Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 855

MELANESIA:

1) MSG Police Commissioners meet in Port Vila

Posted on May 21, 2013

The Special MSG Police Commissioners Conference (PCC) was officially opened by the MSG Director General Mr Peter Forau at the MSG Secretariat in Port Villa, Vanuatu this week.

Mr Forau welcomed the Commissioners of Police from Fiji, Solomon Island, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu who have gathered for a one day meeting to discuss and finalize issues on Police Cooperation for the MSG.

In his opening remarks, the Director General highlighted the importance of advancing issues on Police Cooperation, Formed Police Unit (FPU) and the Regional Police Academy (RPA) for consideration by the 19th MSG Leaders Summit when they meet next month in New Caledonia.
He emphasized that a stronger society is an indication of stronger police organizations which contributes to the socio-economic social well being of a society.

He added that in order for the region to be successful it has to have a conducive environment to prosper and grow.
The Director General urged the delegates to finalise the initiatives with clearer objectives which should generate information sharing for the benefit of the membership.

In response, the Chairman of the PCC, Brigadier General.

Ioane Naivalurua who is also the Commissioner of Police of Fiji, acknowledged the presence of his colleague Commissioners, in particular the newly appointed Commissioner of Police of the Vanuatu Police Force, Mr Author Caulton for his promotion as Commissioner.

He welcomed Commissioner Caulton to the meeting in his capacity as the new Commissioner and expressed the PCC’s support and cooperation as they endeavour to collectively address security issues in the region.

Mr Naivalurua also acknowledged the work of the MSG Director General and the Secretariat staff and their continuous commitment towards the initiatives that have been realized through the Secretariat.

Commissioner Naivalarua emphasized the importance of the Special PCC which would be considering a number of legal texts including the draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Police Cooperation which will serve as the overarching framework for cooperation. Other issues include the draft legal texts on the Establishment of the Regional Police Academy (RPA) and the Formed Police Unit (FPU) which are fundamental to the establishment of the Academy and essential to the formal engagement by MSG officers in international and regional Peacekeeping Missions.

He added that the formaliszation of these arrangements would be historical for the region, considering the contributions the organization will make towards the maintenance of regional and international peace and security.

The Outcome of the meeting was presented to the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) held this week in Port Vila.http://www.dailypost.vu/content/

2) Fiji wants greater MSG economic integration

Updated 21 May 2013, 19:12 AEST

Fiji’s acting prime minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has urged Melanesian countries to consider forming a common economic union.

He has told at a meeting of trade ministers from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in Nadi that free trade between Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea is the future.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji’s trade with Pacific Island nations has seen “remarkable signs of process” in recent years, adding that more than 40 per cent of trade is with MSG countries.

“It has been noted that between the period 2005-2009, intra-MSG trade has increased substantially – with exports amongst the MSG rising by more than 300 per cent,” he said.

Audio: Timothy Pope reports for Pacific Beat (ABC News)

“In 2012 Fiji-PNG trade alone was more than $23 million.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has used the forum on Monday to call for even greater economic integration.

“We share a bold vision for a truly integrated Pacific, beginning with a the truly integrated MSG.

“The vision is for a common economic union for a single market, a common market and the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital.”

PNG’s Trade Minister, Richard Maru, says his country would prefer to focus on free trade within Melanesia rather than with other countries in the region, including Australia and New Zealand.

“Let’s focus on what’s important for us and that’s the MSG trading block,” he said.

“I think there’s neutrality on this one and that’s what we’re going to focus our attention and efforts on.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

3) Four more bodies pulled from collapsed Papua mine tunnel

Posted at 02:01 on 21 May, 2013 UTC

21 mine workers are now confirmed dead as rescue work continues at the Grasberg mine in the Indonesian province of Papua.

A tunnel collapse on Wednesday trapped 38 miners and ten were rescued.

The workers were attending safety training in classrooms at the time of the tunnel collapse.

Freeport McMoRan, the company who owns and operates the mine, say rescuers have pulled four more bodies out today to bring the total number of deceased to 21, while there are seven still unaccounted for.

The company says it is providing assistance to families of the victims, including food, accommodation and transportation.

A spokesperson for Freeport say due to debris and falling rocks blocking access, the response team faces difficulties reaching the remaining workers, and hopes for any further survivors are virtually nil.

Radio New Zealand International

4) PNG Considers Withdrawal From PACER Plus Negotiations
Trade minister Maru says focus is on MSG trade deal

By Samisoni Pareti

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 20, 2013) – Officials from Papua New Guinea say they are considering withdrawing from free trade negotiations between Pacific Island countries and Australia and New Zealand.

PNG’s Trade Minister, Richard Maru, on Monday told a meeting of trade ministers from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) that his country was considering withdrawing from Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) negotiations.

“My country is not interested in PACER Plus, our focus is the MSG Trade Agreement,” Minister Maru told a press conference convened at the end of the meeting at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Nadi.

Fifteen countries are involved in the PACER negotiations, with the aim of helping Pacific Islands Forum countries benefit from enhanced regional trade and economic integration.

Asked whether PNG would withdraw immediately from PACER Plus negotiation talks, Mr. Maru said the matter is under serious review by PNG’s government.

“Our feelings at the moment is that PACER Plus would be one-sided in favor of Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“We are frustrated with them. We can’t export our taro there, they won’t accept our greens.

“There’s nothing to be gained from a trade agreement at the moment. We cannot justify the huge amount of resources we expend on such negotiations. They are a complete waste of time.”

Asked for Fiji’s position on PNG’s stand, the country’s Minister for Trade and Attorney General, Mr. Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, said Fiji sees a lot of merit in PNG’s position.

He said Melanesian countries need to consolidate their trading capacities first before they look at free trade pacts with their bigger neighbors.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

5) It’s time to move Bougainville forward: Former head of Revolutionary Army

By Online Editor
09:38 am GMT+12, 21/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) front man Ishmael Toroama has asked his comrades and fellow combatants to put aside their differences and move Bougainville forward to the next level.

Toroama was speaking at the 23rd Remembrance Day Commemoration Ceremony at the 3 Rocks Club in Arawa Town, Central Bougainville on Friday evening during the Veterans Remembrance Day Dinner.

He said there was no time for veterans to engage in petty politicking, gossiping or backstabbing against each other.

He said time was running out to shape Bougainville’s future and save our future generations.

Toroama also wants veterans to talk openly to their children and future generations about the war they fought and what it meant to them (veterans) and the future of Bougainville.

Toroama who led the BRA from the frontline in many ferocious gun battles against the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and Resistance Fighters said May 17 is one of the pillars of unification.

“This day is a binding factor. It is the day that value is being added into Bougainville politics. This day has also contributed in the formation of the Bougainville Constitution and most importantly May 17 is our Remembrance Day,” Toroama told hundreds of veterans who came from North, Central and South Bougainville to celebrate the day in Arawa.

Toroama added that this day was a Rememberance Day and Celebration Day.

He reminded his former comrades that this Day had been achieved by bloodshed.

“It is the Day to give respect and honour and remember our fallen comrades. We will remember our fallen leaders. We will acknowledge the Peace Agreement and its transition,” he said.

Toroama proudly told the veterans that May 17 was a day of victory. He reminded his people that BRA had won many battles during the Conflict and that May 17 is a God-chosen day.

“If you’re true Bougainvillean, then I must refresh your memory,” said the veteran commander. “The 23rd commemoration day is to embrace our political vision. To embrace our comrades killed in action, to embrace our wounded in action, to embrace our fallen leaders, to embrace the Peace Agreements and to embrace our young future generation.”

Toroama thanked all the leaders who had contributed to shaping May 17 as an unforgettable day in Bougainville. He said that from next year this day would become bigger.

“The people of Bougainville have declared May 17 as the Bougainville National Day,” said Toroama.

Toroama was badly injured during the Bougainville Crisis and is widely respected.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

6) AROB endorses electronic identification card system

By WINTERFORD TOREAS

THE Autonomous Region of Bougainville is the latest place in the country to endorse the electronic identification card system. Support for the project was expressed last week at a one day workshop, held at the Kuri Village Resort in Buka on Tuesday.
Organised by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the workshop on the national e-ID card – proposed by the O’Neil-Dion government as a priority project – was attended by various organisations including churches, non-governmental organisations, council of elders, council of chiefs, media, government and the general public. It will establish a centralised population database system capable of producing daily, monthly or annual population counts for government policy, planning, monitoring and evaluating developments at all levels of administration.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Bougainville’s acting deputy administrator in-charge of operations, Paul Kebori said this project is destined to bring positive changes in the country.
He explained that implementation of this project was important because “it will help the country to be able to have reliable data that it can use in its planning processes, that it can use to focus its development throughout the country, the provinces, the LLGs. “I must emphasise that the e-ID Card project is the way forward for PNG,” adding that this project will be “very beneficial to PNG”.
Mr Kebori also assured those present that there was no need to be afraid as it’s already been successful in other countries. Some participants had feared this system might somehow go against their Christian principles and beliefs. However, after reassurances and explanations of the positive outcome of the system, they were won over. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

7) Solomon Islands made history in UN

By Online Editor
1:00 pm GMT+12, 21/05/2013, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Government has made history in the international front after its successful lead in bidding to decolonise Federate State of Micronesia went through United Nation.

This is the first time Solomon Islands has taken charge of such initiative at the United Nation level.

Solomon Islands Government led by the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has been pushing this fight after being consulted to do so and agreed upon by the cabinet in March.

In a statement Prime Minister Lilo said “I without hesitation would like to take this opportunity to inform my people of what transpired over the past days at the United Nations in New York, United States.”

He stressed that this has raised the country’s profile at the international level.

“The United Nations National General Assembly voted to place French Polynesia back on the UN list of territories that should be decolonized and requested that the French Government to facilitate rapid progress towards a self-determination process.”

PM Lilo said what thrills him was that Solomon Islands led the charge at the UN level as one of the primary sponsors of the resolution.

“Following endorsement by the Cabinet in March, I had personally pushed the agenda and regardless of external pressure to delay the resolution I stood firm and ensured that it be put through the UN,” said Lilo.

“I strongly believe that Solomon Islands must give support to its pacific neighbours of French Polynesia so that they can make self-determination about their own future.”

He said the assembly in support of my call affirmed the inalienable right of the people of French Polynesia to self-determination under the UN Charter.

Declaring that the obligation exists under the Charter on the part of the Government of France as administering power of the territory to transmit information on French Polynesia, said the Prime Minister.

“I hope there will be rapid process on the oath of the French Government as stated in the resolution for the French Polynesia to start free and self-determination process.

“On this regard I would also like to thank the Ambassador to the UN, his Excellency Collin Beck for his outstanding effort in pushing the Resolution at the UN level,” Lilo said.

More so to the former ambassador to UN the late Francis Saemala and other supporting countries that have been instrumental in this push for resolution.

This includes Timor Leste, Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

8) MP Ralph Regenvanu 

Nyus i kam long MP mo Pati

a) Ol Press Rilis blong Gavman we oli kamaot tede 21 Mei 2013

Vanuatu Government Press Release:
100 DAYS GOVERNMENT POLICY COUNTDOWN

The 100 days policy of the current coalition government led by Prime Minister Hon. Moana Carcasses Kalosil commencing on the 23rd March excluding the weekends and public holidays will be lapsed on the 20th of August 2013. To date as of the 20th of May 2013 we have 63 days counting down. The calculation for the 100 days or 3 months excluding the weekends and the public holidays as follows. From March 23rd to 30th there are 4 working days (1 public holiday), April 1st to 30th there are 21 working days (1 public holiday), May 1st to 31st there are 21 working days (2 public holidays), June 1st to 30th there are 20 working days (no public holidays), July 1st to 31st 13 working days (1 public holiday) (total of 21 working days).

The 100 days or 3 months policy has been put in place so that the public can see what the government intends to do to address certain key issues in the nation in its first months in office. It is a tool to ensure that the new government does make concrete achievements quickly, and so that the public at large can see what the government has committed to and can monitor it’s achievement of these stated commitments. To date the government has already implemented and achieved more than 30% of the 100 days policy and wishes to advise the republic of Vanuatu that the current government is a working government that is elected by the people and for the people and this can be measured by the achievement that the government has done so far.

The Vanuatu Government wishes to inform the people of Vanuatu that the Prime Minister has called for Parliament in August 2013 so that the legislative changes listed in the 100 Day List will be tabled before the parliament before 100 Days has lapsed.

Vanuatu Government Press Release:
b) NATAPEI RESPONDS TO RUMOURS / PM AT WATER SUMMIT IN THAILAND / VANUATU AND FLINKS AGREE TO SUPPORT WEST PAPUA MEMBERSHIP AT MSG

The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Nipake Edward Natapei Tuta Fanua’ Ariki on his arrival at the Bauer field airport on Saturday the 18th of May 2013 before leaving again for Tanna on the 19th of May 2013 for the Heads of Mission meeting has confirmed his solidarity with the current coalition government led by Hon. Moana Carcasses Kalosil and stated that the rumour that is flying around Port-Vila and Vanuatu of his resignation letter to the current coalition government before departing to Singapore is false and does not make sense. The Deputy Prime Minister and his faction remain loyal to the current coalition government.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Hon. Moana Carcasses Kalosil before his departure with a delegation of six to Chiang Mai, Thailand for the 2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit (2nd APWS) from the 19th to the 20th May 2013 on “Water Security & Water- related Disaster Challenges: Leadership & Commitment” he confirmed that his coalition government’s number remains solid and intact with 33 members of parliament. During the absence of the Vanuatu Prime Minister Hon. Ralph Regenvanu the Minister of Land is the Acting Prime Minister from the 17th to the 24th of May 2013.

In addition the Acting Prime Minister Hon. Ralph Regenvanu has met with the FLNKS spokesperson Mr Victor Tutukoro on a paid courtesy call on the 17th of May 2013 on the preparations of the upcoming 19th Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit from the 13th to 21st of June 2013 in Kanaky New Caledonia. The high light of the discussion is the West Papua’s participation and questioned whether Vanuatu will include West Papua in the Vanuatu’s delegation or not. The Acting Prime Minister Hon Ralph Regenvanu stated in his respond that it would be appropriate for the FLNKS to issue an invitation being the host to this special gathering of Melanesian Leaders. He continued to strongly affirmed Vanuatu’s position in relation to the West Papua Issue that West Papua should become a full member of the MSG and the view was shared by Mr Tutukoro as well.

Vanuatu Government Press Release:
c) The Government pays it’s respects at the funeral of the late Professor Darrell Tryon in Canberra

The funeral of the late Professor Darrell Tryon took place on the morning of Monday 20th May in Canberra, Australia. The Government of Vanuatu provided a wreath to the funeral bearing the words “Deepest sympathies from the Government and the people of Vanuatu”. In the absence of Vanuatu’s High Commissioner to Australia based in Canberra, Mr Kalfau Kaloris, who was participating in the Heads of Missions meeting in Tanna, Major Iavro Robson, President of the Canberra Vanuatu Students Association (CVSA), read a message from the Government at the funeral. Following the funeral, a reception was held at the Australian National University and then later a kava ceremony hosted by Professor Matthew Spriggs.

The Government’s message read out at the funeral was as follows:

Tribute to late Professor Darrell Tryon from the Government of Vanuatu

The Government and the people of Vanuatu wish to pay their respects to the late Professor Darrell Tryon and share their sympathies with the family and friends of the late Professor gathered here today.
Darrell was always a good friend to the people of Vanuatu, and was a great contributor to the building of our nation.
His contributions began even before the nation came into being in 1980. While earlier missionaries contributed much to describing the indigenous languages they used in their work, Professor Darrell Tryon was the founding father of the modern era of linguistic research on the languages of Vanuatu. Beginning in 1969, he gathered wordlists from 179 locations, and his analysis of these was presented in his major 1976 publication “New Hebrides languages: An internal classification”, showing how the various languages of the country were related to each other. Many other publications followed, including important studies of Bislama, and all linguists who have followed in Darrell’s footsteps recognise the debt he is owed for his pioneering work.
As a nation, Vanuatu cherishes the heritage of its linguistic diversity, and the government acknowledges the tremendous foundational role played by Darrell in advancing knowledge, promoting understanding, and fostering research on the languages and the language situation of the nation.
Through his convening of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre’s fieldworker program for over 30 years, Darrell came to be known and respected by the chiefs and elders of Vanuatu from the Torres Islands in the far north to Aneityum in the south as a “dokta blong kastom”. His work with the Cultural Centre and the fieldworkers has played a crucial role in safeguarding our cultural diversity and building our national identity, and for that the nation will be forever in his debt.
Darrell’s dedication to the people of Vanuatu, to the building of a better nation, to nurturing the heritage and traditions which provide the national character, have been exceptional.
Today the Government of Vanuatu salutes Darrell not only as a great son of the nation, but also as one of it’s founding fathers.
Darrell, bae mifala i neva fogetem yu. Bae mifala tingbaot ol sakrifaes we yu bin mekem blong givhan long mifala, blong holem taet ol kastom blong mifala, mo blong yusum ol fasen blong yumi blong leftemap laef blong mifala.
Tankyu long evri samting we yu bin mekem blong mifala. Naoia yu save spel long bigfala wok we yu bin mekem, be bae mifala traem oltaem blong folem rod we yu bin stap wokbaot long hem, blong holem taet wan gudfala fiuja blong ol pikinini blong yumi.
Darrell, rest in peace.

Signed: Ralph Regenvanu Acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu (Former Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre)

Websaet: www.graonmojastis.org

9) Vanuatu Pension Fund Failed To Maintain Reserves: Audit
Report says negative reserves will take time to recover

By Royson Willie

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 20, 2013) – The investigative audit into the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNFP) by the Australian company, Ernst & Young has found that a deficit in the general reserve of the Fund at Vt156 million [US$1.7 million] was due mainly to non compliance of the VNPF Act.

The primary purpose of maintaining a reserve is that it acts as a buffer and enables the Fund to provide a consistent level of interest to members in years when operating results may vary.

The non-compliance of the Act saw the Board on September 30, 2011 increase the interest rate to 5.25%, although no written recommendation was provided and the audit team says it was not provided with the information to show that the Board was briefed on the actual and expected income of the Fund after payment of expenses for any financial year.

According to the report leaked to Daily Post, in 2011 the opening General Reserve balance of Vt27 million [US$287,234] did not absorb the Vt184 million [US$2 million] operating loss after interest credited to members’ funds of Vt658 million [US$7 million], resulting in a deficit in the General Reserve of Vt156 million.

This was unlike in 2010 where there was adequate general reserves to absorb the operating loss of Vt31 million [US$329,787], this resulted in a positive reserve balance of Vt27 million at that time.

In other words, the interest declared in 2011 of 5.25% exceeded the ability of the Fund to pay for it from current earnings (at the time of audit) or earnings retained from previous year.

The audit analysis suggests that if the rate was maintained at the prior year’s rate of 4.5%, the deficit would have reduced to Vt64 million [US$680,851].

If the rate of 3% was declared, the General Reserve would be in a positive position of Vt121 million [US$1.3 million], the audit found.

The audit report continued that the negative general reserve will take some time to recover and will depend on the financial performance of the Fund going forward.

The recommendation on this was for determination to be made whether there is cause for taking action against those charged with governance for non-compliance with the VNPF Act in relation to the interest that was declared for 2011.

Secondly it was recommended that a policy be developed outlining the methodology to be used to calculate and declare the interest rate to members.

The policy should cover the financial calculations and considerations by the General Manager and the Board prior to any announcement being made at interim and final stated.

And finally it was recommended that it should be ensured those charged with governance are fully aware of the legislative responsibilities under the VNPF Act with particular focus on the technical and financial aspects, through an appropriate training program.

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

10) Vanuatu’s PM tells of strong opposition to Abkhazian ties

Posted at 01:54 on 21 May, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil has told Georgia’s president he was strongly opposed to Vanuatu’s recognition of Abkhazia.

At a meeting between the two leaders on Monday, the president, Mikheil Saakashvili thanked Vanuatu for deciding to reverse its decision and establish ties with Georgia.

Mr Carcasses told the president he had raised his concern about links with the breakway region when he was Finance Minister in the previous government and the issue had come up for review.

He said Vanuatu’s Council of Ministers was very divided over the decision to recognise Abkhazia and he wanted to have it put on record how opposed he was to links with the Russian-backed region.

Mr Saakashvili described Vanuatu’s reversal of the decision as historic.

Radio New Zealand International

11) March against high cost of living in north of New Caledonia

Posted at 01:54 on 21 May, 2013 UTC

An estimated 2,500 people in the north of New Caledonia have taken to the streets in protest at the high cost of living.

The march in Kone was part of ongoing action launched as a so-called general strike last week that is poised to be extended to the Loyalty Islands next week.

Local radio reports that some schools in the north have stayed closed while the domestic airline has decided to halve the number of its daily flights until May the 30th.

A further meeting between the unions and the government is planned for tomorrow to see what progress has been made after last Friday’s announcement that tariffs on food stuffs from non-European Union countries would be dropped.

The protest action was called after the unions accused the government of failing to implement reforms agreed to after unprecedented territory-wide demonstrations two years ago.

Radio New Zealand International

12) Fiji Youths urged to engage in political process

By Online Editor
1:04 pm GMT+12, 21/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s youth have a very important role to play in the 2014 parliamentary elections, says Attorney General and Elections Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

With the voting age now at 18, Sayed-Khaiyum says young Fijians for the first time have the opportunity to actively participate, stand up and say- “This is the Fiji we want.”

“The Bainimarama Government is very encouraged by the fact that young people are engaging with the political process,” he said.

“We need new political parties with new ideas; parties with inclusive platforms; parties that consider all Fijians equal; parties that protect land-ownership – including iTaukei ownership – in practice as well as in theory; parties that have clear policies on socio-economic issues such as economic growth, job creation, access to education, electricity, water, housing, and sanitation.”

He said parties with youths will be a welcome addition to a landscape that is currently dominated by the same old faces, which represent Fiji’s past, not its future.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General has reiterated that groups can’t hold themselves out to be political parties if they have not registered.

“Those looking to form political parties can say they are intending to form a party when going out to get signatures, but that only registered political parties can hold themselves out to be political parties.”

To date only three parties namely- The Fiji Labour Party, National Federation Party and the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) have been registered for the 2014 elections.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

13) Chief Justice Recommends Traditional Mediation In Fiji
‘Non-confrontational’ approach preferable in Pacific: Gates

By Mereseini Marau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 20, 2013) – Chief Justice Anthony Gates believes that it was the failure of the non-confrontational approach widely used in Fiji that contributed in some part to the first two coups of 1987.

Speaking at the Alternative Dispute Resolution International Seminar and Business Summit held in Kochin in India, Justice Gates said mediation had begun to play a more significant role in Fiji today.

But he felt that much more needed to be done, especially at High Court level.

Justice Gates told the participants of the conference that Fiji had its own mediation system in the past.

He said the mediation system was in place even way before the missionaries arrived and it was known as ‘i soro’.

“It involved intermediaries, speaking through heralds, acknowledgement of wrong doing and acceptance of the need for at least some reparation,” he said.

Justice Gates said many disputes, political or personal, were resolved by sitting down and talking together.

“They talked and talked until finally all was resolved.

“Fiji like many of the island groups of the South Pacific, preferred the non confrontational approach.”

Justice Gates said if the mediation principle was to be extended to the fields of employment relations, politics and international diplomacy, the world would be different.

‘For a start, confrontation would be avoided,” he said.

“Gone would be the posturing, those gestures or measures that are resorted to in pique, but which are sterile at birth and in conclusion bear no fruit.”

He said in mediation the two parties would walk away content and satisfied that each has obtained some advantage over the other.

Justice Gates said the conflict in the Middle East would not have gone for 60 years if mediation was adopted by Israel and its neighbors and the same could be said about the isolation of Burma.

Justice Gates is attending the conference with Magistrate Mosese Naivalu, Magistrate Chaitanya Lakshman and Magistrate Mohammed Ajmeer.

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

POLYNESIA:

14) Samoan opposition MP criticises Finance Ministry resignations

Posted at 01:54 on 21 May, 2013 UTC

A Samoan opposition MP has criticised the resignation of the two Associate Ministers of Finance, days after 19 government MPs sent a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the Minister’s resignation.

Afualo Dr Wood Salele from the opposition Tautua Party says the Finance Minister Faumuina Tiatia Liuga should resign after mismanagement in his ministry.

Faumuina’s party members have criticised him for overspending on his office, for mishandling the plans of a new market in Apia, and have a long list of other accusations.

Afualo Dr Wood Salele says the Associate Ministers Peseta Vaifou Tevaga and Tialavea Seinafolava Hunt are the scapegoats for Faumuina’s errors.

“The two Associate Ministers, have now in my view, become the sacrificial lambs for all of the Minister of Finance mismanagement and even if there are other new associate ministers to work for the Minister of Finance, I don’t think it’s going to be the same.”

Oppostition MP Afualo Dr Wood Salele.

Radio New Zealand International

15) UN Decision On French Polynesia Decolonization Denounced
Right-wing French party calls decision ‘a glaring interference’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 20, 2013) – France’s right-wing National Front has denounced the United Nations General’s Assembly’s decision to reinscribe French Polynesia on the UN decolonization list.

France boycotted the sitting, which endorsed the resolution sponsored by six Pacific Island countries.

The National Front described the UN decision as a glaring interference as did the French foreign ministry, who said the UN showed a total lack of respect for the choice made by Polynesian voters.

It says the decision is both stunning and unacceptable because in the territorial election two weeks ago, more than 70 percent of voters chose parties opposed to independence.

France removed French Polynesia from the UN list in 1947.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

MICRONESIA:

16) Guam Civil Service Increases Security For Meetings
Persons, bags to be checked, off-duty police may be hired

By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 21, 2013) – Everyone who enters a Civil Service Commission (CSC) hearing on Guam will be subject to searches, said agency Executive Director Tony Lamorena.

“We’ve put into full effect our security protocols,” Lamorena said.

“Effective immediately, everyone who enters a hearing will be checked with a metal detector and all parcels and purses will also be checked. Anyone who refuses will not be allowed in.”

Lamorena met with police yesterday to discuss security measures for the commission, after commissioners last week testified they were being threatened during and after certain hearings.

Lamorena said police have been provided the commission’s hearing schedule and also discussed the possibility of the commission hiring off-duty police officers to provide security during meetings.

At roughly $30 an hour to hire an off-duty officer, Lamorena’s preliminary estimate is that it would cost the commission about $10,000 per year to pay for the security. Lamorena said his figure is based on a twice weekly, three-hour hearing schedule. He noted, however, that sometimes the commission meets more than twice a week.

The commission also will be videotaping all hearings as an added security measure. Lamorena said the commission is likely to request either an appropriation or a transfer of funds to pay for security for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The commission hears appeals from classified government of Guam workers who object disciplinary actions taken against them. The commission’s role is to enforce the government’s personnel rules and regulations and to shield government employees from political retribution.

Last week, the Legislature heard a bill that would allow commissioners to hold closed-door deliberations — without needing to transcribe what was discussed.

The bill was withdrawn after Gov. Eddie Calvo issued a strongly worded statement criticizing the commission for testifying in support of a bill, which he said is contrary to his administration’s stance on government transparency.

The governor on Thursday issued an order to police Chief Fred Bordallo to investigate the commission’s allegations that they have been hassled. Police spokesman Officer A.J. Balajadia said the police hadn’t received formal complaints from the commission.

Lamorena confirmed the commission had not filed any formal reports with police. The commission requested for the bill to be created because there have been a safety concerns from long before he took charge of the agency.

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

NEW ZEALAND:

17) NZ will work with Bainimarama should he win: PM Key

By Online Editor
09:43 am GMT+12, 21/05/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says they are ready to work with Prime Minister,  Commodore Frank Bainimarama if he wins the 2014 elections.

However he told Radio Tarana in New Zealand Key the win should be free and fair.

The New Zealand Prime Minister says, they are closely monitoring Fiji’s situation through the Forum Ministerial Contact Group.

“We obviously want elections there – obviously free and fair elections and if Voreqe Bainimarama wins it that absolutely we’ll cooperate and work with him.

My understanding is that some three political parties registered just recently – but if other political parties are being registered and if people are going to get a fair chance present their case and if those elections are free and fair – then it will be a very positive thing and we hope that it’s going to happen,” PM Key said.

PM Key says, New Zealand is ready to assist Fiji in the 2014 elections as the two countries have shared close friendship for many years.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/ RADIO TARANA/PACNEWS

18) New Zealand Pacific Affairs Ministry Criticized By MP
Islander communities ‘already suffering’ from inequality: Su’a

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 20, 2013) – A New Zealand Pacific parliamentarian has criticized New Zealand’s Minister of Pacific Islands Affairs for failing to stem growing inequality.

Labour’s spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs Su’a William Sio says budget cuts to the Ministry will only increase pressure on a community already suffering high unemployment, low incomes and growing inequality.

Su’a says in this year’s budget the Government has slashed over US$700,000 from the Ministry – a poorly-timed cut for an agency tasked with lifting outcomes for New Zealand’s fastest growing population.

He says too many Pacific people are unskilled, unsupported and not reaching their potential, and cuts by the Minister, Hekia Parata, will further undermine efforts in areas like education and business-skills training, where significant gains have been made.

Su’a says although the government has denied there are plans to disestablish or merge the Ministry, the nine percent funding cut suggests it is being set up to fail.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, Parata says there have been no cuts to the Ministry, and the baseline figure from 2012 was boosted by over US$550,000 via unspent funds from the previous two years.]

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

PASIFIK:

19) Informal consultations begin on the possible inclusion of disaster risk reduction into new MDG goals

By Online Editor
1:12 pm GMT+12, 21/05/2013, Switzerland

By PACNEWS Editor, Makereta Komai in Geneva

Informal consultations have begun here in Geneva to discuss the possible inclusion of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the post 2015 development agenda framework.

The new framework will replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015. While it’s not clear what it will be called, the outcomes of the Rio+20 seems to suggests that post 2015, a new set of goals will be called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Many governments represented at the United Nations Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction conference now underway in Geneva have suggested new targets should reflect measures that reduce the human and economic costs of disasters.

The global thematic consultations on disaster resilience in the post-2015 development agenda recommended that disaster risk be mainstreamed throughout the post-2015 goals, combined with a stand-alone goal on DRR, using resilience as a common outcome.

Japan, strongly suggested that countries party to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) should push to have DRR reflected as a ‘stand-alone’ indicator in a new framework to replace the MDGs in 2015.

HFA is a set of five goals aimed at substantially reducing loss of lives and social, economic and environment assets by 2015. It’s an international voluntary framework to mobilise action ad track progress. Many Pacific countries are part of the 168 countries that have signed up to the framework and committed to undertake activities under its five priorities.

Both Japan and the United Kingdom emphasized the need for compelling evidence, supported with scientific data to convince world leaders in New York that DRR can be included as a stand-alone goal in the new global framework.

The eight MDG’s, which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 is a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.

Countries are asking for disaster resilience to be better reflected in development goals and targets post-2015. Resilience to disasters and climate shocks was not part of the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

A draft joint options paper prepared by three UN organisations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) said the impact of disasters is rising. Between 1980 and 20122, the economic cost of disaster more than tripled claiming more than 3.3 million deaths. Over this period, disasters caused more than $1.2 trillion in economic loss in developing countries, which is equivalent to a third of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

“The experience of the past decade, supported by a growing body of research, has identified disaster resilience as a necessary ingredient for the achievement of poverty reduction and sustainable development, said the options paper.

An Open Working Group of UN Member States has been established to discuss the possible Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), following the Rio+20 conference in June 2012. There is growing consensus that the two sets of goals should converge into one framework in the interest of harmonization and alignment.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

20) Study grant for uni

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A RESEARCH team from USP has been granted $US24,000 (over $F40,000) to conduct a research on development in the Pacific.

The research is specifically titled ‘Growth Volatility in Pacific Island Countries: A Cross-Country Perspective’, under the Global Development Network (GDN) grant.

The team comprises three academics from USP’s School of Economics — Baljeet Singh, Dr Hong Chen and Professor Biman Prasad.

“Macroeconomic volatility is a pressing issue, at the moment. And it has come at the same time as the university is putting emphasis on research clusters,” Mr Singh said in a statement released by the university last week.

Another researcher Dr Chen said it was an important research area, especially for the Pacific.

“Changes in external environments can also bring volatility to small Pacific economies through the channels of international trade, financial liberalisation, foreign direct investment, fuel price fluctuation, remittances, and tourism industry’s development,” Dr Chen said.

The research team applied for the funding in April last year, after which they were shortlisted.

The team is expected to submit a draft report to the GDN by June, 2013, but have time to fully conduct and compile research till April 2014. http://www.fijitimes.com/

21) Former priest in PNG offers scholarships to aspiring leaders

Posted at 22:35 on 20 May, 2013 UTC

A former Catholic priest in Papua New Guinea is offering high-achieving students the chance to gain a business or political science degree for free in the Philippines.

Joseph Chow, MBE, who is now a businessman, is funding the new Future Leader Scholarship as a way of continuing his good will in PNG, after he set up schools and medical centers in Milne Bay during his mission work as a priest.

His son Jensen Chow, who manages the scholarship through the Paradise International Education Consultancy, says the programme is for students who are aspiring to be leaders and want to shape the future of PNG.

“Those that want to do business, we help mentor them through their first businesses, through those that are doing a political strand, just hopefully we can have a hand through their personal development, and go home to Papua New Guinea to really give back and help develop the country as future leaders.”

Jensen Chow says the new scholarship will initially be awarded to two applicants who will begin their degree in early June.
Radio New Zealand International

BUSINESS:

22) Somare urges development

Pacnews
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

PAPUA New Guinea — Former prime minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare has urged the government to put an end to the “fly in fly out” arrangements for expatriates and qualified national employees working in resource sectors of PNG.

The East Sepik governor supported the call by Laigaip-Porgera MP Nixon Mangape during Question Time in Parliament last week. Sir Michael said the government should implement some strict policies on investors and mining developers in the resource sector to build decent townships in mining areas in PNG and put an end to the “fly in-fly out” arrangements for the workers.

“The government must set up new policy for every developer and investors to build proper towns or cities in the mining areas so that it will discourage people from moving out to other places and overcrowding,” Sir Michael said.

Laigaip-Porgera MP Mr Mangape said the Porgera Township had been deserted with no economic activities when workers, both national and expatriates were put on “fly in-fly out” arrangements.

He said the workers did not spend their monies in Porgera but spent elsewhere and that had been affecting business activities in the district.

In response, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the government had been firmly looking into the issue to put an end to the “fly in-fly out” arrangements. http://www.fijitimes.com/

23) Solomon Islanders encouraged to share in PNG boom

Posted at 17:21 on 20 May, 2013 UTC

The prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill has invited Solomon Islands to participate in the country’s economic growth.

Mr O’Neill made his first official visit to Solomon Islands at the weekend and said it is important to assist Pacific Island communities, given the positive economic growth PNG has experienced over the past eleven years.

He says PNG would welcomed Solomon Islanders wanting to join the business sector or pursue a professional career.

He says PNG looks forward to increasing the exchange of human resources in terms of investment and other professional capacities.

Mr O’Neill also announced aid support to Solomon Islands of 46 million US dollars over the next five years.

And he provided funding of just under a million dollars to kickstart construction of the long abandoned PNG chancery in Honiara.

Radio New Zealand International

LAW&ORDER:

24) Controversial PNG businessman appears in court

Updated 21 May 2013, 19:12 AEST
By PNG correspondent Liam Fox, staff

A controversial Papua New Guinean businessman has been charged with more fraud offences after returning from an extended stay in Australia.

Eremas Wartoto appeared in a Port Moresby court on Tuesday charged with two offences – conspiracy to defraud and false pretence – regarding the use of a government grant of more than $4.6 million to set up an airline.

The magistrate said Mr Wartoto was accused of conspiring with former planning minister Paul Tiensten to misuse the funds.

Audio: Liam Fox reports for Pacific Beat (ABC News)

Mr Wartoto had been living in Australia since 2011 after he was charged with misappropriating a $3 million PNG government grant to rebuild a high school.

He returned to PNG after it was revealed earlier this month that he had been living in Cairns on a 457 visa, which Australia’s foreign minister Bob Carr has since cancelled.

Mr Wartoto has been released on bail and Tuesday’s court hearing has been adjourned to July.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

25) PNG State Loses Case Over Forced Evictions In Madang
Police involvement in eviction actions found unlawful

By Todagia Kelola

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 20, 2013) – Papua New Guinea’s government has been ordered to pay a total of K4.13 million [US$1.9 million] to 1,281 plaintiffs who were forcefully evicted by police for illegally settling on State land.

The plaintiffs are individual citizens who had illegally settled on government land in Madang town.

They were affected by an eviction exercise in December 2003. Police squads led by the first defendant, Inspector Tony Wagambie Junior, entered the settlements in which they were living and forcefully removed them. In the process, police destroyed their properties, including houses and other buildings and their contents and gardens and crops.

The plaintiffs sued Insp. Wagambie and the second defendant, Madang provincial government, and the third defendant, the State, claiming damages for unlawful actions of the police.

A trial was conducted on the question of liability. The court found that the involvement of the police in the forced eviction exercise was unlawful.

It was contrary to an agreement between the provincial government and the Madang Settlement Committee, which represented the plaintiffs and other illegal settlers, which was entered into in May 2000 and sanctioned by an order of the National Court in July 2000.

The agreement was also breached in other respects: there was a failure to identify and verify genuine settlers; failure to resettle genuine settlers; and failure to allow for dialogue between the provincial government and the settlers.

The trial on liability was concluded by an order that stated: “It is declared that the plaintiffs have established a cause of action in breach of agreement against the defendants and the proceedings shall proceed, unless the parties agree on an alternative course of action or the court orders otherwise, to a trial on assessment of damages.”

Since the proceedings commenced in 2006, 53 of the plaintiffs have died.

Justice David Cannings who presided over the assessment of damages in his decision, rejected all claims for general damages for pain and suffering because the claims were vague and poorly defined and there was no evidence to support them.

As for damages for destruction of properties, Justice Cannings stated: “I consider that the interests of justice lie in accepting that each of the plaintiff’s should receive an award of damages.

“However, the quality of the evidence is not as strong… I will discount each claim by 90 percent to take account of the deficiencies in the evidence.”

For those that have died Justice Cannings ordered: “The safest course of action, and that which is required by law, is to order that the money be paid into the estate of the deceased where their estates will be automatically vested in the Public Curator.”

Each of the 1,281 plaintiff’s will be receiving different amounts ranging from K500 to K15,000 [US$229 to US$6,878].

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

26) Acting Solomons Police Commissioner Asked To Step Down
Matanga ordered release of businessman suspected of fraud

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 21, 2013) – Acting Police Commissioner Juanita Matanga has been called on to step down for failing to defend police interests in the Solomon Islands.

The call came following reports that Ms. Matanga advised police to release Chinese businessman Xu Qiang from custody early Sunday morning.

It was claimed that Ms. Matanga was given directives from top government officials and an executive officer on holiday for the release of Mr. Qiang.

However Deputy Director of the National Criminal Investigation Division (NCID) at Rove, Nathaniel Gabagina,stood his ground not to release Mr. Qiang since it was a court order from the chief magistrate Leonard Maena.

It was reported that an argument stemmed out between those who stand by the court order and those who wants to release Mr. Qiang.

But how Qiang was released was very suspicious, since it defies the order of the magistrate to detain the Chinese national until yesterday to appear in Court, it was revealed.

It’s understood that Qiang was arrested for failing to cooperate with police over allegations he was involved in money laundering.

Under the Police Act, only the Director of NCID is the gazetted person who has the power to release anyone from custody.

However, it did not happen, and those responsible for the release of Qiang are also called on to be disciplined.

Former president of Senior and Sub-ordinate Police Officers Association (SPOA) William Baetalua has called on the acting police commissioner to step down and relevant authorities to investigate and put those executive police officers involved in Qiang’s release for discipline.

“The actions of these few executives including the acting commissioner have tarnished the name of the force and the trust and confidence the force tries to build with the public.

“Ms. Matanga should be sacked and officers involved disciplined or demoted for their illegal actions,” Mr. Baetalua said.

It was further reported that there is a split between the NCID Rove and Central CID. Rove NCID has captured Mr. Qiang however Central CID released him without the directives of the Director of NCID.

Baetalua said he was surprised to see the acting commissioner making the biggest mistake to be pulled by the nose to give instructions for the release of a man under investigations and was ordered by court to be detained.

“What powers do the acting commissioner and his executive officers have to release Mr. Qiang?

“They should have protected and stand by police procedures but instead they acted against the code of practice of the force in this case,” Mr. Baetalua stressed, adding that instead of protecting and rescuing the force the acting police commissioner is doing otherwise.

The Solomon Star understands that the decision by police for Qiang’s release on Sunday morning has angered chief magistrate Maena and he has ordered police to re-arrest of Mr. Qiang who is currently in custody.

He now awaits his court appearance set for the 3rd of June.

Attempts to get comment from the acting police commissioner last night were unsuccessful.

Solomon Star

CLIMATE CHANGE&ENVIROMENT:

27) Niue already implementing integrated approach to addressing DRR and Climate Change

By Online Editor
1:10 pm GMT+12, 21/05/2013, Switzerland

By PACNEWS Editor, Makereta Komai in Geneva

Niue, like other Pacific Island Countries, is already implementing an integrated approach to addressing disaster risk management and climate change.

And, the island nation’s chief adviser to cabinet, Richard Hipa shared this experience with parliamentarians from all over the globe, at a side event to discuss the topic, ‘Legislation and Governance for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), here in Geneva.

“When we deal with all scenarios, we are dealing with people. For the government,  we have a five-year National Strategic Plan. Everything that we do, we align ourselves with the plan.

“Whatever the government plans on MDGs is also applicable to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.  Without the planning and commitment, not just the government but other stakeholders as well, including the people and their communities, the process will fail.

“In our national disaster plan, we engaged widely with the communities on the island to involve them in the preparation of plans for villages, communities and even government departments. We convene a workshop for all the councils and review their roles and responsibilities. Every year we run a campaign from Oct to April, our cyclone season.

Hipa said while plans are in place, we must ensure they are practical and achievable.

The other priority project is investment in Niue’s public infrastructure.

“We have a project right now where we are laying all our electrical cables underground to eliminate all overhead cable.  At the same time, we are improving internet connections for all households. We are rolling this out for every village and every household by next year.

This initiative will allow Niueans access to timely and accurate information, especially in time of disaster.

Another pro-active initiative undertaken by the government and sponsored by AusAID is the relocation of Niue Primary School to higher grounds because of the threat posed by tsunami to low lying coastal areas. The primary school is located near the sea.

‘Based on the threat after cyclone Heta in 2004 and the tsunami near Tonga, we ensured that every home in Niue has access to water, power and communications.  As a result, we are shifting one of our primary school, Niue Primary School. We are building a new primary school with funding from AusAID.

Hipa reminded development partners and donors to support national priorities set by governments.

“If donor wants to come to Niue, they should work with our national priorities. All DRR and Climate Change programme should be driven by our national priorities and not necessarily what they want.”

“Our people are resilient. By that I mean that our people’s local traditional knowledge, with regards to survival is still strong in some parts of Melanesia.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

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