Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 906

1) Regrets for refugees on Papua-PNG Border
By Online Editor
09:56 am GMT+12, 10/12/2013, Indonesia

Refugees who have returned to Papua province from exile in neighboring Papua New Guinea are disillusioned with their new lives.

Provincial officials pledged money, jobs and homes in 2009, but four years later, although some of the former refugees have homes, few have found steady work.

“We’re miserable here. There are no jobs, nothing,” said Noan Nayager, 29, sitting in front of his new 35-square-meter house in Keerom district, 60 kilometers north of the provincial capital, Jayapura, near the PNG border.

After three years of living in a temporary shelter, Nayager recently moved into his own government-funded house, one of a row of newly finished brick homes overlooking an oil palm plantation. Each home has its own well in front of it.

Scores of Papuans fled the fighting in a separatist conflict that peaked in the 1980s and still continues, although at lower intensity. They sought refuge across the border in PNG and lived there for decades. Many now have children who were born in PNG.

Nayager, who was a little boy when his father took him to PNG, returned to Papua with hundreds of others in 2009, leaving behind jobs and lives. “In PNG our lives were better. We could work in construction, in shops or even in banks, but here we don’t even know if we’re going to eat tomorrow,” he said.

He occasionally gets part-time work in road construction or on a palm plantation and can earn up to Rp 700,000 a month, but this is a fraction of the province’s $166 minimum wage.

A May 2013 census bureau report says only 17 percent of Papua’s 1.6 million labor force has steady full-time income. Some 38 percent are considered unpaid domestic help, and another 45 percent are self-employed or in part-time work.

But analysts say the situation is even tougher for returnees. Some have returned to PNG because they saw no future in Indonesia, Nayager said, adding he might eventually do the same.

Papua has been the scene of a low-level separatist conflict since the 1960s when Indonesia invaded. In the 1970s and 1980s, military operations targeting Free Papua Organization (OPM) separatists forced more than 10,000 rebels and civilians to cross the border to PNG.

According to a June 2013 report by the Germany-based International Coalition for Papua, Indonesian forces continue to engage in abuses, including extra-judicial killings, torture and arbitrary arrests, without being held accountable, allegations the government denies.

In July 2012, dozens of residents in Keerom fled into the jungle during a military operation following a murder for which separatists were blamed.

More than 1,000 former refugees have returned from PNG to Papua and thousands of others have expressed interest, Papuan officials told IRIN. Keerom district official Syaharuddin Ramli said about 6,000 refugees remained on the other side of the border.

Lovelyn Sudumero, 20, said her family returned to Keerom because officials appealed to the refugees to “come home.”

“Officials came to us in PNG and persuaded us to return. They said they would give us food and take good care of us,” said Sudumero, who has a 2-year-old daughter.

“They stopped giving us food after some time and my father is still jobless,” she said. Her husband works as a motorcycle taxi driver. The children of some returnees have stopped going to school to help their parents make a living, she said.

Franciscus Xaverius Motte, a spokesman for Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, said the government was addressing returnees’ grievances. “It happened during the previous provincial government [in power until early 2013]. We’ll look into what agreement was made, and if there are problems, we’ll fix them.”


2) People’s National Congress candidates take PNG by-elections

Posted at 08:08 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

The People’s National Congress Party has consolidated its position as the biggest party in Papua New Guinea’s parliament as results in two by-elections become clear.

The PNC’s Ezekiel Anisi has reclaimed the Ambunti-Dreikikir Open seat in East Sepik after being declared the member-elect yesterday.

The 25 year-old’s win in the electorate during last year’s general elections was subsequently nullified by the Supreme Court because he was not 25 years old at the time, the minimum age for a general election candidate.

Meanwhile in the Madang Open by-election, local media reports that Nixon Duban appears to be on track for a win as vote-counting proceeds.

Another member of the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s PNC, Mr Duban’s win in the seat during the 2012 election was declared null and void amid allegations of fraud.

It’s unclear whether he will resume his position as Minister of Police if he is declared winner of the by-election.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Anisi becomes PNG youngest MP
By Online Editor
3:03 pm GMT+12, 10/12/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s youngest politician, Ezekiel Anisi, is back in Parliament after reclaiming his Ambunti-Dreikikir Open seat in a by-election.

Anisi, who turned 25 on September 1, was declared the member-elect on Sunday by returning officer Kila  Ralai in Maprik after the 14th exclusion that saw former MP and National Alliance candidate, Tony Aimo fall out of the race.

Anisi, the People’s National Congress candidate, polled 11,200 votes to beat his nearest rival and United Resource Party candidate Johnson Wapunai, who received 8,758 votes.

Anisi first contested the general election last year when he won by 8,141 votes.

But  his election was nullified by the Supreme Court because he was not 25 years old at the time, the minimum age for a general election candidate.

Sixteen candidates contested the by-election that Ralai described “as very peaceful and without regular police presence during polling”.

Speaking at his Wewak home yesterday, an elated Anisi thanked the electoral commission, police for providing security during the counting and supporters of all candidates for delivering a peaceful election.

“I would like to acknowledge Yangoru-Saussia MP and Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Richard Maru, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the PNC Party for their support.

“As you all know, Ambunti-Dreikikir is the least developed district in East Sepik but I am confident we will see some changes in the next three years I will be in office,” Anisi said.

He said the people had spoken through the secret ballot and he would work with O’Neill to bring changes that people had not seen for the past 40 years.


4) PROXY VOT long Port Vila Munisipol Kaonsel eleksen

Olgeta –

Yumi putum ol nem blong ol kandidet blong yumi i go finis long Elektoral Ofis las wik, so naoia yumi stap redi blong go long kampen, we bae i open long 20 Disemba.
Eleksen hemi long namba 7 Januari.

Wetem bigfala namba we GJP i karem long Port Vila long 2012 jenerol eleksen, yumi gat gudfala janis blong save winim at least 1 kaonsela long evri 5 Ward, mo yumi gat janis tu blong winim sam blong ol riserv jea blong ol woman long wan-wan Ward tu.

BE mifala nidim vot blong yu blong save win, so sipos bae yu no stap long Vila long namba 7 Januari (from bae yu travel o bae yu spel), PLIS fulumap wan Proxy Aplikesen Fom mo givim Proxy Vot blong yu long wan narafala sapota blong Pati blong vot long bihaf blong yu.

Blong mekem Proxy Aplikesen yu mas:
1. faenem wan fren o famli blong yu we bae hemi vot blong sem polling stesen olsem yu, mo karem stret nem mo namba blong Elektorol Kad blong hem ;
2. tekem infomesen ia wetem Elektorol Kad blong yu i go long Elektorol Ofis, mo fulumap wan Proxy Aplikesen Fom.

Plis, yumi evriwan i mas givhan blong mekem JENIS we yumi evriwan i wantem luk…

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu ……

5) Biometric Voter Registration Eyed For Vanuatu In 2016
Electoral officer says Vanuatu may use system like Solomons

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Dec. 9, 2013) – Principal Electoral Officer (PEO) Charles Vatu has confirmed to the Daily Post that Vanuatu is planning to equip the country with the biometric voter registration system for the 2016 general elections.

He made the comment after the Solomon Islands launched, on Wednesday this week, its own first ever biometric voter registration system in Honiara.

The newly-installed principal electoral officer said the idea and the process have been in the pipeline for quite sometime, and the electoral commission and the department want to see it become a reality by the 2016 national parliamentary elections.

“The technology is here and it is now a matter of choosing which technology or system will best suit Vanuatu and, of course, having the necessary funding to make it happen. We are studying different options but may opt for a similar system to that which the Solomon Islands opted for and eventually launched this week,” PEO Vatu told the Daily Post.

“As the new PEO I have been through all the past records and the history of the intended idea, which became a controversial issue in the past because of funds and other related issues, but this time we cannot allow a similar situation to arise, except to agree on an option and get the system in place,” he said.

The CEO of the Solomon Islands electoral office, Polycarp Haununu, told government and opposition officials in Honiara during the launch of the biometric voter registration system that its introduction represented part of the strengthening of the electoral cycle in the Solomon Islands. He said the commission had to take the “bold” decision” to replace the current voters list with a list to be compiled using biometric technology, in the face of advancing ICT and emerging challenges in voter registration there.

A biometric voter registration refers simply to the use of a laptop computer attached to a scanner and camera to capture an individual’s details, thumbprint, and an ID photo for reference purposes, as well as in case there need to corrections made to the database in the future.

It is a complete and accurate voters list and is the starting point of a credible election. An election that is credible is one which must prevent voters from voting more than once, and unregistered voters from voting at all. The use of biometrics for automatic de-duplication at the point of counting of results, represents the best solution in ensuring elections with the highest integrity. It is a patented solution.

Vatu told Daily Post: “We intend to have a similar system to that of the Solomon Islands by the next parliamentary national elections in 2016.”

Vanuatu Daily Post:

6) Government visibility programme for Vanuatu’s Torba province
By Online Editor
12:29 pm GMT+12, 10/12/2013, Vanuatu

Government departments under Vanuatu’s Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB) organised a visibility program in the Torba Province between the 22nd and the 30th  of November, 2013.

The program was funded by the European Union (EU) under the Productive Sector Growth Support Program (PSGSP).

The objective of the visibility tour was to increase awareness about the Trade Policy Framework and related policies being implemented by the MTTCNVB.

The visibility team met with the newly-elected councillors of the Torba Provincial Council, the Technical Advisory Commission (TAC), the community of Motalava and organised a workshop with all the stakeholders at the Provincial headquarters in Sola on Vanualava island.

During the workshop, the discussions focussed on tourism development, value addition to primary products, cooperative and business development and trade negotiations. Of particular interest during the visibility tour was the explanation of the laws covering the protection and development of Intellectual Property (IP) in Vanuatu, particularly with regards to Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture. The stakeholders expressed their wish to have more consultations and dissemination of information on this topic.

The Provincial Council, through the Secretary General, Reynold Surmat, has invited the team to participate in the Torba Sector Provincial Strategic Plan Review  in January 2014.

7) Fiji Labour Party calls for more Goverment transparency

Posted at 04:54 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

The Fiji Labour Party says the regime is showing it has something to hide by continually refusing to disclose government financial statements or its leaders’ salaries.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry used Monday’s UN sponsored Anti-Corruption Day to highlight what he says is the failure of the Fiji regime to rid the country of corruption.

Amelia Langford reports.

Mahendra Chaudhry says government financial statements and the auditor-general’s reports have not been made public for the past five years. He also says the regime will not reveal the salaries paid to its leaders, which he says could be in excess of US$700,000 a year.

“MAHENDRA CHAUDHRY: There is not enough information concerning how the government spends the money. The accounts are not published, nor are the auditor general’s reports published. Because they have something to hide. If they’re clean, they’ll disclose that. And of course the taxpayer is entitled to know what the people who are running the country are getting, because they’re the ones who are paying.”

Mahendra Chaudhry says there is an absence of Freedom of Information legislation and a Code of Ethics for people in high office, despite promises to enact such measures. He says the regime demands accountability and transparency from everyone else, but is not applying the same rules of good governance itself. He says the situation has got worse since the coup seven years ago.

“MAHENDRA CHAUDHRY: The question now is whether we are today living in a less corrupt society and what difference has the military regime made. The answer to all those questions are in the negative. Corruption is probably at its highest compared to any other previous administration.”

Transparency International Fiji says it cannot comment because there have been no specific complaints made about lack of transparency over leaders’ salaries or government financial records. It says it is not the organisation’s role to investigate such matters, but rather to promote a Fiji free of corruption. But a pro-democracy campaigner in Fiji, Laisa Digitaki Weleilakeba, is backing Mr Chaudhry’s calls for the Government to be more transparent.

“LAISA DIGITAKI WELEILAKEBA: Transparency is very important to make people feel good like for me personally I don’t mind the Government spending money on good things as long as they are honest about where they are paying my taxes and things like that then I am comfortable but right now nothing like that has happened so what are they hiding?”

The Fiji Government has not responded to the criticism or explained why leaders’ salaries, government financial statements and auditor-general reports are not made public. Earlier this year, in January, the attorney general, said he and the interim prime minister were not officials of a political party and therefore not obliged to divulge their pay. Later, in April, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said he would disclose his pay in July, but in July, he said their pay would be made public after the constitution was finalised.

Radio New Zealand International


8) Maori Party wants David Tua to stand
By Online Editor
09:55 am GMT+12, 10/12/2013, New Zealand

The Maori Party is seeking talks with retired boxer David Tua to discuss the possibility of his standing for the party at the next election.

But it had better get a hurry on. While Tua told the Herald he was more than happy to have talks with the Maori Party, he was also happy to sit down with Mana and the Conservatives.

“I’ll sit down with anyone. Anyone and everyone … I’m not going to close the door on anyone.”

A Mana Party worker had already made a preliminary approach but the Conservative Party had not.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell approached Tua after hearing that he praised the party during a television interview at the Maori Sport Awards nine days ago.

The only reason they haven’t met yet, they say, is that they haven’t been able to co-ordinate their diaries.

Flavell said he was keen to talk to Tua before Christmas about the possibility of standing in a general seat in Auckland or going high on the list, “or both”.

Tua was born in Samoa but the Maori Party has fielded candidates of many ethnicities – including Pacific Islanders, Pakeha and Chinese – in the past for general seats. They have not had high profiles because the party has tended to concentrate on the seven Maori electorate seats, of which it holds three.

“Our approach for the next election is going to clearly be different,” Flavell said. “Our kaupapa [defining issues] should appeal to all New Zealanders.”

Tua retired from professional boxing after his last fight, against Alexander Ustinov last month, but even before the bout, he had talked about a career in politics and possibly starting his own party.

Asked last night if he wanted to meet the Maori Party, Tua said: “Absolutely.”

“At the end of the day it is about running for the people. It’s about those who don’t have a voice. It’s about the Pacific people. It’s about who are contributing to the country of New Zealand.

“I’ve always done the very best that I can. I just serve the people for the right reason, the right purpose and the right intention. It’s up to them. If they need and want me to run, I will run.”

Tua lives in Mangere, a seat held by Labour MP Sua William Sio with a 15,159-vote majority.

Tua said he had spent time accompanying a community liaison worker and familiarising himself with the South Auckland community.

“To hear about things that happen in a community is one thing, but to actually be within, with people who make decisions, what happens around the community, it has been an eye-opener for me.”

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig said he was aware of Tua’s desire to enter politics but there had been no direct conversations between him and the party that he was aware of.


9) PNG Chief Magistret i hamamas halvim blong Australia polis

Updated 10 December 2013, 17:55 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Chief magistret blong Papua New Guinea, Nerrie Eliakim itok emi hamamas long Australia i redi long helpim PNG long daonim korapsan.

Polis blong Australia i go halvim PNG polis long daunim ol kriminal pasin
Odio: Chief magistret blong PNG, Nerrie Eliakim na Tim Bryson 1st Secretary blong Australia n High Commission i toktok
Chief magistret blong Papua New Guinea itok emi hamamas long Australia i redi long helpim kantri i daonim korapsan na traem stopim ol PNG pipal husat isave stilim moni blong publik na baem property oa haus na ol narapla samting long Australia.

Nerrie Eliakim, nambawan meri chief megistret long PNG ibin mekim despla toktok long wik igo pinis bihaen long Australian Federal Polis ibin sainim wanpla tok oraet wantem Task Fos Sweep blong PNG long statim despla wok bung.

Ms Eliakim ibin wanpla long ol lida blong law enfosman egensi long PNG ibin stap long despla bung em polis komisina Tom Kulinga tu ibin stap long en.

Assistance Commissioner blong Australian Federal Polis Ramsy Jabbour  na Chairman blong Task Force sweep Sam Koim ibin sainim despla tok oraet long haus blong Australian High Commissioner long Port Moresby.

Mrs Eliakim itok olsem planti yia nau planti lida blong kantri na ol narapla pipal isave faulim moni blong gavman na go stap long Australia.


10) L’influence de ‘Madiba’ dans le Pacifique Sud

Mis à jour 10 December 2013, 8:23 AEST
Pierre Riant

Comme chacun le sait, l’ancien président sud-africain s’est éteint le jeudi 5 décembre à l’âge de 95 ans. Aujourd’hui, je vous propose d’évoquer l’influence de Nelson Mandela dans le Pacifique.

Et pour ce faire, nous avons contacté un Salomonais, politicologue et professeur agrégé a l’Université d’Hawaï : Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulake, pour qui Nelson Mandela était un véritable phare pour les peuples colonisées du monde entier : « Beaucoup d’Océaniens du Pacifique, des jeunes aux plus âgés se souviennent de lui comme l’un des plus grands dirigeants et pas seulement d’Afrique mais du monde entier en fait. Un leader qui s’est levé pendant une époque très difficile de l’Histoire sud-africaine et qui est devenu une icône de la décolonisation dans de nombreuses îles du Pacifique aussi. »

Comme dans le monde entier, la région du Pacifique a été sensible aux valeurs qu’incarnait Nelson Mandela : l’égalité du genre humain, la dignité pour tous, l’éradication de la pauvreté : « C’est une question de valeur de l’humanité. Nombre d’entre nous ont été à l’école dans les îles du Pacifique et je pense surtout au Pacifique Sud. Et Nelson Mandela faisait partie du programme d’études dans le secondaire. Nous avons donc grandi en lisant la vie de Nelson Mandela et l’Histoire de l’Afrique du Sud. Ça faisait partie de nos études et c’est quelque chose de très proche pour beaucoup d’entre nous, pour les gens de ma génération et même la génération plus jeune. C’est une partie importante du programme d’études scolaires. »

Si l’apartheid n’a pas été mis en vigueur dans le Pacifique, de nombreux Océaniens ont quand même fait l’expérience des inégalités entre la population européenne la population indigène : « Définitivement, pendant l’époque coloniale, il n’y a avait pas les mêmes politiques que l’apartheid en Afrique du Sud. Mais il y avait des politiques coloniales qui privilégiaient certains groupes de personnes en particulier, et en ce qui nous concerne la puissance coloniale blanche dans la région.
Et il y avait des endroits, jusque dans les années 60 et 70, il y avait des endroits dans le Pacifique réservés aux administrateurs coloniaux blancs et à ceux qui étaient connectés avec eux. »

Hommage et recueillement à l’extérieur de la maison de ‘Madiba’.


11) Live blog: South Africans remember Nelson Mandela at public memorial service in Johannesburg stadium

Posted 10 December 2013, 19:41 AEST

Tens of thousands of grieving South Africans are gathering to sit side-by-side with presidents, priests, queens and sheikhs at a memorial service for unifying global icon Nelson Mandela.

Tens of thousands of grieving South Africans are gathering to sit side-by-side with presidents, priests, queens and sheikhs at a memorial service for unifying global icon Nelson Mandela.

Close to 100 world leaders and 90,000 South Africans are arriving at a stadium in Soweto – the crucible of Mr Mandela’s anti-apartheid struggle – to bid farewell to a man whose life story earned uncommon universal respect.

Tight security is in place and roads have been blocked ahead of what is expected to be one of the largest gatherings of international dignitaries held on South African soil.

Follow our live blog for coverage of the event as it unfolds.

12) 11,000 soldiers deployed for Mandela’s funeral

By Online Editor
09:51 am GMT+12, 10/12/2013, South Africa

South African security forces had only days to implement a rough plan for Nelson Mandela’s grand funeral based partly on blueprints of past major events like the 2010 World Cup final.

South Africa’s first black president had been seriously ill for some time, but his death still posed a major organisational challenge as a small army of world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities asked to attend the state send-off.

Security preparations which would normally take months for the likes of US President Barack Obama had to be compressed into a few days.

And as well as foreign VIPs, there was also the question of hundreds of thousands of South Africans who wanted an opportunity to say a final farewell to the man who led them out of the apartheid era.

In terms of crowd control, the security authorities have largely relied on the experience they gained during the World Cup nearly four years ago.

Around 80,000 people will attend a memorial service tomorrow at the Soweto stadium that hosted the 2010 final.

After that, Mandela’s body will lie in state for three days in Pretoria before being taken for burial Sunday in his rural boyhood home of Qunu.

Areas around all three venues will be subjected to different levels of security lockdown, with flight restrictions in force around Mthatha, the nearest airport to Qunu.

Analyst Johan Burger from the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria said a basic security blueprint “has been existing for some time now.”

“Now they have to fill in the numbers and the names and allocate the tasks to the specific commanders,” Burger said.

Many of the more than 90 world leaders attending the various events will bring their own security teams, said Solomon Makgale, spokesman for the National Joint Operational Centre (Natjoints), which coordinates between the police, military and intelligence agencies.

“All of them always come with their security detail, then they work with us,” he said.

Almost 60 heads of state and government had attended Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

Security forces’ leave has been cancelled until after Sunday’s burial, and around 11,000 soldiers have been deployed to back up police operations.

In a bid to prevent dangerously large crowds gathering at the actual event venues, large screens carrying live broadcasts have been installed at sites all over the country.

Some 3,000 marshalls will be engaged in crowd control at the Soweto stadium, which will be surrounded by three concentric security circles of increasing scrutiny, with vehicle access severely restricted.

The same system will apply for Mandela’s lying in state at the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria where he was inaugurated 19 years ago.

In terms of working with the US Secret Service, the process has been eased by the fact that Obama made an official visit to South Africa just five months ago.

“It has meant that everybody is familiar with their counterparts and we’ve been working with a lot of experience on both sides,” said US embassy spokesman Jack Hillmeyer.

The government has sought to discourage foreign leaders from attending the burial in Qunu, citing its rural location, lack of amenities and limited space.

The immediate area around the Mandela family farm has already been cordoned off.



13) PNG health worker believes witches are real

Posted at 08:08 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

A Papua New Guinea health worker says the suggestion that sorcery is a creation of people’s minds is simply untrue.

The comment was made during a conference in the Eastern Highlands provincial capital Goroka, which discussed the rising level of torture and murder of people suspected of using sorcery to cause illness and death.

Richard Kavare is a human rights officer with Laity Mobile Health Services, which flies vaccines and other essential medical supplies and services into remote areas.

He says he has evidence to disprove the assertion that sorcery is a concept people bring into their minds to make it happen.

“If you push a knife through a witch, it won’t even hurt the witch. It will just bounce as though the knife is blunt. If you put an hot rod of iron into the witch body it won’t even have any impact. It will just come out cold, freeze.”

Richard Kavare says anyone who is injured in that way is not a witch.

Radio New Zealand International


14) Over 1,400 Graduate From Solomons National University
Chancellors congratulates first-ever graduating class

By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 9, 2013) – The newly established Solomon Islands National University (SINU) has produced more than 1,400 graduates during its first ever graduation ceremony last week.

The ceremony which lasted nearly six (6) hours was staged at the Maranatha conference centre, near Burns Creek, East Honiara on Friday.

The centre was packed both inside and outside.

The theme for the ceremony was ‘Empowered to Succeed.’

Speaking at the occasion the university chancellor Sir John Baptist Muria said he was humbled and honoured to be part of the occasion.

He then congratulated the graduates for being the first to pass out of the newly established university.

He told the graduates to be proud of their achievement and continue to serve this nation.

Vice chancellor Dr Glyn Galo told the students that they have made history.

“You have made history because you are the first graduates of SINU.

“There will be many more students graduating from this university but they will never hold the mantle of being the first graduates of SINU.

“Congratulations for successfully completing your course requirement and now you are able to graduate.”

He encouraged most of them to return for studies to ensure they can experience the difference since the former Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) was transformed into SINU.

“Some of you may not feel the difference at all from SICHE and now SINU. But come back in a few years time to upgrade yourself and I hope you will notice some difference.

“I hope you have enjoyed your experience at SINU this year.”

He also reminded the students to continue shine as a SINU graduate.

“You carry the SINU banner and reputation. Please do us proud and be good ambassadors of SINU.

“On behalf of the university, we wish each of you the best in all your future endeavours. Please make good use of your qualification.

“You have been empowered to succeed,” he told the graduates.

The ceremony concluded with refreshments.

Most of the graduates then continued their celebration at party at the FOPA village, lower Panatina campus and then later at Water Front night club on Friday.

Solomon Star


15) New Caledonia gets first local TV station

Posted at 02:09 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

New Caledonia’s first indigenous television station has begun broadcasting.

NC.TV was launched in Kone in the northern province, whose Kanak administration is funding the enterprise with 4 point 5 million US dollars a year.

The head of the station, who is also the province’s vice president, Jean-Pierre Djaiwe, says the idea is to be close to the viewers and help build on what he calls the territory’s common destiny.

The programme line-up includes items about the environment, history and marine science.

So far the territory’s only channel has been New Caledonia Premiere, which is part of France Television.

Radio New Zealand International

16) New documentary offers rare glimpse of untouched island life

Posted at 04:54 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

A new documentary film about life on the remote northern Vanuatu island of Rah has premiered on New Caledonian television.

“The Last Shore is the creation of the first ever television crew to film on Rah.”

They took a glimpse at the daily lives of Rah’s inhabitants whose long-held traditional way of life is showcased at the opening of the fishing season.

The producer, Christophe Gargiulo, spoke about filming on an island that very few outsiders have ever had access to.

CHRISTOPHE GARGIULO: You have to know it’s a very small island. There are 100 people living around here, around 40 families. They have no electricity, they have no roads, they have no running water. It’s not very difficult for them to survive, but to have a modern life there. And they have a very, very, very traditional life. And that was very interesting. So the first part of the documentary is how do they live, the agricultural technique, how do they make their money, because they still use traditional money, artefacts, because they have some nice artefacts, their traditional dance, which is beautiful, varicoloured, still the same as centuries ago. And the second part of the documentary relates to the festivities of the St Andrew, which means the opening of the fishing season with this huge net that is going to extend along the reef.

JOHNNY BLADES: What were some of the key intense moments of the film?

CG: When you go through things in such a place every moment is intense because, first, when you arrive, it’s a beautiful place. It’s very colourful. The reef is very close to the beach which creates a very beautiful avenue of colours and shapes. It’s wonderful. And people are really welcoming. They’re smiling, they seem to be happy. They live very isolated on this island. They have very little contact with the external world except for some communications, for some emergency or problems. But for their day to day life, they just live on the island and just think day by day about whether they’re going to fish, whether they’re going to hunt, whether they’re going to collect in the gardens or the forest.

JB: Were there difficulties filming this documentary?

CG: Physically, it was difficult shooting because you have to take several planes to go there, you have to go to Santo, you have to go to several islands to change planes. Sometimes you don’t feel very safe in the little planes. You have to walk around three hours in the jungle from the landing ground to the island or you can go by boat. We did both. We walked a little and we took a boat. So, yes, it was a bit difficult. And then after, during the shooting, we had very bad weather, a cyclone going around. For three days I could hardly shoot. But thereafter for four days it was okay.

Radio New Zealand International

17) Vintage Pacific images emerge

Posted at 04:54 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

A number of historical images taken of the Pacific in the 1940s and 50s have come out of obscurity, many to be seen by the public for the first time.

The Navy Museum in Auckland is sorting through the collection of Auckland photographer Tudor Collins, who went on several Navy trips to the Pacific Islands during the 1940’s and 50s.

Up until recently, Tudor Collins’ boxes of glass plate negatives had sat in storage in a garage for over 40 years.

The Navy Museum’s photographic archivist, Paul Restall, says he has been working through the material and describes to Leilani Momoisea some of the images that have been found.

PAUL RESTALL: There’s a lot of welcoming ceremonies that individual Pacific islands did when the captain and the officers, or the governor general, arrived often in the ship’s boat, but sometimes in outrigger canoes. And the governor general was often carried ashore on a little platform. And there’s traditional costume, traditional dance, singing, feasts, sports and horseriding. There’s a young chap showing how to climb a coconut tree with all of the ship’s officers below looking on. There’s demonstrations of kava making and there’s a few family shots of children and groups around a village, usually with a navy officer or two in the image. But they are just absolutely beautiful images, and they’ve literally come out of obscurity because of their 40 or 50 years of just being hidden away in dusty boxes in the garage. So they’re a remarkable discovery.

LEILANI MOMOISEA: A nice little window into the past, I suppose.

PR: It is totally. It’s like unfolding the pages from the past, because when we open a box of glass plates we really have no idea at all what we’re going to find. And out come these amazing images. It’s almost like the people coming to life through these dusty old glass plates. It’s a fantastic process. I’m loving it.

LM: So no documentation on any of these photos, so you would be needing help from people in the Pacific, perhaps, to recognise some of these places or people?

PR: Absolutely. It would be fantastic to get that, because on the boxes of the glass plates may be just written one word – ’Suva’ or something – but that’s only occasional. We also think there’s been quite a bit of mix-up so we can’t actually trust that information. But it may be recognisable by the topography, the lagoons and the mountains and the buildings and the background and the particular housing styles. Also if people can recognise… I guess it’s a long shot, but if people can recognise some of the people in the photographs it would be fantastic to reunite those images with the people that are there. But it was back in the late ’40s and early ’50s so they’d be pretty old by now.

The Navy Museum’s photographic archivist, Paul Restall. The images can be found at the Navy Museum blog site:

Radio New Zealand International


18) Fiji withdraws from ACP meet in Honiara

Posted at 08:08 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s government says it has withdrawn from the trade meeting of the Pacific bloc of the African, Carribean and Pacific group in Solomon Islands “as a matter of principle.”

The current meeting, meant to prepare PACP trade ministers for trade deal discussions with the European Union later in the week, was called by the Pacific Forum Secretariat.

Only 6 of 14 PACP trade ministers were able to attend on such short notice.

In a statement to fellow PACP trade ministers present in Honiara, Fiji’s Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that PACP countries need to meet without the EU’s presence or pressure from the Forum Secretariat.

He says that by calling “rushed” trade talks with the EU before the main meeting, the Forum Secretariat has not fulfilled its responsibility to action the wishes of the member states.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji cannot stay at the meeting under the circumtances because issues of sovereign concern are riding on the negotiations towards the Economic Partnership Agreements.

Radio New Zealand International


19) Former senior Fiji military man says Driti trial is “fear tactics” by regime

Posted at 04:54 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

A former senior Fiji military officer, Jone Baledrokadroka, says the trial of Pita Driti was a ploy by the regime to drive fear into the heart of Fiji’s soldiers.

Driti was land force commander of the Royal Fiji Military Forces and was convicted last week of inciting mutiny.

He faces a maximum 15-year jail sentence.

Mr Baledrokadroka was dismissed by regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama while acting land force commander in 2006.

He told Sally Round the conviction underscores the futility of the military’s intervention in politics and will do nothing for troop loyalty.

JONE BALEDROKADROKA: They will quite anxious at the moment, knowing this could happen to them. As we know, Driti was Frank’s right-hand man in executing the coup of 2006. So here you have his head on the chopping block, so to speak. So what does it say about the remainder of the so-called Frank Bainimarama senior loyalists.

SALLY ROUND: So why do you think this was brought to trial, then?

JB: One could only speculate as to why. I don’t think this was done to endear loyalty amongst the troops. I think it was done to put fear amongst the troops. It sends out a clear message to the military, which is the only constituent as far as Bainimarama is concerned, that he’s been playing to, that you must stick with me. And he needs the troops’ undivided loyalty at the moment. So I think it’s more a fear tactic, trying to drive fear into the hearts of the troops.

SR: Could it also not be read that it’s signalled that nobody is exempt under an independent judicial system?

JB: (Chuckles) Come, come, come, you know? We know very well that the judiciary is all tainted. A primary school kid will tell you that. Them trying their best to show the world that it is independent, I think it’s quite a farce.

SR: What are you hearing on the ground in Fiji about support for the Commodore from the military at the moment?

JB: If you look at the Commodore’s rule since 1999 there’s been six land force commanders. Five of them, including myself, have actually been purged out of the military. So it says a lot about how he actually deals with his colleagues. That should be an indicator to every soldier in the Fiji military, how he actually treats people that are very close to him. So you can imagine how he will treat people that are further away from him down the line. Of course he actually gives out goodies. There’s all these peace keeping allowances and all that. He keeps them all in line. But one has to look at how he has treated all these senior officers. The best and the brightest have left. What you have now are sycophants – people who are there just carrying out Bainimarama’s old whims. You have very junior officers at the moment in very senior spots who don’t have a clue what is happening. They are carrying out the orders of Bainimarama just because Bainimarama is feeding them. So what can I say about the calibre of officers that you have there at the moment?

SR: In the Pita Driti trial there was talk of a plan to kill the attorney general. What are feeling within the military towards the attorney general. Is his apparent influence within the regime something that could cause support for the Commodore to wither in future?

JB: Well, I think it has already. I don’t think any military officer trusts the attorney general and I think he knows that. That’s why he’s guarded like Fort Knox. There’s no love between the military and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and he knows that and the military knows that. And that’s the predicament that Bainimarama has. How do you reconcile the military and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum? Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum seems to be doing all his bidding at the moment and I don’t think the military likes it.

Radio New Zealand International

20) PNG Defence Force personnel to increase to 10,000
By Online Editor
3:01 pm GMT+12, 10/12/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Defence Force Chief Brigadier -General Francis Agwi says it has been a year of mixed results for the country’s defence force.

But he told a parade at Murray Barracks last Friday that the negative experiences with the public and stakeholders would make the force stronger in delivering their services.

“It is that time of the year again that we reflect on what we have achieved so far,” he said. “Today’s parade signifies the closing of yet another year of mixed results, culminating in a number of achievements, missed opportunities and indistinct mission successes for the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.”

He said the Government had increased funding in the defence budget but there remained a lack of skilled personnel to realise the objectives.

“Some activities taking prominence include the recruitment of new personnel to grow the force to a manpower ceiling of 10,000 by 2030, as set out in the Government’s Vision 2050.

“Another important development that will be launched later this month is the introduction of the Defence White Paper and the National Security Policy, which as a guide, will assist us in how we can conduct our defence business and enhance implementation plans that have been idle for a while.”

Soldiers and navy personnel from Port Moresby-based units and Air Transport Wing took part in the parade.

21) Fiji’s New Unexplained Wealth Law In Full Effect
Financial Intelligence Unit investigating 24 separate cases

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 9, 2013) – Fiji’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is investigating 24 cases under the new unexplained wealth law.

And under the unexplained wealth law, these people risk losing everything if they can not convince a court that their property was accumulated legitimately.

Previously the responsibility had been on prosecutors to prove that assets were obtained via criminal activity.

FIU director Razim Buksh says the majority of these cases involve locals while a handful involves foreigners who have been living in Fiji.

“What the FIU will do is conduct a full profile of these persons. Once these cases are fully investigated, they will then be given to the office of the DPP to present it before court.”

Buksh says the new laws augur well for the FIU in that they would not need to show that wealth was linked to any unlawful activity.

“It’s the person who has to convince/show that the money was acquired by legitimate means in order to keep the property,” he said.

“If he is unable to, then the property will be forfeited to the state.

“These people that are being investigated are not aware. Once they are charged and the case has been brought before court they will be made aware.”

Buksh believes in a ‘few months’ some of these cases will be brought before the court.

“And we believe there are still others out there who should be subjected to the new laws. So we are encouraging members of the public to inform the FIU should they have information that a person has property that could be classified as unexplained wealth.”



22) PNG Catholics conference warns of rise in fundamentalism

Posted at 08:08 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference says fundamentalist christian sects are on the rise in PNG.

The comment by the conference general secretary Father Victor Roche, comes after a move by the speaker of parliament to remove traditional carvings from the iconic parliament building’s facade.

Speaker Theo Zurenuoc says the carvings are elements of cult and demonic practices and unworthy of a Christian country.

Father Roche says fundamentalists cannot seem to distinguish between the novelty of the Gospel and the need to preserve PNG’s cultural heritage.

“Fundamentalism is on the rise. It’s gripping into… many mainline churches are losing some of their believers to smaller sects and some of these members are also either in the places of power in parliament or government offices, or they’re influenced by others who are members of those groups.”

Father Victor Roche

Radio New Zealand International


23) Reefs stripped bare of sea cucumber in American Samoa

Posted at 08:08 on 10 December, 2013 UTC

A fisheries officer in American Samoa says a moratorium on sea cucumber fishing was urged because reefs were being stripped bare of the species.

For the first time, a six month moratorium has been placed on the taking and removing of sea cucumbers in American Samoa, in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

A fisheries biologist with the department of marine and wildlife resources, Alice Lawrence, says Samoans typically would take sea cucumbers for personal use only, or sell a small amount at the markets.

But she says recently the species has been removed at an alarming rate.

“But what we were seeing was thousands. Thousands and thousands of sea cucumber just being removed from the reef. They were just removing everything, they were not leaving anything there. The Samoans are fishing it, but they were actually selling it, or there are some Asian businessmen who are actually buying it and the idea is that they are going to export it to Asia and sell it for a lot of money. It’s really a big commercial operation.”

Alice Lawrence says it’s a big worry because the same thing has happened to other pacific nations.

Radio New Zealand International

24) Tonga’s Ha’apai group experiences drought
By Online Editor
12:38 pm GMT+12, 10/12/2013, Tonga

The Ha’apai group of islands in Tonga has been experiencing drought since September, reports Radio & TV Tonga.

Ha’apai is the driest place in Tonga.  The meteorological station at Lifuka recorded a rainfall deficit of 200mm for the island in the past three months.

In a televised program, the Director of Meteorological Services, ‘Ofa Fa’anunu says the average rainfall recorded for Ha’apai in the past three months is not enough to meet the people’s needs.

“From April to May this year, the average amount of rainfall for Ha’apai dropped to 150 millimeters compared to the normal amount of rainfall for this period.  The same thing happened between the months of September to December where an average of only 200 mm of rainfall was recorded, said Fa’anunu.

TV Tonga’s correspondent in Pangai, Moimoi Fakahua says food crops have been worst hit by the prolonged drought.  The water level in tanks for homes are quickly being used up.

Fa’anunu is urging residents of Ha’apai to ration their water consumption.


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