Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 824

Melanesia:

1) Vanuatu Opposition Urges Repeal Of Indonesia’s MSG Status
Natapei: Indonesia should not meddle in Melanesian affairs

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 19, 2013) – Vanuatu’s Opposition is calling on the government to revoke Indonesia’s observer status within the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The group, known as the MSG, is a regional bloc which deals with trade and other development issues.

Indonesia was granted observer status in 2011.

But Vanuatu’s Opposition Leader, Edward Natapei, says Melanesian countries shouldn’t allow Indonesia to meddle in their affairs.

Mr. Natapei has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat full membership should instead be given to West Papua.

“Indonesia should not have been admitted as a member or observer of the MSG,” he said.

“Rather it should have been the Melanesians in West Papua, because the Melanesian group – as I said – was formed basically to assist Melanesians in the region with their struggle for independence.”

Vanuatu has long been a refuge for many from the Indonesian Province of West Papua.

Mr. Natapei has called for West Papua’s inclusion into the regional bloc to be discussed at the MSG summit in New Caledonia in July.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

2) Further calls to remove Indonesia’s MSG observer status

Updated 20 March 2013, 10:04 AEST

Pressure is mounting for Indonesia to be stripped of its observer status at the next meeting of the Melenesian Sprearhead Group in July.

Vanuatu’s Opposition Leader Edward Natapei says Indonesia’s presence at the meeting flies in the face of what the MSG was set up to do, and that includes establishing an independent West Papua. It’s a view that University of Queensland researcher Jason McLeod says is common in the Pacific. In a recent article he and collague Airi Ingram write: “In Solomon Islands, Kanaky (New Caledonia), Fiji and especially Vanuatu, people will tell you that ‘Melanesia is not free until West Papua is free’.”

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Jason McLeod, a researcher from the University of Queensland.

radioaustralia.net.au/pacific-beat

3) Somare Calls MSG To Consider Emergency Response Force
Multilateral force would address disasters, security concerns

By Dawn Gibson

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 19, 2013) – A call has been made for members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to seriously consider the idea of a peacekeeping force or an Emergency Response Force

Speaking on this issue yesterday was former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who said Fiji could play a crucial role in this area.

“The MSG countries are situated in an area prone to natural disasters. More often than not, the devastation itself renders individual governments responses inadequate,” Sir Michael said in his keynote address at the MSG’s 25th anniversary celebrations yesterday morning.

He said given the geographical location of MSG members, this was a topic which should be deliberated on.

“Regular natural disasters and their effects on our respective countries responses also underlie the need to establish a joint emergency response unit. This must be seriously considered by our governments.

“Timely response by individual countries is often lacking due to capacity constraints. This is further compounded by resource limitations thus exacting unnecessary suffering on our peoples,” said Sir Michael.

He suggested that given the vulnerability of MSG countries to natural disasters, it was wise to invest in discussions pertaining to an emergency response force.

“Evolving political and security concerns within our countries suggest that an arrangement such as a rapid response unit might assist local authorities alleviate if not address these concerns.

“I encourage MSG governments to establish the MSG humanitarian and emergency response force as soon as possible,” Sir Michael concluded.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

4) Fiji committed to labour mobility
By Online Editor
2:03 pm GMT+12, 20/03/2013, Fiji

Fiji and other Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries need to build better relations and share knowledge amongst each other, says National Employment Centre chief executive Vilimone Baleidrokadroka.

Speaking at a panel discussion on how labour mobility will support development in the MSG countries, Baleidrokadroka said Fiji is committed to labour mobility and MSG members need to start sharing resources among themselves.

Baleidrokadroka said labour mobility brings advantage to MSG members and as for Fiji they are working on having a right legislation that would enable Fijians to be recognised internationally.

He said Fiji has had many cases of people being trapped overseas because they did not know the work they were getting themselves into and this is why strong legislation needs to be implemented to prevent issues like this.

Meanwhile, University of the South Pacific (USP) trainer/consultant Ofa Swann said efforts made towards enhancing the MSG must be supported.

Swan said when dealing with labour mobility people need to ensure that it is a win-win situation however some areas still needs more improvement.

She said one of the key challenges that needs improving is communication not only in Fiji but across the region.

She also urged that for labour mobility leaders need to look at their background first before getting foreigners to do the work for them.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

5) Drugs na Alkohol i helpim Hiv-Aids long PNG

Updated 20 March 2013, 12:38 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Igat wari olsem pasin blong spak tumas na iusim drugs isave helpim Hiv na Aids i kamap long ol pipal.

Ol medical saintis long Papua New Guinea i tok pasin blong iusim ol drugs na dringim ol strongpla drink oa spak tumas inap mekim ol pipal i kisim HIV/Aids.

Despla saintis blong Institute pf Medical Research i autim despla toktok bihaenim ol wok painimaut em oli ibin mekim long fopla bikpla haus kalabus long kantri.

Ol despla saintis i askim gavman long lukluk na bihaenim sampla tingting oa recommendation blong ol, wanpla long ol em long lukluk ken long ol loa emi karamapim drugs na alcohol long kantri.

Thomas Kawage, emi wanpla helt saintis husat ibin mekim despla wok painimaut.www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin

6) Bougainville News ( New Dawn Fm )

160313 Oceanic Discoveror 
By Aloysius Laukai
Tourist boat arrived in Buka with 45 tourist despite the heavy downpour in Buka. The tourists came off their boat and managed to visit RAMUNDATA village outside Kokopau on the Northen tip of mainland Bougainville where there was dancing and singing by cultural groups from Selau. The ABG Minister for culture and tourism ROSE PIHEI welcomed the visitors to Bougainville. She said that the Momis-Nisira government is encouraging the promotion of tourism for Bougainville by creating a separate ministry of culture and tourism. She said that Bougainville was one of the last unknown places on earth were tourists are welcomed. ends
140313 PASINI ON DIVERTED FUNDS
By Aloysius Laukai
The ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS announced that the ABG is partnering with an outside company to go into a Shipping business.
He made these remarks this morning in the ABG Parliament.
DR. MOMIS said that the Passenger vessel will cost FOURTEEN (14)Million Kina and would be jointly owned by the ABG and the partner HAKAU investments who will contribute SEVEN MILLION KINA each.
He said that the ship will ferry passengers between Buka, Rabaul, Kimbe and Lae and back.
The ABG President said that another boat to serve the people of Atolls and the coastal villages will also be purchased and operated by this joint venture to make sure that the ships last for some time.
The ABG President made this known when responding to comments made by the ABG member for Atolls, PASINI MARENA who complained why funds allocated to purchase the boat was diverted by the Bougainville Executive Council without his knowledge.
The member raised his concerns during grievances debate at the ABG House this morning.
Other members who commented on this topic, were the Ex combatants member for North Bougainville, FRANCO HOPING, the member for Suir, Luke Karaston.
Member for suir said that funds must be allocated according to cost and the asset paid immediately and not forwarded to the following years.
140313llg report
By Aloysius Laukai

The ABG Minister for Local Level Government and Media and Communications, JOE NOPE told Parliament today that four new Council of Elders of COEs into the system.
They are Taunita Teop, Taunita Tinputz, Ramu and Banoni-Baitsi
This Minister announced this when presenting his Local Level Government report to the ABG Parliament in the ministerial report.
He said this year the LLG division was trying to make sure that all Constituencies have a COE of which to work with.
Minister Nope said this was part of the overall plan the LLG division is trying to introduce in Bougainville to strengthen governance systems with the Constituencies and COEs.
The Minister said that most of the issues have been incorporated from studies gathered from visits the office has made to Fiji and Tonga last year.
He said with the new arrangement he hopes the division will be able to work more closely with the people of Bougainville who are members of a COE in the region.

140313TEAM ENDORSES PACKAGES
By Aloysius Laukai
The ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS this week announced that the joint Technical Working Group endorsed a package of ten Work Streams which will be pursued over the coming weeks and months to fast track the process of establishing a Bougainville Public Service.
Highlights of these Work Streams are:
i. Agreement has been reached and work completed on the Leaders Pay Review which will now be put before the National Salaries and Review Commission (SRC);
ii. Agreement has been reached and work completed on the proposed pay structures for the Bougainville Public Service and recommendations to implement the same;
iii. Further development of the ABG Administration Audit findings; there are eight (8) key Work Streams in this component; some of the highlights calls for the funding of 75 unfunded vacancies plus additional resources being sought to support the creation of the ABG Public Service prior to the commencement of the 2014 budget process; and a recommendation for Domestic Market Allowances to ABG CEOs;
iv. Approval of Drafting Instructions for the ABG Public Services as developed by the ABG’
v. Reviewing options for the development of the ABG General Orders;
vi. Agreeing that as far as practicable a target date of September, 2013 has been set for completion of much of this work.
The work of developing the Bougainville Public Service in the nine months ahead will require a full time attention of the ABG, both at the political level and at the administrative level. We have given a public commitment to have this work completed as one of the key elements of the Autonomy arrangements and we will not fail in meeting the targets set by the Joint Working Group and endorsed by the BEC.

DR. MOMIS says that from a political perspective, this work requires constant monitoring and there is a need for strong leadership in moving the process forward. Because of this, I will be giving consideration to appointing a Minister for the Public Service in light of the removal from office of the Hon.Leo Hannett, due to ill health.
Many of you would have been present at Bel Isi Park on Saturday, 9th March, 2012 to witness the launch of the Autonomy Review. The event was attended by no less a person than the Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Grand Chief the Hon. Leon Dion who represented the O’neil/Dion Government.It was an occasion replete with symbolism, not the least being that we as Bougainvilleans have been able to reach to a stage where we are no longer talking about the provisions of the Peace Agreement but that we have reached a stage where we can actually participate in a review of the Autonomy arrangements.


140313PRESIDENT INTRODUCES DRAFT MINING ACT
By Aloysius Laukai

The long awaited Draft Bougainville Mining act 2013 was announced at this morning’s ABG session of parliament.
The ABG President in making the announcement said this first draft will be widely circulated to all corners of Bougainville for public discussion.
He said that a key reason is that our Bougainville constitution calls on the ABG to make sure to have widespread consultations before it makes major new laws.
President Momis said that for almost 50 years since CRA exploration for Copper and Gold began in the mountains of Central Bougainville, Bougainvilleans have had to respond to the wishes of outsiders in what are after all our minerals.
In the 1960s, neither the Australian Colonial regime nor Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia(CRA) had any interest in our views, or our concerns, about mining.
We were ol Bus Kanaka tasol. The mine was imposed for the good of Australia(because it would reduce the need for Australian funding of the PNG Budget and for the benefit of CRA.
President Momis said that he believes that its is not really Panguna mine that caused the many problems and the conflict Bougainville has experienced since the 1960.
He said that the real problem was the fact we Bougainvilleans were ignored.
We had no role in decision making and without our consent, the bad impacts of the mine fell on us” said President Momis.

140313NO POLICY ON COMPENSATION
By Aloysius Laukai

The ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS says that the ABG at this stage has no policy on compensation of assets, properties and lives lost during the Bougainville conflict.
He said that this was a very frightening issue as a lot of monies are needed to pay compensation and we do not have the monies to make any payments.
President Momis also question which government would be making these compensation .
The President was replying to questions from the member for Tonsu, JOEL BANAM who wanted to know if the ABG had any policy on compensation.
President Momis said that a committee must be established to look into the issue of compensation.
140313 PASINI ON DIVERTED FUNDS
By Aloysius Laukai
The ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS announced that the ABG is partnering with an outside company to go into a Shipping business.
He made these remarks this morning in the ABG Parliament.
DR. MOMIS said that the Passenger vessel will cost FOURTEEN (14)Million Kina and would be jointly owned by the ABG and the partner HAKAU investments who will contribute SEVEN MILLION KINA each.
He said that the ship will ferry passengers between Buka, Rabaul, Kimbe and Lae and back.
The ABG President said that another boat to serve the people of Atolls and the coastal villages will also be purchased and operated by this joint venture to make sure that the ships last for some time.
The ABG President made this known when responding to comments made by the ABG member for Atolls, PASINI MARENA who complained why funds allocated to purchase the boat was diverted by the Bougainville Executive Council without his knowledge.
The member raised his concerns during grievances debate at the ABG House this morning.
Other members who commented on this topic, were the Ex combatants member for North Bougainville, FRANCO HOPING, the member for Suir, Luke Karaston.
Member for suir said that funds must be allocated according to cost and the asset paid immediately and not forwarded to the following years.

120311BOUGAINVILLE YOUTH SETS MOCK PARLIAMENT
By Aloysius Laukai

ABG speaker, ANDREW MIRIKI said that the Autonomous Bougainville Government is a member of the Commonwealth Parliament Associations and as such has organized this mock youth parliament for the youth of Buka talk about issues as if it was real parliament session.
And he praised the youths from Buka district about fifty in total for participating at this year’s mock parliament at the BEL ISI PARK in Buka town.
He said that the first mock parliament was set with students from nearby secondary schools, Hutjena and Bishop Wade SCHOOL which was very successful in that the children can learn on how issues are dealt with in a real parliament.
MR.MIRIKI said that youths as future leaders need to know the processes of parliament and staging exercises increase the knowledge of the youths and also the public on the roles and responsibilities of members of parliament.
He said that staging mock parliaments raises awareness on the people who can on the other end appreciated the challenges that members face on the floor of parliament whilst representing his or her people.
The Speaker also announced that similar mock parliaments should be set up in Arawa and Buin at a later date.

MR. MIIRIKI also announced that Parliaments of New Zealand ,Solomon islands and Bougainville will be staging another youth mock parliament in Honiara in September this year in which selected youths from Bougainville can participate in.
The Speaker also read this year’s message from the Queen to the participants of the mock parliament this morning with the theme for this year’s Commonwealth Day which is “Opportunity through Enterprise”.

7) Shortland leaders accuse RAMSI of escaping from duty, want to join joint border talks
By Online Editor
2:00 pm GMT+12, 20/03/2013, Solomon Islands

Shortland Islands’ leaders have accused the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and its Participating Police Force for leaving the Western border.

FAMOA Working Committee, formed to look after the interests of Shortland Islands people, made the accusation at its meeting in Honiara at the weekend.

The Famoa Working Committee says in a statement that members disagree with the PPF’s explanation that its personnel are not in the Shortland Islands to manage the common border with the Papua New Guinea Island of Bougainville.

The statement says FAMOA sees the withdrawal of PPF personnel from their post at Lofung later this month as running away from the border problems.

It says the FAMOA Working Committee members feel if RAMSI and PPF say they are not in the Shortland Islands to police the border, then they are ignorant of under-lying elements which caused the recent ethnic uprising.

The meeting felt poor border security arrangement could result in the common border becoming a breeding ground for illegal activities.

The statement says an alternative security arrangement must be agreed upon before RAMSI and the government move out of the Shortland Islands.

RAMSI has been slowly pulling out from police posts in the provinces since last year.

The move was to give way for local officers to slowly take on responsibilities.

However, PPF officers have been on standby to return to assist whenever need be.

Many local police officers from the posts have since been taking full control of their own operations.

Meanwhile, FAMOA leaders of Shortland Islands in the Western Province want to take part in joint border talks between the Governments of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

A FAMOA Working Committee meeting in Honiara at the weekend expressed concern that Port Moresby and Honiara have excluded local leaders from their joint border security talks.

The meeting was told a recent joint border committee meeting in the Malaita Provincial capital in Auki, FAMOA chiefs were not invited to take part let alone being informed about it.

A statement from the FAMOA Working Committee says the people, chiefs and community leaders at the border must be included in border talks while searching to secure a lasting peace there.

The statement said securing a lasting peace in the Solomon Islands will depend on how the government manages the border with Bougainville.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

8) New premier for Renbell province

TUESDAY, 19 MARCH 2013 16:53

Rennell Bellona Province has a new premier. He is Lence Tango.

Mr Tango was elected after a motion of no confidence in the ousted premier George Tuhaika was passed yesterday afternoon at the provincial headquarters.

Victor Maitaki said nominations were made immediately after the motion went through.

Tango who was the mover of the motion was one of the nominees.

Mr Maitaki said the sitting was suspended after the motion was passed; under standing order 24, to allow for nominations and election of a new premier to continue.

Mr Tango got the support of six members while his opponent and ousted premier only polled three votes.

The new premier said it is timely for a change of leadership in Rennel Bellona in order to move the province’s aspirations forward.

“My new executive is determined to work and fulfil our plans,” he said from the province after his victory.

“During my tenure, I will look into priority areas such as infrastructure and economic development of the province.”

Mr Tango said Renbel has tourism potential to attract international market.

He said the motion represented the interest of the people.

“That there was no longer any confidence in the past leadership based on a number of reasons.

“During the past leadership, the province was terminated from the PGSP funding and provincial workers have not been paid for almost six months now.

“The past government also incurred debts of up to $1.2 million and termination of three provincial ministers, including myself for no good reason.

Mr Tango was the former Minister for Health.

By Elliot Dawea (Solomon Star)

9) Gavman i nomo gat majoriti blong ol MP long Palamen tede


Parliament of the Republic of Vanuatu

Olgeta –

Palemen i bin sidaon long 4 klok tede aftenun blong tokbaot Mosen blong stanemap ol Komiti blong Palemen.

Long siting blong tede, Gavman saed i gat 21 mo Oposisen saed i gat 28.

Sipos yu kaontem Minista Don Ken we hemi no bin stap mo Spika George Wells, Gavman saed i gat 23.

Olgeta we oli muv i kam sidaon wetem Oposisen i gat Moana Carcasses Kalosil, Silas Iaten, Thomas Laken, Richard Namel, Richard Mera, Tony Wright, Patrick Crowby, Marcellino Pipite, Robert Bohn mo Morkin Stephens.

Oposisen i bin vot wetem Gavman blong pasem Mosen blong stanemap ol Komiti blong Palemen.

Nekis siting blong Palemen bae i stap long 1600h long Tasde 21 Maj blong tokbaot Mosen blong Nogat Trast long PM Kilman.

Sipos Oposisen i mentenem namba blong hem kasem taem ia, bae Mosen blong Nogat Trast i pas mo bae Palamen i mas elektem wan niu Praem Minista.

Ta, Ralph Regenvanu

10a)Motion against PM Kilman may be serious

Posted on March 20, 2013 – 10:59am |

By
Ricky Binihi

Prime Minister Sato Kilman needs to make some drastic changes in the composition of his Cabinet Members and allegations leveled at him over the Phocea connection or he will be toppled in Parliament on Thursday.

Yesterday afternoon at 2pm Prime Minister Kilman summoned the presidents of all his coalition partners to the Prime Minister’s Office where it was expected he would consolidate his numbers before the Opposition sponsored motion of no trust against Kilman on Thursday.

But how could the Opposition of Vanua’aku Pati President MP Edward Natapei vote the Prime Minister Kilman out of Office when the Opposition has only 18 members, with the return of UMP Malekula MP Jerome Ludvaune to the Opposition?
And only 16 Opposition MPs signed the motion of no confidence against PM Kilman.

But PM Kilman, who has survived more motions of no confidence in Parliament in two-year term short terms as Vanuatu Prime Minister before the October 30 National Elections, is expected to face a major one that could make him lose grasp at the helm.

Daily Post observed during the Opening of the First Ordinary Session of Parliament that there seemed to be three factions in Prime Minister Kilman’s coalition.

Perhaps the question asked is not, how the Opposition does not have the numbers and filed a motion of no confidence on PM Kilman, but why does the Opposition have confidence in submitting a motion of no trust in Parliament even if it has only 18 MPs.

Opposition Leader Natapei has told the Media that there are corruption allegations against PM Kilman and his government and allegations of connections with the mega yacht Phocea ‘owner’ Pascal Anh Sakan that warranted his removal as Prime Minister.

The island of Pentecost with only 4 MPs has three ministers, the Constituency of Santo has two Ministers, while Banks and Torres do not have a ministerial portfolios are issues that are dividing the Kilman solidarity.

PM Kilman has said he did not have any links to the Vanuatu Honorary Consul to Vietnam millionaire Pascal Sakan who was appointed by Foreign Affairs Minister Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Carlot and has said he would attend to the fair distribution claims.

And the PM, who is also minister responsible for Public Service Commission has instructed the PSC to investigate all the corrupt land dealings in the Lands Department, instructed the Police Force to apprehend unauthorized drivers of G plated after government hours.

In a sense the PM is tackling corruption even though recent media revelations of the appointment of PM’s brother Samson Kilman to the Vanuatu National Provident Fund has played negatively to his good efforts of riding the government of corruption.

Any party today in the Opposition can claim the government is corrupt but no single party today in Vanuatu can claim that when they were in government corrupt practices did not happen.

Government workers, teachers and Police members still take an afternoon off to watch football or just decide not to come to work but their salary which is paid by the tax-payers is not affected. It had been like that since 1980 and no PM since Independence has clamped down on that daily abuses of privilege or, corruption by government workers.

In Parliament during the budget session Vanuatu learned from Finance Minister Charlot Salawai that during the last government the Ministry of Finance spent Vt100 millions in Deeds of Releases and many Vt100 millions on unbudgeted items.

For the Opposition to have the motion passed in Parliament on Thursday a senior government backbencher must be successful in securing nine MPs in PM Kilman’s coalition vote with the Opposition.

And Opposition will appoint the government backbencher as its candidate for Vanuatu Prime Minister.
Rain has begun showering Port Vila as the country braces itself for a motion of no trust on Prime Minister Sato Kilman at 4pm on Thursday.

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/motion-against-pm-kilman-may-be-serious

10b) Luganville gets facelift

Posted on March 20, 2013 – 11:21am

Santo News
By
Harrison Selmen
A palm tree planted opposite the ANZ bank … ….. (insert) Boys working hard towards Chapui Stadium..

Luganville Town has been lightened with beautification trees and flowers. Palm trees and flowers were planted since last week.

This is the Municipality’s contribution towards the preparations for the upcoming Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) World Cup Qualifying Round in Santo.
Green spaces in town were decorated and a long line of palms were planted on the road to Chapuis Stadium.
The palms were offered by Santo Hardware owner Bradely Woods.

Peter Sakita, Luganville Town Clerk said the beautification was a welcome sign and invitation to participating countries.

He said the municipality has a strategic 5 year plan on beautification around town.

“We put a lot of emphasis on beautification out from this year’s budget”, Sakita said.
“We want this town to be very welcoming and a nice place to visitors and tourists.

“This will invite more tourists and investors to come to Luganville and help boost our economic activity. We will continue to maintain this into the future”.
Part of the beautification program includes general clean ups by different communities and soccer clubs.

Public toilets will also be improved to a higher standard, painting of road signs, construction of a new toilets and resting rooms for tourist on the road heading towards the airport and Construction of footpaths on the roadside Santo East School. The Municipality is also working on a board sign to be erect soon outside the Stadium with the Stadiums new name.

Daily Post was informed that the stadium’s new name will be unveiled when the Vanuatu Under 17 Team arrive in Luganville.
As host to the regional tournament, authorities in Luganville and different stakeholders cooperating to prepare in advance. www.dailypost.vu

11) MP Cautions Vanuatu Government On Donor Aid Reliance
Cites possible upgrade from UN’s least-developed status

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 19, 2013) – As Parliament debates a Vt24 billion [US$261 million] budget, Port Vila MP Willie Jimmy has cautioned the Government against reliance on Donor Aid which will backlash when Vanuatu graduates from its Least Developed Country (LDC) status.

“According to a report in the Pacific Island Economist, International Monetary Fund and World Bank Vanuatu has exhausted all the avenues and excuses to graduate from its LDC status,” MP Jimmy, a former Minister of Finance said.

“The decision has come from the UN to transit from LDC to Developed status. I strongly discourage basing the growth of the economy on aid donor funds because we will fall into a trap.”

MP Jimmy, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), backed the Leader of Opposition’s call to grow Vanuatu’s economic base.

“We do not control Aid Donor Fund and have experience how delayed implementation affects us and has now led to the point of integration of Aid Donor Fund into the budget,” he said.

He said if a situation arises where the economy does not perform then there is the temptation to use Aid Donor Fund to cover expenditures in advance with the hope to refund or retire it when money is made.

Because it will be a problem if the Aid Money is used, the revenue does not pick up and the project is incomplete.

MP Jimmy said the integration of Aid Donor projects is in the budget to be approved but its management or release of the funding is with the Aid Donors or under Department of Finance.

“My understanding of the accounting system in Finance is a spreadsheet is used,” he said. “In the case where Vt100 million [US$1 million] is collected and put into government accounts, it is automatically computerized and covers all government expenditures. And when it comes to every quarter release, the funds are released.

“So if the Aid Donor Fund is part of the release every quarter it will be a problem for us. I hope it is separate so it exists to pay for the cost of projects provided by the donor, not normal government expenditures.”

On the effect of economic globalization as outlined by Minister of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) Charlot Salwai, James agreed and was pleased the minister reminded no matter the remote geographical gap Vanuatu still feels the impact of external decisions beyond its control.

But he agreed with Leader of Opposition MP Edward Natapei that man-made disasters in the government system, in both the public service and private sectors, are worse than natural disasters and scaring investors.

MP Jimmy applauded the Finance minister for reiterating the importance of private sector led growth, a core principle in the 1998 Comprehensive Reform Program.

On working towards a surplus budget for the year 2013 and about growing the economy he said seven months ago an article was published, titled, “VIPA records 4th consecutive drop in new investment projects.”

“Seven months ago the Chief Executive Officer of VIPA gave this alarming report; I was in China when I read that report,” he said.

“This is the eye of all foreign direct investments in Vanuatu and is how we measure economic growth-measured through economic investments and performance against our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“If this year’s projection to grow the economy in nine months to balance what has been lost in fourth consecutive drops in four years we are expecting a miracle to happen.

“The presentation of officials is not consistent, the Reserve Bank advised the MFEM of a healthy, wealthy and so on but we have not recorded a new investment as reported.

“We talk about surplus ambitions, the media reported a Vt20 billion [US$215.1 million] deficit for the first time, and 33 years after independence .I do not know who is telling the truth.

“We go by what the Reserve Bank is telling us. How many governments do we have? We will pass and rubber stamp the figures and those who will decide where the money is going to are another smaller government beneath us.

“It is time this government is more proactive in handling the issues of public servants who have more power than us sitting in here.

“We only have the power to pass the figures but they decide. The government used-prudent fiscal management. We want to see this prudent fiscal management in action.

“I understand the weight of the hosting the ACP-EU meeting, the 2012 General Election and Provincial Elections on the government, but those are one off costs.

“The costs of the expenses incurred in 2012 should be savings this year because there will be no more elections until four years elapse.”

Meanwhile Daily Post was reliably informed Vanuatu is expected to graduate from its LDC status either in 2013 or 2014 but because of the vulnerability issues, its newly adopted trade and industry policy coupled with the accession to the WTO, more time was requested to allow it to transition.

This request is supported by the European Union, the BRICS (economic alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the United Nations secretariat.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

12) Vanuatu May Open Kava Processing Facility In China
Government to budget $494,730 for kava development

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 19, 2013) – More than a decade of research and hope waiting for Europe to lift its ban on kava is now hinged on dialogue on the heels of Vanuatu’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini and Minister of Trade told MPs in the 1st Ordinary Parliament Session of 2013 that his trip with a delegation (then Director of the Department of Industry Jimmy Rantes, First Political Adviser Clifford Bice and President of Vanuatu Manufacturers and exporters association, Samuel Grant) last year to China was for “a Chinese Company to set up a factory in Vanuatu.”

“They will extract kavalactones to export to China so they can mix it with some of their drinks and drink it like a juice. It will have the same effect as kava.”

DPM Lini was responding to a question by Pentecost MP David Tosul on the government’s plans relating to Agriculture Commodity- Kava development, which has an allocation of Vt46 million [US$494,730].

The objective of this activity is to encourage farmers to plant 10 noble varieties identified and improved processing. The focus of this activity in 2013 will be to improve quality, working through producers and associations.

“Under kava development, we recently passed an Act in Parliament to improve kava quality and said the Act was to ensure the 10 noble varieties are grown by the farmers while simultaneously tackling the Kava market in Europe,” he reiterated.

“Are there some people focusing on this while we continue the push at the higher level meetings for the ban to be lifted? How many people are on the field to ensure the farmers are planting the 10 noble varieties and at the wharves to confirm kava coming in is from these noble varieties?”

Lini who is charge of kava negotiations in Europe agreed a law has been passed by Parliament but to date it has not been properly monitored to see the actual kava variety being produced.

“While the law decreed the varieties to be planted there are buyers who say they pay for any kava variety thus it is a problem in Vanuatu.

“But we are fortunate that after Europe to Australia banned Vanuatu kava, the Australian government donated a small machine, now at the Food Centre which identifies our kava.

“Through the hard work of Dr. Vincent Lebot the machine indicates whether or not the kava is passable for export. However our problem is we mix too much kava.

“Now the government is negotiating to re-open kava market in Europe but with these problems, there is also not enough kava, an agreement is yet to be reached.

“We have started and will pursue dialogue with WTO.”

It was in September 2012 that the Deputy Prime minister and his delegation attended the China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen City in Fujian, where they requested the Chinese Government for help and support towards the Vanuatu-China Kava Project and revealed plans are in the pipeline with a major Chinese State-owned company to introduce kava into the Chinese market as a canned beverage.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

13) New Caledonia paper strike premature, say owners

Posted at 01:39 on 20 March, 2013 UTC

A representative of the owners of New Caledonia’s only daily newspaper says a strike by the paper’s journalists is premature.

The journalists at the Nouvelles Caledoniennes went on strike yesterday, fearing the loss of editorial indepedence in a sale which they say is imminent.

The paper is reportedly being bought by a group of local business people, made up of a major wholesaler, a car distributor, a nickel company and an engineering business alleged to be closely linked to centre-right politicians.

There has been no official statement about the sale.

The striking journalists want the new owners to sign an agreement outlining the journalists’ professional rights and obligations.

The paper’s owners say they want mediators to help settle the dispute.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Fiji poll will maintain rule by decree

BY:ROWAN CALLICK, ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR
From:The Australian
March 18, 2013 12:00AM

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MORE than six years after the most recent coup in Fiji, we are starting to edge towards an end-game of sorts, through which the military regime seeks to transform itself like a caterpillar into a butterfly, by giving the appearance of having sought and won a popular mandate.

The true nature of the new constitution ruler Frank Bainimarama wants to install will soon be made public after his naming of the members of the Constituent Assembly, which will discuss his draft.

He is intimating more clearly now that he wants to participate in some way in the elections he has long vowed to stage next year. And at the same time, his recent decree has created huge hurdles for political parties that wish to remain or to become registered.

Only three have even attempted; the other 14 have been automatically deregistered. And he has poured scorn on the leaders of even these three – some or all of which may not survive a process of further scrutiny that they are now undergoing.

Fiji appears to be moving towards an election, one that will be held under a constitution that enshrines in some way the 241 decrees so far handed down without any scrutiny or accountability by the military regime, and to which almost the country’s entire political class may be denied access. Instead, the military – the only institution left standing – will claim that by sheer dint of experience over time, it retains the unique capacity to run the country.

What this is starting to mean is indicated by a visit last week to Suva by Liu Jieyi, a vice-minister of the international committee of China’s ruling Communist Party. This party official, not strictly a government representative, concluded arrangements under which Fiji’s public servants are sent to China for training.

“We want this to be an ongoing feature,” Mr Liu said.

His visit came as Fiji’s government was facing a storm of outrage – not only from outside the country – over the nine-minute video showing handcuffed, recaptured prison escapees being tortured as a gang of men watches.

Three prison officers have been sent home as a result, but no other response has come from the Fiji government – except for Bainimarama’s vow to “stick by my men . . . (who) make sure we sleep peacefully at night.”

The key message from the incident is not so much that disciplined services officers will be punished if they behave as cruel thugs but that the regime will do whatever it takes. This may bring contentedness to people’s sleep in Fiji, but perhaps not to as many people as Bainimarama believes.

And commendably, New Zealand underlined its leading role in Pacific affairs as its parliament supported unanimously a motion from Phil Goff, the veteran foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, condemning the treatment of detainees in Fiji.

The Fiji regime even cancelled the permit for the Women’s Crisis Centre there to hold its annual International Women’s Day march to “reclaim the night” – because, it seems, the centre condemned the brutality of the beatings captured on the video.

Bainimarama said recently: “There have been a lot of requests thrown in my direction for me to stand in the next election, and to be part of a political party.”

He expressed concern that “most of (the parties) are standing just to come and change the things that we have put in place in the last four to five years, and Fiji should be worried about the calibre of people that are going to stand.

“They’re the same old politicians who should really retire from politics.”

Fijians should especially worry, he said, in case such political leaders “are not going to come and continue with the work we have been doing in the last four to five years” – which have seen rule by decree and largely by untrained, unaccountable soldiers.

He said he was “really worried” about claims parties seeking registration might have obtained irregularly some of the 5000 signatures the government’s new rules demand: “My government has zero-tolerance on corruption. Do we really want to have corrupt political parties contesting for leadership at the 2014 election?”

Corruption grows strongest where there is least accountability, and where waves of new regulations require increased government approvals and licences. Where in the Pacific might those conditions most be found?

15) Fiji army will respect elected government, says colonel
By Online Editor
2:06 pm GMT+12, 20/03/2013, Fiji

A senior officer in Fiji’s military has rejected any criticism in a recent study indicating many Fijians want a smaller army with no political role.

Lieutenant-Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, the military’s land forces commander, was responding to research by the Pacific Theological College’s Institute of Research and Social Analysis.

This study showed that many people want a military that is reduced in size and subservient to the elected civilian government.

The study said Fijians want the military to continue playing a part in international peacekeeping and maintain its domestic role in disaster relief and building infrastructure.

But Colonel Tikoitoga told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the military does not want to be involved in politics.

“At the moment the military is running the government, or is perceived to be running government. But is a civilian cabinet in place. Apart from the fact that the prime minister is the commander of the RFMF (Republic of Fiji Military Forces), the Fiji military forces (are) not, as in the constitution, involved with the daily running of the governance of Fiji.

“The RFMF has gone back to barracks.”

Colonel Tikoitoga said: “he army in the past has always been subservient to civilian government.

“In any democratic government in the future, the army will be subservient to the government.”

The research was conducted using focus groups with a total of 330 people, and through in-depth interviews with 82 leaders.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

16) Fiji military leader denies army involved in politics

Updated 20 March 2013, 11:03 AEST

A senior Fiji military figure has dismissed the results of a study showing many Fijians want a smaller army with no political role.

A senior officer in Fiji’s military has disputed the results of a recent study showing many Fijians want a smaller army with no political role. (Credit: ABC)

A senior Fiji military figure has dismissed the results of a study showing many Fijians want a smaller army with no political role.

Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, the military’s land forces commander, has responded toresearch by the Pacific Theological College.

The study revealed many people want a smaller military subservient to the elected civilian government.

It found many Fijians want the military to continue playing a part in international peacekeeping, and to keep its role in national development through disaster relief and building infrastructure.

But Lieutenant Colonel Tikoitoga told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat studies can be manipulated to serve an agenda.

“Studies can be made to serve anyone’s agenda. If you want to serve the agenda of a current government in Fiji you will interview people that are pro-government.

“You want a study to reflect otherwise, then you will go to people that you will give you those same views, or the anti-government views.”

In any democratic government in the future, the army will become subservient to the government.

Lt Col Mosese Tikoitoga, Fiji Military Land Forces Commander

Lt Col Tikoitoga says the military does not want to be involved in politics, and is smaller than people think.

“We are only 3,500. People talk about our size and say that we are a large army – the perception is wrong,” he said.

“At the moment the military is running the country or is seen to be running the government but there is a civilian cabinet in place the entrenched government of the country.

“Apart from the fact that the prime minister is the commander of RFMF, the Fijian military forces (is) not, as an institution, involved with the daily running of the government of Fiji, that has to be made very clear.

“The army in the past has always been subservient to civilian government.

“In any democratic government in the future, the army will become subservient to the government.”

radioaustralia.net.au/pacific-beat

17) Fiji Authorities Aim To Avoid Land Management Conflicts
UN coordinator warns of ‘resource curse’

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 19, 2013) – Fiji’s Ministry of Lands wants to avoid conflict over land and mineral management.

Permanent secretary for Lands, Tevita Boseiwaqa said ensuring a balance between the managing of State-owned minerals and native land was crucial to economic growth.

“The land is owned by the natives and then you have the minerals owned by the State, and if they’re not managed properly, there is bound to be conflicts,” Mr. Boseiwaqa said.

Mr. Boseiwaqa said the State did not want a situation similar to the conflict that wreaked havoc in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, where factions fought over copper and gold. “This happened before in Bougainville, the violence that erupted there was clearly related to mining. So we really need to harmonies this,” he stated.

“We want to ensure that while we are extracting minerals from these native-owned lands, we do not get into a confrontation with landowners over revenue.”

He said the issue would be one of the important discussion points at the UN Development Program-organized Pacific symposium on managing extractive industries in Pacific Island States currently held at the Sofitel Resort and Spa in Nadi.

“These key issues will be discussed here and we’ll try and come up with the best approaches on how to deal with them and hopefully, government and the Pacific will develop or formulate policies aligned with these issues particularly in trying to address them,” he added.

UN resident coordinator, Knut Ostby said the extraction of natural resources and practices, if not managed properly could also be associated with the so-called resource curse.

“In countries and areas where this has not gone so well, we have seen economic decline, environmental degradation, political instability, exploding inequalities and domestic conflict,” Mr. Ostby said.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

Polynesia:

18) Fake ‘Tahitian Prince’ Jailed For Fraud In Australia
New Zealand-born man diverted over $16.6 million in public money

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 19, 2013) – A man who claimed to be a Tahitian prince has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for defrauding the Queensland government of more than AU$16 million [US$16.6 million].

Fake prince, Joel Barlow, pleaded guilty at his sentencing hearing at Brisbane’s District Court.

New Zealand-born Hohepa Hikairo ‘Joel’ Morehu-Barlow, 38, admitted to a string of offences, including forgery and aggravated fraud as an employee.

He committed the offences while working as a middle manager for Queensland Health between October 2007 and December 2011.

The court heard Barlow was promoted in the organization based on qualifications from a fake law degree.

Public money

The court was told Barlow first sent money to a third party account before depositing funds into his own bank.

He then began writing vouchers which he deposited into a falsified entity.

“The funds diverted by (Barlow) were public monies earmarked… to support charities and other community groups,” prosecutor Todd Fuller told the court.

“The money was used to fund a lavish lifestyle… (for a so-called) Tahitian prince forced to work to gain his (royal) inheritance.”

The court heard the amounts of money Barlow stole increased significantly over time, and he used the money to give his family, friends and colleagues expensive gifts.

Playboy lifestyle

Barlow often signed bank documents using the letters HRH, short for His Royal Highness.

When Barlow was arrested in his exclusive waterfront apartment in 2011, police found hundreds of luxury items including a fake crown, a life-size horse lamp, an Hermes saddle, a Chanel watch and a Louis Vuitton surfboard.

Many of the seized items were auctioned earlier this month.

Barlow has also pleaded guilty to a number of drugs charges, including possession of ecstasy and steroids.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

19) Tonga to host Pacific energy summit

Posted at 01:39 on 20 March, 2013 UTC

Renewable energy is high on the agenda at two energy summits over the next week – the first getting underway tomorrow in Nuku’alofa in Tonga.

The Tongan government and its development partners are staging the Pacific Leaders Energy Summit, which aims to significantly raise the use of renewable energy in the region.

Over the past two years, under the Tonga Energy Road Map, the country has made a substantial effort to cut back on its diesel use through the use of solar power.

The conference delegates are expected to use this Map as a possible blueprint for developing renewable energy in their countries.

On Monday, in Auckland the Pacific Energy Summit begins with Pacific leaders expected to seek donor and private sector support to implement their own renewable energy plans.

Radio New Zealand International

Micronesia:

20) Potential NMI College Closure Worries Education Authorities
Commissioner calls for action before October accreditation deadline

By Moneth Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, March 20, 2013) – The State Board of Education and the Public School System (PSS) expressed their concern on the situation of the Northern Marianas College (NMC) which may potentially close down if the institution fails to rectify all the remaining deficiencies cited in its accreditation.

Education board chair Herman T. Guerrero and Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, Ed.D., personally appealed to lawmakers in a recent summit for continued assistance to the only community college on island so NMC could finally get out of the severe sanction of show cause in its accreditation.

“We have to do something about higher education because if 56 percent of our students are entering college after high school, then where they will go next if it is not available on island?” said Sablan, citing the result of exit survey conducted among graduating students this year.

NMC has until Oct. 15, 2013 to submit reports to the accreditation commission explaining why its accreditation should not be revoked. A closure report is also required to be turned in from the institution. A decision whether it will reaffirm its accreditation or not will be known after the commission’s assembly in January 2014.

Sablan, speaking mostly to members of the new Legislature, pointed out PSS’ position on the issue.

“I want to make this statement loud and clear: We need to do something on or before Oct. 15 because the showdown will begin when that college shuts down. So I do ask our governor (Eloy S. Inos), lieutenant governor (Jude U. Hofschneider), and our leaders here to make sure that they add that key issue of institution of higher education (in their agenda) because we want our students to continue their college here on our island,” said the commissioner.

Sablan said that to date there are at least 10 students who have completed graduation requirements on Rota, but may not continue their college studies because they want to pursue it in a college located on their island.

“These students are sitting on Rota because there’s no college to go on the island and they want to stay on Rota,” said Sablan, adding that students deserve to go to a community college not only on Saipan, but on Tinian and Rota as well.

It was some two years ago when NMC suspended its instructional sites on Tinian and Rota as recommended by the accreditation commission due to concerns about “equal” services rendered to students in both sites.

Among the PSS initiatives beyond 2012 is the P16 Integrated System which will cover students from preschool to college. At present, PSS is handling K-12 program on island while NMC handles the post secondary education program. For pre-school program such as child care, this program is being handled by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs.

BOE and PSS are proposing to the Inos administration to transfer back the childcare program to the school system because it is an important component of both its P-3 Initiative and P16 Integrated System Initiative.

Under the PSS’ P16 Integrated System Initiative, education officials believe that with a unified system enforce, seamless transition to college will be achieved. If this will happen, the proposed one educational system will become an autonomous agency and will be run by a board elected by the people.

In order to realize this change, there’s a need for constitutional amendment.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

Business:

21) Push to ensure Pacific nations get the benefits of undersea mining opportunities

Updated 20 March 2013, 12:14 AEST

A team from the Asia-Pacific Centre for Complex Real Property Rights will be heading to Washington next month to press the case for equitable mining compensation agreements for customary landowners in Melanesia.

Push to ensure Pacific nations get the benefits of undersea mining opportunities (Credit: ABC)

Centre director Professor Spike Boydell will tell delegates at the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference that Pacific countries must be geared up to wrest control from the big miners in future talks over multi-billion dollar seabed mining projects.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Professor Spike Boydell, director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Complex Real Property Rights at the University of Technology, Sydney. www.radioaustralia.net.au

22) Logging Expected To Be Solomons’ Main Economic Contributor
Solomons looking to neighbors for management guidance: minister

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 19, 2013) – Solomon Islands Finance Minister Rick Hou says he expects mining to take over from logging as his country’s economic mainstay.

Mr. Hou has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat his nation will be looking to neighboring countries, including East Timor, for guidance on revenue management.

“The revenues in terms of the mineral sector are still further down the road, so we have some time to learn from others,” he said.

Mr. Hou says establishing a strong regulatory framework will be Solomon Islands’ first task.

“The important thing we have to put in place really quickly is the legal framework,” he said.

Solomon Islands re-opened its only mine, owned by Gold Ridge Mining Limited, three years ago.

Gold Ridge and other companies are looking at new prospects in gold, copper and nickel.

Mr. Hou is one of the keynote speakers at a United Nations Development Program Symposium on Managing Extractive Industries to Improve Human Development, which is being held in Fiji this week.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

Health:

23) Australian warnings about growth of TB strains

Updated 20 March 2013, 10:04 AEST

Health authorities are warning Australia needs to be prepared for more cases of a deadly strain of tuberculosis.

Australian warnings about growth of TB strains (Credit: ABC)

A young woman from Papua New Guinea recently became the first person to die in Australia from Extensive Drug Resistent Turberculosis, despite aggressive treatment for nearly a year. One of the doctors who treated her is calling TB “the slow epidemic”.

Presenter: Martin Cuddihy

Respiratory specialist Doctor Stephen Vincent ending Martin Cuddihy’s report.

The chair of Australia’s national Tuberculosis advisory committee Doctor Justin Waring….(radioaustralia.net.au/pacific-beat)

24)Extra Clinics Setup To Tackle Dengue Outbreak In Solomons
900 cases currently suspected, 2 deaths confirmed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 19, 2013) – Four extra clinics have been set up in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara to ease pressure on the hospital as health workers continue to deal with an outbreak of dengue fever that began several weeks ago.

A state of emergency is in place at the national referral hospital to enable staff to defer all non-emergency patients in favor of those with the Aedes mosquito-borne disease.

The ministry of health’s permanent secretary says dengue fever has now killed two people and there are more than 900 suspected to have the illness, which typically causes very high fever and severe headache.

Dr. Lester Ross says 74 people have been admitted to hospital and the disease has been confirmed in more than 200 people.

“We actually opened four clinics in Honiara City Council. One of the clinics is where we stabilize the patients. Kind of referral clinic for the people here in Honiara. We also opened up a good Samaritan hospital which is operated by the Catholic church in Guadalcanal Plains.”

Dr. Lester Ross says doctors are on a roster for visiting the clinics.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

25)PNG Court Orders Port Moresby Hospital To Pay Nurses
3 former nurses’ took legal action after non-payment of benefits

By Todagia Kelola

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 19, 2013) – While the O’Neill-Dion Government, through its Health Minister Michael Malabag, is doing everything under the sun to attract qualified nurses back to public hospitals in Papua New Guinea, actions of a Chief Executive Officer of a hospital and the Secretary for Health may be opposite as found by the National Court.

The National Court in its deliberation on a Judicial Review application last week by three retired nurses against the CEO of the Port Moresby General Hospital, Sam Vegogo and the Health Secretary Pascoe Kase, found that the retired nurses were treated badly in their final payouts.

The three former nurses, Jomino Holee, Paula Vuvu and Gauealele Samuel are women now aged in their sixties.

They were employed as nurses at Port Moresby General Hospital for more than 40 years before being required to retire in 2009. They took the view that they should be paid retrenchment benefits in addition to normal retirement benefits but the CEO of the hospital disagreed, and they left employment without being paid those additional benefits. Being unable to resolve the dispute, they complained to the Public Services Commission which inquired into their complaints and made decisions in their favor.

This required the chief executive officer of the Port Moresby General hospital and the Health Secretary to include the three additional categories of benefits in their final entitlements.

But the chief executive officer and the Secretary failed to comply with the decisions resulting in the three nurses bringing a judicial review proceeding seeking a declaration that the decisions of the Public Services Commission were binding and an order in the nature of mandamus compelling the defendants to comply with the PSC decision and damages.

Justice David Cannings in his decision said “The PSC decisions of 28 March 2012 have not been set aside or amended or revoked. They have remained in place but they have been ignored. The failure of the chief executive officer and the Secretary for Health to comply with the decisions is manifestly unlawful. It is also contrary to the principles of natural justice as no reasons have been given for the failure to comply.”

He had no hesitation to grant the reliefs sought by the three retired nurses and awarded them K10,000 [US$4,745] each for damages.

“This is not a normal case. The court is faced with an extraordinary case. Three women who have served the people of this country and the patients of our largest public hospital with distinction (evidence of which is before the court) in a profession of such critical importance as the nursing profession have been treated with disdain and neglect by their former employers, the very persons who should have applauded and thanked them. They have been forced into court unnecessarily. Why the Solicitor-General did not concede this case upon its commencement is unknown. The plaintiffs worked as nurses for more than 40 years and they deserve to be compensated for the suffering that they have had to endure over the last four years, and in particular over the last ten months, in getting their just rewards for the enormous contribution that they have made to the health and well being of the People,” Justice Cannings said.

He ordered that the lawyer for the defendants and the lawyers for the plaintiffs meet forthwith to settle on the precise amounts of money that must be paid to the three former nurses.

PNG Post-Courier: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

26) Health dilemma

By NELLIE SETEPANO

MORE than 300 nursing positions advertised for the country’s biggest referral hospital are all yet to be filled.
The positions for Port Moresby General Hospital were advertised last year; unfortunately most were not filled because people have not applied, or those who applied have not met the criteria set down. These positions will be re-advertised later this year.
One of the main reasons the hospital lacks these important people is that health workers are leaving the public services to seek better jobs elsewhere or with the private health institutions, the mining companies or the LNG project.
It is a sad case scenario and one that is described as urgently need address and a reason why the advertisement was publicized to bring more workers as Medical Services Director for Port Moresby General Hospital David Mokela says.
He gave an example of the PMGH four operating theatres where is only use one with 12 nursing staff working 24 hours.
The operating theatre lacks 50 percent of nursing staff to fully equip it to make it complete. He cited this example after complaints from a patient suffering from hernia wanted an operation but could not get it right away because of lack of staff at the operating theatre.
A stroll down the labour ward reveals signs of over worked and stressed midwives working tirelessly. They too lack in numbers. PMGH currently has 19 midwives at its labour ward, delivering 40-50 babies per day and approximately 1200 babies per month and over 12,000 a year.
The hospital has 60 clinical midwives in general sisters consisting of 41 at obstetrics and gynaecology and 19 at the labour ward.
The president of PNG Midwifery Society and labour ward supervisor last year, described the workload as “just too much” for her and her workers.
One of main outstanding issues is the lack of human resource, particularly nursing staff to mend the special nursery care centre. The facility needs at least a total of 40 registered nurses and community health workers (CHW). However, at present there are only 14 nursing officers and CHW’s.
The Health Secretary, when pressed about the positions said the only way to bring in more health workers was to create an attractive package and that was an issue that should be addressed by the hospital’s management.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130320/wehome.htm

27) Pacific Aids Foundation to close its doors

Posted at 19:22 on 19 March, 2013 UTC

An organization that has represented the rights and voices of people living with HIV in the Pacific for over a decade is closing.

FBC news reports the Pacific Islands Aids Foundations is no longer able to survive as the donor funding has ceased to support the organization.

Financial cuts affected the administrative and financial operational capacity of the organization and soon spread to the projects.

The organization tried to cut costs and other strategies applied forcefully since 2009 was hoped to survive the crisis, but the miracle did not happen.

The foundation closed its Suva office in November last year.

The office in Rarotonga, Cook Islands retains two project desks with communication and research until April at the latest.

Radio New Zealand International

Education:

28) Ministry warns sponsored students

TUESDAY, 19 MARCH 2013 16:51
STUDENTS who breach the terms and conditions of their scholarship awards will be dealt with accordingly by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Management (MEHRM).

Director of the National Training Unit (NTU), Selu Maezama said one of the terms and conditions of scholarships relates to upholding and respecting the laws of students’ host country.

“Harsh penalty is expected from such a breach,” Mr Maezama said.

He made the comments in relation to the stabbing incident which allegedly involved two Solomon Islands extension students at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji.

According to reports received from Fiji, one of the two students have been charged and is awaiting his court appearance, however it is still not clear what charges have been laid against him.

“We are fully aware of the matter and can confirm that one student has been cleared of any charges whilst the other has been charged.

“We still have no information on any charges being laid against the student, but we are liaising with authorities in assisting this student seek legal representation in facing the charges.”

Mr Maezama also added that they will have to consider a report on the incident before taking any action.

“So far we do not know what actually happened, all we know is that two students were involved in a scuffle whereby a weapon was used, resulting in one of them being charged.

“We are yet to establish whether or not the students were provoked or any other explanation resulting in their actions.”

He also added that such should serve as an example to other Solomon Islands government sponsored students studying overseas.

“The Ministry will take serious action in whoever breaks the laws either of their institutions or the host country.”

By Jeremy Inifiri ( Solomon Star )

Law&Order+:

29) Vanuatu court says Phocea can leave Port Vila

Posted at 01:39 on 20 March, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s Supreme Court has given clearance for the controversial mega yacht, Phocea, to sail out of the country’s territorial waters.

The yacht has been detained by the Ports and Harbour since its arrival last July.

In its initial detainment, Vanuatu police claimed the yacht was suspected of having of being used in arms smuggling, money laundry and drug trafficking but all the allegations were quashed by the court due to lack of evidence.

However, the deputy commissioner of marine affairs, Guy Benard, says the custom department has refused to clear the vessel for it be able to leave.

The yacht is reportedly owned by Vanuatu’s honorary consul to Vietnam, Pascal Anh Quan Saken.

He had accused Vanuatu police of piracy for holding the vessel.

Radio New Zealand International

30)Rape not taken seriously by PNG police: research

Posted 20 March 2013, 11:38 AEST

Australian researchers find rape isn’t taken seriously as a crime in PNG and most cases go un-punished

Researchers have found that almost all of the sexual abuse that happens in Papua New Guinea goes unreported and unpunished.

The Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre has compared the number of sexual violence victims treated at the government hospital in Lae with the number of prosecution cases in court.

They have found that just 1-in-338 sexual violence cases where the victim was an adult led to a conviction.

Professor Stephen Howes has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the findings are “depressing.”

“Rape isn’t really taken seriously,” he said.

Researchers say there is a perception in PNG that many people get away with sexual abuse and the data proves that perception is true.

Professor Howes says the problem may be a lack of police enforcement.

“A lot of these cases do enter the legal system or they are reported to the police,” he said.

“The Medical Centre itself reports cases to the police. So the police see these cases initially, but clearly there’s not enough follow through.

“And just anecdotally, we know that the police sector is not giving enough attention to these cases.

“(Police are) either not interested or scared to make the arrests that are needed if you’re going to provide protection to victims and ultimately secure justice.”

But Professor Howes says he thinks things are slowly changing in PNG.

“Shortly after we left Lae, sadly a nurse at the hospital was raped, but that did led to a massive public protest. In fact the hospital was shutdown for a couple of days while the staff went on strike.

“So there are people who are mobilising on this issue and I think if we can provide them with more support…we are seeing change and we’ll see more change in the future.”

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-03-20/rape-not-taken-seriously-by-png-police-research/1104288

Sports:

31) Meninga aims to take PNG to rugby glory

Updated 20 March 2013, 9:36 AEST
PNG correspondent Liam Fox

Queensland coach Mal Meninga has signed on as Papua New Guinea rugby league’s high performance director

Large and in charge … Mal Meninga. (Credit: Getty Images)

Australian rugby league legend Mal Meninga says he is hoping to turn Papua New Guinea into a world power in the game.

Meninga has signed up to be the high performance director for PNG’s national side, the Kumuls, for the next five years.

He says he wants to harness the raw talent of the country’s top players into a professional outfit.

“We’ll provide all the best practice and state-of-the-art training programs that we can provide.

“We are just going to improve out of sight.”

Meninga will work alongside with PNG head coach and former NRL player Adrian Lam.

Audio: Mal Meninga signs on with PNG Kumuls (ABC News)

Both men say the first priority will be the World Cup in England in October.

Meninga is a former Australian Test captain and Canberra Raiders head coach.

He is currently coach of the Queensland State of Origin side.

Since Meninga took over in 2006 Queensland is yet to lose a State of Origin series.

The Australian Rugby League Hall of Famer also has a long association with PNG.

He has coached the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII side in its annual clash with the Kumuls since 2006.

32) Dere demands further improvement from Fiji in Hong Kong 7s

Posted at 00:04 on 20 March, 2013 UTC

Fiji sevens coach Alifereti Dere says they can’t afford another poor tournament in Hong Kong as they seek to defend their Cup title.

Fiji are currently fourth in the World Series standings, 30 points adrift of overall leaders New Zealand.

After missing the quarter finals for the first time ever in Wellington, the Pacific giants bounced back in Las Vegas with a credible fourth placed finish.

Alifereti Dere says they need to build on that.

“The way the boys played in Las Vegas so we have a slim chance in defending the title. We are looking forward in trying to build our performance from Las Vegas and try to play to our strength. Where we were in Las Vegas. that’s where we should always be.”

Fiji kick off their title defence against Hong Kong, before further pool matches against Spain and Canada.

Radio New Zealand International


Philippe Saibir Pako -Tenen
e: phillipe@voiceofmelanesia.com
w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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