Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1001 (30 June 2014)
1) PNG PM Welcomes Melanesian Arts Festival Participants
O’Neill: Region’s ‘diversity must be promoted, maintained and developed’
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 30, 2014) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed participants of the 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture into Papua New Guinea. He made the welcome remarks last Friday during a reception at Parliament House.
“I am proud to welcome you as the leader of the host country, as a brother nation to our family from the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, as well as our close neighbours across West Papua, Timor Leste and the Torres Strait.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Papua New Guinea, I am greatly honoured by your visit and warmly welcome you to PNG,” he said.
The Prime Minister said as Melanesians gather every four years for this festival, they have the opportunity to highlight the rich and varied arts and cultures of the people.
“This festival is a unique gathering of the most culturally diverse part of the Asia-Pacific; this diversity must be promoted, maintained and developed.
“At this festival, we will see more than 1000 groups from our Melanesian nations showcase the pride of their people,” he added. Mr O’Neill said a special MSG leaders’ summit was also held in Port Moresby last week.
“There were some sensitive issues that we needed to discuss, and the outcomes of the meeting were very encouraging.”
[PIR editor’s note: The National reported that ‘Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has hailed the Melanesian nations as the economic powerhouse of the Pacific. … He told a special Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders’ summit in Port Moresby on Wednesday night that “together our region comprises the landmass, bigger population, immense bio-diversity as well as greater economic activity and growth”.’]
2) Strong quakes between Tonga, Fiji, Samoa
30 June 2014
A strong 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the South Pacific islands of Wallis and Futuna in the early hours of Monday, following another powerful earthquake off Tonga.
The United States Geological Survey says the latest quake hit at 5:15 am local time and occurred 205 kilometres southeast of the Wallis and Futuna capital of Mata-Utu, at a depth of 10 kilometres.
It came less than two hours after a 6.4-magnitude quake struck off Tonga.
Neither generated tsunami alerts and there were no immediate reports of damage.
The undersea quake off Tonga hit at 3:52 am on Sunday and was 197 kilometres northwest of the town of Hihifo.
The epicentre was also at a depth of 10 kilometres.Radio NZ
3) Cost Of Cook Islands Party’s Election Promises Won’t Be Public
Assessment of policy positions complete, party objects to release
By Mark Ebrey
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, June 28, 2014) – A qualified assessment on what party election promises will cost has been completed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) – but voters will not know what they are unless the individual parties decide to make them public.
Yesterday, a press conference where the costings were to be released was cancelled after one of the political parties chose not to have their MFEM-prepared analysis disclosed to the public.
As a result, MFEM said in a media release issued yesterday they will not publish the costings, as they, “… are now with the parties and they may publish them if they so desire”.
Neves says MFEM offered to cost all policies presented to the electorate to assist parties with their policy formulation and all agreed to be part of the process.
Costings had been completed for the Cook Islands Party, Democratic Party, One Cook Islands Movement and Teina Mackenzie.
“This is the first time such an approach has been taken in the Cook Islands and it is a positive step in the overall management of the nation’s public finances. The parties have interacted with the team in the Ministry in good faith and I am confident the costings that have been provided to the parties reflect the wishes of the political candidates on each initiative in their manifestos.”
He said a Budget process often takes months to finalise, and the estimates at the start of the process are often different from those at the end due to policies being refined as more information comes to light. In contrast, the process for costing the policies for the 2014 election occurred over just two weeks.
“It needs to be acknowledged that all parties to some degree have not had the luxury of time to alter, refine, or reprioritise their policy positions as they would during a full budgetary process.
“The costings which have been provided are the best estimates which can be done with the current data within Government (including MFEM and other agencies) and discussions with party officials. New information may come to light that could affect the estimates, and while much effort has been made to ensure accuracy, they should be seen as an approximate costing.
“In some cases, MFEM has been unable to cost policies simply because there was insufficient information or lack of detail to enable a credible estimate to be made. Nevertheless, we have indicated to the candidate what the nature of the impact on the Budget would be, ie increase or decrease revenue and expenditure.”
“I would like to thank the parties for their approach in working with MFEM,” Neves says, “and I would also like to thank James Webb, Lavinia Tama, Krystina Tatuava and Angelia Williams. They did a good job and hopefully instigated a new process which will be seen as good practice and adhered to in years to come.”
The policy costing exercise follows the publication of the 2014 Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update (PEFU) 14 days after the dissolution of Parliament, as required by the MFEM Act, to ensure no “surprises” for an incoming Government.
The PEFU outlined the fiscal and economic conditions and included all savings and expenditure decisions taken by the Government prior to that date. The PEFU outlines that on current assumptions the net underlying operating balance of the Government (that excludes spending on capital and infrastructure) was a deficit of $112,000 in 2013/14 rising to a deficit of $1,468,000 in 2015/16 and then a return to surplus in 2016/17.
Cook Islands News
4) Niue gears up for food festival
30 June 2014
Niue will host its first international food festival in a bid to attract more visitors and “foodie tourists” outside the peak tourism season.
The Kai Niue International Food Festival will be held for four days in early October and showcase the country’s local produce and ways to prepare, cook and present food.
The Niue tourism director, Vanessa Marsh, says it is hoped the festival will attract a different type of tourist and grow the tourism season outside the normal July to September period.
She says the event will include cultural events, celebrity chef demonstrations and tropical cocktail parties.
She says traditional Niuean food, with a contemporary twist, will be featured.
“We’re going to showcase a lot of the unique cuisine that’s availiable on-island, which will range from seafood through to food that’s been prepared the traditional way in a ground oven similar to a hangi.”
The Niue tourism director, Vanessa Marsh. Radio NZ
5) Inter-Samoa Talks: Task Force Established To Explore Issues
US government’s approval needed for Am. Samoa to go ahead
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, Samoa (Talamua, June 28, 2014) – The issues are recurring ones such as Immigration and trade but this weeks’ inter Samoa talks moved no further than setting up a task force to further investigate the issues raised yet again.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi in a post talks press conference said if it was up to the American Samoa administration alone, it would have been easier to make decisions.
However, there are two Governments governing American Samoa, the local administration under the leadership of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga who is still ill in the United States and the Federal under the President of the United States of America.
“There are a lot of obstacles which the American Samoa administration needs to check with the US before making any final decision,” said Tuilaepa.
So unless USA Government gives the green light, American Samoa can sit on a decision for a long time.
Some of the issues discussed are already in motion and the inter-island talk is finding ways to perfect and make things easier, said Tuilaepa.
The issues agreed on today are:
Trading between the two countries is not new. That is why trade fairs between the two countries is very important because it plays a big role in exposing and promoting each other’s products either in American Samoa or Samoa.
They both have open markets and there is no limitation on how many products is sold to each other.
The discussion focused on finding easier ways for trading and customs duty levels came up as one of the reasons why trading sometimes lapsed.
An example of this is the high duty on a can of tuna produced in American Samoa which is makes it very expensive if sold in Samoa.
The task force will look at ways to either waive or reduce the duty fees in accordance with the international trading agreements and regulations.
Immigration is a continuing and contentious issue raised by Samoa in every talks between the two countries.
Today Tuilaepa again asked American Samoa for easier travel arrangements for Samoans traveling to American Samoa.
There 14 days permit should be dropped and allow Samoans to travel just as American Samoans travel freely to Samoa without visas/entry permits.
Tuilaepa also raised his concern over the holding of Samoan passports at the airport when Samoan travellers land at Tafuna airport. “We have some cases where passports had gone missing or lost while in the possession of American Samoa airport authorities. This has to stop,” he said. Tuilaepa said the new administration was surprised when he raised it.
Samoa is again urging the American Samoan government to build a wharf at Leone to match the one at Satitoa, Aleipata. The proposed wharf less travel time between the Pago Pago harbour and Apia and will be a bonus to business and fast travel between the two countries.
Solar and Renewable Energy for Electricity
Samoa has asked to be included in the feasibility study and investigation at how the heat from under the earth could be utilised as another alternative source for electricity. The investigation will be conducted by specialists from America.
Samoa’s high speed internet connectivity is currently connected to the world through the marine cable that runs through American Samoa. Samoa is looking at American Samoa’s cheap operation cost.
Both countries agree to work together to combat both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Samoa hosted last years’ Health Summit and both countries are committed to some of the resolutions from the summit.
Benefits from past resolutions
Some of the things already been realized from past talks include the charter of Samoa’s ships for travel between Tutuila and Manu’a island.
In sports, our International Rugby Board (IRB) rated coaches services are utilised by American Samoa in the international level.
There have also been study tours by American schools in Samoa.
In complex issues that need negotiations with the Federal government, American Samoa had asked to give them two weeks to look into some of the issues raised.
Tuilaepa, however, did not want to tie down the American Samoan government to a tight timeframe and asked to keep it open and not to rush it.
The task force now has more time to deliberate and investigate before submitting their report ahead of the next talks.
[PIR editor’s note: Talamua also reported that “The Governments of American Samoa and Samoa today sign a Memorandum of Understanding over the leasing of lands to accommodate each other’s consular offices. … The agreement is for both countries to lease out one acre of land for the operation of each other’s Consular offices in their respective countries.”]
6) Kiribati steps up against violence
30 June 2014
The Kiribati National Women’s Association is stepping up its campaign to stop domestic violence in the country.
The association has visited several preschools on South Tarawa and sent a clear message about gender equality, and respect within the family.
The President of the association, Moia Tetoa, says the children responded very positively.
The campaign follows the violent killing of six women, allegedly by their husbands or former partners, over the past six months.
All the alleged offenders are behind bars awaiting their trials.
Some people have told the Kiribati Independent the men should receive heavy punishment should they be found guilty.Radio NZ
7) US Territories Bill To Prioritize Citizens For Public Housing In Guam
Locals would have preference over Compact migrants if passed
By Jerick Sablan
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 30, 2014) – A bill making its way through the U.S. Congress could make the wait much longer for citizens of freely associated states who apply for public housing assistance.
The Omnibus Territories bill has a section that would give U.S. citizens on Guam priority treatment when it comes to federal housing assistance.
Current federal statute, passed into law in 1999 through Public Law 106-504, states that FAS citizens are eligible for federal programs, grant assistance and services of the United States, “provided that, within Guam any such alien shall not be entitled to a preference in receiving assistance under this act over any United States citizen or national resident therein who is otherwise eligible for such assistance.”
Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo testified last July before a Senate committee in support of the section in the Omnibus bill to clarify the existing statute.
“The provision would very simply clarify an apparent vagueness in current statute,” Bordallo stated in her testimony. “The provision would make clear that U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals have preference when applying for Section 8 housing on Guam.”
The bill states that a “citizen or national of the United States shall be entitled to a preference or priority in receiving assistance before any such alien who is otherwise eligible for assistance.”
According to Bordallo’s testimony, in 2012, the federal housing department told the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority that the current federal statute was legally inconsistent with fair housing laws, specifically its attempt to give U.S. citizens priority over FAS citizens in Guam on the basis of citizenship or nationality alone.
Bordallo wrote to the federal housing department to request reconsideration on the guidance it gave to GHURA concerning the federal law, because, according to her, it misapplied the intent of Congress to not displace U.S. citizens and nationals by permitting FAS citizens in the U.S. to benefit from federal social programs.
HUD responded and stated it reaffirmed its guidance. The department said while the statute makes explicit that FAS citizens cannot receive housing preference over U.S. citizens, it doesn’t provide that U.S. citizens may receive a preference over FAS citizens on the basis of national origin alone.
GHURA Executive Director Mike Duenas said the agency followed the current statute until HUD informed the agency that it went against fair-housing laws.
At this point GHURA doesn’t know how the bill will affect the agency and will need to wait for HUD’s guidance on the matter, he said.
Duenas said if the bill is implemented, it will mean non-U.S. citizens will wait longer before they can get housing assistance.
GHURA currently is moving applicants by the time and date they received the application, he said.
Duenas said when GHURA was following the statute that gave preference to U.S. citizens, FAS citizens already on the waiting list would still be given assistance, just not until all U.S. citizens were helped first.
He said it could be the same if GHURA is to follow the proposed bill.
Those who are already getting assistance won’t be affected, Duenas said.
GHURA’s waiting list has more people than they are actually serving, so it’s closed and the agency isn’t accepting any applications, Duenas said.
The waiting list will have to decrease before the agency opens up the list, he said.
The turnover rate for assistance is about 150 to 200 a year, he said. So some families can wait years before they can get assistance.
But until HUD gives GHURA an interpretation of the bill, they won’t know how it will affect those on the waiting list, Duenas said.
The Omnibus Territories bill will next go to the House for consideration.
Pacific Daily News
8) brata bilong em long Austin Hospital
Updated 30 June 2014, 15:27 AEST
Em ibin kisim klostu 30 minit long Philip Soung i givim ansa long askim bilong brata bilong em, Leon Revisit, sapos em i nap halivim em long wanpela Life Saving Operation.
Dispela em long Philip i donetim wanpela long tupela Kidneys bilong em long sevim laif bilong Leon.
Philip Soung i tok, em ibin toktok wantaim meri na pikinini bilong em na bekim olsem em bai hepi long donetim halivim em.
Bihainim dispela Barike Band ibin statim wok bilong fund raising long Philip i ken ikam long Austin Hospieal long givim wanpela long kidney bilong em igo long brata bilong em.
Philip Saung ibin stap long wanpela fund raising long Kokopo Market long trip bilong halivim em ikam long Melbourne.
Philip i tok em i no kisim longpela taim long bekim askim ikam long brata bilong em long donetim wanpela long kidney bilong em.
9) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – lundi 30 juin 2014
Mis à jour 30 June 2014, 13:51 AEST
- Ni oui, ni non. Le Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance reste volontairement flou sur la candidature de la Coalition Nationale pour la Libération de la Papouasie occidentale.
Elle représente 70 associations papoues. Et elle a déposé sa demande il y a un an. Mais vendredi les pays membres du GMFL ont reporté leur décision jusqu’à la parution du rapport de la mission d ‘enquête. En janvier en effet, les pays-membres ont envoyé leurs ministres en Papouasie occidentale à l’invitation de l’Indonésie pour se rendre compte par eux-mêmes de la situation des Papous. Seul le Vanuatu avait boycotté l’opération. Dans son communiqué de presse vendredi, le GMFL a salué les progrès vers plus d’autonomie des deux provinces papoues d’Indonésie – récemment en effet, le Président indonésien a annoncé qu’il retirait l’armée de la région. L’Indonésie, elle, a obtenu un statut d’observateur au Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance en 2011.
L’Étoile du Matin n’est pas non plus la bienvenue au Pays-Bas. Le drapeau indépendantiste papou a été interdit samedi lors d’un défilé d’anciens combattants de la Seconde guerre mondiale dans les rues de La Haye. Parmi eux, il y avait des Papous, car à l’époque la Papouasie occidentale était colonisée par les Néerlandais. C’est la première fois depuis dix ans que les autorités néerlandaises interdisent aux vétérans papous de brandir leur drapeau indépendantiste. Les anciens combattants accusent l’ambassade indonésienne d’avoir fait pression pour cette interdiction.
- Un Australien condamné à mort au Vietnam samedi. Pham Trung Dung, 37 ans, a été reconnu coupable de possession de drogues. Il a été arrêté avec deux valises d’héroïne en mai 2013, à l’aéroport d’Hô-Chi-Minh ville. Accompagné de sa femme et de ses enfants, il tentait de rentrer en Australie. Pham Trung Dung a expliqué aux juges avoir été approché par 2 hommes. Ils lui ont offert 40 000 dollars pour transporter ces valises d’héroïne. Julie Bishop, la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, a déclaré qu’elle faisait pression sur le gouvernement vietnamien pour annuler sa condamnation à la peine capitale.
- Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée: Peter O’Neill échappe à son arrestation pour la deuxième fois. Les avocats du Premier ministre ont réussi à nouveau, à faire suspendre le mandat vendredi, jusqu’à demain mardi. Il y a exactement deux semaines, le directeur du bureau de lutte contre la corruption a lancé ce mandat d’arrêt. Peter O’Neill aurait prélevé 28 millions de dollars dans les caisses de l’État pour les verser à son cabinet d’avocats, Paraka. Des paiements illégaux, d’après Sam Koim, l’ancien patron du bureau de lutte anti-corruption, que Peter O’Neill a fermé dès l’éclatement du scandale.
- Grosse activité sismique dans la région ce week-end, avec un tremblement de terre de magnitude 6.7 au petit matin à 205 km au large de Mata-Utu, à Wallis et Futuna. Deux heures avant, c’est l’île de Niuatoputapu, à Tonga, qui a été secouée par un puissant séisme de magnitude 6.4. Pas d’alerte au tsunami ni de dégâts connus pour le moment.
- Le Samoa et le Samoa américain ont échangé des terrains pour y construire leurs consulats respectifs. Décision prise après une rencontre entre le Premier ministre samoan Tuila’epa Sailele, et le gouverneur samoan américain, Lemanu Peleti Mauga vendredi. Pour autant, la question de la libre circulation des personnes entre les deux Samoa n’est toujours pas réglée. Les ressortissants des deux territoires doivent payer un visa dans les deux sens, pour pouvoir séjourner 14 jours sur le territoire voisin. Le gouverneur du Samoa américain veut plus de temps pour vérifier que la levée d’obligation de visa n’est pas contraire aux lois fédérales américaines.
- Australie: l’évêque de l’armée. Max Davis mis en examen pour agression sexuelle sur mineur. Les faits remontent à 1969, au collège catholique de St-Benoît, au nord de Perth. À l’époque, l’évêque Davis n’avait pas encore été ordonné prêtre. Et il nie farouchement l’agression sexuelle, mais il a décidé de quitter ses fonctions le temps de l’enquête. C’est le premier évêque poursuivi en Australie pour pédophilie.
- Fidji se rapproche toujours plus de la Russie. Le ministre fidjien des Affaires étrangères Ratu Inoke Kubuabola va rencontrer son homologue russe Serguei Lavrov cette semaine à Moscou. On en sait très peu sur le menu des discussions, si ce n’est que les deux pays vont échanger sur les problèmes internationaux du moment. L’année dernière c’est Franck Bainimarama en personne qui s’est rendu en Russie. Les deux pays ont annulé leurs obligations de visa réciproques, et entamé une coopération militaire technique, et aussi en matière d’éducation et de santé.
10) Vanuatu Educational Theater Group Celebrates 25 Years
Wan Smolbag known region-wide for community work
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 30, 2014) – The Vanuatu theatre group, Wan Smolbag, celebrates 25 years of work in the arts and in the community this week.
The group began with a small band of actors and now produces plays, films, CDs, television and teaching resources that educate and entertain audiences across the Pacific.
It has also gone on to establish health clinics, a sports complex, youth centres, a conservation network, and workshops to boost employment skills.
Sasha Zara, a festival producer from Australia, has been involved in the NGO over the past 10 years and is in Vanuatu to produce the 25th anniversary celebrations.
She says Wan Smolbag is a unique organisation that has traversed many different issues.
“From you know waste management, to domestic violence, to education around electoral rights, you know HIV awareness. There’s a whole lot of issues that are really wide ranging that Wan Smolbag certainly aren’t afraid to tackle and they do it in a pretty amazing way.”
Sasha Zara says performers have come from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand for the anniversary festivities.
Radio New Zealand International
11) Push for late Bougainville referendum
30 June 2014
An advisor to the autonomous Bougainville government says Papua New Guinea’s national leaders will likely set the date for the Bougainville referendum on independence.
Anthony Regan says there’s been relatively little focus among PNG’s national politicians on the approaching window for the referendum, which is to be held between 2015 and 2020.
“And as that date has to be agreed between the two sides, Papua New Guinea can effectively set the date as late as it likes up until 2020 so I think there’s a sense in Port Moresby that that’s probably what will happen. Although Bougainville can of course request an earlier date, it’s most likely that it’s going to be late.”
Anthony Regan was in New Zealand last week to give a lecture on Bougainville at Victoria University.
He says as Bougainville moves into this critical phase, there will be a need for considerable help from the international community over the range of complex issues that need to be negotiated with PNG in this phase.Radio NZ
12) Reports of Indonesian clamp in Papua
30 June 2014
There are reports of pressure from the Indonesian military on Papuan activist groups ahead of a planned rally in the provinces tomorrow.
July the 1st marks the day in 1971 when Papuan leaders proclaimed the region’s independence from Jakarta.
The Free West Papua Movement was planning activities in Jayapura, including hoisting the Morning Star flag.
But the Antara News reports Major General Christian Zebua saying soldiers will shoot any independence supporters who attend.
A spokesperson for the Australia West Papua Association, Joe Collins, says the intimidation tactics by security forces belie Indonesia’s claim of being a democracy.
He says the activists’ freedom of opinion and expression is being quashed.Radio NZ
13) Solomons Islanders Must Return To Home Constituencies To Vote
No off-island voting to be allowed in Honiara
By Daniel Namosuaia
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 27, 2014) – Voters who have registered to vote in their constituencies in the provinces will have to go back home to their respective constituencies to vote despite registering in Honiara.
The clarification came following questions on whether polling stations for provinces will also be stationed here in Honiara.
Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) earlier this week raised the issue calling on the electoral commission to set up polling stations in Honiara for the provinces like what happened during the registration process.
Forum president Charles Dausabea said if no polling station is set in Honiara for the provinces, it will not do away with the usual corrupt practices of chartering boats to and from provincial polling stations.
Mr Dausabea said if only polling stations are set here in Honiara for the provinces, it will crack down on corruption practices and assist to attain a free and fair election.
“I see no reason as to why voting cannot be done in Honiara for the provinces when registration process was done in Honiara,” Mr Dausabea said.
But chief electoral officer Polycarp Haununu said there will be no polling stations set up in Honiara for the provinces.
Mr Haununu said anyone wishing to cast their ballots during Election Day will have to travel back to their respective provinces.
He added those registered at their particular constituencies have no choice but to travel back to their respective constituencies.
14) New Caledonia adversaries debate future at UN
30 June 2014
The president of the New Caledonia Congress, Gael Yanno has participated for the first time in a meeting of the United Nations Decolonisation Committee.
Mr Yanno, who is a loyalist and part of the dominant group in the Congress, faced off at the UN meeting against two representatives of the FLNKS, Roch Wamytan and Michael Forrest.
He says the non-separatists want to have their voices heard and proposed a dialogue on the future of the territory, to build on the 1998 Noumea Accord.
He says in the 21st century it is completely possible to be proud to be Caledonian and proud to be French.
But Mr Wamytan was critical of the vote in the elections held in May, saying the definition of eligible voters was too restrictive.
He says the separatists do not want another agreement like the Noumea Accord, under which state powers have been transferred to local officials, but rather to make New Caledonia a sovereign nation.Radio NZ
15) Fiji Politicians Urged To Dialogue On Solutions To Land Issues
Citizens Constitutional Forum: Refrain from instilling fear in landowners
By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 29, 2014) – The Citizens Constitutional Forum has made a call to politicians to engage in dialogue and find solutions to land issues currently arising in the country.
CCF in a statement said political parties and commentators have expressed concerns about the loss of iTaukei control over land in the 2013 Constitution and various decrees and should work on ways to finding a solution to the issue.
Given the history of land issues, this has had the effect of instilling fear and creating uncertainty amongst both landowners and tenants and the Forum is of the view that any discussion involving land must be free of ethnic politics.
“Political parties and independent candidates should refrain from instilling fear into iTaukei landowners and ensure that the protection of the legitimate interests of all communities and groups will become part of the national ethic and practice.”
“If we are to find solutions to Fiji‘s land policies, drawing from the experience of people at the grassroots is paramount.”
CCF says that workshops they held back in turbulent years of early 2000 agreed that there is a need for expert research and analysis on Fiji’s ongoing land problems and that politician should stop using land debate for their own ends.
“CCF encourages politicians to start engaging in dialogues with the landlords,tenants, the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB), the Land Bank and land governing authorities to reach a substantive solution to Fiji’s land issues.” “Land politics has hindered Fiji from moving forward and this has been evident from the first coup in 1987.”
“Key players should focus on finding collaborative solutions to the problem, rather than politicizing the issue.”
16) Bougainville Filmmaker Celebrates Nun As Peacemaker
University of Goroka festival highlights women as change agents
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 27, 2014) – Bougainville film director Llane Munau documents the leading role of Sister Lorraine Garasu as a peacemaker in new documentary series Pawa Meri.
Llena Munau grew up in Bougainville during the civil war which broke out in the late eighties. The conflict over royalty claims from the exploitation of the Panguna copper mine lasted ten years and left deep scars in the island’s communties.
Llane’s film ‘Voice of Change’ tells the story of Sister Lorraine, a catholic nun who played a leading role in the peacemaking process.
Llane Munau is one of six female directors involved in the production Pawa Meri, a documentary series which showcases six inspiring women and their leading roles in bringing about change in their respective communities.
Llane felt it was important to celebrate Sister Lorraine’s role and to document a very important chapter of Bougainville’s history.
“I wanted my film to capture history and the life of this amazing woman, Sister Lorraine,” says Llane Munau who wants Bougainville children to know what happened during the secessionist crisis so it never repeats itself.
The documentary series was launched earlier this week at the University of Goroka where the Pawa Meri project was initiated by the Centre for Social and Creative Media.
You can find more about the Pawa Meri series on http://pawameri.org
17) Amnesty International Calls On Fiji To Stop Harassing Journalists
Attacks against media are serious violations of the right to free speech
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 30, 2014) – Amnesty International is calling for the end of harassment of journalists in Fiji ahead of the country’s upcoming election.
Its comments come after a Government body, the Media Industry and Development Authority, called two journalism academics at Fiji’s University of the South Pacific “reckless and ill-informed”.
MIDA wants the academics investigated for commenting on an apparent admission by the military that it used torture.
Amnesty Australia’s spokesperson, Michael Hayworth, says attacks against the media are one of the most serious violations of the right to freedom of expression.
“Freedom of the press and freedom of speech is an incredibly important right but it is more important in the leadup to the elections, realistically harrassment of journalists that we have seen just recently – this investigation gives us more cause for concern that we won’t have the kind of free speech that this country needs in the leadup to the elections.
Michael Hayworth says the media must be allowed to freely publish information concerning the elections, including criticisms of the government and candidates, without fear of retribution.
Radio New Zealand International
18) Former PNG MP Denied Bail, To Await Appeal In Prison
Tiensten sentenced to 9 years for misappropriation of $4 million
By Charles Moi
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 27, 2014) – Jailed Pomio MP Paul Tiensten will have to await his appeal case inside Bomana Prison after the Supreme Court denied his bail application yesterday.
Tiensten was jailed for nine years for the misappropriation of K10 million [US$4 million] of public funds which he paid to airline company Travel Air when he was National Planning Minister in 2012.
Tiensten’s lawyers filed an application to appeal against his conviction on May 2. He applied for bail pending appeal.
The Supreme Court panel comprising Justice Bernard Sakora, Justice David Cannings and Justice Goodwin Poole unanimously agreed that Tiensten did not show “exceptional circumstances” to be granted bail.
Sakora handed down the decision, saying Tiensten did not show exceptional circumstances for the court to grant him bail after his conviction and sentence.
The Supreme Court held that:
· Prospect of success of Tiensten’s pending appeal do not constitute exceptional circumstances for bail; and,
· Instances of alleged breaches of constitutional rights and freedom do not constitute exceptional circumstances unless and until processes for enforcement of those rights and freedoms have been availed of and exhausted.
Tiensten filed an affidavit in support of his bail application stating instances of harassment, use of abusive and threatening language and actual violence perpetrated by fellow inmates at Bomana.
But the panel of judges ruled that Tiensten’s reasons for harassment, use of abusive and threatening language and threats of violence “do not constitute exceptional circumstances for grant of bail pending appeal”.
They said exceptional circumstances prevailed “unless and until the internal administrative procedures and processes provided for under the legislation have been availed of and exhausted”.
Tiensten’s head was bowed when Sakora was reading the decision.
He is being kept in Cell 6B with other high-risk persons at Bomana, outside Port Moresby.
19) Betel Nut Ban In Solomon Islands Not Being Enforced
Vendor back on Honiara streets despite law
By Solomon Lofana
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 27, 2014) – Betel nut vendors are back in numbers on the street after the Honiara City Council law enforcement officers stopped enforcing the betel nut ban.
The situation is returning Honiara to its past when the streets were taken over by vendors.
Honiara resident Zebilon Kali said it is a concern that betel nut vendors are taking over the streets again.
He questioned the council’s law enforcement ability.
“The council’s betel nut ban enforcement team should be back on the street to chase these people away,” he said.
“They are breaking the law so the council should not allow this to happen.”
Responding to the concern, head of the council’s law enforcement unit Robert Madeo said the enforcement team will continue to monitor those breaking the law.
He said currently the enforcement unit have problem with logistic support to mobilise on the streets.
“We are aware of the situation but since the enforcement unit has problem with logistic support it is difficult for us to effectively enforce the law,” Mr Madeo said.
But he warned they will be soon out on the street and urged those breaking the law to watch out.
He said maintaining the national capital is everyone’s job so the public is urged to cooperate.
Betel nut vendors yesterday infront of Green Islands shop, Point Cruz.
20) Fiji Police Force Work On Draft Election Strategy
Despite no funding yet, police proactively create security plan
By Mere Naleba
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 30, 2014) – Although there has been no budget provided to the Fiji Police Force in their preparation for the September 17 general election, it has taken a proactive stand in preparing its own personnel and security plan for the event.
On Friday, the police force’s chief operations officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu confirmed to police officers from the Eastern Division attending a week-long violence against women and children workshop that government was yet to release funds for election workshops for police officers as well as the security plan it needed to draw up for the much-anticipated event.
“Today, I was talking to the Supervisor of Elections to give us a time just to show him the plan that we have on elections because the government has not given us any budget at this moment in time,” he said.
“And what I’m trying to do now is to get NGOs that can conduct training for us, gearing us for the upcoming election.
“I’m looking outside the organisation, just trying to get organisations that can assist us.”
ACP Tudravu said the way forward for the force was not waiting on the government but to take the first step in getting things organised for the general election.
“We have been talking to embassies and we have been highlighting some things to NGOs to assist the organisation — that is the way forward,” he said.
“That is what I am doing — planning for the election. I am convinced that we have people already here, you don’t have to go far or go overseas, we have it here in Fiji.”
He said the newly-appointed police commissioner. Bernadus Groenewald, applauded the election plan drafted when it was presented to him.
Fiji Times Online.
CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT
21) Plans To Offload Fish In Port Vila Harbor Questioned
Unloading Chinese vessels would impact tourism: Businessman
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 30, 2014) – A Vanuatu businessman says a proposal to unload Chinese fishing vessels in the middle of Port Vila habour will have a negative impact on tourism and poses a threat to the environment.
The manager of Total Marine Solutions, Peter Wederell, says there are concerns thousands of tourists will have to walk past the smell and mess of fish coming into port next to cruise ships.
He says a fish factory at Blacksands has lain dormant for years as the vessels have nowhere to unload their catches.
“Now in scrabbling desperation the company which is a joint venture between the Chinese government and Vanuatu have come up with a proposal to use two derilect coastal traders here which were built in China for the Vanuatu government to support a floating pontoon to unload these, up to forty, longliners that are supposed to be coming here.”
Peter Wederell says the situation is compounded by the ad hoc redevelopment of wharves in Port Vila used by local inter-island trading vessels.
Radio New Zealand International
22) Fiji Thrashes Cook Islands, Qualifies For Rugby World Cup
108-6 drubbing worst defeat in Cook Islands history
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 28, 2014) – Fiji thrashed the Cook Islands 108-6 in a 17-try rout in Suva to secure its berth at next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo scored a hat-trick of tries while Metuisela Talebula, Adriu Delai and Timoci Nagusa added a pair each in the comprehensive victory, which ensured Fiji will play England in the World Cup opener at Twickenham on September 18.
Nemia Kenatale, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Watisoni Votu, Akapusi Qera, Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Leeroy Atalifo scored a try each in the qualifier at Churchill Park, Lautoka.
Nikola Matawalu scored two tries as a replacement.
It was the third-highest score posted by a Fijian side, whose best is 120-4 over Niue 31 years ago, while the hapless Cook Islands were subjected to its worst defeat and the first time it has conceded more than 100 points in a match.
Fiji now join Pool A at the World Cup alongside England, Australia, Wales and one other yet-to-be-decided team.
23) PNG Beats Aussies In Rugby League Commonwealth Championship
Under 19 Nines tournament held in Scotland
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 29, 2014) – Papua New Guinea has defeated Australia 22-8 in the final of the Rugby League Commonwealth Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
The two-day event, an under 19s Nines tournament, is officially endorsed by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
PNG’s Stanton Albert was named Player of the Tournament.
Eight nations took part in the matches at the Broadwood Stadium, North Lanarkshire, with Wales finishing third after defeating Canada 20-8.
South Africa, Jamaica, England and Scotland also competed.
Rugby is an official exhibition sport in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games, which begin in Glasgow on 23 July.
Organisers of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast also plan to include the sport as an exhibition.
24) American Football Game Played In Tonga
Event hopes to promote game in Kingdom
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, June 27, 2014) – A game of Gridiron Football was hosted today at a crowded Teufaiva Stadium. For many Tongans it was the first time to watch the uniquely American sport which has a cult following among the Tongan diaspora in the United States and Hawaii.
The game featured two teams made up of local high school students and a few Tongan boys from the United States. The two teams were Vahe Kolo (City) and Vahe ‘Uta (Country). Vahe Kolo enlisted players from Tailulu, Tupou High School and ‘Apifo’ou College, while Vahe ‘Uta enlisted players from Tonga College, Tupou College and Takuilau.
The event was organised by the Kingdom Bowl, a Tongan-American organisation aimed at promoting Gridiron Football in Tonga as well as “helping Tongan youth discover their heritage through events in both the US and Tonga”. The leader of the event, Siuaki Livai is a highly credited football coach from Hawaii.
Matangi Tonga Magazine