Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1106 ( Monday 22 June 2015 )


1a ) West Papua Plans Final Push For MSG Membership
Seeking full membership but would accept other status

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 22, 2015) – The United Liberation Movement for West Papua is planning its final push ahead of this week’s vote on whether to admit West Papua into the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The MSG leaders’ summit will be held in Solomon Islands this week, where a decision will be made on whether to accept West Papua as a member.

West Papua’s bid was rejected for lack of a unified movement at last year’s summit, which led to the formation of the United Liberation Movement and the submission of another application.

The group’s spokesperson, Benny Wenda, says he is confident the group will be admitted this time round, and will spend this week lobbying the MSG countries.

“At the moment we’ve already had a meeting here and some of the ministers are coming next week, so we hope that this is very historic and we’re trying to use many channels to try and convince that West Papua is Melanesia.”

Benny Wenda says while West Papua is seeking full membership, it will accept observer or associate status.

Radio New Zealand International 

1b ) West Papuans hope unity will guarantee MSG membership

By Online Editor
11:43 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Solomon Islands

By Nic Maclellan in Honiara

Indonesian officials are lobbying for an upgrade to associate membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), while a renewed membership application by a united West Papuan coalition will be discussed at this week’s MSG leaders’ summit in Solomon Islands.

Papua New Guinea and Fiji have expressed their opposition to the bid for full MSG membership by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), a coalition of groups opposed to Indonesian rule in the western half of the island of New Guinea. In contrast, MSG members Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s FLNKS independence movement have expressed solidarity with the West Papuan nationalist movement and their membership application.

Summit host Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who takes over as MSG chair for the next two years, must forge a consensus between these divergent positions. Despite these differences, the MSG’s new engagement on the West Papua issue contrasts with the silence of the regional Pacific Islands Forum – there has been no mention of West Papua in Forum communiques since 2006.

In March 2013, the Port Vila-based West Papua National Council for Liberation (WPNCL) lodged a formal membership application to join the MSG. The application was deferred at the last MSG summit, held in Noumea in 2013, to allow a Foreign Ministers mission to visit Indonesia. A special MSG leaders’ summit in Port Moresby in June 2014 again deferred the WPNCL application and agreed “to invite all groups to form an inclusive and united umbrella group in consultation with Indonesia to work on submitting a fresh application.”

West Papuan representatives are in Honiara this week, lobbying MSG officials and leaders and stressing that they have responded to the call for unity expressed in 2014.

The Vanuatu government hosted a December 2014 meeting to bring together Jayapura-based activists and exiled campaigners, forming a united front between competing groups. The newly created United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) unites different strands of the West Papuan nationalist movement: the West Papua National Council for Liberation (WPNCL), Federal Republic of West Papua (FRWP) and the National Parliament of West Papua (NPWP), which incorporates the National Committee for West Papua (KPNB).

Today, the ULM secretariat includes Secretary General Octo Mote, spokesperson Benny Wenda and executive officers Rex Rumakiek, Jacob Rumbiak and Leonie Tanggahma. These exiled ULM executive members have been joined in Honiara by a range of leaders from inside West Papua, including Edison Maromi of the Federal Republic of West Papua and Dominikus Surabut, the chair of Lapago region of the Papuan Customary Council (Dewan Adat Papua).

ULM Executive officer Jacob Rumbiak stressed that while some leaders were living in exile, the movement’s decision making was taking place amongst political parties and civic movements inside West Papua.

Speaking through a translator, Dominikus Surabut agreed that there was unprecedented co-ordination amongst different strands of the West Papua nationalist movement.

“Our experience over the last 53 years is that there’s been a history of disunity in the struggle, with competing claims for leadership,” said Surabut. “So this opportunity that has been created through the creation of the United Liberation Movement, is really an excellent solution for the people of West Papua.”

Edison Waromi told Islands Business that MSG governments had forced groups in the independence movement to better co-ordinate their efforts.

“The birth of the ULMWP is actually a direct result of the challenge put forward by the MSG leaders,” said Waromi. “After the previous application in 2013 and 2014, the MSG leaders said it wasn’t fully representative. They challenged us to resubmit another application from a more unified group. So the ULMWP was formed in response to this challenge and through great effort, we feel that we have successfully responded to this challenge. Indonesia is scared of us, now that we’re united.”

Waromi is quick to deny that there are competing applications for membership from different parts of the movement: “I want to state clearly that the Federal Republic of West Papua gives their full and unequivocal support to the United Liberation Movement and its application for MSG membership.”

Vanuatu has long supported the West Papuan nationalist movement with practical and diplomatic aid. Port Vila hosts an office for the WPNCL, which has lobbied for MSG membership in line with the precedent set by the Kanak independence movement (the FLNKS, rather than the Government of New Caledonia, represents New Caledonia in the MSG).

However the recent no-confidence motion that saw the defeat of Prime Minister Joe Natuman’s government raised concern that Vanuatu’s long-standing commitment on West Papua might be affected.

Over the weekend, ULM Secretary General Octo Mote travelled from Honiara to Port Vila, to lock in support from the new government led by Prime Minister Sato Kilman and Deputy Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil who arrived in Honiara on Sunday.

“From my trip, I must say that Vanuatu’s support is still there,” Mote told Islands Business from Port Vila.

“Nothing has changed on West Papua. There are differences in approach between the old government and new, but it’s not political parties that support us, it’s the nation, the Vanuatu people.”

Mote re-iterated that his delegation was still seeking full MSG membership, but acknowledged recent statements by the Solomon Islands government, calling on MSG leaders to consider observer status rather that full membership.

“Of course we are still pressing for full membership, but if the MSG leaders offer observer status, I’ll take it,” said Mote. “West Papua is now a Melanesian issue. Some people at home who are hoping for full MSG membership will be upset, but it’s important we sit down equally with the Indonesians. If Indonesia are MSG observers, and we are observers, why not?”

Mote added: “For myself, it’s important for us to sit down equally with the Indonesians, to talk together. If the Kanaks can sit down to create the Noumea Accord with the French, why can’t we create a similar agreement?”

Despite this call for dialogue, West Papuan leaders in Honiara are critical of recent initiatives by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who visited West Papua in May 2015. Since his election, Jokowi has promised new dialogue on West Papua, and granted concessions such as the release of five political prisoners and an announcement that international media would have free access to West Papua.

At a press conference in Merauke last month, Jokowi stated: “Starting from today, foreign journalists are allowed and free to come to Papua, just as they can [visit] other regions.”

This pledge was immediately undercut by his Minister for Political, Legal and Security affairs Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, who confirmed that foreign journalists would still be screened and must obtain permission from the security forces s to travel to the highlands: “We’ll allow it, on condition that they report on what they see, not go around looking for facts that aren’t true from armed groups…There’s a lot of news out there that makes it look like [human rights] violations are taking place here all the time, but I don’t think that’s the case.”

For ULM representatives lobbying in Honiara, these concessions do not address the core issues, and are simply designed to blunt this momentum of the West Papuan nationalist movement.

According to ULM Executive officer Rex Rumakiek, “while we would welcome greater media access to report what is really going on, the real question is to allow freedom of expression for the people of West Papua. The prisoners who have been released are not criminals, but acted politically to support human rights.”

Despite Jokowi’s call for dialogue, Indonesian security forces have continued to crack down on dissent.

Rumakiek noted: “In the last month, nearly 500 people have been arrested demonstrating in support of the MSG membership application.”

Customary chief Dominikus Surabut told Islands Business that now was the time for action by Pacific leaders: “If the leaders of the Melanesian countries really want to save us as fellow Melanesians of the same race, as fellow kin, then we ask them to receive us as members of the same family. Those of us who are leaders of the struggle, feel that in order to resolve the conflict in West Papua, then we have to become a member of MSG.”.


1c) West Papua high on MSG agenda,Melanesian leaders meet to discuss trade, security and development

By Online Editor
11:40 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Solomon Islands

By Nic Maclellan in Honiara

Nearly 1,000 people marched through the streets of Honiara on Friday to show their support for West Papuan self-determination, as Melanesian leaders gather for an important summit in the Solomon Islands capital.

The application by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is high on the agenda at this week’s meeting.

The MSG membership includes Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), the Kanak independence coalition of New Caledonia.

The debate over West Papua is affected by strengthening relations between Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, which has held MSG observer status since 2011. With a strong contingent of West Papuan leaders in Honiara to lobby for support, the membership application is being widely debated in the Solomon Islands media. But the Melanesian officials, foreign ministers and prime ministers who meet this week have a full agenda, with policy discussions on trade, sport, policing and the region’s overarching plan for the next 25 years, known as the “MSG 2038 Prosperity for All Plan.”

The growing awareness of Indonesian human rights violations in West Papua, spread through Facebook and other social media, has transformed public awareness of the issue in Solomon Islands and other MSG countries.

Around Honiara, young people are wearing Morning Star T-shirts, while leading Solomon Islands academic Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka has called for action in a widely re-published opinion piece. The noted PNG musician George Telek performed at a public concert near Honiara’s Chinatown this weekend, in solidarity with the West Papuan movement.

But popular support for the ULMWP membership bid – including hundreds of people rallying in Jayapura and other towns in West Papua – has not yet ensured MSG governments agreement. After an earlier application was deferred in 2013, Papua New Guinea and Fiji have both endorsed Jakarta’s opposition to full membership for the ULMWP. In contrast, the FLNKS and – until earlier this month – Vanuatu have been staunch supporters.

On Thursday, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Mannasseh Sogavare announced that his government “will endorse West Papua to be an observer of the MSG and this observer status is given only to one united group. Solomon Islands government will agree that any submission for full membership of the MSG by a group representing Melanesians Indonesia must be united and done in consultation with Indonesia as agreed by MSG leaders in 2013 2014.”

Sogavare also announced that the Solomon Islands government would “encourage MSG to continue to explore avenues for Indonesia in its interest to be an associate member of MSG, within the guidelines approved by leaders in 2013 and 2014.”

Honiara’s compromise proposal has been met with criticism from a range of Solomon Islands church, community and political leaders, who have rallied public support for the ULMWP (a broad coalition of West Papuan nationalist groups which includes the National Parliament for West Papua, the Federal Republic of West Papua, and the National Coalition for Liberation).

Vanuatu has long led the regional support for West Papuan self-determination. But Vanuatu’s participation in this week’s summit has been a source of uncertainty, following the recent no-confidence motion that brought down the government of Prime Minister Joe Natuman, in favour of his former Foreign Minister Sato Kilman Livtuvanu.

Natuman is a long-time supporter of independence for West Papua and New Caledonia. In contrast, while serving previously as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Kilman has sought to expand Vanuatu’s ties to Indonesia. While the ongoing dispute in Port Vila is driven by domestic concerns and a court case over alleged corruption, the fallout will affect the ULMWP’s application.

With a court challenge scheduled for Monday afternoon and the possibility of another urgent no-confidence motion in the wind, the fluid situation in Port Vila has left MSG officials awaiting news of Vanuatu’s final delegation to the leaders’ summit on Thursday and Friday.

Since its founding in 1988, the MSG has developed a diverse portfolio of activities. The “MSG 2038 Prosperity for all Plan,” to be discussed this week, grew out of the work of an Eminent Persons Group led by former Fiji Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola, and provides a roadmap for sub-regional activities over the next 25 years.
The MSG Secretariat in Port Vila now coordinates a complex range of ministerial meetings and technical working groups, including the MSG Green Growth Framework; the MSG Trade Agreement; an Inshore Fisheries Roadmap; and discussions between CEOs of Melanesian National Provident and Pension Funds and Governors of Central Banks.

In Honiara this week, leaders will discuss the third phase of the MSG Trade Agreement (MSGTA3), an inter-island treaty first signed in 1993. The MSG’s original focus on trade in goods has now been superseded by a much broader agenda, focused on trade in services, intellectual property regimes and labour mobility. Before the summit, MSG Director for Trade, Investment and Economic Development Peni Sikivou said: “The MSGTA is being reviewed and under its current draft version, abbreviated as MSGTA3, new chapters on Services, Investment, Labour Mobility and Government Procurement are being incorporated into the Agreement.”

In 2014, MSG trade ministers adopted the Port Moresby Declaration, calling for free trade amongst the Melanesian nations by 2017. At this week’s summit in Honiara, officials and foreign ministers will review the reports of technical working groups on services and investment, and discuss the MSG Private Sector Development (PSD) Strategy that is supported under the EU-funded Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP).

The announcement last week that Australia will expand its Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) raises important opportunities for the Melanesian countries, which are seeking to increase remittance flows to their economies. But the context for Australia’s offer – that Pacific leaders must sign on to the proposed PACER-Plus free trade agreement – will raise questions for countries about how much to open their services and finance sectors to corporations from Australia and New Zealand.

On Thursday and Friday, officials considered a draft Implementation Framework for the “MSG 2038 Prosperity for all Plan,” to be presented to minister and leaders this week. Agenda items also covered the Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture (MFAC), and the MSG Observer Mission to Fiji’s 2014 Elections.

A major focus of the MSG Secretariat’s work is security, with the MSG considering the establishment of a MSG Security/Defence Ministers Meeting, to parallel the regional South Pacific Defence Ministers Meeting first held in 2013. Since 2011, the MSG has also been developing an agreement to establish a Regional Police Academy

On Monday and Tuesday, the MSG Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) will include the outgoing chair Caroline Machoro-Reignier of New Caledonia’s Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), together with foreign ministers Rimbink Pato of Papua New Guinea, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola of Fiji, and Milner Tozaka of Solomon Islands. Vanuatu’s representation is in flux with a court case in Port Vila scheduled for Monday afternoon.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will travel to Solomon Islands following a week-long visit to Europe, where he led a delegation of government and industry figures seeking greater investment from the United Kingdom and other EU nations in PNG’s booming oil and gas sector. Later this week, O’Neill will formally inaugurate a new PNG high commission in Honiara, a reflection of PNG’s expanding investment in hotels, tourism and other sectors in fellow MSG countries.

The PNG leader will also be consulting with MSG partners over core agenda items for the next meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum, which will be held in Papua New Guinea in September.

The new Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, made her first visit to the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila last February. Taylor, a former PNG ambassador to the United Nations and long-serving official of the World Bank Group, is coordinating a new Framework for Pacific regionalism, with a regional subcommittee developing proposals to put before leaders at the PNG Forum.

With Papua New Guinea also scheduled to host the next APEC Summit in 2018, decisions taken this week in Honiara around trade, security and West Papua will also affect Port Moresby’s vision of providing a bridge between the Pacific islands and the emerging Asian economies.


 2a ) Air Niugini inaugural flight to Vanuatu

By Online Editor
11:48 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guineda National Flag Carrier, Air Niugini is set to make its maiden commercial flight into Vanuatu capital Port Vila, this Wednesday 24 June.

This comes as Air Niugini seeks to open up new routes in the Pacific Region and other overseas destinations.

The new flight is been made possible under the tripartite code share arrangement between Air Vanuatu and Air Solomon Islands.

Air Niugini will use its Fokker 70 series to expand this service to Port Vila via Homiara, Solomon Islands, as announced by its Board Chairman, Sir Frederick Reiher, earlier this year.

“Re-fleeting program, Air Niugini is undertaking over the next three to five years. It will further expand the use of jet aircraft on a major domestic route to give our passengers are fast and more comfortable service between our major centers. But long range capability of the aircraft will also enable the Fokker-70 to operate Port Moresby-Cairns route as well as new routes to key centres in the Pacific.

“I am pleased to note that following a recent tripartite code-share agreement between Air Niugini and Solomon Air and Air Vanuatu, Air Niugini will commence flights to Vila, Vanuatu via Honiara in early June with the Fokker-70. And hopefully beyond to New Zealand, said Sir Frederick.

Sir Frederick said the arrangement is aimed at strengthening and promoting understanding partnership between the Melanesian Spearhead Group airline industry.


2b) Ol skolaship blong semesta 2: Yu save aplae from naoia
USP Foundation / Formation Continue du Cycle Secondaire à l’USP


The scholarships are open to all Ni-Vanuatu students enrolling in Foundation courses at USP Emalus Campus in Semester 2, 2015, who are residents of Port Vila.
Scholarships will only cover tuition fees for 1 unit per student per semester.
Scholarships will be awarded based on academic performance:
– on Secondary School results for students beginning Foundation-level studies
– on GPA for continuing Foundation-level students.
Additional criteria, to be applied at the discretion of the Selection Committee, are gender and financial circumstances of the applicant.

Application Forms are available now from the Student Academic Services Office, Emalus Campus, Port Vila.
Closing date for applications: Friday 10th July 2015
Announcement of successful applicants: Friday 31st July 2015

These scholarships will be awarded from the “Port Vila Scholarship Scheme”, which has been established with funding provided by the Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, MP for Port Vila


Le programme de bourses scolaires est ouvert à tous les étudiants Ni-Vanuatu, résidents de Port Vila, inscrits en Formation Continue du Cycle Secondaire à l’Université du Pacifique-Sud, Campus Emalus pour le Semestre 2, 2015.
Les bourses couvrent uniquement les frais de scolarité du Semestre 2 pour la Formation Continue du Cycle Secondaire.
Les bourses seront octroyées en fonction des résultats scolaires.
D’autres critères pourront se rajouter, tels que les conditions financières de la famille du postulant et le sexe.
Toute décision est à la discrétion du Comité de sélection.

Les formulaires d’inscription sont disponibles au Service de la Scolarité (Student Academic Services Office) et à la Coordinatrice du programme francophone à l’UPS, Campus Emalus, Port Vila.
Date de clôture des inscriptions : vendredi 10 juillet 2015
Date de publication des bénéficiaires de bourse : vendredi 31 juillet 2015

Ces bourses font partie du “Programme de bourses scolaires de Port Vila”, créé et parrainé par le député de Port Vila, Ralph Regenvanu

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu –
3) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 20 June 2015

by bobmakin

  • The Independent reminds everyone the bribery case is on Tuesday and the constitutional case is listed for Monday. Tuesday will determine whether the 16 MPs in the bribery case will stand trial on 7 July. The Independent points out the judiciary will treat the matter as any other criminal case. In addition, says the Indy “the Judiciary will not entertain any order issued by the current government until the matter is settled in court.” A Daily Post editorial calls on politicians to set aside their differences and put the national interest first as its nationals require.
  • Daily Post leads with the private sector calling for a repeal of the Industrial Development Act which came into being to promote private sector led developmentbut lacked completion of discussions with the Chamber of Commerce (VCCI) and Manufacturers’ Association (VMEA). Amendments might have been possible had the short-lived sitting of Parliament not been closed by the new Speaker.
  • A 16 kg petition from 150,000 West Papuans, organised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), is in Port Vila awaiting the approval of PM Kilman, not known for strong secession views on behalf of West Papua. It goes to the MSG Leaders’ Summit in Honiara this coming week and concerns West Papua’s application for membership of the MSG. Dan McGary makes a useful editorial contribution regarding West Papua in the Post.
  • A cinema has returned to the capital in the Tana Russet Plaza, the Tana Ciné. The Plaza is open for business with its various store holders as from today. The Independent gives an explanation and story of the creation of the Plaza.


4) Samoa First Union to be launched 29 June
By Online Editor
11:19 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Samoa

First Union, New Zealand’s second largest private sector union, is going international with the launch of Samoa’s only private sector union, Samoa First Union.

“Samoa First Union is building on the legacy of former private sector unions like the old National Union of Workers,” says Samoa First Union co-ordinator Jerome Mika, “but our union differs because we have the benefit of support from an established union in New Zealand.”

“This means Samoa First Union will be sustainable.”

“Samoa became an International Labour Organisation member in 2005, but it lacks a general union for the private sector. There are strong unions in the public sector but without a general private sector union many workplace problems are going unresolved,” says Mika.

“After the Labour and Employment Relations Act 2013 came into force in 2014 we felt there was a renewed need for a general private sector union to inform and empower workers in Samoa.”

“And now, with the backing of FIRST Union New Zealand and the assistance of Sapolu Law, Samoa First Union will launch in Apia on 29 June 2015,” says Mika.

“The first target for our union organisers will be the major banks and hotels, areas where FIRST Union New Zealand – the retail and finance sector union – has particular expertise.”

“With a growing membership base in New Zealand and now a presence overseas, who says unions are dead?”..


5) Samoa Central Bank freezes another local company’s accounts – money laundering suspected
By Online Editor
11:12 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Samoa

Samoa’s Ministry of Police is currently investigating a case referred to them by the Central Bank of Samoa regarding a local company’s suspected involvement in money laundering.

“This matter is currently under police investigation so we cannot make any comment,” said Gafatasi Patu, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Central Bank of Samoa.

Patu said the Central Bank holds a regulatory role in any matter of financial crime or money laundering.

“We work to identify any potential scam or money laundering activity, we then gather relevant information and financial intelligence and then refer to the Ministry of Police and other relevant government agencies for enforcement purposes,” Patu told Talamua.

The local company investigated provides specialized services in the construction industry and was recently established in Samoa.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Su’a Muliaga Tiumalu told Talamua that the case has been referred to the Criminal Investigation Division of the Ministry of Police.

“CID works closely with the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) when it comes to such cases,” Su’a told Talamua.

He said he cannot comment on the case status at the moment but may provide an update this week if new information is obtained.

The other case Su’a said is currently in the public interest is the one involving the trio accused of an alleged pyramid money making scam.

The trio was scheduled to appear in Court today when the court was to rule on their application for name suppression.

The Central Bank of Samoa also played a pivotal role in freezing the trio’s bank account as the case was referred to the police and the Court.


6) Cook Island Joins ILO

Will lead to immediate benefits for workers

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 22, 2015) – A Cook Islands union leader says the country becoming a member of the International Labour Organisation will lead to immediate benefits for workers.

The Cook Islands became the 186th member of the United Nations body after a vote in Geneva this month.

The Cook Islands Workers Association President, Anthony Turua, says it is a milestone for his people, after the 20 years of campaigning by his association.

Mr Turua has been pushing for a closer look at the minimum wage and he says ILO membership will mean the availability of more resources.

“We could actually request for their assistance to come to the Cook Islands and to give us some sort of advice and guidelines of what is affordable minimum wage here in the Cook Islands and not only just that. Some of the concerns that we have is the health and safety issue. Our legislation is outdate and we need to just rehash that and bring it up to the current standard.”

Radio New Zealand International

7) Samoa Streamlines Court Prosecutions
New body will ensure independence of prosecutions

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 20, 2015) – In Samoa, a single office to handle prosecutions in court is to be established by the end of the year.

Currently prosecutions at the District Court are handled by Police while the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for prosecutions in the Supreme Court.

The new entity will be called the National Prosecution Office, staffed by prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office and from the Police and headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Attorney General’s Office says the National Prosecution Office will ensure the independence and transparency of prosecution decisions and procedure.

Legislation needed to establish the prosecution office is to be tabled in Parliament in the near future.

Radio New Zealand International

8) Samoa Trust Declares Highest Ever Dividend
Gov established investment vehicle for Samoans

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 22, 2015) – The Unit Trust of Samoa has declared the highest divident in its five-year history, with unitholders to be paid a share of 985 thousand US dollars in July.

Established by the government in 2010 as a way to provide an investment vehicle for Samoans, the UTOS paid its first dividend of 7 sene to unitholders in 2012, and that value has grown by one sene each year since.

The UTOS says an increasing number of local and overseas based Samoans are investing in the trust, with 1,537 unitholders now registered compared to only 200 when it first started.

Radio New Zealand International


9) Chikungunya cases skyrocket in Marshall Islands
By Online Editor
11:25 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Marshall Islands

The number of confirmed and suspected cases of Chikungunya continues to skyrocket in the Marshall Islands, with over 800 reported by the Ministry of Health as of earlier last week.

The outbreak started in February and has continued unabated, spreading to many remote outer islands. This is the first known outbreak of Chikungunya in the Marshall Islands and follows on the heels of a major outbreak in Kiribati earlier this year.

The mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus has now reached half of the Pacific and is likely to spread to non-affected countries in the region over the next five years, according to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Deputy Director of Public Health Dr. Yvan Souarès earlier this month.

He said five countries are currently experiencing outbreaks, including in addition to the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Samoa and American Samoa.

Three months into the Marshall Islands outbreak, a mosquito-spraying campaign was launched by a multi-agency government group in early May.

Mosquito spraying was effective during a dengue fever outbreak in 2011 in Majuro. The first week of spraying in May targeted about 50 of the over 4,000 homes on Majuro, as well as other key locations around the capital atoll.

Spraying then stopped for several weeks as officials surveyed sites. Spraying resumed on June 1 and continued for two weeks, then was halted two weeks as some of the spray team was involved in a non-related workshop. Spraying was expected to resume this coming week.

In the meantime, Majuro has reported the most cases, with 520 confirmed or suspected cases of Chikungunya. Ebeye Island, the second urban center in the country, reports 63.

The numbers on the outer islands to date are 261, with over half of these from Ailinglaplap. Eight other outer islands report from three to 44 cases.

The illness produces flu-like symptoms, including joint pain, fever, head and muscle aches. It also can cause joint swelling and skin rashes. Most victims of the illness in Majuro report swollen and painful hands, fingers, knees and ankles.


10) Nauru Airlines has announce a weekly service to Tarawa, Majuro, Kosrae and Pohnpei
By Online Editor
11:45 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Australia

The Northern Pacific tourism market is expected to draw more visitors with new air services through Majuro, Pohnpei and Kosrae.

Nauru Airlines CFO, Wendy Bowden, announced in Melbourne that the carrier had started flights through the central Pacific republic to northern destinations.

Operating once a week, Nauru Airlines will fly from its central Pacific base to Tarawa, Majuro, Kosrae and terminate in Pohnpei for an overnight stopover before returning the next day.

Bowden said the service should open up opportunities in the region.

“We expect to carry quite a few business people and there is a lot of travel between the northern Pacific islands,” she said.

“This service also makes it possible for people to attend meetings on time in other countries.”

Nauru Airlines’ new service will allow passengers and freight through Fiji to Kiribati and then on to the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia

Until recently, travel to the Northern Pacific was possible through Hawaii, Japan or New Zealand.

The situation was forced after Air Marshall Islands stopped its weekly service through Nadi in the late 1990s.

Continental airlines attempted a service through Fiji but this was short-lived.


11) Speed Of Kiribati Cyclone Aid Delivery Questioned

Critics explicitly name government as limiting agent

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 19, 2015) – A Kiribati opposition MP says he is disappointed with the progress of aid delivery and recovery on the islands of Tamana and Arorae which were badly hit by Cyclone Pam in March.

Alexander Teabo has told the Kiribati Independent that the government has not done its part because it failed to declare a state of emergency for these islands.

Mr Teabo says government spent its time campaigning against climate change, but when the two islands were hit, it was not there to give assistance and it wasn’t prepared.

In contrast, he says, the government of Tuvalu declared a state of emergency.

The Vice President, Teima Onorio, earlier told parliament that the government has complied with its policy, assessing and inspecting the damaged areas before aid was sent.

Radio New Zealand International

12) Court delay keeps Nauru opposition MPs in custody until Tuesday
By Online Editor
11:24 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Nauru

Two Nauruan opposition MPs, Squire Jeremiah and former president Sprent Dabwido, are still in police custody after having their bail hearing delayed since Friday, supporters say.

Fellow MP Mathew Batsiua and opposition supporter Lockley Denuga confirm the men are in custody, and a court hearing had been moved to Tuesday at 10:00am.

“It sounds like it was going to be a simple thing, that they just attend court at 8:00am [Saturday] and they’d be bailed out,” Denuga told the ABC.

“It didn’t turn out that way, it took them all day, they just came out at 6:00pm in the evening and it seems like they hadn’t completed anything. So they’ll be taken back to jail.

“Being a Sunday, there won’t be any court, and on Monday there’s going to be a public holiday … so they’ve scheduled for Tuesday morning to continue with their court case.”

Lockley told the ABC on Friday that police arrived at Jeremiah’s house to issue arrest warrants. He said the two MPs went willingly to the police station.

A statement released by the Nauru government’s PR firm on Saturday confirmed reports of some of the arrests, but not those of Jeremiah and  Dabwido.

Repeated requests for information on the latest arrests from the Nauru government have gone unanswered.

Saturday’s statement also restated the government’s issues with foreign media reporting on the situation in Nauru.

“Unfortunately some of these media outlets are giving airtime to opposition MPs even after they engaged in criminal activities, which is shameful,” the statement said.

“Suspended MP Mathew Batsiua was arrested on Tuesday and charged. Claims that he was entrapped into a false meeting with the president are false.

“Batsiua was involved in a riot, had breached parliament and took part in criminal activities.”

The statement also confirmed MP Roland Kun was removed from an outbound flight mid-week, “following a police investigation into his alleged involvement in Tuesday’s riot.”

“Kun was fleeing the scene of a crime before authorities tracked him down and confiscated his passport.”

Kun has denied that he was present, or involved, in the rally — which the government terms a riot.

Protester Lockley Denuga said supporters of Jeremiah and Dabwido were disappointed with the delays in dealing with the bail conditions of the two MPs.

“It was supposed to be just a one or two hour session for just bailing,” he said.

“We’re disappointed but we cannot do anything.”

On Friday, eremiah said people were living in fear in Nauru as the Pacific nation’s government continued a crackdown on dissent.

He said he was expecting to be detained after waking on Friday morning to multiple text messages saying there was a warrant out for his arrest…..PACNEWS


13) CNMI: Free Trade Zone In Northern Islands Is ‘Accomplishable,’

Part of proposed resettlement plan

By Junhan B. Todiño

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 22, 2015) – The plan to resettle the Northern Islands and establish a free trade zone there is “accomplishable with adequate financing,” Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang said as he expressed support for Senate Bill 19-29.

The measure is authored by Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar and will mandate cooperation and collaboration between the mayor of the Northern Islands, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Public Lands, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality and the Commonwealth Ports Authority in identifying free trade zone areas in the Northern Islands.

Apatang said “proper planning must be at the very front of the process.”

“Free trade zones are meant to promote, encourage, and further existing or new infrastructure development and economic activities in areas that do not immediately impact surrounding land uses, and offer tax abatement and reduction of lease rentals as incentives to enterprises for developing in such areas,” he added.

He said the development of the Northern Islands should include “everything that we have learned from the development” of Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

“We should look in hindsight and make sure that the actions of the past that became disadvantageous to both the government and private land owners years later are not repeated in the planning of the Northern Islands.”

A 2000 law created free trade zones in the CNMI.

Apatang said there should be a very comprehensive land-use study to eliminate conflicting land use activity and reserve public lands for development and expansion of public infrastructure.

He said a comprehensive land-use study will be a most valuable guide and will serve as a working tool for planning development in the Northern Islands.

This would save the government and any interested, potential developer the trouble of conducting a piecemeal study and planning on islands with very limited developable land area, he added.

With the comprehensive land-use study, he said the Northern Islands will be easily marketable, especially to developers and investors who must work with schedules and financial resources that produce results at the least cost possible.

Apatang said from a bystander standpoint who believes that the Northern Islands are the last remaining beautiful and untamed possession of the local people, “we wonder why offer free trade zones in the islands.”

“We also wonder what the economic benefits of making free trade zones available in the Northern Islands would be when incentives are available to free-trade-zone licensees that reduce their responsibilities like taxes and land-use payments, especially when we consider that there will be fewer or maybe no other commercial operations in the Northern Islands that will be non-free-trade-zone licensees.”

The remote and sparsely populated Northern Islands include Pagan, an active volcano.

Marianas Variety

14) CNMI Businessman In Laos Bribery Probe
Circumvented taxes and audit

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 22, 2015) – The government of Laos is investigating a businessman from the Northern Marianas John K. Baldwin in an alleged bribery case.

He is the co-owner of Bridge Capital LLC and accused of bribing Lao officials with more than US$300,000 that caused termination of an audit and cost the Lao government 70 million dollars in lost tax revenue over a five-year period.

In addition, court documents state that Laos also produced an email from Mr Baldwin, allegedly instructing his staff to pay 120,000 dollars to a Cambodian official to obtain a Cambodian lottery license.

A lawyer asked the federal court to allow Laos to serve a subpoena pursuant to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Radio New Zealand International


15) Australian Government to remove cap on Seasonal Worker Program for Pacific Island Countries

By Online Editor
11:16 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Australia

The Australian Government has announced the changes in a Commonwealth White Paper on plans to develop northern Australia.

The Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) helps Australian businesses to employ workers from participating Pacific Island Countries (PICs) when they cannot find enough local labour to satisfy seasonal demand.  The Australian Government will expand the SWP to better address seasonal labour shortages in the north.

The White Paper goes on to recommend that, subject to the conclusion of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus regional trade agreement, the Australian Government will invite additional Pacific Island Forum (PIF) countries to participate in the SWP, potentially adding the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the programme.

The White Paper also proposes the expansion of the SWP to cover the broader agriculture industry and the accommodation sector on an ongoing basis, and invites northern Australia’s tourism industry to suggest proposals to trial the SWP in tourism sectors other than accommodation.

In recognition of the challenges faced by microstates, the White Paper proposes the establishment of a special multi-year visa to 250 citizens from Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu to work in lower skilled occupations in selected industries in Northern Australia.

PACER Plus negotiations were launched by Pacific Leaders in August 2009 in Cairns, Australia, and will result in a trade and development agreement that will inject dynamism into the economies of the PICs and enable them to derive significant benefits from international trade. The negotiations cover a broad range of issues, including regional labour mobility, development and economic cooperation, trade in goods, trade in services and investment.

Regional labour mobility is one of the key issues in the PACER Plus negotiations and the Chief Trade Advisor for the PICs, Dr Edwini Kessie, says he is buoyed by the unveiling of the White Papers which responds positively to the key negotiating demands of the PICs.

“The announcement by the Australian Government is significant as it underscores the importance of increased labour mobility in the Pacific.  The greater access to the Australian labour market by workers from Pacific Island Countries will lead to increased remittances and the upgrading of skills of the  workers who, upon their return, can establish businesses which will generate jobs and contribute to the long-term economic growth and sustainable development of their countries,” Dr Kessie said.

The Parties intend to conclude the PACER Plus negotiations by September 2016.



16) UN Membership Issue Straining NZ And Cooks Relationship
Shared citizenship among arrangements potentially to change

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 22, 2015) – A Cook Islands opposition MP says the government is putting the country’s relationship with New Zealand at risk by pursuing United Nations membership. A statement from a spokesperson for the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says if the Cook Islands wants UN membership, the constitutional relationship, including the current shared citizenship will need to change.

The Cook Islands Foreign Affairs Ministry argues that there is nothing about having your own and separate citizenship in the criteria for joining the UN.

But Murienua MP, James Beer, says it’s very clear that the United Nations charter deals with sovereign countries, and the Cook Islands is not a sovereign country.

“The fear that most Cook Islanders have is that the relationship between the Cook Islands and New Zealand, and having New Zealand citizenship and passports, are extremely relevant to the lifestyles and the peace of mind for all Cook Islanders. And our feeling is that this action, this unilateral action that’s being taken by the Prime Minister, is putting that relationship at risk.”

Radio New Zealand International


17) Ol MSG Memba imas lukluk gut long membaship blong ol

Updated 22 June 2015, 15:57 AEST
Sam Seke

Ol Melanesian kantri imas tingting gut na meksua ol i wokbung na wanbel long husat nau ol i makim long kamap memba blong Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Odio: Niusmeri blong SIBC, Gina Maka’a i toktok wantem Sam Seke
Niusmeri blong SIBC, Gina Maka’a i toktok wantem Sam Seke (Credit: ABC)

Ol Melanesian kantri imas tingting gut na meksua ol i wokbung na wanbel long husat nau ol i makim long kamap memba blong Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Foran Minista blong Solomon Islands, Milner Tozaka i mekim dispela toktok taim em i openim MSG Foreign Ministers Meeting long Honiara dispela morning.

Toktok blong Mr Tozaka i kamap long taim we planti observer i toklukaut long MSG bai ken brukbruk sapos ol lida ino wokbung long isiu blong membership.

Ol MSG foran minista bai holim miting blong ol tede na tumora, pastaim long miting blong ol MSG lida long Trinde na Fonde.

Niusmeri blong SIBC, Gina Maka’a ibin stap tu long opening blong dispela miting blong ol MSG foran minista tede na mi askim em long stori moa.ABC

18) West Papua grup itok oli laikim tru long kamap memba blong MSG

Updated 22 June 2015, 15:47 AEST
Sam Seke

United Liberation Movement for West Papua itok trupla laik blong ol em blong kamp ful memba blong Melanesian Spearhead Group olsem na oli bin aplai long joinim MSG.

Lida blong United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda
Odio: Lida blong United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda i toktok wantem Sam Seke
Lida blong United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda i toktok wantem Sam Seke (Credit: ABC)

United Liberation Movement for West Papua itok ol ibin aplai long kamap ful memba blong Melanesian Spearhead Group, na dispela nau i trutru laik blong ol.

Fiji, PNG na Solomon Islands i laik long Indonesia nau i kamap associate memba, na Solomon Islands i tokaut pinis long givim West Papua Observer Status tasol.

Natuman gavman blong Vanuatu bipo ibin strong long sapotim West Papua, na tu ol FLNKS blong New Caledonia.

Lida blong ULMWP, Benny WendA husat i stap long Honiara wea ol MSG miting i wok long gohet i tok ol i still gat hop long kamap ful memba blong MSG olsem ol i askim.

Mr Wenda i tok ol ULMWP lida long Honiara ibin go givim tu wanpela petisan we moa long 500 tausan pipol blong West Papua yet ibin sainim long sapotim membaship aplikesen blong ol.ABC


19) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 22 juin 2015

Posté à 22 June 2015, 16:35 AEST
Élodie Largenton

Si les dirigeants des Îles Salomon ont fait savoir qu’ils ne soutiendraient pas les indépendantistes papous, la population a tenu à faire entendre sa voix

Des centaines de personnes se sont rendues à un festival de musique, le week-end dernier, à Honiara, pour promouvoir la cause des Papous vivant en Indonésie. Malgré ce soutien populaire, il semble clair que le Mouvement uni des indépendantistes papous ne deviendra pas membre de plein droit du Groupe mélanésien Fer de lance. Benny Wenda, le porte-parole du mouvement indépendantiste, a indiqué qu’en cas d’échec, il accepterait un statut d’observateur ou de membre associé. La réponse devrait être connue en fin de semaine, à l’issue du sommet de l’organisation, qui se déroule en ce moment dans la capitale salomonaise.

  • À Nauru, deux nouveaux députés de l’opposition ont été arrêtés en fin de semaine dernière. Il s’agit de Squire Jeremiah et de l’ancien president, Sprent Dabwido. Ils sont accusés de chercher à déstabiliser le gouvernement. Tout a commencé mardi dernier, quand des partisans de l’opposition se sont rassemblés devant le Parlement pour manifester contre la suspension de plusieurs députés. Les autorités affirment que dix policiers ont été blessés au cours de la manifestation. En tout, trois élus ont été arrêtés et un autre a vu son passeport être annulé, alors qu’il s’apprêtait à quitter Nauru.
  • La justice des Îles Marshall est la meilleure de la région. C’est de nouveau la République micronésienne qui arrive en tête du classement établi par les responsables du programme de formation juridique du Pacifique. Depuis plusieurs années, ce programme, financé par l’Australie, a pour but de rendre les tribunaux plus accessibles, la justice plus transparente et les juges plus responsables. Palau est l’autre bon élève de la région : le pays a, lui aussi, suivi toutes les recommandations des formateurs australiens, et il prend donc la 2e place du classement.
  • De vieux bus transformés en refuges pour sans-abris : c’est une idée qui fait son chemin à Hawaï. 70 bus retirés de la circulation sont en passe d’être réaménagés par des architectes du Group 70 International pour devenir des dortoirs de huit lits ou des salles de douche. Les premiers abris devraient être prêts d’ici six mois. Hawaï est l’État américain qui compte le plus de SDF, selon les dernières statistiques de 2014.
  • C’est une tradition en Australie : 750 courageux ont pris un bain glacé dans une rivière du sud de la Tasmanie pour célébrer le solstice d’hiver. Il ne faisait qu’un petit degré quand les baigneurs se sont jetés à l’eau, entièrement nus. ABC

 20) Le Vanuatu marque les 100 jours du passage du cyclone Pam

Mis à jour 22 June 2015, 16:55 AEST
Élodie Largenton
Onze personnes tuées, des dizaines d’autres blessées, des infrastructures sévèrement endommagées et des cultures détruites : c’est le bilan du passage du cyclone Pam au Vanuatu, il y a 100 jours. Pour marquer cette date, plusieurs cérémonies ont été organisées hier, dans l’archipel, notamment dans les églises.

Formation de la Croix-Rouge au Vanuatu. (IFRC: Benoit Matsha-Carpentier)
Trois mois après la catastrophe, le pays est toujours en voie de rétablissement. Mais la crise, l’urgence, est passée, il s’agit aujourd’hui de reconstruire.

La population s’est mise au travail dès le lendemain du passage du cyclone de catégorie 5, pour réparer les maisons et s’occuper des jardins. Les habitants ont aussi reçu le soutien de plusieurs organisations humanitaires, dont l’Onu.
Sune Gudnitz est le directeur du bureau du Pacifique chargé  de coordonner les affaires humanitaires. Il dresse un bilan de la situation :

« Je pense que les choses se passent bien, particulièrement concernant le volet humanitaire. Les interventions ont été rapides, ce qui a sûrement permis d’éviter de graves problèmes, notamment dans le domaine médical. Beaucoup a été fait grâce à nos partenaires sur place avec le gouvernement et, bien sûr, les Vanuatais eux-mêmes. »

À plusieurs reprises, le Vanuatu a fait savoir qu’il avait besoin d’aide extérieure. L’impact du cyclone Pam sur l’économie du pays équivaut à une perte de 64% de PIB, estiment les autorités. Il faudrait, en effet, que la communauté internationale soit un peu plus généreuse, estime Sune Gudnitz :

« On n’a réuni que 50% de la somme nécessaire pour la mise en œuvre de notre plan d’action humanitaire. Si vous comparez à d’autres catastrophes dans le monde, ce chiffre n’est pas si mauvais que cela, mais ça veut dire qu’on doit quand même réunir plus de dons. »

Pour comparaison, l’aide humanitaire jugée nécessaire au Népal après le tremblement de terre n’est financée qu’à hauteur de 31%, pour le moment, fait savoir l’Onu.ABC

21) New ICT report points to future development

Updated at 1:56 pm today

An Information Communications Technology expert says he hopes a new report will trigger greater access and connectivity across the Pacific.

The Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility report highlights the improved access to infrastructure and services across the Pacific and looks at the potential for greater ICT development.

Hopes are high for greater connectivity in Pacific

The Facility director, Sanjivi Ransingham, says the report will help Pacific governments and the private sector identify opportunities for investment.

Mr Ransingham says the report illustrated the major changes in the region with under half of Pacific households having access to mobile phones in 2007 to 93 percent in 2014 being an example.

He says the report also included some necessary recommendations.

“Do data collection and monitoring of the sector. Leveraging international connectivity. Fostering relearning and educational content creation. Holding ICT-enabled agricultural services. Stimulating e-Health, health services that can be provided through the internet and then e-Government, boosting tourism and finally and most importantly making ICT access universal.”

22) Pacific Forum ready to help if Nauru asks
By Online Editor
11:28 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Nauru

The Pacific Islands Forum’s Secretariat says it is ready to assist Nauru if the government seeks help amid an on-going political crisis there.

Protests this week have seen MPs and others arrested, the government calling out riot police and seeking help from the security teams at the Australian-run detention camps.

Protestors have threatened to shut access to the hotel used by the hundreds of Australians staffing the camps.

The Australian government, which has poured millions of dollars into Nauru as part of its policy to process asylum seekers abroad, has not commented on the crisis.

New Zealand is also providing aid to the Nauru government, particularly to the law and justice sector, but the Foreign Minister Murray McCully has not had any comment on the latest developments.

The Forum Secretariat says the issues are primarily for Nauru to settle and resolve.

It says it is in contact with the Nauru government and is ready to help if asked.



23) EU tax haven list labelled arbitrary and poorly constructed

By Online Editor
11:21 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Australia

An academic who specialises in tax havens says a blacklist released by the European Commission is arbitrary and poorly constructed.

The list of 30 international tax havens was released last week, as part of an EU effort to crack down on multinational companies trying to avoid paying tax in the EU.

The list of non-EU countries includes five in the Pacific: Niue, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu.

But Anthony van Fossen, an adjunct research fellow at Australia’s Griffith University, says the list seems to be picking on smaller, easy-to-target tax havens and ignoring major ones like Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

“The list is very strange in that some major havens are ignored, particularly the havens in the European Union itself, and many minor havens, including some in the Pacific Islands are highlighted.”

Anthony van Fossen says being on the list could affect the countries’ abilities to do business.



24) Bougainville To Have Economic Development Ministry
To be included in new cabinet, revenue key to autonomy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 22, 2015) – The Bougainville President John Momis, re-elected in a landslide last month, is expected to name his new cabinet today and it will include a new economic services ministry.

The new parliament will be required to prepare the autonomous Papua New Guinea region for a vote on possible independence, to be held before 2020.

Mr Momis says a critical element of this process is to ensure the region’s economy becomes viable and this has prompted the new portfolio.

“We want to put a lot of emphasis on the responsibility of the autonomous government to raise revenue and I think one of the best ways of doing that would be to have a ministry wholly and solely responsible for economic generation of revenue for economic development.”

Radio New Zealand International


25) Quartet to be sentenced on Wednesday in Fiji’s multi-million dollar road scam
By Online Editor
11:10 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Fiji

The four accused persons in a multi-million dollar road scam were today found guilty by Fiji’s High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan and will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Justice Madigan today concurred with the assessors who on Friday found the four- a businessman and three former civil servants guilty of trying to circumvent procedures to obtain over $3 million (US$1.4 million) for a road works project in the Nausori Highlands.

The four assessors found Ba businessman Feroz Jan Mohammed, Iliesa Turagacati and Navitalai Tamanitoakula guilty of Bribery, Obtaining a Financial Advantage and Abuse of Office while Aisea Liwaiono, a former Roads Supervisor of the Department of National Roads was found guilty of Causing a Loss.

Mohammed and his company allegedly obtained a financial advantage amounting to more than $3 million by receiving money the company was not entitled to, upon submitting false invoices and circumventing the proper procedures concerning the processing of payments with the influence of Turagacati.

Tamanitoakula allegedly processed payments amounting to more than $2 million (US$1 million) made to TF Jan Bulldozing Company Limited without following proper procedures. The men were charged by Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC). They have been remanded in custody.



26) Question Over Promotion Of Indonesia Within MSG
MP: implicit opposition to West Papua not supported by public

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 20, 2015) – The Australian Greens Party says it’s concerned at reports that Australia is offering to change official travel warnings to Iran so it can deport Iranians who have failed to be granted asylum.

Almost 300 Iranian asylum seekers are detained on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and 166 on Nauru as part of Australia’s policy to process applicants abroad.

Australian media reports say a high-level delegation visited Australia this week to draw up a memorandum of understanding to allow for the return of the Iranians held in detention camps.

In a statement, the party’s immigration spokesperson, Sarah Hanson-Young says it seems the government is prepared to bribe anyone and everyone to get rid of asylum-seekers wherever possible.

She says cutting a deal with Iran in exchange for downgrading an official travel warning for Australian tourists is extraordinary, and that the government needs to be upfront with what the terms of deal are and what safeguards will be put in place.

Radio New Zealand International


27) Solomons Watchdog Calls For Removal Of Forestry Minister
Reportedly granted exemptions to family business

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 22, 2015) – A Solomon Islands corruption watchdog wants the Forestry Minister Bodo Dettke removed after allegations he granted exemptions to a family-owned logging company.

Transparency Solomon Islands says Mr Dettke granted an Agro Forestry Exemption in April to Solomon Resources Management Ltd for land on Mono in the Shortland Islands.

The exemption allows the company to clear the land for use as coconut and betelnut plantations effectively bypassing the need for a logging licence.

A TSI official Edward Ronia, says Mr Dettke had been the company’s Director since 1996 and only sold the shares to his sister in January this year.

Mr Ronia says this is what TSI has feared since Mr Dettke’s appointment as Forestry Minister in December last year.

“It is a serious area and the government should heed, I mean because we are close to the people we know the people we understand the situation. And when we raise issues like that and it is ignored and in the end the results show what we are concerned about we think the government should be giving a more listening ear to people who know what is happening on the ground.”

Transparency Solomon Islands’ Edward Ronia.

Radio New Zealand International

28) Review states deficiencies in National Fisheries Agency

By Online Editor
11:30 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Papua New Guinea

Deficiencies in planning, implementation, training and resources exist in the Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Agency, according to a recent review.

The review was done into the operations of NFA’s monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) compliance unit.

NFA executive manager of the MSC unit Gisa Komangin said efforts were underway for a high level of compliance in all fisheries, particularly the tuna purse seine fishery.

He said that considering illegal, unreported and unregulated activities, the NFA has programs and action plans in place to support improvements however, significant planning and reporting processes need to be developed to achieve these targets.

He said the MCS compliance unit has additional fisheries compliance responsibilities which the review identified and recommended, among others, the realignment of the management structure, recruitment of staff and the definition of duties.

“The restructuring of the compliance unit entailed the recruitment of a manager (compliance operations) who will oversee the operations of two responsive enforcement units that will be capable of investigating all violations of PNG’s fisheries legislation and will oversee management plans,” Komangin said.

He said two assistant managers were also recruited; one responsible for tuna fishery compliance and the other responsible for coastal fisheries compliance overseeing all coastal domestic fisheries.

He said there was a need to refocus our priorities in light of the European Union report.

“I am delighted that the revitalised compliance unit has created opportunities for a number of existing staff members to gain promotion.

“I believe there is a huge opportunity for us to really accelerate the growth of our PNGs fishing industry. I am sure the Compliance Unit will be a major player in this process.”

To support the training initiatives, mentoring of key leaders is also imperative to ensure knowledge and skills obtained are utilised appropriately, he said.

He said that the review was followed by a two-week training for the newly recruited compliance officers, on June 8-19, on basics covering area of time management, effective communication, introduction to compliance, writing descriptive statements, reports and public speaking.

“We see this as the foundation, the must acquire basic knowledge a compliance officer should have in the work place,” Komangin said.


29) Eastern high seas fishing raising red flags

By Online Editor
11:35 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Marshall Islands

While tuna fishing inside the zones of Parties to the Nauru Agreement or PNA members has remained largely unchanged the past four years, a spike in bigeye tuna catches in a high seas area near Kiribati and the Marshall Islands is raising red flags.

Reports are coming in of “a dramatic increase in bycatch of bigeye tuna,” said Dr Transform Aqorau, CEO of PNA.

“It’s a serious issue.”

The central Pacific sees a larger bigeye tuna bycatch by purse seiners that target skipjack tuna, and reports from industry indicate that bigeye landings in Thailand have increased four-fold over the past two years. With bigeye already under stress from being over-fished, rising catches in this area are a critical issue of concern, Aqorau said.

Several years ago, as a conservation measure, PNA closed two high seas “pockets” to fishing as a condition of license to fish in PNA zones. Dr Aqorau said this eastern high seas area needs either a “hard” catch limit or to be closed to fishing as a condition of licensing in PNA waters.

He pointed out that catches in PNA zones have remained stable over the past four years because PNA enforces limits. But this is not the case in the eastern high seas, which sees growing catch volumes. “The PNA region suffers because of high seas issues,” he said.

Not surprisingly, the fishing industry is less than enthusiastic about the possibility of an eastern high seas closure. “If the high seas are closed, the boats will have to buy fishing days (from PNA members),” said Tri-Marine Chief Operating Officer Joe Hamby in late April. “Closing the high seas is therefore not a conservation measure but a means to increase demand for (PNA fishing) days.”

American Tunaboat Association Executive Director Hallman said high seas closure in the eastern Pacific would have a “very negative impact” on the U.S. fleet. “The eastern high seas area is even more important to U.S. vessels since we have been largely excluded in 2015 from the waters of Kiribati, which are nearby,” Hallman said.

Last year, scientists advised the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission that bigeye tuna stocks had declined to under 20 percent of their original biomass and were being over-fished. Despite this information, the commission has been unable to get agreement from its members — both Pacific island nations and distant water fishing countries — to make significant cutbacks in bigeye effort on the high seas, particularly related to longline fleets.

In light of the increasing tonnage of bigeye caught in the eastern high seas, PNA officials say a closure would help reduce pressure on the stock as well as reduce the current over-supply of skipjack that has seen prices plummet from US$2,300 per ton two years ago to about US$1,150 today.



30) PNG Defence Commander launches Pacific Wantok force, Tight security for Games
By Online Editor
00:07 am GMT+12, 22/06/2015, Papua New Guinea

Defence Force commander Gilbert Toropo haslaunched Operation Pacific Wantok, the joint taskforce for the Pacific Games in two weeks time, in a parade last Friday.

Brigadier-General Toropo said 300 soldiers have been called out by Police Commissioner Gari Baki as special constables to assist in security during the Games. The special constables can be identified wearing a red band on their right arm over their PNGDF uniforms.

Brig-Gen Toropo said the Defence Force preparations began two years ago with bilateral training and exercises with Australia and New Zealand defence forces for the Pacific Games as well as the 2018 APEC Leaders Summit.

“These are some members who have gone through proper comprehensive preparations and training to support the security of the Pacific Games,” he said at the parade.

The Pacific Wantok taskforce will consist of personnel from headquarters, two ready reaction forces, static presence in all events and accommodation venues and other assets like helicopters and LCH.

Brig-Gen Toropo said the government and other various stakeholders had put in a lot of effort for the Games success therefore he expected nothing less than the best from his 300 personnel and professional conduct throughout the entire period. “How you display yourself will leave a lasting impression of our PNGDF both in country and abroad,” he told them.

The Royal PNG Constabulary is the lead agency in the security of the Games and the PNGDF and Correctional Services will complement through the callout.

“I can speak for all the heads of the three disciplinary forces that our men and women are adequately prepared and ready to deliver the security outcomes that our people and the Government want us to provide,” Brig-Gen Toropo assured.

Present at the launch of Operation Pacific Wantok were representatives of the other two force in a show of solidarity.

Meanwhile, all Government agencies will assist Foreign Affairs and Immigration to make sure the Pacific Islanders are facilitated smoothly into Papua New Guinea at the airport, with accommodation and at venues.

Acting Chief Secretary John Kali said that all agencies are prepared for this, apart from the security operations that will be implemented during July 4-25.

About 5000 visitors from abroad are expected for the Pacific Games which kick off on July 4 in Port Moresby.

“We also have other Government agencies Immigration, Foreign Affairs and others to make sure they work together in ensuring that the entry into the country of our visitors are facilitated smoothly right through their accommodation and venues, also thoroughly and free of any mishap,” Mr Kali said.

This is all part of the entire security operation which is codenamed “Safe Games” which will take into account potential threats, both external and within.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki announced about security 2700 personnel, including the police (1200), PNGDF (300) and Correctional Services (300) will be deployed during the Games.

About 600 police personnel – 30 from every province – being flown into Port Moresby to support the NCD police for the operations.

Members of the Police special force unit (SSD) have been undergoing special training in terrorism and kidnapping countermeasures at the McGregor Barracks recently, and are ready to be deployed.

Baki said that surveillance drones, or balloons will also be launched as part of the “eye in the sky” operation, while ground monitors will ensure nothing escapes the eye of the forces.

The security contingent is being trained to protect vital assets to ensure there are no threats to essential services like water and electricity. They are also trained to protect Games officials and participants, and to respond quickly to any threats at the Games venues, residence, or in transit.

“From the briefing I have received we should not be too worried about that (terrorism). But we are ready to respond to it. We are going to provide, as much as possible, a secure environment so you can enjoy the games. As an individual, you do your part as well,” Baki said.

The Transport Department will also deploy 300 personnel to control traffic and ensure there was free flow of traffic to Games venues.


31) We are ready, Sporting facilities ready for games: Sports and Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko
By Online Editor
00:09 am GMT+12, 22/06/2015, Papua New Guinea

The main Sir John Guise Stadium and Taurama Aquatic and Indoor Centre have been given the thumbs up for the Pacific Games in two weeks.

Games organisers have tested these two major sporting facilities and are pleased with the results.

Sports and Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko announced during a media conference Sunday at the Taurama Aquatic and Indoor Centre that most of the facilities are almost completed. The Sir John Guise Stadium was the first to be tested when it hosted the SP Hunters versus the Magpies rugby league match the previous weekend.

“Let me be precise and clear the air for people having doubts about the facilities that almost 95 per cent of the jobs have been completed and the contractors are working on the finishing touches,” Mr Tkatchenko said.

“We never had such world-class facilities and everybody is proud and we are ready for all the Pacific Islands.

“It will be an opportunity to watch four to five sports play at the same time at one particular place,” the MP said.

“The swimming pool is of a world-class standard and can be used for any international events in the future,”

“The indoor facilities will cater for basketball, volleyball, Taekwondo and karate. It will be an opportunity to watch four to five sports play at the same time at one particular place,”

“All the other facilities for soccer, bowling, rugby, cricket and softball, and Sir Hubert Murray Stadium at Konedobu, will be tested over the next two weeks to ensure that everything is on track,” Mr Tkatchenko confirmed that the stadium at Konedobu will play host to the women’s triathlon medal presentation ceremony by Prince Andrew on Sunday morning, July 5, and it will also be used for the soccer competition on July 9.

Tkatchenko thanked the Games organising committee, Game venue management team and PNG Sports Foundation for producing international class facilities in two years.

He also acknowledged the knighting of Sir Kostas Constantino who is the Games organising committee chairman for services to sports.


32) Guam looks to win gold in Games

By Online Editor
00:00 am GMT+12, 22/06/2015, Guam

Participating in 12 sports, Guam will be sending over 200 athletes and officials to the 2015 Pacific Games.

Chef De Mission Joey Miranda III said that this year would see the country perform better than the two previous Games.

“We expect our athletes to compete at a high level and to give it their all. We are going to contend for all possible medals.”

Guam is ready to face regional powerhouses and previous medal top four finishers New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Fiji.

In contention for that gold medal are the men’s and women’s basketball who won medals in 2014 Micronesian games in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

The men’s team who finished second at the last two games will be working hard for that elusive gold medal.

The Guam swimming team will be looking at bringing home medals after entering more swim events then other sports.

The sports Guam will be participating in are: Basketball (men and women), beach volleyball (Men and women), boxing (men and women), golf (men and women), rugby 9s (men), Shooting (men and women), swimming (men and women), taekwondo (men and women), tennis (men and women), track and field , triathlon (men and women), va’a (men and women), volleyball (men and women), and weightlifting (men and women).


33) Pacifc Games Basketball draws out

By Online Editor
11:59 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, Papua New Guinea

The 2015 Pacific Games basketball draws is out.

Papua New Guinea men’s team is in pool B with Fiji, New Caledonia, Nauru, and American Samoa while in pool A Kiribati, Samoa, Guam, Tahiti and Solomon Islands make up the rest of the teams participating in the men’s basketball competition.

The women’s team are in pool A with Tahiti, Guam and Nauru, while pool B see’s American Samoa, Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia together.

PNG Basketball Federation president Nick Daroa said the draw for Team PNG has PNG against some of the best teams, but said in the event that the round robin competition does a crossover PNG should be looking at the facing teams they have defeated in the past.

“The women’s quest for gold begins with a baptism of fire against Tahiti who they haven’t faced since 2013’s Pacific Open Championships in Wellington, New Zealand.”

“It will be a tough game and I expect the new members of the team to be challenged by their opponent, while for the men’s team they are expected to face a tougher challenge from New Caledonia, Fiji and American Samoa should they face off in the crossover,” Daroa said.

The competition will kick off on Friday July 3 at 1pm and will end with the gold medal play off for the men’s on Sunday July 12 at 3pm.

All basketball competitions will be held at the Taurama Aquatic Centre Courts –BSP Arena while the Semi finals and finals will be held at the Sir John Guise Indoor Stadium –PNG Power Dome.


34) Waisake Naholo, Lima Sopoaga emotions run high after All Blacks selection

By Online Editor
11:57 pm GMT+12, 21/06/2015, New Zealand

Waisake Naholo had to fight back the tears when telling family in Fiji he had been selected for the All Blacks.

Naholo, who says he has left his agent to negotiate his release from the two-year deal he signed with French club Clermont before the Super Rugby season began, had everything to celebrate at the weekend.

Less than 24 hours after scoring two tries in the Highlanders’ 24-14 win over the Chiefs in their Super Rugby quarterfinal in Dunedin, Naholo discovered his move to the Highlanders from the Blues had paid another massive dividend.

The wing didn’t tune in for the announcement of the All Blacks squad, instead hearing about his inclusion when friends bombarded him with texts.

Then came the moment when he dialled through to his parents’ house in Sigatoka, Fiji.

“They were the first people I talked to after I heard the news – I think mum had some tears there.

“Even I was struggling a little bit to tell them because I struggled to believe it. I don’t know how to describe it.”

Since it was revealed New Zealand Rugby had contacted Naholo and encouraged him to stay in the country – a reaction to his electric performances for the Highlanders – it was expected he would be included in the All Blacks squad for the first time.

“I had heard and seen all that stuff on social media, but I didn’t really believe it,” Naholo said.

“I couldn’t believe I would make the All Blacks.”

Naholo set a season-high record of 11 tries for the franchise with his double at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Afterwards his coach Jamie Joseph said the flying Fijian was going nowhere, even though the exact details of what is involved in getting him a release from Clermont are not clear.

“I just let my agent take care of it,” Naholo stated.

Unwanted by Blues coach John Kirwan after the 2013 season, Naholo, who was born in Sigatoka and later moved to Wanganui City College, decided his future lay overseas.

His efforts under Joseph changed that and he is now one of the hottest tickets in the country.

“When I was at the Blues I didn’t get that much of a chance … That was one of the reasons why I decided to go to France. Everyone who plays in New Zealand wants to make the All Blacks, but at that time I didn’t think I would make it.”

Meanwhile, first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga thanked Joseph for keeping faith in him because he believed he was “on his last legs” with the Highlanders until his luck changed.

In my first three seasons we were pretty up and down and he [Joseph] he hadn’t really got much out of me and I was off contract in 2014,” Sopoaga told NewstalkZB.

“If I didn’t have a big campaign I was going to have to look elsewhere. Probably go to a new franchise or look overseas.”

This year Sopoaga, no doubt encouraged by a dominant forward pack and the little wizard Aaron Smith at halfback, has been a standout; his goal kicking percentages have been encouraging, his defence has been reliable and he can run the backline with authority.

“I guess I owe a lot to the coaching staff and the faith they have shown in me.”…..PACNEWS




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