Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 697
1) Law Society slams govt threats
ITHE Papua New Guinea Law Society (PNGLS) has expressed concern at the O’Neill government’s threats to deport expatriates who made public statements that offended local politicians.
Referring to recent reports on the threats made to a prominent PNG-based lawyer over his “offending statements”, newly-elected PNGSL president Sir Kina Bona said freedom of speech and expression was guaranteed under the PNG constitution.
A warning to another expat that he would be denied entry into PNG over his comments also came under scrutiny with the lawyer saying it was unwarranted.
“Papua New Guinea is a democratic country with a constitution and other enacted laws and regulations that govern our day to day lives in this country. We are proud to say that our judiciary and our legal system place paramount importance on upholding the basic principle of the Rule of Law. We have legal processes and procedures that have to be adhered to before people can be deported or denied access into the country,” he said.
Governments cannot deport anyone or bar the entry of anyone into PNG just because they did not like their statements, he added.
“If anyone is upset or insulted by any public statement made by anyone in this country, there are avenues made possible by our legal system to get relief in our courts or some other lawful means,” he said. Sir Kina said he hoped his friend and colleague, Justice Minister and Attorney-General Kerenga Kua, ensured the Rule of Law was upheld at all times within the Government.
Highlighting the importance of section 46 of the PNG constitution on the right to freedom of speech and expression, he said lawyers, politicians and ordinary Papua New Guineans should aspire to uphold these rights at all times.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20121217/mohome.htm
2) More asylum seekers arrive
MANUS Island received its fourth batch of 34 asylum seekers from Australia, bringing the total number at the makeshift detention centre to 101.
Papua New Guinea Immigration officials told the Post-Courier yesterday that 34 people comprising families from Iran, Afghanistan, India and Sri Lanka arrived at Manus Island early on Saturday.
They said this was the fourth group of asylum seekers which included children. They were accompanied by Australian Federal Police, Immigration officials, interpreters and children’s services and medical personnel.
The officials also advised that more may be expected in the coming days. According to the agreement signed between PNG and Australia, about 600 asylum seekers will be transferred to Manus.
The first group which was transferred in late November was made up of 19 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Iran who were flown direct from Christmas Island to the Manus centre. It was made up of seven family groups that included women and four children.
The second group included eight families comprising 16 adults and 12 children from Sri Lanka and Iran. They were also accompanied by Federal Police, Immigration officials, interpreters and children’s services and medical personnel.
The third group of 20 were flown direct from Australia and received by the officials in Manus which included PNG Immigration officials, PNG Police and Australian officials.
The recent weekend’s group that arrived on Saturday was accompanied by Australian Federal Police, Immigration officials, interpreters and children’s services and medical personnel.
The immigration officials told the Post-Courier that there should be one or two more flights of asylum seekers to the island before Christmas and the rest will be transferred in the New Year.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20121217/mohome.htm
3)Solomons Official Warns Against Marine Mineral Exploration
Mining exploration ‘threat’ to environment, says Maelanga
By Denver Newter
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 17, 2012) – Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga has appealed to resource owners in the Solomon Islands not to support underwater mineral exploration.
He was referring to Temotu Province’s decision to invite an Australian exploration company, Blue Water Mining Company, to search for potential minerals within its waters.
Mr. Maelanga said underwater mineral exploration is a threat to the sea environment.
“I urge resource owners not to support this type of development,” he told the Solomon Star in an interview yesterday.
He said the government finds it hard to deal with exploration companies operating on land.
“If under-water exploration is allowed around the country, it would be very difficult for the government to control.”
He said the nation must protect its waters from potential pollution from under-water exploration.
Temotu Premier Fr. Brown Beu said his executive had granted Blue Water a license to search for minerals in waters between Vanikoro island and Vanuatu.
He said the company had promised to upgrade Lata airport and the province’s hospital as part of the deal.
4)Construction work on Vt1.3billion Convention Centre soon
Construction work on Vanuatu’s Vt 1.3 Billion National Convention Center funded by the Chinese Government will kick off shortly.
The signing of the agreement demonstrates a significant progress to kicking off this project. Formal commencement of the construction will start in early 2013 and construction period will be around 18-20 months to complete the work.
The Vanuatu National Convention Center comprises a main auditorium with a capacity of 1,000 persons, a large meeting room with a capacity for up to 200 persons, small meetings rooms, secretariat and organizers office, translation booth, delegate’s office, kitchen facilities and a parking area.
Upon completion, the VNCC would be the largest multi-functional meeting facility equipped with the advanced technologies in the South Pacific Region which can accommodate large scale international conferences. Important political or diplomatic activities and festival ceremonies.
The signing ceremony approving the start of the project took place at the Prime Minister Office on Friday between Vanuatu Government and Chinese Government Officials and the Chinese company that won the tender to construct the multi-purpose National Convention Center.
The new national convention center will emerge next to the Parliament House at what is now known as the parliamentary Green Park.
The Project Construction Agreement was signed off Wednesday this week by Jotham Napat, Chairman of the VNCC preparatory Committee and Mr. Shen Zhi, Deputy Managing Director of China Jiangsu Provincial Construction Co, Ltd and witnessed by Johnson Naviti Head Aid Coordinator Unit and John Shing both from the Prime Minister’s Office and Mr. Chen Li, Head of Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office, Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu.http://www.dailypost.vu/content/construction-work-vt13billion-convention-centre-soon
5)MP Jimmy says Chief Justice disqualified himself from case
Opposition MP and President of Liberal Democratic Party MP Willie Jimmy says the Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek has agreed to disqualify himself from hearing the case that his Defence Counsel Willie Daniel filed in court last month, to challenge the Electoral Office’s decision, to allow then Lakatoro candidate Sato Kilman, to contest the October 30 general elections, even though he was reported to owe the Government land rents totaling Vt13 million.
MP Jimmy who is a veteran politician says he has nothing personal against MP Kilman.
He says while the case is still pending in court, he has advised his lawyer to request the Chief Justice to disqualify himself from hearing it because he is concerned that the case may be discontinued and he believes that he has a strong case.
He says he has followed the progress of his case since it was first presented in court and there are two important parts of legal procedures used in the case.
“One is the Representation of the Peoples Act CAP 146 and there are also Election Dispute Rules which are set up by the Chief Justice and members of the court house to direct anyone wishing to lodge an election dispute to make sure that he or she follows those rules”, the MP says.
“My observation is that at times, the Chief Justice seems to stick more to the Rules than what CAP 146 says. Rules seem not to be inconsistent with the law that parliament has passed in connection to this particular issue to do with election disputes”.
The MP explains that an election petition under the Representation of the Peoples Act states only that a person can file an election petition, while Rules say you must file election disputes giving all details of name and if the person is registered to vote or not and sworn statements. This makes it difficult for lawyers to complete their tasks at the same time. In line with present practice, many lawyers file their election petitions with the hope of following with sworn statements later. Grounds of supporting a petition will come in through sworn statements.
The MP says according to his personal observation of the proceedings in court, the Chief Justice sometimes argues with his defense counsel that “you have 21 days to file your petition blablablabla while my lawyer tries to convince him that the section of the Representation of the Peoples Act talks about a “petition, the details not yet”.
In his humble opinion the Chief Justice sometimes applies supremacy of the rules above the organic law or above the law that is passed by parliament or at times he sticks more to the law passed by parliament over the rules. He says it can be quite confusing.
“Sometimes my lawyer wants to refer to some sections of the requirements that election dispute rules do not cover and he wants to use civil procedure code rules, he (Chief Justice) won’t allow him to do that. But an election dispute is a civil matter.
His second observation is that in these cases the presiding judge over these hearings spends so much time talking instead of listening to both lawyers and witnesses in the cases. “In my humble opinion, the chief justice should be listening most of the time and taking submissions and respondings and questions relevant to both sides then making his ruling”, he says.
He says as far as he is concerned, his case is straight forward. “It is to do with pre-conditions of candidates wishing to contest the general elections”, he says.
He says his confusion and concerns that his electoral petition might be dismissed or struck off, prompted him to ask his lawyer to request the Chief Justice last Friday afternoon with due respect, to disqualify himself from the case and allow another judge to take up the case and he accepted.
MP Jimmy’s petition is now waiting to be continued pending finding another judge to it up. “I repeat that I nothing personal against Mr Kilman. All I want to see is that justice prevails in Vanuatu”, he says.http://www.dailypost.vu/content/mp-jimmy-says-chief-justice-disqualified-himself-case
6)Fiji military says it will continue role as custodian of change post elections
Posted at 01:21 on 17 December, 2012 UTC
The Fiji military says it will monitor Fiji’s new parliament to ensure changes brought in by the current regime are fully implemented.
But it says it does not want special reserved seats in parliament despite being tempted by the idea.
Sally Round reports.
“The military’s ideas for Fiji after elections in 2014 come in its 100 page submission to the Constitution Commission. It says it had not thought about asking for special seats until Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr raised the issue when he visited Fiji earlier this year. The military says it wants to allay people’s fears so won’t be making the call. But it says, as the last bastion of law and order in Fiji, it won’t allow any individual or group to sabotage its efforts, saying it will remain as the custodian of change in Fiji. The military has called for all decrees to remain in force post elections. A large part of the submission is given over to the regime’s achievements for Fiji. The military wants what it calls a new style presidential model of government with a president elected by a 46 seat unicameral parliament, but powers to govern in a state of emergency. It’s also called for the constitution to lay out basic human rights.”
Radio New Zealand International
By Online Editor
07:30 am GMT+12, 17/12/2012, AustraliaThe Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has restored an Australian high commissioner to Fiji, ending a three-year diplomatic hiatus triggered by the expulsion of an Australian envoy in 2009.
Margaret Twomey, the current Australian ambassador to the Russian Federation, will serve as high commissioner from February.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr says the decision comes at a time when Fiji is moving towards democracy.
“I welcome recent moves towards democracy in Fiji, including work towards an electronic electoral roll ahead of the elections scheduled for 2014,” he said in a statement.
“There is a long way to go, but recent steps forward deserve the recognition agreed upon in our talks in July.
“Australia will continue to encourage Fiji’s return to democracy and the civilianisation of government positions.”
Australia’s relationship with Fiji has been turbulent since November 2009, when Fiji’s leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama expelled the Australian and New Zealand high commissioners from the country.
Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, accused Australian diplomats of interfering with Fiji’s judiciary and also recalled Fiji’s high commissioners from Canberra and Wellington.
SOURCE: Australian Network News/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
3:19 pm GMT+12, 17/12/2012, FijiNo decision has been made by Fiji on appointing a High Commissioner to Australia.
Fiji’s interim foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, has confirmed this to the Fiji Sun after Canberra announced that Margaret Twomey would be Australian High Commissioner to Fiji.
Fiji had expelled Australia’s envoy three years ago.
In July, talks in Sydney led to an agreement between Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to restore full diplomatic relations.
Relations soured in part because of travel sanctions imposed on those involved and associated with the 2006 military coup in Fiji.
8) Unemployment Statistics High For French Polynesia
Language barriers preventing emigration to find work
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 16, 2012) – Figures released in French Polynesia show more that 6,000 jobs have been lost over four years to the end of 2011, cutting the territory’s tax take and stifling businesses.
The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex Du Prel, says the economic situation has been deteriorating over the past decade and the statistics reveal only part of the problem.
He says language barriers prevent many people from emigrating to find work and youth are particularly hard hit.
“The economy has to create two to three thousand jobs a year just to absorb the young people. So if you add those to the losses we’re about fifteen thousand jobs short. And according to President Temaru at least 25 percent of the young people who are of working age are jobless.”
Alex Du Prel says the government will soon be offering monetary enticements to 400 public servants to take up early retirement.
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
9)Academic Bringing Light To Guam’s Indigenous History
Tina DeLisle contesting negative portrayals of Chamorros
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 16, 2012) – A Chamorro academic at a United States university says she is one of a number of feminist scholars re-framing negative historical perceptions of Guam’s indigenous women.
Tina DeLisle of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is researching the importance of the Guma Irritao, residential schools for young men where they were taught skills such as fishing, canoe-building and navigation.
She says although 17th century Spanish colonists recognized the power of women in Guam’s matrilineal society, they demonized them for visiting the Guma Irritao, portraying their behavior as immoral.
“Those accounts that early Chamorro institution, form of education, and really missed the whole thing around sexuality, which conveys a different notion of sexuality, right, very contrary to what the Spanish believed – you had to be married in order to have sex.”
Tina DeLisle says accounts by the early 20th century’s American colonists also misrepresented Chamorro women.
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
10) Almost 4,000 in evacuation centres in Fiji’s north after Evan
Posted at 03:21 on 17 December, 2012 UTC
Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office says almost 4,000 people in the northern division are in evacuation centres as the authorities prepare to assess the damage from Cyclone Evan.
The cyclone caused what’s been described as an inland tsunami in parts of Samoa’s capital Apia over the weekend, killing four people before moving south west over Fiji’s northern islands.
The director of the disaster management office, Manasa Tagicakibau says 3,700 people were evacuated before the storm hit and the evacuation centres are well supplied.
He says the northern division commissioner told him earlier today that the weather is till too bad for a damage assessment to be carried out.
“There’s damage to weak structures like makeshift sheds and broken trees, a few power lines and a few power cuts in respective areas. But as soon as they feel that it’s safe for their assessment officers to move out, they’ll move out, do their assessment and gives us information.”
Manasa Tagicakibau says he is not sure how many people have been evacuated in the western division, which is bearing the full force of the cyclone now.
Radio New Zealand International
By Online Editor
5:08 pm GMT+12, 17/12/2012, FijiTropical Cyclone Evan is bearing down directly on the western coast of Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu bringing heavy rain and winds of up to 270 kilometres per hour.
The northern island of Vanua Levu, which felt the full brunt of Evan early Monday, is without power and suffered extensive damage.
Police imposed a curfew on northern town of Labasa on Sunday night to limit the movement of people at the height of Severe Tropical Cyclone Evan, which has been categorized at level four.
As at midday, power was also disrupted in many parts of Fiji with the electricity authority not taking any risks with fallen power lines.
The director of the Fiji Met Service, Alipate Waqaicelua says the storm has slowed down, increasing its power as it moves through the sea passage between the Yasawa Islands and the western coast of Viti Levu.
“Which places it in a very bad situation as far as Viti Levu and Yasawa are concerned, because that is going to bring the rain and the strongest winds which are hurricane force winds or storm force winds right over the main centres of the western division, said Waqaicelua.
He said the cyclone will batter the western division for about another 10 hours as it moves south towards the island of Kadavu.
The Yasawa and Mamanuca groups and western Viti Levu bore the full brunt of STC Evan Monday with winds reaching hurricane force gusting over 200kmph.
This is an extremely dangerous cyclone and all steps to protect life and property should be taken. Winds are likely of be destructive with even strong solidly build houses at risk of damage. Weaker structures will likely be totally destroyed, according to Na Draki.
More than 3,500 people are currently being sheltered at 17 evacuation centres – 10 in Vanua Levu and seven in the Western division, confirmed by the National Disaster Management Office in Suva today.
Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith Johns said it was encouraging to see people moving to evacuation centres.
“We urge people to move into evacuation centres now (in the day) before it gets dark as electricity is also being shut in areas,” Smith Johns said
Late this afternoon, people in the Central/Eastern Division have been urged to move to higher grounds as flooding is predicted in low lying areas.
National disaster officials are monitoring water levels at the Rewa and Navua Rivers.
“People need to move now,” said Smith Johns.
“And with the high tide at 10.00pm tonight, people can expect higher levels of water in the rivers.
Civil servants have been ordered to remain at home until further notice, said Pramesh Chand the permanent secretary for the Public Service Commission
In Suva, a bulk carrier tried to fight ferocious winds whipped up by Cyclone Evan but lost and ran aground on the edge of the reef in the Suva Harbour.
The Starford, believed to be carrying equipment for the China First Railway Group constructing the Nabouwalu highway, dragged its anchor at 11.30am and was pushed on to the reef close to the entrance of the harbour, reported Fiji Times Online.
Its agent, Carpenters Shipping, was discussing with the Chinese company on what to do to refloat the ship.
SOURCE: RNZI/FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
12)No Deaths In Wallis And Futuna After Cyclone Evan
Roads, some structures suffer damages
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 16, 2012) – No casualties have been reported in Wallis and Futuna as the French territory takes stock of the damage caused yesterday by Tropical Cyclone Evan.
The category 4 cyclone left mainly damage to infrastructure as it passed the French territory, heading towards the Fiji group into Monday.
The head of the Wallis and Futuna administration’s cabinet, Benjamin Gerard, says Wallis felt more direct impact than Futuna.
“You can say about twenty families’ houses have been damaged. It’s the roads that have been damaged… and damages have been cast to infrastructures rather than to people. The most important thing is that not a single death or casualty has really been cast.”
France has decided to send a mission from New Caledonia to Wallis and Futuna to help with the aftermath of Cyclone Evan which hit the territory over the weekend.
The overseas territories ministry in Noumea says a CASA plane will be dispatched, also carrying 1.4 tons of supplies.
The ministry says after discussions with the interior ministry it has been agreed to also send a mission from Paris to Wallis which is the island most affected by the destructive winds.
Paris says it won’t hesitate to send more help if necessary.
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
13) Evan batters Rakiraki
By FELIX CHAUDHARY
Monday, December 17, 2012
Update: 10:51AM PEOPLE living in Lautoka have been warned to batten down as extremely damaging winds would bear down without warning.
The warning from the Fiji Meteorological Service came after revelations that Rakiraki was battered with 110 kilometre an hour winds at approximately 10am today.
The weather office in Nadi also reported that Yasawa-i-Rara was hit with hurricane force winds of approximately 130km an hour at approximately the same time.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki is already calling on people living in low-lying areas in the Western Division to immediately move to higher ground.
14)Saiklon Evan i hamarim north hap blong Fiji
Matt Wordsworth in Fiji, wires and staff
Moa long 3-tausen 500 pipol i stap long ol evacuation centre insait long Fiji taim strongpela win na ren, Saiklon Evan i hamarim ol ailan long north blong kantri.
Meteorological Ofis blong Fiji i tok 9 kilok tede moning lokol taim, Tropical Saiklon Evan ibin kamap 30 kilomita east blong Yasawa i Ra island.
Em nau i mun igo southwest-southerly long 22 kilomita long wan wan hawa, na ol i bilip em bai kamap samting olsem 60km west blong Nadi long 8 kilok tede nait.
Ol tok save blong ol strongpela win i kamap raun long kantri na bikpela tok save tu igo long bikpela bagarap bai nap kamap long solowara.
Dispela ol i tok i makim wanpela strongpela saiklon em inap bagarapim kantri insait long 20pela yar.
15)Le Cyclone Evan balaie le nord des îles Fidji
2 000 personnes ont passé la nuit dans des centres d’évacuation.
Ce cyclone de catégorie 4 a déjà causé d’importants dégâts et fait plusieurs morts au Samoa. Ce matin, à 6h30, heure locale, les services météo des îles Fidji ont indiqué que le cyclone était en train de balayer le nord de l’archipel. Le cyclone était alors à un peu plus d’une centaine de kilomètres de Labasa.
Si Evan continue sur cette trajectoire, il devrait toucher Nadi et l’île de Viti Levu d’ici 18 heures.
Le cyclone est accompagné par des vents soufflant à plus de 185 kilomètres à l’heure avec des rafales atteignant jusqu’à 270 kilomètres heure.
Les autorités tentent d’évacuer les touristes et les habitants locaux qui sont en ce moment dans des zones sans altitude. L’aéroport international de Nadi est bourré de touristes qui tentent de fuir l’archipel mais qui ne devraient pas y parvenir avant l’arrivée de la tempête.
Pendant ce temps au Samoa le bilan des victimes s’est alourdi et pourrait encore s’aggraver.
Les autorités ont confirmé la mort d’au moins 4 personnes tandis que 8 autres sont toujours portées disparues.
Le centre local des opérations d’urgence indique que les dégâts occasionnés par de cyclone sont aussi graves que ceux provoqués par le tsunami de 2009.
Les autorités précisent également que 4 500 personnes sont actuellement dans des centres d’évacuation après que leur résidence ait été inondée ou détruite.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2012-12-17/le-cyclone-evan-balaie-le-nord-des-îles-fidji/1061800
By Matai Akauola
06:53 am GMT+12, 15/12/2012, Fiji
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