Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1011
1) Defections From PNG Opposition Threaten Democracy: Registrar
Gelu says 2-member opposition party can’t keep ‘Government on its toes’
By Gorethy Kenneth
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 15, 2014) – Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates Alphonse Gelu has expressed concern at the decimation of the Opposition ranks following the decision by Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil to leave the PNG Party.
It is understood the outspoken Bulolo MP will join Pangu Pati, his exit leaving PNG Party and Opposition Leader Belden Namah and Rabaul MP Allan Marat as a two-man Opposition bench in worrying developments for the country’s parliamentary democracy.
“This is very dangerous for a democratic country and the Government,” Mr Gelu said.
“The registry is very concerned now because there is no vibrant Opposition keeping the Government on its toes.
“You know the Opposition is the alternate government and the way it is now raises a lot of concerns.”
Mr Gelu told the Post Courier yesterday that effective today the Deputy Opposition Leader will officially be a Pangu Pati member – in fact the party’s sole MP in this term of parliament. However, he was not sure whether the party will stay on the Opposition bench or join the Government.
“As of tomorrow (today) Bulolo MP Sam Basil joins Pangu Party. I have received documents to and find that he complied with all relevant laws but I am not sure where the party stands,” Mr Gelu said.
Mr Basil’s departure from the PNG Party comes a week after Opposition colleagues Jim Kas (Madang Regional) and Ross Seymour (Huon Gulf) announced their defection to the National Alliance Party, which now brings the party’s total number of MPs to 13. But Mr Gelu said he has not received any official documentation on Mr Kas and Mr Seymour’s move to the NA.
Party officials have blamed the delay on the “difficulties” they were facing in getting a release letter from PNG Party
“The registry’s position on the move by Seymour and Jim Kas is that I have not officially received any documentation to that effect.
“I only heard rumours and I was only informed yesterday (Wednesday) by the party secretary-general Joyce Grant,” Mr Gelu said.
“You see, it is very difficult now but the Registry has come up with changes and a revised organic law to address this issue. When the organic law came into place in 2001 we managed to maintain parties and parliament,” he said.
“The OLIPPAC law made MPs stick to each other and that was how we had a very vibrant Opposition. OLIPPAC made them stick to their places.
“But since the Supreme Court ruling in 2010, everybody went to join Government.
“The registry is now very concerned so we are revising the organic law to address this.”
2a ) Landowners Threaten To Close Bougainville, PNG Airport
Buka group claims $2 million of unpaid compensation owed them
By Winterford Toreas
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 13, 2014) – Landowners of the area encompassing the Buka Airport in Bougainville have issued a warning to the Lands Department in Port Moresby to immediately release the outstanding K5 million [US$2 million] compensation claim for the usage of their land to accommodate the airport.
According to their spokesman and chairman of the Rungunahan Incorporated Land Group (ILG) Herman Tugan, they want the Lands Department to deliver the money to them before Friday this week.
Mr Tugan boldly said if they do not get this money, they will have no other option but to close the airport on Friday.
He said they will only reopen the airport upon receiving payment.
Their stand was made known during a meeting the landowners held yesterday with representatives from police, Air Niugini, and the manager of the local security firm that is contracted to provide security at the airport.
The meeting was held at Mr Tugan’s residence, which is situated near the Buka airport.
The landowners decided to take this stand after learning of the arrest of Mr Tugan and three other youth leaders at Jackson’s Airport in the nation’s capital last week.
Mr Tugan had travelled to Port Moresby accompanied by these three youth leaders last week following an invitation from the Lands Department to sign some documents which would then pave the way for the release of funds to the landowners through their ILG.
However, upon stepping out of the terminal they were approached by some policemen who said that they had received reports from Buka that the group of Bougainvilleans were armed with a pistol.
Mr Tugan and the youth leaders said they were then taken to Boroko police station where they were further interrogated before being locked up at the police cell for about three hours.
The landowners believed that this plot was made to disturb Mr Tugan from signing the deeds for the release of payment.
They are now calling on those responsible to immediately release payment or they will close the airport.
The Post-Courier understands that there are two landowner groups from Ieta village that are claiming to be the rightful landowners and should be given the compensation payments.
One of the groups, Rungunahan Incorporated Land Group is chaired by Mr Tugan while the other is led by another prominent leader from the area.
It is understood that the leader of this second group arrived in Buka from Port Moresby yesterday and also held a meeting with his members; however this newspaper was not able to get details of their discussions.
2b) Vanuatu daily news digest | 18 August 2014
- In a well-prepared action the Natuman Govrnment has taken steps to protect Port Vila’s water supply. There are three zones involving greater security than elsewhere surrounding the Freswota springs. The Matnakara (Tagabe) Water Catchment Management Plan emerged after extensive studies begun as long ago as the ‘Eighties and a committee began in 2003 with representatives from UNELCO, NGOs and government departments. Three protection zones were identified. The outer zone allows non-intensive agriculture, sealed roads and low density settlement. The next closer to the water source only allows non-intensive agriculture and unsealed roads. There are major tabus here: no intensive farming, no herbicides or insecticides, no sewerage treatment, hospitals, no small industries or discharge of oils or vehicle dump sites. All kinds of settlement are prohibited along with cemetries, congregations of stock and the use of organic fertilizer. Closest to the source, Zone 1, the only activities permitted are associated with the Port Vila supply of water. Since 2010 recurrent funding of protection work had ceased. Indeed, due to lack of Government commitment a significant number of leases were issued within the Protection Zone. Many readers will recall the concern at the time a businessman was granted a lease to the actual water source supply point. Now, however, the Minister has taken the necessary steps to to re-activate the Matnakara Watershed Management Committee and re-established the budget. The Committee meets regularly and carries out awareness in the zones. Residents and squatters in zone 2 are being advised of the need to move out. A proper survey of zones 1 and 2 has been completed. Valuations of titles needing to be acquired is completed. In early 2014 acquisition notices for all 89 leases in Freshwind Limited, plus another 2 leases over State Land at the centre of Fresh Wind were issued. Government is now in the process of purchasing these leases. Then Zone 1 will be fenced off.
- The community living within the water protection area has chosen its committee to work with the Tagabe Watershed Committee to implement the water protection measures. And households in Zone 2 clearly understand they will have to move out. They know they will be given access to purchase lease titles in other areas of Fres Wind – Ohlen with government assistance. Everyone concerned, from the Minister to the Committee Membership is certain that such collaborative working between government and residents is absolutely essential. It is only by such a cooperative endeavour that Vila will regain its cleanest and purest water.
- Natapei may be elected as Vanua’aku Pati Treasurer the weekend Daily Post informs us. He was certainly a much valued and trusted senior party official around Independence. The 38th VP Congress is to be held between 24 and 27 August at the Lycée in Port Vila and the Prime Minister is generally expected to become the party president.
- Prime Minister Natuman is now in China and likely to issue a revised statement concerning Vanuatu’s interest in the Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP). The plan has proved something less than the money spinner originally touted and seems to make much more money for the Hong Kong backing company than the Vanuatu Government for which the plan was meant to save many and various budget heads. PM Natuman has visited an urban planning museum in Nanjing in his days away.
- Last week there was news of a savage attack on a man in a land dispute at Forari, the victim suffering dreadful injuries from the attacker’s chainsaw. It’s a long time since we have read such reports of this kind of extreme brutality.
- The good news of last week was the Microfinance Trade Fair for 2014. It was a great success.
3a) Praise for PM – Prime Minister and leader for FijiFirst party Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama has surprisingly won positive comments for his assurance that he will accept the outcome of the election next month. SODELPA leader and the Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa believes the response is great news for the country. FIJI TIMES
3b) Ex-military on board now: SODELPA – The Social Democratic Liberal Party has overcome reservations it had about ex-military officers being involved with their current operations. Ro Teimumu admitted questions were initially asked about their role, particularly those who had been part of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces in 2006. “Of course many of us had our reservations.”Fiji MEDIA MONITOR
3c)Fiji and Iraq establish diplomatic relations – Fiji and the Republic of Iraq, on Tuesday, formalized diplomatic relations at the a ceremony at the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations in New York. Peter Thomson, Fiji’s permanent representative to the United Nations and his Iraq counterpart, Mohammed Ali Alhakim, signed a joint communique establishing diplomatic relations between the two states. Fiji MEDIA MONITOR
3d) Police on alerts for holidays – “If you are not 18 years old, you don’t belong inside a nightclub,” says the police as school holidays and major school events begin this week. The age of those permitted to enter nightclubs and purchase alcohol was reduced from 21 to 18 years in 2011. Police spokesman Atunaisa Sokomuri said students found in nightclubs or anywhere under the influence of alcohol would be taken to task. Fiji MEDIA MONITOR
3e) Numbers and candidates – The Supervisor of elections Mohammed Saneem yesterday unveiled the special machine that will be used to allocate numbers for aspiring candidates in the next month’s election. Given the recent saga over the first number and whatever insinuation has been thrown at it, yesterday’s session with members of the media at the Elections office was enlightening. The system or process to eventually tag a number to a candidate is designed to be transparent. FIJI TIMES
3f) Are Aussies serious? Where is evidence of potential civil unrest in Suva? – The Australian Department of foreign affairs and Trade has got to be kidding. It has issued a travel advisory, warning Australians travelling to Fiji’s capital city Suva to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ with the potential for civil unrest as the country prepares to host its first elections since 2006. The key words are ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ and potential civil unrest’. They are emotive words. What needs to be clarified is on what basis was this travel warning made because this is the first time we are hearing ‘potential unrest.’ FIJI SUN
4) Pacific food security uncertainty festers – Western Pacific fisheries officials say without an accurate assessment of the level of tuna stocks, there is uncertainty about food security and long term survival in the Pacific. There is a big gap in information because Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China are refusing to provide their operational catch data to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.
5a) New Tourism Sector Plan in Samoa targets 1,700 jobs and $550m annual earnings
By Online Editor
1:53 pm GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Samoa
A strategy to successfully position Samoa as the Pacific’s most attractive holiday destination has the potential to create 1,700 new jobs and inject SAT$550 million (US$235 million) into the economy by 2019, according to Samoa Tourism Sector Plan 2014-2019.
The Samoa Tourism Sector Plan 2014-2019 was launched by the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
The Plan outlines various key aspects of the tourism industry, which continues to emerge as the major engine of economic growth for Samoa. It outlines goals, targets and actions to meet the challenges and opportunities facing the sector over the next five years.
The Plan formulates a structured approach to improving the quality and standards of visitor accommodation and attractions and for developing new activities to broaden the appeal of Samoa in key markets. This approach, it says, would be supported by investment in infrastructure and improvements to air access.
The Plan establishes a clear framework for the development of tourism in Samoa for the next five years. It recognizes the multi-faceted nature of tourism.
It outlines a process for taking a cross sector approach to tackling challenges within the industry and coordinating development between government agencies, the private sector and local communities.
The Plan has been funded by New Zealand Aid through the Samoa Tourism Support Programme.
SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS
5b ) No candidate yet for Tahiti’s French Senate seats
By Online Editor
3:55 pm GMT+12, 15/08/2014, French Polynesia
French Polynesia’s pro-independence opposition Union For Democracy says it will not yet nominate a candidate for next month’s French Senate race.
It has told the local daily newspaper that it won’t make a nomination as long Gaston Flosse is president.
Flosse has been told by France’s highest court to vacate his political offices as part of a sentence for corruption, but the French government has decided to allow him to stay while he is seeking a presidential pardon.
The territory has two seats in the Senate, which have been held by the Union For Democracy’s Richard Tuheiava and the Tahoeraa Huiraatira’s Flosse.
They won’t seek re-election.
Last week, the La Depeche de Tahiti reported that in the past year Flosse was the only Senate member not have done a single day’s work.
Meanwhile, French Polynesian president has lodged defamation complaints against two French journalists of the Le Monde newspaper and the opposition’s Oscar Temaru.
In a statement, the presidency says Gaston Flosse has taken action against Fabrice Lhomme and Gerard Davet in Paris who, it says, are to appear in a criminal court to answer accusations of slander and lies.
The case centers on a book the two wrote last year about Flosse and the 1997 disappearance of a Tahiti journalist, Jean Pascal Couraud.
In a second complaint, Flosse has taken legal action against Temaru for making allegedly defamatory comments in an interview with Radio New Zealand International about a planned casino in Tahiti.
Flosse’s office says Temaru’s comments are of extreme seriousness.
6) Ownership Of Telecom Cook Islands Still In Limbo
3 companies vying for majority stake await sellers decision
By Ben Chapman-Smith
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, August 14, 2014) – Three parties vying for a majority stake in Telecom Cook Islands are still waiting for a decision to be made by the seller.
Spark New Zealand, formerly known as Telecom New Zealand, is entertaining bids from two Cook Islands-led consortiums and another from global telecommunications company Digicel.
The offer period for locals closed two months ago, at which time Spark said it would be starting an assessment process.
According to Richard Llewellyn, Spark’s Head of Corporate Communications, no decisions have been made yet about who will be awarded the right to buy the shares.
“Spark NZ (formerly Telecom) is still working through the sale process with interested parties. We are not in a position to provide further details at this stage,” he said.
The company entered into a conditional agreement to sell its 60 per cent stake in Telecom Cook Islands (TCI) to Digicel for $23 million late last year.
Before the sale could proceed, the shares had to be advertised in the Cook Islands and two parties ended up expressing interest.
One of the groups is being led by local businessman Brian Baudinet, and includes TCI’s executive management team, and foreign company Bluesky, which operates telecommunication and multimedia companies in American Samoa and Samoa.
Baudinet said yesterday that he is bound by a non-disclosure agreement, which prohibits him from making public statements about the process.
The other consortium is being led by KukiCel Director William Framhein, who has teamed up with an overseas telecommunications company.
Framhein has said his consortium “has the money and the experience” to match Digicel.
7) Former Am. Samoa Officer Fined Over Prisoner ‘Beer Run’
Police officers allowed inmates to go to nearby store
By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, August 13, 2014) – Former police officer, Fiti Aina escaped jail time, but was slapped with a $5,000 fine for his role in allowing inmates to leave the Tafuna Correctional facility for a beer run to a nearby store.
In October last year Chief Justice Michael Kruse postponed the sentencing of former officer Aina for six months, but did not specify the reason for his decision at the time. Aina was one of two police officers charged on allegations they allowed inmates at the TCF to go on a beer run to a nearby store. Aina has pled guilty to permitting escape.
Aina and fellow officer Rocky Tua were arrested last July and were out on bail of $15,000 on charges of aiding the escape of a prisoner, permitting escape, and public servant acceding to corruption. Aina pled guilty to permitting escape and the remaining charges were dismissed; however Tua fought his case before a jury, and he was acquitted of all charges following a three- day jury trial.
Last year Aina apologized for his actions, noting that he failed to carry out the oath that he had sworn to uphold. He said he also failed the oath “made to my wife and children, which has led me before the court.” Aina noted that he’s remorseful for his actions, and asked the court for another chance, pointing out that his household consists of him and his wife, and their three children. He further stated his wife just started working while he stays home and looks after their three minor children.
His wife took the stand and pleaded with the court to allow her husband a second chance, as she just started working as a teacher.
During sentencing last week Kruse noted that there are a lot of issues at the TCF pointed out in the probation report, and when such issues are brought forth, the court questions who really runs the jail — whether it’s the police or the inmates. He further stated that with the problems revealed at TCF, Aina is the only officer who was caught, and the only officer who has admitted to his actions at the jail.
Kruse said that when he postponed this matter for six months it was to allow the defendant to work with the government and see in what ways Aina could assist with the problems at the jail. Assistant Attorney General Tony Graf was questioned about Aina’s cooperation with the government within the six months and the answer was yes, he did cooperate.
During the sentencing last year, Fiti Sunia who represents Aina, pointed out the defendant is a good candidate for probation, given he’s a first time offender and he’s a contributing member of society. Sunia also stated that Aina took full responsibility for his actions and he didn’t place the blame on anyone but himself. Sunia further stated that Aina offered to voluntarily assist the government in efforts to fix the ongoing problems at the Tafuna Correctional Facility.
Last week, Sunia asked the court not to impose a jail sentence for Aina, but instead recommended that he be placed on probation and Assistant AG Graf did not object to the recommendation.
Kruse sentenced Aina to five years in jail, however execution of sentencing was suspended and he’s placed on probation for five years under the condition that he pays a fine of $5,000 and remains a law-abiding citizen.
The charges were filed in this case after a raid of the prison by police uncovered numerous contraband items including beer bottles, a flat screen TV, screwdrivers, tools, fans, and cell phones — all of which were seized by CID detectives.
8) Department Of Defense Submit Guam Master Plan To Congress
Requirement to end freeze on funding for military build-up fulfilled
By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, August 15, 2014) – The Department of Defense has submitted the military buildup master plan, which the U.S. Senate required to lift the freeze on tens to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of annual funding toward building a Marine base on Guam.
Maj. Darren Alvarez, deputy director of the Joint Guam Program Office – Forward, which deals with military buildup issues on Guam, confirmed this morning that the master plan has been submitted to Congress.
Congress received the master plan a few days ago.
With the submission, there’s hope that it fills the requirement to lift the buildup funding restrictions, Alvarez said.
More buildup-related projects could start once the Record of Decision is released.
The Record of Decision is expected to be released next year.
9) Guam Power Authority Gets Approval For Wind Turbine
$1.5 million project funded by U.S. federal grant
By Malorie Paine
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, August 14, 2014) – The Consolidated Commission on Utilities voted Tuesday night to approve several Guam Power Authority projects.
GPA will be required to pay $200,000 for a wind-turbine tower project that received $1.5 million in federal grant funds. The $1.5 million will cover building costs, but won’t cover connecting the tower to the island’s power system.
“The additional $200,000 from GPA will cover connecting (the tower) to the transmission line that is currently located on the road fronting the property in Cotal,” said GPA spokesman Art Perez. “The grant does not cover the cost for interconnection to the islandwide power system.”
Guam Land Use Commission approved the construction of the tower on June 26, but GPA needed approval from the CCU for the use of the additional $200,000.
Consolidated Utility Services General Manager John Benavente told the commissioners the amount of power that will be generated into the grid by the wind turbine tower will offset the initial cost within two years. Benavente said it is estimated that the turbine tower will pay for itself in fuel recovery costs.
Upgrades in Dededo
GPA also asked the CCU for approval on the upgrade of the Dededo Substation, which will cost $535,000. The project will create an enclosed concrete structure to protect existing equipment and a new transformer. The new transformer will also increase capacity from 22- to 30-megavolt ampere. The transformer will be able to handle larger power needs in the northern part of the island, Perez said.
“The new transformer will also improve reliability as well as reduced maintenance costs,” Perez said. “It will feature new controls and digital equipment versus the existing analog and pneumatic controls.”
CCU approved all the projects GPA presented, and GPA will move forward in generating contracts to get those projects on their way.
10) NZ Population growing at fastest rate since 2003
By Online Editor
4:47 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, New Zealand
New Zealand’s population is growing at its fastest rate since 2003, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Estimates, based on last year’s census results, put the country’s population at 4.51 million on June 30, 2014.
That’s an increase of 1.5%, or 67,800 people, since June 2013 and the highest rate of growth since 2003.
Statistics New Zealand says the growth is due to there being 29,500 more births than deaths last year, and 38,300 more people moving to the country than leaving it.
The migration figures are also the highest for 10 years, 30,000 more than last year, but the birth rate has been lower than previous years.
The ethnicity of the population in 2013 has now also been broken down, with the most growth seen in Asian population.
While people of European descent made up around 75% of the population, there were 541,300 people identifying themselves as Asian.
11a) Loa na Oda wari i daonim PNG ikonomi
Updated 18 August 2014, 15:25 AEST
Wold Bank itok heve blong Loa na Oda i daonim ol wok bisnis na ol wok moni long Papua New Guinea.
Moni blong PNG
Odio: Paul Barker Executive direkta blong Institute of National Afeas long PNG itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman
Papua New Guinea imas wok hard nau blong daonim bikpla heve blong loa na oda sopos emi laikim ikonomi long kamap strong.
Paul Barker, executive direkta blong Institute of National Afeas long Port Moresby i mekim despla toktok bihaenim ripot blong World Bank olsem eitpla namel long tenpla bisnis long kantri isave lusim bikpla moni long wari blong crime.
Despla ripot itok wari blong loa na oda isave stopim ol nupla kampani long statim ol bisnis blong ol long PNG.
Oli tok tu olsem ol bisnis isave lusim planti moni tumas long iusim ol sekiuriti kampani long lukautim ol bisnis blong ol.
Mr Barker itok wari blong loa na oda isave stopim tu ol pipal blong PNG long statim ol liklik bisnis blong ol iet olsem wok turisam na ol narapla liklik wok bisnis.
11b) Ol Pacific kantri imas kontrolim wok blong planim kava
Updated 18 August 2014, 15:15 AEST
Wanpla agrikalsa scientist blong Vanuatu i askim strong ol kava farmer long Pacific rijan long lukautim gut qualiti blong kava em oli save growim.
Odio: Dr Vincent Lebot agrikalsa scientist blong Vanuatu itok tok wantem Caroline Tiriman
Wanpla agrikalsa scientist blong Vanuatu i askim strong ol kava farmer long Pacific rijan long lukautim gut qualiti blong kava em oli save growim.
Dr Vincent Lebot blong Ministri blong Agrikalsa long Port Vila itok ol kantri long Europe olsem Germany na tu America i laik baem tasol ol gutpla kava.
Germany ibin rausim tambu emi bin putim long baem kava ikam long Pacific ino long taem igo pinis bihaenim wari olsem Kava ibin kamapim sampla wari long helt blong ol pipal.
Nau Dr Lebot itok ol kantri em oli save planim kava olsem, Vanuatu, Samoa, New Caledonia, Fiji na Tonga imas planim ol gutpla ol gutpla kava sopos oli laikim maket long Germany na America i baem kava blong ol.
Dr Lebot itok Vanuatu igat moa long eitpla ten ol kaen kaen Kava, na sampla tasol i gutpla blong ol fama long planim.
Emi tok tu olsem planti taem ol fama isave seksek tumas long kisim moni kuik na oli save planim ol kava nogut.
12) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – lundi 18 août 2014
Mis à jour 18 August 2014, 13:16 AEST
+15% en 2015: la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée enregistrera la plus forte croissance de l’Asie-Pacifique l’an prochain.
Un employé papou du gigantesque système de production de gaz naturel liquéfié, orchestré par Exxon Mobil en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. C’est principalement la production de GNL qui tire la formidable croissance papoue.
- Cette prévision émane du département de recherche du magazine anglais « The Economist ». Peter O’Neill, le Premier ministre papou, se réjouit de cette croissance, mais il a déclaré au « Post Courier » que le pays reste confronté à des problèmes comme l’instabilité politique, orchestrée, dit-il par « quelques individus égoïstes, qui protègent leurs intérêts ». Peter O’Neill est accusé de corruption depuis début juin.
- Indonésie: plusieurs centaines de membres de l’Alliance des étudiants papous ont manifesté vendredi à Yogyakarta pour la libération des deux journalistes d’ARTE. D’autres habitants de Yogyakarta ont organisé une contre-manifestation, et défilé avec des banderoles sur lesquelles ils avaient écrit: « La Papouasie fait partie de l’Indonésie ». La police s’est interposée entre les deux groupes pour éviter des bagarres. Thomas Dandois et Valentine Bourrat ont été arrêtés le 6 août en Papouasie, pour reportage illégal, alors qu’ils n’avaient qu’un visa de touriste. Mais leur cas s’est aggravé la semaine dernière, car les autorités indonésiennes les accusent d’avoir eu l’intention de « couvrir un échange de munitions entre des membres de l’OPM » (Mouvement de Libération de la Papouasie, NDLR). Les deux reporters pourraient être mis en examen pour subversion.
- Cuba aide le Pacifique à lutter contre les catastrophes naturelles. De plus en plus, la République caribéenne forme les petits États insulaires à améliorer leurs stations météos, via satellite ou radar. Jose Rubiera, le directeur du Centre Nationale des Prévisions météos assistera au sommet des Petits Insulaires en Développement au Samoa début septembre. Il a déclaré qu’il tenterait de convaincre les chefs d’État d’investir plus d’argent dans l’équipement météo, pour mieux préparer les populations aux catastrophes naturelles.
- Îles Salomon: Gold Ridge supprime plus de 400 emplois dans sa mine de Guadalcanal. La compagnie minière australienne employait 570 mineurs. Mais les inondations d’avril ont fait des dégâts dans la mine, et les employés étaient au chômage technique depuis lors. En parallèle, les employés étrangers ont été évacués, la direction craint pour leur sécurité après plusieurs agressions.
- Fidji: les médias seraient toujours soumis à la censure et ne peuvent pas couvrir librement la campagne pour les élections du 17 septembre. Quant aux citoyens, ils auraient toujours peur d’exprimer leurs opinions à haute voix. C’est ce qu’affirme Brij Lal, chercheur à l’Université nationale australienne de Canberra. L’universitaire dénonce l’attitude de l’Australie, qui ferme les yeux sur ces problèmes, et accepte d’envoyer des observateurs à Fidji, qui n’interviendront que le jour du scrutin et n’analysent pas la campagne électorale.
- France: un base jumper australien s’est tué dimanche dans les Alpes. Le trentenaire a sauté du sommet du Brevent, en Haute-Savoie, à 2600 mètres d’altitude. Il volait avec une combinaison à ailes, et s’est écrasé plusieurs centaines de mètres plus bas, dans une forêt. Deux heures plus tard, c’est un Français de 52 ans qui s’est tué en sautant du Mont Granier, dans l’Isère. Selon une étude norvégienne parue en 2007, vous avez 5 à 8 fois plus de chances de mourir en faisant du base jumping qu’en sautant en parachute depuis un avion.
- Samoa américain: le gouvernement offre ses miles aux malades et aux étudiants. Il a en effet accumulé près de 2 millions de miles grâce aux voyages des fonctionnaires sur Hawaiian Airlines. Le gouverneur Lolo Moliga a décidé la semaine dernière de les mettre à la disposition des Samoans américains qui ont besoin de se faire soigner à l’étranger, et des jeunes qui partent étudier ailleurs.
- Samoa américain: le chikungunya recule. Le ministère de la Santé fait état de 500 cas environ, mais l’épidémie ralentit. Un entomologiste, Mark Shmaedick, a conclu son enquête : selon lui les deux types de moustiques qui transmettent le chinkungunya ne vit pas autour des cours d’eau, mais uniquement là où il y a de l’eau stagnante, près des maisons, dans les réservoirs, les seaux, etc. L’éradication des moustiques du chikungunya devrait donc être facile.
13) Papouasie indonésienne: « la police et l’armée fonctionnent comme des mafias »
Mis à jour 18 August 2014, 13:15 AEST
Thomas Dandois et Valentine Bourrat sont toujours interrogés par la police à Jayapura. Ils pourraient être mis en examen pour subversion. Entretien avec Nick Chesterfield, de WestPapuaMedia.
Samedi les indépendantistes papous en exil en Grande-Bretagne ont organisé une manifestation devant l’ambassade indonésienne pour la libération des 2 reporters d’ARTE. Vendredi, ce sont les étudiants papous qui ont manifesté, à Yogyakarta, en Indonésie.
Les deux journalistes d’ARTE ont été arrêtés le 6 août dans le district de Lanny Jaya, initialement pour reportage illégal, alors qu’ils n’avaient qu’un visa de touriste.
Mais jeudi dernier leur cas s’est aggravé. « Ils avaient l’intention de filmer un échange de munitions entre des membres de l’OPM (mouvement de libération de la Papouasie, NDLR)», a déclaré Sulistyo Pudjo, le porte-parole de la police de la Papouasie occidentale.
Le simple fait que Valentine Bourrat et Thomas Dandois aient prévu d’assister à cette livraison de munitions pourrait justifier leur mise en examen pour subversion.
Mais la version de WestPapuaMedia est très différente de celle des autorités indonésiennes. L’organisation, basée en Australie, diffuse des informations sur le combat indépendantiste en Papouasie via son blog. Elle dispose d’un vaste réseau de correspondants partout dans les deux provinces papoues indonésiennes.
WestPapuaMedia organise donc souvent les voyages des journalistes étrangers en Papouasie, quand ils veulent faire des reportages sur le mouvement indépendantiste, clandestinement bien sûr, car les journalistes étrangers sont interdits en Papouasie. WestPapuaMedia a aussi aidé Valentine Bourrat et Thomas Dandois à préparer leur reportage. Nick Chesterfield, le coordonnateur de WestPapuaMedia :
« Ils étaient dans les Hauts-Plateaux, en route vers un endroit où ils devaient rencontrer des Papous, qui ont été témoins des violences policières indonésiennes sur des villageois, et qui ont vu des policiers indonésiens tenter de vendre des armes à des civils papous.
Cela fait des années que nos correspondants sur le terrain nous alertent là-dessus. Les forces indonésiennes vendent des armes et des munitions aux civils mélanésiens. Et les deux reporters français étaient les premiers journalistes étrangers qui aient jamais enquêté sur ce phénomène.
L’objectif, pour les forces indonésiennes, c’est d’inciter les Papous à commettre des actes violents avec ces armes. Les militaires et les policiers peuvent ensuite dire au gouvernement: “vous voyez, il y a des terroristes en Papouasie, déployons plus de troupes, donnez nous plus de budget”. Et pour eux c’est tout bénèf’, ils peuvent ainsi continuer de développer leurs trafics juteux en parallèle. Les conflits génèrent de l’argent.
En plus, le gouvernement a lancé la construction d’un réseau de routes dans les Hauts-Plateaux, largement financé par l’Union européenne et l’Australie, donc c’est la poule aux œufs d’or, il faut abattre les arbres, fournir du béton, etc. et les militaires et policiers sont là pour répondre à la demande. »
Selon les chercheurs de la faculté d’économie de l’université d’Indonésie, 65 à 95% du budget de l’armée et de la police indonésiennes proviennent d’activités illégales et criminelles. Leur enquête date de 2002, mais d’autres études ont confirmé la tendance, comme celle du Département américain de la Justice en 2007. Nick Chesterfield :
« Depuis l’ère Suharto, la police et l’armée fonctionnent comme des mafias. L’État indonésien n’arrive à financer qu’environ 20% de leur budget, et l’armée et la police doivent donc trouver les 80% restants dans le secteur privé.
En Papouasie occidentale, qui est une province sous régime d’Apartheid dirigée par les militaires, tous les officiers sont chefs d’entreprises illégales et informelles, qu’il s’agisse de l’exploitation forestière et minière illégales, de la production d’huile de palme, des réseaux de prostitution, du trafic de spécimens de la faune et de la flore locales, et ça va jusqu’aux ateliers clandestins de fabrication d’objets culturels papous. Partout où ils sont déployés, les policiers et les militaires font de l’argent avec divers trafics.
En plus, le gouvernement a lancé la construction d’un réseau de routes dans les Hauts-Plateaux, largement financé par l’Union européenne et l’Australie, donc c’est la poule aux œufs d’or, il faut abattre les arbres, fournir du béton, etc. et les militaires et policiers sont là pour répondre à la demande. »
Pour l’armée et la police indonésienne basées dans les deux provinces papoues, l’instabilité serait donc une bonne chose. Mais le nouveau Président indonésien, Joko Widodo, prône l’ouverture. Il a fait libérer plusieurs prisonniers politiques papous début août, et a déclaré qu’il voulait ouvrir un processus de paix avec les indépendantistes. Nick Chesterfield :
« Le nouveau Président et l’armée et la police ne sont pas du tout sur la même longueur d’onde. Les forces indonésiennes veulent militariser, sécuriser au maximum les deux provinces papoues, pour pouvoir continuer à se livrer à leurs divers trafics en parallèle, et à exercer leur pouvoir colonialiste.
Jokowi, lui, veut ouvrir la Papouasie aux journalistes étrangers, et il veut engager un processus de paix. Pour l’instant ce ne sont que des mots, il faut voir s’il va passer à l’acte. Le problème c’est qu’en réalité, le pouvoir est aux mains des 35 généraux. Mais Jokowi suscite beaucoup d’espoir. »
En attendant, ce n’est pas le Président, mais les forces indonésiennes qui donnent le ton. Elles recherchent les gens qui ont aidé, guidé Valentine Bourrat et Thomas Dandois, ainsi que ceux qu’ils ont interviewés. Car les deux reporters avaient leur caméra sur eux quand ils ont été arrêtés. La police a visionné les rush. WestPapuaMedia estime que 35 à 50 Papous sont en danger. Certains auraient déjà été arrêtés. Quant aux trois Papous arrêtés en même temps que les deux reporters d’ARTE, deux seulement ont été libérés.
14b) Fisheries officials angered by Asian fleets’ refusal to provide catch data
By Online Editor
4:53 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, Marshall Islands
Western Pacific fisheries managers expressed anger Tuesday that four Asian nations have refused to provide tuna catch data critical for scientists studying the long-term viability of stocks that in 2012 produced a record-setting catch valued at US$7 billion.
Island fisheries officials are meeting with industry representatives and scientists who are presenting stock assessment reports to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s or WCPFC’s Scientific Committee meeting this week in the Marshall Islands.
Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China — all members of the WCPFC — have not provided operational catch data that scientists and fisheries managers in the region say is crucial to producing accurate stock assessments. Bigeye, a tuna prized in the Asian sashimi markets, is overfished with only 16 percent of its original population size left, while yellowfin tuna is under 40 percent of its original biomass, according to scientific reports presented this week in Majuro.
“One of the obligations that all members signed up to when they joined the WCPFC was to provide full catch and effort data on the operations of their fishing vessels in the convention area,” Tiga Galo, a Tokelau Island fisheries department official who is chairing the Forum Fisheries Agency’s Science Working Group, said Tuesday in Majuro.
“Yet here we are 10 years down the track, and there are still four Asian (members) that are hiding behind the temporary deferment that allowed them time to amend their domestic regulations — laws that might technically prevent them from supplying this operational data.”
She said the United States has already amended its domestic legislation in order to provide the catch data required by the convention.
“We need to narrow the uncertainty (in stock assessments),” said Marshall Islands fisheries director Glen Joseph. The islands provide all data on catches within their 200-mile exclusive economic zones, but the four Asian nations are not providing detailed data for catches on the high seas, which Joseph and Galo said is a major problem. “This creates an uncertainty about our own resources that affects food security, sustainable development, and our survival,” Joseph said.
“We’d like to have a commission-wide picture of stocks, but we only have half the picture and are guessing about the other half.”
Operational catch data is crucially important for improving the accuracy and reliability of fisheries stock assessments, Galo said.
Fisheries scientist John Hampton of the New Caledonia-based Secretariat of the Pacific Community, which coordinates stock assessments for the WCPFC, said the lack of this data, mostly from longline fishing vessels that fish on the high seas, is a gap in the research. “This is the most complete stock assessment to date,” he said of the report being delivered in Majuro this week. “But it could be better if we are provided with longline catch data.”
“By refusing to provide operational data, these nations are forcing us to cut their fishing effort in order to minimize the risk of overfishing,” said Galo.
She made it clear that the main problem is on the high seas.
“Pacific island countries supply operational data to the Commission on all the tuna fishing vessels that they license to fish in their national waters, whether foreign or local,” she said. “But Pacific island nations cannot collect data for Asian distant water vessels operating on the high seas if they are not licensed to fish in Pacific island EEZs and thus not obliged to provide ‘port-to-port’ data. This is a particular problem with longliners. Many longliners only fish on the high seas and are not responsible to any Forum Fisheries Agency members — only to the commission and their flag state.”
Greenpeace New Zealand representative Karli Thomas, who is attending the meeting in Majuro, said the longline industry needs to be reformed. “Closing high seas pockets to fishing by longliners and banning high seas transshipment of fish (as has been done with purse seiners) will make a huge difference (to conservation and management),” she said. Purse seiners are required to off-load their catches in Pacific ports where independent observers monitor the fish caught. Longliners should be required to do the same, she said.
Joseph said a big push will be made at the annual meeting of the WCPFC in December to resolve the problem of lack of tuna catch data by the four Asian nations. “We have a problem with longline fishing on the high seas and their obligation to provide data,” he said.”I am adamant that we are going to get this data in 2015.”
Galo said the Asian countries should follow the lead of the United States, “which used to have domestic legal impediments, but is now in full compliance with their data obligations to WCPFC. Quite frankly, we think these other countries are just making excuses.”.
SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS
15) Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association Wants Fishing Limits
PITIA critical of WCPFC not imposing enough reductions
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, August 132014) – The Pacific Island Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) has complained that Albacore and Bigeye Tuna stocks are continuing to decline in the Western Pacific as a result of overfishing.
According to PITIA, tuna stocks have declined despite a regional consensus in 2008 to address the problem, by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
“Each year since then, the stock situation has grown worse while at the same time the measure to manage this stock has grown more rigorous. Parallel to this, the number of boats continue to increase and with greater efficiency. There is something wrong with this equation.”
“WCPFC has failed to impose enough reduction in fishing effort to bring about the conservation that the science calls for.”
“There are just too many boats,” stated PITIA in reference to both long liners and purse seiners catching big eye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
PITIA also criticized closed door discussions by the WCPFC at annual meetings.
“Each year, the measure grows more and more about accommodating allocation and less about conservation.”
“This growing dominance on the discussions concerning Bigeye tuna has come at a serious cost. Other crucial fisheries issues are marginalised in order to make way for the discussions on this endangered stock, leaving little time for the management of other fisheries.”
“Serious action needs to immediately take place to rescue this stock from a complete crash,” PITIA stated
The criticisms come as WCPFC concludes a Scientific Committee session in Majuro, Marshall Islands.
16a) PNG’S National Alliance gets more MPs
A key member of Papua New Guinea’s governing coalition, the National Alliance, has increased its number of MPs after more defections from the Opposition.
After initially emerging from the last general election in 2012 with 8 MPs, the National Alliance now has 13 in the 111-seat Parliament.
This makes it the second biggest party after the People’s National Congress.
Patrick Pruaitch says the NA is an attractive grouping for MPs to join because of its experience in economic stewardship and the stability it can provide to Government.
“After the defection of two members from the opposition to the National Alliance party, and that is a number that consolidates our party in the current coalition government headed by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.”
Patrick Pruaitch// Radio New Zealand 18/08/14
16b) PNG Public Prosecutor to decide PM O’Neill’s fate
By Online Editor
1:11 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea’s Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin has received the referral of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and will independently determine whether there is sufficient, credible evidence to request the Chief Justice to appoint a Leadership Tribunal.
Kaluwin confirmed that the Prime Minister was referred by the Ombudsman Commission on Tuesday for alleged misconduct in office.
The Public Prosecutor’s statement coincided with an official one from the Ombudsman Commission on its decision to refer O’Neill.
Chief Ombudsman Rigo Lua and Ombudsman Phoebe Sangetari said the commission investigated the alleged misconduct in office by O’Neill, which arises from his failure in upholding his duties and responsibilities of office as required under Section 27 of the Constitution and the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership.
“As required by section 20(2) of the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership, the commission notified PM O’Neill, by a letter dated August 8, 2014 of its intention to refer the matter to public prosecutor,” said the commission.
“The referral is in the hands of the Public Prosecutor who has the discretion to bring or decline to bring proceedings under the Leadership Code for alleged misconduct in office in accordance with section 177(1) (b) of the Constitution.”
The commission said it was satisfied that there is a prima facie case and consequently did the referral to Kaluwin for his independent assessment.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s chief of staff Isaac Lupari has slammed the Ombudsman Commission over the PM’s referral to the public prosecutor.
In a statement, Lupari said the referral raised questions about the commission’s understanding of the Westminster system, the constitution and the rights and role of the government of the day to set public policy.
“The Ombudsman Commission has referred the PM for sacking a minister. Do they not understand that this is the prerogative of any Prime Minister in any country with the Westminster system of government?
“There are serious constitutional implications in the way the Ombudsman Commission is seeking to challenge this process,” he stated.
“The people of our nation need to know that the Prime Minister and the Government, through the National Executive Council, made the decision to invest in Oil Search through an open, transparent and accountable process.
The Government has a mandate to make decisions. If Government decisions are going to be questioned every time in this manner it will undermine the delivery of Government services to the people.”
Meanwhile, PNG Opposition leader Belden Namah has urged Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to respect government agencies.
“I am asking the Prime Minister once again to respect the institutions of the state and refrain from using executive whip to interfere with their functions.”
Namah said the Ombudsman Commission is not required by law to table in Parliament its investigations or findings against any leader, including himself (Namah).
“The Prime Minister must stop misleading the people of this country to suit his own ends and must face up to the rule of law,” Namah said.
He is calling on the Prime Minister to stop using threats and intimidation against senior officials who occupy these important offices.
“O’Neill has destroyed the police force. Now he wants to destroy the Ombudsman Commission,” Namah said. “He now accuses the Ombudsman Commission, not only of political motive, which is clearly self-serving, but of procedural non-compliance.
“I am baffled that O’Neill talks about systematic procedural compliances alleging that such had been happening around him with blatant disregard for our laws, systems and procedures.
“I call him a hypocrite.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
17a) SODELPA Leader Defends Fiji’s Great Council Of Chiefs
Ro Teimumu dismisses claims of politicization
By Nasik Swami
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, August 18, 2014) – While many heated arguments have surfaced over the call to reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs, SODELPA believes the chiefly body has an integral role to play in a modern Fiji.
Shrugging aside claims that the GCC was politicised and had lost its essence, party leader Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa maintains the council still holds dear the history of indigenous Fijians.
Ro Teimumu said the GCC had never been politicised.
“The GCC is right from the days that the missionaries came to Fiji and started writing the history of Fiji. GCC has always been there in the frontline, whether politics or whatever you want to call it,” she said.
Ro Teimumu said the GCC always did the best for the indigenous Fijians.
“If you are looking after a group of people and you want only the best for them and if that is called politics or whatever it’s called, that is what the GCC has done.
“In 1874, the chiefs got together and they saw what was happening in the country in terms of the way the land and the resources were being sold. Sometimes large hectares of land were sold for a hat, a pipe or for a mirror or rifle.”
Ro Teimumu said the chiefs knew that these valuable, often natural, resources would be lost to them if they did not act.
“So what they did was with consultation they ceded Fiji to Great Britain in 1874. This was the land and the qoliqoli and, in 1970, Fiji gained its independence. The land was given back but not the qoliqoli.
“The land was given back to the chiefs who gave their land in the first place but when it came to qoliqoli, instead of giving it back to the chiefs, it was given back to the government who have the ownership rights until now.
“And that’s where their difficulty is in terms of the indigenous population because we know that the qoliqoli is rightfully ours,” she said.
Ro Teimumu explained that the qoliqoli was not rightfully returned to the owners from the British.
“The chiefs have been there all throughout the history of indigenous people – looking after our rights, privileges, resources and land. So if you want to call it politics, it’s up to you,” she said.
She said the party, if elected, would reinstate the GCC because it protected iTaukei history, rights and privileges in a modern Fiji.
She said over the past seven-and-a-half years, indigenous ethos had eroded.
“In terms of the GCC, if it was in place, the erosion that indigenous Fijians have been experiencing over the last seven-and-a-half years would not have taken place.
“GCC is for the protection and the wellbeing of indigenous people and their future.”
17b) Appeal dismissed, Fiji Labour Leader Chaudhry unable to contest election
By Online Editor
4:58 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, Fiji
The judges on the Fiji Court of Appeal have dismissed Fiji Labour Party (FLP) leader Mahendra Chaudhry’s appeal against his conviction of breaching the Exchange Control Act.
This has ruled him out of the race for a seat in parliament in the 17 September general election.
However, the Appeals Court has reduced Chaudhry’s fine of $2 million (US$1.million) to $1 million (US$538,000).
His lawyer Anand Singh says the three judges have ruled that the eleven grounds for appeal have no merit.
Singh says he will be meeting with Chaudhry this afternoon to consider the next step.
Chaudhry’s conviction of three counts of breaching the Exchange Control Act remains.
The former Prime Minister was fined $2 million by Justice Paul Madigan in May for breaching the Exchange Control Act.
The penalty for such an offence ranges from two years imprisonment to fines amounting to three times of the value of the original amount in the offence.
Meanwhile, the National Federation Party (NFP) has announced four more candidates for the September 17 general election.
They are Kalisi Ratuwara, owner of Cara’s Immigration Consultancy Services, Anshu Lata a Consultant and Market Researcher, Etonia Lote an author, musician and retired school teacher and Anishini Chand, a 23 year-old lawyer. This brings the NFP’s total number of candidates to 49 for the general elections.
The 50th candidate will be revealed tomorrow.
18a) Fiji Labour Party files Chaudhry’s nomination
By Online Editor
1:50 pm GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Fiji
The Fiji Labour Party this morning submitted 42 candidate nominee applications to the Fijian Elections Office including that of its leader Mahendra Pal Chaudhry.
Speaking to FijiLive outside the Elections Office, Chaudhry said his fight is not over yet and he will keep fighting till the end.
“Yes my nomination has been filed by the Fiji Labour Party as the fight is not over yet.”
The Fiji Court of Appeal last week dismissed his appeal against conviction and sentence over Exchange Control Act violation charges.
Meanwhile, deposits paid by candidates to the Fijian Elections Office to contest the September 17 election are part of the government’s revenue.
Clarifying this to the public in an awareness seminar, Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said candidates who reach a certain percentage of voter number during the elections will be entitled to a refund.
“The deposit is a fee which goes back into the consolidated funds, its revenue of government.
“There are certain times when the deposit gets refunded, this is when the candidates get a certain percentage of the total number of votes or if the candidates withdraw their nomination by the 19th of August,” Saneem said.
All candidates that will be nominated today will need to come in with their $1,000 deposit per candidate.
All funds that the Fijian Elections Office receives from the Political Parties will go into the consolidated funds of government and this includes the fees they paid to be registered.
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS
18b) We wont disfranchise voters: Fiji Supervisor of Election
By Online Editor
1:48 pm GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Fiji
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says the Fijian Elections Office will not deprive citizens of their right to vote if there is a typo error on their voter registration card.
Saneem said they are at a point where all cards they issued would be used and accepted by his office.
“If there’s a typo error in the card and the person does not have it corrected, we will have to accept it because it is a legal card where the number and the photo is there.
“We will not disfranchise a person because there is a typo error,” Saneem said.
Saneem said they would continue to allow a person to vote at this point. He has reminded every eligible voter to check their polling venues and make changes if need be so that they are not disappointed come 17 September.
“Some people may have also moved and have not changed their polling venue, they can do this by August 20 to be able to vote at the polling venue nearest to them.” Voters have also been reminded that they won’t be able to vote anywhere they please but only at their designated polling venue.
Meanwhile, there is no time limit placed on voters to find the number of the candidate of their choice during the casting process on September 17.
Electoral Commissioner Jenny Seeto confirmed this during an awareness workshop and said voters will not be under any pressure to rush through the process.
“You can take as much time as you want in the booth deciding your candidates, and having only three minutes or one minute to vote is not correct.”
“But of course if you spend two hours in the polling booth, a presiding officer will come in to check on you just to be sure that nothing has happened,” Seeto said.
She said all voters need to be comfortable in taking their time to vote.
Voters who need to know their polling venue can send a free text of their Voter registration number to 545 to know this and if there is a need to change the polling venue, 20 August is the last day to do so.
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE//PACNEWS
18c) Changes To Fiji Candidate Nomination Forms Upset Parties
Last minute changes cause administrative headaches
By Avinesh Gopal
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, August 14, 2014) – The Fijian Elections Office has made changes to the candidates nomination form stating it has been done this to assist political parties in the nomination process.
This, however, has not been well received by major political parties vying to form the next government.
Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said his office was informed via electronic mail yesterday that changes were being made to the candidates nomination form.
“They want a passport photo now and it should have been written ‘party leader’ at one place on the form and not ‘president’ as stated.
“It has to be changed to ‘party leader’ now,” he said.
“Most political parties are ready with the candidates nomination form and they just have to be submitted.
“We just can’t fill in the new nomination forms in this short time because candidates are scattered in different parts of the country. It’s not easy to do that.
“This just shows a complete lack of professionalism on their (Elections Office) part.
“For petty matters they want to change the nomination form now and it’s just ridiculous.”
Chaudhry said time was running out for the September 17 general election and changes to the candidates nomination form at this time did not augur well for them.
Social Democratic Liberal Party general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu said the changes were a big inconvenience for the party, saying the Elections Office should have been more careful when designing the forms.
“It’s a big administrative problem for us as candidates are scattered all over the country and are busy campaigning.
“It’s very hard to call them back to fill and sign the new nomination form,” he said.
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said changes had been made to the form to assist political parties.
Mr Saneem said the previous form required a 25mmx25mm size photo of the candidates and had “president” instead of “party leader”.
“Instead of the 25mmx25mm photo, we have asked for a passport photo.
“The place where it was written ‘president’ has been changed to ‘party leader’,” he said.
18d) Academic: Fiji Election Observers’ Mandate ‘Too Restrictive”
Dr. Brij Lal says ‘broader environment’ must be considered
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 18, 2014) – An academic says the terms on which a multi-national observer group will monitor Fiji’s election next month’s election are too restrictive.
Fiji has agreed to a 14-nation observer group, which will be led by Australia, India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Brij Lal from the Australian National University says the observer group should not just be looking at what happens on election day, but the broader environment, in which elections are taking place.
Dr Lal says it has not been a level playing field, the media is not free to report on campaigns and the public are anxious about expressing their point of view.
“The terms of reference for the observer mission are very, very restrictive. Looking at the electronic voting, the nomination and registration of voters and candidates, the dynamics of a single-day voting, reconciliation of ballot boxes. An election is more than simply what takes place on that day, ” says Brij Lal.
19) Australian Peter Reith to co-lead international observation of Fijian election
By Online Editor
4:55 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, Australia
Australia is sending a team of observers to Fiji to ensure next month’s general elections are free and fair.
It will be the first election in Fiji since Frank Bainimarama seized power in a coup in 2006.
The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australia is co-leading a 14 member Multinational Observation Group with Indonesia, India and Papua New Guinea.
She’s appointed former Defence and Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith to lead the Australian team, saying he has a “strong interest in supporting democracy internationally.”
Reith says it’s a very important moment for Fiji.
“It’s a good opportunity for Fiji, and Australia is keen to be of assistance,” he said.
“From a broad perspective, the objective here is to make a decision at the end of the election, to report on whether or not the outcome of the general election broadly represents the view of the Fijian people.
“That’s the broad objective, and we’re looking forward to being involved.”
Bishop says the Multinational Observation Group is expected to have freedom of movement throughout Fiji and will deal with the Fijian Government, political parties and other Fijian organisations.
Australian officials will deploy to Suva in coming days to establish a Secretariat and to begin the mission’s work.
The officials will observe and evaluate voter education campaigns, election day operations and events and the reconciliation of all ballot papers.
The observer group will not be talking about politics or anything else, but obviously they’ll be keeping a keen eye on what’s happening,” Reith said.
“It’s a specific job, and it’s important that the group maintain that particular focus that we’ve been asked to do – because it’s an important job and we want to do it professionally.”
The Multinational Observer Group also includes Israel, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Iran and the UK.
USA and Canada had indicated they would like to send in observers as well, while the European Union, which provided most of the observers for Fiji’s 2006 elections, says it has not been invited.
Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has promised he will accept the election results.
Australia moved earlier this year to restore relations with the Fijian Government in recognition of its moves towards elections.
Reith says the elections are a big step for Fiji, and one which Australia welcomes.
“I think the average Aussie would say ‘well, it’s good to hear that they’re having an election – it’s been some time’.
“It’s a positive step and we’ll be taking a positive and professional approach to it all.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS
20a) Former Fiji’s Native Land Trust Board executives jailed
By Online Editor
4:03 pm GMT+12, 15/08/2014, Fiji
Former Native Land Trust Board (NLTB) executives, Keni Dakuidreketi and Kalivati Bakani have been sentenced to 6 and 4 years imprisonment respectively by the High Court in Suva.
The terms are effective from today. Dakuidreketi and Bakani were each convicted on five counts of abuse of office while they served as chairman and director of NLTB respectively.
Dakuidreketi will not be eligible for parole until he serves five years behind bars whilst Bakani will be eligible to apply for parole after serving three years of his sentence.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Janaka Bandara said it should serve as a warning to all public officers and remind them of their duties to the public and the country.
“It is indeed sad to listen to agonising stories narrated on behalf of the two accused at the sentence hearing apart from the effect on their wealth and health. They will have to spend time in jail,” Justice Bandara said.
“I wish to stress that public officers who handle responsibility of public funds that they will have to be mindful of the long term consequences of their decisions and acts.
“They are appointed to such offices because of their knowledge, skills, and experience to nurture the expectations of a country.
“They are duty bound to safeguard and uphold the interests of ordinary people through good governance and sound system of internal control.
“They are not supposed to deploy symptomatic of dishonesty to pervade the entire social fabric. It is high time officers realise their interest is vested in the public and one day they are accountable for all their actions.”
This afternoon’s session had to be shifted to a bigger court room as friends and families packed into the court room initially booked for the case. Emotions ran high as Dakuidreketi and Bakani were led out of the court room to serve their sentences. Relatives and friends who turned up to a packed court room were reduced to tears as police officers led the two men out.
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS
20b) Australia, New Zealand Media Overlook West Papua: Journalist
Lack of coverage of ‘hidden conflict’ needs to be remedied
By Thomas Carnegie
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, August 18, 2014) – A leading journalist writing on West Papuan affairs says New Zealand and Australia need to go the “extra mile” to cover the human rights violations that are being carried out by the Indonesian government.
Paul Bensemann traveled to the country disguised as a bird watcher last year.
He calls West Papua the “hidden conflict” because of the severe lack of coverage given by New Zealand and Australian media. “We know a lot about northern hemisphere conflicts because of the international agencies’ coverage, but we get almost nothing about West Papua,” he says.
The indigenous population of West Papua has been in conflict with its Indonesian government since 1963. The government continues to commit multiple human rights violations, including murder and torture.
Despite such atrocities, the New Zealand and Australian media have given little coverage on the conflict. Critics say this needs to change to bring an end to these violations.
The lack of coverage can be seen in a Pacific Media Centre content analysis of a two-week period between October 19-November 2, 2011.
During this time the Freeport mine strike and the crushing of a peaceful West Papuan by the Indonesian government rally resulted in the loss of up to six lives.
The analysis shows New Zealand press published a total of 99 stories on this crisis. However 58 of the stories came from Pacific Scoop. Major news services like Radio New Zealand National and Stuff did not publish any stories on the conflict, while the New Zealand Herald published only one.
Dr Elizabeth Stanley, senior lecturer in Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington, studied the human rights violations of Timor-Leste during its occupation of Indonesia. She says many parallels can be drawn to the dispute involving West Papua.
Restricting the international media from entering the country and the use of brutality towards journalists allows the Indonesian government to repress West Papuans, says Dr Stanley.
“When East Timor was first invaded by Indonesia, five international journalists went in to cover the conflict and were brutally murdered.
“After that a lot of journalists didn’t want to go the country. This significantly blinded the international community from seeing the human rights violations that were occurring,” says Dr Stanley.
Victor Mambor, editor of Tabloid Jubi and chair of the West Papuan branch of the Indonesian Alliance of Independent Journalists, says while the Indonesian government has no legal obligation to ban foreign journalists from entering West Papua, they always do.
“When you call them to try get a permit, they always say you need to talk to this person, but when you call again they say no you need to talk to another person. So you just keep going around in a circle – it is like a black hole”.
As a result of this “black hole”, international journalists struggle to get permits to enter West Papua. This means they can only enter the country under the disguise of tourists.
Bensemann says the attitude of Australian and New Zealand media over West Papua needs to change, as they are Pacific nations needing to show they stand against human right violations.
“It is very important for New Zealand and Australian journalists to cover West Papua because it’s a big issue happening in our own backyard.
“So I believe there is the need for New Zealand journalists to go the extra mile.”
Sony Ambudi, an Indonesian human rights activist, says that while New Zealand and Australian journalists do need to go the extra mile to cover West Papua, they must also take careful measures to protect their contacts and sources.
Ambudi says journalists often do not realize they are not only putting themselves at risk, but also everybody they have contact with while in West Papua.
Bensemann says he did not fear for his own safety when he was in West Papua because if he were caught he would be deported. However, he did fear the safety of his sources and contacts.
“Recently a Swiss journalist was caught, the police beat up another prisoner in front of him to scare him from ever returning,” says Bensemann.
Despite these risks to journalists, slowly progress is starting to be made towards international journalist protection in West Papua.
This is represented by a motion tabled by the Green Party late last month to call on the Indonesian President to commit to genuine press freedom in West Papua.
Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty says this motion is another tool to bring press freedom to West Papua.
“I know of some journalists trying to get to West Papua right now. If they have any problems then I will be able to internally hold our government to account.
“I will now try to get other parliamentarians around the world to pass similar motions. For instance I will talk to the Green Party in Australia and try get it through their Parliament.
“There are also politicians in the English Parliament and the Netherlands who will support a similar motion,” says Delahunty.
Despite this motion passing, Ambudi says it is a long time before the Indonesian government will agree to allow freedom of the press.
Journalists therefore have to take it upon themselves to cover the human rights violations taking place in West Papua.
“Without any journalists on the ground, the future seems very bleak for West Papua”.
Thomas Carnegie is a Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student journalist at AUT University on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course.
20c) Akauola moves from media to politics
By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Fiji
He has been a media personality for the past 33 years and wants to continue to highlight the role of the media as a development partner in nation building.
Mataiasi Akauola is one of the 50 nominated candidates contesting under the FijiFirst banner. The 52-year old hails from Salia, in Nayau, Lau but grew up in Suva.
He was first recruited by Peter Lomas of the Fiji Sun straight out of Queen Victoria School. He worked for the paper from 1981 to 1985, then joined FM96, FBC as well as the Fiji Times.
Akauola was also a former member of the Fiji Media Council and became the first manager of the merged Pacific Island News Association (PINA) and Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association (PIBA).
His father was a member of both the Fijian Nationalist and the National Federation parties; so politics runs in the family.
“I have seen the various governments that have led the country- such as the Alliance, Fiji Labour Party, SVT, and SDL in the past,” Akauola said.
“I have even interviewed those leaders one time or the other.
“I was approached by one party however I applied for FijiFirst, because I believe in what the party stands for.”
There are things he will want concentrate on in this year’s election; obviously the media is one of them.
“The media and its work in the country and why it is a national development partner in nation building, and sports,” Akauola said.
“I understand the plight of the sports organisations and sports people and to strengthen family values.”
With only a few weeks left before the elections, Akauola feels that the campaign machinery had been doing well.
“But the main thing is to get people to the polling stations to cast their votes,” he said.
“Choose FijiFirst, it has and will continue to deliver for a better Fiji.”.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the FijiFirst party released a list of its final confirmed batch of candidates for the September election.
The list, consisting of 30 people, included former permanent secretary for Education, Dr Brij Lal and former permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.
Other names on the list included pharmacist Alvic Maharaj, human resources development specialist Akhtar Ali, former commissioner western Joeli Cawaki, community worker Viam Pillay, former commissioner eastern Netani Rika, entrepreneur Howard Politini, lawyer Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, former mayor Parveen Kumar, former diplomat and parliamentarian Jioje Konrote, lawyer Ashneel Sudhakar, former turaga ni koro and mata ni tikina Ilisoni Galala and teacher Mohammed Abe Dean.
Also named were businessman Sanjit Patel, surveyor Himaiyat Ali, former journalist Mataiasi Akauola, community worker Vijay Nath, former member of the iTaukei Affairs Board Joape Nalatu, social commentator Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, former deputy CEO for the iTaukei Affairs Board Apakuki Kurusiga, former radio personality Veena Bhatnagar, director of Malomalo Tikina Holdings Ltd Ruveni Nadalo, former commissioner central Laisenia Tuitubou, former civil servant Luisa Waqanika, former teacher Jilila Kumar, social and community worker Adi Laisa Tora, community worker Koleta Sivivatu, former employee at the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption Balmindar Singh and former member of the RFMF Samuela Vunivalu.
SOURCE: FIJI SUN/ FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
20c) Own bank for PNG women
By Online Editor
4:41 pm GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea women now have their very own bank.
That was made possible through the opening of the Women’s Micro Bank Ltd last Friday in Port Moresby.
The women’s bank is said to be first in Pacific region and fourth in the world.
Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru, when speaking during the event, said the opening of the bank was a milestone, not only for the institute but the country.
Maru said the national government provided the initial K10 million (US$4 million) and a further K4 million (US$1.6 million) this year to assist in starting up the bank.
“The O’Neil Government fully realises that it should continue to support women in business.
“You have received government support of K14 million (US$5.7 million), even though it is a private bank.”
Maru said the bank was a private bank and the national government could not guarantee future funding support as it was yet to complete the nationwide rollout of the government-owned People’s Micro Bank Ltd (PMBL).
He urged the board and management to make good use of the funds provided and challenged them to develop and grow the bank.
Maru encouraged them to seek funding support for the future operations and growth of the bank.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop commended PNG Women in Business executive director and founder Janet Sape, board and management, staff and the women for their efforts in making establishment of the bank successful.
Parkop presented a cheque of K150, 000 (US$61,000) – from the K300, 000 (US$122,000) that was pledged to be given to the bank.
The bank was purposely established for women and girls only. However, males can open accounts with the bank under condition that it must be joint accounts with either their spouse or daughters.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
21a) World Bank Report Shows Crime Rate In PNG Stabilizing
Prison population down 50% over past 3 years
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 18, 2014) – Crime rate in the country has significantly dropped in the past three years, with the prison population reduced by more than 50% over the same period, it has been revealed.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill revealed the positive news when responding to a World Bank analysis on the economic situation and impact of crime on it.
The report will be reviewed by the Government as part of its planning and policy development “so as to continue to improve law and order” in PNG.
“There has been a significant decline in major crime over the past three years due to strong government policy on law and order that is supported through increased funding,” he said.
O’Neill said: “This has seen the number of inmates at several prisons decrease by over half – such as in Bomana (in Port Moresby) where the inmates have been reduced from more than 1000 to around 450.
“The reduction in crime and decreased prison population clearly shows (that) our youths are being given the opportunity to engage meaningfully in education and employment opportunities.
“We will continue to build on this success.”
[PIR editor’s note: The PNG Post-Courier reported that despite the rosy picture PM O’Neill painted about progress ‘Eight in 10 businesses in Papua New Guinea suffer substantial losses and security costs as a result of high rates of crime and violence, slowing business expansion and hampering the country’s economic development, says a World Bank report. … More than 80 percent of 135 companies surveyed said their business decisions are negatively influenced by the country’s law and order situation, with crime significantly increasing the cost of doing business. The expense of avoiding criminal damage limits firms’ ability to grow, deters start-ups, and imposes significant long-term social costs on the country.’]
The Government requested the World Bank to conduct the research to “better assess the social and economic costs of crime and violence as this relates to business, citizens, government and civil society”.
“The World Bank statement makes note that crime has stabilised, while at the same time more work needs to be done,” O’Neill said.
“We have made a commitment to the people and businesses of Papua New Guinea to improve law and order and we are meeting this challenge.”
O’Neill said the report’s recommendations had been acted on in relation to central police engagement and improvements in social and community infrastructure.
“Through decentralisation initiatives, the government is better utilising local community knowledge and delivering programmes to confront conditions and situations that can lead to crimes being committed,” he said.
“This includes activities to empower youths to gain skills and access employment, to strengthen community intervention, and undertaking dialogue to address the factors that contribute to criminal activity.”
The World Bank report had stated that eight out of 10 businesses that were interviewed said they suffered substantial losses and security costs because of crime.
21b) Taiwan Commits To Buying PNG Gas For Next 20 Years
LNG deal likely to lead to stronger bilateral relations
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 18, 2014) – Taiwan’s Chinese Petroleum Company is committed to buying liquefied natural gas from PNG in the next 20 years and beyond, chairman Cheng Lin says.
Lin was in Port Moresby on Friday for a dinner organised by ExxonMobil for all stakeholders.
The Fortune 500 company has an annual turnover of more than US$400 billion a year.
Lin said that Taiwanese businesspeople knew little about PNG. But thanks to the LNG deal, and the efforts of Taiwan Trade Mission leader Daniel Hu, stronger bilateral relations would be created.
“Papua New Guinea and Taiwan are members of APEC, and under the APEC agreement, ministers get opportunities to talk,” he said.
“Taiwan can assist PNG in developing its small and medium enterprises.”
Lin said Taiwan previously sourced its LNG from Qatar, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
“This (PNG) will be the fourth-largest (LNG) supplier to our side,” he said.
“Already, some Taiwanese fishermen are fishing in your country. Your country has many good resources.”
Hu said the deal augured well for improved relations between the two countries.
“This will certainly strengthen bilateral relations,” he said.
“The good thing is that the two countries are not far from each other.
“Taiwan is making a shift from nuclear power to LNG and there is potential to import more LNG from PNG.
“Our relationship in future will be transformed.”
21b)PNG plans to export fresh fruits
By Online Editor
1:51 pm GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea’s plans to be one of the world’s exporters of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables will soon come to reality once an agreement is in place.
PNG is now looking at expanding its trade and investment links with the Philippines specifically targeting the opportunities in expanding trade in the commercial fruit industry so PNG can be one of the exporters of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables.
Trade Minister Richard Maru on behalf of the Government has already identified one of Asia’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables – Dole Asia – to come to PNG for a feasibility study on an area in Madang which he announced early this month.
In a statement from the Philippines, the Phillipine Government’s Trade Secretary, Gregory Domingo, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. said Maru has noted opportunities in expanding trade in the commercial fruit industry. There is potential seen to expand trade in the commercial fruit industry with the Philippines amid growing domestic demand in PNG.
Early this month Maru announced that an area in Madang has already been identified for a major fresh fruits and vegetables farm and the Government was already talking to specific suppliers – it has been identified PNG is looking to the Philippines.
“PNG does not have any large scale commercial fruit farms to supply the domestic market and vast potential export markets within the region,” Maru said in the statement.
Maru said that PNG is keen to work particularly with Dole Asia to complete a feasibility study into establishing a major commercial fruit business in PNG under a joint venture of the government and other shareholders. Dole Asia is a subsidiary of Dole Asia Holdings, one of Asia’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables.
“The demand for fruits grown for the local market and overseas market is very, very high,” Maru said in a separate letter to Johann Albano, Dole Asia vice president.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
22) Dubai Company Confirms Plans To Invest In PNG
Awal Telecommunications to be established by end of year
By Gorethy Kenneth
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 13, 2014) – Dubai-based multinational AWAL Telecommunications Corporation has defended its operations and advised they are still coming to Papua New Guinea to set up their mobile company.
In a short message sent to the Post-Courier through Facebook, the company said its executives, including chairman Pradeep Kumar, CEO Sakib Rhaman and managing director Muhammad Khan Babur will still visit PNG before the end of this year to kick start their operations.
They also said that they already have a PNG country representative, Johnfeely Sakumai, manning their operations in PNG and who has already instructed that the executives will be here in the country soon.
“We are coming to Papua New Guinea. We just need to iron more things out but already we are on target to come and set up in PNG,” a message from the CEO, Sakib Rhaman, said.
“We will come to PNG and do a mass rollout.”
At the last check last month, AWAL dignitaries were in London trying to negotiate for a joint venture with Vodafone UK or another mobile company to come and operate in PNG.
Last week AWAL dignitaries were reportedly present at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+10 High Level Event, conducted by International Telecommunications Union, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP at ITU Headquarters.
AWAL, which means Accelerated With Absolute Leadership, has also advised that they are currently doing business in other parts of the world, specifically in ITU countries and will be in PNG before the end of the year.
Repeated questions sent to them have been unanswered.
But according to the PNG Government officials, it is most likely that AWAL, which has been issued with three licences with its A-Tel mobile network, are using those licences and the ITU certificate to do business in other countries.
23) Kacific inks satellite broadband agreement with Our Telekom
By Online Editor
1:17 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, Solomon Islands
KACIFIC Broadband Satellites Wednesday announced that it has signed a five year Framework Services Agreement with Solomon Telekom Company to provide high speed bandwidth to the people of Solomon Islands.
The multi-million dollar agreement almost doubles the bandwidth available to Solomon Telekom and will provide high speed internet coverage to even the most remote locations in the island group.
Five high capacity beams directed from Kacific’s Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) will provide coverage to every one of the many islands that comprise the group.
Despite approximately 1,500 kilometres separating the westernmost and easternmost islands, the high power Kacific coverage will provide all with equally outstanding service quality through inexpensive terminals.
Coverage will extend from Choiseul and the Shortland Islands in the far west and north-west, all the way to the most northern atoll, Ontong Java, to the most eastern remote atolls of Tikopia and the Duff Islands and to the Rennell Bellona Islands in the south.
Kacific will provide Solomon Telekom with a minimum of 150 Mbps of bandwidth from 2017 until 2022.
Under the agreement Solomon Telekom can, at its discretion, increase bandwidth in bursts of up to 50 percent at any time to 225 Mbps of capacity. Solomon Telekom currently has 200 Mbps of capacity.
Each beam will have a footprint approximately 500-600 km wide, and together they will entirely cover the nearly 30,000 km2 of land in the Solomons.
Kacific uses a very simple, validated and streamlined satellite technology so that all islands in the group receive unrivalled satellite power for customers to operate at high throughput speeds using only a small (75cm to 1.2m diameter) inexpensive terminal.
Kacific offers a solution adapted to the Pacific nations that will be optimised to the Solomon Islands topology to ensure a predictable and affordable service with ample room to grow and expand.
“This agreement will serve the needs of the Solomon Islands well into the future,” says Solomon Telekom CEO, LoyleyNgira.
“Ours is a challenging case: we have many sparsely populated islands spread over a wide geographic area and few places outside Honiara have broadband access at present.
“Kacific’s satellite solution will make broadband available to the entire population. Because it uses affordable easy-to-install terminals, the service can be deployed quickly, easily (without engineers) and at low cost.
“Other solutions – like 3G networks and submarine cable – are comparatively expensive from the perspective of consumer access and provide only limited coverage. This is a perfect fit for the Solomon Islands,” says Ngira.
“We believe it will have a positive impact on tourism, education, healthcare, emergency services government services and economic growth and lead to significant improvements in service delivery in all these sectors.”
The country has a population of around 600,000.
The nation faces particularly onerous environmental and economic challenges and is subject to cyclones, tsunamis and earthquakes.
Currently demand for broadband is suppressed as limited access and high costs of service inhibit uptake of digital technologies.
Despite all those challenges, the Solomon Islands has tripled its GDP in the last 10 years and the economy continues growing.
Providing universal access to broadband is the natural next step to unleash the potential of this promising nation.
“Having a universally available communications infrastructure will help justify investment in other forms of infrastructure and industry,” adds Ngira.
“Kacific’s services will help lift the economic performance of the entire nation.”
“This agreement will see Kacific provide an affordable, universally accessible national broadband service to a multi-island nation where other technologies have struggled,” says Kacific CEO, Christian Patouraux.
“Solomon Telekom’s commitment is a confirmation of our unique value proposition in supplying affordable high speed broadband to dispersed islands and populations.
“There is today simply no alternative to Kacific’s proposed access, speed and affordability in the Pacific.
“On the other hand, this agreement is also a demonstration of the remarkable vision of Solomon Telekom.
“It will improve every level of society, enhance business exchanges, propel every corner of the nation into the same digital age as the most connected nations, reduce gender inequality, improve social cohesion, promote the export and survival of Solomon Islands rich cultural heritage, and help prepare and protect the country against many natural dangers that are common in this part of the world.
“The Pacific is in dire need of connectivity.
“Kacific believes it is not the time to use the Pacific as a test-bed for new or experimental technologies.
“Fully proven technologies like those Kacific is offering are perfectly predictable and reliable.
“Making a direct high-speed internet connection available to every government agency, institution, business and family in the footprint area will place the Solomons in a leadership position amongst Pacific nations in terms of providing universal broadband access.”
Kacific expects to launch its Kacific-1 satellite by early 2017 and to provide operational service shortly thereafter.
From the moment the satellite is commissioned, all Solomon Islanders will be able to receive coverage using only a small, low cost dish antenna.
Overnight every school, village, clinic, shop, business and dwelling in the country will have access to a fast, affordable, national broadband network.
In June 2014 Kacific announced that it had signed a five year agreement with Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation to provide up to 150Mbps of bandwidth to the island group.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
24) Moves to access Vodafone labour markets in Solomon Islands
By Online Editor
1:15 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, Solomon Islands
The recently established Bmobile/Vodafone partnership has offered opportunity which the companies are keen to utilise which can allow the national staff members to have access to other Vodafone labor markets.
In a statement Wednesday, Bmobile/Vodafone chief executive officer (CEO) Niall Downey said Bmobile over the coming months will be developing a training program for local staff members to join other Vodafone networks for a period of three to six months on work experience.
“This HR sector is key to Bmobile / Vodafone’s strategy of developing the future business leaders of the Solomon Islands. This program will start in early 2015.
“This will give the staff members of Bmobile a terrific opportunity to learn overseas best practices and then bring back to the Solomon’s to implement. This will not only develop technically but also learn new managements skills designed to blossom their confidence levels.”
Downey said Bmobile will be recruiting key senior staff members in all departments over the coming months as they try to improve their technical and customer service capacities.
“Bmobile/Vodafone have a vision of creating a young dynamic work force that attracts the elite of the Solomons Islands. Bmobile/Vodafone can now offer staff work in other overseas markets to further develop their careers.
“This will be key over the coming months and years to becoming the number one provider of Telecommunications.”
The CEO added, the key for all business’s working in remote locations is to form partnerships to reduce their expenses. Business is all about connecting to the global market especially in relation to knowledge and experience.
“Global companies can provide training to national staff members, developing their confidence. This will lay the foundations for the next generation of CEOs.”
Since the two companies struck the partnership more towers have been constructed, upgrading of its network, specials in data packages and group calls.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
25a) Digicel Launches Fiji’s Biggest 4G Network
By Online Editor
4:06 pm GMT+12, 15/08/2014, Fiji
Digicel Fiji has announced the launch of its Superfast 4G network.
The 4G services will be available in the greater Suva area, Nadi including Denarau Island and the wider Lautoka area. This is the cornerstone of the recent investment of $70 million (US$37 million) to expand and upgrade its high speed data network – which is the most significant investment since the operator launched in 2008. The roll-out also continues on the existing network to bring nationwide 3G+ coverage.
In making the announcement at the Digicel Headquarters in Suva, CEO Darren McLean stated that with this huge investment Digicel had built the largest 4G network in the country. He promised that this will improve internet access and the customer experience for the people of Fiji.
“The very latest in technology, Digicel 4G broadband is superfast, accessible, affordable and reliable and is underpinned by Digicel’s commitment to best value, best network, best service” added McLean.
“We are ready to deliver the best for Fiji. Only six years ago, Digicel entered the mobile market in Fiji and turned it on its head. Today we have a strong customer base which is growing everyday as customers connect to the Bigger, Better Network and benefit from the best service and the best value available.”
McLean confirmed that Digicel is delivering the biggest 4G network which will deliver superfast wireless broadband initially in key population areas of Suva, Nadi and Lautoka.
“Our customers are now able to access world class internet speeds at home, work and on the go. The demand for superfast wireless data network is growing in Fiji, more and more people are now able to afford smartphones and their need for data is enormous. Digicel 4G offers the highest speeds possible over a mobile network. My message to those who are not already Digicel customers – it’s time to move.”
Digicel Fiji has been the key driver in the evolution of Fijian telecommunications landscape, since its launch in 2008 call rates have been reduced dramatically.
The $70 million investment will also benefit thousands of Unwired 4G customers. “We have seen phenomenal demand for our Unwired service from all over Fiji and we are going to expand the coverage to new parts of the country for this service over the coming weeks. Speeds will also improve.”
Digicel Fiji has also introduced 4G smartphones from today, as low as $299.00 and great data rates, which are compatible for both 3G+ and 4G networks. Customers can get connected on Digicel wireless data network for as low as $1.49 for 300Mb or get a seven-day pass for $5.99 for 800Mb.
SOURCE: DIGICEL FIJI/PACNEWS
25b) China, Vanuatu pledge to boost cooperation
By Online Editor
1:45 pm GMT+12, 18/08/2014, China
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister of Vanuatu Joe Natuman met in Nanjing on Sunday, pledging to boost bilateral cooperation.
Hailing Natuman as an old friend of the Chinese people, Xi said the Vanuaaku Party, of which Natuman is a founding member, was the first political party in the Pacific island region to establish relations with the Communist Party of China.
He added that the party has made a great contribution to China-Vanuatu ties.
Xi said the Chinese side respects the Vanuatu people’s choice of development path and will back the island country’s efforts to safeguard its rights and advance sustainable development.
Xi said China welcomes more exports from Vanuatu and will support Chinese companies cooperating with Vanuatu partners in agriculture, fishery, transportation, telecommunications, clean energy and infrastructure.
SOURCE: DAILY TIMES/PACNEWS
25c) Full PNG court bench to hear Constitutional reference
By Online Editor
1:46 pm GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Papua New Guinea
A full Supreme Court bench of five judges in Papua New Guinea is expected to hear three constitutional references relating to several constitutional questions.
The questions relate to cases involving the pending arrest warrant against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
The three constitutional references were perused respectively by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Justice Gavara-Nanu and Justice Minister and Attorney General Ano Pala.
Most of the questions raised in the references were in relation to specific laws on the duties and functions of the police and the courts which required the Supreme Court’s interpretation.
The references were consolidated during the directions hearing before Chief Justice Sir Salamo, who presided as a single Supreme Court judge last week. The parties involved in the references were advised at the directions hearing to return to court on August 22 for status conference followed by the full hearing on August 29, 2014.
Some of the questions raised in the references that required the Supreme Court’s interpretation were;
*Whether the Police Com-missioner has standing or sufficient interest to seek leave for judicial review of the decision of the Chief Magistrate given of 12 June, 2014, to issue a warrant of arrest against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill following an application made by a member of the police force;
*Whether the Police Commissioner or any of the member of the police force has powers under section 192 of the Constitution to direct or control another member of the Police Force in the discharge of his/her function under section 197 or the Constitution to lay, prosecute or withdraw charges in respect of an offence or offences; and
*Whether the Police Commissioner has powers to make decisions or issue directions or orders in relation to members of the police force, whether, in appropriate cases, the function of the police force to lay, prosecute or withdraw charges in respect of offences may be subject to direction or control by the police commissioner.
These questions and others would be interpreted by the full Supreme Court bench first to clear path for the respective cases to proceed.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT
26a) Melanesian climate meet ends
By Online Editor
1:14 pm GMT+12, 15/08/2014, Vanuatu
Members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) environment and climate change technical advisory committee (ECCTAC) had successfully concluded their 4th meeting on Tuesday in Vanuatu.
The meeting focused on the MSG draft framework for action concerning the environment and climate change (ECC) declaration signed by the MSG Leaders in March 2012.
In opening the two day meeting, the deputy Director General of the MSG Secretariat Molean Kilepak commended the committee for the tremendous work that they have undertaken since its establishment.
Kilepak also congratulated members for the various initiatives and progress made in sustainable development at the national level.
“This includes the formulation of sustainable development plans and green growth framework to serve as the platform to better integrate national values and to bring to prominence the principles of sustainable development and green growth in the region.
“This is to ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability are embedded into national plans,” he stated.
He added that some of these values contained in the strategies may already be enshrined within respective national constitutions, the challenge remains for the all members to work together in aligning these national plans and processes within the regional framework.
This is to enable better coordination of our regional policies to the national sustainable development challenges and the impacts of climate change.
The chair of the committee Rodrigue Tiavouane and representative of the Front de Liberation National Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) Political Bureau in New Caledonia also urged them to finalize the draft MSG Framework for Action on ECC by the end of this year.
“This is to allow better coordination of members initiatives under the ECC declaration,” he stated.
They thanked the partners that attended like, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Griffith University, the University of the South Pacific (USP) and others.
SOURCE: MSG SECRETARIAT/PACNEWS
26b) Climate change forces Solomons town to relocate
By Online Editor
10:03 am GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Solomon Islands
Under threat from climate change and global warming, the authorities of Taro Island in the Solomon Islands have decided to relocate in first such case in Pacific islands.
Taro Island, which is the capital of Solomon’s Choiseul province, is home to 500 people and lies less than two meters above sea level.
The mounting pressures of climate change and global warming are so severe that the entire population is relocating with its facilities to the mainland.
Engineers, academics and town planners have joined in order to create an extensive plan for the settlement of the community.
The Solomon Islands and other small island nations in the Pacific are among the most susceptible to global warming and climate change.
Since 1993, the sea level around the islands has been increasing by approximately 8mm every year ? 3 times faster than the global average.
The 2007 tsunami, which hit the Solomon Islands, led to disruption to a quarter of the 90,000 population, and killed more than 50 people.
After the disaster, Jackson Kiloe, Choiseul Province Premier, urged for more government funds for relocating the capital.
In 2008, the Solomon Islands government gave 3 million dollars to Choiseul province in order to facilitate the project, allowing a 488 hectare plot of land on mainland Choiseul Bay to be purchased for the settlement.
Moreover, the Australian government is also giving money for the design of the new settlement through a 32 million Australian dollar project started with assistance from UN’s fast start finance programme.
26c) Cuba to help Pacific on disasters
By Online Editor
10:06 am GMT+12, 18/08/2014, Cuba
Cuba’s National Forecast Centre says it will share with the Pacific region how it has reduced the crippling impacts of severe weather events.
Its director, Jose Rubiera, will go to next month’s Small Islands Developing States conference in Samoa next month, being part of the ‘Small Islands, Weather Together Campaign’.
Dr Rubiera says Cuba has dramatically changed the way it responds to cyclones since Hurricance Flora killed more than 1,200 people in 1963.
He says Cuba now takes a lead role in teaching small islands how to deal with extreme weather events.
“Small islands need to improve their systems, meteorological systems, weather stations, satellites, radars, and they have to use these tools in the forecast and exchange of information. Also meteorologists should get involved in the media, explaining the weather.”
Dr Jose Rubiera says he hopes to convince Pacific leaders that investing money in meteorological equipment will pay off in the long-term.
27) PM Of Tuvalu Calls Climate Change ‘Weapon Of Mass Destruction’
Sopoaga tells Australia, others not to get in the way of global agreement
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 15, 2014) – The Prime Minister of the small Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has compared climate change to a weapon of mass destruction, and warned Australia not to stand in the way of a new global agreement.
Enele Sopoaga says his country and many other low-lying Pacific nations are facing serious threats from global warming.
Mr Sopoaga says he’ll be making his position clear when he co-chairs a UN climate change summit in New York next month.
“We are caught in the middle, and certainly in Tuvalu, we are very, very worried – we are already suffering,” he said.
“It’s already like a weapon of mass destruction, and the indications are all there.
“We only need to garner strong, collective leadership – we simply are going to again underscore the message that we are dying.”
Mr Sopoaga says countries have to move beyond questions of political sovereignty to address the realities in his country.
The UN Secretary-General has convened the climate summit in New York in a bid to mobilise political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.
Next year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris has the objective of reaching a legally binding and universal agreement on climate.
“This is no longer to do with political sovereignty – this is threatening human beings, and we need to bring this into perspective,” he said.
“We are not dealing with sovereignties any more – there are no boundaries to the effects of climate change.
“We are dealing with saving human lives – and therefore saving Tuvalu is also saving the world.”
Mr Sopoaga is the latest Pacific leader to criticise Australia’s approach to climate change.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flagged he wants to forge an alliance of like-minded centre-right governments to resist global moves towards carbon pricing, and in favour of more ‘direct action’ measures.
Fiji’s interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama has singled out Australia for failing to adequately address climate change, while Palau was also critical ahead of last month’s Pacific Islands Forum.
Kiribati’s President Anote Tong and Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak have also urged the global community to act before it is too late.
Mr Sopoaga says Australia and other countries should not stand in the way of reaching an international agreement.
“They can stay out,” he said.
“If they decide not to be part of the pact, that’s their own decision – but we are already seeing a lot of damages, a lot of destruction to the islands.”
“And if that is the case with Australia, that’s their own decision – but that should not stop the world – the willing – to go forward.”
28) Obama asked to abandon ocean conservation expansion
By Online Editor
4:49 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, American Samoa
The Governor of American Samoa, Lolo Moliga, is asking President Barack Obama to abandon plans to create the world’s largest ocean reserve in the Pacific.
President Obama wants to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument from the current 50 nautical miles, to the full extent of its 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic zone.
Lolo Moliga wrote to the president, saying the proposal will have devastating consequences as it will effectively curtail the territory’s continued economic survival and end their subsistence lifestyles.
The governor says it will also have a devastating impact by way of the loss of fish available on which the local canneries depend to sustain production.
Moliga says the territory has already lost one of its tuna fish canning plants because Congress elected to arbitrarily apply the federal minimum wage without first determining its damaging effects.
He adds the continued viability of the territory’s tuna fish canneries is already in jeopardy by the aggressive and predatory investments by China in fisheries development in the Pacific.
29) Climate refugees win adaptation award
By Online Editor
4:51 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2014, Papua New Guinea
The voluntary relocation by Carteret Islanders in response to the effects of climate change has been recognised by the world’s largest conservation organisation, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with the Equator Prize.
The Equator Prize is awarded every two years to local and indigenous groups that demonstrate community-based, grassroots action to address environment, poverty and climate change challenges.
It is organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Equator Initiative, of which IUCN is a partner.
The theme of the Equator Prize 2014 was “local biodiversity and ecosystem-based solutions to climate change.”
The people of the Carteret Islands were suffering increasing food shortages due to saltwater flooding from storm surges, and facing further rises in sea level.
The Council of Elders decided to voluntarily relocate to Tinputz on the much larger island of Bougainville.
This initiative became known as ‘Tulele Peisa’, which translates to ‘sailing the waves on our own’.
The Council negotiated with the host communities on Bougainville to ensure adequate land, infrastructure and livelihood opportunities.
Tulele Peisa offers a positive resettlement model for other atoll communities in the Pacific Islands region.
Two previous initiatives in PNG have been awarded the Equator Prize: Conservation Melanesia’s preservation of Collingwood Bay (2004), and the Sepik Wetlands Management Initiative (2006).
SOURCE: LOOP PNG/PACNEWS
30a) PNG Hunters playoff hopes suffer blow
The Papua New Guinea Hunters playoff hopes have been dented following a 28-10 defeat to Wynnum Manly in the Queensland Cup rugby league competition.
The result snapped a four match winning streak for the Hunters who remain one place outside of the top five playoff positions.
The Hunters have 29 points with one match and a bye remaining, two behind Tweed Heads.
Michael Marum’s side finish their regular season campaign this weekend away to South’s Logan and have the bye the following weekend, which offers a guaranteed two points.Radio NZ 18/8/14
30b) Fiji sevens team on top at Youth Olympics
Fiji is predictably on top after the first day of sevens rugby action at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.
Under stand-in coach Sale Sorovaki, Fiji opened with a 29-5 win over Japan and 29-10 triumph against the USA to join Argentina at the top of the standings.
There was no such luck for Tuvalu and Vanuatu in the girl’s under 17 beach volleyball.
Tuvalu’s Valisi Sakalia and Loluama Eti were beaten in straight sets by Saint Lucia while the Vanuatu duo Loti Jo and Floflo Daniel suffered the same fate against Puerto Rico.
Guam’s Vandric Jon Castro lost his opening judo bout while PNG, Nauru and Kiribati were all out of medal contention in weightlifting.
Vanuatu’s Under 15 footballers play their first match against Korea on Monday and Chef De Mission James Malau says it’s important to start well.
“There’s only six teams in the football competition. I do see a little chance for our boys if they go through the round, because they’ve got two matches in their pool games so they lose against South Korea, which is their first opponent and do better against Cape Verde then they will be in the semi finals, which it is likely that they might [but] that depends on how best they perform”.
Among the other Pacific competitors in action are Guam’s 3×3 women’s basketball team, who take on Belgium. Radio NZ 18/08/14
30c) Sonny Bill Williams to launch the NRL Pacific strategy in Apia
By Online Editor
2:03 pm GMT+12, 15/08/2014, Samoa
Double international star Sonny Bill Williams is part of a high profile delegation to launch the NRL’s Pacific Strategy aimed at strengthening Rugby League and building stronger business and community ties in the Pacific Islands.
Sonny Bill Williams will accompany the NRL CEO, Mr Dave Smith and Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens to Samoa next Monday as part of the Pacific Strategy launch.
NRL CEO, Dave Smith, said the Pacific Islands – Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea – would play a crucial part in the game’s future.
And he said there was enormous potential to develop closer ties with government and business connections in the Pacific and build closer community relations through Rugby League.
Jarryd Hayne will visit Fiji with other NRL stars later this year to promote the strategy.
The visits will involve everything from meetings with government and business officials through to football clinics and education programs for children.
Smith said the Pacific Nations had the potential to become powerhouses of the game.
He said about 37 per cent of NRL players already come from the Pacific Islands.
“The interest in our game in Samoa is incredible, especially now that they have qualified for the Four Nations tournament at the end of the year,” he said.
“And, with the next World Cup in 2017, there is no reason one of the Pacific nations cannot make the finals of our biggest international event.
“We saw Mal Meninga coaching the Papua New Guinea Kumuls for the last World Cup and we have seen the PNG Hunters perform incredibly well in the Queensland Cup.
“So the game is on the rise in the Pacific and the timing is perfect to build our relationships on and off the field.”
Smith said the Pacific Strategy would focus on:
* Game development
* Player welfare
* Commercial and corporate opportunities
* Supporting education, social and community outcomes
* Strengthening the Rugby League bodies in each nation to build the international game
Smith said one of the great aspects of the program was that it enabled NRL stars like Sonny Bill Williams and Jarryd Hayne to give something back to their homelands.
The players will combine skills clinics with educational programs aimed at teaching children how to eat well and lead healthy lifestyles.
Tim Sheens, who has coached some of Australia’s finest players will also conduct coaching clinics and classes for children.
Smith said the NRL already had 12 staff in Papua New Guinea who would teach life skills to about 50,000 students in 80 schools over the next three years.
“We are looking to engage up to 10,000 students in Samoa and Fiji through the NRL’s literacy and anti-bullying programs which will replicate our current “League for Life” Program in PNG.
“At the same time we want to help young people in Fiji, PNG, Samoa and Tonga develop their rugby league careers by expanding the pathways already in place which enable them to play in local competitions and, ultimately, their national teams.”
Sonny Bill said he was looking forward to working with the Samoan children and communities to help improve their lifestyles.
“I don’t think there is anything better than knowing you helped change someone’s life for the better,” he said.
“So if we can educate Samoan school children about nutrition and healthy lifestyles – and throw in some football skills as well – it will be a great outcome.”
Jarryd Hayne said playing for Fiji in the World Cup was one of the most memorable experiences of his life.
“I love the idea of giving something back to the people of Fiji and the beauty of this program is that it is all inclusive – it reaches out to boys and girls and covers everything from literacy and maths skills to sporting and social skills.
“It also encourages teamwork and we all know how important that is on and off the field.”.
SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS