Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 709

1) Vanuatu groups still object to Indonesia’s MSG role

Posted at 03:40 on 30 January, 2013 UTC

Some non-government and community groups in Vanuatu remain opposed to the Melanesia Spearhead Group’s acceptance of Indonesia as an observer.

The MSG this week marks its 25th anniversary organised by its secretariat in Port Vila.

Two years ago, the MSG agreed to grant Jakarta observer status despite protests from many West Papuans who are Melanesians.

Our correspondent, Len Garae, says for many locals, the move goes against the principles of Vanuatu’s first Prime Minister, the late Father Walter Lini, who helped set up the MSG 25 years ago.

“It’s seen as a slap in the face by NGOs in Vanuatu including the National Council of Chiefs, and women organisations and youth organisations in the country, because they have successfully mobilised the grassroots throughout the country to stand firm with the people of West Papua to demand independence for West Papua.”

Len Garae.

MSG members are Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu as well as the FLNKS of New Caledonia, with Indonesia and Timor-Leste joining as observers.

Radio New Zealand International

2) MSG to choose group to chart next 25 years

Posted at 07:13 on 30 January, 2013 UTC

The Melanesian Spearhead Group is to appoint an Eminent Persons Group to consider the regional organisation’s priorities and way forward for the next 25 years.

The MSG, which represents the interests of Melanesian countries and territories, has been marking its 25th anniversary in Vanuatu this week.

The executive officer to the MSG director general, Lora Lini, says nominations have begun to be received.

“One of the former dignatries of the MSG membership is Mr Kaliopate Tavola. He is the nominee from Fiji, and the membership of the MSG are going to be providing the names of their nominee.”

The MSG’s Lora Lini.

Other MSG countries will hold week long silver jubilee celebrations from February to June.

Radio New Zealand International

3) MSG welcomes Tavola’s nomination to MSG Eminent Persons Group
By Online Editor
2:45 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Vanuatu

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Port Vila

The Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), Peter Forau has welcomed Fiji’s nomination of Kaliopate Tavola to the Eminent Persons Group to review and carve a new vision for Melanesia.

Forau has indicated his preference for Tavola to lead the EPG review team.

“We are very grateful and honoured to have a person of Mr Kaliopate Tavola’s calibre to be part of the EPG and I have today indicated my intention for him to lead the Eminent Persons’ Group, as Fiji has done very well to select him. His selection will be quite valuable for us, said Forau.

Tavola, a well respected Fijian diplomat and former Foreign Affairs minister was nominated by the Fijian Government this week to undertake this important task for the MSG as Melanesian reshapes itself for the next 25 years.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, said Tavola’s experience was vital for the Fijian government’s input into MSG.

The decision to establish an Eminent Persons Group came out from the Special MSG Leaders Summit in August last year. The Eminent Persons Group will comprise of highly regarded individuals from respective MSG member countries.

Forau said the “EPG report will identify a common vision for Melanesia that will charter a path for the organisation for the next 25 years and beyond.”

“While the review is happening, we will also be undertaking a review at the Secretariat level to check our systems in place so that we can be ready when EPG comes up with its recommendations, the organisation is ready to support their recommended way forward, said Forau.

The Terms of Reference for the review has been agreed to and the Secretariat is waiting for member countries to finalise their nominations for the EPG.

“Fiji and FLNKS have made their nominations and we are waiting on Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to finalise their names. I think I heard the Prime Minister of Vanuatu say that we should be getting Vanuatu’s nomination shortly. We want them to finish their work before our Leaders Summit in June, said Forau.


4) Vanuatu, PNG Hold Reconciliation At MSG Celebrations
Ceremony comes after tensions over minister’s flight to PNG

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 29, 2013) – Vanuatu’s government has performed a custom reconciliation with Papua New Guinea over the recent controversial visit of its foreign minister, Alfred Carlot, to Port Moresby.

The PNG government was last week forced to defend itself over its alleged involvement with Mr. Carlot and two Vanuatu diplomatic representatives while they were briefly in the country, reportedly without the Vanuatu government’s knowledge.

The diplomatic passport holders, who are allegedly wanted by Interpol on charges of drugs and arms smuggling, arrived without proper flight clearance on a private plane.

Mr. Carlot’s claims that he was invited by PNG’s government were rejected by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

At an official reception for the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s (MSG) 25th anniversary celebrations in Port Vila, Vanuatu’s deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini apologized to his PNG counterpart Leo Dion for the controversy.

Leo Dion said that Mr. O’Neill preferred not to attend the MSG celebration following the issue of Mr. Carlot’s visit.

Radio New Zealand International:

5) Local govt official in Papua killed at polling station

Posted at 23:45 on 29 January, 2013 UTC

A local legislative council member was killed in Indonesia as voters went to the polls in Papua’s gubernatorial election

The Jakarta Globe says Husia Yosia Karoba was killed after urging hundreds of supporters of the Democratic Party to vote for two candidates from his Golkar Party.

One witness says people were angry because he had tried to influence them to vote for his candidates in an area where the base for the Democratic Party is strong.

Papua Police deputy chief Brigadier General Paulus Waterpauw confirmed the incident, saying Husia was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

Six candidates are competing in Papua’s gubernatorial election, where voters will choose the new leaders of Indonesia’s easternmost province for the 2013-18 period.

Radio New Zealand International

6) PNG Sosel Demokratik pati i sapotim 30 mun nogat vout.

Updated 30 January 2013, 16:25 AEST
John Papik

Sosel Demokratik Pati i sapotim idea  long Nogat blong Vout Nogat Bilif long Gavaman imas go 30 mun.

Long ol dispela yar igo pinis, gavaman blong Papua New Guinea ino save stap pinisim ful 5 yar blong en.

Dispela long wanem wanpela tingting oli gat em long Vout Of No Confidence isave kam long lain Opposisen taim oli lukim gavaman ino mekim gut wok blong em.

Dispela wik Sosel  Demokratik pati, wanpela  long ol liklik pati  insait  long Coalition gavaman blong Praim Minista Peter O’Neill i soim sapot blong ol long surukim taim blong noken askim vout of no confidence  long 18 mun igo antap long 30 mun.

Lida blong Pati em Powes Parkop,husait i gavana blong Nesenel  Kapitel Distrik long Port Moresby ibin mekim dispela toktok.

Mr Parkop i stori long olsem wanem na pati blong em i sapotim dispela tingting igo long John Papik.

7) Solomon Islands Tisa Lawyer itoktok

Updated 30 January 2013, 15:20 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Long Solomon Islands, gavman na laen blong national teachers union iwok long traem iet long stretim heve blong pei blong ol tisa.

Flag blong Solomon Islands
Odio: Donald Marahari lawyer blong Solomon Islands national teachers association itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Moa long 9 tausan ol tisa nau i strike long wonem oli tok gavman ino bin bihaenim promis blong en long stretim despla wari.

Ministri blong education itok oli no bin putim despla askim blong apim pei blong ol tisa long 2013 budget.

Gavman itok olsem despla strike i brukim loa na aste Trade dispute panel ibin tokim ol tisa long stopim strike na go bek long skul.

Tasol oli no laik go bek iet long skul.

8) PNG supports Kanaks’ cause
By Online Editor
2:41 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Vanuatu

Papua  New Guinea deputy  Prime Minister Leo Dion has assured the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) that Papua New Guinea will honour its commitment towards the Kanaks of New Caledonia.

And that is to help make Kanaks’ dream for self determination and eventual independence become a reality.

Dion said this in his address at the launching of the MSG 25th celebrations in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

He said through the various arrangements, MSG members were beginning to enjoy greater benefits and the MSG Trade Agreement had given rise to the increase in the volume of trade between countries.

“Arrangements such as the Skills Movement Scheme (SMS), including Labour Mobility, harmonisation of visa procedures and processes, a possible regional monitoring and surveillance system, a Regional Police Academy, Humanitarian and Emergency Response Coordination Centre and UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) are some of the key initiatives which should further bring tangible benefits to all our peoples,” said Dion.

“We are showing the world that through our own initiatives and efforts, and through south-south cooperation, we are seeking to address not only our economic development aspirations, but also the UN Millennium Goals and poverty alleviation.”

He said one of the cornerstones for the formation of the MSG was to pursue self-determination for the Kanaks.

“While we still have a lot more work to do to achieve this noble dream for our brothers and sisters in New Caledonia, we must be happy that we have made real progress toward making this dream a reality,” he said.

He said the establishment of the FLNKS Unit should also further boost and ensure better coordination and coherence as countries work closely with FLNKS and other like-minded groups in New Caledonia toward self-determination.

“We must continue to be diligent in our collective efforts so that together we can continue to climb every hill, cross every lagoon and withstand every cyclone, to get our New Caledonia brothers and sisters to their ‘promised land’.”

“As you all know, Papua New Guinea made some commitments toward assisting the FLNKS and the Kanaks in education, training and capacity-building. We also made some financial pledge on the establishment and work of the FLNKS Unit at the secretariat. I want to give the assurance that Papua New Guinea will honour its commitments.”

A significant development in MSG is the Development of the MSG Vision that was approved during the last Special Leaders’ Summit in Fiji in March 2012.

The MSG Vision is a very important mechanism which will provide the future direction and path in driving the aspirations of the MSG. Papua New Guinea looks forward towards the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) visit to PNG later this year.

“While we support the secretariat’s ongoing programs and new initiatives, I want to reiterate again that Papua New Guinea would like to see that the secretariat should continue to focus on its core business, which is the promotion of trade and economic relations as well as the pursuit of the political agenda of self-determination for New Caledonia.”


9) PNG’s new attorney-general targets corruption
By Online Editor
2:32 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s new attorney-general, Kerenga Kua, says he wants to ensure transparency in the fight against corruption in his country.

Papua New Guinea’s new attorney-general, Kerenga Kua, says he wants to ensure transparency in the fight against corruption in his country.

After his re-election in August, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill made tackling corruption a priority.

PNG already has an institution to deal with corruption by national leaders, but a proposed new Independent Commission Against Corruption will have powers to investigate wrong-doers further down the political food chain.

Kerenga Kua has told Lowy Institute’s Leadership Mapping Program he has asked his department to delay the legislation’s progress until he has been able to ensure it includes all the measures he believes are necessary.

“I wanted to ensure that certain critical issues that I have in mind are accommodated in that framework,” he said.

“Take for example, I wanted to ensure that within that new organic law, which is what is being drafted, we have a means tested provision, where if a certain individual is seen to be living beyond his means, then the commission must have the power – either on its own initiative or on complaint – to investigate that fellow.

“To summons him and to investigate into that background, how he came into possession of such assets money and so on.”

The Attorney General is also keen to ensure there is no delay between the referral of a matter to the Public Prosecutor and the prosecution of the matter.

“At the moment you have the Ombudsman Commission who is responsible for the application of the leadership code, on leaders,” he said.

“They complete their investigation and if they feel there is a prima facie case, they refer it to the public prosecutor, who then stalls the progress of the matter and carries out his own analysis on whether or not there is a prima facie case.

“That exercise itself can delay the progress by up to a year.”

The Attorney-General also has a plan to clear the backlog of cases in the courts and to prevent delays in judgements.

At the moment judges in the National court also sit in the Appeal court, a practice which can cause disruption to National court proceedings.

Kua says more and more competent judges are needed, and he plans to split the courts so each has its own judicial staff – with lifetime appointments.


10) Solomons Government, Teachers Seek Long-Term Solutions
Teachers asked to provide pay re-leveling submissions

By Douglas Marau

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 29, 2013) – The Solomon Islands Government has taken a positive step in finding a solution to deal with teacher’s outstanding claims effectively.

Following a meeting between officials of the education ministry, the teaching service commission, the Attorney General and Office of the Prime Minister last night, decisive action was taken to find a responsible long term solution to the teacher’s claims.

The Government in a statement last night said that they would urgently call all education authorities around the country to Honiara to make their submissions for re-leveling to the teaching service department.

From there, the teaching service department will then advise the teaching service commission who will then make the appointments.

The Government in the statement said this would then enable the entitlements to be determined and paid.

“This is the process set out in the Education Act and the Constitution of Solomon Islands,” the statement said. “It will be the starting point to properly address these issues.” The statement said the process should start this week.

“The education ministry will this week start the process by calling on all education authorities to formulate a list of teachers that are eligible for re-leveling of their posts according to the Teachers’ Scheme of Service as contained in the 2012 Teachers Handbook,” the statement highlighted.

The Government statement said that the list should be submitted to the secretary of the teaching service commission for consideration by the commission before their appointments are made.

Meanwhile, the Trade Dispute Panel (TDP) hearing on the matter between the Solomon Islands National Teacher’s Association (SINTA) and the Government should be heard on Tuesday.

In the interim, the Government last night maintains that the strike action taken by SINTA is illegal and those who are responsible will be held accountable.

“The Government urges all teachers to return to work as the matter is now brought to the TDP.” The Government in the statement has also queried the presidency of the president of SINTA who was alleged to have been sacked by the Honiara City Council (HCC) education authority.

But yesterday, SINTA president Samson Faisi said SINTA would only be willing to negotiate with the Government under the conditions that a deadline must be set for payments to be made and an MOU to guide the agreement.

“A lot of promises have been reached in past negotiations but nothing has been done, and that has caused a lot of frustration to teachers, therefore we still stand that our demand must be paid by February 7,” Mr. Faisi said.

Mr. Faisi said after their meeting with teachers yesterday, they (teachers) agreed to continue on with the strike action until they receive what they demanded.

Solomon Star

11) Solomons police wary of intervening in teacher strike

Posted at 07:13 on 30 January, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands police force says it will only get involved in the trade dispute between teachers and the government as a last resort.

The Solomon Islands National Teachers Association has defied an order by the Trade Dispute Panel to call off its strike.

The union says it had been warned that teachers would face prosecution if they continued to strike, and they are prepared to be arrested.

No arrests have yet been made however, and the Police Commissioner, John Lansley, says he would prefer it if police involvement was not needed.

“It’s something that I would much rather be considered through dialogue and through negotiation and through an understanding position rather than resorting to arresting people which at the moment we’re not anticipating that form of action, at this precise moment. I’m not saying it’s being ruled out completely because that would be wrong of me to say so, any matter that’s against the law has to be considered but at the moment we’re not considering arresting him at this precise time, no.”

John Lansley says the police are monitoring the sit-in protest of about 200 teachers, which is being conducted lawfully on a private piece of land near the High Court in Honiara.

Radio New Zealand International

12) Freda damage in New Caledonia assessed at US$10m

Posted at 03:40 on 30 January, 2013 UTC

The French overseas territories minister says the tropical depression Freda four weeks ago caused damage worth ten million US dollars in New Caledonia.

During the storm, which brought heavy rain and high winds, two people drowned.

The minister, Victorin Lurel, says almost all damage reported was to public buildings.

He says in Wallis and Futuna 400,000 US dollars has been released in emergency assistance after the territory was hit by Cyclone Evan last month.

Radio New Zealand International

13) Barr episode shows Fiji is run at whim, says academic

Posted at 23:45 on 29 January, 2013 UTC

A Fiji academic living in Australia says last week’s decision to remove a long-serving Catholic priest Father Kevin Barr demonstrates Fiji is run on the whim of one or two people.

Dr Brij Lal, who was deported from Fiji in 2009 for criticising the regime, says the leaders of Fiji attempt to paint any negativity aimed at them as anti-Fijian comments.

Father Kevin Barr was preparing to leave Fiji last week after the Immigration Department revoked his work permit, but the interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama reversed the decision.

The regime has refused to comment on why Father Barr’s letter to the Fiji Sun did not constitute a breach of the media decree but was serious enough to warrant deporting him with only two days’ notice.

Dr Lal says there is still no toleration of opposing views.

“What this whole episode shows is how things are done in Fiji. It all depends on the whims of one person or maybe at best two people. There is really no room for debate or dissent in the country.”

Former Fijian academic Dr Brij Lal.

Radio New Zealand International

14) More EU funding for Fiji elections dependent on “truly representative” Assembly

Posted at 07:13 on 30 January, 2013 UTC

The European Union is waiting until it sees the make up of Fiji’s Constituent Assembly before it commits any more money to Fiji in the lead up to elections.

About 400,000 US dollars of EU funds has already been paid to the Constitution Commission and another one and a half million is in reserve for the soon to be announced Assembly and civic and voter education.

The charge d’affaires for the EU delegation in the Pacific, Johnny Engell-Hansen, says the EU was surprised at the recall of the Commission’s draft constitution but it is reserving its position on developments until it sees the contents of the interim government’s draft.

Mr Engell-Hansen says the EU has every hope the Assembly will be truly representative and the EU is following developments like the Political Parties Decree closely.

“Law and legality are of course important issues but it is very very important that there is an atmosphere created in which a truly democratic political debate will be able to take place.”

Johnny Engell-Hansen of the EU delegation in Suva.

Radio New Zealand International

15) Fiji PM issues invites to Constituent Assembly
By Online Editor
2:40 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama is sending invitations to individuals and organisations to be members of the Constituent Assembly over the course of the next few weeks.

A government statement confirms the last of the invitations will go out after the 14th February deadline for existing political parties to re-register.

Those parties that register under the Decree will be invited to the Constituent Assembly which is scheduled to have its first sitting in February.

The Constituent Assembly has the duty to review and approve the draft constitution as required under the relevant Decree.

The Decree requires that the Assembly be diverse, and in addition to political parties, be composed of members who represent faith based organisations, trade unions, employers, the business community, Government, rural and agricultural communities, the RFMF, women, youth, people with disability, and pensioners.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman, Phil Goff, says the Fiji government has not yet shown good faith that it intends to restore democracy to Fiji.

He said the government’s recall of the draft constitution and burning of proofs was a dramatic and extreme response to what were fairly mainstream proposals for the country.

New Zealand is among donors who have given funds and technical help towards the constitution and promised elections in 2014.

Goff said each day there are warnings from Fiji that New Zealand’s good faith may not be reciprocated.

“New Zealand’s put half a million dollars into that and I applaud that support for a restoration of democracy but this response really raises the question of whether the government is intending to introduce free and fair elections next year and whether it is committed to a democratic outcome.”

Goff said the government’s threat to deport a long-serving social advocate from Fiji and the response of the police to the Ghai draft reveal leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s autocratic mindset.

But he said channels of dialogue should be kept open between the two countries and the ultimate test will be whether free and fair elections are held.


16) Fiji Police Appoint First-Ever Female Division Commander
Outgoing commander lauded for contributions to police force

By Luke Rawalai

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 29, 2013) – History was created within the Fiji Police Force following the inauguration of Assistant Senior Superintendent of Police Fulori Rainibogi as the first female divisional police commander (DPC) within the force.

A parade was observed for the changing of commands as outgoing divisional police commander north, Senior Superintendent of Police Seru Savou handed over the reins of leadership to Acting DPC North Assistant Superintendent of Police Fulori Rainibogi before taking up his new post as the director training at the Fiji Police Academy.

The ceremony was a touching one as the outgoing DPC handed over the Fiji Police Force flag to his successor followed by the signing of the contracts and handing over of the register.

Chief guest Assistant Commissioner of Police Inspector General Isikeli Vuniwaqa said the parade was a mark of support for the visions and aspirations of the organization.

ACP Vuniwaqa lauded the outgoing DPC for his contribution and effort while congratulating the incoming DPC for being the first female to hold the post within the police force.

“Rise up to the challenge and make your mark in a field that is mostly dominated by males,” he said.

ACP Vuniwaqa encouraged officers at the parade to work together for the betterment of their division.

“The Commissioner of Police has a dream of establishing the Fiji Police Force as a police force for the nation by the year 2014 and we are depending on each one of you to prove yourselves worthy and able so that we achieve such an organization,” he said.

Fiji Times Online:

17) Tonga Trials Solar-Powered Street Lights In Capital
Part of national move towards reducing fossil fuel use

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 29, 2013) – The first three solar powered street lights installed on Taufa’ahau Road are on a trial for three months to see whether they can help Tonga to reduce its cost of power and amount of fossil fuel for diesel generation.

The project will test the financial viability of the solar panels that may be installed throughout Tongatapu and the outer islands in the future.

Tonga Power Ltd., Tonga’s sole power supplier, installed the solar panels on January 8 on the three power poles located opposite the Royal Tombs, Mala’ekula, and angled facing north for maximum exposure to the sun.

Tonga Power stated that the solar powered street light has a 40 W LED powered by the solar panel, which charges a battery during the day and automatically switches on the light at night and runs for up to 16 hours.

The solar unit can run in remote areas where mains electricity is not available, and is also an excellent solution for lighting sheds, workshop yards, car parks, access ways and anywhere that needs an extra light.

The trial is part of Tonga Power’s efforts in targeting a 50 percent reduction of fossil fuel by 2015.

Tonga Power has connected meter boxes to each solar panel, which measures the amount of power feeding back into the grid over the next three months. The readings will test the cost of units versus the output to prove if the pole mounted solar panels will be financially viable, prior to installing solar panels throughout Tongatapu and outer islands.


Tonga Power Ltd’s Distribution Manager, Rodney Lowe, expected that the solar panels would generate 1 to 1.5kWH per day, or even up to 2kWH a day.

After five to six days meter technicians read the meters installed on the poles, which have been connected to the solar panels. We then recorded readings of 4-6kWH back into the grid, which is right on target, he said.

The project is funded by Transnet and ECOLight Ltd. of New Zealand, who specializes in the distribution of electrical products.

Matangi Tonga Magazine:

18) Better town planning needed to curb flooding in Samoan capital

Posted at 03:40 on 30 January, 2013 UTC

The former president of the South Pacific Engineers Association, Leiataua Tom Tinai, says continuing to allow people to build in Apia, is contributing to frequent flooding.

Cyclone Evan left parts of Samoa’s capital underwater in December, and a tropical depression earlier this month caused more damage.

Leiataua, who is a civil engineer based in Apia, says the city is susceptible to flooding because it is so flat and says town planning is an important issue which needs to be urgently reviewed.

“As soon as people start developing their backyards they tend to block the natural drains, you tend to have blockage in the system. Because of further development most of the ground surfaces are now sealed, the surface is almost impermeable, these are the sorts of things that happen in any development especially in the CBD areas.”

Leiataua Tom Tinai, says the long-term solution involves either lifting the whole township higher or relocation.

He says all the relevant government ministries need to work together with the Planning and Urban Management Authority to co-ordinate a uniform approach to planning.

Radio New Zealand International

19) Tahiti Leadership Questions ‘Secret’ Construction On Moruroa
‘Bunker-like building’ reportedly seen on former nuclear test site

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 29, 2013) – French Polynesia’s ruling pro-independence party says significant construction work is being undertaken in secret on Moruroa atoll, which France used for 30 years to test its nuclear weapons. The party likens the continued secrecy to an illness which can only worsen an already uneasy relationship.

Walter Zweifel reports: “The Tavini Huiraatira says it has confirmation from various sources that work has been underway for several weeks to construct a bunker-like building on the atoll, which – 17 years after the last test – remains a military no-go zone. It says one should not forget that France excised Moruroa and Fangataufa from French Polynesia in 1964 with a promise to return the atolls once the tests were over. It wonders if the work there now is linked to information that the atolls have been reclassified as French defense ministry property. The Tavini says French Polynesia is exasperated at the continued colonial attitude and people should be told what is being done on Moruroa.”

Radio New Zealand International:

20) Palau Compact road to undergo repairs
By Online Editor
2:04 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Palau

Trade West Construction Inc. will be heading to Palau in early March 2013 to begin the process of repairing the Compact Road, reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced last week that the company is completing the required administrative contract submittals in line with its schedule as they begin to mobilize. The company will be mobilizing equipment, office buildings, and materials needed for the project.

The Nevada-based construction company was awarded US$4.8 million by the Army Corps of Engineers. in September 2012 to repair two damaged sections of the U.S.-funded road.

Brian Melairei, manager of the Division of Capital Improvement Projects, said the government of Palau will have no role in the construction or management of the project.

He said a proposed meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers next month may reveal more detailed information about the project such as the official start-up date.


21) Confirmation du référendum sur l’indépendance de Bougainville d’ici 2020

Posté à 30 January 2013, 10:40 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le Président de Bougainville, John Momis, a toutefois reconnu que cette province autonome de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée a encore des problèmes à résoudre avant cette échéance.

Ce droit à un référendum est inscrit dans l’Accord de paix de l’an 2000 et a aussi été intégré à la Constitution papoue. Il ne peut pas avoir lieu avant 2015 ni après 2020.

L’île de Bougainville panse toujours ses blessures après 10 années d’une guerre de sécession qui a mis l’île à feu et à sang, avec en toile de fond l’une des plus grandes mines de cuivre du monde ; la mine de Panguna.

Toujours est-il qu’un Accord de paix avec transfert de compétences, y compris le domaine minier, a été signé avec le gouvernement de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Nous avons demandé à Anthony Regan, du Programme mélanésien de l’Université nationale australienne, de faire un peu le bilan de la situation à Bougainville et de nous dire pourquoi le Président John Momis a cru bon confirmer maintenant que le référendum aurait bien lieu d’ici à 2020.

REGAN : « Les gens qui sont vraiment pour l’indépendance, notamment ceux qui faisaient partie de l’Armée Révolutionnaire de Bougainville (ARB), ont peur que certaines dispositions de l’Accord de paix, notamment celles qui stipulent la destruction des armes et les critères de bonne gouvernance, pourraient reporter le référendum à une date ultérieure à 2020.
John Momis a dit que ce n’était pas le cas et que rien ne pourra retarder la tenue de ce référendum.
Toutefois, cette question d’armes et de bonne gouvernance devra être résolue entre 2015 et 2020. Plus les problèmes persistent (armes et bonne gouvernance) et plus la date du référendum se rapprochera de 2020.
John Momis a expliqué clairement à la population de Bougainville qu’elle avait la responsabilité de s’assurer que le référendum respecte l’Accord de paix et se déroule dans des conditions équitables et sans contraintes pour que le résultat soit unanimement accepté par la communauté internationale et le gouvernement national. »

Mais est-ce que la mine de cuivre est toujours la source de problèmes et d’agitation ?

REGAN : « Oui, les questions minières sont les vraies raisons à l’origine de la guerre. Il y avait un terrible et profond mécontentement sur la façon dont les revenus de la mine de Rio Tinto à Panguna étaient répartis par le gouvernement central et les autorités de Bougainville. Mécontentement aussi sur l’impact environnemental et social de la mine. Certains sont donc résolument opposés à la réouverture de la mine.
En revanche, la majorité de la population et le gouvernement sont en faveur de la réouverture de la mine à Bougainville afin d’obtenir des revenus pour que la province devienne pleinement autonome de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ou pleinement indépendante si le référendum se prononce pour l’indépendance.
Il faut résoudre la question minière. La population de Bougainville a besoin de s’unifier autour de cette question, source de conflits et de difficultés. »éférendum-sur-lindépendance-de-bougainville-dici-2020/1080892

22) Nouvel axe de coopération pour les réalisateurs du Pacifique

Mis à jour 30 January 2013, 13:55 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le mois prochain, 14 professionnels des médias du Pacifique entameront une série de cours intensifs à Tahiti.

Le documentaire à l’honneur le mois prochain a Papeete. [FIFO]

Un stage avec des réalisateurs de films de l’Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Une initiative financée par le Programme d’assistance aux médias du Pacifique  (PACMAS selon l’acronyme anglais) avec le soutien de l’Association de radio et télédiffusion du Commonwealth.

L’idée est d’offrir une formation à ces réalisateurs du Pacifique tout en établissant des ponts avec leurs collègues en Australie.

Pour nous en parler aujourd’hui, Rachel Landers, responsable du service documentaire à l’AFTRS.
LANDERS : « C’est énorme, je reçois des mails des quatre coins du globe et ça va se passer. C’est le travail de nombreuses organisations et nombreuses personnes. Un truc de géant qui se devait d’arriver et c’est la semaine prochaine, je suis terrifiée. »

Alors pourquoi Tahiti. Et bien tout simplement parce que Tahiti est l’hôte du FIFO, le Festival international du film documentaire océanien qui le mois prochain fêtera son 10ème anniversaire à Papeete.

Un festival qui chaque année montre des films de réalisateurs de toute la région et c’est au FIFO que cette idée de formation a germé.
Rachel Landers nous en dit plus.

LANDERS : « Quand j’ai été pour la première fois au FIFO il y a deux ans, c’était clair que l’Australie blanche et la Nouvelle-Zélande blanche dominaient la représentation des réalisateurs au festival. Et nous sommes intéressés par toutes les histoires d’Océanie qui est notre arrière-cour, nous avons vu qu’il n’y avait pas beaucoup de réalisateurs indigènes.
Et c’est dû à un manque d’opportunités, un manque d’argent, manque de formation… toutes ces choses. L’étincelle est venue de là et du besoin de créer des réseaux entre les réalisateurs de cette région. »

La bonne nouvelle est que la réalisation de documentaires a le vent en poupe.

LANDERS : « Le documentaire est une industrie en plein essor. Plus il y a de multiplateformes et plus le besoin de documentaires augmente. En fait en Australie, le documentaire, le factuel prend le pas sur les fictions et les téléfilms qui se sont toujours taillés la part du lion. Le documentaire devient énorme. Et il y a vraiment beaucoup d’opportunités. »

Rachel Landers, responsable du service documentaire à l’AFTRS. Le FIFO se déroule cette année du 11 au 17 février et nous y serons.ération-pour-les-réalisateurs-du-pacifique/1080914

23) President Obama on immigration overhaul: ‘Now is the time’
By Online Editor
2:13 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, United States

Declaring “now is the time” to fix broken immigration laws, President Barack Obama on Tuesday heralded a rare show of bipartisanship between the White House and Senate lawmakers on basic plans for putting millions of illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship, cracking down on businesses that employ people illegally and tightening security at the borders.

But both the White House and Senate proposals for tackling the complex and emotionally charged issue still lack key details. And potential roadblocks are already emerging over how to structure the road to citizenship and whether a bill would will same-sex couples — and that’s all before a Senate measure can be debated, approved and sent to the Republican-controlled House where opposition is likely to be stronger.

Obama, in the heart of the heavily Hispanic Southwest, said Congress is showing “a genuine desire to get this done soon.” But mindful of previous immigrations efforts that have failed, Obama warned that the debate would become more difficult as it gets closer to a conclusion.

“The question now is simple,” Obama said during a campaign-style event in Las Vegas, one week after being sworn in for a second term in the White House. “Do we have the resolve as a people, as a country, as a government to finally put this issue behind us? I believe that we do.”

Despite possible obstacles to come, the broad agreement between the White House and bipartisan lawmakers in the Senate represents a drastic shift in Washington’s willingness to tackle immigration, an issue that has languished for years. Much of that shift is politically motivated, due to the growing influence of Hispanics in presidential and other elections and their overwhelming support for Obama in November.

The separate White House and Senate proposals focus on the same principles: providing a way for most of the estimated 11 million people already in the U.S. illegally to become citizens, strengthening border security, cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and streamlining the legal immigration system.

A consensus around the question of citizenship could help lawmakers clear one major hurdle that has blocked previous immigration efforts. Many Republicans have opposed allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens, saying that would be an unfair reward for people who have broken the law.

Details on how to achieve a pathway to citizenship still could prove to be a major sticking point between the White House and the Senate group, which is comprised of eight lawmakers — four Democrats and four Republicans.

Obama and the Senate lawmakers all want to require people here illegally to register with the government, pass criminal and national security background checks, pay fees and penalties as well as back taxes, and wait until existing immigration backlogs are cleared before getting in line for green cards. After reaching that status, U.S. law says people can become citizens after five years.

The Senate proposal says that entire process couldn’t start until the borders were fully secure and tracking of people in the U.S. on visas had improved. Those vague requirements would almost certainly make the timeline for achieving citizenship longer than what the White House is proposing.

The president urged lawmakers to avoid making the citizenship pathway so difficult that it would appear out of reach for many illegal immigrants.

“We all agree that these men and women have to earn their way to citizenship,” he said. “But for comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must make clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship.” “It won’t be a quick process, but it will be a fair process,” Obama added.


24) British envoy gives Olympic flame ‘petal’ to PNGSFOC
By Online Editor
3:01 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Sports Federation and Olympic Committee and the country Tuesday took possession of a petal from the 2012 London Olympics cauldron.

The historic moment saw British High Commissioner, Jackie Barson present one of the 204 petals that made up the Olympic flame to PNGSFOC president, Sir John Dawanincura.

The gift was sent from the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOGOC) in appreciation of the country’s participation in London and was unveiled in a press conference.

“2012 was a monumental year for the UK for so many reasons. Of course, this included the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games,” Barson said.

“The London 2012 cauldron was central to this and represented every participating nation through a series of handmade copper elements known as ‘petals’, with one created for every country taking part in the Olympics.”

The cauldron was designed by renowned British architect, Thomas Heatherwick.

The petal is the original copper fragment that was carried by a child into the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony with the PNG national team.

It became a very vital part of the 204 small flames that united to become the Olympic flame.

Sir John said receiving the gift was a historic moment for the federation and those Olympians who took part in London’s 2012 Games.

“It is a great honour for us to receive this petal; it is an iconic symbol of the London Games and the Olympic spirit that lives on,” Sir John said.

“It was an honour for Papua New Guinea to be recognised as number one out of the 204 nations in receiving the petal.”

Barson said as the London Games became a powerful memory and part of the UK legacy, the beautifully crafted petals “will act as a perpetual symbol of friendship to all those who were in London last summer”.

Barson congratulated PNG for being represented by eight athletes at the London Games.


25) Bougainville facilities to be upgraded
By Online Editor
2:57 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Papua New Guinea

The ministry responsible for Sports in the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) will be embarking on a major drive to redevelop and revitalise all existing sporting facilities in Bougainville.

This exercise will involve both the facilities that are currently in use with those that have not been used for quite some time.

Bougainville Regional Sports Co-ordinator Marceline Kiarei, when revealing this to the Post-Courier early this week, said this redevelopment exercise is the brainchild of the ABG Minister responsible for sports, Melchior Dare.

Kiarei has already instructed all the district community development officers (DCDOs) based in the 13 districts of Bougainville to take stock of what sporting facilities like playing fields or basketball courts they have in their districts.

Their findings would then be forwarded to Kiarei before March this year so he can brief Minister Dare on the total number of facilities and the costing needed to redevelop these facilities.

Minister Dare would then present this proposal during the next ABG Parliament session schedule for March this year where he would seek funds to kick-start this exercise.

Apart from the redevelopment of the sporting facilities, Minister Dare and Kiarei will also be looking at equipping the sporting codes in Bougainville with equipment they will need to boost their performances to new heights.

Sporting codes that will benefit include boxing, kickboxing, karate and others however, Kiarei emphasised that these equipment will be owned by the Autonomous Bougainville Sports Foundation ABSF) and not the individual codes.

Kiarei also added that the ABG is planning of constructing four stadiums throughout Bougainville.


26) Local reps told to lift their game: Flying Fijians Assistant Coach
By Online Editor
2:59 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Fiji

Local ruggers who toured the Northern Hemisphere have to rise above their weaknesses and prove their worth, says Flying Fijians Assistant Coach Alifereti Mocelutu.

Speaking to FijiLive, Mocelutu said results of the last fitness test had been disappointing and that players needed to keep fit even off season.

“They need to rise above the northern tour. They already know what competition is like, so they know what to do to perform better,” he said.

Speaking on the inclusion of America and Canada to the Pacific Nations Cup and their prospects for the Oceania Qualifiers he said it was welcoming to note the expansion and they would take things one at a time.

“The expansion is good for Fiji, theres a lot more competition.” “From here we have to take things one at a time from PRC then we can select a squad maybe inclusive of overseas players for the PNC,” he said.

Mocelutu said he had the PRC is a yearly competition that allows local players immense opportunities. “This is a chance for them to show what they’ve got,” he said.


27) Samoa Rugby Union launches sponsorship drive overseas
By Online Editor
3:02 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Samoa

The Samoa Rugby Union has launched its promotion and sponsorship drive to fund both its Sevens and 15s teams targeting the elite competitions such as the 2013 Sevens World Cup in Russia, the 2015 World Cup in England, the 2016 Sevens as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro and the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The drive was launched by the Union Chairman and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi with a promotional video that documents Samoan rugby’s successes when its team – Manu Samoa announced its arrival on the world stage in 1991 with a victory in Cardiff Arms Park against Wales. The video also highlights the contribution of many Samoan players to world rugby who represent teams such as England, the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks.

Produced by Apulu Lance Polu of Talamua Media and David Unoi of Jandal Media, the video also highlights the Sevens achievements that won the IRB Sevens in 2010, the victory over Australia a few months to the 2011 World Cup and a very the successful Northern hemisphere tour last year that defeated Canada and Wales for the fourth time, and lost narrowly to France.

The Union Chairman said that they are now targeting potential overseas sponsors as the team needs regular exposure by playing top rugby nations in order to raise the standards and level of competition.

While Samoa has been the breeding ground for some of the world class rugby players, limited funding through the Government and local corporate sponsors can hardly meet the costs of producing a high level and world class rugby team.

Tuilaepa said that the overseas Samoan missions in Australia, Japan, China, the US, Europe and other countries will be used to promote the video to solicit sponsors.

Speaking in the video, rugby legend and IRB Hall of Fame inductee Brian Lima said that with the proper funding, Manu Samoa can beat any tier one rugby team and has the potential to win the World Cup. Now the Coach of Samoa A, the homegrown rugby player who at 19 was the youngest player of the 1991 World Cup, said there’s a lot of local talent that need proper resources to develop and bring out the best for the world to see.  Lima is the only player to have played in 5 world cups from 1991 to 2007.

Samoan rugby players are spread across the world in Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and an important source of funds for the country through remittances that remains the country’s number one foreign revenue earner.

Manu Samoa is currently ranked 7th in 15s and in the top five of the IRB Sevens circuit.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.