Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 841


1) Ume the forgotten Fuzzy Wuzzy


HE could have been recognised today as a “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel” in the presence of Australian Governor- General Quentin Bryce.
But this World War II Papua New Guinean carrier, who moved ammunition and the sick and wounded for the Allied Forces between the jungles of Central and Oro provinces, passed away quietly on April 6 before the ANZAC Day commemoration service.
The late James Ume died at the age of 101 years-and-two-months in his Doura village, Central Province.
Sitting in his rust-ridden corrugated-iron house, he waited for his visitors to arrive as word got to him through another colleague of his family, Australian News Limited chief photographer Clive Hyde who was accompanied by the Post-Courier.
Mr Ume introduced himself in his opening speech: “My name is James Ume. I was born in 1912,”…and then paused to think what to say next.
He was born to a dedicated Catholic couple in Bereina, Central province and 11 years later did his primary education with Catholic missionaries on Yule Island. He became a teacher after Form 4 and taught children about the Bible.
At the time of the interview, he kept saying he and cousin Aua were filmed carrying an ammunition box, which they shouldered with a pole between themselves. He was only 30 years old when he volunteered to help the Australians in their hour of need, after the Japanese landed on the north coast of PNG in 1942 and marched through the jungles of the Owen Stanley Ranges towards Port Moresby.
Ume told tales of his days as a war carrier to his family and when we arrived, he repeated it, talking about his long nights and hard days of carrying ammunition for the Australians up the Kokoda Track or moving the wounded or sick diggers down the treacherous peaks.
Spotting short and trimmed white hair, he would smile and joke about his working conditions: “Bloody Australians, they made me carry their ammunition up the mountains, through the jungle and yet no pay!”
He spoke of the kindness and courage of volunteer porters which earned them a special rank in the hearts of the Australian troops. In between the interview and drinking a can of Coke, he grinned and at one stage held his late wife’s framed photo close to his heart said “darling”, while wiping tears from his eyes.
“You know this Australians thought I did not understand English. They would shout at me and the other porters ‘hurry up, work harder’ and they didn’t know I understood them. I would smile to myself but speak in language to my fellow brothers: these dimdims are saying this,” he said with laughter.
“The Japanese (he would pause for a while and think) when they landed and they took over areas of Owen Stanley Range, they fired tootootoot…their guns but, we the two knew the tricks to avoid bullets.”
According to Ume’s family, he never really spoke about the track he used during the war but kept alluding to the “Bulldog” during our interview, which could have been the “Bulldog Track” which they carried ammunition boxes through.
With a daily diet of banana and a can of fish or at times a can of coke, the veteran’s set of teeth were intact though his eyesight was just about gone. Despite his old age he still had his sense of humour and spoke of how he went to Australia in 1988 to visit his grandson and extended family.
Ume’s family was in the process of formalising his documentation to apply to the Australian government to recognise his services but they lost him early this month. Despite his passing the family has been assured his application would be processed.


By Aloysius Laukai.
The Buin Mining forum which ended this afternoon was very different from the other earlier forums as Grade 12 students from the Buin Secondary school were allowed to participate and also contribute with the discussions.

The Students from Hutjena secondary school which the other two forums were held earlier did not allow its students to attend these forums.
South Bougainville leaders praised the Principal Of Buin secondary school, TONY MALAMO for allowing Grade 12 students to participate as they as future leaders must know what the future holds for them.
Last week the whole school also met with the Bougainville Autonomy Review team and students were also able to ask questions to the team.
The team leader, DR.NAIHUWO AHAI also praised the school management for allowing them into the school especially on a weekend.

By Aloysius Laukai

The South Bougainville Panguna negotiation forum has called on the Bougainville leaders to united and work together to lead the people into the future.

During question time, many participants mentioned the need for all leaders to forget debating issues on the newspapers and organize face to face consultation to iron out their differences.

Many of the speakers said that as long as the leaders are united all the people will just follow the leaders.

They also called on the Panguna landowners to unite and stand as one PANGUNA people instead of fighting amongst themselves when the people of Panguna are quietly suffering.

By Aloysius Laukai in Buin

One of the questions asked to Panguna negotiations team today was the unfair selection of school fees assistance being made by the Bougainville Copper Foundation.

A student made comments that the Panguna landowners are already benefiting from BCF to assist their students whilst they are overlooking other Bougainville students.

In his reply to these comments, MR. MICHAEL PARIU assured the people that he would find out from BCF on the actual students who have benefited from this scheme as he understands this scheme is for assisting all Bougainvilleans.

He also said that the selection team is headed by the people of South Bougainville and landowners just make recommendations which sometimes does not go according to their recommendations.

The Minister for Mining who is also the constituency member also said that even his people complain because they are not benefiting from BCL.

They promised to talk to BCF to follow up on these comments.

By Aloysius Laukai in Buin

The South Bougainville Regional Forum on Panguna Negotiations was officially closed by the ABG President DR.JOHN MOMIS who was physically present during the last two days.

In his Closing remarks, President Momis called on all Bougainvilleans to work together as one people despite their differences to make sure Bougainville succeeds in its dreams to be independent one fine day.

He thanked all the people of Buin and Siwai who contributed well with all the discussions at this two-day forum.

President MOMIS warned the people of Bougainville that if we are divided and our dreams fail then we have only ourselves to blame and nobody else, not PNG, Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific countries who assisted us to broker this peace on Bougainville.

He said he really enjoyed the comments and deliberations made at this forum despite several outbursts with certain individuals during the question and answer time.

New Dawn FM understands that the Panguna negotiations forum started in North Bougainville last year, and the second one was also held at the Hutjena Secondary School.

This South Bougainville forums were supposed to be held two Buin, two in Siwai and two in Bana but because of the problem in Bana the
the forums were changed to Siwai and Buin in Buin and have a separate forum for the people of Bana as they would be directly affected by the Panguna mine.


By Aloysius Laukai
The ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS wants the Bougainville Ex combatants somehow integrated into supporting the Bougainville Police Service to support to provide law and order throughout Bougainville.
He made these remarks in his opening remarks at the South Bougainville Mining Forum in Buin yesterday.
DR. MOMIS said that the Ex combatants can be used under a programme like the sheriff system in which they can police certain government programs.
He said that he would like to inject about 30 million kina in next year’s budget to make sure that law and order issues are addressed.
Dr. MOMIS said that the people of South Bougainville have proven that Excombatants working with Police have contained the Law and Order situation in South Bougainville especially in Buin.
He said Philippines is one country that has similar arrangement that can work well on Bougainville.
President Momis said that even Taxes those people avoiding to pay taxes can be given tickets to tell them to pay up.
He said that this would be made into a policy to address this issue.
Meanwhile, the ABG Legal Officer, Chris Siriosi supporting this comment called on the South Bougainville veterans association to see him in Buka and work out a way forward for Bougainville.

By Aloysius Laukai in Buin

The ABG Minister for Finance, Planning and Treasury, ALBERT PUNGHAU wants Bougainville to increase its Internal Revenue to sustain its work.

He was speaking at the South Bougainville Forum in Buin this morning.

MR.PUNGHAU said that to run the ABG the government needs ONE HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION KINA all of it comes from Papua New Guinea and the donor partners.

He said this is why the ABG is pushing for the reopening of the Panguna mine under Bougainville’s own mining law.

MR. PUNGHAU said that the ABG is also looking at other measures however the only quickest way to get there is by re-opening the Panguna mine.

The ABG President, DR. JOHN MOMIS and ABG Members and Ministers are attending the South Bougainville Forum in Buin.

The meeting will end tomorrow.

This is the 4th Consultation forum organized by the Mining Division and the secretariat of the Office of the Panguna Negotiations.

New Dawn FM understands that a separate forum for BANA, PANGUNA and ARAWA will be organized later this month.

By Aloysius Laukai in Buin

The South Bougainville Me’ekamui is appealing to the ABG and all stakeholders of the Bougainville Peace Process to work with the Me’ekamui faction as the goal for Bougainville is only one.

Speaking at the South Bougainville Mining forum, Me’ekamui representative, SIMON NAKUMIRA said that his group wants to work with the people to move the process forward but wants some understanding from everybody.

He said his group wants to be part of the process of rebuilding Bougainville and does not want to be left behind.

MR. NAKUMIRA said if the leaders of Bougainville want to reopen Panguna then more awareness is needed throughout the region.

He said the Me’ekamui group in South Bougainville were left without a leader after the death of FRANCIS ONA and are happy to join the people of Bougainville as one united people with one vision.


By Aloysius Laukai

Representative of the Panguna Landowners Association, MICHAEL PARIU says that the Panguna landowners want the ABG to come up with the best possible solution to the reopening of the now closed PANGUNA Copper and Gold mine.
Speaking at the Buin forum this afternoon, MR. PARIU said that the landowners will support the ABG in its endeavours to fast track the process.
He said the Panguna landowners are prepared to carry out more awareness with its people but want support from the ABG to move the process forward.
MR. PARIU said that they have established Associations for the Landowners but there is no backup from the Government.

3) Vanuatu minister explains reasoning for sacking diplomats
By Online Editor
5:59 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2013, Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s Minister of foreign affairs, Edward Natapei, has sacked eight diplomats since his appointment a month ago.

Natapei, who is also the deputy prime minister, told local media the termination of diplomatic positions is not a new policy.

He said in 2009 the then foreign minister, Joe Natuman, had made an attempt to review some of these appointments but he didn’t finish the job due to a change of government.

He said many of these appointments were made in haste and were without clear terms of reference as to what the job entails.

Natapei said they were appointed as representatives of the Vanuatu Parliament overseas.

Many of the appointees were granted diplomatic passports, without meeting requirements under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, said Natapei.

He said the Government should not undermine the credibility of Parliament.


4) Vanuatu’s Honorary Consul To Philippines Dies
Ngwele helped others find education opportunities overseas

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 24, 2013) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade in Port Vila has confirmed the death of Vanuatu’s Honorary Consul in the Philippines, Sampson Ngwele.

His death brings to four the number of Vanuatu students in the Philippines who lost their lives in the past year alone.

Acting Director General of the Ministry Rolin Tekon confirmed that Samson Ngwele died, but that they have no further details and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Education, Bob Loughman would issue a press statement later. He is believed to have died on Sunday morning.

Ms. Tekon said that repatriation arrangements were already in progress for Mr. Ngwele’s body to leave the Philippines on Thursday and arrive in Port Vila on Saturday this week.

The late Samson Ngwele went to undertake studies in theology in the Philippines several years ago and is credited with opening up opportunities for further studies for currently over 100 Vanuatu students in colleges and universities around the country.

With the increase of the number of Vanuatu students, the Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed Mr. Ngwele Vanuatu’s Honorary Consul to the Philippines in recognition for his services towards the welfare of the students.

His tragic death comes almost a month after 23 year old student George Bakeomema Wilbur of Ambae, a mathematics student at Cavite University in Tagaytay City, Cavite Province, south of the capital Manila died March 23 of yet unknown causes.

Late Sampson Ngwele was formerly the Governor of the Reserve of Vanuatu.

Vanuatu Daily Post:

5) AG: Bainimarama Must Resign Before 2014 Fiji Elections
PM expected to leave military commander position

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 24, 2013) – Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has reiterated that everyone is equal under the law including the head of government, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Speaking during the draft Constitution consultation held in Nasinu last night, Sayed-Khaiyum said like every other persons holding public office, Bainimarama will have to resign as the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) to contest the 2014 elections.

“It is clear under the law that any person holding a public office must resign if he/she will stand for elections and this also goes for the Prime Minister as everyone is treated equally in this country,” said Sayed-Khaiyum.

He said that in declaring his interest to contest the elections, Bainimarama knows full well that he would have to resign from his post as Army Commander.

Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji’s law clearly states that anyone who wants to contest elections are free to contest provided they follow the right procedures.

He also said people should focus on getting a new constitution finalized to ensure a better future for everyone.

Meanwhile, consultation on the draft document continues in Kadavu today.


6) Fiji PM Bashes Former Political Parties During Radio Show
Bainimarama says rural residents ‘don’t want dirty politics’

By Sean Dorney

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 24, 2013) – Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been scathingly critical of the country’s former political parties during an appearance on talkback radio.

Three political parties have applied for registration under the Fiji regime’s Political Parties Decree, and are expected to learn their fate next week.

Commodore Bainimarama has been appearing on both television and radio on the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation’s Speak Your Mind talkback shows to promote his new draft constitution.

During one appearance he alleged the parties were not being honest about how they signed up the required 5,000 members.

“[The Political Parties Registrar] is looking at the registering of parties,” he said. “As we all understand there’s been a bit of fraud and when that is settled we will know the outcome.”

Commodore Bainimarama claims the people don’t trust political parties.

“That is why a lot of people in those remote and rural areas do not want elections,” he said.

“They don’t want the dirty part of politics – and that’s what they tell me. We don’t want elections, we want you to continue.”

Pressed by one caller, Commodore Bainimarama refused to be drawn on the subject of media freedom.

“He’s not referring to the constitution,” he said. “He’s referring to the way things have happened in the past so, really, really, I don’t want to discuss anything of it.

Another caller who wanted to talk about why Fiji no longer had an open budget process was cut off before he could finish.

A video of Commodore Bainimarama apparently gesturing to end that call has become political fodder for anti-regime activists.

In a later appearance Commodore Bainimarama attacked those critics.

“That’s the problem with reading the anti-government blog sites,” he said. “You read nothing but rubbish.”

Radio Australia:

7) Decision On Fiji Party Registration Applications Deferred
Labour, National Federation, SODELPA decisions on hold

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 23, 2013) – Fiji’s Government will not make any decision on the application for registration of three former major political parties until all particulars are provided in response to allegations of impersonation.

In a statement issued yesterday, Registrar for Elections Mohammed Saneem said they had given until April 26 to the proposed Fiji Labour Party (FLP) to respond to the allegations.

He said the other two parties – the proposed Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the proposed National Federation Party – had accepted anomalies in their handling of the registration process.

“In the case of the proposed SODELPA, the anomalies include members who are registered twice or even three times, members who are also listed as belonging to other proposed parties and names that do not exist on the National Register of Voters. These anomalies have been acknowledged by officials of the proposed parties after they were granted access to the National Register of Voters,” Mr. Saneem said.

Mr. Saneem said officials of the proposed NFP, on the other hand, also acknowledged some of its registered members also belonged to other proposed political groups.

“While they have denied allegations of impersonating government officials in Kadavu, they accept that 25 listed members have also registered either as members of the proposed SODELPA or the proposed FLP.”

When contacted yesterday, leader of the proposed FLP Mahendra Chaudhry said the party would submit its response to the registrar by Friday.

Mr. Chaudhry said they had registered some 8,500 potential voters from around the country.

Proposed NFP president Raman Pratap Singh said they accepted those anomalies existed in the sense that one person registered again in another party.

“This is a very small percentage of the total registered voters (more than 7,000) and at the same time, we do not agree that we did anything wrong as far as we are concerned,” Mr. Singh said, citing the possibility of people registering twice.

Proposed SODELPA official Dr. Tupeni Baba said after checking the anomalies, they gathered that they were errors, and added they were able to register more than 8,600 potential voters.

[PIR editor’s note: Baba also claims that the regime may be planning early elections, which is also the reason for continuing delays in party registration. Baba alleges the delays would allow the regime to call for a snap election while parties are not ready.]

Fiji Times Online:


8) Tongan Speaker Fakafanua sees need for more women in Parliament
By Online Editor
6:32 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2013, Tonga

Tonga’s 28 year old Speaker, Lord Fakafanua supports gender equality and believes “there is a need for more women representation in Parliament”.

In a statement to Asia Pacific Economic News (APEN) the noble Lord Fakafanua said women representation “is more of an issue of change in social behavior for Tongans”.

He wished to clarify his opinion, as reported by APEN in early on in the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum in Wellington, “on priorities for Tonga as it can be construed as currently written that I do not support gender equality when in fact I do”.

Fakafanua said in his clarification “challenges to climate change and the economy pose a greater and more immediate threat to Tonga as a whole”.

The inaugural Forum agreed to report to their Parliaments and communities and would take steps to increase women’s representation in Parliaments and to empower them to be active in all aspects of society, including governance and business.

The leaders also agreed to adopt strategies to meet the challenges arising from climate change, involving urgent and effective action in mitigation, adaptation and financing including placing a higher reliance on renewable energy.



9) U.S. Peace Crops Announces End To Program In Palau
Palau’s higher development status warrants closure

By Bernadette Carreon

HAGÅTÑA, GUAM (Marianas Business Journal, April 22, 2013) – The U.S. Peace Corps program in Palau will end in August 2014, according to Palau’s office of the president.

The Peace Corps has been serving Palau for over 40 years.

On April 9, Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau met with Renwick Nelson, the corps’ country director, Misia Orrukem of the Palau Peace Corps office and Tom Daley, charge d’affaires for the U.S. embassy in Palau, and was told the program will close after 47 years of operation.

Due to the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index, Palau rated a high development credit that indicated it no longer had a high need of Peace Corps services.

The Peace Corps ranks countries it serves according to a Human Development Index. The HDI measures a country’s overall income, health and education level. There are four rankings, ranging from “very high human development” to “low development.”

The Peace Corps does not provide service to countries ranked ‘very high’ and has recently begun to reduce its presence in such countries to be able to provide more focus on lower ranked countries.

“This is a mark of success in the abilities of two people to work together to achieve something good. Based on assessments and recommendations, we feel that Palau is now ready to be graduated from the program,” said Nelson. He also indicated that the ‘graduation’ is a sign of the program’s confidence in the country’s development.

“Palau will be the fourth country to graduate from the program. Three countries that have graduated are Romania, Bulgaria and Antigua,” Nelson said.

Four Peace Corps volunteers are currently working in Palau and will end their terms in August 2014.

Remengesau thanked the Peace Corps and its hundreds of volunteers who have served in Palau and elsewhere. He said the volunteers have made a significant contribution to the country and noted that they were instrumental in providing his own English language education.

Marianas Business Journal


10) Aboriginal men sue Qantas after being kicked off plane

Updated 24 April 2013, 18:48 AEST
By Jayne Margetts

A group of eight Aboriginal men is suing Qantas after they were thrown off a flight and told they would not be allowed to travel in a big group.

The men were on their way home from an Indigenous leadership program in Cairns which was funded by the Federal Government.

One of the men, Michael Edwards, is from Kempsey on the mid north coast of New South Wales.

It has been nearly three years since Reconciliation Week, when he and seven others were thrown off the Qantas flight before it left Sydney.

But sitting on his pool deck, reflecting on what happened, he says it is an encounter he cannot get out of his head.

“I think we were discriminated against by Qantas because there was only eight Aboriginal people on the plane,” he said.

He and the seven other men are suing Qantas for damages, accusing the airline of false imprisonment.

Many of the men had never left Kempsey before let alone flown on a plane.

Mr Edwards says soon after they boarded the flight, security guards were called to remove them.

“They weren’t doing nothing. Not a thing at all. Just had the headphones in just listening to a bit of music just bopping, that’s all,” he said.

The men were allegedly taken to a bus which was parked on the tarmac and locked in for an hour-and-a-half.

One of the men, Craig Edwards, says they were told they could not leave, even to go to the toilet.

“We were on the bus for an hour, two hours, like little dogs we was, they just had us like dogs on a bus,” he said.

It is alleged the men were then escorted by Federal Police back to the terminal and told they would have to catch a flight the following morning.

Michael Edwards says he was humiliated.

“People were looking at us. Giggling and you know. I felt like a criminal, like I’d done something really bad and we did nothing wrong,” he said.

Mr Edwards says they were told they could not travel as a group but would have to fly in pairs, on separate flights, two hours apart.

People were looking at us, giggling. I felt like a criminal, like I’d done something really bad and we did nothing wrong.

Aboriginal elder Michael Edwards

Instead they chose to hire a car and drive back to Kempsey through the night.

Craig Edwards missed the birth of his first grandchild.

“I hate Qantas. I don’t think I will ever fly with them. Like I said I wanted to go to more programs but I can’t now because I won’t get on a plane,” he said.

‘Uncomfortable and threatened’

Qantas’s version of events is very different.

In an affidavit, flight attendant Kelly Kalimnios says the men were behaving in a rowdy and boisterous manner.

She said one of the men told her: “F*** off you f****** white trash.”

She says they ignored her requests to calm down.

Ms Kalimnios says she called the captain and told him: “I’m feeling uncomfortable and threatened. They will have to get off or I’m getting off.”

Michael Edwards says that is incorrect.

His version of events is backed up by federal independent MP Rob Oakeshott who was also on the flight.

“From everything I saw they were behaving no different to anyone else who is a bit excited about catching a plane,” he said.

“It was an extremely heavy-handed response to some actions which, from where I was sitting and where my chief of staff was sitting, we thought was certainly over the top.

“I think that would be the reaction of most people that were on the flight.”

The case is set down for hearing in Sydney in August.

In a statement Qantas said it was “defending these claims in court, and as such, we won’t be commenting on the specifics of this case.

“Broadly speaking, Qantas has a zero-tolerance policy towards behaviour it believes could compromise the safety of anyone on our aircraft.

“This policy is applied equally to all passengers.”


11) Elderly former New Zealand soldiers come together for New Caledonia anniversary

Posted at 07:18 on 25 April, 2013 UTC

In New Caledonia, 85 veterans have come together to mark the 70th anniversary of New Zealand’s involvement in the Pacific theatre of the Second World War .

The New Zealand Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Michael Woodhouse, is with the veterans, who are aged from 88 to 96.

He says for many, it is their first and possibly last time in the region since the war.

Mr Woodhouse says of the thousands of New Zealanders who served in the Pacific, more than 900 died.

He says it is likely to be another emotional day tomorrow, when the veterans view the memorials and graves of fellow New Zealanders buried in New Caledonia.

Radio New Zealand International


12) PNG pastor itok kilim dai narapela ino ansa

Updated 24 April 2013, 16:13 AEST
Sam Seke

Pastor Jack Urame blong Lutheran Church itok pasin blong kilim dai narapela ino ansa long heve blong kantri long sait long sanguma pasin na sorcery.

Pastor Jack Urame husat i director blong dispela Melanesian Institute long Papua New Guinea, itok pasin blong kilim dai narapela maski em i aninit long wanpela niupela loa blong kantri, em i no gutpela.

Em itok dispela kain kilim dai oli kolim “capital punishment” em i rong aninit long mama loa blong kantri na tu long sait long lotu.

Pastor Urame i toktok long dispela bihain long planti toktok i kamaut long ol social media long Papua New Guinea, long kilim dai ol husat i kilim dai narapela long tokwin olsem oli wokim sorcery.

Em itok gutpela samting long dil wantaim dispela em long salim ol lain husat i kilim narapela long longpela taim long kalabus.

13) Bednet i helpim daonim Malaria long PNG

Updated 25 April 2013, 18:48 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Tude i Wold Malaria Day – na het tok oa theme bilong em – stat long dispela yar i olsem, “Invest  in the future, Defeat Malaria.

Institute blong Medical Research long Papua New Guinea i wok wantaim lain, Global Fund long daonim  sik malaria.

Long mekim wok bilong em i karim kaikai, em i givim aut ol bednet oa taunam igo long ol pipal long ol komiuniti na risalt i soim olsem dispela bednet i halivim long daunim namba bilong pipal kisim malaria.

Het bilong Vector Borne Disease Unit long Institute blong Medical Research long Goroka, long Eastern Highlands Provins, Dr Inoni Betuela i toksave mo  long long despla wok blong daonim sik Malaria long kantri.


14) Bougainville: libération de trois femmes accusées de sorcellerie

Mis à jour 25 April 2013, 11:25 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Une femme et deux adolescentes ont été relâchées mardi matin après plus de deux semaines de calvaire. Il s’agit de la sœur et des nièces d’Helen Rumbali, institutrice du village de Lopele, dans le sud de l’île, torturée et décapitée le 4 avril par un groupe d’habitants.

Suite à la décapitation d’Helen Rumbali et à la séquestration de 3 autres femmes de sa famille, Amnesty International a lancé une campagne contre les crimes perpétrés au nom de la lutte contre la sorcellerie.

Elle était soupçonnée d’avoir tué un collègue instituteur en usant de magie noire. Sa sœur, Nikono, a aussi été torturée. On n’a pas d’information sur ce qui est arrivé aux nièces d’Helen Rumbali, les deux filles adolescentes de Nikono, on sait juste qu’elles sont vivantes.

Les deux policiers locaux n’ont pas réussi à empêcher les villageois de massacrer Helen Rumbali, car la foule était armée de machettes, pas plus qu’ils n’ont pu empêcher les tortionnaires de prendre en otage les trois autres femmes. Paul Kamuai, le directeur de la police de Bougainville, au micro de Pius Bonjui:

«Les policiers sont toujours sur zone, nous avons envoyé une équipe de Buin. C’est cette équipe qui a négocié longuement avec les ravisseurs, et ils ont expliqué qu’ils avaient besoin que la paix revienne pour que tout le monde coopère à l’enquête sur ces accusations de sorcellerie et sur l’assassinat de l’institutrice. Hier matin à 10h45 précises, les policiers ont pu enfin récupérer les victimes au centre de santé rurale de Singodo, où elles étaient séquestrées. Ils les ont transférées au centre de santé rurale de Sovole, à 13km de là, où elles ont enfin pu être soignées. C’est un dénouement positif, nous avons abouti grâce à la coopération entre la police, les anciens combattants et les chefs des villages alentour. La victime la plus âgée est sérieusement blessée, mais elle a pu marcher, et elle a même assez de forces pour s’alimenter. Son état de santé s’améliore.»

Suite à la décapitation d’Helen Rumbali par certains villageois de Lepolo, des centaines d’habitants de Bougainville sont descendus dans les rues pour manifester leur dégoût et leur colère. Mais aucun suspect n’a été arrêté pour l’instant, bien qu’ils aient été identifiés par la police.

Ce sont généralement les femmes qui sont victimes de procès en sorcellerie expéditifs, suivis de la torture et de la mise à mort. Mais les hommes n’y échappent pas. Il y a trois jours, un homme a été lui aussi décapité, pas à Bougainville, mais dans la province de Simbu, en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Comme Helen Rumbali, il était instituteur, et comme elle, il était accusé d’avoir usé de magie noire pour tuer un homme.

15) Fidji: les jeunes, vent de bout contre la Constitution

Posté à 25 April 2013, 13:21 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le groupe de la Jeunesse pour la Démocratie lance une pétition contre le projet de Constitution rédigé par le régime.

Il demande le rétablissement du précédent projet de Constitution, mis au point, lui, par la Commission constitutionnelle dirigée par Yash Ghai, et qui a remis sa copie à la mi-décembre. Laquelle a bien vite atterri dans un des tiroirs du bureau de Franck Bainimarama.

À Fidji, les jeunes représenteront 47% des votants en septembre 2014 si le Contre-Amiral les maintient à cette date-là.

Le groupe de la Jeunesse pour la Démocratie a rappelé dans un communiqué qu’il a beaucoup contribué au premier projet de Constitution de Yash Ghai – qui s’est basé entre autres sur les propositions envoyées par les citoyens fidjiens. Alors pour le groupe de la Jeunesse pour la Démocratie, en retoquant le projet de Yash Ghai, Franck Bainimarama a prouvé qu’il ne respectait pas la voix des jeunes.


16) Ramu LO’s will not renew 50-year lease


RAMU Sugar landowners have given notice to the National Government that they will not renew the 50-year lease with Ramu Agri Industries Limited (RAIL) when it expires at the end of the year.
Kaigulan Peoples Resource Association (KPRA) executive Constable Sonia, Saki Oburo and John Nakao said in a joint statement on Monday they will not renew the lease agreements between the government and RAIL.
They said they had initially demanded K1 billion for compensation and royalty payments but later agreed to a negotiated price of K650 million.
They said they are not happy that the government, including the office and department of the Prime Minister and the NEC has not responded to their demands.
They said they want to reclaim their land, just like that of OK Tedi mine land where the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has rejected the extension of the life of the mine.
“When the lease expires this year, the customary landowners want their land back. We do not want any extension of the lease agreement,” the landowner executives said this week.
National Lands Titles Commissioner Luke Isaac Monko, in a letter dated December 18, 2012, to the Acting Secretary for Lands and Physical Planning, Romily Kila Pat, said he had received the landowners’ letter dated December 10, 2012, demanding compensation and other payments.
He said the matter was dealt with by the commission in 1990, during which a number of claims were dismissed, while a number of the claims were admitted and the landowners were awarded K85 000.
Mr Monko said the commission will not reopen the case as it was already dealt with.
He said this is a matter for the National Executive Council to decide what is a just and fair compensation for that vast area of land which has been taken away from the customary landowners during the colonial era.
On March 28 this year, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources and Tewae-Siassi MP, Mao Zeming, who cited the correspondence, wrote in support of the landowners requesting through Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc to assist the landowners where possible.
Mr Manasupe responded saying the matter was now before the NEC for deliberation.
RAIL management said in a statement yesterday that some of the land they are now using is State Lease land which was acquired by the government in the 1950s in accordance with alienated land legislation.
That land is now occupied and farmed by Ramu Agri under State lease titles.
It further stated that the land is not leased from the traditional landowners as the land has been alienated to the State and the original landowners have no control over the land.

17) Planned coal-fired power plant worries New Caledonia leader

Posted at 03:16 on 25 April, 2013 UTC

A senior New Caledonian politician has called on France not to grant any tax exemption for a coal-fired power plant to be built for the nickel smelter in Noumea.

Sonia Lagarde, who has a seat in the French National Assembly and is a possible candidate for the Noumea mayoralty, says such a project would have a huge environmental impact because of a massive increase in CO2 emissions.

Studies have shown that such a power station at the SLN smelter would increase emissions to make New Caledonia the world’s top polluter per capita.

The French ecology and energy minister, Delphine Batho, says the government has been trying to persuade SLN’s parent company, Eramet, to use gas instead of coal despite its higher costs.

Radio New Zealand International

18) Apple lessons – meet the market’s standards
By Online Editor
6:27 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2013, Tonga

Tongan Parliamentarians watched and listened attentively during a visit to an apple business in New Zealand’s Wairarapa.

Speaker Fakafanua was right up front as the Dutch Kiwi owner John van Vliet showed the quality control sorter – good apples floated to the top and bad apples sunk to the bottom in a water sorter.

Dr Sitiveni Halapua said the lesson for Tonga was to provide the right management and organisation to develop fresh produce businesses based on Tonga’s tropical and temperate produce.

Tongan MP ‘Aisake Eke said Tonga could start small and build agricultural businesses that did some of the things the apple business put on display for the participants in the inaugural Pacific Parliamentarians and Political Leaders Forum.

Viliami Latu, Tonga’s Commerce, Labour and Tourism Minister was also on the apple tour during which Solomon Islands seasonal workers showed what they did and learnt as they participated in grading and packing the apples they had earlier picked. Viliami Latu said his portfolio did not not handle Tonga’s Regional Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme, the Minister of Internal Affairs Vaea was now the responsible minister.

Agriculture minister Sangster Saulala was also at the apple orchard, clearly thinking about the lessons to be learnt by Tonga from the apple business put on display by the NZ Parliamentarian who had pulled together the potential Pacific Parliament, John Hayes.

The Tongan agriculture minister has started to change the organisation of the sector, and now is working with the Tongan Public Service Commission to appoint a new CEO of the ministry.

The sight these visiting Tongan MPs saw during their Sunday visit to the Kiwi apple farm was of a market oriented fresh fruit packager, using Pacific workers, technology, capital and management to meet English and German market standards.

The water based grader the Speaker saw was only part of the system the Kiwi husband and wife owner operator used – they had conveyor belts, automated cameras and computers to support the workers on the grading project.

The grading staff and equipment fed the red coloured and green coloured apples into plastic bags and cardboard boxes ready for market.

John Hayes, chair of the New Zealand Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, presented his rural and small town electorate of Wairarapa in a way that the 70 visiting Parliamentarians might see parallels for use in their own countries.

J R Orchard Ltd’s co-owner John van Vliet and his co-owner Jamie Burns told how they built up their apple business over the decade.

John van Vliet warned the Parliamentarians to keep debt ratios at the right level in operating a produce business. He said specialized rural banking services can usefully complement trading banks.

He and his workers worked normal six day weeks – fuller when care of the fruit demanded. They also worked 7.45 am to 4.45 pm, all weathers – including in the cold and the rain. The orchardist provides cabin accommodation for their seasonal workers.

One Solomon Island woman worked did three seasons at the Greytown orchard – and made it possible for her family to build, line and furnish a new house. The orchardist said the RSE scheme was a win win arrangement.

It’s a hard life to get ahead, he said. We have many sleepless nights.

Jamie Burns specialized in maintaining direct communication with their supermarket markets of Europe – such as Tescos and Sainsbury in England. JR Orchard was concentrating on Fuji apples – with green skins. Their supermarket clients said consumers wanted full red apples, so the orchard cut out its Fuji and replanted with Red Delicious.

“We are all driven by what the market wants” the owners said. We have to abide by the increasing regulations required in the produce trade.


19) Beef exports value exceeds copra

Posted on April 24, 2013 – 9:32am |

Jonas Cullwick

Beef exports brought more money into the country than copra during the last three months of 2012.

This is according to figures published by the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO) in its Quarterly Statistical Indicator for the December Quarter of 2012. The report contains a wide range of statistics collected and processed by the VNSO from a variety of sources.
One section of the report covering copra, cocoa and beef production showed that copra export receipts constituted 9% of the total domestic export value while beef exports value constituted 12% of the total domestic exports receipts in the December quarter of 2012.

The report showed that copra production provisional figures for the December Quarter 2012 decreased in volume by 50% from 11,291 to 5,666 tonnes over the December Quarter of 2011. Similarly, the copra producer’s price recorded a decrease of 36% from Vt46,000 to Vt29,000 in the December quarter 2012 over the corresponding period in 2011 and 19% over the previous quarter.

Cocoa production dropped by 65% in quantity from 445 tonnes in the December quarter of 2011 to 156 tonnes in the December quarter of 2012 and by 47% compared to the previous quarter.

Cocoa producers’ price decreased by 14% in the December quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011 from Vt188,000 to Vt162,000. It recorded a slight decrease over the September quarter of 2012.

The total number of cattle slaughtered by the abattoirs in the December quarter of 2012 revealed a slight increase of 2% from 4,259 to 4,366 heads over the December quarter 2011.

In the December quarter of 2012, copra exports declined by 22% or 500 tonnes in quantity from 2,269 to 1,769 tonnes over the December quarter of 2011, and copra exports in value declined dramatically by 39% over the same period in 2011 from Vt169-million to Vt102-million in the December quarter of 2012. The decline corresponds with the fall in copra average price at 22% from Vt74,000 to Vt58,000 over December 2011, and this is supported by the world market decreases.

Copra export receipts constituted 9% of the total domestic exports value in the December quarter of 2012.

In quantity, however, cocoa exports rose significantly from 217 tonnes in December quarter 2011 to 454 tonnes in the December quarter of 2012.
In value terms, the cocoa exports rose significantly to 67% from Vt48 million in the December quarter of 2011 to Vt81-million in the December quarter of 2012. Despite the increase, coca average export price recorded a drop of 20% over the December quarter of 2011 from Vt222,000 to Vt177,000.
Cocoa exports share of the total domestic exports value constituted 7% in the December quarter of 2012.

Beef exports meanwhile, recorded increases in quantity by 11% and 13% over the December quarter of 2011 and the September quarter of 2012 respectively to 271-tonnes in the December quarter of 2012. In vatu terms, beef exports recorded increases of 16% and 17% over the December quarter of 2011 and the September quarter of 2012 respectively to Vt140-million in the December quarter of 2012.
Beef exports value constituted 12% of the total domestic exports receipts in the December quarter of 2012.

20) Vanuatu PM promises ten percent of national budget anually to churches

Posted at 08:45 on 24 April, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Moana Carcasses, has promised the Vanuatu Christian Council that his Government is going to start paying an annual ten percent tithe from the national budget.

Based on the present budget, ten percent would amount to 21 million US dollars.

The Prime Minister made the announcement during a dedication for his government by the Vanuatu Christian Council.

The Council’s chairman, Bishop James Ligo, who was not at the dedication, says he is unaware of the government’s promise.

He says the amount of money is astronomical and he hopes it will not be used to stop the churches from speaking out on issues.

Radio New Zealand International

21) Fiji PM attacks political parties on talkback radio

Updated 24 April 2013, 18:35 AEST
Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney

Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been scathingly critical of the country’s former political parties during an appearance on talkback radio.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has attacked the former political parties during live media appearances promoting his new draft constitution. (Credit: ABC)

Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been scathingly critical of the country’s former political parties during an appearance on talkback radio.

Three political parties have applied for registration under the Fiji regime’s Political Parties Decree, and are expected to learn their fate next week

Commodore Bainimarama has been appearing on both television and radio on the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation’s Speak Your Mind talkback shows to promote his new draft constitution.

During one appearance he alleged the parties were not being honest about how they signed up the required 5,000 members.

“[The Political Parties Registrar] is looking at the registering of parties,” he said.

“As we all understand there’s been a bit of fraud and when that is settled we will know the outcome.”

Commodore Bainimarama claims the people don’t trust political parties.

“That is why a lot of people in those remote and rural areas do not want elections,” he said.

“They don’t want the dirty part of politics – and that’s what they tell me.

“We don’t want elections, we want you to continue.”

Pressed by one caller, Commodore Bainimarama refused to be drawn on the subject of media freedom.

“He’s not referring to the constitution,” he said.

“He’s referring to the way things have happened in the past so, really, really, I don’t want to discuss anything of it.

Another caller who wanted to talk about why Fiji no longer had an open budget process was cut off before he could finish.

A video of Commodore Bainimarama apparently gesturing to end that call has become political fodder for anti-regime activists.

In a later appearance Commodore Bainimarama attacked those critics.

“That’s the problem with reading the anti-government blog sites,” he said.

“You read nothing but rubbish.”

22) Mine creates 650 new jobs

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

THE country’s first black sand miners, Amex Resources Limited, has spent more than $20million so far on studies and infrastructure development at the Ba River delta and the Lautoka port facility.

And company consultant Ian Cowden said a further $120million would be spent over the next year on the construction of specialised barges, dredges and the marine berth and a holding facility at the Queens Wharf.

As a result, by September 2014, a total of 650 people will be directly employed by the company in the construction and operational phases. Mr Cowden said the Western Division economy and the economy of the country stood to benefit from the development.

“As much as possible, we have used local companies and contractors and even employed villagers at the Ba River delta during the pilot project phase of our operations. We are not looking at ourselves as an Australian company that is establishing itself in Fiji, instead, we view our business as a totally Fijian operation,” he said.

Amex Resources was granted a licence to mine 132 square kilometres at the mouth of the Ba River in 2012.

The company intends to mine 220 million tonnes of magnetite from the area over the next two decades.

Mr Cowden says once production begins in September 2014, 55,000 tonnes of magnetite will be shipped from the Queens Wharf at Lautoka to China every three weeks.


23) PNG university unrest over lack of funding

Posted at 07:21 on 25 April, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s Office for Higher Education says there will be continuing unrest in the country’s universities unless the government increases funding in real terms.

The Office’s director general, Professor David Kavanamur, says a lack of money is behind this week’s protest by students at the University of Goroka.

Students had threatened a mass withdrawal of classes but have since presented a 51-point petition, which includes demands for the vice chancellor to resign, for anti-corruption officials to assess the institution, improved student representation and cuts to fees.

Professor Kavanavamur says his office will press the government to improve funding otherwise the problems will get worse.

“The Office of Higher Education is actually anticipating that. Mainly because there has been a decline in the real value of government expenditure on university education in Papua New Guinea and we have six universities here and that is a challenge for us to manage.”

Radio New Zealand International


24) Solomon Islands Youth Unhappy With Bus System
Mobs reportedly taking over bus stops, damaging signs

By Ben Rakai

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 24, 2013) – The slowness to address a core issue affecting the Solomon Islands public – a short bus route system – is giving some youths a window for abuse.

Yesterday morning, young mobs at the borderline area ruled the bus stop, intercepting public buses with bus destination signs bearing SDA, Kukum and China Town.

It was the second time such incident occurred at that part of the city; the first was Monday last week at Kobito bus stop.

“Now it’s getting hot” an eyewitness wrote on the popular social media page, Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII).

“This morning (yesterday), the borderline and Kobito bus stops were ruled by thugs destroying bus destination sign boards that have SDA, Kukum and China Town.

The youths said they were fighting for justice.

Some members commenting on the FSII page said “it is time bus owners and responsible authorities see this as a warning of a possible uprising against short bus routes.”

But some members said whilst the youths maybe angry about the short routes, they must understand that there are authorities who can deal with the issues.

“Now let’s keep echoing that the society is fragile-responsible authorities need to wake up,” one member commented.

Other contributors on the Facebook page questioned how long the petition against short bus routes will lay at the Parliament.

“The question is who’s responsible for this…and what is the responsible authority’s intervention… Believe me or not, sooner vehicles will be on fire if nothing is done…God save our youths,” one commentator said.

Others also question police reaction to the two incidents because the borderline bus stop is right in front of a police post.

“Authorities must act responsibly otherwise people will rise up and take the law into their own hands and things will turn out chaotic.”

Police officers at the borderline police post were helpless as they watched the tugs enjoyed their unlawful actions.

A female officer manning the post said they could not do much.

“We can do no more than to watch them terrorize the buses; there were only two of us on duty, indeed we were out numbered. We did call for support from the police patrol unit, they did arrive at the scene but the thugs disappeared into the settlements,” she said.

She said such incident does not only call for the effectiveness of the police but how the public could work with the force by reporting to police those responsible so that lawful actions could be taken.

Unconfirmed reports from the previous burning of bus destination signs at the Kobito area last week stated that some SB$10,000 [US$1,375] was paid to the youths.

The reports said the youths demanded the money from a bus driver and his assistant who worked in a bus owned by a Chinese.

The reports said the bus driver and his assistant swore at the youths who demanded compensation from the bus owner.

Solomon Star


25) NZ military to mark ANZAC Day in Pacific

Posted at 01:53 on 24 April, 2013 UTC

New Zealand military personnel will be involved in several ANZAC Day services around the Pacific tomorrow.

The main commemoration will be the 70th anniversary of New Zealand’s involvement in the Second World War in New Caledonia.

84 veterans of the conflict are attending the service in Noumea and a subsequent visit to the Bourail Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.

Services in Tonga and Solomon Islands will also be attended by senior New Zealand Defence Force officers.

Radio New Zealand International


26) Coastline in danger
By Online Editor
6:19 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s coastline from Vanimo in West Sepik to Lae in Morobe province has been described as vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

This is according to a report from the Australian Government’s International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ICCAI) data.

The data was presented to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill by the Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce yesterday.

The report also states that coastal flooding is a serious problem that regularly affects 6,000 people, causing many people to evacuate their homes and some to lose their lives.

This risk will increase significantly with rising sea levels. Furthermore, the report has clarified that for populated coastal areas of low elevation, especially the coastline from Vanimo to Lae, the chances of tsunami hazards and severe sea swells are very high.

The topographic images captured via airborne surveys between May 5 and July 13 2012 included the four coastal towns of Vanimo, Wewak, Madang and Lae and other connecting coastal areas.

The survey covered 1066 square kilometers of the coastline.

Madang is the lowest lying town with an average height above sea level of 11 meters. Wewak has an average height of 14 meters, Vanimo 22 meters and Lae has an average height of 41 meters above sea level.

The data is a result of a request for support by the PNG Office of Climate Change and Development (OCCD) in 2010 for the Australian government to assist with mapping capability, capacity building and training of relevant officials.

The project will provide hardware, software and training to build capacity within the PNG government to use, manage and store data.

In addition, the data will enable authorities to undertake simple coastal inundation modeling to support assessment of priority coastal areas.

The data captured through this project is a significant asset to PNG which will improve understanding of coastal impacts from climate change and other inundation events.

The coastal modeling and capacity building project will be implemented under the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning program and will build on the images captured through light detection and ranging.

This program is aimed at strengthening capacity to assess vulnerability to climate change and develop adaptation strategies.

Prime Minister O’Neill thanked the Australian government for the data, adding that it will help PNG to address the growing threat of climate change.



27) Pacific Games Games in 2015 on track
By Online Editor
6:40 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Pacific Games Council is confident Port Moresby will be able to host the event in 2015.

Games executive director Andrew Minogue, who accompanied council president Vidhya Lakhan to the country in February to witness the start of preparations, said the council was optimistic despite the tight schedule – 27 months – in which venues and facilities needed to be prepared.

Speaking on behalf Lakhan, Minogue admitted time was against the organisers but insisted the Pacific Games Authority and Venues, Infrastructure and Equipment Committee were working closely with government departments to ensure preparatory work was completed on time.

“All major Games host cities face challenges with the large number of infrastructure projects that are required to be delivered,” he said.

“However the legacy that these projects leave to the community of the host nation is one of the significant benefits of hosting major multi-sport Games.”

Papua New Guinea won the right to host the 2015 Games in 2009 but physical work only started this month, with the demolition of the Taurama Leisure Centre (Sir Donald Cleland Swimming Pool) for the K190-million Taurama Aquatic Centre and Indoor Complex.

The schedule for the major projects released by the Games Authority last year had the aquatic centre work set for next month, while work was supposed to start on the biggest project, the Pacific Games Village, last month.

Work on the Games Village will be launched today by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at the University of Papua New Guinea campus in Waigani.

Minogue said progress was being closely followed by the Games council from its Fiji base and they would be briefed by the PNG Pacific Games Association and the organising committee in Nadi this month.

“Throughout the planning and preparation stages of the Games a huge number of milestones and key performance indicators are monitored,”he said.

“You will be aware that several corporate partners have already taken the opportunity to support the Games and we expect these will be followed by many others.”
Minogue said planning in the areas of security, transport, sports delivery and community engagement were well progressed according to PGC assessments.

“The Pacific Games Council is in regular contact with the Port Moresby 2015 organising committee and we are confident that the combination of resources required to successfully deliver the Games is on track.”

He said in comparison, Port Moresby was not in a unique situation in terms of its rate of progress or in any real danger of defaulting on the games.

“It is an interesting point of history that in the lead-up to almost all major Games, be they Olympics, Commonwealth Games or Pacific Games, at some stage the suggestion is made that the previous host city may need to be used again.

“It has never happened in the past and it will not be required for 2015.

“We will be receiving a further update from the PNG Pacific Games Association and the Port Moresby 2015 Games organising committee in Nadi during the Oceania National Olympic Committee meetings.


28) Olympic medal potential for Pacific Islands
By Online Editor
5:56 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2013, Fiji

Fiji and Samoa have a great opportunity to win a medal for the first time in their nations’ histories when Rugby returns to the Olympic Games programme in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, according to IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper.

Present at the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) AGM in Suva, Fiji, on Saturday where 16 Oceania Unions gathered for a programme of strategic workshops and meetings, Gosper has been quick to highlight the benefits to all IRB Member Unions on the inclusion of Rugby Sevens at Rio 2016.

“If you look at the top Sevens sides in the world, you have some countries there that don’t win many medals at the Olympic Games. Rugby will be a great opportunity for them. Take Fiji, for example. They have never won a medal but Rio could change all that,” said Gosper.

“The same can be said for Samoa, who will be another of the favourites to win a medal in 2016. The other big Pacific Island team, Tonga, has won just one medal previously – in boxing – so they will have the chance to add to that tally.”

“That is the beauty of Olympic inclusion as far as Rugby is concerned. There is the enormous incentive of having medals on offer. It is already helping us to grow the global Game.”

Gosper also praised FORU for the progress it has made under its new strategic plan.

“The strategic partnership with the Oceania National Olympic Committees is a model for other regions in terms of Olympic engagement. Development programmes of our Member Unions are being restructured to ensure Rugby continues to grow in that region for both boys and girls.”

“Currently, there is an AUS$2.5million partnership between the IRB, Australian Rugby Union and the Australian Government to foster community development through Rugby. This is hugely positive for our great sport. We have already seen initiatives like this bearing fruit as the performances of Pacific Island teams during Rugby World Cup 2011 and during the November international window in 2012 have shown.”

Gosper also highlighted the achievement of the Tonga men’s team as they kept alive their hopes of core team status on next season’s HSBC Sevens World Series by booking their place in the qualifying competition at the final round of this year’s Series in London, and the rise of women’s Rugby Sevens in Papua New Guinea.

“A focus area for the IRB in the coming years will be a renewed emphasis on administrative and governance structures that underpin those performance outcomes. The IRB and Member Unions will be addressing ongoing administration and governance challenges currently being faced,” said Gosper.



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