Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 834


1a) FLNKS accession to MSG chair coincides with momentum for West Papua membership

Posted at 22:30 on 09 April, 2013 UTC

The spokesperson for New Caledonia’s Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front, or FLNKS, Victor Tutugoro has been elected to be the next Melanesian Spearhead Group chairman.

He will hold the role for two years from June when New Caledonia hosts the MSG Leaders Summit.

Johnny Blades reports that the summit coincides with a major drive to help the self-determination aspirations of Melanesian peoples not yet independent, notably West Papua.

Furthering the Kanak bid for independence from France was a core reason for the inception of the MSG twenty-five years ago.

MSG commitment to this cause may have veered off course in the intervening years, but it’s sharply returning to focus with the change of chairmanship and the fact that the four-year window for a possible referendum on New Caledonia’s independence as provided by the Noumea Accord begins next year.

Adding to the momentum, the former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare recently warned that if the MSG cannot help fulfill the Kanak political aspirations, then ’it risks the danger of losing its existence’.

However Sir Michael has implored the MSG Secretariat to ’exercise caution and patience’ in dealing with the other big Melanesian self-determination issue, that of West Papua.

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation recently lodged a formal application for full MSG membership and the summit is expected to feature a formal response.

There are signs that after years on the outer, encompassing the controversial granting of MSG observer status to Indonesia, the West Papuans’ time to join the club may have arrived.

Vanuatu’s new Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil says his government will push for West Papua to be granted full MSG membership

“It’s about time to recognise that the West Papua struggle, someone has to do something about it. We cannot just close our eyes and deny, say that there is nothing happening over there, because there are many human rights issues happening over there. We want West Papua to be a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group – this is something that we’re going to lobby for.”

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation has been lobbying Melanesian leaders over the membership matter, including a visit to Fiji to talk with the current MSG chairman, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

An advisor to the Coalition is the former Vanuatu Prime Minister Barak Sope who was impressed by the willingness of Fiji’s Prime Minister to pursue the matter.

“He is in a position to put it to the other heads of government. When I spoke last time (to RNZI on the matter), I was critical of Bainimarama and others because of Indonesia coming in to the MSG. But with their position this time, they’ve said ok, the West Papua case – after following the (application) procedure – it’ll now be considered by the MSG, it’s up to the MSG leaders to decide.”

The Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Clay Forau says his government is expecting an approach by the coalition, but has indicated his country will give its support.

“I think that’s the way we’re going now, helping our other friends in their fight for self-determination. You’re aware that we also co-sponsored a UN resolution for French Polynesia’s inscription on the decolonisation list.”

While Sir Michael Somare says dialogue and extensive consultation should underlie the MSG approach on the West Papua issue, it’s clear that the new generation of Melanesian leaders emerging is less willing than him to defer to the issue as purely an Indo domestic matter for Indonesia.

Membership in the MSG for West Papua is no certainty, but FLNKS chairmanship of the MSG is – both would give significant momentum to the decolonisation process in the region.

Radio New Zealand International
1b) Full membership for West Papua, Indonesia remains observer: Lini

Posted on April 10, 2013 – 9:42am |

Godwin Ligo

The new Leader of the Opposition Ham Lini has slightly changed his views on the issue of Indonesia and West Papua after assuming his new role.

He told Daily Post outside Parliament on Saturday morning that he would support West Papua obtaining a full Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) status and allow Indonesia to remain as an observer on the MSG.

Asked why he has changed his views after his recent statement to the local media ( Daily Post) that his stand would be to remove Indonesia from the MSG status and allow West Papua this status, the new Opposition Leader HamLini said: “ It’s because it would be difficult for Vanuatu to negotiate successfully for West Papua to receive full political independence unless we work closely with Indonesia towards establishing and or reaching an understanding that will be helpful towards the goal for self-determination for the West Papuan people,” he said.

“I will personally support West Papua to become a full member of the MSG while allowing Indonesia to continue to maintain an observer status on the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

“Unless we work closely with Indonesia it will only make things difficult and distance ourselves for the cause of reaching future agreement with Indonesia for West Papua to become politically independent,” Lini told Daily Post.

During the recent meeting of the West Papuan Benny Wenda meet with Vanuatu Parliamentarians, Lini told Benny Wenda that he will take up the issue of West Papua and Indonesia during the MSG June 2013 Meeting in New Caledonia with the view that Indonesia be stripped off the MSG observer status and hand it to West Papua. These views have now changed and replaced with the views by the new Opposition Leader Ham Lini that he would support full MSG membership in MSG but retain observer status for Indonesia.

The present Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs have made it publicly clear that: “You cannot have Melanesia plus Melanesia plus…..” (Meaning Indonesia).

It remains to be seen how both the Vanuatu government and the Opposition will finally make their stand clearer before the June 2013 MSG Meeting in New Caledonia capital Noumea.

2) US explores aiding development in PNG Highlands

Posted at 01:39 on 09 April, 2013 UTC

The American Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, who is on a week-long visit to the Highlands region, says he wants to meet political and civil society leaders to discuss how the US can help PNG’s economic development to be inclusive, sustainable and transparent.

Walter North says he plans to emphasise US commitment to women’s empowerment and to combatting gender-based violence in the Pacific.

During his visit to the region, the ambassador will meet American missionaries, non-governmental organisations and businesses, which are working collaboratively with local communities to improve the quality of life in the Highlands.

Radio New Zealand International

3) privileges than civil servants: Minister

Posted on April 10, 2013 – 9:28am |

Godwin Ligo
Former Ambassador to China now Minister for Finance Willie Jimmy.

Former Vanuatu Ambassador to China and now Minister of Finance, Willie Jimmy, revealed to the public of Vanuatu during parliamentary sitting last Saturday that the incentive offers by the government fall far below the lines of duties.

Minister Tapangararua made the comment when parliament discussed the motion for the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs whose primary functions would be to; (i) review important new policy initiatives relating to Foreign Trade and give its opinion to the government before their implemention; (ii) scrutinize the qualifications, experience, and suitability of proposed Vanuatu diplomatic and trade representatives overseas prior to their appointments; (iii) to enquire into issues concerning passports and the sale of the same (passports); (iv)enquire into the management and operation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Vanuatu’s Overseas Missions, the Ministry of Trade and the Department of Trade; (v) to summon government officials and the public to assist it in its Work; (vi) and include any such duties as assigned to the Committee by the Standing Orders approved by parliament.

The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Overseas Missions would be made up of four MPs appointed by the Prime Minister and three MPs to be appointed by the Leader of the Opposition.

During the discussions on the motion, former Vanuatu Ambassador to Vanuatu and Finance Minister Jimmy, told parliament: “Vanuatu’s diplomats serving overseas get far less privileges than the government public servants. We don’t get allowances and other benefits that the public servants get in their remuneration packages,” Tapangararua told parliament.

He said he hopes that the provisions for Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Overseas Missions will recommend inclusion of privileges that is fair and in in line with the diplomatic and overseas responsibilities provided by Vanuatu’s diplomats abroad.

4) 60 Representatives Attend 4th Fiji Women’s Forum
Forum calls for guaranteed equal participation in government

By Zafiya Shamim

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 9, 2013) – About 60 women leaders representing their communities from all across the country came together for the fourth Fiji Women’s Forum (FWF) at Studio 6 Apartments in Suva yesterday.

FemLINK Pacific executive director Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls said they were focused to enhance women’s participation in the electoral processes and in local and national government.

“We are here to create awareness on women’s political participation through the sharing of experiences and learning from local, regional and international women,” Mrs. Bhagwan-Rolls said.

“Our framework is to develop a collaborative approach amongst women sharing skills, resources and building greater solidarity.

“We need to follow our four principles — respect for human rights, define the role of the security forces, promote women’s participation in decision-making and democratization processes, including Temporary Special Measures and have a rights-based, respectful, open and participatory constitution making process.

“We do not want only legislations but constitutional guarantees that women can equally participate in the local government.”

Mrs. Bhagwan-Rolls said they wanted instrument of peace, free, fair and a non-violent election.

United Nations Women Regional manager for Gender Equality in Political Governance Program Rita Taphorn said it was important for women to be well informed and also understand the process of elections.

“This is a national issue for development and not only women but also men need to reach out to the community so that their voices are heard,” Ms. Taphorn said.

The co-conveners of the FWF are the National Council of Women Fiji, Soqosoqo Vakamarama, femLINKPACIFIC and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.

Fiji Times Online:


5) AusAid Maternal Hotlain halavim PNG Milne Bay mama

Updated 9 April 2013, 17:19 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla wok halavim em Australia gavman aninit long AUSAID i givim Papua New Guinea i halavim pinis planti mama long Milne Bay provins.

Despla halvim i karamapim wok we ol mama oa ol femili blong ol iken usim telephone long bilong ringim haus sik long Alotau long kisim gutpla toksave ikam long ol nes  oa dokta.

Bigpela tingting bihain long statim despela project lem bikos planti ol mama igat bel or i karim pikinini pinis longen i save bungim ol kainkain heve na planti taim ol istap longwe long ol taun na hospital.

Narapela long ol heve tu em long inogat ol midd waif,oa ol nes or doctor na inogat ol komuniti health woka klostu long ol.

Ol ibin statim  despela telephone Hotlain servis long mun November bilong last yar na nau ol mama iwok long ksim halavim lognen.

Dr Amanda Watson igo pas long despla project na Gaius Sabumei isave halvim em.

Despla tupla pipal ibin stap long PNG leadership Symposium em i bin kamap long Deakin University long Geelong long Melbourne , long nama wan wik bilong  stat  despela mun April we tupla ibin toktok long wok blong ol.

Tupela i toktok wantaim Caroline Tiriman na toktok bilong ol istap tu long vidio.


6) Vanuatu : le nouveau dirigeant de l’opposition change de cap

Posté à 10 April 2013, 9:37 AEST
Pierre Riant

Ham Lini, estime que la Papouasie occidentale doit avoir un statut de membre à part entière au sein du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance (GMFL) tandis que l’Indonésie peut conserver son statut d’observateur.

Dans les colonnes du Daily Post, M. Lini est donc revenu sur sa précédente position ; à savoir le retrait de l’Indonésie du GMFL. Le dirigeant de l’opposition estime que dans ce cas, il serait difficile pour le Vanuatu de négocier avec l’Indonésie « la pleine indépendance politique » de  la province indonésienne de Papouasie occidentale.

L’actuel Vice-Premier ministre et le ministre des Affaires étrangères ont fait savoir publiquement qu’un GMFL Plus (c’est-à-dire avec l’Indonésie) est impossible.

Reste à savoir si le gouvernement et l’opposition parviendront à s’entendre sur leur position respective avant d’arriver au sommet du GMFL de juin 2013 à Nouméa.

7) PNG: décapitation de deux femmes sur l’île de Bougainville

Posté à 10 April 2013, 9:17 AEST
Pierre Riant

La Commission des droits de l’Homme du Nord de Bougainville réclame l’intervention des autorités pour protéger la population de la violence anti-sorcellerie.

La violence a éclaté la semaine dernière dans le village de Lopele dans la région de Bana.  Accusée de sorcellerie, Helen Rumbali a été enlevée mardi dernier par des villageois armés de machettes et de haches, puis elle a été torturée et décapitée.

La sœur de Mme Rumbali a aussi été attaquée et grièvement blessée. La presse locale affirme qu’elle aurait aussi été décapitée par la suite.

Les deux femmes étaient accusées d’être les responsables de la mort récente d’un enseignant.

Les policiers présents sur les lieux n’ont rien pu faire devant une horde de villageois en colère.

Plusieurs cas similaires ont été récemment rapportés dans la région des Hauts Plateaux de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et nous avons demandé à Helen Hakena, présidente de la  Commission des droits de l’Homme du Nord de Bougainville si « ces actes de barbarie », pour reprendre les termes de la police locale, arrivaient fréquemment sur l’île de Bougainville.

HAKENA : «  Oui, nous avons aussi d’autres cas sur Bougainville et ce n’est pas rapporté à la police. Mais nous savons que plusieurs personnes soupçonnées de sorcellerie sont en danger.

Et à Buka d’où je viens, il y a beaucoup d’histoires similaires. Dans le centre de Bougainville aussi où toute une famille accusée de sorcellerie a été tuée l’année dernière.
Des hommes et des femmes accusées de sorcellerie sont aussi passés à tabac et battus dans les villages et certains sont maintenant paralysés. »

Selon les croyances locales, la mort naturelle n’existe pas. On ne meurt pas du SIDA, on meurt parce qu’un sorcier ou une sorcière vous a jeté un sort.
Toutefois, ces croyances ont bon dos et sont aussi un alibi qui permet à certaines personnes de régler des comptes personnels.

HAKENA : « Oui, j’ai parlé à beaucoup de personnes et c’est inquiétant. La sorcellerie est souvent utilisée comme une excuse pour régler des problèmes familiaux, des problèmes de clans ou des problèmes fonciers. Il y a tellement de choses à prendre en compte. Mais la sorcellerie est une excuse pour faire du mal aux gens. »

Plus de 1 000 personnes ont participé à un défilé de protestation à Buka  pour condamner l’assassinat de ces deux femmes de Bougainville.écapitation-de-deux-femmes-sur-lîle-de-bougainville/1113886

8) La dengue frappe des milliers de personnes aux îles Salomon

Posté à 10 April 2013, 9:24 AEST
Pierre Riant

Des experts australiens sont sur place pour tenter de maîtriser une épidémie qui s’aggrave de jour en jour.

Les cas de cette maladie infectieuse transmise par piqûre de moustique sont à la hausse depuis le séisme et le tsunami de février dernier qui a frappé cette région. Sans oublier les abondantes chutes de pluie depuis le début de l’année.

Plus de 2000 personnes seraient atteintes par cette infection potentiellement létale et leur nombre ne fait qu’augmenter. C’est à l’hôpital principal d’Honiara, la capitale salomonaise, que nous avons pu joindre Malcom Johnston-Leek, vice-directeur du Centre national de soins intensifs et de traitement des traumatismes de Darwin.îles-salomon/1113890

Nous lui avons demandé si la situation continue à se dégrader ?

JOHNSTON-LEEK : « Eh oui. Les derniers chiffres, qui remontent à vendredi, quand nous sommes arrivés, font état de plus de 2200 cas en tout qui auraient été diagnostiqués. Mais officiellement nous avons plus de 500 cas après analyse de sang et nous sommes limités sur le nombre d’analyses de sang que nous pouvons effectuer. En tous les cas, beaucoup de gens ont la dengue ici.
Je suis actuellement à Honiara et il semblerait que 90% des cas sont à Honiara en ce moment et on nous a dit qu’il y avait eu 3 morts. »

Plus de 1 000 cas auraient aussi été signalés en zone rurale. Comment cette épidémie a pu se propager et atteindre des milliers de personnes ?

JOHNSTON-LEEK : «  Et bien il ne faut pas oublier qu’ils n’ont pas eu de dengue pendant de nombreuses années aux îles Salomon et que le moustique du genre Aedes qui transmet la dengue a une capacité vol réduite. Il vit donc près des humains, là où il y a de l’eau stagnante, dans les pots de fleurs, les vieux pneus, ce genre de choses. Et en plus, ils ont eu beaucoup de pluie ces dernier temps. La dengue se propage donc vite au sein d’une population qui n’a pas été exposée à cette maladie depuis très longtemps. »

Et comment les services de soins locaux se sont débrouillés face à cette avalanche d’infections.

JOHNSTON-LEEK : « Et bien ils ont été pris au dépourvu mais avec une épidémie de cette ampleur, n’importe quel service de santé aurait été pris au dépourvu. Je dois dire que les services de santé, les médecins et le personnel soignant, ont fait un travail remarquable dans des conditions difficiles quand on voit le nombre de cas. Nous sommes là pour les aider mais ils ont fait vraiment un excellent travail. »

Ces experts australiens ont maintenant été rejoints par des collègues de Nouvelle-Zélande pour aider au mieux le personnel local.

JOHNSTON-LEEK : « Notre rôle principal est de les aider sur le terrain pour que le personnel local puisse se reposer un peu. Les médecins et le personnel soignant ont travaillé pendant de longues heures et sans jour de repos et tout le monde est très fatigué. Nous avons aussi un spécialiste de la santé environnementale qui travaille avec le Conseil municipal d’Honiara pour tenter de maitriser le principal vecteur de la dengue, le moustique. Les services de santé font tout pour maîtriser la prolifération des moustiques. »


9) US confident it can intercept North Korean missiles, says Head of US Pacific Command
By Online Editor
1:48 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2013, United StatesThe United States could intercept a ballistic missile launched by North Korea, the top US military commander in the Pacific said Tuesday, as the relationship between the West and the communist government hit its lowest ebb since the end of the Korean War.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of US Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles represented a clear threat to the United States and its allies in the region.

But he said that the US was “ready” if North Korea attempted a strike and that it had the capability to thwart a North Korean missile.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pyonyang warning foreigners living in South Korea to make evacuation plans because the peninsula is on the brink of war.

“We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war,” the official KCNA news agency quoted an official from a North Korean organisation calling itself Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee as saying.

The KCNA report did not offer details and there are reportedly no signs of a military buildup near the border dividing the Korean peninsula, located less than 40 miles from the South Korean capital, Seoul.

Analysts noted that Pyongyang had issued similar threats in the past, adding that this latest warning is designed to elicit aid and political concessions from Seoul and Washington.

At the Senate hearing, Locklear said a decision on whether any North Korean missile should be intercepted should be based on where it is aimed and expected to land.

“I believe we have the ability to defend the homeland, Guam, Hawaii and defend our allies,” said Locklear, who added that it would not take long to determine where a missile would strike.

Locklear  concurred with the assessment of committee chairman John McCain that the tension between North Korea and the West was the worst since the end of the Korean War in the early 1950s. But the admiral insisted that the US military and its allies would be ready if North Korea tried to strike.

“We’re ready,” Locklear said.

He said North Korea was keeping a large percentage of its combat forces along the demilitarized zone with South Korea, a position that allows the North to threaten US and South Korean civilian and military personnel.

Locklear told the panel: “The continued advancement of the North’s nuclear and missile programs, its conventional force posture and its willingness to resort to asymmetric actions as a tool of coercive diplomacy creates an environment marked by the potential for miscalculation.”

Amid the bluster of recent weeks – during which the North has threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the US – the regime appears to have made good on its threat to withdraw its workers from the Kaesong industrial complex.

None of the 53,000 North Korean workers at the site, located just north of the border, arrived for work on Tuesday morning – a day after Pyongyang accused the South of turning the jointly run zone into “a hotbed of war”.

The suspension of all operations at the site momentarily shifted attention from North Korea’s east coast where, according to reports, preparations were being made to test launch at least one medium-range missile, possibly as early as Wednesday.

In response, Japan deployed PAC-3 missile interceptors in Tokyo on Tuesday. Japan’s self-defence forces are under orders to shoot down any incoming North Korean missiles; Tokyo has also deployed two Aegis destroyers equipped with sea-based interceptor missiles in the Sea of Japan.

The two missiles, thought to be the untested Musudan, have a maximum range of 2 485 miles, putting South Korea, Japan and US bases on Guam within reach.

The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said his government would take “every possible measure to protect the lives and safety of the Japanese people”.

The closure of Kaesong, the last symbol of rapprochement between the two Koreas, marks a serious deterioration in cross-border ties. The move is also a sign of how far the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, may be prepared to go to foment crisis on the peninsula, given that a prolonged closure would deprive his regime of an important source of hard currency.

South Korea’s president, Park Geun-hye, described the suspension as “very disappointing” and said investors would now shun the North.

“Investment is all about being able to anticipate results and trust and when you have the North breaking international regulations and promises like this and suspending Kaesong while the world is watching, no country in the world will invest in the North,” Park told a cabinet meeting.

“North Korea should stop behaving in this way and make the right choice for the future of the Korean nation.”

South Korean firms have invested an estimated $500m (£327m) in the site since it opened in 2004. The complex generates about $96m for the North Korean economy every year.

About 475 South Korean workers and factory managers remain in Kaesong, with 77 expected to return across the border on Tuesday.

The warning to foreign residents in the South comes a week after North Korea told overseas embassies in Pyongyang that they should consider evacuating staff, warning their safety could not be guaranteed if war breaks out. No embassies are thought to have acted on the advice.



10) Star reporter wins regional award
By Online Editor
1:37 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2013, Solomon IslandsSolomon Star reporter Daniel Namosuaia has been awarded the 2012 Vision Pasifika Media Award for his news item in the weekend paper about poor waste management practices in Honiara and what can be done to solve it.

Clean Pacific was the theme of the 2012 Vision Pasifika Media Award coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to commemorate a Pacific campaign that addressed waste management issues in the region.

Namosuaia was selected by an independent panel of judges who commended him for his work titled – “Wastes of our City”.

“SPREP is pleased to be able to acknowledge the role of Pacific media in advocating and raising awareness for good environmental practices,” said Nanette Woonton, the Media and Public Relations Officer at SPREP.

“This is our fourth year to coordinate this award and we’re very pleased with the results we are seeing throughout the region. The entries submitted show that our environment has a place in Pacific news.”

A special award of commendation was also awarded to Helen Rei, a journalist from Papua New Guinea who works for the Centre for Locally Managed Areas Inc  who wrote news articles that were published by the Post-Courier and The National newspaper in PNG.

Her articles were about the cleaning of the ocean.

“There was a range of different news stories submitted and this was one that stood out to us, we are pleased that we can commemorate the work done to raise environmental awareness.”

Namosuaia was awarded US$500 for his award category and Miss Rei was awarded US$250.



11) Bougainville Copper Ltd. To Reopen Panguna Mine
Facilities to be replaced, production to restart in 6 years

By Paeope Ovasuru

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 9, 2013) – Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) announced yesterday that it is ready to re-open the Panguna mine in Bougainville at its annual general meeting (AGM).

The company has estimated that it will cost about K11 million [US$5 million currently] to start-up the mine and it will take about six years to start production.

According to chairman, Peter Taylor, BCL conducted an Order of Magnitude Study (OMS) last year and the key findings revealed that the project is economically viable, based on key assumptions of mining up to 100 million tons of copper per year and processing up to 60 million tons of ore per year.

“The capital cost is high at US$5.2 million (K11 million) and it has been assumed that most mine site facilities will need to be replaced,” Mr. Taylor said in his opening statement.

He said the study considered a wider range of development and production options, including higher mining and processing rates, alternative power, infrastructure and tailings options.

“I emphasize the study has a degree of accuracy of positive or negative 30 percent and is not a substitute for the feasibility study that will be needed to support redevelopment,” he said.

He said the mine has the potential to process 60 million tons of ore per annum, a similar rate that it achieved prior to the mine being suspended.

“The project is very dependent on copper and gold prices. Lower metal prices may still be economically viable but the cut off grade would have to rise and the size of the resources would reduce, as would mine life,” Mr. Taylor said.

He said the study revealed that the mine life would be approximately 24 years.

Mr. Taylor also said although the study was based on particular assumptions and infrastructure, there are many choices and final decisions that have to be made.

“The study assumes a workforce of approximately 2,500 direct employees,” he said.

“These options will be given more detailed attention at the appropriate time and in consultation with government regulators and landowners,” he added.

He said the purpose of the study was to determine the technical and financial feasibility of redeveloping the Panguna operation.

The study does not address landowner, community, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the PNG government’s issues and considerations, Mr. Taylor said.

He said the relationship between ABG and BCL was cordial and engaged.

“President Momis maintains his support for the reopening of the mine,” Mr. Taylor said.

A series of regional forums are being held across Bougainville to allow all stakeholders to discuss the re-opening of the Panguna mine.

Meanwhile, Dame Carol Kidu was voted to the board of directors of BCL yesterday.

PNG Post-Courier:


12)Report highlights challenges

Margaret Wise
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A report on family planning in Fiji has identified a number of challenges that stand as barriers to contraceptive use and adversely impact the promotion of family planning among young and rural communities.

These issues include:

* There are no FP services at Labasa Hospital. Of the 17 sub-divisional hospitals in the country, only nine provided proper FP services. None of the 72 nursing stations scattered throughout the country had female condoms and only six provided emergency contraceptives. The 66 health centres also were lacking in some aspect of FP services.

* A lack of youth friendly FP services as well as programs for young people and men in all participating centres.

* A slow increase in contraceptive prevalence rate but the 18 to 29 years age group was leading the way with an increased use of condoms. Young people appeared more prepared to consider options.

* Access or difficulty in access to services is suppressing demand and leaving needs unmet. This was especially true for people living in rural areas.

* Health Centre staff were willing to assist those seeking FP services but some options women preferred were only available in the major hospitals. Extra cost to access led to loss of interest.

13)Stakeholders focus on history of policy

Margaret Wise
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sub-Divisional medical officer Doctor Susana Nakalevu speaking at the repositioning Fiji family planning conference at Vuda in Lautoka. Picture: Shayal Devi

FAMILY planning in Fiji has a very interesting history and a Fiji National University lecturer yesterday pointed out that at one time, the country had an active policy for people to have large families.

Professor Rajat Gyaneshwar’s statement yesterday at a conference on family planning came about as he discussed the history, evolution and experience of family planning and contraception use in Fiji.

He said today, population size was no longer an issue.

“And the other thing that is not a problem is the political problems regarding ethnic numbers.

“Those two elements have been removed from the family planning issue.”

Family planning was now about the individual rights of women.

“Women being able to exercise choice, regarding reproduction, enjoy the full range of sexuality, safe sex debate, people should be able to protect themselves from disease.”

Professor Gyaneshwar said the policy to raise Fijian births was introduced sometime in the 1800s when there was a significant decline of the Fijian population because of various reasons.

“Now, there was concern amongst the administration at that time so that was the first time that family planning was seen as trying to increase family size rather than control births.”

He said the Fijians of Indian descent population was also growing fast at the time and families of 10 or 12 children were common.

“This increase in Fijians of Indian descent birth really concerned the colonial government and the iTaukei people.”

He said the first step to control birth rate happened in 1952 when Ben Jannif, the Indian-nominated member of the Legislative Council of Fiji spoke about the need for the Indians to practice birth control.

“The Fijians of Indian descent population embraced family planning as they realised difficulties in raising large families and they wanted families that were smaller, a family they could educate and be more economically viable.”

14)Differing views on planning

Margaret Wise
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

MEN are not taking family planning as seriously as women and tubal ligation still exceeds the number of vasectomy procedures conducted in local hospitals.

According to the findings of the recent Fiji Family Planning Report — which is being discussed by relevant stakeholders at a conference in Viseisei, Vuda — vasectomy was still unpopular as a contraceptive for family planning.

Colonial War Memorial Hospital head of gynaecology Doctor James Fong said the report also highlighted that Fiji’s population was not “increasing fast”.

“This means that the number of births is not an issue.”

He said the idea for planned families was a means to improve the quality of life.

“It’s not about controlling the number of people in Fiji. It is just to have each person born as a planned event. That they are allowed to reach their full potential, to ensure economic gains for the individual and the country.”

The report also pointed out that unplanned pregnancies caused family strife, more so in cases of unexpected pregnancies in the older reproductive age women and complications in early pregnancies.

The three-day conference organised by the Ministry of Health and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is discussing and sharing the main findings of the report “to assist MoH and relevant stakeholders in planning the up-scaling of responsive and youth friendly FP services in the country.”

The meeting aims to identify, build and strengthen partnerships with traditional leaders, faith-based organisations, community groups, youth, the private sector and relevant stakeholders.

Through discussions, the plan is to come up with a consensus on strategies to reposition and mainstream sustainable FP services in Fiji.


15)Island fights against TB

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

THE Rabi Island Council is working with the Health Ministry to stop the spread of tuberculosis on the island.

Council chairman Bauro Vanualailai said they were working closely with health centre workers to address the issue with the villagers.

Mr Vanualailai said the disease may be prevalent with the Banaban people because of their culture.

“We are a communal and fun-loving people and our culture encourages families coming together a lot,” he said.

“The fact that we live our lives in a communal way may make the people vulnerable to the illness and even compound the problem.

“There are factors arising out of our lifestyle that trigger the TB among our people.

“We are identifying these factors and making people aware with the assistance of health officials.”

Mr Vanualailai said the TB lab facilities set up by the government recently at the health centre had been helpful.

“We are encouraging the people to make use of the facilities and go there for screening.

“People are being made aware of the importance of such screening.

“There are some who tend to take things lightly but the effort to stamp out TB among our people is a community one that we at the council office are committed to.”

16)Funding secured for life-saving HIV drugs

Updated 10 April 2013, 11:15 AEST

Pacific Islanders living with HIV will have uninterrupted access to life-saving drugs despite recent global cuts in funding for HIV and AIDS.

That’s the pledge from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community which, together with the Pacific Islands HIV and STI Response Fund, has secured continuous access to anti-retroviral drugs for Pacific Islanders.

Presenter:Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Dr Dennie Iniakwala, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s HIV & STI Team Leader

INIAKWALA: Now we’re talking about 11 countries here, not all the countries in the region, but the cuts out on the basis that the funding actually ends this year, which means without the funding from Global Fund, we may not be able to procure the drugs that have been procured by the Global Fund grants to people who are currently on antiretrovirals. So SPC are negotiating with the Response Fund managed to take on board some of the cost for procurement for ARVs for the next18 months commencing July this year. So at least there is a continuity of supplies for the next foreseeable future until much more sustainable means  can be sort by countries.

COONEY: Now, I think there’s an estimate from the United Nations: sixty thousand people are living with HIV. How many of those will have access to those drugs, all of them or some of them?

INIAKWALA: Well, some of them will have access to the drugs. I think the number here is also including those in Papua New Guinea and obviously other countries around the region, for example, Australia and New Zealand. What we are talking about here is there are a few number of people in the other Pacific Island countries which say about 11 countries, which basically means the number we are talking about less than 50 patients who are currently on antiretrovirals and they need to continue that.

COONEY:  It’s seen in Papua New Guinea as a pandemic. Australia and New Zealand, of course, will be cut out of it. So that funding is for about 50 people?


COONEY: Alright then.  I’m not experienced with this, and I have limited knowledge, but my understanding is to be effective with these drugs, the people must stick with a plan, they must stick with the program and with the treatment. Has this been a problem in these areas, that getting people to reliably take them at the right time and keep taking them has been an issue?

INIAKWALA: Sure. I think majority of people actually before undertaking a treatment, they are to be counselled and advised properly before they take on those drugs.

However, due to other reasons, like cultural issue or misbelief or things like that, people tend to stop their medication. Not only that, but they tend to feel that they don’t need it and decide to not to follow on with their treatment and I think that’ still an issue in a number of countries, in terms of having continuity of treatment right from the start, for example.

COONEY: For 18 months, this is a guaranteed supply. I mean I’m curious what sort of funding and what’s the cost of that?

INIAKWALA: Yes. At the moment, we are looking at the cost of about more than 100,000 US dollars that will continue for 18 months. And during this period, we are also looking at other ways where we can support countries, to start looking at funding-mechanism that either can access through from other sources or from their national budgets as well.

For example, Fiji for now is actually procuring it’s own ARV from their national budget, so we’re not relying on donors to continue support the antiretrovirals and maybe that’s the way forward, where governments take responsibility for providing those essential drugs and services.

COONEY: You’re confident that at the end of 18 months when this program finishes that there will be something to replace it?

INIAKWALA: I am sure they’ll be something in the making during this 18 months where either funding sources from other donors or funding sources from countries themselves.

17)RMI ‘Struggling’ With Tuberculosis, Leprosy Cases
High number of child cases linked to ‘community transmission’

By Giff Johnson

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 10, 2013) – The Marshall Islands continues to struggle in its effort to reduce high rates of tuberculosis (TB) and Hansen’s Disease.

A Ministry of Health quarterly report released at the end of last week indicates TB screenings are discovering about 100 new cases a year on top of ongoing cases under treatment. The World Health Organization ranks the Marshall Islands as having the ninth highest TB rate globally and the highest in the Pacific, with a rate of 536 cases per 100,000 people. Seven of the top-eight are African nations. Kiribati is next highest with a TB rate of 356. Papua New Guinea is listed by WHO as having a rate of 346, the Federated States has 200, and Palau 153 per 100,000 population.

Hansen’s Disease, better known as “leprosy,” has been eradicated in many countries of the world. But the WHO says that Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands have been unable to meet the target of lowering the number of cases to fewer than one per 10,000 people — WHO’s definition of leprosy elimination.

As of December 31,165 people were being treated for leprosy in the Marshalls, giving the country a rate of 31 per 10,000 people — more than 30 times the WHO target for eradication. Since this reflects only the patients who have been identified on a few islands, the incidence rate of leprosy is likely much higher.

An active screening program keeps finding people with leprosy and TB on Majuro, Ebeye, and many outer islands. Twenty-seven new cases of leprosy were identified from October 1 to December 31, according to the Ministry. Eighteen of these cases were on nine outer islands and nine were in Majuro. Part of the reason for the discovery of leprosy and TB is the Ministry of Health’s active screening programs. Both illnesses are curable with medication, but the ministry reports many people stop taking their medications before they are cured. This produced an outbreak of multi-drug resistant TB three years ago that required costly treatment for those with the problem.

“It should be highly noted that the high proportion of children in treatment (for leprosy) is an indication of a high level of community transmission,” the Ministry’s report said.

In 2012, public health nurses recorded an astounding 63 new cases of leprosy in one three-month period — 33 on seven outer islands and 30 in Majuro. Cases on the outer islands are particularly challenging to detect and treat, Ministry of Health officials said. Many health assistants on these remote islands have little knowledge about leprosy, which leads to late detection of people with the illness.

Marianas Variety:


18)Teachers call off peaceful march

By Online Editor
11:02 am GMT+12, 10/04/2013, Solomon IslandsThe proposed peaceful demonstration by the Solomon Islands National Teacher’s Association (SINTA) has been postponed following a meeting with the Commissioner of Police in Honiara.

The Police Media Office says security related matters were discussed by both parties and a decision was reached to postpone the peaceful demonstration.

The Unit says among other factors, the recommendation presented by the police was partially based on public order and security concerns.

The office of the Commissioner of Police thanked the President and the executive of SINTA for their understanding and cooperation.

Meanwhile, the country’s Opposition Leader has called for the termination of Education Minister Dick Ha’amori over his failure to address the teachers’ strike.

Ha’amori is currently overseas and Foreign Affairs Minister Clay Forau is the supervising Minster.

Speaking in Parliament, Dr Derek Sikua acknowledged Forau’s efforts in attempting to address the teachers’ strike over the weekend.

Dr Sikua says Minister Forau has reached some understanding with SINTA.

He called on Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to terminate the appointment of his education minister.

Prime Minister Lilo however says Minister Ha’amori is on an important trip for the UNESCO and the African Caribbean Pacific Ministers of Education meeting.



19) Women’s group condemns PNG killings
By Online Editor
1:27 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2013, FijiThe Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women stands in solidarity with the North Bougainville Human Rights Committee (NBHRC) in condemning and demanding an end to sorcery-related killings of innocent women in Papua New Guinea.

A recent press statement released by NBHRC strongly denounced the beheading of Helen Rumbali, a women’s rights activist who was the leader of the South Bougainville Women’s Federation. Before her death Rumbali was victimised and denied the opportunity to defend herself against allegations of sorcery in Court.

“This barbaric act is yet another example of the unrelenting violence that women and girls are subjected to in Papua New Guinea. In this instance, our sister who was advocating for human rights and the empowerment of women in Bougainville has been mercilessly executed on the pretext that she was engaging in witchcraft. Helen Rumbali was a person who dedicated her life to the betterment and development of Bougainville”, said Shamima Ali, Coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and Chairperson of the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women.

“Women who stand up against misogyny and violence to try and help other women are being accused of sorcery in order to try and intimidate and silence them.”

There has been a marked increase in reported cases of sorcery-related killings and maiming this year. In February 2013, a woman was burnt to death in front of hundreds of onlookers at Mt Hagen. On 28 March 2013, Amnesty International reports that six women and a man were abducted and tortured as part of a “witch hunt” after being accused of practising witchcraft. The fate of the women remains unknown.

“Helen Rumbali’s murder is the latest atrocity in this war on women” said Ali. “The Government of Papua New Guinea must immediately condemn these killings and take all measures for the immediate disarmament of all civilians, including ex-combatants.”

“The Government must also immediately review the Sorcery Act, which is often used to mitigate the murders and assaults of vulnerable women. We call on the Government to develop progressive legislation and policies to ensure the protection of women and girls and the prevention of violence perpetrated against them. ” added Ali.


20a)Fiji records new wave of suicides

Posted at 01:46 on 10 April, 2013 UTC

Fiji police say four new suicide cases were reported on Monday, bringing the total number of suicide cases this year to 39 and attempted suicide cases to 48.

Fiji Live reports the youngest victim was a 15-years old and the oldest was a 40-year-old.

The Senior Medical Officer at the Central Community Mental Health Hub, Dr Nirvana Karan, says through its various awareness programmes the Ministry of Health was doing its best to prevent suicides.

Dr Karan says they have educational seminars at community level on suicide prevention and have a collaborative partnership with Empower Pacific to provide free counseling services to the general public.

She also says stress management units are opened at each divisional hospital to provide accessible mental health services to cases of attempted suicide.

Radio New Zealand International

20b)Fiji vulnerable to transnational crimes: Vuniwaqa
By Online Editor
1:39 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2013, Fiji

Fiji being the hub of the Pacific will always be vulnerable to illegal migration, human trafficking, smuggling of persons and other related transnational crimes, Department of Immigration director Nemani Vuniwaqa said.

Hence it was important, he says, that border protection officers are trained and equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to tackle these issues.

Vuniwaqa highlighted these challenges while addressing participants at 5th Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.

He said in Fiji, stakeholders had continuously organised similar workshops at national level, to better address this issue of protecting borders from transnational crimes.

“Local stakeholders continue to hold workshops and seminars as a strategy to raise awareness amongst the respective stakeholders and members of the public alike,” he said.

The director added the National Plan of Action for the prevention of trafficking in persons and commercial exploitation of children 2011 was drawn up as a national document to show Fiji’s commitment in identifying and prosecuting traffickers and most importantly provide support to victims.


21)NZ spy agency set for overhaul after critical official report

Updated 10 April 2013, 10:36 AEST

New Zealand’s lead spy agency is in for a shake up after a government-commissioned report found that more than 80 residents may have been subject to illegal surveillance.

NZ spy agency set for overhaul after critical official report (Credit: ABC)

Prime Minister John Key says the report on the Government Communications Security Bureau makes for sobering reading

Presenter:Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Dominque Schwartz, New Zealand correspondent

22)NZ program seeks to boost Pacific policing

Updated 10 April 2013, 9:53 AEST

New Zealand Police have launched a four year plan to strengthen policing in the Pacific.

New Zealand Police have launched a four year plan to strengthen policing in the Pacific.

The Partnership for Pacific Policing, or 3P, program will involve training and mentoring by New Zealand Police officers.

They will be working closely with police services in Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

New Zealand’s Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess has told Radio Australia the four million dollar project aims to improve policing capability in the region.

“We have worked with some of the police services that we’ll be working with as part of the project already and we have also worked with other police services in the Pacific,” he said.

“So, it’s really building on what we have learned and what we’ve found works for us and for them.”

Audio: Pacific Correspondent Campbell Cooney speaks to NZ’s Assistant Commissioner, Malcolm Burgess (ABC News)

The plan involves sending advisers to the seven Pacific island states, who will work in areas such as road policing, prosecutions, community policing, forensics, investigations and case management.

New Zealand Police say they will focus on technical assistance, ethics and human rights, leadership, operational development and community engagement initiatives.

The $US3.53 million program will be funded by the New Zealand government.

23)Fiji Vulnerable To Human Trafficking, ‘Illegal Migration’
Immigration director relays need for training, resources

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 9, 2013) – Fiji being the hub of the Pacific will always be vulnerable to illegal migration, human trafficking smuggling of persons and other related transnational crimes, participants at the 5th Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime heard yesterday.

The Department of Immigration director Nemani Vuniwaqa relayed these challenges and said we must ensure that our border protection officers are trained and equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to tackle issues regarding people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime.

“As a hub, Fiji is vulnerable to such illegal migration both as a receiving and transit destination country,” he said.

Vuniwaqa highlighted that Fiji noted and acknowledged the Bali process, other regional organizations such as the Pacific Immigration Directors’ Conference (PIDC), training institutions like the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) and the many training opportunities, workshops, technical officers capacity building programs organized and conducted by Australia and New Zealand in 2011 and 2012.

He said for Fiji, stakeholders had continuously organized similar workshops at national level, to better address this issue of protecting our borders from transnational crimes.

“Local stakeholders continue to hold workshops and seminars as a strategy to raise awareness amongst the respective stakeholders and members of the public alike,” he said.

The director added the National Plan of Action for the prevention of trafficking in persons and commercial exploitation of children 2011 was drawn up as a national document to show Fiji’s commitment in identifying and prosecuting traffickers and most importantly providing support to victims.


24)Solomons Police Take Up Security Duties In Shortland Islands
Islands previously the post of RAMSI police personnel

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, April 9, 2013) – The Solomon Islands Police have taken over the control of policing in the Shortland Islands following the withdrawal of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Participating Police Force (PPF) from the Lofung Post.

RAMSI Acting Special Coordinator, Wayne Higgins says the withdrawal of the PPF from Lofung last week followed several consultation meetings between the Solomon Islands Government, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, RAMSI and the chiefs and communities of the Shortland Islands.

Mr. Higgins says the consultations included a meeting last November and again in February this year with chiefs and communities in the Shortlands and in Honiara with the Paramount Chief of Shortland Islands, Sir George Lepping and Secretary of the Famoa Trust Board, Edward Kingmele in March.

In a media statement, RAMSI says that in a show of appreciation for allowing the PPF Police Post to be located on traditionally owned land, RAMSI last week officially handed over the buildings and infrastructure built and used by the PPF at the Lofung Police Post to the Famoa Trust Board.

The properties were officially received by Sir George Lepping on behalf of the Board.

The Lofung Police Post is the eleventh post that PPF has withdrawn from in the past two years.

This is part of RAMSI’s transition which means that PPF has moved away from every day frontline policing to a more mentoring and support role.

RAMSI Police currently retain advisers at Gizo and Auki and also provide mentoring and logistical support to Police Commanders in the Provinces.

Solomon Times

25)New Zealand Called To Close Cook Islands’ Tax Haven
Cooks official says havens more about privacy than secrecy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 9, 2013) – Authorities in the Cook Islands say the country’s regulatory framework for offshore trusts is better than in most places in the world.

A Wellington-based journalist, Nicky Hager, is calling on the New Zealand government to stop accepting the use of the Cook Islands as a tax haven, following an investigation involving millions of financial documents.

Megan Whelan reports.

The Cook Islands was last involved in a tax scandal during the 1990s, when it was at the centre of the so-called wine box affair.

Nicky Hager is part of an international team investigating millions of leaked records of corporate dealings in international tax havens – both legal and illegal.

He says he was investigating a company started in the Cook Islands on what he calls the wild west wine box days.

“I think that New Zealand should make a high priority of closing down the Cook Islands tax haven. I think that the world would be a better place without tax havens and New Zealand has set up the Cook Islands tax haven. Our government, in effect, tolerates it and allows it to keep going. And the sooner that one is closed down, the sooner we set a good example to the rest of the world.”

Nicky Hager says tax havens are more about secrecy, and points to companies avoiding millions of dollars of tax.

But the head of the Cook Islands Financial Development Authority, Jenner Davis, says in 2003, the Cook Islands passed a host of legislation regulating the offshore finance sector.

“Transactions today aren’t really about secrecy. It’s about privacy, often, because the extremely wealthy in the world, that’s often what they are seeking with their wealth management structures, so they’re not hounded by every financial advisor and accountant. There’s nothing secret from the authorities here in the Cook Islands. They can go in and evaluate the files, and evaluate the processes by which the trust companies are monitoring their obligations.”

New Zealand’s Inland Revenue will investigate links in off-shore tax havens.

The Revenue Minister, Peter Dunne, says Inland Revenue will investigate any allegations relating to tax avoidance.

“Any opportunity we get to track down New Zealand taxpayers who are evading taxes that they should be paying to New Zealand, we will pursue.”

The Cook Islands finance minister, Mark Brown, says while wanting to protect confidentiality, the Cook Islands is mindful that it needs to exchange tax information, and has agreements with 16 countries.

He says the Cooks already works closely with New Zealand authorities, and times have changed since the wine box inquiry.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and taken a lot of effort to try and shake this unsavory reputation, which has followed us around, and I have to say the Cooks has done a lot in the last 10 years. There’s been numerous assessments done on the Cook Islands, as well as other countries in the region to make sure that they are complying with international standards.”

Mark Brown says there is a lot New Zealand needs to do to in terms of tightening up its own financial services jurisdiction.

Radio New Zealand International:


26a)Vanuatu a step closer towards World Cricket League promotion

Posted at 01:45 on 10 April, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu have moved clear at the top of the World Cricket League 7 standings after beating Pacific neighbours Fiji by six wickets in their top of the table clash on Tuesday night.

Fiji made a solid start with the bat before a mid-innings collapse saw them slump from 79 for 2 to 88 for 7 in the space of ten overs.

Jone Seuvou added an unbeaten 37 down the order before the Blues were eventually dismissed for just 142 in the 44th over.

In reply, Vanuatu made short work of their run-chase with Trevor Langa and Damian Smith combining for a 95-run opening stand.

Man of the match Langa top-scored with 64 as Vanuatu reached their target in the 22nd over.

A top two finish will earn promotion and Peter Wooden says they’re trying to remain calm.

“We’re in a very fortunate position, through our previous games, so if we manage to play well and stick to our plans and come off with another win then we will stay in control. If we don’t we’ve had some pretty good results so far so our net run rate will be very high but I wouldn’t say we’re nervous – we’re actually quite excited by the challenge and we’re not trying to get to far ahead of ourselves. We’re just focusing on trying to improve our cricket each day that we play and improve ourselves and”

“let the results take care of themselves.”

In the other matches, Nigeria thrashed hosts Botswana by 171 runs and Ghana chased down Germany’s 185 with four wickets to spare.

Despite their first loss, Fiji remain second in the competition standings, ahead of Nigeria who take on Vanuatu on Wednesday evening, with Fiji to face Ghana.

Radio New Zealand International
26b)Inaugural Digicel Surfboard Smash Repair Day

Posted on April 9, 2013 – 4:53pm |


“What you see out on the water is really only a small part of it”, says Tim Nelson of the Vanuatu Surfing Association about their role in promoting the sport in Vanuatu. “Getting boards to the young surfers is one thing, but keeping them in a useful state actually requires a lot of work”.

Visiting tourists will occasionally leave surfboards behind for local surfers at the end of their trip, especially if it has been damaged or broken on the reef. The Vanuatu Surfing Association also relies on donations of people such as the Free family to collect and deliver large numbers of second hand boards to Vanuatu in order to continue expanding the popularity of the sport. These efforts reached a record when new resident Michael Barthelmess sourced over 35 surfboards in Australia and with the help of P&O cruises, had them delivered to Port Vila in January.

With the large numbers of damaged boards in Pango and many of the new shipment also needing repairs, the VSA decided to use the opportunity to help train the local surfing community on surfboard repair. Coinciding with The Digicel Easter Classic competition, The Digicel Surfboard Smash Repair Day saw over 30 young Pango surfers come together with VSA members Tim Nelson, Ben Johnson and Michael Barthelmess, to learn everything from the basics to how to fix snapped boards.

“It was a slow start whilst the kids got used to the materials and techniques but by the end of the day we’d run out of boards to fix and had to go back to Pango to fetch more!” said Mr Nelson. “The kids learnt a lot and gave something back to the VSA which can now use the repaired boards in our outreach programs in Pele, Eratap and Moto Lava.”

The costs of the expensive fibreglass materials and consumables were provided by Digicel as part of its sponsorship of the Vanuatu Surfing Association’s Easter Classic. “We are really grateful to everyone, especially Digicel, for supporting surfing in Vanuatu as the potential amongst the young surfers here is extraordinary”, said Mr Nelson.

The Vanuatu Surfing Association is always looking for people to help further develop surfing in Vanuatu, so regardless of whether you are a surfer or not and want to get involved, please contact VSA committee member Cameron McLeod on to see how you can help out.

27)Lucrative offers lure top players

Manoj Kumar
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fiji’s Rusiate Matirerega, right, in control against Vanuatu at Churchill Park in Lautoka during OFC U20 Qualifiers last month. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

IT’S that time of the year in football where there’s desperate rush for player signatures.

The transfer window closes on Friday and already there are signs of massive player movement, mainly in the top flight.

Two names have attracted the most attention.

Fiji under-20 strikers Napolioni Qasevakatini and Rusiate Matirerega are wanted with at least three districts ready to give them lucrative offers.

The two came into prominence this year with Nadi. Both are key players and have netted some vital goals in the Fiji Sun/GP Batteries National Football League.

While some district teams are struggling financially, some are splashing as much as $5000 per player to ensure they tighten up in weak areas ahead of the remaining league matches and tournaments.

Times Sport takes a look at what’s hot and what’s not in the transfer window.


With Matirerega and Qasevakatini on fire, the Jet-setters have established themselves as genuine contenders for the NFL title.

However, given the players good outing in the Oceania U20 play-offs, other districts are now keen to sign them. At least two western teams and one southern side are after the pair.

Nadi president Navneenda Goundar and his officials are set for a tough and nervous next few days. Word is that Ratu Veresa Toma (Rewa), Poasa Bainivalu (Rewa) and Vereti Dickson (Suva) have left. Navua’s holding-midfield player Rajnesh Raju, who stood out at the IDC last year, is keen to join Nadi and looks set to head West.

Opinion: Matirerega and Qasevakatini should stay put with Nadi and work their way up slowly. You two are great together. Show some loyalty and work on bettering your game and a coach like Kamal Swamy will bring about the best in you. Do that and money, fame and everything else will follow suit.


A district with a wealth of talent, mostly skill-wise. They will most likely lose their number one goalkeeper Akuila Mataisuva. He wants to move to Rewa and if the Reds can pay up the amount the LFA wants then the Fiji team stopper will feature for the Delta Tigers. In comes former rep Emori Ragata, so that’s like a straight swap, quality for quality. There could be another addition to the side but that’s it for now. Remember they will soon have Taniela Waqa, Pita Bolaitoga, Ilaitia Tuilau and Maciu Dunadamu back from O League duties.

Opinion: The LFA is fine as is, no need for further additions. They have quality all over the park. Too many big names will become a little messy.


Get ready to see several new faces wearing the white jumper. Parneel Kumar (Navua), Jale Dreloa, the Fiji U20 skipper from Labasa, and Dickson (Nadi) are already in. There is also a likelihood of some others joining over the next few days, including some of Dreloa’s U20 teammates. With Samu Kautoga away on O League duty and his return uncertain, Ragata and Sanni Issa gone, Nathan Shivam hardly available and Jonas Nacewa on his way out too, they have to bring in reinforcements.

Opinion: No matter how many changes they make, Suva will still be up there with the best. Parneel is a fine acquisition and will stand out, however, with Issa gone I am not too sure if the Whites can get back to championship winning form of 2012 straight away.


The Delta Tigers have brought in quality players in Toma (Nadi), George Lui (Solomons), Bainivalu (Nadi) and Mataisuva (Labasa), who is on the verge of joining.

Put them together with what they already have — the likes of James Naka, the brothers Epeli Saukuru and Iosefo Verevou, Lorima Dau and Peniame Drova — the Reds will be spitting fire from hereon.

I won’t be surprised if they win a tournament or two this season. Valerio Nawatu’s brother Serevasio Doli has moved back to Navua. Opinion: He may look heftier by the day but as long as Lorima Dau is in the team, Rewa will always be a competitive force. In Verevou they have a star of the future, in Saukuru a tireless worker, in Drova a rugged defender and in Naka, a creator and destroyer — and they have Lui in again, fear that!


They are after some new signings but nothing is confirmed yet. Nadroga’s Krishneel Dutt is training with the side but the Blues are involved in a tug-of-war with Suva over the tiny but talented defender.

Blues officials are to meet with some interested players today and if all goes according to plan, they will pen down a deal for two more new additions.

Opinion: Right now the Blues need a little bit of stability. Changing and chopping, both players and team officials, has long been a problem. Hopefully, for the sake of Blues fans, some of their key players will stick around and so will new coach Ravinesh Kumar.


They are after at least a couple of Fiji U20 players and there should be some confirmation by today while other districts are chasing the signature of Navua’s U20 rep Kolinio Sivoki. It is highly unlikely that he will leave given his commitment to the League club and the NFA president.

Opinion: If the NFA parts with the idea of sticking and working with youngsters and home-grown talent, it will be disastrous. Hopefully, they won’t but to do that you need patience — that will be the biggest test for the association’s top brass and coach. In Parneel and Raju, whose move is likely, they have lost two naturally gifted and immensely skilful home-grown talent.


Gone are Dutt (Lautoka), Levi Tawake (Nadi), Jone Tubuna (Nadi) and Akuila Saukuru (Tailevu Naitasiri). In comes Jonas Nacewa (Suva).

Some of these moves have not been finalised but should get through.

Opinion: This is the wrong time for players like Tawake and Dutt to leave Nadroga especially with the fight for the Super Eight in 2013. It would have been nicer for them to stay back and help the side try and avoid the drop and move in November, but then again they must have their reasons. I still don’t see Nadroga missing out on next year’s top flight but steady defender Dutt, in particular, is a big loss for them.


As usual, news is hard to come by from Ba. It’s all hush hush in the traditional giants camp but rumours are that a goalkeeper and a striker or two are on their shopping list.

Opinion: If the rumours about them looking for a top stopper is true, then they are on the right path. That’s one position they need to strengthen and if they do that, they could go on and win the O League final and I won’t bet against them making a clean sweep at home this year.


Tomasi Uculoa is headed to Tailevu Naitasiri and there are no confirmation of new players joining so far. However, some contacts in Lautoka are trying to help out Tavua FA with moves for some quality players from the Blues association.

Opinion: The equation is simple. If they don’t buy better players now, the season is doomed.


Pene Erenio, who was sought by Nadroga, has decided to stay back and help Savusavu. Add to that good news, Shamal Kumar, the former Labasa and Fiji rep, could join the northern minnows.

Opinion: They have the talent and ability to avoid the drop, but are they willing to stand up and be countered from hereon? Only total commitment will save them from being relegated.

28)Target areas

Rashneel Kumar
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Members of the Suva rugby team train at Albert Park yesterday as they prepare for the next round of the Digicel Cup. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE Digicel Fiji Sevens team needs to improve on the identified areas in the remaining leg of the International Rugby Board 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series to build a strong platform for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in June.

Fiji Rugby Union High Performance Unit (HPU) general manager Mike Ryan said they had reviewed the tournaments played this season and identified the areas of concern in the team.

Ryan added some of the areas identified had improved in the past couple of tournaments and the others would be put to test in the Scotland and London 7s next month.

He said the HPU was working closely with the Fiji 7s management to help improve all aspects of the preparation and performance of the team.

“We are providing as much support, assistance and guidance as required so that no stone is left unturned to ensure the success of the team (at the RWC 7s) in Moscow,” Ryan said.

“We have been holding discussions around the selection and resourcing of team.”

The national side has been identified as one of the inconsistent teams this season.

Coach Alivereti Dere earlier said their mission was to build on their consistency in the last two tournaments and carry that through to the RWC 7s.

The former Fiji 7s skipper also stated they would decide later on the inclusion of the overseas-based players to strengthen the weak links in their bid to win the third RWC 7s title.

However Ryan said players who would be available on time could be considered.

“We want the best possible players available at the world cup, if these players are overseas—based and can return and prepare adequately in time they will be considered,” the New Zealander said.

“The ability of the players to adjust to 7s quickly and how this will be accommodated has also been addressed and was part of the discussions around looking at the squad to prepare for the world cup.”

Meanwhile, Fiji is grouped with Australia, Argentina and Spain in Pool C of the Scotland 7s which will be held on May 4 and 5.

New Zealand is currently leading the IRB Series points standing.

Inside: Dere names 21-member squad for last leg.

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