Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 852



1) MSG and PNG Police sign MOU for secondment of police liaison officer
By Online Editor
5:49 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Vanuatu

-The Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat, Peter Forau and the Commissioner of Police of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC, Commissioner Tom Kulunga signed a MOU to formalize the recruitment of a Police Liaison Officer (PLO) from the RPNGC to be seconded to the MSG Secretariat.

The signing ceremony today will enable the secondment of the PLO to work with the Secretariat on Police Cooperation arrangements between member countries of the MSG, a key work program of the Police Commissioners Conference.

This is the second secondment by member countries to the MSG Secretariat.  The first secondment last year was by Vanuatu.

The officer to be seconded is Chief Superintendent Donald Yamasombi, Director of the Criminal Investigation Division of the RPNGC. The first PLO to be seconded was in 2012 by the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Police Force.

The signing ceremony at the MSG headquarters in Port Vila was also witnessed by the Chair of the Police Commissioners Conference and Police Commissioner of the Fiji Police Force, Brigadier General Ioane Naivalarua, Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Selwyn Rotu, Police Commissioner of the Vanuatu Police Force, Major Arthur Caulton, John Taleo Deputy Police Commissioner of the Vanuatu Police Force, members of Police Commissioners Conference (PCC) from member countries and the staff of the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila.


2) Indonesian shot by PNG soldiers, PNGDF investigates shooting
By Online Editor
11:39 am GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

A 19-year-old Indonesian man is receiving treatment for gunshot wounds after he alleged five PNG military soldiers allegedly opened fire on him and two others.

The Indonesian Consul to Papua New Guinea Jahar Gultom announced in a statement Monday that the PNG Defense Force would investigate the shooting.

PNGDF soldiers are alleged to have shot Eduard Aritahano in the leg in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Lido Village near Vanimo town in Sandaun Province.

According to preliminary reports from the PNGDF based in Vanimo, Edward Aritahanu and two others, Meki Aritahanu, 50, and Irene Yoku, 15 were shot at when they tried to escape in their boat.

However, Gultom said reports they obtained said the PNG military fired three shots from around 60 meters away from the boat, injuring Edward on the leg.

The reports state that five PNG soldiers opened fire on the three as they were on their way from Jayapura, Papua, to Lido village in PNG by motorboat to meet relatives who are PNG citizens.

But reports from the PNGDF say the victim was positioned inside the 24ft speedboat with two 40hp Yamaha motors which floated within a distance of 20 meters from Lido Beach when the incident occurred.

Reports from the victim’s father, Mecky Aritahano who claimed to be an eye witness, stated that he saw the five soldiers point a gun from a car, aiming toward the speed boat and fired three shots.

Gultom said a meeting was convened between the two countries’ defense personnel where the PNG Defense Force assured him they would conduct a full investigation into the shooting.

The victim has been taken back home to Jayapura, where his family has urged the PNG Government and PNGDF for a proper explanation of the incident.

3) Bob Carr Urged To Petition Indonesia Over Papua Violence
Academics want security forces to be held responsible for brutality

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 14, 2013) – More than 30 academics in Australia have asked Foreign Minister Bob Carr to petition Indonesia to take action against its security personnel.

The academics, who include five Indonesians, have written a letter to Mr. Carr, calling him to respond to recent violence against Papuans.

Soldiers and police fired on a group preparing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Indonesia’s take over of the region on May the 1st.

Two men were killed instantly and another two died later in hospital.

Budi Hernawan, an Indonesian academic who lived in Jayapura for ten years, says Mr. Carr should ask Jakarta to hold accountable all those involved in the abuse.

“The policy makers are behind the police action, so it is not only police brutality but it is state violence against Papuans. It is an unwritten policy from both the local governments and the National Government.”

Radio New Zealand International:

4) Freeport-McMoran in Papua halt operations following death of miners

Posted at 23:32 on 15 May, 2013 UTC

Rescue work is continuing at the giant Freeport-McMoran gold and copper mine in Indonesia’s Papua province after a tunnel collapsed on Tuesday, trapping about 25 workers.

Police say four miners died and 10 others were evacuated after the tunnel caved in at the Grasberg mine.

Police add the situation at the mine is still thought to be volatile.

The company says Freeport has suspended all operations at the mine out of respect for the workers killed .

The head of Freeport’s Indonesia unit says it is a temporary suspension out of sympathy for the victims but also due to some safety considerations around underground operations.

He adds accident has had no effect on the open mining pit at Grasberg.

Freeport, which is handling the rescue operation, said in a statement on Tuesday that the rescue process is difficult and will take some time to complete.

About 40 workers were undergoing safety training at the time of the tunnel’s collapse.

The condition of the 10 people who were rescued is not known.

Radio New Zealand International

5) Queensland, PNG cops to see exchanges
By Online Editor
5:41 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Queensland and Papua New Guinea will soon see a police exchange program between the two Governments, says the visiting Queensland State Premier, Campbell Newman.

The Premier made this announcement last night on his first official visit to PNG as Queensland’s Premier.

He said between 100-150 police personnel from Queensland would come to PNG and the same number of members from the Papua New Guinea Royal Constabulary would also go to Queensland in turn.

The police program was among some of the incentives that the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Mr Newman agreed on.

It is understood that the police program is on the top of the list and would be implemented by the end of this year with the first deployment of Queensland police to PNG.

PNG police would be based around rural Queensland area to train on similar challenging issues in PNG.

He said Queensland would be offering a new experience of front line policing with the opportunity for both police forces to learn policing skills.

The two government leaders last night also signed the revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding government business cooperation between PNG and the State of Queensland.

He said he liked PM O’Neill’s views on developing PNG as they are straight forward and address practical issues.

“His asking for things for the benefit of the people in the areas of service delivery, especially with technical assistance and I can say it now that we agree on these things,” Mr Newman said.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the MoU signing was not just around the area of business cooperation.

“It is also about how our government can benefit from your experience and your expertise in some key areas we are experiencing problems and shortcomings in,” O’Neill said.

The Queensland Premier is in PNG for two days with a business delegation from Queensland.

Today, he attends a business breakfast with the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry…. PACNEWS


6) Solomons benefits in Australian budget

By Online Editor
11:53 am GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Australia

The Australian budget makes cuts to spending in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

But it offers more money to help the Solomon Islands govern itself after an Australian assistance mission withdraws this year.

Labor government Treasurer Wayne Swan revealed an $18 billion deficit when he delivered the budget for 2013-2014.

Delivering his sixth budget, Swan promised Australia will be out of the red in two years time.

He said challenging global economic conditions and a high Australian dollar have put huge pressure on the budget.

The Treasurer has made $43 billion in savings to send the budget to balance in two years and to a surplus a year later.

The budget focus is on delivering over a 10-year period the two key reforms: the national disability insurance scheme, DisabilityCare, and the national school reforms.

Wayne Swan says he is not putting an axe to the economy.

Foreign aid targets, as forecast, have been delayed.

Savings worth $88 million over six years are being found in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs through reducing Canberra-based staff and closing the Budapest embassy.

Almost half a billion dollars is going towards the transition of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI.

Australian Defence personnel are still on track to pull out later this year.

But the new money will go to improve Solomon Islands’ governance and financial management.


7a) MP Ralph Regenvanu

Nyus i kam long MP mo Pati
Parliament of the Republic of Vanuatu

2 media artikol:
1. Press Rilis blong Gavman: Response to Hon. Willy Jimmy’s article in the Daily Post (Monday 13th May)

1. First all, MP’s in this government have respect for WJT as a senior MP.  As a mark of this respect and recognition, the current coalition government afforded WJT with a Ministerial position in the senior portfolio of Finance and Economic Management, despite his party only having one voice in the legislature and, therefore, not being entitled to a Ministry.
2. The current coalition government was formed with national interest at heart.  Given the fragmented political representation of the current parliament, an MOA was drafted requiring unfailing commitment at both a political and operational level.  The coalition was between two blocs, the Natapei Group (including WJT’s party, the LDP) and the Moana Group.
3. The main reason for WJT’s termination was his continuing attempts to form a third political bloc within the current government with the aim of installing himself as Prime Minister with the support of the Opposition.  Despite WJT’s denial of this in his statement to the media, approaches by LDP political cronies to MP’s in the current government encouraging them to side with WJT and install him as Prime Minister began even before the installation of the Hon. Moana Carcasses Kalosil as PM on the 23rd March 2013 and have continued unabated until his termination on the 10th May.  At least a dozen MP’s reported these approaches to the Prime Minister, including some presidents of political parties.  Even on the night before Hon. Kalosil’s election as Prime Minister, senior members of the LDP were camped with the Opposition bloc on Erakor Island waiting for WJT to join them to become Prime Minister (when the numbers did not materialize, WJT sat with the government to vote in Hon. Kalosil).  At one point, the discontent within the coalition government over WJT’s continued attempts to build his bloc – this time his attempt to sign an MOU with other parties in the government in April – resulted in WJT performing a custom ceremony to apologize for his actions to the Hon. Moana Carcasses Kalosil.  Despite this apology, however, the attempts continued.
4.  Rather than continue to entertain such disloyalty to the Prime Minister from a senior Minister within his government, the two blocs forming the current government agreed to terminate WJT as a Minister.
5.  WJT, like some of the other Ministers, has had differences of opinion with the current Prime Minister and other Ministers, but this is normal in coalitions of a number of political parties like the current one.  Differences of opinion are certainly not a reason to terminate a Minister, and in fact the current Prime Minister sees them as constructive in leading towards better decisions by the government.
6.  Many of the issues raised in WJT’s statement to the media are issues of policy, for example, granting tax exemption for charities and abolishing the Agriculture Bank, and there are arguments that can be put for and against such policies, that is the nature of politics.  However, his claims regarding the Agriculture Bank are misleading.  The VADB concept and the agricultural sector is very much at the heart of this government’s vision; however, an institution that has not performed and continues to lend monies largely to MP’s and civil servants is not!
7. WJT’s comments regarding a proposed new airport are premature given nothing concrete has been decided upon yet.  Even the IFC report remains to be completed.  The Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Nipake, only departed yesterday for a fact-finding mission in Singapore on this topic.  This misrepresentation of the facts are seen in a different light given that WJT was very keen to push an alternative Chinese Group proposal without the IFC report completed and at hand.  The COM refusal of his proposal was a warning unheeded by WJT, he has been continuing to court his Chinese supporters.
9. WJT’s views on the Phocea also reflect poor legal and commercial understanding of the issues at hand.  His view also fails to acknowledge no findings against Pascal Anh Quan Saken, his crew or his ship by Interpol – a fact that combined with existing Vanuatu Supreme Court orders and State Law Office advice for the vessel to leave brings into play the potential for a huge liability claim from our cash strapped Government.  The ship is best off in another jurisdiction so that any international concerns can be raised there, relieving Vanuatu of a dangerous liability.
11. Prudent fiscal management was not shown by WJT when one of his first acts as Minister of Finance was to immediately present a compensation claim by a illegally-established company run by a civil servant at the time for 50 million vatu to the government to be paid, despite knowing that the State Law Office had advised that the claim should not be paid.  His attempt to get another State Minister to co-sign the agreement to present the claim to the government was rebuffed, but raised eyebrows in the cabinet.
12. WJT’s cites his refusal to appoint 2 political staff of the GJP to his Ministry as a reason for his discontent.  Again he fails to inform the public that he only got given a Ministerial portfolio because the GJP, which was entitled to the Ministry, agreed to sacrifice and give it to him, and that on the first day of his appointment he and the President of the GJP sat down in his office and agreed to a fair sharing of staff positions between LDP and GJP, an agreement which he then proceeded to immediately break by choosing to appoint personal friends and in the case of his 1st Political Adviser, his own son!  This was hardly a sufficient reason for his termination, however.
13. Politics is a tough game in the current fragmented representation – it is even harder given the fragility of the country and the state of affairs handed over by former PM Sato Kilman.  The current Government of the Hon. Kalosil understands this well and hopes that once WJT has had time to reflect he may wish to consider joining the government again.  The simple condition from the government is that he displays strong solidarity and a common concern for the welfare of Vanuatu and her interests.
14. The government wishes WJT well in all his endeavors especially his anti-corruption fight against Sato Kilman.  The government also welcome any views and concerns he may have, which should be presented in the appropriate manner that an MP of his seniority would expect.

2. Intaviu wetem Praem Minista Moana Carcasses Kalosil long Islands Business magazine

By Davendra Sharma, May 2013
If first impressions are anything to go by, Vanuatu’s new Greens Party prime minister will truly stamp his place in the country’s political history. Changing and chopping his predecessor’s appointments—ministerial and foreign diplomatic postings—was Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil’s first moves as he consolidated his support from within his new bench in Port Vila.
A review of the country’s post-independence constitution is also on his ambitious agenda—issues similar to those considered in the several changes to Fiji’s constitutions over the last 25 years since the first military coup in 1987. These are being discussed in the corridors of Vanuatu’s parliament. Greater power to the National Council of Chiefs, observing Christian sabbath on Saturdays as well as Sundays, and enforcing that future foreign investors include indigenous ni-Vanuatu in their plans are a range of controversial prime policy prospects Kalosil is contemplating. After cleaning up his domestic front, the region and the world’s first Greens Party prime minister terminated a defence cooperation agreement the former leader Sato Kilman signed with Indonesia. Kilman’s alliance with Jakarta was a two-pronged effort—to move Vanuatu away from military reliance on Australia and also make a stand on anti-independence for West Papuans. But Kalosil has been a staunch and vocal supporter of freedom for Melanesians in West Papua, currently held under Indonesia. He announced that changes he is implementing are reflective of what he stands for. He said in his past 11 years he noticed that new post-election governments in Vanuatu lacked vision as crucial policy changes were being ignored while prime ministers engaged in personal agendas once they took up office. In his own personal unique flair of voicing concerns on just about everything, Kalosil criticised former governments of being dormant and taking too long to implement important policy decisions. “People expect to have a working government, a government of action,” he told overseas media in April, a month after displacing Kilman in a parliamentary confidence vote. Kalosil’s schedule of goals is to achieve as many as 100 changes and results in as many days. He reckons that after 33 years of independence, the former Anglo-French colony is nowhere near being financially stable although it possesses abundant resources to foster the livelihood of its population. Like the Fiji situation, where indigenous Fijians have been alienated from the mainstream economy at the expense of residents of Indian and Chinese descent, ni-Vanuatu also have similar fears. The new government intends to implement a 51% partnership deal between new foreign investors and locals. “What we are saying is that we are ready to discuss these issues with the private sector and to find common interests. What is important now after nearly 33 years of independence, is that our population should be part of this economy,” Kalosil was quoted last month. The Prime Minister said nearly every independent islands country suffered similar issues as Vanuatu where jobs, income, profits and dividends were being siphoned away from the shores of the islands countries. While every country has encouraged foreign investment, they have paid a price for the foreign injection of dollars with the indigenous population denied their fair share of the revenue. “So as a responsible government, we need to put in place policies to help everyone be part of this economy.” Kalosil will repeal the act which established the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority—charged with monitoring foreign investment—and replace it with a Vanuatu Prevention Authority which will ensure greater local participation in future new businesses.
Consult National Council of Chiefs Moves are afoot to reward the country’s ancestral leaders with greater consultative authority on matters pertaining to land, language, culture and traditional customs of ni-Vanuatu. The council which is elected by member chiefs sitting in district council of chiefs has in recent past made headlines whilst appealing to the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group to preserve ownership of customary land. Chiefs from Vanuatu joined those from Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville and the Solomon Islands at a Mele Declaration in 2010, to ask regional inter-government agencies to keep landownership in native hands. Kalosil believes the role of traditional chiefs in Vanuatu should not be arbitrary. In changes, he has recommended, the new premier wants “the chiefs and council to negotiate with them changes that we want to do on anything on land, on custom…and I think it is important. Being a predominantly Christian state, Kalosil wants the country to observe strict sabbath on Saturdays and Sundays. He said businesses and the parliament will be affected by the move but “it’s time to give to God, and on that day we can concentrate on worship”.
Foreign relations Just as Kilman was at loggerheads with Canberra last June when his private secretary Clarence Marae was arrested in Australia over money-laundering claims, Indonesia quickly moved into Port Vila with loads of promise of military and education aid. Kilman suspended the Australian Federal Police secondments and there were fears future defence ties with Canberra could be jeopardised with the former prime minister reluctant to budge on his Australian stand. Kalosil has however not made his views on Australia known although it is clear he will terminate the highly-publicised Defence Cooperation Agreement with Jakarta signed by his predecessor. The treaty was seen as a smack on Canberra’s 1983 Defence Cooperation Programme—under which Australian provides the Pacific Patrol Boat mission around Vanuatu waters. He is bitter about the brutal killings of Melanesians in West Papua. As Internal Affairs Minister under the previous government, Kalosil warned that Vanuatu was treading on dangerous grounds by allying with Indonesia. He said as part of his push for West Papua’s freedom and putting a stop to the suppression of Melanesians in the province, he will move to admit West Papua in the MSG (Melanesian Spearhead Group). “MSG is quite powerful…with 80% of the Pacific population being Melanesian” With a growing number of West Papua residents now living in Vanuatu, the pressure on government in Port Vila is bigger than ever to support the freedom struggles of West Papua. “Remember the late (prime minister) Father (Walter) Lini making the point at the time that Vanuatu should support the struggle of West Papua and today my government will support this, of course,” Kalosil said in his first public interview after his elevation to the high office. He said recognition of West Papua as an independent state will gain momentum once the MSG lends an ear to the struggles faced by the nearly three million Melanesians in the province. While Australia and China have made major inroads into Vanuatu’s commerce, development aid and trade in recent years, Kalosil has not made an official stand on further enhancing or limiting interaction between his governments and the region’s two principal economic powers. “Everyone is important in the Pacific,” he said when asked about the importance of the Forum of which Australia is a full member and China an observer. But in line with his previous stand on restricting Chinese migrant workers heading to Vanuatu, Kalosil said he intends to move the Chinese Convention Centre from the main Parliament Park. If unchallenged in parliament, Kalosil would hope to avoid the fate of his predecessors and hold on to power for the remaining four years of parliament’s tenure.


7b) Former Vanuatu MP: Difference Of Opinion Lead To Removal
Jimmy alleges government enacting ‘legally infeasible’ policies

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 14, 2013) – Former Minister of Finance, Willie Jimmy, had a broad smile on his face when he met the writer of this article in Chantilly’s on the Bay yesterday, saying he leaves Vanuatu’s Government with a clear conscience and swears to God that there was no such meeting held with other MPs to discuss forming a (political) bloc, as claimed in the media.

MP Jimmy, who is also the President of the Vanuatu Liberal Democratic Party, said what Daily Post reported the Government as saying that he was removed due to “difference of opinion” is true.

There are a number of issues in the Council of Ministers Decision that he did not agree with because of their legal implications on the state financial resources.

He said, “The Ministry of Finance is covered by what is called ‘prudent fiscal management’ which is covered under the Public Finance and Fiscal Management Act so you cannot do away with this. This is why my opinion is not on par with other members of the Cabinet because I am bound by the laws of the land to operate within them and therefore simply put, I cannot operate outside these laws.”

On the 100 Day Policy Achievements, he said there is no secret about this because a lot of work and consultations are required to be done before the Government can make the policy changes in the pipeline.

“For example, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management is tasked to undertake:

A review to amend the VAT Act to allow non-charitable organizations from paying VAT and other taxes and duties on import.
Abolish Vanuatu Agriculture Bank. This (VAB) is long term benefit to Vanuatu agriculture investment and development purposes, (and to remove it) is considered to be economic suicide for the nation and its people.
Issue of (mega yacht) Phocea and my agreement to transfer management powers under the Act Cap 131 to Ports and Harbour to administer as more appropriate authority. The COM Paper was removed by Prime Minister Moana Carcasses at the COM Meeting when I was about to introduce it.
Delay establishing or reappointment of members of Technical Advisory Group (TAG) because there are a number of individuals who are closely associated with the Prime Minister who are members of TAG.
My refusal to recruit two political staff of GJP in the Ministry of Finance.
Finally and just as important is the issue to award a contract to Singapore Construction company to upgrade certain airports in the country for a total amount of US$350 million or approximately Vt35 billion, to be guaranteed by Vanuatu Government through a Promissory Note to Sumitomo Bank.”

MP Jimmy said a number of the new Government policies are connected to relevant laws that were passed by parliament. He said he personally pointed the requirements to the Prime Minister that they would not be legally feasible until parliament met to either amend or pass new laws to allow them to be carried out. Until then he as Minister of Finance would not be party to the new policies as his actions would be deemed illegal.

The former Minister of Finance said the interview is not to be seen as “crying over spilt milk” but that he wants the public to know the other side of the story about the real reasons for his termination on May 10.

He called on the public to be vigilant by exercising their own fundamental rights and duties provided for under the Constitution to scrutinize and monitor the performance of the current Government that it is transparent and leaders are held accountable for their deeds and actions.

Vanuatu Daily Post:

8) VNPF audit

Posted on May 16, 2013
Milai, Ranche de Bouffa, Nasama poor investment decisions
Royson Willie

A leaked summary report of findings and recommendations of the Auditor General on the investigative audit of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) issued on December 21, 2012 carried out by Ernst & Young Australia, shows that vague investment guidelines contributed to poor investment decisions being approved with respect to Milai, Ranche de Bouffa and Nasama without the due diligence process and analysis being undertaken.

The summary report stated that these decisions on the above investment projects were further exacerbated by apparent ‘conflict of interest’ by a board member not being appropriately managed, problems with lease transfer and registration, inflated purchase prices and insufficient valuation information.

According to the report, the composition of the Board when these investment decisions were made in 2009 was different to the Board which approved the changes to VNPF in 2011 and to the Board at the date of the production of the report.

The summary report stated that once it became apparent that the Milai and Ranche de Bouffa investments were not performing, a decision was taken to divest and change the intended purpose of the investments from a ‘residential housing estate’ to ‘farming’.

This decision was made without the appropriate due diligence (process for new projects, asset allocation, exit strategy and selection of Fund/Investment Manager as specified under the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu onsite review of 2011)being undertaken.

9) Key finds from Citizen Access to Information in Vanuatu survey

Posted on May 15, 2013

Jonas Cullwick

A study into how the people of Vanuatu access information has found that while hunger for news is evident across all provinces, those living in more remote areas generally express a greater need for information on more basic issues that affect their daily lives, such as education, environment and domestic violence, than their counterparts in urban centers. This finding is one of ten key findings of the Citizen Access to Information in Vanuatu study, conducted by InterMedia between October and December 2012.

The study was commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation International Development (ABC ID) as part of Vois Blong Yumi program funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

The Citizen Access to Information in Vanuatu study was designed to assess information needs and media communication habits of Vanuatu citizens, as well as their attitudes towards development issues, in order to help development, media and policy organizations better understand community needs and optimize their citizen engagement strategies in Vanuatu.

The study also found that MDG related issues generally do not rank high on the citizens’ information agenda, apart from those living in Torba province, who are considerably more likely to prioritize information on MDG related issues, particularly related to environment, domestic violence and governance.
The report on the key findings of the study shows that mobile phones are most widely owned communication device in Vanuatu, while radio emerged as the most used and most trusted mass medium. Household access to radio devices tends to be more limited in rural areas and more remote provinces, where poor or nonexistent signal presents one of the main barriers to radio listening.

“Men and older members of the household generally have the most control over the use of all media devices in the household. Conversely, women and younger members of the household generally have the least say in how and when these media are used and what is listened to or watched,” the report continues.

Communal use of radio, television and sharing of newspapers is important particularly in rural areas, where home access to media tends to be limited.
The study found that word of mouth is an important source of information particularly for those living in rural areas where media access is scarce. Local community opinion leaders, in particular, play a crucial role as information brokers for many of the issues, and are also considered the most trusted sources of information, ahead of all traditional media.

“Overall, household access to media is heavily influenced by the geographic diversity of Vanuatu. While household access to different media in the urban areas tends to be relatively diverse, citizens living in more remote areas often have access to only one media device, and also rely heavily on word of mouth,” the report of the study’s findings continues.

The study found too that news, music and talkback shows are the most popular radio programing styles in Vanuatu. News is valued by all age groups with the exception of the youngest audience (15-24 year-olds), who put more emphasis on music.

Talkback shows have a wide appeal across all age groups, but are somewhat more popular in urban areas and among the better educated radio listeners.
“Radio Vanuatu and Capitol FM are the most listened to radio stations in Vanuatu, each reaching about a third of all adults on a weekly basis. However, they both seem to have different strengths – Radio Vanuatu is valued mainly as a source of accurate, detailed, up-to-date news and information, while Capitol FM’s appeal lies in its music and provision of “lighter”, entertaining content,” the study found.

96 BuzzFM, the newest radio station in the country, was launched only on October 12, 2012.

Finally, the Citizen Access to Information in Vanuatu study found that the Australian government is the most well-known foreign entity working in Vanuatu, and generally enjoys positive image among Vanuatu citizens, as does AusAID.

Due to significant logistical constraints associated with the geological diversity of Vanuatu, a decision was made to conduct the survey in only one island in each of the six provinces. These islands were chosen primarily due to their comparatively large population size accounting for 75% of the population of Vanuatu, accessibility by aeroplane and availability of transportation.

The survey was conducted immediately after the 2012 general elections in Vanuatu, which the writers of the report say may have implications for the findings on the citizens’ prioritization of political issues and their knowledge of and attitudes toward civic participation discussed in the report.

10) Thousands in New Caledonia join general strike

Posted at 07:51 on 15 May, 2013 UTC

Thousands of people in New Caledonia have taken to the streets to protest against the high cost of living.

In the capital, Noumea, an estimated 7,000 people joined a general strike and marched to the territorial Congress, the French High Commission and the seat of government.

Walter Zweifel reports.

“Five unions are behind the action, which is aimed at the territory’s politicians, accusing them of failing to enact reforms agreed to since the last mass protest two years ago. They want to continue their protest by next targetting supermarkets, banks and petrol stations for allegedly charging excessive margins. The mainly Kanak USTKE union has distanced itself from the general strike, saying it is part of a pre-election political campaign by the Caledonian Union, which is led by former president, Philippe Gomes. It says the unions on strike ignore that immigration has been the source of the problems as it contributes to the high cost of living and unemployment among Kanaks.”

Radio New Zealand International

11) Fiji AG Dismisses Australian Foreign Minister’s Comment
Carr says Fiji ‘diminished’ by not accepting commissioner

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 14, 2013) – Fiji’s Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the statement by the Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr that Fiji is “diminished” by not accepting a nomination for the Australian High Commissioner in Suva is gratuitous and unwarranted.

“How is Fiji diminished? It is exercising its sovereign right like all other countries do in approving, as a host country, a nominee of another country for a diplomatic mission,” said Sayed-Khaiyum.

He said the statement indicates, yet again, that Australia’s attitude to Fiji is prescriptive and highhanded.

Rather than deal with Fiji as an equal, it expects our country to say “yes” to everything Australia proposes.

“Fijians have a wonderful relationship with ordinary Australians, who we regard as valued friends. All of which makes it disappointing that the Australian Government refuses to engage in a constructive manner.”

“[The] Bainimarama Government is creating the first genuine parliamentary democracy in Fiji’s history next year of one person, one vote, one value and the removal of the legal enforcement of ethnic voting. All of the former major political parties are registered to contest the elections in September 2014. The Bainimarama Government has consistently said that the 2014 elections will be free, fair and transparent, unlike previous ones,” he said.



12) Tonga Employment Relations Bill Consultations Extended
Commerce group says bill unsuited for Tonga’s business climate

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 14, 2013) – Consultations on Tonga’s Employment Relations Bill 2013 have been extended to 31 May 2013, and a revised bill is expected to go to parliament in August.

The Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour said in a statement today that it had completed the first stage of its consultation process on the bill during a workshop on May 8 in Nuku’alofa and anticipated tabling a revised bill to parliament by the end of August 2013.

The workshop at the Tungi Collonade was attended by stakeholders from government, private sector business associations, employees associations, churches and non-government organizations.

“Discussions identified the need to put in place a legal framework that establishes a fair labor market for all tripartite stakeholders, i.e. employees, employers and Government,” the Ministry stated.

The agreed way forward for the development of the Bill included:

Extension of the consultation period to end of May 2013;
A Tripartite Open Forum to be held at end of June 2013;
Policy Formulation and Technical Inputs to be incorporated by end of July 2013; and
For the Revised Bill to be released by end of August 2013.

“The Ministry is pleased with the outcome of the workshop and is committed to the way forward established by the workshop.”

The Minister for Commerce, Tourism and Labour, Dr. Viliami Uasike Latu said at the workshop that, “the Employment Relations Bill 2013 aims to provide the fundamental principles of a fair labor market including rights at work and due processes, and the protection of employment relations”.

The Ministry advised that submissions of comments on the draft Employment Relations Bill 2013 was now extended to 4:30pm Friday, 31st May 2013. Copies of the draft Bill can be obtained from the Ministry.

Chamber of Commerce and Industries

Meanwhile, Tonga’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries (TCCI) has sent in submissions, noting among its concerns that, “The bill sounds like it was a cut and paste from some other country and it hasn’t been adapted to the current business environment of Tonga.”

In a statement today the TCCI recognized the need for labor legislation that protects both employers and employees operating in the public and private sector in the Kingdom of Tonga. It also supported the notion of development of the economy based on growth by efficiency and competitiveness rather than growth based on the exploitation of labor.

“TCCI believes that the Bill which could be introduced to the Tongan labor and business environment should address the significant issues of safe working conditions, minimum standards of employment that allow a decent quality of work life balance, and enhanced productivity that would lead to the competitiveness of businesses.

“Thus, the Bill should be simple and effective and not be burdened with too many issues such as Union representation and control of the employment contract; bearing in mind that there are different levels of business operation in Tonga (including foreign-owned investors). It should also be balanced between employer and employee and not be so one-sided as though the employer is an automatic enemy.”

The TCCI listed its concerns surrounding the bill, which include the costs to business of the administration, additional leave and PAYE payments, which would be covered by increasing prices at the same time when businesses were bearing the increased costs of the new Retirement Fund.

“During this most difficult time economically it is the wrong time to introduce such a bill, which will increase unemployment and it will further fracture any potential growth in the economy.”

The TCCI was also concerned about the authority that would be given to the CEO of a new Employment Relations Advisory Committee, which among other things, could interfere with the contractual agreements between employer and employee.

Matangi Tonga Magazine:

13) Samoa’s HRPP Calls For Finance Minister’s Removal
Faumuina criticized for building himself expensive office

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, May 15, 2013) – The majority of the Human Rights Protection Party’s (HRPP) 36-member caucus want Samoa’s Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, removed from Cabinet.

They’ve signed a letter to that effect which was handed to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi last week, Talamua was reliably informed today.

Three other reliable sources have independently confirmed the report.

Talamua has also learned that Cabinet that usually meets Wednesdays, but called a special meeting yesterday afternoon to discuss the eruption of discontent with Faumuina.

MPs who want him out are outraged by the loss of $1.77 million tala [US$749,936] of taxpayer funds from a legal battle with Siva Afi Design Ltd when he was the Minister of Samoa Lands. There is also the reported $1.8 million tala [US$762,647] waste of unused plans and drawings of the Fugalei Market projectthat has been re-tendered.

The Minister is in charge of the Accident Compensation Board that looks after the produce market.

The “final straw” as one source puts it, was Faumuina’s expansion of space at the new Samoa National Provident Fund Plaza to build himself a WST$600,000 [US$254,216] office. The Minister has an office at the Central Bank and recently had a separate one at the old NZ High Commission office at Tamaligi.

“Either resign or sack (sic),” said one senior HRPP MP of the options regarding Faumuina that is stated in their petition letter to the Prime Minister.

Public outcry against the Finance Minister’s perceived extravagance and incompetence reflects what members of the HRPP caucus feel, Talamua was told.

“While people of the country sell their crops in the sun and rain because of delays in reconstruction of Fugalei Market, the Minister built himself an expensive office,” goes one of the complaints.

It is not known when the HRPP Caucus gathered to discuss Faumuina’s fate.

Faumuina has just returned home from a meeting of the Asian Development Bank. He is also Minister for Samoa National Provident Fund, Housing Corporation, and the Accident Compensation Corporation.

His other responsibilities: Financial Institutions, Tenders Board, Revenue Board, Offshore Jurisdiction, Registry of Births/Deaths/Marriages and Cabinet Development Committee.


14) Tokelau To Double Number Of Government Ministers
Village mayors slated to receive ministerial portfolios

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 14, 2013) – The Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau is to double the number of ministers.

Up to now all portfolios have been held by the three faipule, or island leaders, but the mayors of each of atoll, the pulenuku, who are already on the Council, will now also have ministerial responsibilities.

The general manager of Tokelau’s Apia based administration, Jovilisi Suveinakama, says this is a constitutional requirement but it had not been done because of fears the additional workload would impact on their roles in the villages.

“So that is why there was a certain reluctance from the community to give village mayors ministerial portfolios, but now I think we have come to a time where, through the advice of the Tokelau constitutional advisor, let’s get and meet what is actually required under Tokelau’s constitution,” Suveinakama says.

Radio New Zealand International:


15) Senate group OKs Medicaid for Micronesian migrants
By Online Editor
6:03 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2013, United States

The latest version of the U.S. Senate immigration reform bill restores Medicaid eligibility to migrants from three Pacific island nations in Micronesia.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to reinstate eligibility by adopting an amendment from U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono. The Democrat from Hawaii says the move will save the state millions of dollars each year.

Citizens of the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia have the right to live and work in the U.S. under international treaties.

In exchange, the U.S. military controls extensive strategic land and water in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and China. That includes Kwajalein Atoll, the site of missile testing and space activities.

But the international agreements have caused tension between the U.S. federal government and state and territorial governments over who should pay for providing services to migrants.

In 1996, Congress revoked migrants’ eligibility for Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income people. The move shifted the financial burden for health care to states and territories.

Residents of Guam, Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands have felt the greatest fiscal impact. Between 2004 and 2010, all three reported spending more than $1 billion to provide services for the migrants, mainly for education and health care. That doesn’t take into account the contributions migrants have made through taxes and labor.

The federal government spent more than $200 million during the same time period to compensate the local governments. But state and territorial leaders have said the money is far from enough.

In Hawaii, public outcry against the rising health care costs caused the state Legislature to significantly cut health care benefits for the community three years ago. A federal judge struck down the move as discriminatory.

Advocates for providing health care to migrants have said the U.S. has a moral imperative to do so because of the negative health effects of U.S. nuclear testing in the Pacific. Critics have countered that the cost is too high.

More than 50,000 people __ almost a fourth of the population of all three nations __ have already moved to the U.S. They have settled in various states including California, Oregon and Arkansas…. PACNEWS


16) CNMI’s Behavioral Health Department Applauded
Federal grants supporting prevention, treatment services

By Tammy Doty

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 15, 2013) – Compliments were in abundance yesterday from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration officials, or SAMHSA, who were on island for coordination meetings with local stakeholders in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Dovetailing with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation’s (CHC) recent announcement relative to reconstituting a behavioral-health department that would combine prevention and treatment is a visit by two federal officers who deal with the same subject.

Public Health Advisor/State Project Officer for prevention, Damaris A. Richardson and Public Health Advisor for treatment, Donna J. Hillman, M.Ed. are on Saipan for a three-day series of round-robin briefings and meetings.

Yesterday’s discussion at the Pacific Islands Club included 25 attendees from a wide section of the community including Education Commissioner Rita Sablan, family court manager Joseph Villagomez, CHC’s acting chief executive officer Esther Muna and employees from probation, youth services, the hospital and public health.

“The fact that we’re all here together, sharing the mission and vision only strengthens the effort and results… I’m so pleased and appreciative that so many are sitting here from so many agencies,” said SAMHSA’s Richardson at the end of the morning session.

‘Client-centered care’

Working tirelessly and often anonymously with low salaries and little recognition are many professionals who assist and serve many of the community’s most vulnerable; the mentally ill, at-risk children and those with a criminal history.

Like too many U.S. communities, the CNMI is battling the devastating effects of drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse, domestic violence, a growing population of people with criminal records and child abuse.

SAMHSA estimates that last year alone approximately 20 million people who needed substance abuse treatment did not receive it and an estimated 10.6 million adults reported an unmet need for mental-health care.

Federal SAMHSA block grants to the CNMI support community-based prevention and treatment services for these problems that impact everyone: families, the criminal-justice system, prison, schools, tourism and the hospital.

In an effort to use federal grant money as effectively as possible, CHC’s CEO Muna decided to reconstitute the former community guidance center as the behavioral-health department, or BHD, to again unite prevention and treatment under one umbrella.

The ultimate goal for the BHD is to provide a one-stop service to clients to help them navigate and access the wide range of services from testing, counseling and treatment to continuing health maintenance.

Richardson described the concept as “client-centered care.”

Counselors and probation officers, court managers etc. have already laid the groundwork for a seamless system that delivers needed care to clients, but now that prevention and treatment are joined as the two halves of the whole an even more intense effort is underway and embraced with excitement.

“This is a great beginning to the next phase of coordination to make these services more accessible to the community and I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the work you’re doing,” remarked treatment advisor Hillman to the NMI professionals.

The federal remarks and program unification come at a crucial time as judges stipulate counseling and substance treatment as part of court sentences for perpetrators and their families in an effort to repair fractured social bonds in the CNMI’s family-based culture.

“There’s no question prevention and treatment work and we want the community to embrace these behavioral-health services,” explained Richardson emphasizing the importance of eliminating the stigma of accepting help outside the family circle.

In spite of the daily challenges of the islands’ professionals doing battle against substance abuse and mental-health issues they remain motivated and positive about the mission.

The local substance-abuse prevention-unit project evaluator officer, James Arriola, spoke to his peers and the feds during yesterday’s morning interchange of ideas and experience.

“I believe all of us together can minimize the impact of substance abuse and mental illness for our clients and community…at the end of day we go home and become neighbors again…our work is critical.”

Important outreach efforts Arriola and other staff are undertaking include seven community district meetings on Saipan, Rota and Tinian to speak with community members to assess challenges and develop more effective client service solutions.

Both SAMHSA’s Richardson and Hillman echoed how impressed they were with the coordination and effort of the islands’ prevention and treatment staff.

“They’re doing a great job with the grant money and the discretionary funds…we couldn’t be more pleased with this team’s work.”

Marianas Variety:


17) Australia’s Pacific aid capped but not all bad, says economist

Posted at 07:50 on 15 May, 2013 UTC

Australia’s Pacific aid has been capped and its goal to increase foreign aid delayed once again, but an Australian economist says there’s still good news.

Canberra has pledged an increase of half a billion US dollars on last year’s federal aid package, but there is nothing extra for the Pacific, while there is an increase for East Asia, including Indonesia.

The Australian aid budget is 0.37 per cent of gross national income, well below Australia’s Millennium Development Goal of 0.5 per cent, which has been delayed to the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

The Director of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University, Stephen Howes, says the overall foreign aid increase is good news during an economic downturn.

“In fact we think this year we might be the sixth largest aid donor in the world. So I think Australia is doing pretty well. We are certainly doing much better than we used to, internationally.”

Stephen Howes says the 0.5 per cent goal in dollar terms means an increase of three to four billion dollars and is an unrealistic target.

Radio New Zealand International


18) China offers

WEDNESDAY, 15 MAY 2013 19:49

…prepares to host pacific leaders in November

China has upped the antennae on the race to win the hearts of Pacific Island Countries.

In November this year the Beijing leadership is hosting the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum for the first China-Pacific Leaders’ Dialogue to be held in its south-west coastal city of Guangzhou.

Although officials have been tight-lipped about the event and its details, they have confirmed in private that the three-day meeting will take place from November 9 this year.

It will follow a similar format to the annual Japan-South Pacific Leaders’ Summit.

Officials said that although Solomon Islands does not have diplomatic relations with China, it will be on the list of invitees.

Solomon Islands has diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which China continues to claim is a renegade province of the Mainland.

Guangzhou was chosen by the Beijing Government to showcase China’s economic miracle because of the south-west coastal city’s thriving economic development, ranking it at the top of China’s most successful domestic economies.

“China will announce a package of assistance it has for the Pacific Island nations at the meeting,” one senior Pacific Islands official said in Beijing on the weekend.

“In the package will be China’s offer of USD1 billion soft loan, which will be available to all Pacific Islands nations,” the official said.

The soft loan offer will be the second time China has offered the Pacific Island countries and to be consistent with new focus and emphasis Beijing has placed on the Pacific region.

For example, a senior Chinese government official told visiting Pacific Island countries’ delegation last Wednesday that Beijing is ready to assist Pacific Island Countries by way of providing concessional loans and other forms of assistance.

“China’s assistance comes in different forms, which include grants, concessional loans and in-kind assistance.

“These are available to all Pacific Island Countries,” Vice Minister, Liu Jieyi, of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said.

It is not clear whether Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo would be attending, particularly at a time when Taiwan has been very sensitive about approaches to Solomon Islands by Beijing.

By Alfred Sasako
Xi’an, South-west China


19) Des vertus relaxantes du kava

Posté à 16 May 2013, 8:40 AEST
Pierre Riant

Si vous consommez de temps en temps un bol ou  un ‘shell’ de kava, vous serez d’accord avec des chercheurs australiens.

Ces chercheurs de l’Université de Melbourne confirment que cette plante est en mesure de réduire l’anxiété. Une bonne nouvelle pour les personnes qui souffrent d’anxiété et une bonne nouvelle pour les exportateurs de kava de la région.

Jérôme Sarris est l’un de ces chercheurs.

SARRIS : « Il faut considérer qu’il s’agit d’un essai clinique et que nous n’avons pas testé cet extrait soluble de kava  sur des dizaines de milliers de personnes. Toutefois, nos études cliniques ont montré qu’il n’y a pas de grandes réactions négatives. Il faut aussi dire que ces extraits de kava sont vendus sous forme d’infusion en Australie et en Nouvelle-Zélande depuis 2005, et qu’il n’y a pas eu de réactions ou d’effets négatifs rapportés. »

Le kava est toujours interdit dans plusieurs pays d’Europe. Certaines études contestées affirment que le kava est à l’origine d’atteinte hépatique.

D’autres études montrent qu’au Vanuatu, où la population est une grande consommatrice de kava, il n’y aurait pas des taux anormalement élevés de maladies du foie.

Est-ce que cette étude australienne ajoute une pierre à l’édifice de ceux qui affirment que le kava est totalement inoffensif ?

SARRIS : « Absolument, et c’est pour cela que nous effectuons ces recherches et que nous avons pris un échantillon soluble de bonne qualité, comme le conseille l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé. Et si nous pouvions à l’aide d’un essai clinique sur un échantillon solide montrer que ces extraits de kava sont inoffensifs et efficaces pour le traitement de l’anxiété et bien ce sera un très bon moyen de réintroduire le kava dans des marchés fermés, comme en Europe, au Royaume Uni et au Canada. Et, pour des raisons sociales et économiques,  c’est très important pour les populations de Pacifique. »

Ces essais cliniques ont ciblé des personnes souffrant d’anxiété ? Jérôme Sarris.

SARRIS : « Oui, absolument. Et quand je disais de petits échantillons, il s’agissait quand même de doses régulières requises pour des essais cliniques qui ont ciblé des personnes atteintes d’anxiété. Un véritable essai clinique avec des critères rigoureux. Et le kava a de puissants effets sur ces personnes qui souffrent d’anxiété. Le kava est efficace pour réduire l’anxiété. »

À consommer avec modération, bien entendu.

20) Petites piques entre l’Australie et Fidji

Posté à 16 May 2013, 8:57 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le Garde des Sceaux fidjien, Aiyaz Syaed-Khaiyum, a indiqué que l’attitude de l’Australie à l’égard de Fidji a toujours été ‘restrictive’.

Ces commentaires font suite aux déclarations, dans la presse australienne, du ministre des Affaires étrangères australien, Bob Carr, qui estime que Fidji s’est ‘diminué’ en refusant le nouvel envoyé diplomatique australien dans l’archipel.

Des propos gratuits et injustifiés, a déclaré Aiyaz Syaed-Khaiyum en soulignant que Fidji ne fait qu’exercer son droit souverain.

Le Garde des Sceaux n’explique toutefois pas les raisons du refus d’accepter la diplomate Margaret Twomey qui aurait dû prendre son poste en février dernier.


21) Samoa’s largest church group to launch a tv and a radio station

By Online Editor
5:54 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Samoa

Samoa’s largest church denomination, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa is launching a television and a radio station tomorrow.

General Secretary Reverend. Dr Iutisone Salevao says the stations will be called EFKS Television and Radio Broadcasting for now and will operate in a building behind the church’s headquarters in Apia.

The initial focus is youth, and all programmes will be in English and Samoa.

Both stations are co-funded by the Council for World Mission in Singapore and London, but the church hopes for financial self-sufficiency in the future.

The general manager of both church stations is Tuiasau Uelese Petaia, a former Chief Executive Officer of TV One, who also ran his own television station and had also been editor of Samoa Times, and the Samoa Observer.

Tuiasau, a formed vice president of the Pacific islands News Association served time at Tafaigata prison for not paying National Provident Fund employee payments for staff of his Lau TV tv station which eventually folded.

The Catholic Church in Samoa also operates a TV and radio station.



22) USP eyes expansion in Tonga

Posted at 03:32 on 15 May, 2013 UTC

The University of the South Pacific has launched its strategic plan for Tonga, with the vice chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra saying he hopes many more Tongans will study at the institution.

He says the USP intends modernising and expanding its facilities in Tonga, opening up new opportunities to a wider section of Tongan society.

The Pro Chancellor and Chair of Council, Ikbal Jannif, says the development of the regional campuses is a high priority under the strategic plan and he thanked the government for giving additional six hectares of land for the university’s campus in Nuku’alofa.

Tonga’s prime minister, Lord Tu’ivakano, says the launching marks a new beginning for the USP and a celebration of the enduring close ties between Tonga and the regional university.

Radio New Zealand International

23) PNG teachers worried overcrowded classrooms restricts learning

Posted at 17:39 on 15 May, 2013 UTC

Many teachers across Papua New Guinea are worried that overcrowded classrooms are restricting students’ learning.

While the government’s free education policy has boosted enrolment numbers and school attendance rates, some schools are struggling to accommodate the influx of students.

One Port Moresby primary school principal, who asked not to be named, is glad more students are attending school but she says overcrowding is taking its toll.

“The teachers are having a difficult time in teaching the class. I don’t think effective teaching is taking place because the students are just too many for the teachers to teach them. But my teachers are trying their very best but at the end of the day I see that my teachers are exhausted.”

She says the capital’s education authorities have promised more classrooms and teachers, but not until next year, despite the region’s schools desperately need them now.

Radio New Zealand International


24) Solomon Islands tuna industry sustainable for future generations
By Online Editor
11:29 am GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands tuna industry is growing and the Ministry of Fisheries is committed to enure the country’s tuna resources are sustainable, says the Fisheries Permanent Secretary Dr Chris Ramofafia.

Dr Ramofafia said since the ministry implemented its new policy on albacore fishing fleet, there has been an increase in revenue collection from the Noro off loading site in the Western Province

He said the new policy also created the capacity to build infrastructure and employment.

In addition, 800 jobs were created last year in the Soltuna industry.

The fisheries permanent secretary said the tuna industry has also established a new association, signifying positive growth in the industry.

Dr Ramofafia said the ministry will ensure the country’s tuna resources and other marine resources are sustainable for future generations.


25) Lifting Of Solomons Sea Cucumber Ban To End This Month
Fisheries minister concerned with management of beche-de-mer

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 14, 2013) – The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries in Solomon Islands says it is unclear when the export of beche-de-mer will reopen after it closes at the end of this month.

The ban on the marine species was lifted in March this year following various requests from the public.

Much speculation has risen about the decision to lift the ban due for closure at the end of this month.

But Dr. Chris Ramofafia told SIBC News the decision to lift the ban this year was based on scientific research and advice and how the population of the marine species has grown.

Dr. Chris says Cabinet was also involved in the decision.

He says the Ministry is concerned only at the management of the marine species but a timeframe for future exports is not clear.

SIBC news understands that certain rural communities are requesting an extension of the harvest and export period.

Radio New Zealand International:

26) Fiji Airways tops aircraft livery

By Online Editor
11:32 am GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji Airways has been crowned top choice among the amazing six airlines of the Pacific Rim that have made it into top 10 this year for its stunning livery.

According to Australian Business Traveller, TheDesignAir website (one of their favourite sites where aviation geek meets design chic) has put together a list of this year’s top 10 airline liveries.

“To crown the amazing six airlines of the Pacific Rim that have made it into our Top 10 liveries this year is the stunning Fiji Airways livery,” the TheDesignAir website said.

The website said this wonderful ‘heritage-bound’ national design using pacific tribal patterns and emblems showed a proud cultural image that would stand out at its international destination airports of Sydney, Auckland, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

“It appears as something still exotic, and whilst on a ‘Eurowhite fuselage’, it could have had the fate of many new liveries, and appear bland and simplistic — but it’s actually got a strong logotype, bold tailfin and interesting nacelles that draw the eye all over the well balanced airframe.”

It further stated that airlines like Fiji Airways showed that inspiring liveries were still being produced today.

“What we applaud the most here is the dramatic change from their current image and a purposeful return to its roots.

“You don’t need to be a planespotter to appreciate a great-looking airline livery — a stylish paintjob that turns heads at even the most crowded airport.”

Fiji Airways spokesman Shane Hussein said they were obviously delighted that the new Fiji Airways livery continued to earn accolades.

“It’s a testament to brilliant work of our artist Makereta Matemosi, whose masi art makes up our new livery as well as the efforts of our own Air Pacific team who worked with her to create this new identity and apply it on our aircraft,” Hussein said.

Hawaiian Airlines came in the second spot followed by O’hana by Hawaiian, Asiana and Starflyer.



27) Raid nets $50,000 marijuana

Maciu Malo
Thursday, May 16, 2013

ABOUT 40 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $50,000 were uprooted by police near Vatubalavu Village in Navosa on Tuesday.

The raid followed a tip-off as police continued their crackdown targeting marijuana growing operations in the Nadroga-Navosa highlands.

Keiyasi chief Ratu Waisake Nasewe said he was disappointed that certain individuals refused to be part of the fight against marijuana cultivation.

“The uprooting of the marijuana plants at Vatubalavu brings shame to our people,” he said.

“I will be holding a meeting with my people at Keiyasi. Anyone found cultivating marijuana in the Keiyasi area will be chased from the village.

“The police and the government have spent a lot of money on farm raids over the years yet people failed to adhere to simple instructions.

“I think it’s time for the vanua to take a firm stand in the fight against drug cultivation.” Police director operations and Deputy Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said the farm raid confirmed that marijuana farming still thrived in the highlands.

He called on the people and traditional leaders to take ownership of the fight against marijuana cultivation.

“We are sure that marijuana cultivation is very much alive in the highlands,” said DCP Tudravu. “Police will not back down.

“We will continue to hunt marijuana cultivators and put a stop to this.”

DCP Tudravu said the issue must be addressed by village headmen, district reps and chiefs.

28) Tongan man loses bid over deportation
By Online Editor
5:58 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2013, New Zealand

A Tongan overstayer at the centre of claims of illegal and unfair treatment has failed to overturn his deportation.

An urgent appeal to stop the man being sent back to Tonga on Tuesday has been turned down by Associate Immigration Minister Nikki Kaye.

However,Kaye has scrapped the normal five-year ban before the man can apply to return to New Zealand.

The man’s lawyer, Richard Small, says the removal of the ban is welcome, but he will go ahead with complaints to the Ombudsman and the Solicitor-General.

Small says the decision to deport the man is unfair because his request to speak to his lawyer after his arrest was ignored by the immigration service.


29) PNG Looks To Toughen Laws Against Violent Crimes
Higher penalties for rape, repeal of Sorcery Act proposed

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 14, 2013) – Papua New Guinea’s Government will give notice to Parliament to enact tougher laws for white collar and common crimes like rape and murder when the House convenes for its second quarter session today, leader of Government Business James Marape said last night.

Parliament will resume at 2 o’clock this afternoon and pressure is mounting for the government to take drastic measures to address the ever increasing violent crime and rape, especially those perpetrated against PNG women and girls.

Minister Marape said the government agenda for the session include making important laws like the amendment to the Public Service Management Act to complement the focus on districts and provinces and Cabinet Ministers to give their quarterly reports on their Ministry and department performance in the year of implementation.

The pressure on government to act fast will be advocated by a nationwide protest in the form of “Haus Krai” (house of mourning) against the unacceptable high rate of violence against women that will be staged outside of Parliament today.

Minister Marape said Cabinet has authorized Attorney-General Kerenga Kua to work on the proposed legislations and will give notice in this session to arrest the growing law and order issues.

The proposed legislation will clear hurdles so the death penalty is implemented.

Other tough measures that will be debated include the proposed legislations so that rape will now attract life imprisonment without parole; armed robbery will attract 30 years; the Sorcery Act will be repealed so sorcery related crimes will be punishable under the Criminal Code; drug abuse to attract a minimum of 10 years imprisonment; and the penalties for all forms of assault will be increased.

Alcohol licensing will now be a national function and no longer a provincial function. Trading hours for alcohol will be limited from 12 noon to 2:00 am for licensed premises and 12 noon to 6pm for retail outlets.

Any breach to the liquor laws will attract 10 years imprisonment or heavy fines by licensees or consumers.

The penalty for possession of unlicensed firearms is now 10 years, while manufacturing of firearms will attract 20 years imprisonment.

Mr. Marape said important laws such as amendments to the Public Service Management Act would top the government agenda.

“Important laws like the amendment to the Public Service Management Act to complement our focus on districts and provinces (will be debated and passed),” he said.

“We will also have Ministers presenting their ministry and department reports on their achievements in the first quarter in an important implementation year (2013).”

Minister Marape said the O’Neill-Dion government had declared 2013 as the Year of Implementation following a massive shift in the budget towards delivering goods and services to the local level government council, the districts and provinces.

He said the record K13 billion [US$6 billion] budget for 2013 had targeted government priority areas of basic health care, tuition fee free education, infrastructure development and economic opportunity for people.

Minister Marape said although there was a major budget shift targeting the rural masses, there were some bottlenecks in the system which needed to be freed-up and that required constitutional amendments.

He said the amendments would include the Public Service Management Act, Provincial and Local Level Government Act and Public Finance Management Act.

He said the public service and finance management amendments was to free up the system on the bottle-necks on the appointments to the districts and for procurement process at the district and local level government level.

Minister Marape said the amendments to the Provincial and Local Level Government was to ensure that the resources moved away from Waigani to the districts and LLGs reached their intended purpose and accounted for.

PNG Post-Courier:


30) Climate change meet

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, May 16, 2013

GOVERNMENT representatives, country co-ordinators and non-government organisations from seven Pacific Island countries are participating in a week-long climate change sub-regional training program in Nadi.

Facilitated by the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development from USP, the workshop is centred around climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The program hopes to impart the necessary knowledge required to build resilience to adverse climate variations brought about by climate change.

Participants at the workshop include representatives from Fiji, Kiribati, PNG, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Tuvalu.

The program at the Tanoa Skylodge Hotel in Nadi is funded by the EU’s Global Climate Change Alliance.

31) Time running out for habitability of Marshall Islands atoll

Posted at 07:50 on 15 May, 2013 UTC

The Marshall Islands senior climate change advisor says the atoll of Ailinglaplap may only be habitable for another 20 years, unless the international community steps in to help.

Steve Why says the latest climate change vulnerability survey shows coastal erosion has accelerated due to strong trade winds brought about by the current La Nina weather pattern.

He hopes the plight of Ailinglaplap, and the state of disaster in the country’s drought-stricken northern islands, will make the international community wake up to the dire situation facing the Pacific as a result of climate change.

“Marshall Islands is supposedly the canary in the coalmine. Well, the canary’s singing away right now, and we’re about to croak. So hopefully the rest of the coalmine’s listening, the world’s listening. I mean these disasters allow us to discuss these things and to get some attention but it completely befuddles me why we have to wait until this place is wiped out before we do anything about it.”

Steve Why says the country is developing a land reclamation plan which would need international funding to complete.

Radio New Zealand International


32) Nakaitaci named in France squad
By Online Editor
12:34 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Fiji

Noa Nakaitaci has become the first Fijian to be included in the France rugby squad for their upcoming internationals against New Zealand next month.

The wing who plays for Clermont in the France T14 has been in good form for his club in recent seasons.

He even turned down the chance to play for Fiji last year, in a bid to feature for his adopted nation.

Nakaitaci joins South African forwards Bernard Le Roux and Daniel Kotze in the squad as those newcomers from other nations.


33) Wake-up call
By Online Editor
07:22 am GMT+12, 15/05/2013, Fiji

The writing is on the wall for the Fiji Rugby Union to ‘wake up’ and employ professional and educated coaches in our national sevens team.

With less than seven weeks prior to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia, former Fiji sevens assistant coach Etuate Waqa, believes FRU should make a bold decision to benefit Fiji rugby.

Waqa says that relying on the past reputation of coaches’ who flourished during their prime will only put us a step behind the other teams.

He said FRU should make use of its Informational Technology employees to provide valuable data to the coaches. He said educated and qualified coaches were needed in modern rugby.

“It’s about time FRU takes responsibility of our continuing losses in the HSBC 7s series. They keep selecting unqualified coaches to do the job believing that their reputation during their playing days can bring changes to the game,” Waqa said.

“When the entire rugby world is getting professional assistance and advice, we are still relying on the Hong Kong traditions to bring back some long lost glories.

“With due respect to all the former 7s greats (Serevi and associates), 7s rugby has made a 360 degrees turn in terms of professionalism.”

He said we still could not learn from the top coaches like Gordon Tietjens, Paul Treu and Mike Friday, the Kenya sevens coach.

“Hello! These individuals are professionals in their own right and are competent on coaching standards.

“We have an IT room at Rugby House where IT people are employed to help coaches for game analysis and players’ assessment. If we cannot fully utilise all these equipment that FRU had purchased to assist coaches and to come up with better results on their next outing then there is something wrong with the whole organisation. I am so disgusted with all these because they cannot talk and act real,” Waqa said.

He recalls the same scenario prior to the 2005 RWC 7s, Fiji lost to New Zealand 21-7 in the cup quarter-final under then coach Pauliasi Tabulutu and captained by Marika Vunibaka.

Fiji went on to beat Samoa 24-21 to win the plate. However, FRU under former chief executive officer Pio Bosco Tikoisuva made a bold decision to recruit Wayne Pivac, Paul Feeney, named Waisale Serevi as captain and retained Malakai Finau as the manager. The result in Hong Kong was evident.

“Come on FRU, wake up it’s not too late, now is the time. When the ship was sinking in 2005 leading up to the world cup, FRU made a courageous move to bring in rugby brains to coach, manage and train the 7s team for the world cup and the end result; we won it and it’s not too late to make the same decision,” Waqa added.


34) Vanuatu businessman ends sponsorship of Amicale FC

Posted at 23:32 on 15 May, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu businessman Andrew Leong is ending his sponsorship of Amicale FC and Vanuatu Football.

He says it was important for him to leave Amicale in the ’strongest possible shape.’

Amicale won the Vanuatu national league and made it to the semi finals of the Oceania Champions League, where they were eliminated by Waitakere United.

Leong says the quality of the Amicale squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level.

Mr Leong has sponsored football in Vanuatu for the last 15 years, including various club and national teams, and says he will now concentrate on his business and family.

Radio New Zealand International

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