyone approached by Daily Post welcomed the new declaration saying it certainly is a new dawn signaling peace, stability and development for the people of Epi.
A representative of the Island Council of Chiefs of Epi indicated that his people are going to decide who is going to be eligible to invest at Rovo Bay.
12) Vanuatu Police Seize 200 Marijuana Plants On Epi Island
Youth urged to avoid drugs, focus on strengthening economy
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Oct. 15, 2012) – Vanuatu police have warned the youths of Epi against planting and trading in marijuana saying when a suspect is prosecuted, found guilty and sent to jail, someone else or a stranger could claim his birthright which is his land and he may end up losing his birthright.
Corporal Willie Daniel who is based at Morua Police Post on Tongoa made the statement in an interview at Rovo Bay on Epi yesterday.
He and his colleagues took a two-hour boat ride from Tongoa to Epi and successfully led a night raid of a plot of almost two-meter tall marijuana plants confiscating 200 plants.
He sent a clear message to young people on Epi to assure them that the second biggest island in Shefa Province after Efate is not isolated from the long arm of the law anymore.
“We have our network in place in all the villages round Epi to help us uphold the law at a time when the island is at the door of economic boom,” he said.
“We cannot allow marijuana to take control of the island because we need an increased workforce to develop Epi. Young people cannot be allowed to become drug addicts and depend on their families to feed them. They need to be fit in mind and physique to become the backbone of the economy today and tomorrow”.
Police suspect that marijuana seeds are supplied to young villagers by yachties who return later to collect the harvest for overseas markets.
While writing this article we have learned that more informants were volunteering to lead the police to other plots in other villages.
The night raid took place in the Alack Village boundary and Corporal Daniel said a suspect would be arrested soon.
Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.
13) Vanuatu Adopts National Labor Migration Framework
Officials meet with World Bank to discuss scope, planning
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Oct. 15, 2012) – Vanuatu is the first country in the Pacific to have initiated the development of a Labour Migration Policy Framework.
The Acting Director General of Internal Affairs, Shedrack Welegtabit and Commissioner of Labor, Lionel Kaluat had a brief meeting with World Bank where they were provided with advice and support for the development of national policy frameworks to govern labor sending migration for Pacific Islands Countries.
The Commissioner of Labor explained that the meeting was a brief discussion on the first scope of the policy framework, setting dates and time frame for planning and consultations to take place into achieving the final policy document.
Australia and New Zealand markets for temporary unskilled labor are now open to Pacific Island countries and Pacific country governments have responded by quickly establishing Labor Migration Units (LMU) and responsible for managing labor sending.
Pacific governments are however, new to the business of managing labor sending and need support to build the capacity of their institutions to govern labor migration and be competitive in the international market for labor.
Pacific countries have had varying degrees of success in delivering workers to NZ and Australia and in the three years to June 2001 in excess of 24, 000 workers were employed in the NZ followed by Tonga and Samoa. Most countries operate combined government/private (or direct) recruitment model with only Solomon Islands taking a private sector approach.
The effective governance of the contribution of labor migration in the context of the countries broader economy, the results government expects to achieve and philosophical decisions on what is important in the governance and management of labor migration are necessary in order to guide the role and functions of LMU and their continued strengthening and development along with that of other relevant actors.
Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.
14) French interests
Tuesday, October 16, 2012-Fiji Times:
French Embassy deputy head of mission, Jules Irrmann, left, with Pacific Islands News Association’s (PINA) Matai Akaoula last month. Mr Irrmann says France hopes to improve trade relations with Fiji. Picture SUPPLIED
THE government of France is looking at improving its trade relations with Fiji.
And with only 340,000 euros ($F783,620) worth of goods imported from Fiji and 3million euros ($F6.91m) exported towards Fiji last year, there is still room for improvement.
Speaking to this newspaper, French Embassy in Fiji deputy head of mission Jules Irrmann said they imported mainly FIJI Water which was distributed by a lot of convenience stores all over France.
“Half of our exportation which is about 1million euros ($F2.30m) are from the industrial sector and perfumes amount to 500,000 euros ($F1.15m),” Mr Irrmann said.
He said France would like to export more food products to Fiji like French cheese, meat and delicacies in the future.
Mr Irrmann said despite their trade volume to Fiji being relatively low compared to Australia and New Zealand, he was adamant that they would receive a big boost.
He said with Fiji and France being tourism countries, the Fijian and French tourism agencies could work together to increase the tourism capacity.
“Both countries are good holiday destinations and tourism is an area that has a lot of potential,” Mr Irrmann said.
Meanwhile, he commented on some French products in Fiji including wines he said were very expensive.
“I hope more French businessman would come to Fiji to improve the Fijian market,” Mr Irrmann said.
He also highlighted the issue of high import taxes on French products, saying this could be a reason for France-made items being sold at very high prices.
Mr Irrmann said they were working closely on improving agricultural ties with Fiji and deploying French experts to assist in this area.
He also revealed French businesses such as TOTAL and the soon-to-open BRED Bank will pave the way for more developments.
By Online Editor
09:14 am GMT+12, 16/10/2012, FijiThe siblings of Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama have made their submission to the new Constitution as public consultations came to close on Monday.
The prime minister’s siblings RubyAnn Sorovaki, Litiana Loabuka, Frances Lutunatabua, Ateca Whippy, Bernadette Bainimarama and Ratu Meli Bainimarama made the submission as a family, calling for the one man one vote system in the new constitution, according to local website Fijivillage.
According to Fijivillage, while making their submission to the Constitution Commission, the family asked for an anti- discrimination act to be in place and the removal of the electoral system from the constitution to allow for changes from time to time in line with the changing needs and the will of the people.
The Bainimarama siblings also said there should be an end to the coup culture, behavior and mentality.
The Constitution Commission held their final round of hearings on Monday. Commission Chair Professor Yash Ghai admitted that they had been working quite hard to meet the deadline.
Earlier in August, Bainimarama lashed out at Ghai for secretly meeting with members of some anti-government parties and groups and former politicians in Fiji, while Ghai said certain laws should be reviewed if they were not conducive to a free environment where people could express their views openly, and any restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and media freedom should be removed from Fiji.
In respose to some Fijians, especially leaders of some opposition parties who continue to make submissions against the non-negotiable principles in the Constitution that the government has set up, Bainimarama reiterated that there were no restrictions on people making constitution submissions, but “some people are trying to take over the process.”.
Commission hopes to circulate draft copy by December
By Lavenia Vuadreu
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Oct. 15, 2012) – Public consultations in the formation of Fiji’s new Constitution come to a close today as commission chair Yash Ghai admits they have been working quite hard to meet the deadline.
The commission held their final round of hearings today at Rotuma Gov’t Station, Moala and Lakeba.
In an interview with FijiLive, Ghai said they were hoping to finish the draft before Christmas in order to give the public ample time to study the draft Constitution, give their comments before it’s submitted to the Constituent Assembly “with the public’s comments.”
“Drafting the constitution has been ongoing in terms of loading submissions into a database. I can’t talk about the final copy as we have not finished it, but we have been working quite hard to meet the deadline,” Ghai said. Commenting on the consultation process, Ghai said although consultation was launched late July, did not start proper until early August.
“A lot of the people did not seem to know what the issues were or that a process was underway. Some were confused about issues so we had to try and enlighten them on the basic information on the formation of the constitution first.
“Its been two and half months since the consultation started and the team has traveled quite a lot, talked to the different communities in their different environments with their issues and we have some idea of the difference that exists locally in terms of culture, the land they live on, ideas and recommendations.
“We feel that we have talked to all communities in the urban and rural areas as well spiritual and in all walks of life talking to the people of the kind of change they would like to make life better.”
Ghai said the draft copy will be circulated to members of the public with a short document, about 20-25 pages long, which will explain the contents of the constitution and it will be in the three main languages spoken in Fiji.
“We want to make sure that people all over the country get copies and in the language they understand.”
The public will be given between Christmas and early January to study the draft document and submit their comments after which the draft copy will be passed on to the Constituent Assembly in late January.
By Online Editor
09:11 am GMT+12, 16/10/2012, FijiThe Fiji Women’s Crisis Center (FWCC) and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) on Monday made separate presentations to the Constitution Commission, voicing their concerns about the legitimacy of 2012 constitution-making process.
The Fiji Constitutional Process Decrees (Numbers 57 and 58) eliminate certain principles from discussion on the basis that they are “non-negotiable” and contain demands for immunity, says FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali, adding that the two women organizations do not regard the current government as legal.
“We believe the issue of immunity for coup perpetrators can only be decided following a truth, reconciliation and justice process. We are also proposing a parallel citizens assembly, to support and expand the opinion base of the Constituent’s Assembly, as we remain concerned how the official Constituent’s Assembly will be formed and function.”
FWRM executive director Virisila Buadromo told media that “We are also troubled by the current environment in which this constitution-making process is taking place, in particular the continuing restrictive atmosphere in which citizens attempt to participate and the news media must operate.”
“Suggestions include quotas or party lists that are aimed at ensuring 50 percent representation of women at the national level. These measures are temporary and we have recommended that they are reviewed after 20 years,” said Buadromo.
According to their submissions to the new Constitution, the two women organizations also “feel that in order for the processes to proceed in earnest, there is a need for military personnel to withdraw from the structures of government so that people may participate freely and fairly and without fear in any process which determines the future of our country.”
“We embark on this journey with a fragile faith and a faint trust that, despite our deepest fears surrounding the Constitution Commission and the unfathomable intentions of those in power, a new Constitution will presage the restoration of the rule of law, democracy and free and fair elections by September, 2014,” stressed Ali.
Earlier in August, Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama warned against submissions on non-negotiable principles of the new proposed constitution and urged people to read the principles before making submissions.
Bainimarama made the warning as some Fijians, especially leaders of some opposition parties, continue to make submissions against the non-negotiable principles in the constitution that Bainimarama’s government has set up.
18) Kiribati Signs Telecommunications Deal In Marshall Islands
Follows similar deal with Solomons for satellite, bandwidth access
By Giff Johnson
SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Oct. 16, 2012) – The Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has signed its second deal with a South Pacific neighbor to provide satellite and fiber cable communications links to the outside world. “This is providing additional revenue to NTA,” said National Telecommunications Authority general manager Tommy Kijiner Jr.
The deal with Telecom Service Kiribati Ltd. follows an agreement signed earlier this year with a telecom company in the Solomon Islands. Both telecom outfits are buying satellite time and fiber cable bandwidth from the Majuro-based telecom. “This is helpful to NTA because we have satellite contracts that we are committed to, but that we’re not using (because of the submarine fiber cable that was installed two years ago),” he said.
The satellite links provided to the two neighboring country telecoms are connected to NTA’s fiber optic cable, giving the Solomons and Kiribati greater access to the outside world through NTA’s telecommunications network.
He said Kiribati is buying only a small amount of bandwidth at the outset of the new agreement in part because of limitations in its equipment. Kijiner expects Kiribati to increase its usage of satellite bandwidth in the future.
As part of the deal with the Solomon Islands Bemobile, an NTA technician flew to the Solomons to install and commission a larger satellite dish so that the Solomons telecom would expand its use of satellite transmissions, which means more revenue to NTA.
“With Kiribati, it is only for Internet service now,” Kijiner said. “But there is a lot of room for cooperation between NTA and Kiribati.” He noted unmet cell phone demand in South Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, as well as outer island communications needs in Kiribati.
“We hope the agreements with the Solomons and Kiribati will help us sell services to other Pacific neighbors such as Nauru and Tuvalu,” Kijiner said.
Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com
19) Guam Mourns, Honors Former Leader Gloria Nelson
Nelson praised for supporting educational system, retirees
By Zita Y. Taitano
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Oct. 16, 2012) – Flags will be flying at half-staff in honor of Guam leader Gloria Camacho Borja Nelson.
Acting Gov. Ray Tenorio issued the executive order yesterday in a proclamation he signed acknowledging Nelson’s work with the community.
Tenorio recognized the several roles Nelson held, from being a teacher in public schools to becoming chairwoman of the Territorial Board of Education.
“These efforts were all based in her personal belief that Guam’s children could outperform their global counterparts if given the opportunity,” Tenorio said during the signing.
He also acknowledged Nelson’s efforts, alongside the late Candelaria Rios, in their 13-year fight to help COLA retirees with the assistance of attorney Mike Phillips to ensuring the government of Guam met its obligations to the retirees.
“But this was simply an episode in Auntie Lola’s lifetime of service and achievement. She helped countless people, whom she knew and loved by name and story, family and friendship. She held children up as far as she could so they could see the endless horizon that breathed life into their dreams. She embraced the sick in their final moments, she fed the poor in their lowest times, and she gave refuge to the weak when no one else would give them notice,” Tenorio said.
Expressing their condolences to the Nelson family were Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, Speaker Judi Won Pat and Sen. Judi Guthertz.
“Lola worked to improve the quality of life for all members of our community, making significant contributions as Democratic Party chairwoman and director of the Guam Department of Education,” Bordallo said.
“Lola was a woman before her time,” said Won Pat, who noted several landmark decisions Nelson made, including getting more substitute teachers trained and certified.
“I also really liked what she’s done with the creation of the school aide system to assist in the supervision of the students. And what she wanted to do was always grow teachers. She allowed for school aides to go to school at the University of Guam so they can become teachers. This shows how forward-thinking she was,” the Speaker added.
And then there’s her compassion for children. “She didn’t want children to get into trouble,” Won Pat said.
Nelson was also able to see potential in others and did so with Won Pat by assigning her to be principal of John F. Kennedy High School.
The Speaker recalled thankfully that Nelson believed in Won Pat’s ability. “I really admire Lola as a role model in education. She had mentored so many people and touched so many lives,” Won Pat stressed.
For her part, Guthertz noted that while some members of the community may have only known Nelson as an advocate for retirees and the senior citizens, Nelson had done so much more, especially as an educator.
“Every student who went through the Guam school system during her tenure owes a debt to Gloria Nelson. She took care of Guam’s children and ran a responsive school system,” Guthertz said.
Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com
20) Health Inspectors In Short Supply On Guam
Lack of funds, qualified applicants hampers inspections
By Cameron Miculka
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 16, 2012) – With only eight compliance officers — three of whom aren’t available — the Division of Environmental Health within the Department of Public Health and Social Services is struggling to keep up with inspections around Guam.
Thomas Nadeau, the division’s administrator, said the shortage has resulted in limited opportunities for entrepreneurs to receive a sanitary permit for their business.
Environmental Health will now only entertain applicants for these permits at the division’s Mangilao office on Fridays, Nadeau said. Pre-operation inspections will be performed once a week on Tuesdays.
Due to a lack in funding and a shortage in the qualified hiring pool, Nadeau said the division’s inspectors are not able to fully cover all 3,000 facilities under the division’s purview.
Nadeau said the staffing shortfall has led to inspectors having to prioritize certain facilities over others.
For example, Nadeau noted that inspectors were focusing primarily on facilities that catered to “high-risk” populations. These facilities include the Guam Memorial Hospital cafeteria and school cafeterias.
For other establishments, the division is depending primarily on reports from the public that would necessitate an inspection.
“The public is becoming our eyes and ears now,” said Nadeau.
Currently, the division staffs about 22 individuals. Nadeau said, though, that the division would need about 70 personnel to run at full efficiency.
That number doesn’t seem likely though, given the highest staffing level he’s seen was at 55, a level unlikely to be reached again in the near future.
“I don’t anticipate even reaching 50,” he said.
Nadeau said one problem with staffing the division is the lack of funds given to environmental health.
The division cannot benefit from federal grants because grants are typically competitive, research-oriented grants that the division cannot qualify for, said Nadeau.
As a result, all of the division’s funding must come locally, he said.
And due to the current fiscal crunch GovGuam is in, that local funding just isn’t there.
Nadeau said that he has brought the issue up with legislators, though he doesn’t anticipate any big breaks from the government.
“We acknowledge the government is challenged financially,” he said.
Nadeau said that the department is currently trying to bring on a food safety hiree, though, and he’s optimistic that the division will be successful.
It’s not just the funding that’s an issue, said Nadeau.
He also attributed the difficulty in finding staff without the benefit of competitive pay for staff.
“We can’t compete with the private sector,” he said.
Nadeau cited a case where the division was hoping to hire on an engineer. However, due to the division’s trouble in bringing talent on board, they ultimately were forced to look internally for someone to fulfill those duties.
Ultimately, he said, the department was able to find an individual with engineering skills in the division and established a part-time position for that individual along side her normal duties.
Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com
21) La Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée réagit aux critiques de l’ONU
Mardi dernier, Antonio Guterres, le Haut-Commissaire chargé des Réfugiés, a adressé une lettre ouverte au ministre australien de l’Immigration, Chris Bowen.
By Online Editor
2:14 pm GMT+12, 16/10/2012, AustraliaAustralia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council down hangs on three or four votes, prompting Foreign Minister Bob Carr to return to New York for a last-minute bout of lobbying.
The United Nations’ 193 member countries will start voting at 1am AEST on Friday for the 10 non-permanent seats on the 15-member body.
Australia, Finland and Luxembourg belong to a bloc known as the Western Europe and Others Group, and are competing for two spots on the Security Council in 2013 and 2014. Australia needs a minimum of 128 votes.
Sources close to the bid have told the Herald “we are very close”.
“There’s just three or four votes in it,” said one official.
It is believed Finland is over the line while Australia and Luxembourg will fight it out for the second spot.
While Australia is believed to have its nose ahead, Senator Carr will lobby until the very end, given the unpredictability of previous votes.
“You might think on paper you’ve got the numbers you need but 40 per cent can’t be trusted,” one official said.
Australia, which began its bid in 2008, several years after its rivals, believes its best chance resides in the vote being a secret ballot.
During the UN General Assembly Leaders’ week in September, Senator Carr, who accompanied Prime Minister Gillard to New York, met 85 fellow foreign ministers to lobby them.
This morning, Australian time, Senator Carr will host a reception for UN delegates and spend the rest of the week on other lobbying efforts.
The Coalition, which opposed the bid, says win or lose, it will have been a bad exercise.
Coalition MP Josh Frydenberg, a former foreign policy adviser in the Howard government, said yesterday Australia had skewed its aid budget and compromised its foreign policy principles to win votes.
Australia has spent $24 million directly on the bid.
23) Plan for improved biosecurity for fish farming in Pacific
Posted at 03:12 on 16 October, 2012 UTC
Regional aquaculture experts want improved biosecurity around the Pacific as farmed marine life becomes an increasingly important source of food.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says fish farming contributes nearly half the world’s supply of fish for food, and it is set to expand in the region to provide for a rapidly growing population.
The body’s aquaculture advisor, Robert Jimmy, says Papua New Guinea alone is now home to about 10,000 fish farmers.
He says the SPC and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN have come up with a plan to help Pacific Island countries assess risks and help countries’ share expertise.
“Most of the species that are being cultured are not native to member countries. What the SPC and the FAO are looking into is to come up with a regional framework for the member countries to promote and ensure that the species that are being cultured are also taking into account the safety of the environment.”
Robert Jimmy says farming on widely scattered islands, with limited technical expertise and difficult communication, are all challenges for the industry.
Radio New Zealand International
24) World Food Day: South Asia is world’s hungriest region
Figures released by the International Food and Policy Research Institute to mark World Food Day have revealed South Asia is the world’s hungriest region.
According to the 2012 Global Hunger Index, co-produced by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, 20 countries have levels of hunger that are “alarming”, and South Asia has the highest regional score of 22.5.
Sub-Saharan Africa has a regional score of 20.7.
However, the Institute noted that South Asia’s score is 26 per cent lower than that recorded in the 1990 index, “indicating improvements in the region’s hunger situation”.
The index reflects data from 2005-2010 and combines three equally weighted indicators into one score: the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and the mortality rate of children younger than the age of five.
Bangladesh, India, and East Timor have the highest prevalence of underweight children under five, which was more than 40 per cent in all three countries.
China’s overall score was lower than expected, having made significant progress in lowering levels of hunger and under-nutrition.
The report attributed this to “a strong commitment to poverty reduction, social security networks, nutrition and health interventions, and improved access to safe water, sanitation, and education”.
Bangladesh has overtaken India on a range of social indicators, including how fast it has reduced child mortality.
In terms of absolute progress, Bangladesh and Vietnam were among 15 countries that saw the largest improvements in their scores from 1990 to 2012.
The Hunger Index’s release coincides with World Food Day, which this year carries the theme: ‘agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world’.
25) Fiji Warriors keep winning
Posted at 03:11 on 16 October, 2012 UTC
Fiji Warriors reaffirmed their status as the standard-bearers in the Pacific Rugby Cup after beating Samoa A 42-34 in Nuku’alofa on Monday.
It was the sixth straight win for the Fijians, who were confirmed as champions last week for the fourth consecutive year.
The Warriors will round off their PRC campaign on Friday against Tonga A.
Radio New Zealand International
26) Crunch time approaches in Oceania football qualifiers
Posted at 03:11 on 16 October, 2012 UTC
The All Whites fear Tahiti could take a reckless approach into Tuesday night’s football world cup qualifier in Christchurch.
Tahiti are winless after three games and their hopes of advancing to the next stage of qualifying are all but over and coach Ricki Herbert fears that could lead to the visitors taking an over physical approach.
Tuesday’s other clash between New Caledonia and Solomon Islands in Noumea is a must-win for both sides, if they want to keep their slim qualifying hopes alive.
Les Cagous were 6-2 winners in Honiara on Friday, and only trail New Zealand by three points, but Solomons skipper Henry Fa’arodo believes his team can turn it around and says anything can happen in football.
Radio New Zealand International
27) David Chung reelected as PNGFA President
Posted at 03:11 on 16 October, 2012 UTC
Oceania President and FIFA Vice-President David Chung has become the longest-serving president in the history of the Papua New Guinea Football Association.
President Chung faced a lone challenge from former PNGFA Vice-President John Kapi Natto but was re-elected for a third term in office during the association’s Elective Congress.
He will be joined by Linda Wonuhali who is the country’s first ever female Senior Vice-President, while Kurt Reimann will act as Vice-President.
Radio New Zealand International
The travelling team which comprise of 13 players plus four team officials are heading to Spain to attend a week-long training camp before making their way down to Thailand.Awaiting them are five friendly matches one of which will kick off today.
The Kurukuru team will today play its first international match against Australia’s Futsalroos, who will be joining them in Thailand.
Speaking prior their departure yesterday team captain, Elliot Ragomo said the team is excited and are looking forward for their five friendly matches
He revealed he has confidence in all his players whom for the past months have stick together in trainings and other team activities.
He said despite the last minute ousting of three Kurukuru players, the team has accepted the disciplinary actions taken by the Kurukuru team management and SIFFand focus for what is ahead.
He assured all fans and supporters that the team will perform to its best at the friendly matches and the World Cup.
“After all the trainings with the Spanish coach and other technical support received, this is the moment to showcase what we have learnt from them.
“The match against Futsalroos will be tough but we are going to show them that we are the current Oceania champions,” Ragomo said.
He said the friendly matches will be good tests to show where they lack in their preparations so they can work on for the remaining six weeks before the World Cup.
Following the Futsalroos match, Kurukuru will play two matches against a pair of teams who compete in Liga 1, the Spanish premier futsal competition, before taking on the Spanish national squad in a friendly on October 20.
The team will then fly to Thailand where they expect to play another friendly against the Thai national team before finally playing their opening World Cup match against Russia on November 3.Solomon Star
By Carlos Aruafu