Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 847


1a) PNG, Fiji military cooperation raises concerns

Updated 9 May 2013, 8:45 AEST

A move to bring Fiji and PNG’s military operations closer together has raised concerns among former defence leaders.

Fijian peacekeepers have served on international missions since the 1990s in regions including Lebanon, Kosovo, Sinai and Iraq. (Credit: ABC licensed)

A move to bring Fiji and PNG’s military operations closer together has raised concerns among former defence leaders.

Fiji has approved a defence cooperation agreement between the Fiji military and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

The agreement could see PNG military personnel joining Fiji soldiers in overseas peacekeeping missions.

Former commander of the PNGDF Major General Jerry Singirok has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat he opposes the idea of PNG personnel reporting to Fijian commanders.

“Papua New Guinea is a sovereign country, and should represent itself on peacekeeping operations,” he said.

“It’s a step in the right direction for Papua New Guinea to pick up its own experience, based on its own lessons.

“We don’t deny that Fiji has peacekeeping experience, but they started like us – they started with no experience.”

Former Fiji coup leader Major general Sitiveni Rabuka agrees in principle with the defence agreement.

But he says the militaries should focus on training together, rather than joint operations, which could lead to confusion.

“The practical aspect of the command of those soldiers will be an issue – who are they under command of?” he said.

“Even those who are under the force commander of the United Nations…are still under national control.

“They are answerable to their national command, and although the force commander can repatriate troops or individuals, their discipline is still a matter for the national government.”

Fijian peacekeepers have served on international missions since the 1990s in Lebanon, Kosovo, Sinai and Iraq.

The UN has been under pressure to reduce its reliance on Fijian peacekeepers in the wake of the 2006 military-led coup in Fiji.

1b)Founding father of MSG confident West Papua will be admitted to group

Posted at 22:27 on 08 May, 2013 UTC

A founding father of the Melanesian Spearhead Group says he is confident West Papua will be admitted to the regional grouping next month.

Former Solomon Islands prime minister, Ezekiel Alebua, speaking during 25th anniversary celebrations for the MSG in Port Vila, says the body was set up to ensure equal treatment for all the indigenous people of Melanesia.

He says the MSG believed that each of the Melanesian nations should be able to make their own political decisions and that still holds.

West Papuans have been pushing for membership of the group and Mr Alebua says that should happen in New Caledonia in June.

“Having concern for each nation and West Papua is not only a neighbour but a brother to Papua New Guinea, I have full confidence that West Papua will be admitted into MSG in June.”

Former Solomon Islands prime minister, Ezekiel Alebua.

Radio New Zealand International

2)Growth in trade for MSG
By Online Editor
5:02 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Fiji

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) projects significant growth in intra-MSG trade for 2013 and 2014 based on statistics and positive developments.

Fiji’s Permanent secretary for Industry & Trade and MSG Trade and Economic Officials meeting chairman, Shaheen Ali said the period 2005 to 2009 saw a substantial increase of intra-MSG trade exports rise by more than 300 per cent.

Ali added that Fiji’s total trade with the Pacific Island countries has increased from less than 1 per cent in 2000 to 4.5 per cent in 2010.

Ali, while opening the three-day MSG Trade and Economic Officials meeting today, said that approximately 45 per cent of this trade was now with MSG countries.

“It’s not these numbers alone that are important, it is what they represent,” Ali said.

“The steady growth in trade is a result of our leaders’ bold vision of a truly integrated Pacific, beginning with a truly integrated MSG.”

To this end, Ali pointed out that MSG trade and economic officials needed to work towards a “common economic union”, which is tailor-made to take into account the MSG unique characteristics.

“This will entail a creation of a “common market”, with the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital,” Ali said.

The MSG Trade and Economic Officials meeting chair also added that trade and economic cooperation in Fiji formed the foundation for prosperity and growth in the region.

“Fiji has just returned from a hugely successful Trade and Investment Mission to Papua New Guinea that I have no doubt will lead to many new opportunities for both nations,” PS Ali said.

“In turn the momentum achieved from this mission, we hope, will lead to further integration between all countries of the MSG.”

Highlighting the success in trade for MSG countries, PS Ali stated countries were already on the right path with the implementation of the MSG Trade Agreement, MSG MOU on Skills Movement Scheme and Prime Minister Bainimarama’s announcement of the removal of pre-entry visa requirements for Fijians visiting PNG amongst other things


3) Human rights group says freedom of religion eroding in Papua

Posted at 16:40 on 08 May, 2013 UTC

A human rights representative in the Indonesian province of Papua says freedom of religion is under threat.

The Secretary of the Jayapura branch of Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights Paul Mambrasar says many workers are resentful of conditions that favour Islamic believers.

A recent Fairfax report alleged children in Papua were removed and taken to Islamic ’re-education’ centres in Jakarta.

A US religious freedom report released last week says there were 264 cases of attacks against religious minorities in Indonesia last year and extremist groups operate with impunity.

Mr Mambrasar says Papuans are very tolerant and the rise in the number of mosques in the region shows a growing dominance of Islam.

“We could see that there is an Islamisation process, and the facts that mosques were being built everywhere we might see that there is a some serious effort to dominate, I think.”

Mr Mambrasar says freedom of expression and the breakdown of the rule of law are other major issues in Papua.

Radio New Zealand International

4) Fears more protesters killed in Papua rally
By Online Editor
10:11 am GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Indonesia

A U.S-based activist group says it believes six protesters were killed by security forces in the Indonesian province of Papua about a week ago.

Several protests were held on May 1 to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations handover of the region to Indonesia.

The West Papuan Advocacy Team says some protesters were attacked by Densus 88, a special counter-terrorism unit of the Indonesian police.

Spokesman Edmund McWilliams has told Radio Australia he has received credible information about multiple deaths.

“There was an attack by the security forces apparently including Densus 88 against peaceful demonstrators,” he said.

“And in a number of places this took place, and apparently there was widespread attacks on these peaceful dissenters.”

The claims have not been independently verified. Radio Australia has contacted police in Papua, but they were unavailable for comment.

Indonesian police have reportedly defended the fatal shooting of two activists in Papua, saying police acted in self-defence when the protesters attacked them with sharp weapons.


5a) KNPB wants officials to be responsible over killing and arrests of Papuans

Posted at 22:27 on 08 May, 2013 UTC

The National Committee for West Papua, or KNPB, has called for authorities to be responsible over the killing and arrests of Papuans at demonstrations marking the anniversary of the region’s annexation by Indonesia.

Human rights groups say the death toll from the May 1st rallies around Papua and West Papua provinces could be as high as ten, including three deaths in Sorong.

A counter-terrorism unit of the Indonesian police, Densus 88, is being linked to some of the killings.

Earlier, security forces had mounted a campaign to prevent West Papuans in some urban areas from attending the rallies in pre-dawn raids on student dormitories.

The KNPB, which has been targetted by security forces as a leading network in the West Papuan pro-independence movement, says the Governor, Commander and Chief of Police is responsible for the killing.

The KNPB chairman Victor Yeimo has questioned why raising the Papuan Morning Star Flag is banned while the equivalent is allowed in Aceh.

The KNPB says a demonstration to the Papuan People’s Assembly is to take place next Monday.

Radio New Zealand International

5b)Australia, PNG look for modern relationship

Updated 9 May 2013, 10:44 AEST

PNG correspondent Liam Fox

Julia Gillard says she wants to modernise Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea during a visit to Port Moresby.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she wants to modernise Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea during a visit to Port Moresby.

Ms Gillard will arrive in Port Moresby on Thursday afternoon, on her first visit to PNG as prime minister.


She says she will discuss the economy and aid and development issues, as well as ways to make it easier to travel between the two nations.

“The people-to-people links the education links between our two countries, and the arrangements we make for visitors to move as unimpeded as possible between our two nations,” she said.

“You’ve still got to have visas and the like, but the way that you can deal with those visas, and how they can be given to people makes a difference to how easy travel is.”

For many years the bilateral relationship has focused largely on Australia’s aid program, which this year is worth nearly half-a-billion dollars, but both governments want to recast the relationship to reflect growing economic links.

Jenny Hayward-Jones from the Lowy Institute for International Policy says that’s important.

“Papua New Guinea is one of Australia’s top 20 trading partners – Australian investment in Papua New Guinea is greater than Australian investment in China,” she said.

“We haven’t seen a prime ministerial visit since Kevin Rudd, when he visited early in 2008.

“So it’s massively important for the relationship to demonstrate that Australia is still keen to improve its relationship with Papua New Guinea and to set the relationship on a new footing.”

A visit by Australia’s first female prime minister to a country where women are largely treated as second-class citizens is also being seen as a powerful symbol.

Delilah Gore, one of the three women in PNG’s 111-seat Parliament, is travelling from her electorate in Oro Province to be in Port Moresby for Julia Gillard’s visit.

“I met several women at the hospital and told them I’m rushing to Port Moresby because I’m meeting with the Prime Minister,” she said.

To have an Australian woman prime minister, it’s really boosting us. In the future we want one Papua New Guinea woman to be a prime minister also.

Delilah Gore, PNG MP


“And they were all so excited and they said pass our regards to the Prime Minister for Australia, tell her we’ve been following her.”

Ms Gore says Ms Gillard is an inspiration to Papua New Guinean women.

“To have an Australian woman Prime Minister, it’s really boosting us,” she said.

“In the future we want one Papua New Guinea woman to be a prime minister also.”

6) Former Bougainville MP Tulo dies
By Online Editor
5:07 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

The people of Bougainville are mourning the death of one of their former political leaders who passed away early this week.

The late Sam Tulo passed away on Monday morning at his Luli village in the Lemanmanu area of Haku constituency in Buka.

He has been battling with diabetes for a couple of years before succumbing to the illness early on Monday.
The late leader was a former two-term national MP who represented the people of North Bougainville from 1982-1992.

During his term in Parliament, he was appointed as the Minister for Education.

Before his election as the North Bougainville MP, the late Tulo worked as a community school teacher, making his way up to becoming a school inspector.

He also served as the Bougainville Administrator during the restoration period from 1991 to about 1994.

During his term as the administrator, he played a pivotal role in the process that led to the return of peace and normalcy in Buka and other parts of Bougainville.

Tulo also served as the chairman of the PNG Cocoa Board. He was also appointed chairman of the Bougainville Restoration and Development Authority (BRADA) before resigning to contest the Haku constituency seat in the first Bougainville House of Representatives election in 2005.


7) Fiji Road Resealing Process To Begin In Suva
Authority addressing ‘large backlog’ over next few months

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 7, 2013) – The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has commenced resealing roads in the country and the process has started off from Suva.

Resealing is done to waterproof the existing sealed roads by adding another layer of bitumen and stone reducing the amount of water that gets into a road extends the life of the road for between 5-12 years depending on the traffic volumes and type of reseal applied.

FRA chief executive Neil Cook said many of thee roads will have some repair works done on the worst sections prior to resealing and the finished reseal is likely to be rougher than a brand new road but will last a lot longer than if no work is done at all.

He said the sealing of streets is like painting a house thus protecting and extending the life of the road, while making it safe to use.

“FRA is addressing the large backlog of resealing that is required on Fiji’s sealed roads and has an ambitious target of delivering over 100 kilometers of resealing each year. This means that over the next few months travelers will frequently come upon worksites with a lot of activity,” he said.

“We are asking the travelling public to take care when driving through a reseal site as loose sealing chip will be present for a few days after it has been applied which can be slippery when driving too fast, and can cause broken windscreens when vehicles don’t abide by the speed restrictions that the contractors put in place during the reseal operation.”

He also urges all drivers to abide by the instructions given at the worksites, as driving through bitumen spray or driving on uncovered bitumen can cause irreparable damage to vehicles.

“Road marking will also not be present for a few days after resealing so drivers should take care especially when driving at night,” he said.


8) Fiji G77 Meeting

a) Fiji G77 Meeting Participants Discuss Key Issues On Day 1
Social, economic and climate change topics presented

By Samisoni Pareti

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 7, 2013) – The first day of talks at the Group of 77 meeting in western Fiji has focused on the economy, climate change and women and children.

Chaired by Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the G77 is the United Nation’s biggest voting bloc, consisting of 132 developing countries, including China.

The summit opened on Tuesday at a resort in Natadola, with several leaders from the participating nations delivering opening addresses.

The President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, and Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil have spoken about the need for greater cooperation on climate change.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, from the United Nations Population Fund, has emphasized the need for a people-centered economic model, where women and children take centre stage.

Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, has called for more investment in skilled training.

She says this is vital as South-South trade currently makes up one-third of the world’s trade.

Recommendations from the two-day talks will be presented to the G77 Foreign Ministers Meeting in New York in September.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji’s Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) spokesman, Dr. Tupeni Baba, says it is unfortunate that the meeting is being chair by “a military ruler” instead of an elected leader, referring to Bainimarama. Baba is planning to send a protest to the UN Secretary General.]

Radio Australia:

b) Solomon Islands commends Fiji’s chairmanship of G77
By Online Editor
10:19 am GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s chairmanship of the largest voting bloc within the United Nations, the G77, was commended today by the Solomon Islands.

Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Gordon Darcy Lilo addressed the G77 High-Level Panel meeting Tuesday and expressed his thanks for Fiji’s role.

“It’s an honor to be here and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Fiji for assuming the responsibility as Chair of the G77”, Prime Minister Lilo said.

Prime Minister Lilo highlighted that Fiji’s chairmanship demonstrates the commitment of the Fijian government to bringing Pacific Island Developing States closer together. At the same time, he paid tribute to officials working to advance the affairs of PSIDS on the global stage.

Prime Minister Lilo said that the G77 meeting Natadola must use the opportunity to make South South cooperation more viable.

“We must have equality”, he said. “We need this to be a basic principle of South South cooperation”.

The Solomon Islands is participating with other PSIDS at the G77 meet in Natadola.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the SODELPA party says it is unfortunate that Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, is leading the world’s largest association of developing countries.

Fiji is currently hosting a two day meeting of United Nations G77 + China, a group which aims to promote economic co-operation among developing countries.

But Dr Tupeni Baba says it’s unfortunate that the organisation is being chaired by a non-elected President.

He says it should be chaired by an elected Prime Minister and not a military ruler.

Dr Baba says he will be sending his protest to the UN Secretary-General.

“Next time we should not allow any leader of the G77 to be a non-elected leader who contravenes the rights and freedoms that is endorsed by the UN.” Dr Baba told Radio New Zealand International.


c) PNG Finance Minister urges G77s to unite

By Online Editor
1:47 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Fiji

Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Finance James Marape Tuesday urged members of the G77 and China to work together to achieve their development goals.

Minister Marape was addressing the G77 High-Level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South Meeting in Natadola, Fiji. The G77 and China is made up of 132 UN Member States.

Marape was deputising for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who attended the opening ceremony in the morning but had to leave to prepare for the visit to PNG by Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia.

The theme of the meeting was, “The Future Landscape of South-South Cooperation.”

South-South refers to developing countries in the G77 and China that share similar development aspirations.

Minister Marape congratulated Fiji in assuming the role of chair of the G77 and China, describing it as a significant milestone for the Pacific region.

He said many of the development challenges of member countries were similar, and PNG was committed to working with all to achieving the ultimate goal, which was ensuring better livelihood of our peoples. The Minister strongly urged the group to “harness this muscle power” to facilitate change in the current paradigm.

He urged action as a way to create much needed momentum in the areas of energy and food security, along with the important issue of great concern for small Pacific island states – adverse impacts of climate change.

During his speech,Marape specifically referred to Cuba as an example of how under difficult circumstances internationally agreed development goals could be achieved, particularly referring to MDG 2, which talks about access to free primary education. He said if Cuba could do it under difficult circumstances, there was no reason why PNG and other G77 countries could not do the same.

In this regard, he said the free education policy of the O’Neill-Dion Government, through which about K700 million was provided annually to support free education to grade 12 and subsidised tertiary education, was addressing the MDG2.

The Minister also said PNG was blessed with a lot of natural resources, and the Government was now sharing some of the proceeds of this wealth with our Pacific neighbours by providing direct financial support for some of their development programs.

This financial support coupled with PNG’s increased investment and trade with neighbours such as Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, addressed some of the major development goals of our south-south cooperation.


d) Kiribati President express interest in joining G77

By Online Editor
10:30 am GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Fiji

Kiribati has expressed its desire to take up membership of the G77 to strengthen its position on the global stage.

This was raised by the leader of the Pacific Island nation, President Anote Tong, when he addressed the G77 High-Level Panel meeting at Natadola Tuesday.

“Thank you Mr Chairman for inviting me because as you know, Kiribati is not a member of the G77. However I have spoken to the G77 Executive Secretariat and before we leave this meeting you will receive our letter requesting membership of the G77″, President Tong told Fijian Prime Minister and Chair of the G77, Voreqe Bainimarama.

Highlighting the need for Pacific Island nations to play their full part in international issues, including those relating to sustainable development, President Tong said we must bring balance when addressing development.

“We hope we can thereby have the opportunity to give wider voice to our needs and concerns, particularly in terms of South-South cooperation”, President Tong said.

“We believe that it’s important when we look at development, we must always try to achieve a sense of balance between economic growth, social developments and the environment, so that no sector of the community is marginalised. We must always take into consideration environment concerns”.

Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, said as a member of the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS), Kiribati would be a most welcome part of the G77 membership.

He said, “The G77 is the most appropriate international grouping for countries such as Fiji, Kiribati and other PSIDS to advance the development of their economic agendas in the global context”.

Meanwhile, strengthening South-South cooperation between members of the G77 and China group was the key focus of discussions by the members of the G77 High-level Panel meet.

Held behind closed doors, Tuesday’s session saw leaders expressing their desire to work together towards pushing the needs and challenges of developing countries.

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales highlighted the need to adopt economic models that put the plight of ordinary citizens at the forefront.

President Morales said that basic services such as water, power, and telecommunication are basic human rights. He said Bolivia wanted to work in solidarity with the South.

His statements were echoed by his Kiribati counterpart, President Anote Tong who also urged for a balance in future developments including environmental concerns.

President Tong also highlighted the need to address over-exploitation of tuna reserves in Pacific waters and solidarity amongst Pacific Islands Small Developing States (PSIDS) to ensure they gain higher economic returns from tuna sales.

Other panel members emphasized the need for a stronger stand on global challenges that affected them directly.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Kalosil spoke on the inequities of climate change. His Solomon Islands counterpart Gordon Darcy Lilo said participants should use the meeting to make the South-South Cooperation a force in the economic development of the South.


e) G77 talks on climate change
By Online Editor
10:21 am GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Fiji

The effects of climate change, poverty, resource depletion and gender equality dominated the first session of talks at the Group of 77 countries High Level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South meeting, held at Natadola Tuesday.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said it was important to note that developing countries’ processes for dealing with poverty could not emulate the processes that developed countries used.

“We in the South (developing countries) have differences with the developed countries in the North,” Morales said.

“And their economic models and systems and programs don’t think about the welfare of the poorest people whereas we in the South, because they’re such a major part of our populations, have to give priority to that.

“We have to make our own processes for dealing with poverty, we can’t follow what developed countries do because the model won’t work for us.”

Kiribati President Anote Tong said climate change remained the greatest challenge for humanity and the Pacific, in particular, in the 21st century.

He added that Pacific Island nations were also receiving the short end of the stick in terms of return from fast depleting tuna stock.

“Pacific Island countries get very little return — only five per cent — of the tuna catch from their own waters,” he said.

“Developing countries must band together to stop the over exploitation of the tuna resource and very low returns being given to Pacific Island Countries from the tuna catch within their waters.”

The head of state from a country under threat from rising sea levels also spoke about the need for balance in development.


f) Solidarity call at G77

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, May 09, 2013

BASIC services must be provided to all people in developing countries and not just to a privileged few.

This was the strong view put forward by Bolivian President Evo Morales at the first day of talks at the Group of 77 plus China Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South meeting in Natadola.

President Morales, the first Bolivian Head of State to visit Fiji, also emphasised the need for G77 plus China to work together to achieve cohesive growth. “We have to work in solidarity in the South, so that it’s not just one country making progress but that we all make progress together,” he said.

“Basic services are a human right. A lot of things people take for granted — water, electricity, education, telecommunication — should be categorised as a human right and not a privilege that only a few get to share.”

President Morales added that commercial and development financial institutions should not overshadow the needs of the people in developing nations.

“Banks cannot decide the destiny of the people. People are above banks.

“As we shape new development agenda for the world, it cannot be about what financial institutions want but what the people need in terms of basic services and human rights.”

The meeting ended yesterday.

g) Fiji plays crucial role at G77

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, May 09, 2013

THE Group of 77 plus China under Fiji chairmanship should see issues facing the Pacific and developing nations being given more priority in the global organisation of the UN.

This was the view of Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

Speaking at a press conference held at the G77 meeting at Natadola yesterday, Mr Kalosil said Fiji PM Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama had all the qualities needed for a strong and decisive leader.

“PM Bainimarama is a strong leader and through his leadership, the Pacific will shine and that’s what we want,” he said.

“Some countries around the Pacific do not agree but I believe that as a group, we should support each other and I am very supportive of Commodore Bainimarama and his style of leadership.”

Mr Kalosil said he had personally commended Commodore Bainimarama on the progress being made towards general elections next year and also said the move towards democracy was welcomed.

“I have commended the PM on the progress at the moment.”

h) Bainimarama calls on UN for progress of south

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, May 09, 2013

PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama described the interactive dialogue achieved during the historic Group of 77 plus China Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South meeting at Natadola as “full and substantive”.

In his closing remarks, Commodore Bainimarama called on the UN to give issues in developing countries more priority.

“There was a high level of agreement that South-South co-operation can produce greater results and that time has come to invest more efforts and resources into this co-operation,” he said.

“In this regard, we call on the UN system and all development partners to make it a priority to promote South-South co-operation in order to secure real progress in countries of the South.”

He added that co-operation between developing nations was a key element in the development agenda of G77 countries and emphasised the need for developed nations to assist them financially and technically.

“We have also emphasised that the obligation of the North to financially and technically support the South remains.

“Thus in the interests of global harmony, equity and development, we must strengthen the development commitments of North-South, South-South and triangular co-operation.

“We have agreed that the current international architecture needs to be restructured in order to respond to the new realities and opportunities for development.

“We have also agreed on the need to reinforce the co-ordination of developing countries in our policy and joint negotiating positions on major issues in the international agenda.”


9) Vanuatu i makim 25 yar MSG Anniversary

Updated 8 May 2013, 18:07 AEST
Hilaire Bule

Prime Minister blong Solomon Islands bipo, Ezekiel Alebua i tok planti pipol ino save gut yet long trutru wok blong dispela Melanesian Spearhead Group

Mr Alebua husat iwanpela long ol husat i sainim nabawan agrimen blong MGS 25 yar igo pinis, i mekim dispela toktok long kapitol blong Vanuatu long Port Vila long tede.

Em itok pipol i mas save olsem wok blong MSG ino blong bringim ol sevis igo long ol pipol blong ol memba kantri.

Mr Alebua itok wok blong MSG em blong mekim rot blong pipol long Melanesia long oli save tred na mekim bisinis namel long ol.

Em itok wanpela samting ibin slou tumas long kamap long MSG nau em wok long setim ap dispela secretariat ofis.

Tasol em i tok i gutpela tumas dispela ofis i stap nau long Port Vila na em i ting fiuja blong dispela Melanesia Spearhead Group i stap strongpela.

Ol 5 pela memba blong MSG naiu i Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji na ol Kanak blong New Caledonia.


10) Papouasie: les manifestations du 1er mai ont fait 6 morts

Mis à jour 8 May 2013, 14:59 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Il a fallu du temps à la West Papua Advocacy Team pour faire remonter les informations dans ce territoire interdit aux journalistes étrangers.

6 morts. C’est le bilan présumé des grandes manifestations organisées en Papouasie indonésienne le 1er mai, pour marquer les 50 ans du retrait des Pays-Bas, et l’annexion du territoire par l’Indonésie.

L’ancien diplomate américain Edmund Mc Williams était conseiller politique à l’ambassade des États-Unis à Jakarta de 1996 à 1999. Retraité en 2001, il s’est engagé au sein de la West Papua Advocacy Team, un réseau international qui milite pour le respect des droits de l’homme en Papouasie indonésienne. Edmund McWilliams :

«Deux personnes ont été tuées à Sorong, et puis selon des informations que nous considérons comme fiables, quatre autres manifestants ont été tués à Timika, et il y a eu aussi plusieurs arrestations. Mais d’autres personnes se sont fait tirer dessus alors qu’elles manifestaient sur l’île de Biak, au large de la côte nord. Nous pensons qu’il y a eu encore d’autres arrestations à Jayapura, des manifestants qui s’étaient réunis autour de la tombe de Theys Eluay, une figure indépendantiste papoue. Et nous ne savons pas si ces personnes sont toujours en détention.»

Attention cependant, ces informations sont à prendre avec prudence, car il est très difficile de vérifier ce qui se passe réellement sur le terrain. Rappelons que les journalistes étrangers sont interdits de séjour en Papouasie.

Radio Australie a contacté la police indonésienne, qui n’a pas donné suite. Mais le quotidien « Jakarta Globe » cite un porte-parole de la police qui justifie la mort de deux manifestants papous, qui menaçaient les policiers avec des armes blanches. Ils auraient donc ouvert le feu en légitime défense.
La Densus 88 était aux côtés des forces de l’ordre indonésiennes régulières.

«Nous ne sommes pas certains que des membres de la Densus 88 aient été impliqués dans toutes ces attaques, mais ils sont clairement intervenus dans certaines. La Densus 88 est une unité d’intervention antiterroriste au sein de l’armée indonésienne, formée à la demande des États-Unis, mais l’Australie y participe activement également, elle cofinance la Densus et envoie des instructeurs. Donc les États-Unis et l’Australie portent une part de responsabilité et de complicité dans les actes de la Densus 88, qui est critiquée par les associations de défense des droits de l’homme depuis de nombreuses années.»

Ni les États-Unis ni l’Australie n’ont condamné la réponse policière aux manifestations du 1er mai. Mais Navi Pillay, la Haut-commissaire des Nations-Unies aux Droits de l’Homme, a publié un communiqué dans lequel elle exprime ses inquiétudes face au recours excessif à la force par la police en Papouasie et en Papouasie Occidentale.

«Malheureusement, les gouvernements des États-Unis, d’Australie, et aussi du Royaume-Uni n’ont jamais dévié de leur ligne officielle, qui est de reconnaître l’intégrité territoriale de l’Indonésie, et ils sous-entendent par là que la Papouasie fait partie de l’Indonésie. Ces pays avaient la même position au sujet du Timor Leste. Nous qui défendons les droits de l’homme en Papouasie Occidentale, nous demandons simplement le respect du droit à l’autodétermination du peuple papou, un droit nié par l’Indonésie depuis qu’elle a pris le contrôle de la Papouasie Occidentale il y a 50 ans. Il est peu probable que la diplomatie américaine et les autres pays changent de position sur l’intégrité territoriale de l’Indonésie. Mais nous espérons vraiment qu’avec le temps ces grands pays reconnaîtront que les Papous ont droit à un référendum d’autodétermination ou toute autre forme de consultation populaire.»

L’ancien diplomate américain Edmund McWilliams, interrogé par Cathy Harper.


11) Jobs at risk

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

PORTUGAL is planning to cut 30,000 civil service jobs and to raise the retirement age by one year to 66 as it tries to meet the terms of a bailout.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said civil servants would also be required to work 40 hours a week instead of 35.

The proposals, which would be applied mostly from next year, would save 4.8billion euros ($F11.18b) over three years, he said.

Austerity measures have proved deeply unpopular and have triggered large protests.

“With these measures, our European partners cannot doubt our commitment” to the bailout, Mr Coelho said in an address to the nation late on Friday.

“To hesitate now would harm the credibility that we have already won back,” he added.

Portugal received a 78b euro ($F181.7b) bailout from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 2011.

Unemployment stands at nearly 18 per cent — a record high — and the economy is expected to shrink for a third consecutive year in 2013.

Last month, the Portuguese Constitutional Court struck down more than 1b euros ($F2.32b) of proposed cuts, which included the suspension of holiday bonuses for public sector workers and pensioners.

That forced the centre-right government to look elsewhere for savings – though it has ruled out raising taxes.

“We will not raise taxes to correct the budgetary problem resulting from the Constitutional Court’s decision,” Mr Coelho said.

“The way must be through the structural reduction of public spending.”

Portugal’s main Socialist opposition party has accused Mr Coelho of inflicting excessive austerity on Portugal in pursuit of an ideologically driven program.C/-


12) EMTV embraces new technology

THE efforts of staff and EMTV newsroom team in the last few months had paid off with a successful transition into a program.
Bhanu Sud, Chief Executive Officer of Media Niugini Limited and CEO -EMTV, said the efforts of staff paid off with a successful transition into the virtual studios for EMTV’s flagship program, the nightly news bulletin.
“This process was something that required a lot of planning, training, investment and teamwork,’’ he said.
“The transition to the virtual studios technology was something that we have now completed in Papua New Guinea and it is the first of its kind in the Pacific Islands region.’’
In addition to the set, Mr Sud added that EMTV personnel also reviewed the bulletin graphics, general flow of information, weather and currency information to ensure the maximum possible flow of information to viewers.
“In merging all of these changes, EMTV also successfully leveraged its partnership with CNN International to allow the station to run a CNN news ticker on-screen to ensure up-to-date International and National news headlines during the presentation of its bulletin,’’ Mr Sud said.
“Bringing all of these elements together every night at 6pm is a monumental challenge, but one that our staff accomplish every day.’’
The changes will include better broadcasting for viewers.

13) Journalist arrested

Posted on May 8, 2013 –

Godwin Ligo

A ni-Vanuatu journalist employed by the Independent newspaper, Gratien Tiona, was arrested by police yesterday morning and remanded in custody for alleged defamatory remarks made against government officials on facebook last week.

His arrest was confirmed to Daily Post yesterday afternoon by Police Commissioner Arthur Caulton.

Commissioner Caulton said Mr Tiona was arrested by the police yesterday morning following complaints by prime minister, Moana Carcasses.
Daily Post saw the comment on facebook page Yumi Toktok Stret, which has a following of 10,000 subscribers.

The comment was in relation to the travel of government officials to and from Torba Province and to the effect of the aircraft crashing.

Following this comment Prime Minister Carcasses who is also a member of the Yumi Toktok Stret commented on facebook that he would raise a complaint as such comments allegedly by Tiona would be deemed as instigating terrorism.

Mr Tiona has since apologised on the same forum on facebook. He was then arrested after he apologised.

The police commissioner has confirmed that Tioana is in police custody waiting to appear in court for preliminary hearing.
Daily Post has not been told yet of the exact charges laid against Gratien Tiona.

Mr Tiona was commenting on facebook in his private capacity and not as a reporter of the Independent.

His arrest now brings into perspective new rules of engagement in the facebook forums that ni-Vanuatu express their views on.

One supporter of freedom of expression has told Daily Post that the government may be acting too heavy-handedly over this issue on Tiona’s comment which may be satirical after much comment on the issue of the Torba Council of Ministers meeting.

“Everyone knows Tiona is not a terrorist nor intending to be one.

“Some MPs and even government ministers have done worse in the past against the State but no such swift action was taken against them,” the Daily Post reader said.

Daily Post also has a facebook page and wishes to encourage its facebook subscribers to comment on issues affecting the country without fear.

14) Vanuatu: libération de Gratien Tiona

Mis à jour 8 May 2013, 14:27 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le journaliste s’en est sorti grâce à un vice de procédure.

Gratien Tiona a dérapé sur Facebook ce week-end, indiquant qu’il priait pour que s’écrase l’avion qui ramenait le gouvernement à Port-Vila après un voyage en province.

Un commentaire qui a provoqué la colère du Premier ministre Moana Carcasses et Gratien Tiona a donc été arrêté dimanche, accusé de propos séditieux, menaçants et d’actes terroristes.

Le journaliste doit sa prompte libération à un vice de procédure. En effet, Moana Carcasses n’a pas porté plainte personnellement auprès de la police, ce qu’il aurait du faire, mais c’est son avocat qui s’en est chargé. On ne sait toujours pas si le Premier ministre va porter plainte.

15a) Papuan radio host arrested after on air criticism of official

Posted at 03:39 on 08 May, 2013 UTC

Indonesian police have arrested a Papuan radio host after he allegedly criticised a cashier at the Manokwari Regency Office on air.

Abert Dimas Anggoro was arrested after allegedly naming the cashier in a programme critical of the service provided at the office.

Victor Mambor, who is a representative of the Independent Journalists’ Alliance, the AJI, says its members accompanied Mr Dimas to the police station.

He says the incident demonstrates a lack of understanding of the work journalists do in Indonesia.

Radio New Zealand International

15b) Subpoenaed CNMI journalist says she is prepared to go to jail

Posted at 08:55 on 08 May, 2013 UTC

A journalist in the Northern Marianas says she would rather go to jail that reveal her sources to the attorney general.

Tammy Doty and her employer, the Marianas Variety, have been subpoenaed to surrender any information they have regarding a story Ms Doty wrote about a former governor, Benigno Fitial.

She says her case is the first of its kind in the Northern Marianas, and she is prepared to defend her sources, and the freedom of the press, which is safeguarded by the US Constitution.

She told Jamie Tahana how she wound up in this situation.

DOTY: Back in February, a citizen approached the governor’s office and was speaking with his special assistant at the time and got very loud and obnoxious and was saying some things, his personal feelings about the governor. And the conversation ended. The special advisor went and told the governor. The governor told him to call the police. The citizen wasn’t arrested until two days later. And subsequently our governor resigned, as opposed to facing an impeachment vote in the senate. So he exited. And fast-forward a couple of weeks, I did a story on this citizen who allegedly threatened the governor. And after the story hit the newspaper, I received information that the primary witness had recanted and said that he’d never told the police those things, they had coached him and basically inflated what he had said, and that this citizen should never have been arrested. Now, this primary witness has recanted on our local TV station. I had first-hand sources where he recanted in my subsequent article. And he’s been very outspoken and vocal. For whatever reason the attorney general’s office has subpoenaed my privileged material. And I said respectfully, ’Thank you, but no thank you’.

TAHANA: If he’s been very vocal, why does the attorney general want all of your notes?

DOTY: That is the million-dollar question. I have no idea. They have a first-hand witness who is ready to take the stand, do a deposition and tell them exactly from a first person. I am basically a second-person source so I have no idea why they’re pursuing this.

TAHANA: Do you believe it’s some form of campaign against the media in the Northern Marianas?

DOTY: I cannot say. During the tenure of the last governor, Fitial, the relationship between the press and his administration was extremely tense and contentious. They were extremely secretive and operated in the shadows. I cannot speak for this administration. I have seen more openness and willingness to speak to the media, but I cannot speak to the motives of the attorney general’s office. I’m very proud to say that I work for a fearless community newspaper that has dedicated itself to exposing corruption and bad government and has oftentimes gone up against the government. We have every confidence that we will prevail if the attorney general’s office does seek to bring me into court before a judge on contempt charges.

TAHANA: So we don’t know if this will go to court yet?

DOTY: We don’t. It’s been about three weeks since I’ve declined to confirm, deny or otherwise anything to do with my reporter’s privileged material. Subsequently, they have sent another subpoena for the same materials, although not quite as Draconian, to our local TV station, KSPN. But me, personally, I have received no information from the attorney general’s office and I don’t believe our attorney has, either, in terms of what they seek to do, going forward.

TAHANA: Does this scare you?

DOTY: Well, no. I’m not scared too easily. (Laughs) And I don’t mean to make light of the possibility that I would go to jail. But there’s really nothing more important in the western world than standing up for freedom of speech. And I have a wonderful husband and an eight year old son who are fully aware of the possible consequences. And they stand firmly behind me and encourage me every day to stand on principle, that there’s no better reason to go to jail than on the first principle. So I feel very confident. I’m not really thinking that the new government and the administration really want this to go much farther because we have really large economic and social issues to be dealing with and this is really not the best use of our community’s time and intelligence and resources. So I’m hoping that cooler heads will prevail.

That was Marianas Variety reporter Tammy Doty, speaking to Jamie Tahana.

Radio New Zealand International

16) Need to monitor foreign investment in Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
1:26 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands need to strengthen its internal mechanism to closely monitor the flow of foreign investment into the country.

Speaking to the Solomon Star a top government official said this is to ensure compliance and that investors are actually investing in the country and according to the areas of investment, they applied for.

As revealed by the Director of Foreign Investment in the ministry of commerce, industries, labour and immigration, there are a number of approved investors whose applications have been approved but have not yet invested in the country.

“A case of point was the case of Papua New Guinea (PNG) where there are 51 approved investors in Solomon Islands but only 21 have actually invested in the country.”

The official said the foreign investment board as highlighted yesterday in the paper needs to be reactivated to monitor which businesses are actively operating in the country.

Recently, the Solomon Islands held bilateral discussions with Papua New Guinea (PNG) delegation on a proposed Investment Promotion Protection Agreement (IPPA) in Honiara last week.

The IPPA provides for a mechanism for the promotion advancement and protection of each other’s investments in the others respective countries.

Deputy Secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs & external trade, Bernard Bata’anisia stated at his opening remarks at the negotiations that creating an environment conducive for investor-confidence has been a high priority for the current and previous Governments, and the growth in PNG investment in Solomon Islands is much welcomed.

However, while investment is encouraged, there needs to be greater responsibility on the part of investors, that is, there has to be some assured commitment that investors are genuine in their intention to invest in the economy and in our countries.

He added that this assurance is vital for arrangements such as the Investment Promotion Protection Agreement (IPPA).

“Solomon Islands Government cannot commit to protect investors that are idle and show minimal commitment to invest.”

He further added that this is a concern for Solomon Islands – particularly considering the investment imbalance between our two countries. The obligations that our Governments will be tied to once this agreement is finalized are huge (particularly for Compensations) and it would be unfair on the Government to commit much needed resources to investors that recorded only as a number on the system and are not investing in the country.


17) Logging in PNG ‘cause’ of pod borer spreading

By Online Editor
4:58 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s senior National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA) entomologist David Tenakanai says logging practices in Papua New Guinea could be contributing to the spread of the cocoa pod borer.

He was commenting on an outbreak of cocoa pod borer in Finschhafen, Morobe, in which 300 farmers who own 19,950 cocoa trees were said to have been affected by the pest.

Tenakanai told The National that the pest was resident to PNG, making its home primarily in ton trees in the rainforests.

But now that the trees were being cut down for their valuable timber, the pest was moving to the cocoa tree.

“But it’s the natural host for cocoa pod borer. The ton tree and also the rambuttan tree are the primary hosts of cocoa pod borer.

Tenakanai said containing the disease was no longer a NAQIA responsibility. The onus was now on the PNG Cocoa and Coconut Institute and respective provincial divisions of agriculture and livestock in the provinces.

“We (NAQIA) haven’t been to Finschhafen,” he said.

“Cocoa pod borer is spreading. With regards to NAQIA, we don’t have anything in place for cocoa pod borer.

“We’ve left that responsibility in place with the Cocoa Coconut Institute and the provincial divisions of agriculture and livestock.”

Meanwhile, the PNG Cocoa and Coconut Institute (PNGCCI) has not ruled out the possibility of logging activities in the country contributing to increasing cocoa pod borer infestations.

PNGCCI leaning and capacity building leader, Anton Varvaliu, confirmed that cocoa pod borer was native to PNG and lived on ton and rambutan trees, but with ton increasingly being logged for timber, it was resorting to the cocoa tree….


18) Investment officials in Pacific a bit skeptical using social media as promotional tool

By Online Editor
1:31 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Fiji

Investment officials sounded a bit sceptical of using social media as a promotional tool after they were given a snapshot on the final day of their Capacity Building workshop conducted by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and funded by the European Union.

The session on ‘Tourism Online Marketing’ presented by Pauline Benson generated a lot of discussion on how Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) and National Tourism Offices (NTO) can use the latest technologies such as social media, mobile optimization and website appeal.

Papua New Guinea IPA official Clarence Hoot says IPA’s and NTO’s need to use all mediums for promotion of investment opportunities in the tourism sector and particularly e-Marketing.

“I think that’s a new thing coming on board. We are a little bit sceptical as well because in our field of investment promotion we practise the targeted approach because of the limited resources and now we have things like facebook and twitter these are open to the public and anyone can make comments so we are not sure whether we are going to be targeting the investors so that’s an area for learning for me in the last two days,” said Hoot.

Fiji Investment officials hope to work closely with SPTO in setting up and how to best utilize the social media tools.

Workshop facilitator Henry Sandy hopes the participants from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, PNG, Samoa and Tonga will implement some of the things learnt in the two days.

“We are thankful for SPTO and of course EU for funding initiative and I certainly hope that when they go back, that’s the biggest challenge what they will do, the knowledge, the skills, the contacts they have acquired.

“Because for a lot of them, when they go back things get forgotten. We are thankful that SPTO has made an assurance that this is the beginning of a journey that will bring together critical stakeholders.

“Yes, we do acknowledge the difficulties with access, airlines but you know the tourism industry can thrive regardless of the size of the economy. And sometimes the smaller the economy the more attractive it is.”

Hoot welcomed the involvement of smaller economies like Kiribati at this workshop.

“They came and shared with us this is what we can do and Fiji and Papua New Guinea we always stand ready to assist them.

“One of the things I emphasised when I made my presentation is inter-regional investment. For instance Fiji and PNG are leading in this area and I think we have our individuals and small to medium enterprises that can invest in the smaller economies, so they don’t have to go out of the region to look for those investment opportunities. The bigger economies we can go outside and bring them in and drive them to re-invest in the small regions or economies.”

Investment Fiji officers, Nilesh Wati, Ayesha Lata and Kamal Chetty were delighted with the workshop saying there were a lot of things learnt from the interactive sessions.

“Some of the tools and techniques that we can use in our organisations in terms of image building and media relations I would take for my division which is the marketing division,” said Wati.

For Ayesha, “The workshop has been very helpful especially with the use of e-Marketing techniques and tools that are present there, free based web, facebook, twitter, instagram and a lot about how you can market your company in the other regions. It was a much needed workshop.”

Chetty said that it is very important to learn from each other.

“You know all this while we are looking at different things but I think for Pacific our competitive advantage is in tourism and investment, so if we take this opportunity and work together, we will prosper as a region.”

Tonga’s Salome Foliaki from the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism had this to say: “Expectation for the training was met I wanted something on a guideline on how investment promotion can enhance capacity building.

“Trying to collaborate with the media is important. We need to work with the media.

“The whole thing even the case study being discussed from the other Pacific nations from PNG and Fiji because they are the top countries in the Pacific on economics and investment. So much to absorb in the two days workshop.”

Samoa Travel Authority’s Christina Leale was satisfied.

“For me personally I think it was a very good workshop, it really re-emphasised the need for us as National Tourism Officers and IPA’s to work together to improve on our performance using the tools we currently have also taking advantage of new opportunities such as social media and using our trade missions all the relevant avenues that are currently available to us. It is making the most of what we have and also looking at opportunities.

John Benny of the PNG Investment Promotion Agency said he picked up some very good techniques and tools in how to better his delivery.

“Especially when it comes to dealing with foreign companies the tools that are related to tourism promotion will help me in my area of responsibility to make good judgments in terms of how we can be able to treat companies which are specifically tourism related entities. Not only in terms of foreign companies but maybe in terms of national companies which are engaged in tourism sector.”

And Kiribati National Tourism Officer Teuarai Ereata quipped that lessons learnt will help solve some of their problems back home.

“I learned that we have the same resources in promoting investments so I think when I go back home we are going to use these tools.

“We have now built a network, I know our friends from the other countries if we have a problem we will share with them and find solutions.



19a) Fiji police anger Chinese community with human trafficking allegations

Posted at 08:55 on 08 May, 2013 UTC

Police investigators in Fiji have angered members of the Chinese community after telling media a human trafficking investigation was focusing on Chinese immigrants.

Police have been investigating a group of 20 businessmen allegedly involved in the sale of girls for sex.

A police task force spokesperson said Chinese immigrants were suspects, prompting the Chinese community in Fiji to demand evidence, or an apology.

Alex Perrottet reports.

PERROTTET: The Fiji Police Force has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Immigration and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority to tackle crimes such as human trafficking.

The Fiji Transnational Crime Unit spokesperson Savenaca Tuivaga told the Fiji Times an investigation was still underway, and said when Chinese immigrants are around, people expect prostitution, people smuggling and money laundering.

But the President of the Chinese Association of Fiji, Jenny Seeto, says there is no evidence from the police, or the media, that Chinese immigrants are involved in human trafficking.

“I have gone back and asked them for the evidence, and they say they don’t have any. They didn’t see any report. And for the Fiji Times to then broad-brush and target the Chinese in the way they did is certainly very discriminatory.”

Ms Seeto says she is expecting an apology from the police, unless they can provide some evidence for the claims.

She says the law should take its course and her organisation supports the police effort.

Ms Seeto says there have been human trafficking cases in Fiji in the past, and they haven’t involved the Chinese.

“But to go and target and single out the Chinese is so unfair. There’s been other cases reported in Fiji of other races and I am not going to go into the debate which race but there are reports of other races and they don’t involve Chinese at all.”

Mr Tuivaga would not comment, nor would any police spokespeople, following Ms Seeto’s demand for further evidence.

The head of Fiji Police’s Human Trafficking Unit, Inspector Aminiasi Cula, is out of the country and not available.

Arthur Caulton, the police commissioner for Vanuatu, is the Melanesia representative on the Pacific Transnational Crime Network.

He says human trafficking is a Pacific-wide issue and his police work closely with Fiji’s police monitoring the movement of suspects in the region.

“We understand that there’s a lot of people trafficking in Fiji and we appreciate the actions taken by the Fiji police at the moment and we would look forward to more assistance through other parts of the region with regarding people smuggling in Fiji.”

The Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre based in Samoa is a joint effort of 17 transnational crime units centres based in 13 Pacific countries, with advisors and funding provided by the Australian Federal Police.

This is Alex Perrottet.

Radio New Zealand International

19b) Coastal watch

Repeka Nasiko
Thursday, May 09, 2013

LOCALS living in coastal Rakiraki have been warned against boarding yachts.

And border control authorities have also asked residents to be alert to “high-risk indicators” as these could be linked to criminal activities like human smuggling.

Officers from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority’s Lautoka Customs Intelligence Unit were on Malake Island and Naria Settlement yesterday conducting awareness programs on the issue of biosecurity and the laws relating to yachts visiting the area.

Residents were told that police had reopened the case of the missing Naria sisters and human trafficking had not been ruled out as a reason behind their disappearance in 2005.

Their bodies were never found but a Rakiraki man who went with the sisters on a picnic the day they disappeared is presently serving a 19-year sentence for the murder and rape of the three girls.

Senior customs officer Timoci Waqaniburotu said the issue of people boarding foreign vessels that had not been cleared was something that people living near coastlines should be aware of.

“Sometimes when people see a local young girl board a yacht, they don’t really think about it or think that there’s anything wrong with that,” Mr Waqaniburotu said.

“What we want to reiterate to the members of the community is that this sort of incidents should not be happening. If they do board a yacht, they need to tell us that.

“It is standard procedure that every yacht owner inform us of their whereabouts and the places where they’ve been or where they will go next.”

In asking for public assistance in securing our borders, he also highlighted a number of high-risk indicators that could help identify vessels that could be involved in criminal activities like human smuggling.

“Some of these indicators include yachts that have dinghies on their boat. This could mean that they are able to travel to the mainland. Extra gallons of fuel on board, crew members of different nationalities and they do not know each other indicates they were hired for a single voyage.

“We’ve entered the yachting season and we hope members of the community assist us in protecting our borders.”

Last year, FRCA launched hotline bumper stickers because of the sudden increase in cargo and passenger traffic in the West.

CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said then that FRCA was reaching out to stakeholders because of challenges posed by the geographical boundaries of the Western Division.

“FRCA alone, through its customs division, cannot maintain the security of its borders. That is why we have taken an integrated approach with our stakeholders. The main hindrance to FRCA’s work towards securing our borders is the geographical set up of the country — 333 scattered islands, limited resources of the country and coverage area for FRCA West is from Sigatoka to Rakiraki,” he said.

Mr Tikolevu said the confidential hotline provided a way for citizens to report suspected tax and customs matters. “An effective confidential hotline is a necessary component of a successful compliance regime and effective integrated border management.”

The hotline – 6626777 – is a 24-hour service.

The national co-ordinator of the Fiji Hotels Association marine operators’ subcommittee, John Philp, said all mariner guests are advised to abide by the laws of Fiji.

“While yachting tourism is important to us in bringing in revenue, we have to be mindful of the integrity of Fiji’s borders,” Mr Philp said.

20) Fight against drugs rages

Maciu Malo
Thursday, May 09, 2013

THE fight against marijuana cultivation continues in the Navosa highlands with police officers preparing for more farm raids this week.

Director operations Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said the fight against drug cultivation remained one of the major priorities for the force.

He said the operation was part of the force’s commitment to educate highlanders on the dangers of drug cultivation, trade and consumption.

“The police are aware that marijuana cultivation is still practised in the highlands and we will not back down in the fight against these illegal operations,” said ACP Tudravu.

“We will be teaming up with some other government departments during this exercise.”

About 500 marijuana plants were uprooted in Navosa this year by police.

Station officer at the Keiyasi Police Station Inspector Uraia Davu said a new approach had been put in place to curb drug cultivation in the hills.

“Our officers have visited most households in the highlands asking them on their source of income, at the same time comparing their income and the cost of household items they have,” said Insp Davu.

“We don’t know where these villagers get their money from to buy expensive household items because they don’t have big dalo or yaqona farms.”

21)Solomons Academic Weighs In On TRC Report Release
Kabutaulaka: court action would have prevented controversies

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, May 7, 2013) – With growing public debate over the delay, and the subsequent unofficial release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) report, a Solomon Islands academic based in Hawaii, Dr. Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka, says pressure groups should have used the Courts.

“Father Terry Brown and others who are concerned about the delay in the release of the TRC Report should have taken the matter to court and ask the court to instruct the Prime Minister to table the report in parliament and make it public,” said Dr. Kabutaulaka.

Dr. Kabutaulaka says there are avenues other than the “unceremonious release of such an important historical document.”

He says a court proceeding would have prevented the current unnecessary controversies, which could prove counterproductive to reconciliation and peace.

Dr. Kabutaulaka says he fully supports the need for the report to be tabled in parliament and made public but adds that the way in which it was done “sets a precedent for the disregard of due process.”

He explained that any legal proceedings would now be academic since the report is already made “public.”

“It also raises the question of whether the release of the report will facilitate or hinder reconciliation.”

Father Brown’s decision to release the report has been fiercely criticized by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo and the Premier of Guadalcanal province, Stephen Panga.

Mr. Panga has accused Father Brown of acting illegally, adding the report should have been released after reconciliation between Malaita and Guadalcanal.

But Father Brown says the report is crucial to that process.

“Without a really good, strong history of what happened and particularly the experiences of victims, of ex-combatants of politicians and so forth, that’s what the whole TRC was about – to try to document all of that to then go onto a structured reconciliation process,” he said.

Solomon Times


Wednesday, 8 May 2013 8:31 AM

22) Climate Change Makes Life Tougher for Solomon Island Farmers


Life is difficult enough for communities on the remote southern Weather Coast of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Sustaining a livelihood from the land is a daily struggle on the steep coastal mountain slopes that plunge to the sea, made worse by the absence of adequate roads, transport and government services. And now, climate change is taking

“From mid-March to June it is always raining and whatever crops we grow will not go to harvest,” Alice, a member of a farming family on the Weather Coast, told IPS, referring to the period locals here call “time hungry”.

During these months, most meals consist of rice and one or two other items procured from the shops in the city of Honiara, the capital of this nation comprising more than 900 islands located northeast of Australia and east of Papua New Guinea.

Stretching for 160 kilometres, this island, the largest in the Solomon Islands archipelago, has a widely dispersed population. Located on the northern coast and home to 64,600 people, Honiara is separated by high mountains from isolated villages on the southern coast, where the total population is more than 19,000.

The climate here is hot and humid all year round and people are vulnerable to cyclones, gale force winds and flooding during the wet season, as well as earthquakes and landslides due to the country’s proximity to the highly seismic Pacific Rim of Fire.

Scientists are now predicting the weather extremes that batter this rugged coast will only get worse as the nation faces the full force of climate change. The sea level near the Solomon Islands has been rising by eight millimetres per year compared to the global average of 2.8 to 3.6 mm, according to the Pacific Climate Change Science Programme. During the first half of this century, average annual and extreme rainfall is predicted to increase, along with the intensity of cyclones.

Climate change is the greatest challenge to sustainable development in this South Pacific nation, imperilling the food security of 85 percent of the population who depend on subsistence agriculture. In terms of development, the Solomon Islands is ranked 142 out of 187 countries by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has the second lowest average per capita income in the Pacific region, while 23 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Residents of Weather Coast villages like Duidui, Reavu and Avuavu use the steep slopes above the coastline to cultivate crops, growing everything from taro, yams and sweet potatoes to cassava and bananas. This region receives heavy rainfall of 5,000 to 8,000 mm a year during two wet seasons, the first from January to April, the second from May to September.

Boku Joke, a climate change advisor working with the non-profit Kastom Gaden Association (KGA), told IPS that resulting floods and intense saturation of the soil has made life difficult for farmers and threatened food production. Heavy rain also erodes soil nutrients and provides fertile ground for plant pests and diseases like chuaka, which affects taro, to thrive.

“Rain and floods and lack of crop bulking (mass cultivation and storage of different crop varieties) by local farmers have also resulted in a loss of crop diversity,” Joke said, explaining that since farmers plant just one crop, they are often left with nothing if extreme weather ruins the harvest.

Varieties of taro and yam were also lost when food gardens were abandoned and pests and diseases proliferated during the “Tensions” (1998 to 2003), a civil conflict in the Solomon Islands.

The government now recognises the need to focus investment on developing and supporting agricultural livelihoods to ensure a secure future for people in the region.

“Food and agricultural production has been and will continue to be the most important source of economic development and income generation as well as food security for these communities, given their geographical remoteness,” Hezekiah Valimana, chief field officer at the ministry of agriculture’s Guadalcanal office, told IPS.

Agriculture accounts for 38 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 75 percent of the labour force.

Agriculture will also be critical to enduring peace and stability in this part of the country as a history of poor access to development, basic services and income opportunities in rural and remote areas contributed to the grievances that triggered the conflict more than a decade ago.

“An increase in food and cash crop production will help to improve the livelihoods of families and provide cash incomes,” Valimana said. Most residents here are subsistence farmers and the average cash income of households in the region can be as little as 13 dollars per month.

Valimana advocates bringing different communities together to “achieve shared goals,” stressing that collaboration on agricultural projects is “key to maintaining peace.”

In recognition of the environmental challenges ahead, the government launched its first National Climate Change Policy last year to improve the coordination of adaptation efforts by various government ministries and national institutions.

The KGA, which works alongside the ministry of agriculture, as well as the ministry of health and the ministry of environment and conservation, has made rural communities a priority, and is working to deliver new technologies to improve farm management and productivity, as well as planting materials to 25 percent of rural households in the Solomon Islands.

On the Weather Coast, KGA is collaborating with local farmer support groups to increase crop diversity, introduce climate resistant crops and promote contour farming, which involves tilling land along lines of consistent elevation on hill slopes to reduce the speed of rainwater run-off and prevent soil erosion.

“We need new or more climate resistant crops,” Alice confirmed. “But we also need more education and training about how to cultivate bush foods such as breadfruit and nuts and preserve them for eating and selling. At the moment, most people don’t see these as useful or commercial foods.”

23)Caterpillar destroys food gardens in Northern Malaita
By Online Editor
1:23 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Solomon Islands

The People of Basakana Island in the Northern region of Malaita Province in Solomon Islands are concerned with the destruction of their potato gardens by a type of caterpillar.

Reports reaching SIBC News says the caterpillar has increased in number after logging activities on the island five years ago as well as the recent wet weather.

SIBC’s North Malaita stringer John Andrew Kiri reports a catechist, Chaniel Wara from Basakana Island as saying the worm-like caterpillar is destroying their potato gardens by feeding on the potato leaves.

According to Kiri the island’s soil is not so fertile to grow other root crops besides potato.

Kiri said the people on the island have urged responsible agricultural authorities to quickly assess the situation to determine whether they need assistance.


24)Marshall Islands drought set to worsen
By Online Editor
5:18 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Marshall Islands

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has raised the alarm bells over the protracted drought crisis in the Marshall Islands.

There appears to be no relief in sight for the worst affected northern region and as the rain holds off, conditions are set to deteriorate.

“Usually during this time of the year, the rain does not have much time to reach the ground,” Majuro Weather Service meteorologist Reggie White told Pacific Beat.

“So when you look out there, it seems like drizzle, but it evaporates before it reaches the ground.

“We’re looking at possibly the end of the month before any rainfall could reach those northern islands.”

An estimated 5,000 people in the northern atolls are experiencing severe drought conditions with an additional 11,000 people affected by crop loss due to the lack of rain.

The Marshall Islands government has declared a state of emergency in the northern atolls.

Drinking water is being rationed and there is no water for bathing or other domestic purposes.

“Officials have found some families living on a gallon, or 3.8 litres, of water per day — barely half of the international standard for emergency water requirements, and often the precursor to serious health conditions,” said IOM spokesman Jumbe Omari Jumbe.

He says government aid ships have begun transporting US-donated supplies, including water containers and hygiene kits, from IOM warehouses.

“While this may not be a massive disaster in global terms, it is highly significant for this remote and fragile environment,” Ashley Carl, the IOM’s chief of mission for the Marshall Islands, said in a statement.

Australia is sending in desalination units to supplement those provided by the United States.


25)Aid agencies rush help to drought stricken Marshall Islands

Posted at 22:27 on 08 May, 2013 UTC

Thousands of gallons of drinking water and solar-powered water-making units are being rushed to drought-stricken populations in the Marshall Islands.

The National Water Advisor Tom Vance, following a trip to Mejit Island, says there 3,700 people without drinking water there.

Earlier this week, the United States and Australian governments announced 100,000 US dollars emergency aid grants as Marshall Islands officials elevated a drought emergency to a drought disaster.

With almost no rainfall since late last year on islands above eight degrees north of the equator, most have run out of drinking water and ground well water has turned salty and brackish.

Health officials who tested the wells say they are unsafe to drink.

Tom Vance says drinking coconuts offer some relief, but there are no other sources of fresh water on these islands besides rain and the situation is dire.

Four new reverse osmosis water-making units provided by the U.S. government are expected to arrive later this week for installation on northern islands.

More reverse osmosis units are expected to be purchased and flown in to provide water relief.

Radio New Zealand International

26)East Sepik Flooding At ‘Crisis Point’ In PNG: Oxfam
Over 11,000 affected as water levels up by six meters

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 7, 2013) – The international aid agency Oxfam says the flooding situation in Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik province has now reached crisis point.

Seven people have been confirmed dead and about 11,500 people have been affected by flooding along the Sepik River.

Phillippe Allen, Oxfam Australia’s associate country director for PNG, says although flooding is a regular occurrence, water levels have risen excessively in this wet season.

He’s told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat communities that are normally dry for most of the year have been inundated, damaging water sources and destroying sustainable livelihoods.

“In the last six to twelve months, we’ve seen such a sustained heavy rainfall that the river level has risen about six meters now,” he said. “[That is] about three times higher than what it normally is. If we do see continued rainfall and, perhaps, even a rise of another meter over the next couple of months, we could see thousands more people affected.”

The flood has given rise to fears of a disease outbreak, if hygiene conditions of water sources are not improved.

Communities defecate in the stagnant water around their houses that are also being used for drinking, washing and bathing purposes.

Oxfam says it plans to distribute hygiene kits, kitchen kits and shelter kits, as well as initiate a hygiene promotion campaign.

Another big risk is the lack of shelter for the affected communities, as houses are sinking due to the continuous inundation over the past few months.

Oxfam has also identified a long term need for the relocation of villages to safe high grounds.

“I think there’s certainly a need for the government and the communities affected to talk about possibly the relocation of some of the villages which have been set up very, very close to the water bank,” Mr. Allen said.

“Good practice dictates that you should allow for a few meters at least when you are constructing villages.”

Radio Australia:


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

27)Dengue Spikes as NRH Face Blood Shortage

The number of confirmed dengue cases continues to rise and the National Referral Hospital (NRH) fear there could be increased fatalities due to a shortage at the blood bank.

“There is now a critical shortage and we fear for those who may need urgent blood transfusion,” said a senior nurse aid.

“The dengue fever virus affects the production system of platelets. Low blood platelet count in dengue fever patients means that the blood has lost its normal clotting abilities and the ability of fighting against infection.

“There have been several serious cases that require blood transfusion, and we are now facing a serious shortage,” she says.

Director of the National Medical Laboratory, Alfred Dofai said that what is left is not enough.

“Severe cases are still coming, I only dealt with one yesterday, sadly there is insufficient blood at the blood bank for any future cases.

“We still need more fresh blood because the medical lab is running out. The public is urged to come forward and donate voluntarily,” he said.

Dofai thanked those who have volunteered in donating blood in the past months, which saved many people infected by the deadly dengue virus.

He also thanked medical experts from Australia and New Zealand for the great assistance provided to NRH to deal with the influx of dengue cases.

So far, the deadly fever has claimed five lives in Solomon Islands.

28) Work with the media for effective results

Salaseini Moceiwai
Thursday, May 09, 2013

A GROUP of health officials in the North has been encouraged to liaise with information officials at their headquarters in Suva to highlight activities proposed for the prevention of communicable diseases.

National adviser for communicable diseases Dr Eric Rafai told the participants at the Northern Division Surveillance Response Training in Labasa yesterday that they needed to highlight their activities in the media so people could respond positively to it.

“Liaise with the media liaison officer in Suva and the information centre so they can get in touch with the mainstream media to highlight the activities you are doing,” Dr Rafai said.

“The media can help us spread the gospel of preventing the spread of communicable diseases.

“For example, if you want to organise a clean-up activity, highlight it in the media so people are aware and they can take part in the event.”

He said the media played a very important role in disseminating useful information to the public regarding the prevention of communicable diseases.

Divisional medical officer northern Dr Pablo Romakin said they had formed a mini-information team to handle notifications and other relevant issues.

29) 2 Years Left To Achieve Vanuatu’s ‘National Vision’
Improvements made in economic, health sectors

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 7, 2013) – In 2006 the then government of Vanuatu set out Priorities and Action Agenda (PAA) committing to reform to achieve a “Just, Educated, Healthy and Wealthy Vanuatu.”

Only two years remain to achieve the national vision that was targeted for in 2006 to 2015 towards the progress of achieving the national vision.

The recent review of 2010 to 2012 identified the necessity to address governance issues as a means to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the Public Sector. The inclusion of “Just” fits this purpose. As such the National Vision had been revised to include “Just” so that it now read “A Just, Educated, Healthy and Wealthy Vanuatu.”

The amended vision captures the spirit of the Comprehensive Reform Program (CRP) that was initiated in 1997 and subsequent national policies and national policy dialogues.

Looking back at 2006 vision, the PAA then anticipated that by 2015 Vanuatu will have achieved: a significant increase in real per capita incomes, along with steady growth in levels of employment, be among the leading countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in education, health, environmental management and other key socio-economic indicators.

The public sector reform will have raised standards of governance, levels of productivity in the civil service, and will have resulted in higher standards of services and managerial accountability through continuing structural reform allowing Vanuatu to established an effective enabling environment to sustain the significant private sector led growth, which it aims to achieve in output and employment.

In 2011, just halfway to 2015, implementing the PAA Vision has been partially achieved. Vanuatu has performed extremely well according to a PAA update in terms of economic growth in recent years and this has translated into significant increases in per capita incomes, according to the PAA report. Tourism and construction have driven this growth but it has been concentrated in a few urban centers of the country. However, agriculture, from which most of the population derives income, has not performed to its full potential. The share of agriculture, fishing and forestry in national income has declined reflecting the low growth in this sector and the much faster growth in urban centered tourism and construction, according to the PAA latest report.

Much effort by Government and development partners has been made in improving the standard of education and health. However, Vanuatu is not yet among the leading countries in the region in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015.

The eight MDGs cover poverty, education, health, gender equality, environmental sustainability and the development of a global partnership for development. In the latest Pacific regional MDG report, Vanuatu is achieving ‘mixed progress’ in reducing poverty, and improving maternal mortality, but is ‘on track’ for reducing child mortality, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and developing a global partnership for development.

However, Vanuatu is ‘off track’ in promoting gender equality and in ensuring environmental sustainability.

There are many challenges in achieving all the MDGs by 2015. These include limited financial and human resources, and the high cost of providing services to rural areas. Service delivery remains a key challenge for the government at all levels, says the PAA latest report.

The PAA, following the CRP, emphasized the need to undertake structural reforms in the economy in order to provide and enabling environment to sustain private sector led growth. Much legislation was passed to put structural reforms into effect. But there has often been a lack of capacity to implement many of these reforms.

However, Vanuatu has been highly successful in reforming the aviation and telecommunication sectors.

This has brought about much needed completion, lower prices and more service, according to the PAA report.

Tourism has grown largely because of the reforms in the aviation sector. Despite these successes, there are still many hurdles and uncertainties for both domestic and foreign investors and the necessary infrastructure is not yet in place to reduce costs of bringing goods to domestic markets and for export markets.

Meanwhile, in a press conference organized by the Opposition at Club Vanuatu last week, former Prime Minister Sato Kilman, said he did not see why the new Prime Minister Moana Carcasses, should introduced a 100 Day Plan instead of implementing the existing PAA.

Vanuatu Daily Post:


30) USP hopes to improve ties

Dawn Gibson
Thursday, May 09, 2013

IT has been revealed that USP hopes to strengthen its ties with the EU through greater co-operation and mutual appreciation.

This after the EU’s Pacific ambassador to Fiji, Andrew Jacobs, paid a courtesy visit to USP’s vice-chancellor Prof Rajesh Chandra last week.

In a statement issued by the university, it noted that Mr Jacobs was keen on potential research at USP as well as the possibility of staff and student exchange partnerships between the two.

“The ambassador enquired about the success of educational incentives supported by the EU such as the Erasmus Mundus, to which the VC replied that the scholarship programs are very popular and have worked well,” the university stated.

Mr Jacobs said: “We want to change the profile of the EU in the Pacific, if we can, from one of a donor and move towards having a strategic partnership with countries in the Pacific.

“One thing I would like to explore with you is the option of whether or not a teaching style can be developed, as in how the EU staff could provide support to the university on the teaching side.”

Mr Jacobs will also serve as the non-resident ambassador to the Cook Islands, Niue, Tuvalu, Republic of Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa and Tonga.

31) Over 7,000 PNG Teachers Suspended Over Unfiled Forms
Documents meant to determine legitimate positions

By Kolopu Waima

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 7, 2013) – More than 7,000 teachers in Papua New Guinea have been suspended for not submitting their resumption of duty summary sheets (RODSS) on time for the 2013 academic year.

Acting Secretary of the Department of Education (DoE) Luke Taita said yesterday that of the 46,703 teachers teaching throughout the country, 7,779 had been suspended for not submitting their resumption of duty summary sheet on time.

Mr. Taita explained that it was Government policy that there must only be one pay, one person and one position in the establishment as it was unacceptable to be paying two persons on one position, as had been happening in some institutions.

He said that by automatically suspending teachers who did not submit their resumption forms on time, the DoE was able to determine how many teachers were actually teaching and how many had not resumed duty for reasons such as resignation, death, transfers to other schools or other organizations.

He said in 2013, teachers’ salaries in provinces including the National Capital District accounted for K713 million [US$329 million] which the DoE and the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) are required to monitor to avoid wastage.

He said the practice of automatic suspension of teachers from the payroll was introduced and this also enables DoE to monitor staffing appointments and payroll.

DoE through Human Resource and Organisational Development Division instituted teachers’ automatic suspension on Pay No. 7 Payday April 3, 2013.

Provincial Education Authorities are informed to ensure teachers who have resumed duty but included in the auto suspension must complete the RODSS and submit them to Waigani for them to be restored on the payroll.

Meanwhile, Mr. Taita announced that an intervention program being undertaken by the department with the aim to improve human resource services is to decentralize salary functions to the provinces.

He said payroll officers in the provinces raise source documents and forward them to Waigani in batches fortnightly for inputting into the Payroll system by the salary officers at Waigani. He said that the department has made a decision to roll out a system to the provinces to enable the provinces to do the input of all salary related transactions directly from the provinces rather than submitting them to Waigani to do the input which is something of the past.

“The main objectives of these initiatives are to bring salary and payroll related services closer to where the teachers are. This will allow teachers to remain at their respective schools and provinces to provide and enhance quality education,” Taita said.

PNG Post-Courier:


32)Pacific Games expansion expected in 2023

By Online Editor
1:58 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Fiji

The likelihood of Australia and New Zealand being included in the Pacific Games could happen in 2023.

Fiji Association of Sports & National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) president, Reginald Sanday says this idea focuses on, that in time Oceania, can truly present its best competitive athletes to the international arena.

“It’s been a long standing feeling within the Pacific Games Council to unify our region to be consistent with the rest of the world and in their wisdom the council has realised the difference in resources, difference in the standards and that the unifying of the games should be done incrementally, focussing on specific events.”

With this in mind, September’s Mini Games in Wallis & Futuna will allow for Australia and New Zealand to compete but, in selected sports.

“Yachting will go ahead. It will be treated as an Oceania event but part of the Mini Games. So there is a move towards that yes and I think the long term goal is perhaps in probably 2023, it will be a completely unified games.”

The next Pacific Games will be hosted in Papua New Guinea in 2015 then in Tonga in 2019.


33)PNG to defend FORU Cup
By Online Editor
1:55 pm GMT+12, 08/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

PNG will defend the Oceania Rugby Cup they won in 2011 when it hosts the FORU tier 2/3 competition from July 1 to 14 at the Lloyd Robson Oval.

The matches will be played on July 3, 6 and 9 with the finals on the 12th. Two matches will be played each day. Teams taking part are the Cook Islands, Tahiti and neighbours the Solomon Islands.

Monier Pukpuks head coach Alan Manning said all will be serious challengers for the crown of Oceania champions and the Monier Pukpuks are not resting on their previous success.

He said: “We have just come off a very good tour to the Gold Coast and everybody understands that we have to continually lift the levels of performances – whether they be at training or in matches if we are to defend our position as Oceania Champions”.

FORU – the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions – is the IRB regional association and the Oceania Cup is FORU’s showpiece rugby event for FORU’s Development and Targeted Unions.

The winner of this year Oceania Cup will play Fiji in a home and away series in 2014 for the last Rugby World Cup 2015 spot in the Oceania region.

At the recent meeting for FORU nations in Fiji, it was unanimously expressed that the Oceania Cup winner should also be afforded the opportunity to compete in the Pacific leg of the Pacific Rugby Cup. This issue will be presented to the IRB for ratification.

PNGRFU general manager Simon Kerr said: “The Oceania Cup is the first of a series of international rugby tournaments that PNG will be hosting over the next couple of years leading to the Pacific Games and it is a great opportunity to showcase our talent on home soil”.
source: post courier/pacnews

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