NEWS ( Melanesian/Pacific) # 670 – 22/10/12

1) Manus gavana i sanap strong long asylum seeker senta blong Australia

Updated 22 October 2012, 15:43 AEST-Radio Australia.

Sam Seke

Gavana blong Manus Provins i sanap strong long PNG na Australia gavman imas harim tok blong ol Manus pipol long asylum seeker senta.

Gavana blong Manus Province itok, gavman blong Australia na Papua New Guinea imas lukluk gut long on samting we pipol blongen i askim, pastaim long ol asylum seeker blong Australia i kamap long Manus Island.

Manus Gavana Charlie Benjamin itok, bai em had tru long toktok long ol askim blong ol Manus pipol bihain long ol asylum seeker i kamap pinis long island.

Australia i go het nau long bildim gen dispela senta long Manus blong prosesim sampela handred asylum seeker we bai klostu i go nau long Manus Island.

Foran Minista Rimbink Pato i tokim Radio Ausatralia, ol dispela toktok i kamap long wanem pipol ino kilia tumas long sampela samting long toktok namel tupela gavman blong PNG na Australia.

Tasol Mr Benjamin i laik long ol pipol long peles i kilia gutpela longen na i kisim benefit long provaidim sampela sevis long asylum seeker senta.

2) Officials reject PNG killer tuberculosis is a threat

By Online Editor
3:00 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, AustraliaHealth officials have been accused of not doing enough to prevent an outbreak of a mutant strain of the killer lung disease tuberculosis spreading into north Queensland.

But health authorities claim there is little to worry about.

The Courier-Mail Friday revealed one of Australia’s first cases of mutated XDR-TB (Extensively Drug-Resistant TB) in a Papua New Guinean, Catherine Abraham, 20, being treated in isolation at Cairns Base Hospital.

Experts warn she is the first in a wave before the highly contagious, incurable, untreatable form of TB spreads.

But Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young yesterday played down the immediate threat.

“Queensland is not at risk but certainly PNG is at risk, if we don’t assist them as much as possible,” she said.

Queensland taxpayers footed a $32 million bill for the treatment for tuberculosis of about 100 Papua New Guineans over the past two years, with 92 patients handed back by Queensland Health in June – 65 of them fully treated.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg’s office said that despite being an international matter, the Commonwealth did not fully fund health services to PNG nationals.

The disagreement means Queensland must accept a Project Agreement by June or risk losing $8.1 million in Commonwealth funding.

Senate Estimates heard on Thursday that of AusAID’s $104 million allocation to the PNG health sector, only $5.8 million was for programs relating to tuberculosis, of which PNG has the world’s highest infection rate.

Opposition Parliamentary Secretary Teresa Gambaro said: “PNG is our nearest neighbour we need to be doing more”.


3) PNG Prime Minister Encourages Investment In Fiji
O’Neill believes Fiji will return to democracy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 21, 2012) – Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says he is keen to strengthen trade relations with Fiji and says he sees no reason to dissuade PNG investors from continuing to invest in the country.

Mr O’Neill has been visiting Fiji since Friday, and returns to Papua New Guinea today.

Fiji Live reports him as saying he believes Fiji will return to a democratically elected government.

And he says his government has every confidence that the Fiji economy will continue to do well.

Mr O’Neill says he says has been encouraging more investment from PNG into Fiji and vice versa.

He says he discussed with Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, issues about the removal of some the duty and tariffs between the two countries.

Radio New Zealand International:

4) Indonesia ‘Has No Desire To Fight Its Own People:” Ambassador
New Zealand-based diplomat calls Papua situation ‘manageable’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 21, 2012) – The Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga says Indonesia has no desire to fight its own people.

Agus Sriyono’s comments follow reports of an intensifying crack down by Indonesian Security Forces against pro-independence activists in Papua.

Mr Sriyono says there are security issues in some villages in Papua and those calling for independence make up a small part of the whole population.

“We don’t have any design to fight our own people. But of course in some remote villages it happens some time between the military and the police and the people there. But it is still manageable.”

Radio New Zealand International:

5)Renewed call for Australia to send diplomats to Indonesia’s Papua

Posted at 06:46 on 22 October, 2012 UTC

An Australia non government organisation says diplomatic observers would help the world learn about alleged human rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua region.

The Human Rights Law Centre was responding to reports of arbitrary arrests by Indonesian security personnel ahead of last Friday’s commemoration of the Third Papuan Peoples Congress in 2011.

That event, in which West Papuans proclaimed their independence from Jakarta, was violently shut down by police and soldiers.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Tom Clarke says sending diplomats would be a practical step given the international media is effectively banned from the region.

“If it would help Australians and indeed the wider international community to gain a better picture of the human rights abuses that are occurring in West Papua. It is very hard to verify a lot of reports that are coming out of the province and if the more international observers on the ground, watching events, being able to report back to their governments and journalists, I think that’s all helpful.”

Radio New Zealand International

6) Lifeline for Solomon Islands squatters

By Online Editor
09:26 am GMT+12, 22/10/2012, Solomon IslandsA troubled squatter community in the Solomon Islands has been given a lifeline.

For the last decade, Burns Creek has had a bad reputation, but crime and poverty are giving way to enterprise.

Burns Creek is famous for being dangerous.

“There were a lot of criminal activities going on in Burns Creek which relate mostly to substance abuse, violence, said Lawrence Hillary of World Vision.

Most of the 7000 people in the squatter village are from the island of Malaita.

They had been living in the capital, Honiara, but fled to the outskirts after ethnic tension sparked a civil war.
It is hard-living in the village, but now the people are demanding change.

“I go to the church leaders and the chiefs and we try to figure out how we can get the kids out from the violence and other things,” said Ellison Mataifiri, a youth worker.

In a bid to break this cycle, community leaders like Mataifiri are working with World Vision.

One of the first projects is a playing field.

Mataifiri said he is really proud to see the kids having fun on the field every day, playing soccer.

Keeping them out of trouble is a priority, with soaring unemployment a huge problem in the area.

But a World Vision scheme to help the residents start up their own small businesses is starting to make a difference.

One example is Cain Whitney who now owns a small piggery. Previously unemployed, he took his frustrations out on his family with domestic violence and substance abuse. But now he and his wife, who runs a small canteen, say their lives have been transformed.

“I have to do the training and then I start the canteen and we find no arguments in the home,” said Louise Whitney.

But one of the biggest problems facing families in Burns Creek is the lack of running water.

Women have to make a long dangerous walk to the river to get it.

“Sometimes there were reports of rape cases,” said Lawrence Hillary.

Plans are underway to provide water to the community.

“The idea is to put in some bores, but also educate people on how to use that water effectively,” said Andrew Catford of World Vision.


7) Bata’anisia is Solomon Islands deputy foreign secretary

By Online Editor
2:59 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, Solomon IslandsFormer high commissioner to Papua New Guinea (PNG) Bernard Bata’anisia has been appointed as the new deputy secretary (foreign affairs). He takes up the post starting this week.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Ishmael Avui, last week confirmed the posting.
Bata’anisia is a career diplomat and currently a consultant in the Ministry of Public Service.

The posting was made after consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & External Trade and the Office of the Prime Minister.

“Bata’anisia joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade in 1989 as a Foreign Affairs Desk officer and worked most of his career in Foreign Affairs.

“He brings with him a wealth of diplomatic experience, having served previously as a senior Foreign Affairs official as well as holding various diplomatic posting overseas at the Permanent Mission of Solomon Islands to the United Nations in New York, United States as well as at the Solomon Islands High Commission in Papua New Guinea.

“He also served at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, as Political Issues Adviser from 1997 to 2004,” added Permanent Secretary Avui.

He will assist in providing policy advice and support to the Hon Minister and Permanent Secretary in the management and conduct of Solomon Islands foreign policy”, added Avui.

During his time as a consultant in the Ministry of Public Service, Bata’anisia was also involved in drafting the Public Service new in-service training policy with the support of the Public Service Training Policy Task Force, which is now being finalized and ready for Cabinet submission.

8) Solomon Islands PM sack two ministers

By Online Editor
3:09 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has sacked two of his cabinet ministers, reports national broadcaster, SIBC.

Former Prime Minister and minister for planning, and aid co-ordination, Snyder Rini and Minister for environment,  Moffat Fugui were fired today according to the Office of Prime Minister.

Reasons for the two ministers’ sacking were however not revealed.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo announced the sacking of Rini and Fugui before flying off to Kira Kira this morning to open the 6th premiers’ conference at the Makira-Ulawa Provincial capital.

Immediately after the sacking, the Office of Prime Minister confirmed two new ministers will be sworn to replace the two ministers.

A ministerial reshuffle has been hinted by the Prime Minister’s office.

Papers submitted to Parliament confirm that the Opposition Leader Dr Derek Sikua will move a no confidence motion on the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

With the motion meeting its seven days of notice, it is likely that it will be tabled and debated in parliament on Friday.


9) Premiers’ Conference Convenes In Solomon Islands
Provincial leaders to discuss improved service delivery

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 22, 2012) – The sixth premiers conference will kick off today in Kira Kira, Makira Ulawa province.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo is expected to open the five day summit.

He will travel to Kira Kira on a chartered flight to open the conference before returning to Honiara for the Parliament session.

The Minister for the Provincial Governments and Institutional Strengthening, the Members of Parliament for East Makira, West Makira, Central and Ulawa Ugi Constituencies are also expected to attend the conference.

Whilst in Kirakira, the Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Silas V. Tausinga, will open the newly completed provincial assembly chamber, which will be the venue for the conference.

The theme of the 6th conference this year is: ”Together we strive for sustainable, cost effective and efficient service delivery”.

During the conference, all premiers will be making detailed presentations based on the conference’s theme.

This would be followed by discussions and presentations by Permanent Secretaries who have been invited to the conference as resource persons.

It is expected the conference will be dominated by discussions surrounding provincial level service delivery and whether the provincial governments are being resourced enough to provide essential services to the communities.

Being closer to the communities, the provincial premiers feel they have the competitive advantage to support service delivery of line ministries and at the same time provide an oversight role at a cheaper cost.

Provincial governments have been undergoing capacity building in public expenditure management systems and good governance through Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme for the past four years during which they have gained capacities that have repositioned them to support service delivery at the provincial and community level.

Amongst the conference programme agenda that the premiers will be discussing is the design of the next phase of Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme and how the provincial governments would like the National Government to support the strengthening programme by seeking adequate funding for phase II of the programme.

There would be presentation and discussions on the plans that RAMSI has to support good governance and service delivery by the provincial governments.

Through Provincial Capacity Development Fund, which is administered by the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, the nine provincial governments combined have completed about 287 infrastructure projects most of which are in education and health.

With the increase in funding of PCDF this year by SIG by additional $25 million, provincial governments have this year initiated 131 new projects most of which are in education and health sector infrastructures in coordination with those line ministries.

PCDF projects are 100% funded and contractors are mainly locally based, thus creating job opportunities for local skilled people.

The annual premiers conference, according to the conference framework, is designed to be a forum for an inter-governmental policy dialogue where real issues that affect service delivery are discussed.

At the end of each conference, Provincial Premiers agree on various resolutions which form part of the conference communiqué.

Solomon Star

10)Australia’s Security Council seat lifts Pacific hopes, RAMSI says militants have ‘lost appetite for fighting’

By Online Editor
09:29 am GMT+12, 22/10/2012, AustraliaThe Solomon Islands Prime Minister hopes Australia’s seat on the UN Security Council will bring a greater focus on the Pacific region and the challenges it faces.

Solomon Islands government actively lobbied other Pacific nations to support Australia’s bid.

For almost ten years, Australia has led the Regional Assistance mission in the Solomon Islands – known as RAMSI – which put an end to a brutal civil conflict in 2003.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo told SBS Radio Australia’s experience with RAMSI will help it reform the Security Council.

Meanwhile, the head of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands says he believes that the former militants on both sides of the country’s ethnic conflict have lost their appetite for fighting.

RAMSI’s Special Coordinator, Nicholas Coppel, told the fourth annual Australia-Solomon Islands business forum in Brisbane that while the policing aspect of the mission would continue for at least four years, the military would withdraw completely.

“While the possibility of civil disorder in Solomon Islands cannot be ruled out, we can be more confident that militancy is much less likely as there is no longer evidence of it, let alone an appetite for it,” Coppel said.

“We’re not aware of any significant caches of weapons, we believe most weapons have been successfully withdrawn from the society.”

Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy-Lilo has agreed to the timetable, but says he is cautious.

“As I’ve always said, RAMSI’s tradition must be task-bound and not time-bound,” Darcy-Lilo told the forum.

“But one thing is evident is the great work that RAMSI has led to a greater economic prosperity in our land is very much visible.”

Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, Justine Elliot, said economic growth in the Solomons reached almost 11 per cent last year.

Elliot said this was the fastest economic growth rate of any Pacific country.


11) Solomons PM reportedly facing no-confidence vote

By Online Editor
12:34 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, Solomon Islands Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo is reportedly facing a second no-confidence motion in two months.

Local media say the nation’s opposition party brought the motion to Parliament and it is expected to be debated next Friday.

The Prime Minister has allegedly dismissed the motion as a “waste of time.”

Lilo has just returned from Australia, where he delivered the keynote address at the fourth meeting of the Australia Solomon Islands’ Business Forum.

His speech focused on the opportunities for the Solomon Islands, but also on the problems of bringing about cultural change in a country which is often reluctant to embrace the modern world.

Delegates also heard about changes expected next year to RAMSI, the Regional Assistance Mission, changes which many in the nation are not happy about.


12) Vanuatu Official Held In Australia Denied Bail
PM’s Secretary Marae charged over $4.6 million fraud

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 21, 2012) – A senior Vanuatu official arrested while travelling through Australia with the Prime Minister of Vanuatu has been refused bail over an alleged 4.6 million US dollar tax fraud.

Clarence Marae did not appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday where lawyers argued for his release.

He was arrested during a stopover at Sydney airport in April while he was travelling with Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Sato Kilman.

Mr Marae – who was a private secretary in Mr Kilman’s office – was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth.

Three others were charged by police, who claim Mr Marae was instrumental in implementing the scheme by operating companies and bank accounts in Vanuatu.

The court heard Australian authorities had tried to extradite him after an arrest warrant was issued in 2008, but that officials in Vanuatu would not co-operate.

Lawyers for the official said he should be given bail to live with a friend in the Logan area, but magistrate Anne Thacker refused to release him.

Radio New Zealand International:

13) Air Vanuatu anger over safety scare

By Online Editor
09:22 am GMT+12, 22/10/2012, New ZealandAir Vanuatu is demanding answers on how airport security allowed a man to board a flight to Auckland with an artillery shell in his luggage.

In a major security breach, the man took the unexploded World War II artillery shell through Vanuatu’s Bauerfield International Airport undetected.

The shell was only discovered when he arrived in Auckland and declared the item to New Zealand customs staff.

An Air Vanuatu spokeswoman said the airline has requested a report from Airports Vanuatu Limited Security, who are responsible for screening all departing passengers.

The airline staff ask security questions at check in, including whether a passenger is carrying anything dangerous or flammable, she said.

“We take safety on board very seriously.”

Auckland Airport was partly locked down for an hour on Saturday while army bomb disposal officers destroyed the shell.

The man is understood to have found the shell while diving in Vanuatu, and decided to bring it with him on the Air Vanuatu Boeing 737-800 flight, with 162 passengers on board.

Mike Garland, who was travelling from Singapore, had just arrived in Auckland when police escorted him away from Customs.

He said a colleague overheard a man had walked up to Customs and calmly declared what he called “a grenade”.

“They asked him if he had anything to declare, and he said a grenade. Suddenly there was a major emergency.”

He said taking a military shell on a plane is madness.

“If it had gone off, well you only have to blow a little hole in a plane for there to be potentially serious damage.”

A security official at Vanuatu’s Bauerfield International Airport, in the capital Port Vila, did not want to be named but insisted the airport had thorough security processes.

“You have to go through a walk-through detector, to detect metal in luggage and clothing,” he said.

“When a passenger goes through departure, all their luggage is X-rayed to check for explosives or metals.”

Bauerfield operations general manager Kevin Dick Abel said if a suspicious item had been picked up he would have been notified.

“We will go through all the machines and revisit all the decisions to find out what happened”

The staff member who let the shell through could be suspended under airport security rules, he said.
“All the screenings are taped, so we will be able to see what they did or didn’t do.”

Police described the man’s actions as an “interesting case of stupidity”, but said they would not charge him.

“Taking an artillery shell on an international flight is unbelievable,” Inspector Earle McIntosh said.

A Customs spokeswoman said the man kept the shell as a souvenir. “He came off his flight and declared it. Customs protocol is to notify the police, and they took control of the operation.”

Thousands of tonnes of US military equipment was dumped into Vanuatu’s coast, including munitions, guns, bulldozers and trucks, when World War II ended.


14) Fiji chairs ACP meet

By Online Editor
3:04 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, FijiAfter being elected to chair the G77 and China group of countries at the United Nations, Fiji has also been honoured with an invitation to chair an important committee of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) at a series of meetings in Brussels in the coming week.

The 16th Meeting of the ACP Ministerial Trade Committee will be chaired by the Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who leaves for Europe today as the head of the Fijian delegation. He will be accompanied by the Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali.

The Ministerial meeting will be attended by ministers from the 79 ACP countries. In its 37 years, the organisation – working as a bloc – has been able to secure advantageous aid, trade and investment treaties for its members with the European Union.

As well as chairing the ACP meeting, the Minister will be co-chairing the 11th Joint Ministerial Trade Committee talks between the ACP and the European Union. He will share the role with the European Union Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht. His Permanent Secretary has been given the task of chairing the ACP Senior Officials meeting.

The Minister says that being invited to chair the ACP meetings is another major achievement for Fiji.

“Like the Non Aligned Movement and the G77, the ACP is a significant voice for developing countries and plays a key role in south-south dialogue. By calling upon Fiji to chair these meetings, the ACP countries have reaffirmed their confidence in Fiji. This further solidifies Fiji’s role as a key player in the international arena,” he said.

The Minister added that the Brussels meetings gives Fiji the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the ACP group and highlights the fact that it is an integral member.

On his role as chair of the Ministerial Trade Committee, the Minister said it will address important issues relating to ACP-EU trade, including the implementation of the Interim and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements.

“These negotiations for the Pacific ACP countries come at a crucial juncture and our meetings will enable the Pacific ACP countries to formulate their strategies. The whole idea is to build capacity and expand our trading opportunities,” Khaiyum said.


15) New Constitution to govern all: Fiji Trades Union Congress

By Online Editor
3:05 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, FijiFiji Trades Union Congress president Daniel Urai said that the supremacy of the new Constitution must be valued and respected. He made this comment in their submission to the Constitution Commission.

“There is no point stating that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and then having the military abrogate the Constitution,” Urai said.

He said the new Constitution must clearly state that there shall be no reserved powers bestowed on any office under this new Constitution.

“The Constitution must state that this new constitution cannot be amended, removed or abrogated by illegal means or any other means. The only amendment allowed would have to be under the provisions provided for under the constitution,” Urai said.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua party in their submission to the Constitution Commission said that they believe in a new and more vibrant multi-cultural Fiji.

However, they stated that there have been inadequate, meaningful and durable multi-ethnic manifestations of national identity.

SDL’s president, Solomone Naivalu told the commission that Fiji needed to build a more stable foundation for national unity and tolerance.

“History has taught us that more often than not, we hardly learn from the past. It is our concern that we are once again treading the path of ignoring past mistakes and not addressing the inherent insecurities of our diverse ethnic communities,” Naivalu said.

Among these insecurities, he highlighted the establishment of the Land Bank without proper consultation, the removal of their representatives through the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV) in the NLTB and the imposition of the Surfing Decree.

Naivalu also highlighted the erosion of traditions and culture through the media propagation of a globalised mono-culture, discrimination of principles and continued marginalisation from economic power with the discontinuation of affirmative action programmes to encourage and develop Fijian businesses.

He further said the assertion of the indigenous rights and issues are now seen as racist and discriminatory by the Government.

He also said that the proposed declaration of a secular state shows a lack of understanding of the historical significance of the enlightenment that Christianity brought to Fiji and the moral decadence that accompanies secularism.


16) Rabuka Offers Suggestions On How To Avoid Future Fiji Coups
First coup leader calls for military/civilian committee

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 21, 2012) – A former Fiji coup-maker Sitiveni Rabuka has suggested military and civilian leaders co-operate in a special committee after elections in order to avoid future coups.

He says the committee would be a way of keeping tabs on relations to prevent them breaking down again.

Mr Rabuka told delegates to a conference on democracy in the Pacific in Christchurch there is hope for better relations after the 2014 elections and the committee should only be a temporary solution for restoring full democracy.

“The conference system I suggest here could be the best bet in maintaining good civil/military relations. And while it provides a great check and balance venue it removes the fallacy of the democratic victor taking all in a democratic society.”

Mr Rabuka says he may stand as an independent in the elections.

He has also suggested an offer of forgiveness from the Great Council of Chiefs for regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama is a way forward.

Radio New Zealand International:

17) HIV, a challenge for Fiji Corrections Services: Vasu

By Online Editor
3:02 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, FijiWith a handful of inmates in their custody tested positive for HIV/AIDS, the Fiji Corrections Services today took the crucial first steps to adopting a HIV workplace program aimed to identify areas of cooperation encompassing all staff members and inmates.

Addressing Corrections officers at a 2-day workshop in Suva today, Commissioner of Corrections Lieutenant Colonel Ifereimi Vasu said it was imperative to adopt a policy of this nature as HIV is a daily challenge to the work of Corrections Officers given the nature of their work and their daily interaction with offenders.

It is believed at least three of the 1540 inmates currently held in the 12 corrections facilities across the country are HIV/AIDS positive.

“That is the challenge for us. Recently, we have experienced the challenge of mental cases within our institutions including a few inmates affected by HIV,” Vasu said.

“Hopefully, this 2-day workshop will be a success and will help us in our work. We do not want to discriminate against those affected by HIV. We want to offer our support to those who have unfortunately contracted the disease and we want to minimize the spread of HIV in Fiji.”

This was echoed by Labour Ministry’s Deputy Secretary Osea Cawaru who also applauded the Fiji Prison & Corrections Service management for its leadership, direction and commitment to accept the invitation of the Ministry to take on board the HIV initiative.

“The presence of the upper echelons of the Fiji Prison & Corrections Service in this two-day “Supportive Environment” Workshop is a great example of commitment.

“The risks posed by the nature of work of Corrections Officers and those under their leadership is too great to ignore and requires inter-agency cooperation to mitigate.” Cawaru hopes other workplaces would learn from the FCS and do the same “to make an impact at a workplace, national and global level.”

In adopting a HIV/AIDS policy, the FCS becomes the first arm of Fiji’s disciplinary forces to do so. Director International Labour Organisation South Pacific David Lamotte said the purpose of the workshop is to help the FCS develop their HIV/AIDS policy in their workplace.

“To do that you need to deal with attitude towards HIV and AIDS. We all have our own thoughts and challenges on how to deal with it,” Lamotte said.

“It’s a reality for all workplaces particularly the Prisons Services. So we are hopeful, we being the Ministry of Labour, the ILO and the SPC that at the end of this 2-day workshop, the FCS would be able to come up with their own policy.”

Corrections spokeswoman Ana Tamani said, “In view of the stigma associated with prisons, this makes our prison facilities vulnerable to HIV and those who are confined to that environment.

“We are committed to ensure that our staff, their families and those under our care are empowered to ensure the importance of a healthy workforce.”

The two-day workshop is being conducted in cooperation with the ILO, Pacific Islands Aids Foundation, Fiji Red Cross and the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Labour’s HIV and AIDS Unit they have so far conducted HIV and AIDS awareness at 88 workplaces, covering a total of 2386 workers and successfully endorsed 15 HIV & AIDS Workplace Policies.

In 2011, the Ministry of Health recorded a cumulative number of 420 cases, a 14 per cent increase from 2010 numbers, with 85 per cent of infections concentrated within the age group of 20 – 49 years.


18) Fiji police prepare for 2014 election

By Online Editor
09:30 am GMT+12, 22/10/2012, FijiFiji Police are already putting measures in place for the 2014 General Elections.

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Ioane Naivalurua said it was critical that the Fiji Police Force created the appropriate security environment for Government to do its job during the elections of 2014.

Speaking after the Southern Division Third Quarter Parade in Suva, he said the current review of operational procedures would place the burden on divisional commanders.

And for those that are dishonest or unscrupulous in their behaviour he said, “I will not tolerate any of this. We are going to tighten the noose on those officers who continue to misbehave or act unscrupulously. We are going to take you on.

“My plan is to have in place people that will be able to take us forward to 2013 and 2014. We have no time to waste on looking after ourselves and dealing with people who can’t look after themselves.”

Brigadier-General Naivalurua said they had targets to achieve but the main focus was what they should be doing towards 2014.

“It’s tough as a Police officer, and will be even tougher towards 2014. We need good officers in the organisation who are honest and not moveable and true to their calling.


19) PNG Investments to impact Pacific

By Online Editor
2:54 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, FijiInvestors in Papua New Guinea are taking the country’s business sector by storm, pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy.

Their investments are significant in the Bank of South Pacific, Credit Corporation, Mineral Resources Development Corporation which own the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour, Naswan joint venture with the Fiji National Provident Fund and Lamana Development Company which are re-developing the old Grand Pacific Hotel site.

NASFUND Papua New Guinea Chairman Mel Tagolo says they’d like to see their investment have a significant impact in the Pacific region.

“I like to see our investment in the pacific this is the region where we are and if we put in more investment in this region then that means we’d be providing employment, training, skills transfer and all that that can remain in this region and those sought of skills attract investment come to our region.”

Investors are injecting much of their cash in the financial and tourism sectors creating thousands of jobs for our locals.


20) King urges Tongans to cultivate fertile lands

By Online Editor
12:26 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, TongaTonga has abundant food but much fertile land remains uncultivated, said Tonga’s King Tupou VI. He made the remarks while opening Tongatapu’s two-day Royal Agricultural Show 2012 at the Manamo’ui grounds in ‘Atele Friday.

Accompanied by Queen Nanasipau’u, the King viewed colorful displays of the traditional food crops, flowers, vegetables, seafood and fish.

In his statement, King Tupou said the Ministry of Agriculture revealed that around 48,000 acres of land in Tongatapu is fertile for farming, but only 12 percent was being farmed while the remaining 88 percent was neglected.

He said the revenue generated from marketing Tonga’s agricultural products from the island kingdom’s 12 percent of the land was around TOP$11 million (US$6.2 million).

“If we can market our agricultural products we can increase the acreage of land farmed to around 50 percent, which would mean more opportunity for all Tongans who can farm, fish and make handicrafts to export their products overseas,” he said.

He said it is known that Tonga has abundant food but it does not balance with our efforts to be active. There is a need to have a healthy diet and reduce diseases that Tongans suffer from due to wrong food consumption.

“Relevant sectors need to work closely together so that we can achieve what we set out to do,” said the king.
He thanked the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries, the Minister Hon. Sangster Saulala, farmers, fishermen and women for their hard work in this year’s show and he hoped that it would reach the Niuas and Vava’u in the future.

Ha’apai and ‘Eua held their Royal Agricultural shows earlier this month.


21) Tonga Wins Bid To Host 2019 Pacific Games
Construction, hosting costs expected to reach $70 million

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 19, 2012) – Tonga has been awarded the right to host the 2019 Pacific Games by the General Assembly in Wallis & Futuna this evening, 19 October.

Tahiti and Tonga made their final presentations to the delegates of the General Assembly this afternoon, who voted 16-6 in favour of Tonga.

The Tonga Amateur Sports Association and National Olympic Committee’s Secretary General, Takitoa Taumoepeau, said that following the successful outcome for Tonga, the Games agreement was signed by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Sports, Lord Vaea and the President of TASANOC, Lord Tupou, who is also the President of the Pacific Games Association.

In his presentation Lord Tupou said that Tonga would be ready to host the 2019 Games “beyond the highest standard required for the enjoyment and satisfaction of the athletes.” Tonga has chosen the theme and slogan for the 2019 Games: “Our People, Our Games.”

Tonga’s bid document and progress report indicated that meetings had been held with donor country representatives and prospective sponsors.

The country will need to find a budget of USD$70 million for the various construction of sports facilities and operational expenses for hosting the Games.

“The countries who have hosted the Pacific Games were once in the position that Tonga is in now. Hosting the Games brought them International level sports fields and facilities renewing focus on a wider offering of sports, improved the level of competition and resulted in better sport opportunities for the youth,” said Lord Tupou.

Tonga was bidding to be given the same chance other host countries of the Pacific Games had received.

The Pacific Games brings together 22 Pacific Countries and Territories in a sporting competition held every four years. Tonga has proposed to hold the 12 compulsory and 16 optional sports for women and men.

Tonga’s Prince Ata who led the delegation said that Tonga was proud of its long and unbroken partnership with the Pacific Games Community, which went back to the founding games of 1963.

Matangi Tonga Magazine:

22) England hunts Fijian flyers

By Online Editor
3:21 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, United StatesEngland coach Ben Ryan is keeping a close eye on Fijian players to join their world sevens campaign.

The exit of star Fijian forward Isoa Damu, who dislocated his left knee while playing for the British Army during the Inter-Services Championship in April, has left a vaccum that Ryan wants another Fijian to fill.

“Fijians are so natural at the game and I hope Damu has some other brothers out there who can represent England,” said Ryan, whose side crashed out of last week’s opening leg of the HSBC IRB Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast which Fiji won, beating New Zealand 32-14.

Two players in his sight are Filimoni Savou — the son of former Fiji sevens coach Josateki — and George Wacokecoke, who was drafted into the England U17 last week.

Wacokecoke, who attends Saint Joseph’s College in Ipswich, has played for the England under-16 team while Savou is part of the Saracens Academy.

Ryan said Fijian players had something he was looking for.

“Damu has an injury which means he will be out for two years at least.

“With his age as well, I don’t think he will make it back into the team,” Ryan said.

“I’ve coached Damu over 10 years at club and international level and he, like any other Fijian, is very humble when we win or lose.

“And that is something I want to instil in my players.”

With Damu out and Josh Drauniniu contracted to Worcester Warriors, Ryan is keeping his fingers crossed that Savou, Wacokecoke and other players with Fijian connections show interest in joining his side.

“We’ve got good pathways with players coming through. If it’s Savou’s son or there’s another Fijian (Wacokecoke) who is a qualified player, we’re keeping a tab on them,” Ryan said.

“If they’re English qualified and live on our doorsteps, we’ll be having a good look at them.”

There are three ways a player qualifies to represent a country: through his or her birth, that of parents or grandparents, or residency which requires someone to live in their adopted nation for three successive years.
Ryan said he was interested in bringing a team to Fiji.

He has also thrown his support for Fiji to host a tournament in the HSBC IRB Sevens World Series.

The International Rugby Board nominates host cities every five years.

“We would love to bring a team to Fiji. I’d love the IRB to have a world series in Fiji because we all want the teams to come and taste Fijian sevens,” Ryan said.

“The invitational tournaments are a great way to expose players to the game and right now it’s all about the timing.

We would love to play some rugby in the islands.”.


23) PNG takes PM’s golf title

By Online Editor
3:20 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2012, FijiPapua New Guinea (PNG) won the Pearl Prime Minister’s Golf Challenge 2012 Four Men Team Progressive Ambrose event at the Pearl Resort Golf Course in Deuba Saturday.

Led by their Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, the PNG side defeated their Fijian counterpart by five strokes.

Fiji skippered by the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau had some top local golfers but they failed to overcome a strong 40 teams PNG side to win the inaugural tournament.

Tournament co-ordinator Iliasa Labaibure was thrilled with the level of competition between the teams from both countries.

He said good weather and perfect greens contributed to the success of the tournament.

“The competition was really good. We got to see some good golf today and the participants really enjoyed the day,” Labaibure said.

Labaibure said the successful inaugural tournament had set a good platform for the event next year.

He said the challenge was on Fiji to snatch the title from PNG next year.

“This was the first year for this tournament and we expect and bigger and better event next year.”

The Fijian team had the likes of former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka, Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Sport Viliame Naupoto, Sir Jim Ah Koy, Ratu Isoa Gavidi, Ratu Tu’uakitau Cokanauto and Sir Timoci Tuivaga, to name a few.

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