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Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 681

1) PNG atis i halvim human rights

Updated 15 November 2012, 19:03 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla laen artis, ol musisan na ol pipal blong setelman em oli kolim ol iet long Paga Hill Arts Resistance bai holim namba tu Art show blong ol long Moresby Arts Theatre tumora.

  • image  - PNG artist and performer Jeffrey Feeger

Despla show i sanap makim ol pipal husat isave stap long Paga Hill, em wanpla bikpla kampani blong Australia ibin rausim na brukim ol haus blong ol long mun May long despla yia.

Despla kampani em oli kolim long Paga Hill Development Company, i laik bildim ol haus blong en long Paga Hill olsem na oli bin bagarapim ol haus blong ol pipal.

Pasin em despla kampani ibin mekim long ol pipal, ibin mekim planti artist long halvim ol long putim ol stori na wari blong ol long art na tu long thiata.

Despla Paga Hill arts risistans oa PHAR project bai kamap olsem hap blong UN Human Rights Festival emi go hed nau long PNG.

Jeffry Feeger, husat i wanpla contemporary artis long PNG na emi wanpla long ol lida blong despla project.


2)PNG relents to allow MSG free trade deal

By Online Editor
12:02 pm GMT+12, 15/11/2012, Vanuatu

The Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Free Trade Agreement is ready to be implemented between at least three of its four members.

It follows a recent breakthrough from Papua New Guinea, which agreed to dramatically scrap duties on almost all of its protected goods.

Merewalesi Falemaka, MSG’s director of trade and investment, says with the changes the free trade agreement could be in full effect from next year.

“There were about 50 products that were on that list, so now they have actually gone duty free on all those products,” she said, adding that there are three exceptions: mackerel, salt and sugar.

The move came almost seven years the trade deal between Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and PNG was finalised.

Fiji had been applying duty free status to all MSG products since 2009.

Vanuatu started in 2010 and is expected to eliminate all tariffs by next year, while Solomon Islands began in 2011.



3)NAQIA clamps down 

By Andrea Tagamasau

National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority along with other border security agencies have come together to address the influx of human movement and the high volume of trade in goods between the Melanesian Islands. NAQIA has come up with ways to monitor and survey these movements in order to prevent the establishment or the introduction of pests and diseases of plant and animals, this was said by the managing director of NAQIA Andrew Yamanae at the Melanesian Spearhead Group technical officials meeting. Being established in 2006 the technical officers meeting on biodiversity was the first of its kind as it was arranged by the MSG to manage human movement and the movement of goods.
Mr Yamanea explains that the monitoring and surveillance system for pests and diseases is becoming critical as biosecurity organisations such as NAQIA and other organisations within the MSG are responsible for plant and animal health.
With guidelines set by organisations such as the Organisation for World Animal Health and the International Plant Protection Convention, Mr Yamanea adds that the MSG has to decide whether these guidelines are applicable and achievable for the region’s mutual security co-operation.
He later adds that if they are not, then a course should be carried out to develop and implement harmonious standards that will meet our needs.
“As a way to safeguard a nation from the entry of pests and diseases, the ability of biosecurity agencies is fundamental to a country’s ability to manage endemic pests and diseases, especially those that are exotic, invasive and trans-boundary in nature,” said Mr Yamanea.
He added that the monitoring and surveillance system of a country gives a positive impression and assurance of a country’s pest and disease status with important related economic, social and environmental implications for security and trade access.
Mr Yamanea warned that the information that is used to support decision making and creating benchmark decisions, must be sound and acceptable as the cost for monitoring and surveying and the response for pest and disease control and the consequences of failure might be high.


4)PNG assured Indonesian military not building up on border

Posted at 06:19 on 15 November, 2012 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says he has been assured by the President of Indonesia that it is not escalating its military presence near the common border.

This week, Indonesia’s Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hosted bilateral talks with Mr O’Neill in Bali.

The two countries have agreed on a number of joint projects around the border areas in the oil, gas and electricity sectors.

Mr O’Neill says they had a genuine discussion on PNG government’s concerns about rights abuses in Papua province.

He says he’s not concerned over reports of Indonesian troop build-up in the far east of Papua province.

“The President has assured me, they are not increasing military activity in West Papua. In fact they are now slowly withdrawing military to allow for economic development on West Papua and so that they can empower and improve the living standards of our people there.”

Peter O’Neill says he encouraged Indonesia to address human rights issues in Papua.

 Radio New Zealand International

5)PNG and Indonesia consider range of joint projects

Posted at 03:11 on 15 November, 2012 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister says his government is considering a number of joint projects with Indonesia along their common border.

Peter O’Neill this week held talks in Bali with Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The leaders agreed to increase bilateral trade and investment and to consider joint projects, including utilising Indonesian expertise and technology to develop gas reserves in PNG’s Gulf of Papua.

Mr O’Neill confirms PNG is also looking at engaging Indonesian companies to build roads in PNG, and at buying power from a hydro-power station being built in Indonesia near the border.

“That was mooted by both the President and myself, that we should look at opportunities of improving economic activities along the border area so that the standard of living for people living in the border areas can be improved at the same time.”

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill

Radio New Zealand International


6)China is second economic power: Pruaitch

THE Peoples Republic of China has been congratulated for reaching the economic height as World’s No.2 economic power after the United States of America.
Minister for Forest and Climate Change Patrick Pruaitch conveyed his congratulations to the Chinese Ambassador Qiu Bo Hua when the Ambassador made a courtesy call on the Minister last week.
Mr Pruatich said: “The Chinese leadership of the Third World will change the geopolitics of the world. Any nation that says no and takes its money in investment, loans, or grants will be without integrity.
The reality is that Peoples Republic China (PRC) is anticipated to overtake the United States in 2030.
ln light of climate change phenomenon facing the world the PRC is seen by some Western nations as leader in technological innovation for green growth and low carbon economic development. “
He added that Papua New Guinea has had very positive, substantive and growing relationship with China.
He said when NA led PNG in the nine years to August 2, 2011, PNG witnessed an unprecedented economic growth since independence.
But now as an integral part of the new reconciliatory government of national unity NA Party will continue to share its experience with the coalition partners for a stable and focused leadership of PNG and her people.


7)Chairman says Vanuatu Christian Council will take up West Papua case

By Online Editor
3:00 pm GMT+12, 15/11/2012, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC) Chairman, Anglican Bishop James Ligo, says the VCC will take up the West Papua case in its Annual General Meeting next week, emphasising its firm stand to work with the new Government to make West Papua its priority.

He says the VCC is taking up the case because it has become clear that the caretaker Government of Prime Minister Sato Kilman has gone astray from the original focus of the Founding Fathers of the Struggle that called for the people of West Papua to be free of Indonesian slavery to decide their own destiny.

As the Chairman of VCC, the Bishop says he does not see any reason why the Government has not taken up the plight of the “brothers and sisters” of West Papua.

“The caretaker Prime Minister used a metaphor to say that if you want to tame a lion, you must not isolate it but keep it close to you. But I want to add that a lion is unpredictable and very dangerous, and will attack you and kill you if you allow it to wander in the neighbourhood,” Bishop Ligo says.

He says VCC wants to know what kind of assurance Indonesia has given to the MSG to acquire observer status at its meetings.

“We can’t entertain somebody that kills our brothers and sisters everyday then take him onboard to as an observer on the Melanesian Spearhead Group of countries,” he says.

“We that make up the VCC will work with the new Government to consult and pursue ways to free the people of West Papua who are getting killed every day by the Indonesian military,” he says.

Bishop Ligo says VCC will take West Papua issue to the Pacific Council of Churches Meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands next year and even as far as the World Council of Churches and the Decolonisation Committee of the United Nations.


8)Land Records Office hit by thieves, serious allegation

Posted on November 15, 2012 – 4:35pm | Category:

Dear Editor

The above is the front page of DP issued No.3704 and the general public would have guessed that this would happen given elements of fraudulent land dealings in the Land Records Office. Arguably, this era is the most corrupt practices in the Department of Lands and Land Records since Vanuatu gained its Independence some 30 years ago. Question, why is Director of Lands Jean Marc being kept out of the Office? My guess is that other members of staff continue with corrupt practices in Department of Lands and land Records.

I have questioned the work of the Mama Ground Project over the years. One of the main task as explained by the Mama Ground project is to tidy up the land Records Office, now it is broken into. The public should know how much money is involved in the Mama Ground Project and what product has it produced so far.

The Australian tax payers ought to know whether their taxes are used to improved land issues in Vanuatu or the same old story of spending most of the funds to pay very high salaries for consultants as in this case. Look at the land Tribunal, a lot of talking but this Tribunals has not make any head way. I do not take away the efforts by some of the Local staff in the project; it would seem that there is shortage of man power in this area.

I just came back from the outer island and the people are very concern regarding the delay of establishing land Tribunals.

Assessors training should have been coming to the close, in reality they have not started. Regarding fair dealings this suggesting for removing the absolute power for Minister to Act has not been done more than six years after the resolution of the National Land Summit. Had this been done earlier, we would not have experience considerable loss of Government revenue and fraud elements would have been prevented from the Lands Office. In most Countries land Records files are kept in a fire proof room, in Vanuatu these files are all over the place. Imagine the unimaginable consequences if the Land Records Office is burnt down as it is becoming foreseeable considering the volume of malpractice this office is engaged in.

The review to the Mama Ground project is underway, look, who has been involved in putting together the review team, people who are very closely connected to the mama ground project. A question of impartiality to this review team, many of those in the review team, with due respect, have very minimal knowledge of land matter in the Republic of Vanuatu.

My view of the way forward with malpractice is to form a commission of enquiries into fraudulent land dealings, recruit commissioners from our neighboring Melanesian Countries (to prevent conflict of interest if ni-Vanuatu are involved) to expose and deal with the past corrupt practices to ensure that whatever projects takes place in future regarding land is founded on a solid foundation.



9)New Vanuatu MP wants air fare subsidies for people from outer islands

Posted at 06:28 on 15 November, 2012 UTC

The newly elected MP for Banks and Torres constituency in Northern Vanuatu says the government should seriously consider the cost of airfares to his part of the country.

Christophe Emelee is the first member of parliament from Torres Islands in Torba province.

Mr Emelee says people there find it difficult to travel to other parts of Vanuatu because of the high cost of air travel.

He says flights can cost up to 600 US dollars on Air Vanuatu.

Mr Emelee says one his priorities is to ask the new government to subsidise the fares.

He says a subsidy would also attract tourists to Torba.

Mr Emelee say local people have built bungalows but they can not benefit from the tourism business like other parts of Vanuatu because of the high cost of transportation.

He says the government already subsidises ships to collect copra in the outer islands so they should provide a similar service to airline passengers.

Radio New Zealand International

10)Former Vanuatu PM blasts Fiji over Indonesia’s inclusion in MSG

By Online Editor
3:02 pm GMT+12, 15/11/2012, Vanuatu

A former Vanuatu Prime Minister says the move to bring Indonesia into the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is unacceptable because Fiji, as the current MSG chair, does not have a democratic government.

Under the chairmanship of Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the MSG granted Indonesia observer status last year.

This is despite indigenous West Papuans in Indonesia’s Papua region unsuccessfully lobbying for MSG observer status over many years.

Barak Sope says Indonesia manipulates diplomatic relations with regional governments to silence concern about human rights abuses in Papua.

“We are very worried that Indonesia is at the MSG. Fiji does not have the mandate to take such action. It is a military dictatorship. So I’m worried that a dictator comes in and brings Indonesia into this organisation. All of us are democratic countries, we all get ourselves elected, except Bainimarama. That decision cannot be accepted, said Sope.


11)Populace in poverty

Nanise Loanakadavu
Thursday, November 15, 2012

MORE than 50 per cent of the poor in Fiji reside in the three provinces of Ra, Cakaudrove and Macuata.

This was revealed by the Ministry for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Govind Sami.

He said a poverty survey by the ministry also revealed an overwhelming majority of the poor resided in Ba, the most populous province in Fiji with 83,579 people classified as poor living in this area.

Using statistics provided by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, the report found that 43 per cent of people in rural areas were living in poverty.

This is a major difference from urban areas that had a much lower rate at 18 per cent.

Mr Sami said even within better-off divisions such as the Western or Central divisions, there were pockets of very high poverty incidence.

He said the highest poverty rates were found in the remote inland areas of Viti Levu.

Mr Sami said the ministry was looking at policy options such as Towards a Poverty Benefit, Old Age Social Pension (aligned to the National Ageing Policy) and Child Benefit (aligned to the Convention on the Rights of the Child) to be incorporated in their plans to combat poverty in Fiji.

He said the ministry was looking at reforms and other new policies to address the issue of rural poverty.

12)Fire warnings issued across Hawaii due to hot, windy and dry weather

Posted at 06:28 on 15 November, 2012 UTC

The National Weather Service in Hawaii says a Red Flag Warning will go into effect for all Hawaiian Islands on Thursday local time.

The warning will remain in effect from noon until 6 p.m.

The NWS says the Red Flag Warning means critical fire weather conditions are occurring or will occur with a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures.

Winds gusting up to 70 kilometres an hour are expected with relative humidity down to 40 to 45 percent.

Similar conditions are possible Friday afternoon local time.

A Red Flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.

A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create rapid fire growth potential.

Radio New Zealand International


13) Tahiti Corruption Probe Leads To New Caledonia Arrests
Businessman allegedly paid union leader to suppress strikes

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 14, 2012) – A major corruption probe involving a top businessman and a leading unionist in French Polynesia has led to the arrest of two people in New Caledonia.

The case centers on claims that regular cash payments were made to buy the social peace.

Walter Zweifel reports.

“The secretary general of the confederation of independent unions, Cyril Legayic, wants out of Tahiti’s jail where he was sent last month as investigators are piecing together his dealings with Bill Ravel. The New Caledonian businessman, who is also in detention, is alleged to have paid Mr. Legayic 160,000 U.S. dollars in cash over four years to contain strikes at his companies in Papeete. A search of the computer of Mr. Ravel’s secretary has led to the discovery of a list of alleged recipients of money, including leading politicians who immediately denied any involvement or wrongdoing. Mr. Ravel’s associate, who was arrested in New Caledonia, is to be flown to Tahiti.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

14)Palau elects new president

By Online Editor
09:03 am GMT+12, 15/11/2012, Palau

The Pacific nation of Palau has elected Tommy Remengesau as president for the third time, ending incumbent Johnson Toribiong’s administration, preliminary figures released Wednesday showed.

The tiny nation, a collection of 300 islands with a population of just 21,000, went to the polls on 06 November in a vote overshadowed by the U.S election campaign.

Figures released by the Palau Election Commission showed Remengesau had 6,140 votes, giving him an unassailable lead of 1,853 over Toribiong in the two-way battle for the presidency.

Toribiong took office in 2008, with the latter stages of his administration marred by corruption allegations.

Remengesau, who previously served two consecutive terms as president from 2001-08, campaigned on a platform of encouraging foreign investment and improving services for grassroots communities.


15)Pacific lawyers challenged at meet

The 31st Pacific Islands Law Officers Network (PILON) annual conference in Kokopo, East New Britain province, saw more than 60 lawyers from Pacific Island countries, including New Zealand and Australia.
The two-day event started with an opening address from Justice Minister and Attorney General, Kerenga Kua, who stressed on the theme ‘Challenges and Strategies to Enhance Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law,’ stating that Papua New Guinea’s democracy, for the first time in its history, was stretched almost to breaking point during the recent political turmoil; but the country survived and finally ended everything at the polls this year.
“I believe that PNG has come out of these events with a strengthened ability to withstand such pressures and being better skilled and able to cope with such situations in the future,” he proudly said.
Incoming PILON Chair Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, who is secretary for the Department of Justice and Attorney General, welcomed all delegates and reminded the participants that as government lawyers, they had a crucial part to play in stregthening the rule of law and enhancing effective governance in their respective countries. “We need to battle against corruption which eats away at the heart of good governance and the rule of law,” he said. Discussions at the meeting revolved around the theme which included presentations by Professor Paul Rishworth, Professor of Law, Auckland University and Attorney General of Pitcairn Islands; John Nonggorr, constitutional lawyer and private practioner; Maurice Sheehan former Judge, PNG National Court; and John Toguata, development practitioner (anti-corruption), PNG-Australia Law and Justice Partnership.

16)Pacific dream holiday promoted in UK

By Online Editor
2:56 pm GMT+12, 15/11/2012, United Kingdom

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) in collaboration with its National Tourism partners from Fiji, PapuaNew Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti and Vanuatu for the first time in as many years came together to promote the South Pacific at the World Travel Mart in London.

Dubbed the leading global event for the travel industry, the World Travel Mart (WTM) which ended last Thursday was a vibrant four- day business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and International travel professionals.

Adopting a Pacific Village concept, participating Pacific island destinations seized the unique opportunity to meet, network, negotiate and conduct their business with key industry partners from the United Kingdom and around the world.

The main attraction at the South Pacific Village was the entertainment by the touring Kadavu choir group who thrilled visitors with their symphony of Fijian melody and graceful ‘meke’ chants and dances, offering guests a glimpse of what a South Pacific Holiday is about

The promotional effort was also boosted by visits from Papua New Guinea and Fiji’s High Commissioners to the UK, and celebrity chef and Samoa Tourism Ambassador UK, Monica Galetti, whose interaction with visitors have helped re-affirm the region’s commitment to making the South Pacific a ‘must visit’ destination.

The recent visit to the South Pacific by members of Britain’s Royal Family also created interest amongst Brits who are known to have a very close affection to the monarch.

Through assistance from the European Union, the SPTO also staged its inaugural South Pacific Specialist Workshop in the UK on the fringes of the WTM and will used the opportunity to undertake destinational training with UK travels agents who are more positioned to sell the South Pacific.

Aside from UK tour operators, interest was also received from tour companies in India, China,Europe and the Arabian gulf who are keen explore the possibility of referring their clients to experience the many treasures of the South Pacific.


17)Cakau is Fiji’s captain for second IRB 7s leg

By Online Editor
3:11 pm GMT+12, 15/11/2012, Fiji

Digicel Fiji 7s head coach, Alivereti Dere has named the experienced Setefano Cakau to lead the national side to the second leg of the 2012/2013 HSBC World Sevens series.

Between Cakau and Botia, Dere said the latter boasts a wealth of experience and is more matured.

“For him because of his experience and he is a more matured player. Cakau commands a lot of respect from the team especially the new boys,” Dere said.

Dere will name his traveling 12-member team on Friday. The team flies out next Wednesday for Dubai.

Meanwhile, Dere said Alipate Ratini who was injured last weekend has been cleared by the doctor.

“He will however be resting for two days before he resumes full-on training with the rest of the players.”

Fiji currently leads the IRB 7s series with 22 points, New Zealand in second on 19 and South Africa on 17.

Fiji will face Spain in their opening pool game followed by Scotland then Kenya in the final pool match. The Dubai leg will be played on the 30 November to 1 December and will be followed by the Port Elizabeth 7s on 8-9 December.


18)’More funds needed for tennis development’

By Online Editor
3:07 pm GMT+12, 15/11/2012, Fiji

International  Tennis Federation development projects administrator Frank Couraud believes more fund need to be invested to allow elite junior players from the region to travel and compete in world ranking tournaments.

Fiji’s Annie Shannon, Tarani Kamoe and Papua New Guinea’s Marcia Tere-Apisah have been eyed as bright prospects.

Couraud, who visited the country last week, said players needed to compete in international events to gain world ranking points.

He said the aim was to get the players ranked within the top 100.

“We have Marcia, Tarani and Annie who are ranked within the 500 in world junior tennis,” Couraud said.

“That’s not bad. But maybe there needs to be more money invested in their travel to compete in ITF events. These ITF events give points for world rankings. The ambition is to have players who can reach the top 200 or even in the top 100 from the region.”

Couraud said a pathway had been set for elite junior players in the region.

He said it was important to keep the players in the sport. “There are talents everywhere,” Couraud said.

“What is important is to have the right structure and the right environment for the players to perform better. That is why we have the training centre in Fiji. We are planning to get the players in their practice and compete more.

“We are working with the Oceania Tennis Federation and Fiji Tennis Association to try to have a more ambitious plan for the future. We need to have a good foundation with more competition so we can do a better job.”

Couraud is based at the ITF head quarters in London, England.


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