Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1021a


1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 16 September 2014

by bobmakin

  • Radio Vanuatu spends a lot of time and money advertising for a new General Manager for VBTC. The half page Daily Post ads on Saturdays cannot be cheap and the several times daily readings of the ad on Radio Vanuatu take many minutes of airtime, and if all of this is going ahead until 31 October when applications close, it is certain we will all know they want a new GM.
  • Anyway, they are often being pipped at the news post by that Daily Post, as they are today with news of the suspension of the Commissioner of Police, albeit on full pay. The news is truly surprising and there will be an inquiry. Meanwhile the acting commissioner is Aru Maralau. Arthur Caulton said there was no valid reason for his suspension.
  • Radio Vanuatu Lunchtime News today, however, also pointed out the suspension by the Vanuatu National Cultural Council of the Cultural Centre (VKS) Director, Marcelin Abong. Grounds for the suspension have not been given. The talented and extremely capable former VBTC Programme Director Ambong Thompson, who has been managing the VKS audio-visual section for many years, takes over the acting directorship.
  • Taking its news from all daily media, this vanuatudaily news digest is always beaten by everyone (and regrets for no Vanuatu Daily News Digest bulletin yesterday), but news which has not made it to these pages so far concerns that which was on page 1 in Saturday’s Daily Post: Vanuatu Financial Services Commission – VFSC position used to promote online raffle. Property at Santo is offered as prizes in a lottery in which the deputy commissioner of the VFSC is said to be Vanuatu Registry Services (VRS), operating the new product of the VFSC – the Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP). VRS is said to be sponsoring the lottery, or raffle they call it, through EDC Vanuatu Limited, a Port Vila based company. What other uses will be found for tax havens? And by whom? This one is now well-known in Vanuatu. So much for land going back to the custom owners.
  • Saturday’s Post also carried news of the revocation of the citizenship of Yao Ruhiawho acquired his citizenship after being resident for only seven years, insufficient to legally take Vanuatu nationality. He is the owner of Yao Investments building opposite Au Bon Marché at Nambatu and has held certain posts in Vanuatu’s embassy in Beijing. He calls on everyone to obey the laws of Vanuatu.
  • Today is Penama Day – happy Penama Day. The eighth President of the Republic will be elected tomorrow. Chief Daniel Molisa of Santo calls on the Electoral College to appoint a man Santo to the top post. Shefa has held the post for 19 years, Tafea for 10 years, Penama 5 years and Malampa for just 2 months (prior to a disqualification).Sanma and Torba have not yet had the chance to hold the presidency, Molisa and VBTC point out. Daily Post yesterday pointed out the prominence of Ex-MPs in the presidential stakes.
  • Saturday’s Post had the PM launching the biggest traditionally built canoe since Independence. The Tamarei Aneityum took a month to build and is nearly 12 metres long, 60 cm wide. The sail is hoisted to 8 metres and Post carried an excellent photo. Its launch is in keeping with the “back to our roots” philosophy of the present government, especially PM Natuman and the VP.
  • Today’s Daily Post has Canberra-based Rex Rumakiek the Acting Chairman of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL). He was here for the funeral of the late Dr John Ondawame, and told Godwin Ligo “We appreciate the Vanuatu stand in support of the West Papuan struggle for for political freedom displayed by Vanuatu.” And he will soon return to this country in which he is well-known.
  • Last weekend also marked the 50th anniversary of the New Hebrides Airways’ first Milk Run to Santo via the Shepherds (Tongoa), Pentecost and Ambae, and Daily Post carried the story and a photo of those on the first flight which, unfortunately, had to be abandoned at Tongoa after something of a crash landing on the first usage of the grass strip. Joe Mulders’ complete account of the first ill-fated flight on which he was a passenger will appear in this Digest soon.

2) Vanuatu police chief suspended

 16 September 2014
Vanuatu’s police commissioner, Arthur Caulton, has confirmed his suspension from the role by the Police Service Commission.

Mr Caulton says the suspension involves allegations around the efforts to arrest the former commissioner, Joshua Bong, two years ago.

Mr Bong and other officers had been sought over allegations of mutiny, inciting mutiny, kidnapping, unlawful arrest and unlawful imprisonment.

The arresting officers had been directed by Mr Caulton, who was then the acting commissioner.

Mr Bong had earlier staged a similar attempt to arrest Mr Caulton on a mutiny charge.

Mr Caulton says the mutiny case has divided the force and the Commission cannot entertain such division.

The chairman of the commission, Sam Dan Avock, says the mutiny case is one of a number of issues prompting the suspension.

Mr Caulton, who remains on full pay, is yet to decide if he will challenge his suspension in court.

The new acting commissioner is Aru Maralau.Radio New Zealand International 

3) Fiji goes to the polls

17 September 2014
Thousands of Fijians are voting in the country’s first election since the 2006 coup.

600-thousand registered voters must cast their ballot at one of 13-hundred odd pre-assigned polling venues across the Fiji.

Sally Round reports from outside a polling booth in Nadi.

“About 150 were lining up in the shade to vote at St Andrews primary school in Nadi, half an hour before polls opened. About 1600 are expected at the four polling stations here which will stay open till 6 in the evening. Three police are standing-by and observers from from the United States and Indonesia have been in to check on proceedings. Many are out early because they have jobs to go to even though it’s a public holiday here in Fiji.”Radio New Zealand International

4) Fiji did not request observers – PNG

17b September 2014
Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato says to his knowledge his government received no formal invitation from Fiji to send observers for today’s election.

The Multinational Observer Group for the Fiji poll includes representatives of at least twelve countries including Israel, Russia, Australia and Indonesia.

However, despite reports in recent months as being a leading observer nation, PNG has not sent observers.

Mr Pato says he saw no formal request from Suva.

“So that was probably the reason why we haven’t sent a member there. We are supporting the natural process. We are providing twenty million dollars US to support the election as you know. So we’re committed to the process of democratic elections in Fiji. It’s just that we hjave not had formal notice.”

Rimbink Pato says there is no spat between the two countries related to signs of bitterness from the Fiji regime that its candidate lost to PNG’s in the recent selection of Pacific Islands Forum chair.Radio New Zealand International

5) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – mardi 16 septembre 2014

Mis à jour 16 September 2014, 11:18 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Ce mardi est une journée d’action de grâce à Fidji, qui fête la libération de ses 45 casques bleus. 

Ils ont été détenus en otages pendant deux semaines par les rebelles syriens du front al-Nusra. La cérémonie œcuménique, et principalement chrétienne, hindoue et musulmane, aura lieu au stade national de Suva cet après-midi. Selon la chaîne de télévision israélienne 10, le Qatar aurait versé une rançon de 20 millions de dollars aux rebelles pour obtenir la libération des casques bleus. Une version niée en bloc par l’ONU. 

  • Le Forum pour la Liberté dans le Pacifique dénonce la détention de Valentine Bourrat et Thomas Dandois et leur procès, qui devrait s’ouvrir avant la fin septembre. Ils ont été arrêtés le 6 août alors qu’ils allaient interviewer des indépendantistes papous. Monica Miller, la co-présidente du Forum, exige l’intervention du nouveau Président indonésien, Joko Widodo, qui a promis pendant sa campagne d’ouvrir les deux provinces papoues aux journalistes. Or son silence est assourdissant sur le cas des deux reporters d’ARTE. Pour Monica Miller, interrogée sur la radio néo-zélandaise internationale, cela pose des questions sur qui contrôle réellement les deux provinces papoues : le gouvernement central de Jakarta ou les autorités provinciales ?
  • L’armée américaine a débuté de grandes manœuvres militaires à Guam, avec 19 navires de guerre, plus de 200 avions et 18 000 militaires. Cet exercice conjoint entre la marine, l’armée de terre et l’armée de l’air américaines a lieu deux fois par an. Les militaires s’entraîneront à rechercher des sous-marins, à arraisonner des navires suspects en mer, et testeront le nouveau système de défense anti-missile, installé récemment sur Guam pour répondre à une possible attaque de la Corée du Nord.
  • Fidji: un taux de participation de 77% pour le scrutin anticipé, qui ne concernait que les habitants des zones isolées et certaines corporations comme les policiers et les personnels de santé. En attendant le grand jour des élections, mercredi heure locale, les medias retiennent leur souffle, à deux jours seulement du scrutin, ils doivent respecter un silence strict sur la campagne électorale. Et cela concerne aussi les medias sociaux. Seuls les comptes-rendus factuels sur l’organisation des élections sont autorisés. Interdiction également aux partis de mettre des panneaux ou des affiches pour promouvoir leurs candidats. Toute personne qui viole le décret électorale est passible d’une amende de 50 000 dollars fidjiens et jusqu’à 10 ans de prison.


6) Draw made for Gold Coast Sevens

17 September 2014
The draw has been made for next month’s opening round of the new IRB World Seven’s Series on the Gold Coast.

Samoa will play defending champions New Zealand, France and Japan on the first day of the new season.

Fiji have been drawn alongside hosts Australia, Scotland and Portugal while American Samoa will face Commonwealth Games gold medallists South Africa, Kenya and Wales.

The top four overall teams this season will earn direct qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Interest is building in the upcoming season with a number of high-profile players, including ex All Blacks and Wallabies internationals, expected to capitalise on changes to eligibility laws, that enable players to switch countries after an 18 month stand-down, freeing them to play for a new nation at the Olympics or Rugby World Cup.Radio New Zealand International

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