Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1065 ( Monday 25 April 2016 )
1) Questioning Of Indonesia’s Commitment To MSG Principles
Follows admission that suspect was killed while in custody
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 22, 2016) – The opposition People First party in Solomon Islands is calling for a review of Indonesia’s membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The call follows an admission by the head of Indonesia’s police that a terrorism suspect was kicked to death while in police custody.
Indonesia’s police chief General Badrodin Haiti made the admission to a government committee investigating the death in custody of the suspect known as Siyono.
General Haiti confirmed that members of the elite Detachment-88 counter-terrorism unit kicked Siyono in the chest, breaking his ribs, and causing his heart to fail.
Amnesty International’s Director of Campaigns for South-East Asia, Josef Benedict, said the admission was a major turnaround in Indonesia’s persistent public denial that torture is rife in the country.
Derrick Manuari, a Solomon Islands opposition MP, said the admission gave credibility to reports of police brutality in West Papua, and for that, Indonesia should be removed from the sub-regional Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Indonesia was made an associate member of the regional body last year, making it the official representative of West Papua.
“It’s just one of many examples or many cases that warrants a review of Indonesia’s membership in MSG and it’s time that Indonesia’s membership be reviewed to see if it still upholds the principles of the group or not and if it is not they should remove them totally.”
Derrick Manuari said the MSG should call on the United Nations to investigate police brutality in West Papua.
Radio New Zealand International
2) Amnesty pushing for Indonesian law change, after torture ‘admission’
The human rights NGO Amnesty International says the police in Indonesia have admitted torturing a man to death.
A West Papuan farmer is detained by Indonesian military forces. Photo: Supplied
It says Indonesia’s police chief made the admission to a government committee investigating the death in custody of a suspected terrorist.
The NGO said the admission ended a decade of denial by Indonesia that it didn’t engage in torture.
An Amnesty spokesperson, Margaret Taylor, said pressure should be applied to the Indonesian government to outlaw torture.
“Many promises have been made including by President Widodo on election that he would address outstanding Human Rights concerns. What we do know is that the criminal code in Indonesia is being reviewed. It’s been under revision for close to three decades and when they do review it they need to ensure that torture is criminalised.”
Margaret Taylor said Indonesia should also establish an independent body to investigate complaints made against police.
The Indonesian Human Rights Commission said last month that at least 121 people had died in police custody since 2007.25/4/16- RNZI
3) Marching West Papua into MSG
Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016
By Len Garae |
Thousands of members of civil society organisations and the public in Port Vila and rural communities around Efate, are expected to take part in a peaceful march from Fatumaru Bay to the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat at Independence Park, to demand the MSG Leaders to give full membership of the Melanesian Sub Regional Organisation to the people of West Papua next Friday on April 29.
Chairman of the Vanuatu West Papua Association in Port Vila, Pastor Allan Nafuki makes the announcement ahead of the planned peaceful march from Fatumaru Bay to the MSG Secretariat. He is appealing to all responsible people to take part in the peaceful march.
The outspoken Chairman is confident his committee’s application will be approved by the police to allow the planned march to take place.
“We are organising the Civil Society Organisation Parallel Forum four days prior to the MSG Leaders’ Summit on May 3, which will be hosted by the Vanuatu Government,” the Chairman says.
The Chairman and members of his committee have been lobbying the people in a series of public places in the Capital including market houses, to collect signatures from members of the public who support West Papua to become a full member of MSG.
It is understood the Vanuatu Christian Council is also encouraged to allow members of individual churches to also sign the petition at the entrance to their churches.
Pastor Nafuki says they have already collected 5,000 signatures and are targeting 12,000 to let Indonesia know that the people of West Papua are not alone in their bid to gain their rightful place in MSG.
In preparation to the march, a Civil Society Organisation Parallel Forum will be hosted by the Vanuatu West Papua Association in Port Vila from April 29 to May 2.
The West Papua Association is inviting civil society counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia to also take part in the Forum.
Some of the regional participants are already in Port Vila.
4) GJP gains additional seat in parliament after recount; Air New Zealand not acting in good faith, says Vanuatu Govt
Posted: April 23, 2016 | Author: bobmakin | Filed under: The Daily Digest |
Graon mo Jastis Pati now has another seat in Parliament bringing their total to seven. The court-ordered recount for the 2016 General Election results for the rural Efate constituency placed Gillion William three votes ahead of Nato Taiwia of the Melanesian Progressive Party. A Government Gazette issued this morning announced Gillion William as the winner of the Efate constituency which had previously been awarded to Taiwia. Gillion William will be sworn in in the next sitting of Parliament.
Vanuatu Government refused an Air New Zealand charter flight scheduled for April 28 for taking RSE workers in and out of the country. Minister Jotham Napat says the Government questions why Air New Zealand’s refuses to reinstate its Auckland-Vila service, citing concerns with the runway —yet has no apparent concerns to operate a charter flight carrying ni-Vanuatu workers.” “The question must be asked”, says Minister of Public Utilities and Infrastructure Jotham Napat, “why are they willing to operate a profitable charter flight, yet not commit to resuming commercial services?”
Air Vanuatu has announced additional international flights starting June 1st to cope with the strong recovery of tourism after Cyclone Pam. Sydney will have six flights a week, Brisbane three flights and there will be three to and from Auckland. To these can be added the codeshared Fiji flights with Fiji Airways and Air Vanuatu’s four flights to Noumea. Acting CEO Joseph Laloyer says “with an advertising campaign to commence shortly, we are anticipating strong growth for the second half of the year.”
Papua New Guinea does not consider the attempted appointment of Fijian diplomat Amena Yauvoli as Director-General of MSG legitimate. PNG is of the strong view that the protocols establishing the MSG were not observed. A meeting of the Leadership to consider the short-listed candidates is necessary, said PNG PM O’Neill, and then the Leaders announce the successful candidate. He adds that the process of consensus must be followed before a new appointment can be announced. Yauvoli was nominated for DG by the Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare. The Leaders’ Summit will take place in Port Vila early next month.
Daily Post today carries a compelling narrative of the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s internal and membership crises.
UMP political party has won the support of 3 Iauko Group MPs (Jay Ngwele, Pakoa Songi and Tom Noam). They have said there is a “need to support and strengthen Prime Minister Charlot Salwai’s Government in order to pass many long awaited laws such as the Integrity Bill and they support the present Government initiatives for the better economic and social development” of the country. They have joined the Meriango faction of the hugely split UMP party grouping. (Daily Post)
Daily Post today carries a clear explanation of Vanuatu’s efforts to reduce IUU activities — illegal, unreported and unregulated activities — of fishing vessels carrying the Vanuatu flag. The country is finally following closely the Forum Fisheries Agency’s recommendations for monitoring catches by Vanuatu-flagged vessels.
5) New Caledonia Removal Company Fraud Case Deferred
Reportedly overcharged French defense ministry
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 22, 2016) – New Caledonia’s criminal court has deferred a case of alleged fraud by removal companies which reportedly overcharged the French defence ministry.
The charges relate to the moving expenses claimed by about 600 military staff in 2011 and 2012.
The public broadcaster says while eight companies have been charged, their lawyers have denounced the procedure, saying none of the military personnel involved has been summoned.
The allegations have been that the bills for the removal costs of French police and military personnel were frequently inflated.
In return, it is claimed, the companies offered the military personnel rental cars, tablet computers and railway tickets.
The court has adjourned the case until 26 August to collect information about the military personnel concerned.
A probe into the removals was launched following a complaint by one removal company which went out of business while refusing to strike such deals.
Radio New Zealand International
6) Roll Acrimony Festering In New Caledonia
Fresh legal challenges reopen conflict
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 22, 2016) – There is continued acrimony in New Caledonia over the make-up of the electoral rolls which is likely to be a topic during next week’s visit to Noumea by the French prime minister, Manuel Valls.
The anti-independence Republicans accuse the rival pro-independence side of reneging on its undertaking given to Mr Valls during their joint summit in Paris two months ago that they all considered the politically charged question of the roll to be settled.
However, fresh legal challenges have this week led to about 50 people being struck off the roll drawn up for provincial elections because they failed to meet the eligibility criteria.
This has angered loyalists, triggering accusations by the Republicans that the French High Commission committed a blunder by releasing information to the committee vetting the voters.
The High Commission says it only acted in conformity with the law.
A separate roll is being finalised for the independence referendum due by 2018, and again it will be restricted to long-term residents.
Radio New Zealand International
7) Fiji opposition argues for return of chiefly body
Fiji’s parliamentary opposition has presented a petition to parliament calling for the reinstatement of the Great Council of Chiefs.
The chiefly body was established in 1876 and abolished by Frank Bainimarama’s interim military regime four years ago.
In a debate in parliament, members of the opposition have been urging the government to allow the petition to go to a committee which can consult the people on the issue.
Under new rules petitions must gain 40 percent of MPs approval before they can be considered.
The opposition has just 36 percent of the vote.
Salote Radrodro of the Sodelpa party told parliament the Great council of Chiefs has taken Fiji forward and represented the fabric of Fiji’s indigenous people.
The gist of the issue here is how are we going to hear the voices of the people? Abraham Lincoln said government is by the people and for the people. If government is by the people, and that’s why we are all sitting here, and if is is for the people we should provide we should provide for an avenue, for a space, to hear their voices.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/302278/fiji-opposition-argues-for-return-of-chiefly-body
8) Cyclone Amos passes over Samoa, causing flooding and damage
Updated 25 April 2016, 3:40 AEST
Tropical Cyclone Amos has passed over Samoa at a lower intensity than predicted, however the category three storm has caused flooding and infrastructure damage.
Samoa appears to have emerged largely unscathed by Cyclone Amos, which hit the country overnight as a category three system.
Amos was forecast to directly hit Samoa as a powerful category four system, but it weakened overnight as it approached land.
No deaths have been reported, but Amos left destruction in its wake, after winds of up to 120 kilometres an hour buffeted the country and torrential rain swept away roads.
Samoa Meteorology said winds of up to 87 kilometres an hour will continue to affect the country on Sunday, in particular the southern island Upolu.
It said Cyclone Amos was expected to be about 150 kilometres east of the capital Apia, and about 64 kilometres north-east of the American Samoa capital Pago Pago early on Sunday afternoon.
Samoa’s Disaster Management Office said there had been significant damage to coastal roads, particularly on the northern island Savai’i, and urged people to use inland routes.
The Red Cross team based in Apia said it was assessing damage.
Communications spokeswoman Corinne Ambler said a team of volunteers helped evacuate families from low lying areas on Saturday night.
“The storm was not as powerful as predicted and the level of damage we’d expected hasn’t eventuated,” she said.
Amos is heading towards American Samoa, but authorities there have cancelled a hurricane warning as wind speeds diminish.
However, a flash flood warning has been extended until Monday.
9) Cooks Lawyer Files Complaint Over Handling Of PM’s Accident
Claims given ‘special treatment’ by police
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 25, 2016) – A Cook Islands lawyer has filed a complaint with the Solicitor General about the police’s handling of a motorcycle crash that involved the prime minister, Henry Puna.
In October 2014, Mr Puna collided with a motorcyclist when he failed to give way at a Rarotonga intersection. The other motorcyclist was hospitalised.
The Cook Islands News reports that in his complaint, lawyer Norman George said Mr Puna was not breath-tested until several hours after the incident, and alleges that he was given special treatment by the police.
Mr George, a former politican, said Mr Puna was given a ‘pre-charge warning’ by the police because it was a low-level incident, something Mr George said he had never encountered before in his 25-year career.
Mr George said Mr Puna would have lost his seat if he was convicted of careless driving.
He asked the Solicitor General to review the file, saying the case should have been sent to Crown Law for an independent opinon.ABC
Radio New Zealand International
10) King Of Tonga Breaks Ground On Wharf Upgrade
$30 million project to improve Nuku‘alofa’s domestic wharf
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 21, 2016) – A major $66 million [US$30 million] upgrade of the domestic wharf in Nuku’alofa to be completed by 2018, was launched today with a groundbreaking by HM King Tupou VI, who was accompanied by Queen Nanasipau’u.
The project funded as a part of Japan’s grant aid will include the extension of the domestic wharf and the building of a terminal for passengers and cargo.
The Japanese Ambassador HE Mr Yukio Numata said the new wharf symbolises Japan’s recognition of people in Tonga’s daily struggle due to the wide dispersal of its small islands. The new domestic wharf is envisioned to be a safe harbour for inter-islands vessels, while the passenger terminal building shelters people in transit.
He said the common spirit of islanders during the PALM 7 meeting is guided by the notions of human security and human development.
“These are the core objectives of the project but we also aspire to accelerate the modernizing process in Tonga by contributing to the nation’s economic growth in a sustainable manner.”
He said this is especially so in relation to the passenger terminal building, which is multi-functional and could facilitate some of the events in the 2019 Pacific Games.
The new terminal is also based on the principle of universal design with gently sloped ramps at entrances and passageways, while the rooftop will have an independent solar system to pave the way towards energy efficiency and security. “These careful plans portray that together we can build a prosperous future towards a society where everybody benefits,” he said.
“Today we are not simply commemorating the beginning of the work to build the new domestic wharf, but rather we are remembering the long-standing and cordial friendship between our nations based on our interdependence and mutual partnership. It is also important for all of us to work together as island nations for the safety of sea transportation to maintain maritime order.”
The Prime Minister Hon ‘Akilisi Pohiva expressed the Government of Tonga’s gratitude for the grant assistance from the Government and people of Japan.
He said a port is a gateway for economic development and key economic infrastructure that facilitates the movement of people and cargo in and out of our islands, encourages tourism and generates indirect and direct employment opportunities for the people of the Kingdom.
The project would help to better connect the island groups of Tonga.
TOA Corporation, a Japanese construction group will carry out the work.
Matangi Tonga Magazine
11) Former French Polynesia President Faces Theft Charges
Flosse, partner to front court over removal of presidential china
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 22, 2016) – French Polynesia’s disgraced former president, Gaston Flosse, and his partner will face the criminal court in Tahiti over the alleged theft of china from the presidential palace.
The two were charged with taking public property back in December 2014 after $US70,000 worth of china and silverware from the presidential palace were found at their home.
Flosse, who had lost the presidency because of a corruption conviction three months earlier, said he had bought the items in question with his own money.
The pair risks a sentence of seven years in prison and a $US130,000 fine.
His partner Pascale Haiti made an unsuccessful bid to have the case thrown out on procedural matters.
Flosse is banned from holding public office until 2019 although he has challenged the decision, claiming he is eligible to stand again in 2018.
Radio New Zealand International
12) Am. Samoa Agency To Review Constitutional Issues
Vote possible this year on self-determination issues
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 21, 2016) – The American Samoa governor Lolo Moliga has set up an agency to look at constitutional issues that could go to a vote at this year’s election, or in subsequent polls.
The Office of Political Status, Constitutional Review and Federal Relations is part of the governor’s office.
United States Assistant Secretary of Interior for Insular Affairs, Esther Kia’aina, approved funding and the governor has appointed Tapaau Dr Dan Aga the director.
Tapaau was on the staff of the 2010 Constitutional Review and the Political Status Review Commission which preceded it.
The office was to look at issues such as self-determination and the pros and cons of further integration with the United States, including citizenship and representation in Congress.
Radio New Zealand International
13) Top CNMI resort in financial strife
The ill-fated five-star hotel on Tinian in the Northern Marianas is in such bad financial shape it can’t afford a lawyer.
The Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino was closed last year because it failed to meet the requirements of the territory’s gambling commission, which left hundreds of people unemployed.
The owners are facing a law suit from many of those staff, but in a letter to the US District Court in Saipan, they said they are in such financial trouble that they can’t hire legal representation.
The court last week ordered the owners, Hong Kong Entertainment Investments Ltd and Mega Stars Overseas Ltd, to appear with counsel for a second status conference on the 24th of May.
The judge, Ramona Manglona, said if the companies appear without legal counsel, they would have to explain why sanctions should not be imposed.25/4/16 – RNZI
14) $50 million revamp for Ebeye in Marshalls Islands
The small Marshall Islands island of Ebeye has launched a US$50 million for a five-year-long infrastructure revamp.
The grant is being funded by the United States and Australian governments along with the Asian Development Bank.
$US19 million will go towards fixing the sewerage and water system, which has not been properly worked on in four decades.
Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, said the project would be extremely positive for the island.
“The projects that are coming up really should do a lot to improve power, water sewer – I mean the sewer problems go back so many years it’s kind of embarrassing to think how many decades it hasn’t worked.”
Giff Johnson said Ebeye was known as ‘the slum of the Pacific’ due to its dense population and dilapitated infrastructure.
It has more than 10,000 people living on fewer than 80 acres of land, and houses workers for the US military base on nearby Kwajalein.25/4/16 – RNZI
16) Kiribati Receives Fishery Yellow Card From Europe
Concerns country can’t control illegal foreign fishing
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 22, 2016) – The European Commission has officially warned Kiribati for not being transparent about fishing practices in its waters.
The Commission has given Kiribati a ‘yellow card’ as it has concerns over whether the country can control foreign fleets illegally fishing within its territory.
It said it was worried that illegitimate fish was being laundered through the ports of Kiribati.
The Commission also said Kiribati did not have robust traceability systems and was unwilling to share information about third-country vessels fishing within its waters.
Kiribati is now only one step away from a ‘red card’, which would mean fish caught within its waters would be banned in the European Union.
Papua New Guinea has a ‘red card’ and fish caught in its waters is banned from being sold in the EU.
Radio New Zealand International
17) PNG na Pacific Art long Australia
Updated 21 April 2016, 13:20 AEST
Assistant Curator blong Indiginis na Oceanic Art long National Gallery blong Victoria itok wok blong lukautim ol story, ol carving na Art blong ol kantri long Pacific emi wanpla bikpla wok blong lukautim gut ol despla samting blong ol pipal long bihaen.
Sana Balai i mekim despla toktok bihaen long oli bin lonchim wanpla nupla buk em oli kolim War Trophies or Curios? long Museum Victoria long despla wik.
Despla buk i lukluk long ol karving na ol narapla samting blong ol tubuna blong Papua New Guinea em ol soljia blong Australia ibin kisim long PNG long World War one.
Museum Victoria igat wanpla hap oa section emi save soim ol carving na Art blong Pacific, wantem tu Papua New Guinea na planti long ol despla samting emi olpla tru.
Planti taem ol Museum long Australia ino save soim ol artwok blong PNG na Pacific.ABC
18) WNB Governor itok pipal imas planim Rice
Updated 22 April 2016, 14:34 AEST
Sasindran Muthuvel itok l pipal blong en imas planim rice na noken lukluk tasol long Palm Oil.
Governor blong West new Britain Provins long Papua New Guinea i askim strong ol pipal blong en long planim rice na noken lukluk tasol long Palm Oil.
West New Britain i wanpla ples we Planti pipal isave growim Palm Oil, tasol Governor Sasindran Muthuvel itok, emi laikim Rice long kamap olsem namba tu bikpla agrikalsa bisnis long Provins.
Emi bin mekim despla toktok bihaenim raon blong en igo long Rice and Agricultural Development Field Day long Erap Farm em Trukai Industry Limited i papa long en long Morobe Province long wik igo pinis.
Governor Muthuvel ibin sainim wanpla tok oraet wantem Trukai Industry Limited (TIL) tripla yia igo pinis long helpim ol farmers long West New Britain long save gut long growim rice.
Rice i kamap nau olsem wanpla kaikai em planti pipal long PNG isave laikim tumas.ABC
20a) Brèves du Pacifique – samedi 25 avril 2016
Pêche: carton jaune pour les Kiribati. La commission européenne donne un avertissement official au pays.
21) Australia economic growth low
The National, Thursday April 21st, 2016
Australia is heading for below trend economic growth in the second half of 2016, but that would not necessarily trigger a rate cut.
The Westpac and Melbourne Institute Leading Index of Economic Activity fell 0.12 points to 96.59 in March, signalling weaker economic growth in the coming months.
It’s the second consecutive decline for the index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future.
“The Leading Index continues to point to a material loss of momentum and growth pulling back to below trend rates through the middle of the year,” Westpac Senior economist Matthew Hassan said.
The main factors weighing on the index were commodity prices and weaker US industrial production.
22) Vanuatu denies Air New Zealand charter flight
Vanuatu has challenged Air New Zealand to be consistent, after hearing that it’s planning a charter service to Port Vila this week while refusing to reinstate commercial services.
In January, the airline was joined by some others in cancelling flights over unsafe conditions at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila.
Authorities in Vanuatu said remedial works had improved conditions ahead of a major World Bank-sponsored redevelopment this year.
The Minister of Public Utilities and Infrastructure, Jotham Napat, told Vanuatu’s Civil Aviation Authority to deny the Air New Zealand charter flight for seasonal workers in and out of Port Vila this Thursday.
Mr Napat told the Daily Post the airline had to explain why it was willing to operate a profitable charter flight but not resume usual services.
He said the Vanuatu government, which was elected this year, made a commitment to immediately undertake emergency runway repairs, which have been completed and meet all safety requirements.25/4/16- RNZI
Monday, April 25, 2016
SINCE 2011, New Zealand has deported 351 Fijians for living unlawfully in the country.
Immigration New Zealand’s lead communications adviser Marc Piercey said 73 Fijians were deported in 2011, 69 in 2012, 76 in 2013, 50 in 2014, 79 last year and four until March this year.
Mr Piercey said majority of the Fijians deported stayed longer than what their visa allowed them.
“Holders of temporary visa breached the conditions of their visa or were a risk because of character issues,” he said.
Mr Piercey said holders of resident and permanent visas also became liable for deportation under certain circumstances, for example because of criminal offending.
According to Immigration New Zealand, Pacific Islanders make up the highest number of people to be deported.
Immigration New Zealand said since 2012, they had negotiated the voluntary departure of more than 1242 overstayers, which avoided the New Zealand taxpayers paying the deportation costs.
Since 2010, Mr Piercey said 143,680 Fijians received approved work, residency and visitor visas. According to Immigration New Zealand, 31,905 Fijians received approved work permits from 2011 to the first three months of this year.
For the same period, 13,298 Fijians received approved residency and 98,477 travelled on visitor’s visa to the country.
Fiji Immigration Department director Nemani Vuniwaqa said the deportation showed that Fijians did not have the proper papers and permits.
“They (Fijians) just go there as a visitor and they overstayed, working without a proper work permit.
“Imagine how one moves from a village setting to an urban centre, because of the bright lights and what they eat and get from their families,” Mr Vuniwaqa said.
Reasons for deportation:
* Staying in New Zealand unlawfully (beyond a visa expiry date);
* Staying in New Zealand on a visa granted in error;
* Staying in New Zealand on a visa obtained under a false identity;
* The Minister of Immigration determining there is sufficient reason to make a temporaryentrant liable for deportation, including breach of visa conditions, criminal offending, matters relating to character and concealment of character;
* Obtaining a residence class visa through fraud, forgery;
* Breaching conditions of a resident visa;
* Residence class visa holder being convicted of certain criminal offences; and
* Cancellation of refugee and/or protection status where the person is not a New Zealand citizen.
* Source: Immigration New Zealand
24) Wage Gaps In The Pacific Described As Economic Apartheid
Expat and local staff wage disparity impacts aid delivery
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 25, 2016) – A new study has found large wage gaps between expatriate and local staff in developing countries reduces the effectiveness of aid delivery.
The report said some Pacific Island countries had taken to calling the dual salary system ‘economic apartheid’, with the ratio of expat to local salaries ranging from 2:1 to 10:1 for staff with similar qualifications.
A coordinator for project, called Are Development Discrepancies Undermining Performance, Stuart Carr, said the disparities created significant feelings of workplace injustice.
Stuart Carr said the phenomenon was also a factor in the brain drain which sees highly qualified locals migrating overseas for better pay and benefits.
“Put yourself in a position of working alongside someone with similar qualifications and experience and you are meant to be collaborating in teams and you find out that your colleague who has the same qualifications and experience is either getting ten times more or ten times less than yourself. And in either case I think most people would find it disrupting to team work and harmony and collaboration.”
Radio New Zealand International
25) ACP – EU Council of Ministers convene in Dakar, Senegal next week
11:19 am GMT+12, 22/04/2016, Belgium
Discussions on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, follow up on the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and migration will lead the work programme of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers when it convenes for its 41st session in Dakar, Senegal on 28th to 29th April. Other key items on the agenda will include trade issues, development finance and the EU’s global strategy on foreign and security policy.
The President of Senegal Macky Sall will open the event at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre, bringing together ministers and key officials from 78 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, as well as the 28 EU member states.
The ACP-EU Joint Council of Ministers is the highest decision-making body of the ACP-EU partnership, and the 41st session will be co-chaired by the Minister of Planning and Integration of the Republic of Congo H.E Leon Raphaël Mokoko and the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Lilianne Ploumen.
“The ACP-EU partnership has a significant contribution to offer to the global development agenda. Not only does it bring together more than 100 countries in the world in a legally binding partnership based on trade, development cooperation and political dialogue, but it has also made an impact through effective and comprehensive development programmes, as well as valuable collaborations with a wide variety of actors,” stated ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick I. Gomes.
Discussions will cover a number of topics, including how to align the priorities of the partnership to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in order to play an active role in their implementation.
In addition to sustainable development, the Joint Council will exchange views on the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This follows the successful global agreement on climate change in Paris in December 2015, where a joint press statement by the ACP and EU officials calling for an ambitious, inclusive, fair, durable and dynamic commitment, provided a much-needed boost in the negotiations. The Paris Climate Change Agreement is open for signing for one year since 22nd April 2016.
The Joint Council will also address issues related to migration, development finance cooperation, revisions to Annexes II and III of the Cotonou Agreement, trade cooperation (including discussions on the ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and the outcomes of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference) and the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy.
Finally, the agenda includes a session to discuss the future of ACP-EU relations post-2020, when the current partnership framework is due to close. While formal negotiations for a post-2020 framework are not due to begin until 2018, both ACP and EU sides are deeply engaged in reflections on how a future partnership may be configured, taking into account key global shifts that have taken place since the year 2000, when the Cotonou Partnership Agreement was signed.
The Joint Council meeting will be immediately preceded by a High Level Event which will discuss the legacy of the ACP-EU Partnership, as well as prospects for the future. Under the theme “From Lomé to Cotonou Post-2020: a changing perspective in the ACP-EU relationship”, the event represents a first opportunity to jointly discuss the ACP-EU relationship with a twofold approach: retrospective and forward looking.
SOURCE: ACP PRESS/PACNEWS
27) PIH reports first case of Zika virus
The National, Friday April 22nd, 2016
By EUNAR NOREEN KARATU
THE country’s first Zika virus case has been diagnosed at the Pacific International Hospital (PIH) in Port Moresby, from a 43-year-old female who had travelled overseas.
PIH obstetrician Dr Mathias Sapuri told The National yesterday.
“We just got a positive clinical test and also a positive blood test confirming the diagnosis,” he said.
“There is no need for panic in the community because it’s not a serious infection that can cause problems to children, adults or non-pregnant women.
“It’s not a major issue to the general population.”
He said Zika was a very mild flu-like illness that caused nausea, vomiting, fever, joint pains, but nothing serious like dengue or malaria.
“If you get infected with this virus in the first three months of pregnancy, there is a significant risk that will cause a condition called microcephaly (babies with small heads),” he said.
“So the major public health concern for this virus is, it can cause abnormalities to babies especially if the mother gets infected in the first three months of pregnancy.”
Sapuri said Zika in most cases was a milder form of illness clinically and could have been around in PNG but was never diagnosed.
“It’s important that the public should not be alarmed or panic about this issue because we believe it’s been around for longer than we’ve expected and this is the first time we’ve clinically diagnosed it,” he said.
“I think it’s important that public health systems should also be looking out for this because if you do get infected in the first three months of pregnancy, you are likely to end up with an abnormality to the pregnancy.”
He said the woman who was diagnosed with Zika had very mild symptoms.
“She just had a little bit of headache, bit of fever, feeling unwell, bit of joint pains, feeling uneasy and nothing serious to worry about,” he said.
“She was treated appropriately with the usual symptomatic treatment and has gone home to rest.
28) 1600 with cancer annually
Monday, April 25, 2016
ABOUT 1600 cancer patients are recorded annually by the Ministry of Health.
Minister for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate said the projected figure was a major concern for the ministry.
“The projections that we have are around 1600 and we believe that a lot of people that have it are not presenting themselves by getting tested,” he said.
“It could also be the diagnosis which needs to be strengthened.”
He said many people were unaware that they could suffer from cancer.
“In order to treat people, the first thing is you need to identify who’s sick. One of the more important things is we need people to come forward to be screened and diagnosed.
“We have more mammography people who treat people with breast cancer and then we have cervical cancer which also needs treatment.”
He said another concern for the ministry was prostate cancer in men.
“One of the biggest issues that we have is that they don’t get themselves tested.
“If you are a male and you’re above 40, the best thing to do is to get tested. If it’s still small we can treat it.
“A lot of people who do present themselves are at stage three or stage four of the cancer and we can’t do much about it.”
The minister said Fijians were not accustomed to getting mandatory medical tests.
“One of our biggest issues that we have in Fiji is people failing to seek medical services at the right time.
“They fail to present themselves and get themselves checked and tested. They usually come in when the sickness is at its worst.
“One of the things that we want to do is to get people to present themselves as early as possible and not just for cancer but for every disease.”
29) ‘Be mindful of chasers’
Monday, April 25, 2016
THERE has been no study in the world to link grog as a cause of non-communicable disease, says NCD national adviser Doctor Isimeli Tukana.
However, he has urged grog-lovers to be mindful of the chasers they have during kava drinking sessions because this causes NCDs.
“There have been so many queries and questions about grog and its link to NCDs but there has been no research or study to show that it does,” Dr Tukana said.
“But the worry here is the chaser that people take while drinking grog so we are urging everyone from the age of 30 above to get checked.
“If the medical check reveals signs of NCDs we can address it early and help you through advice to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Dr Tukana said every year, the ministry aimed at screening 80,000 people around the country.
“The tricky thing with NCDs is that you will feel normal with no sickness compared with flu or headache,” he said.
“So people need to get checked early because it helps us treat the signs at an early stage.
“There has also been a change in people’s attitude as they become aware of NCDs and its causes.”
The change in attitude, Dr Tukana, said was also among the children.
“As we continue to raise awareness to the communities about living a healthy lifestyle to prevent NCDs, we have seen changes in the attitude and this is a positive sign.”
30) One more MP for Vanuatu’s GJP
Vanuatu’s Graon mo Jastis Pati has gained an extra MP after a court-ordered recount in rural Efate.
The court ordered the recount after January’s election, which orginally awarded the seat to the Melanesian Progressive Party’s Nato Taiwia.
But the recount found that the GJP’s Gillion William won the seat by three votes.
Mr William’s swearing-in will bring the number of MPs in Ralph Regenvanu’s GJP to seven, further solidifying the governing coalition.25/4/16-RNZI
31) Five political groups register interest
The National, Friday April 22nd, 2016
By BEATRICE BONAKOYA
FIVE political groups have been in touch with the registry of political parties to be registered as parties.
Registrar Dr Alphonse Gelu told The National yesterday the groups had been given forms to complete and told to meet all the requirements before they could be registered.
“A couple of them are prominent people and these are new groupings,” he said.
“We’ve given them the forms to fill out. We haven’t registered any new parties as yet.”
Gelu is also concerned that some existing parties with smaller memberships have failed to perform their roles as political organisations.
He wants to see parties conducting awareness on their policies and ideologies for the people to know.
Gelu met former parliamentary leader Ted Diro this week who wants to revive the People’s Action Party, a major political force in the 1980s and 90s. It was formed before the 1987 national elections by Diro.
32) 120416 Congratulatory notes still flowing for the Minister for the Bougainville Affairs
By Joe Elijah
While congratulatory messages are still flowing for the New Minister for Bougainville Affairs Hon Joe Lera, an ABG Ministerial Committee is planning to pay a visit to the Prime Minister Hon Peter Oniel this week.
In a press statement upon the arrival of the Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Hon Joe Lera, he thought he made it clear to the Public Servant Minister, representing the President Hon Dr. Chief John Momis, that he wanted to set things straight, by first sitting down with the ABG Ministerial team and discuss their queries, before he can make an appointment for the ABG Team to travel to Port Moresby, to meet with the Prime Minister himself and his Cabinet.
Hon Lera added that he wants to be the middleman between the ABG and the National Government, to address any queries as in the past many ministerial committees have travelled to Port Moresby, and have come back frustrated, because what they may have gone for was not entertained causing friction between the two Governments.
“Let me first sit with the ABG Ministerial Committee and find out what they want, so that I can personally take it up to the Prime Minister myself, a thing which never happened before.” He said.
During this week ABG plans to send a Ministerial Team to meet with the Prime Minister, Hon Lera added that it will be a waste of resources, money and their time, because the Prime Minister will in the end, send them back to him for Protocol wise, to address their queries before ABG’s query can be fully addressed at the National level.
Hon Lera is now calling on both Governments to come straight and not break protocol as he is the legitimate Minister responsible for Bougainville Affairs, Hon Lera wants to make sure his office plays its roles and objective in addressing many Bougainville sensitive issues, and only then both Governments listen to him, their problems, queries and other matters will be addressed in full.Dawnfm
33) Fiji Government to announce next year’s budget earlier than expected
5:32 pm GMT+12, 21/04/2016, Fiji
The Fijian Government will be announcing next year’s budget earlier than expected.
Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum while speaking at the Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress in Nadi Thursday revealed a number of options were considered before deciding on bringing the announcement date foreword.
The government will announce the next financial year’s budget on 22 June.
National budgets were traditionally announced towards the end of the year.
Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum says this will tie in well with the new financial year announcement by the government earlier.
“You deliver your budget in November, then we want civil servants to sit down and plan next year our expenditure. It does not happen till March. If you look at government uptake of expenditure in particular in capital infrastructure expenditure, its very low. It peaks usually in the third quarter,” said Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum- Minister for Finance.
Sayed- Khaiyum argues initial arrangements at times did not result in good planning.
“We are the countries that are the cold faces of climate change or a single climatic events that destroys our economy. And we have a budget delivered in the middle of the cyclone season, we have a financial year starting in the middle of cyclone season. You can have a wonderful budget and we can have a Winston that can completely destroy it.
The National Budget will be debated 6 days after it is delivered.
“We really hope that we do not get the same faces to come and contribute towards the budget. Please talk to the younger members of your practices who may have better ideas”.
Sayed Khaiyum has also urged the accountants and the private sector to think outside the box while broadening our economy base.
“Many of the input that I get from the private sector is also very limited”.
The budget consultation is expected to commence soon.
Meanwhile, at least 13 companies have shown their interest in the government’s plan to divest Fiji Electricity Authority.
One of the companies is the Fijian Holdings Limited.
Minister for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum says expressions of interests were called from the interested companies and organizations.
“We have got Fijian Holdings, we have got 12 other companies some of whom are foreign companies that put in their expressions of interest. We have heard them all and now we have told them who the others are. They can go and talk amongst themselves. They may want to make a proposal as a consortium. For us, its about getting the best deal out of the process,”said Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum- Minister for Public Enterprises..
SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS
34) PNG NGO warns against govt land proposals
An advocacy group in Papua New Guinea says a proposed leasing system could leave customary owners landless.
Act Now’s programme manager Effrey Dademo said the government was planning to convert illegal Special Agricultural Business Leases into registered land which it could sublease.
A 2012 Commission of Inquiry found the majority of the leases, mainly used for logging, were obtained illegally.
But Ms Dademo said the government’s plan would deny customary landowners their constitutional right to decide what happens.
“The land is under customary tenure. This is what people depend on. You’re converting land, you’re registering it which means there are questionable leaseholders having access to these lands and then you are registering it in their name, it becomes a perfect title for them and these landowners are not going to get their land back. That’s our concern.”
More than five million hectares of land is estimated to have been affected.25/4/16 – RNZI
35) Vanuatu Radio Broadcasts Suffer From Political Interference
Nationwide coverage hindered by funding problems
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 22, 2016) – Political interference over the years has made maintaining radio transmission across the archipelago difficult, the new chair of the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation board says.
The government recently replaced the old board following concerns over the lack of the public broadcaster’s ability to reach the outer islands.
New chair Johnety Jerety said nation-wide coverage had to be implemented by 1 July under the government’s hundred day plan.
Johnety Jerety left the VBTC in 2003 after working there as a journalist.
He said despite increases in government funding to the Corporation over the years, political interference had meant not all funds have been used for its intended purpose.
“Politicians come as members of parliament and then they use the opportunity to turn out funds from the institution and make it very difficult for the institution to have enough or appropriate funds to maintain its transmission system.”
Johnety Jerety said Radio Vanuatu’s financial difficulties had been heightened by the emergence of several other FM stations, which were all competing for advertising dollars.
Mr Jerety is confident nation-wide coverage will be achieved by Radio Vanuatu soon.
He said transmission had deteriorated over the years, mostly because of poor maintenance.
But Mr Jerety said part of the problem was that people were buying cheap radios.
“They’re not compatible to meet the standard for our transmission system within here so that is why most of the ni-Van [indigenous people] within the islands are not able to have the coverage received throughout the island.”
Johnety Jerety said they were now advising people to buy short-wave radios that are compatible.
Radio New Zealand International
36) Journalists sharpen skills on human rights reporting
Published: 18 April 2016
“Giving voice to the voiceless” and “championing the rights of all peoples” were key messages highlighted at the Human Rights and Media Forum that ended in Nadi, Fiji, Friday.
Editors, senior journalists, and government communication officers from 13 Pacific island countries took part in the three-day forum.
Solomon Star editor Ofani Eremae was part of the forum.
Supported by the Australian Government and European Union, the Forum reaffirmed the vital role of media in highlighting human rights issues and the importance of news reporting with a human rights-based approach.
The Forum highlighted the importance of building strong relationships between government communication personnel and journalists in sharing and disseminating information.
An Outcomes Document will be presented in poster format for newsrooms in the region, providing practical tips for “rights-based reporting”.
“Human rights-oriented journalism is more focused on global instead of selective reporting, with an emphasis on the vulnerable and empowerment for the affected and marginalised people – a voice for the voiceless,” Professor David Robie, prominent journalist and Director of Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Pacific Centre, told participants at the opening of the Forum.
Robie highlighted some key human rights issues, which he said, are import in the region.
· Asylum seekers, refugees – “outsourcing” by Australia to Nauru and Manus Island, PNG
· Gender violence – assaults, rapes, and murder
· Coups/conflicts/war, eg. Bougainville, Fiji “coup culture”, and the Solomon Islands
· But the biggest one of all is West Papua
· Freedom of speech, expression
· So-called “Climate refugees” – a very real situation, and international law is lagging behind
Marian Kupu of Broadcom Broadcasting Limited Tonga said:
“I find the three-day forum very encouraging because I have learnt about my country’s human rights commitments and I see my role as a journalist to report on the gaps to encourage decision makers to prioritise and address the issues.”
The Forum was organised by the Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS), the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) Journalism.
The three-day forum has strengthened media capacity in ‘rights-based reporting’ to reflect the aspirations of Pacific island communities for equality, development and social justice, SPC’s Team Leader of RRRT, Nicol Cave, said.
SPC’s human rights adviser Romulo Nayacalevu told journalists they can be human rights defenders in the region.
Journalists were also told they they have a duty to maintain the highest ethical and professional standards.
“You can help to protect children by ethically reporting on violations of their rights and issues related to their safety, privacy, security, education, health, social welfare and all forms of exploitation.”
Participants heard violations of child rights are key questions for investigations and public debate.Solomon Star
37) Media trainning for Met officers in Kiribati
5:16 pm GMT+12, 21/04/2016, Kiribati
A two-day media training for local media and MET officers in Kiribati funded by the Finland Pacific Project on Reduced Vulnerabilities of Pacific Island Communities to the effects of Climate Change (FINPAC) concluded on Tuesday in Tarawa.
FINPAC Project Manager Christina Leala-Gale told Radio Kiribati News the overall purpose of the project which started in 2013 is to support community resilience to climate change in Pacific communities through improved national meteorological services.
“The programme that we have done here this week in Kiribati includes some media training whereby we intend to provide support to build the confidence of the Kiribati Meteorological Service in communicating with the media and building a stronger relationship between them.
“The training also wanted to ensure the quality of information we provide to our communities is simplified in the local vernacular language,” said Leala-Gale.
A Communications consultant and Editor of Islands Business Magazine Samisoni Pareti who facilitated the Media Workshop told Radio Kiribati News the workshop is very important for both the Kiribati Meteorological Services and the Media in Kiribati.
“This workshop is basically to assist the Meteorological Services of Kiribati to work with the news media of Kiribati. And why we’re doing that is because, as you know, the MET Service have a very important role in terms of weather forecasting and informing the community particularly of the weather situation,” Pareti said.
“But the role becomes very important more so when there’s a disaster or in times of disaster warnings and disaster preparedness. So in order for that information the MET Services have to reach the community, they will need the help of the news media.
“So the entire purpose of the workshop was to help the MET officers of Kiribati understand the workings and the roles of the news media because they are technical people and experts in weather forecasting but they have no experience in communicating those important information to the community. They need help from the media”.
During the media training, the Kiribati MET Officers went through some topics such as what does the media work entails, how to do interviews, how to write up the press releases and using and understanding the media in the dissemination of important disaster-related information.
Pareti says most of the MET officers in Kiribati are new and not familiar with media roles and responsibilities.
“Most of them, maybe with the exception of the Director of Meteorology haven’t had any experience at all in working with the media, communication, even communication training.
“We had forecasters, observers from the MET Office in the workshop and they went through some trainings in terms of interviewing, how to prepare for interviews and they enjoyed it and they said this is something they always scared about, they don’t know how to answer questions, they don’t know how to prepare for questions”.
“So the purpose of the workshop that SPREP organised with funding from the government of Finland was really to help the forecasters prepare the information and then how to articulate and convey that information to the community using the media, whether it be radio or newspapers”.
The FINPAC project which will cover 14 Pacific Island Countries is funded by the Government of Finland and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP).
SOURCE: RADIO KIRIBATI/PACNEWS
38) Fraud on the rise
Saturday, April 23, 2016
A RECENT global survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that 5 per cent revenue is lost every year because of global fraud.
Rachael Mah, a guest presenter at the Fiji Institute ofAccountants congress, said global fraud was on the rise and it was the responsibility of the companies to put a stop to it.
Ms Mah said according to the Global Economic CrimeSurvey by PWC , more than one in three (36 per cent) organisations that were victims of global fraud were from emerging economies.
Cybercrime is another prominent criminal activity that is affecting companies all over the world.
Ms Mah said the survey highlighted the fact that most banks faced challenges while dealing with cybercrime because they lacked the experience to handle such cases.
She said most of the banks in emerging economies did not have the resources to deal with money laundering cases and cyber-crime. Other frauds included in the survey were found in financial services, government state-owned enterprises, retail consumer market, transport and communications sector, insurance and manufacturing.
Ms Mah said there were ways to minimise the incidences.
She said some of the ways in which businesses could mitigate those risks included good governance, ethics and communication improvement.
39) Woman joins BSP’sa top team
The National, Thursday April 21st, 2016
BANK South Pacific has appointed Hari Rabura as its general manager, Human Resources.
The announcement was made on Tuesday by Group chief executive officer Robin Fleming in Port Moresby.
Rabura is a member of the BSP Leadership and Management Development programme.
She has undergone training at the INSEAD Business School, Melbourne Business School and recently was on secondment to the Oil Search head office in Sydney, Australia.
She becomes the first female employee to reach the executive management level at BSP, as general manager in one of the key strategic business units in the bank.
Rabura joined BSP as a graduate trainee in 2001. She the bank in 2006 to advance her career with various companies but returned in 2014.
Fleming said Rabura’s appointment had created history for the BSP Group as the first female general manager.
“It is a testament of BSP’s commitment in developing citizen staff to take on leadership roles within the organisation.”
Fleming also thanked outgoing general manager Giau Duruba for his contribution to BSP over past 11 years.
“He has been a passionate advocate of staff development and promoter of the capabilities of our Papua New Guinean staff.”
BSP has more than 4000 employees nationwide with women holding some key roles in the bank.
Rabura will oversee Human Resources operations in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
40) Mobile banking popular in highlands
The National, Thursday April 21st, 2016
WESTPAC PNG says more people in the Highlands region are embracing its mobile banking services.
Managing director Geoff Toone said this was the feedback from Westpac’s Everywhere Banking Team during its visit to the Highlands two weeks ago.
“On a drive to bank more of our unbanked population, the team has been visiting the rural areas of Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands and Chimbu provinces to open accounts for them,” Toone said.
He said more than 2000 new accounts were opened giving a significant boost to the number of people using the Westpac mobile banking service.
“Seeing that geographical and infrastructural constraints are some of the major obstacles for people to easily access banking services, our team has embarked on introducing every new customer to our mobile banking services to bring the banking services closer to them,” Toone said.
He said Digicel and bmobile-Vodafone customers could access and use Westpac’s mobile banking service.
“Mobile banking is convenient and secure banking for our population at our finger tips. You have to dial *149# and follow the voice prompts on your phone to get registered and immediately use the service,” Toone said.
“We are excited about extending our mobile banking service to all Papua New Guineans regardless of their mobile network.
“And we know they will benefit from having banking at the fingertips on a platform that is convenient.”
Mobile banking helps costumers to access their bank account on mobile phones, and do banking wherever they are, and whenever they want.
41) Currency shortage affecting businesses
The National, Friday April 22nd, 2016
By HELEN TARAWA
PUMA Energy, a major importer of crude oil, says it has been badly affected by the current shortage of foreign currency in the country.
Business Support general manager Hulala Tokome told The National that it was like every other business in the country that is experiencing the shortage.
“A major factor for us has been the shortage of foreign currency like every other businesses is facing. We are a big importer of crude that we have to manufacture at the refinery and then having to pay US dollars for that. And that’s hurting (us) at the moment,” he said.
“There’s no secret to that. It is hurting a lot of companies and we are no exception.
“In fact, we are at the top of the tree when it comes to that because we are one of the largest importers in the country.”
He said fuel was a necessity and Puma was committed to providing the best possible service to its customers.
“We’ve got a lot of customers who are dependent on us in terms of providing quality fuel in the country.
We are committed to providing the best possible quality fuel to our customers,” Tokome said.
He said the introduction of new products – Puma Gas and bitumen – into the market was a boost for the company.
Puma Gas will be launched in Lae soon with plans to expand to other centres around the country.
In 2014, Puma Energy announced the acquisition of InterOil subsidiary companies that own refining and fuels marketing businesses in PNG for US$525.6 million.
42) Aust, PNG firms discuss boosting operations
The National, Thursday April 21st, 2016
BUSINESSES in Australia and Papua New Guinea held a corporate networking event in Port Moresby on Tuesday to discuss ways to expand their operations.
The sponsor for the event was Corporate Traveller, an Australian firm specialising in business travel solutions and corporate travel management services.
Founder of Tradelinked PNG, Linda Honey, said the objective of Tradelinked was to bring what Papua New Guinea did very well in the business sector out to where Australia could assist.
“Tradelinked is a total connection with PNG businesses and Cairns businesses,” Honey said.
“It is also to showcase Papua New Guinea businesses and also to showcase Australian businesses that can add value to what’s already here in the country.
“The executives gather together and we try to identify what is happening in Papua New Guinea, what we can do appropriately or where we require assistance.
“As businesses evolve and opportunities evolve, some (corporations) that may not necessary already be engaged in Papua New Guinea can then see opportunities here.
“In April, we have Corporate Traveller being involved to talk about how they can expand or help Papua New Guinea businesses in improving their businesses or identify what they do in terms of their financial controlling.”
Corporate Traveller business manager Ryan Mitchell said while they had a good base of clients in the country, they planned to expand their presence in the country.
“We actually work with a lot of the local companies already, we’ve put travel programmes in place that’ll save them significant amount of money with their travel programme.” Mitchell said.
Besides networking events, Tradelinked PNG offers business facilitation and has an up-to-date website which includes an extensive bilateral business directory
43) Airline expands fleet with new aircraft
The National, Wednesday April 20th, 2016
A THIRD ATR 72-600 aircraft has joined the PNG Air fleet after arriving from its factory in France last Sunday.
The aircraft completed its ferry flight from Toulouse in France touching down at Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby early last Sunday.
PNG Air pilots, under command of Captain Adam Loughrey, flew the aircraft from France.
PNG Air’s chairman Murray Woo said: “This new aircraft is part of our ongoing commitment to re-fleeting the airline with brand new aircraft better suited to meet the future demands of the PNG market.
“By the end of 2016, we will have five new ATRs serving our network and supporting the development of PNG.
“With the arrival of this aircraft, we will launch a new commercial schedule on 25 April, with more flights and capacity into ports such as Wewak, Goroka and Vanimo.
“We will also use the ATR to operate services into Buka and begin operations to Kieta (Aropa), with links between those two ports.
“We are working to launch services to Jayapura (Indonesia) which will open up a new international route to our closest neighbour.
“These are exciting and challenging times for the airline and PNG as a whole and we are committed to playing a key part in the economic and social development of the country.”
44) Flood damages footbridge
The National, Friday April 22nd, 2016
A FOOTBRIDGE made of vines which had been a link between the remote Milwerip area, Lai Valley and Mendi town in Southern Highlands was partly destroyed by heavy flooding last week.
The rope bridge provides access for over 3000 people including teachers and other public servants.
Last Wednesday, heavy flooding in the Lai river over-turned and damaged the rope foot bridge, making it difficult for people carrying heavy loads to cross into Mendi town. The foot bridge provides a link for the locals to travel to Milwerip Primary School, five different churches and a health centre.
President of Lower Mendi LLG, Peter Kundi inspected the bridge and called on the Government to help replace it with a permanent structure.
Kundi said he understood that there was a submission made to the National Planning office for the funding of this bridge and called for the respective authority to fast track the release of funds for the construction of a permanent foot bridge.
“I am concerned for the mothers carrying their garden produce to markets, teachers, public servants and others who are directly affected by the partial damage of the rope bridge,” he said.
Kundi has appealed to the people using the bridge to take extra precaution when crossing.
He said an elderly man had been washed away when crossing the bridge.
45) Ethnic Tension In Madang Hurting PNG Tourism
Tourism minister calls for peace and order in area
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 22, 2016) – Multifaceted ethnic conflict that is causing the current law and order problems in Madang town is destroying the tourism industry in the Province.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Tobias Kulang is calling for peace and order in the area, stating that tourist numbers to the once “Beautiful Madang” have decreased alarmingly over the recent past mainly due to the law and order issues.
Mr Kulang is calling on all the stakeholders of Madang Province to come together and work for peace and for the betterment of the people and Province. He says Provincial Government, police, business houses and political leaders in Madang Province must work in tandem and harmony to achieve the tourism priorities.
The latest confrontation involved the youths from one regional ethnic group that set up illegal roadblocks on the Paramed Road in fear of being attacked by an opposing group that lost properties in an earlier attack.
“The current situation is disturbing the peace and tranquillity of Madang Province as a prime tourist destination in Papua New Guinea.
“We cannot afford to sit back and watch our Province crumble in face of law and order problem. Madang Province thrives on tourism and this industry must be protected at all times,” the minister said.
Mr Kulang says the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Cul ture will make a concerted effort to restore unity, peace and normalcy in the province and town, once considered the tourism hotspot in Papua New Guinea.
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture will make concerted effort to ensure that Madang town and the Province remain the leading tourism hotspot that it has always been for a long time despite all the recent ethnic related problems.
The Minister believes that the law and order problem is a serious issue for the Madang people and city dwellers to sort out and the Province must find its feet once all the different and differing conflicting parties and ethnic groups come together for the purpose of peace, progress and prosperity.
46) PNG Police Commission Orders Probe Into Fraud Squad
Internal inquiry in impartiality, objectivity of officers
By Gorethy Kenneth
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 22, 2016) – Police Commissioner Gari Baki has appointed Assistant Commissioner Operations David Manning to head the internal inquiry into the operations of the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate.
Mr Baki announced yesterday that he used his powers under sections 14 and 153 of the Police Act and section 198 of the PNG Constitution to establish the inquiry.
He also took into consideration the Supreme Court decision in 2014 to powers, functions, duties and responsibilities of the Commissioner.
Yesterday the top cop said this inquiry would be to inquire into and ascertain whether the officers of the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate are impartial and objective in the discharge of their duties as fraud investigators.
It will ascertain also whether the directorate was operating in accordance with proper police practices and procedures.
These practices included being accountable to the Office of the Commissioner “in so far as the superintendence, efficient organisation, and control of the Force is concerned”.
Mr Baki said the inquiry would be conducted by Manning and the special police investigations team and assisted by the Internal Affairs Directorate. The investigation team will complete its work within four weeks.
47) Smuggling increases at airport
The National, Friday April 22nd, 2016
THE movement of illegal drugs out of Lae’s Nadzab Airport into other ports has increased over the recent past, according to the airport management and private security personnel.
Security guards at the Nadzab Airport terminal are seizing marijuana from smugglers at least every two weeks.
Smugglers are taking advantage of non-availability of surveillance cameras at the terminal, acting terminal manager Paul Kindaro admitted.
Kindaro said drug smuggling had become a major activity and the trend of shifting it in and out at the terminal had been going on for a while.
“Drug smuggling is the leading activity while break and enter and hold ups do happen once in awhile,” he said.
“Unlike Jacksons Airport, Lae does not have cameras installed in and outside of the terminal to monitor passengers including their luggage.
“The terminal is currently monitored by the G4S security firm with the backup from National Aviation security guards.”
Kindaro said the combined security patrol at the terminal could not eliminate all the illegal activity but could help minimise it.
G4S internal investigator Bonny Taini said that last Friday they seized about 14 kg of marijuana packed in a suitcase from a female suspect and on Wednesday caught a male suspect.
48) Mine exec happy with feedback
The National, Friday April 22nd, 2016
LIHIR Gold Limited, a subsidiary of Newcrest, says about 100 stakeholders of its gold mine have given a positive feedback to its performance presented last week by general manager Craig Jetson.
Stakeholders included Nimamar local level government president and deputy governor of New Ireland Ambrose Silul, local level government vice-president Stanley Tunut, ward councillors, Government representatives including Gabriel Tukas and Vincent Kisso from the Mineral Resource Authority.
Jetson said being socially responsible was a commitment that Newcrest Lihir took very seriously.
He said the company would give another quarterly business update in three months’ time.
Stakeholders appreciated Jetson’s acknowledgement during question time that there were areas to be improved.
Craig also gave an update on outstanding commitments and community legacy projects including the Putput to Palie road.
Other areas included production highlights, manning numbers, localisation, the Lihir pit optimisation study, mine growth plan, workforce development, site initiated behaviour change campaign, contracts, service purchase orders, wages and taxes, royalties, tax credit scheme, audit and health.
49) 130416 Tambolema Copra Exports carries out copra awareness in Central and Southern Region
By Joe Elijah
Tambolema Holdings, the mother company of three subsidiary companies including New Dawn FM has gone one step ahead to carry out copra awareness to Copra Farmers in Central Bougainville
Trading under Tambolema Copra Exports, the company this week has been working very closely with the copra farmers and educating them about the quality of copra acceptable for export to the world market.
Tambolema copra exports is the first local copra export company to carry out such an awareness, and is being supported by the KIK or Kokonas Industry Koporesen, the regulating Body which makes sure exporters maintain top quality and quantity for exporting to overseas buyers.
As an initiative, Tambolema Management has made a resolution to pay rebates to copra farmers at the end of this year, as long as the famers produce their original receipts when they sell their produce to Tambolema Copra Exports.
Another incentive by Tambolema Copra Exports is paying special rates to copra farmers who sell more than 30 bags of copra to the company daily.
Meanwhile the battle for copra is still going on in Buka, to the advantage of the copra buyers as the buyers are playing around with their buying prices to attract copra farmers to sell their produce to them.
And to top it all the World Prices for copra has been going up this week.Dawnfm.
50) Cooperative plans awareness against illegal coffee trade
The National, Thursday April 21st, 2016
A COFFEE cooperative group is planning an awareness on the Highlands Highway to prevent the illegal trading of cherries.
It said it was affecting the quality and price of the crop grown by smallholder farmers.
Potaisa Hombunaka, the project manager of the Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project which comes under Coffee Industry Corporation, said the AAK Cooperative which has 1800 members was taking the initiative to enforce the cherry trade policy which had been gazetted and announced by the coffee industries corporation (CIC).
The policy prohibits the buying, selling and exporting of cherry coffee in all five highlands provinces.
Hombunaka said the AAK cooperative group was a co-partner of the PNG Coffee Export Ltd.
Yesterday, the group’s eight directors from Eastern Highlands, Simbu, Jiwaka and Western Highlands met in Goroka.
“The cherries are now turning yellow. They will be ready for harvest in a few months’ time and cherry theft is a serious problem in the highlands which is making genuine farmers losing interest in working in their gardens,” a joint statement said.
“We want to (with CIC) enforce this policy. We want to reinforce this message to all those middle people without licence stealing cherries from hard working growers and selling to buyers and exporters.
“Coffee cherry theft is a serious threat to the industry which is affecting quality and production and our efforts.
“This is why we want to take the initiative to support CIC to warn these thieves and illegal traders.”
51) PNG man to head Pacific fisheries body
The National, Wednesday April 20th, 2016
THE Parties to the Nauru Agreement have named Ludwig Kumoru (pictured) as its new chief executive officer to replace Dr Transform Aqorau.
Kumoru is the deputy managing director of the National Fisheries Authority.
He is expected to take over the position from August 1.
He was unanimously endorsed by the eight countries who are PNA members at the annual meeting last week in Kiribati.
Kumoru said he was happy to be selected by PNA members and was looking forward to the many challenges presented by the bloc of nations that controlled waters where 50 percent of the global supply of skipjack tuna was caught.
“I am pleased to be leaving the office in capable hands,” Aqorau said.
“He brings skills of working with fishing states from a national perspective and has a good understanding of the Pacific tuna fishery. He is highly regarded and respected by his peers in PNA.”
In addition to his tenure as deputy managing director of NFA, Kumoru is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s scientific committee that reviews tuna stock assessments and issues recommendations regarding sustainability of the resource.
Kumoru said PNA had many opportunities for expanding initiatives to the benefit of the islands.
“The challenge is to come up with ideas to add more value to the PNA fishery,” Kumoru said.
“Parties need to cooperate more closely, especially in terms of developing their domestic industries. What are things they can do to add value to each other’s industry?”
52) Fish farming project vital: NFA
The National, Friday April 22nd, 2016
The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) in partnership with the Australian Centre of International Agriculture Research (ACIAR), through the University of New South Wales, is carrying out a research project to address protein deficiency in the country.
“Farming fish is a way of producing fresh food that is rich in protein for people living in small island communities in PNG,” project manager Havini Vira said.
“It can be a life saving practice but comes with challenges. Many farmers are struggling to produce plate size fish.”
NFA managing director John Kasu said the fish farming project was important especially for small island communities like Manus Island because it can help solve food security problems.
“Sustainable fish farming also reduces pressure on marine resources,” Kasu said.
The aquaculture business unit under NFA recently carried out research activities to inland Manus where the local fish farmers asked for proper training on fish farming.
Farmers wanted to know how to manage their ponds and attain maximum fish production since wild animals were now scarce, and ducks and chickens do not meet their daily protein demands.
Project leader Associate Prof Jesmond Sammut said the demand for protein-based food was high throughout PNG, but it was critical in the rugged interior of Manus Island.
Sammut added that NFA and its project partner ACIAR focused their work on areas where farming already existed or can be done without environmental impacts.
53) EU warns Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago and Kiribati over illegal fishing
5:24 pm GMT+12, 21/04/2016, Belgium
The European Union’s executive warned Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago and Kiribati on Thursday for failing to tackle illegal fishing adequately, exposing the countries to possible trade bans.
However, the European Commission lifted its warning against Sri Lanka after it strengthened sanctions against illegal fishing, improved control of its fleets and changed its legal framework.
“Sri Lanka has now a robust legal and policy framework to fight illegal fishing activities,” said Karmenu Vella, EU Fisheries Commissioner.
Since 2010, the EU – the world’s biggest fish importer – has acted against countries that do not follow international standards to prevent over-fishing, such as policing their waters for unlicensed fishing vessels and imposing penalties.
The EU also said it still had serious concerns about Thailand’s efforts to address illegal fishing.
“This means that further action by the Commission cannot be ruled out. A meeting with the Thai authorities in May will be a new opportunity for them to show their good will and commitment,” the Commission said in a statement.
Thailand, the world’s third-largest seafood exporter, was given a “yellow card” a year ago for failing to certify the origin and legality of its fish exports to the EU.
Sierra Leone, Kiribati and Trinidad and Tobago have six months to implement measures suggested by the Commission. Failing that, the 28-member bloc could impose an embargo on fish imports.
Sierra Leone’s sanctions system fails to deter illegal operators fishing internationally under its flag. Trinidad and Tobago also has a large fleet operating internationally where authorities do not control or inspect foreign vessels, the Commission said.
Kiribati does not control fishing activities by foreign fleets, raising the risk that illegally caught fish could be laundered through its ports.
54) Room for youths to develop
Saturday, April 23, 2016
ABOUT 70 per cent of Fiji’s population are below the age of 40 and this presents both challenges and opportunities for the economy.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the comment at the Fiji Institute ofAccountants congress on Denarau yesterday.
He said youths had a lot of innovative ideas but they were not mainstream.
He said it was important for the private sector to increase its contribution to the employment sector by harnessing the energy and creativity of younger members in the business community.
“If we are able to mainstream our young people into the business community we can access innovative ways of thinking that can lift Fiji from its current designation as a small and vulnerable developing state,” he said.
He said seed capital had been set aside for young people interested in movie production in the past budget but so far no one had come forward to take advantage of the offer.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made the comment in response to a question by SPSE chief executive officer Latileta Qoro on the availability of seed capital for youths who had innovative ideas for business.
55) Brad Moules vows to return after PNG Open win
South Australia’s Brad Moules has won the Papua New Guinea Golf Open following a two-hole playoff.
The first round leader surged back into title contention after firing a 5-under 67 round to be the clubhouse leader on 11-under.
“I was playing well all week, even pars in the second and third rounds didn’t get it done but today the putts fell and 5-under was pretty good out there I think,” said Moules, who had a nervous wait to see what players in the final four groups would do.
He was soon joined by amateur Anthony Quayle and the pair watched on as Queenslander Aaron Wilkin gave up a two shot advantage on the final hole to create a three-way playoff.
Quayle bowed out on the first playoff hole, leaving Moules to birdie the second and claim the winners cheque of $AU21,000 and a two year exemption on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
“The second time round, Aaron hit a quality shot in, which made it easy for me because I didn’t have to look anywhere else but at the flag. I put a good swing on it,” added Moules.
“I had that same putt in the main round, so I knew what the line was, I hit it a bit harder and it when straight in.”
The 24 year old’s first tour victory ensured he will now have a place in all the Tour’s biggest events including the European Tour co-sanctioned Australian PGA Championship and Fiji International.
“It’s amazing, first year on Tour, only six starts in and I have got the first win out of the way. I am rapt. It definitely will put me into the big events, if I had of finished runner-up I would still be trying to get a start on Qualifying School status.”
Moules is already considering his next career move onto an overseas Tour but said he will definitely be back to defend the title in 2017.
“Next year I will look at Asia or Europe, I’ll see where it takes me but for now I will enjoy it while I can. The tournament has been well run, the PGA was great and the sponsors have all done a great job to make us feel at home. I’ll definitely be coming back.”
Amateur Soti Dinki was the best-placed Papua New Guinean, carding a final round 80 to finish in a share of 47th place at eight over par.
Jacob Duwe was the only other local to make the cut – he finished in 52nd place on 18 over par.25/4/16 RNZI
56) Fiji footballers fly out for Olympic preview
Fiji’s Olympic football squad will get an early taste of what to expect in Brazil over the next fortnight.
The squad flies to South America today for a four-match tour against local Brazilian teams, as part of their preparations for the Rio Games in August.
Fiji have been drawn in a difficult Olympic pool, alongside reigning champions Mexico, European giants Germany and Asian heavyweights South Korea.
Fiji Football National Teams Director Taranesh Reddy said, after spending three weeks in Spain at the start of the year, playing in Brazil will be another massive step in their preparations.
“The most important thing for us is to expose our players to that level of football and those countries…and once we come back then we will finalise the squad then we will be exposing some more players from this Olympic team in the (Oceania) Nations Cup in Papua New Guinea.”
Fiji toured Spain in January and will now play four matches in Brazil. Photo: Fiji FA Media
Wellington Phoenix striker Roy Krishna is not travelling with the Olympic squad, as he takes some time to rest following an injury-affected A-League season, but will feature in the national set-up upon their return.
Taranesh Reddy said about half of the national team to compete at the Nations Cup next month will be selected from Fiji’s Olympic training squad.25/4/16- RNZI
57) NZ Rugby not consulted
Monday, April 25, 2016
New Zealand Rugby has been caught off guard by suggestions a Bledisloe Cup test could be staged abroad in 2020.
It emerged this week that the ARU has tentatively planned to take one of their two Bledisloe Cup tests in 2020 to either London or New York as a moneymaking exercise while Sydney’s ANZ Stadium undergoes a redevelopment.
That makes sense from a financial point of view, particularly given the ARU has lost close to $35 million since 2011. The Australian Rugby Union is considering taking a Bledisloe Cup test to London, possibly to Twickenham.
The only problem is New Zealand Rugby hasn’t been consulted yet.
“The opportunity to play some of the Bledisloe Cup games offshore is contemplated in our contract with the Australians but we haven’t discussed the things they are speculating about in any detail,” NZR chief executive Steve Tew said on his way back from the successful Laureus awards where the All Blacks were honoured with team of the year and Dan Carter claimed the comeback accolade in Berlin.
A number of major obstacles would need to be cleared before NZR considers signing off on the 2020 fixture.
The first is player welfare concerns. The three Bledisloe Cup tests previously staged overseas — Hong Kong (2008, 2010) and Tokyo (2009) — were all the fourth of the series and, crucially, came en route to Europe.
Staging the opening Test for the Bledisloe Cup, which the All Blacks have held for the past 13 years, abroad in 2020 would force both teams to return home for further Rugby Championship matches, before going back to Europe for the end of year tour.
58) Waratahs stop the Force
Monday, April 25, 2016
The Waratahs got their campaign back on track when they registered a deserved 49-13 victory over the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.
The 2014 champions made better use of their pointscoring opportunities and outscored their hapless hosts six tries to one and Bernard Foley contributed 19.
The Waratahs controlled the possession and territorial stakes for large periods while the Force lacked cohesion and penetration in attack which played a huge role in their downfall.
59) Lions tear into Kings
Monday, April 25, 2016
The Lions were too strong for the Kings in their Super Rugby clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium yesterday as they ran out 45-10 winners.
Johan Ackermann’s side ran in seven tries on the day in a victory that extends their advantage over the Sharks in Africa one to six points.
Warren Whiteley, Courtnall Skosan, Armand van der Merwe (2), Ruan Combrinck (2) and Rohan Janse van Rensburg scored the Lions’ tries as their strong campaign continues, with their style earning them plenty of admirers.
60a) Oceania boxing weighs grouping
Published: 18 April 2016
(The National) – PAPUA New Guinea Amateur Boxing Union president John Avira says Oceania must reconsider its grouping with Asia if it wants its boxers to have a better chance of qualifying for the Olympics.
Avira said the efforts of the country’s boxers at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifiers in Qian’an, China, showed that athletes from this part of the world would continue to fight an uphill battle to qualify for the pinnacle sporting event in the world because of the increased quality of opposition in the new grouping.
He commended the four men’s boxers for representing PNG well at the Rio qualifiers that saw 35 countries, including Oceania’s seven – PNG, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam and Nauru – take part.
“Do not be discouraged by the results. You gave it your best shot against some of the best boxers in the world,” Avira said to the team when they arrived last week to be re-united with their families after a month spent in preparation in the Philippines.
The four boxers – Charles Keama (52kg), Thadius Katua (60kg), Andrew Aisaga (69kg) and Jonathan Keama (75kg) fought opponents from Iraq, Iran and Australia.
Avira said while none of PNG’s fighters progressed past the first round of bouts, the Oceania Boxing Confederation had unnecessarily encumbered its athletes by joining Asia for the qualification process.
In the past Oceania, which includes Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific island nations, conducted its own qualifying event for the Olympics.
He said combining with Asia had in fact deprived Oceania of its quota of places normally accorded to each continent.
All of PNG’s boxers lost their preliminary bouts on points.
Charles and Jonathan represented PNG at the Oceania championships last year in Melbourne and if the qualification status were the same as previous years, both boxers would have qualified for Rio under the old format.
Charles won gold in the 52kg division to be ranked number 1 in the region while Jonathan won a silver medal which would have qualified them both for the Olympics. The next Olympics after Rio is in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Oceania Boxing president Ted Turner said that a return to the previous practice where they had their own qualifiers was more beneficial for them.
“We (Oceania) may seem insignificant but the Olympics is not just about the best attending,” Avira said. “It is a global event and participation is equally important for us smaller countries.”Solomon Satr.
60b) Fiji International to expand global reach in 2016, part of the European Tour
9:11 pm GMT+12, 21/04/2016, Fiji
The Fiji International is now part of the European Tour.
The tournament is set to become even more global in 2016 thanks to a new co-sanctioning relationship between the PGA Tour of Australasia and The European Tour.
Professional golfers from all over the world will descend on Fiji when the tournament is played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course from October 6–9.
The Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum welcomed the news of Fiji International being included as part of the European Tour.
“Being part of the European Tour provides Fiji unprecedented level of exposure and we will be able to reach markets where we do not have a presence,” said Sayed-Khaiyum.
“Cyclone Winston has shown our vulnerability, therefore, it is critical that we broaden our economic base and take up opportunities. We need to think outside the box. The Fijian Government a couple of years ago saw the future and took the leap to host a PGA event that opened up a new segment of tourism”, added the Acting Prime Minister.
The Acting Prime Minister further added that the FNPF has committed to upgrading the Natadola Golf Course. He said, “it is important that people not only enjoy the scenic view but also the golf course so that they come back to play the course and recommend it to their friends and families.”
The new co-sanctioning relationship between the PGA Tour of Australasia and The European Tour is set to attract a stronger field, with more nationalities represented than ever before. The Fiji International will also be broadcast live into more homes thanks to European Tour Productions’ global reach.
Close to 400 million homes around the world, including the important Asian, North American and Australian markets, will witness the beauty of Fiji as the Fiji International is broadcast live for 20 hours this year.
“One of the key aims of the Fiji International is to showcase Fiji to the world as not only a beautiful island paradise, but also a golfing mecca,” said Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia which oversees the PGA Tour of Australasia.
“With the PGA Tour of Australasia joining forces with The European Tour this year, we will see the exposure of Fiji significantly increased whilst also securing a deeper pool of talent to compete for the title.”
The European Tour is one of the strongest professional golf tours in the world, and 2016 will see their global presence boosted with their first visit to Fiji.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “It is tremendous news that the Fiji International will be played on The European Tour for the first time this year. The tournament will not only increase the playing opportunities for our Members, it will also increase our presence on the world stage.
“The European Tour’s first visit to one of the world’s most beautiful holiday destinations is set to excite our players and Fiji’s golf fans alike, and I’m sure the tournament will be a huge success. Our thanks go to the Fijian Government and the PGA Tour of Australasia, with whom we are forging an ever-stronger relationship through our co-sanctioned tournaments.”
The news of the Fiji International joining The European Tour International Schedule is sure to excite European professional golfers, with the tournament fast earning a reputation as a working holiday.
“One of the key drawcards of the Fiji International is in fact Fiji as a destination. Players are able to bring their families to enjoy a holiday, whilst they compete in a world-class tournament,” added Thorburn.
“Last year, we saw our champion Matt Kuchar’s family enjoying all the spectacular sites of Fiji, whilst Matt was busy winning the title. It makes for a very special week for everyone.”
A minimum of 59 players will come from both the PGA Tour of Australasia and The European Tour, whilst an additional eight tournament invitations will add to the diversity of the field.
This year’s tournament will also see the highest number of positions set aside for Fijian golfers, with a minimum of six places available from qualifying events in Fiji and for Fijian nationals. This ensures Fiji’s leading golfers continue to have the opportunity to compete and enhance their skills in a world-class tournament alongside the best players in the world.
With the PGA of Australia’s continuing relationship with the China Golf Association and the Korean Golf Association, players from both these tours will also be invited to play in the event.
With the involvement of The European Tour, the Fiji International cements its position as one of the strongest tournaments on the PGA Tour of Australasia. The allocation of Official World Golf Ranking points to the tournament is likely to increase as a result of this co-sanctioning.
The inaugural Fiji International in 2014 signalled Fiji’s official arrival onto the global golfing stage, with the Fijian Government, Fiji Tourism and Fiji’s number one player, Vijay Singh, all making a push to put their country on the lucrative world golfing map.
In 2015, the Fiji International established a reputation amongst the world’s best golfers as a must-attend event for themselves and their families.
This year, the Fiji International will expand its global presence and confirm its position as an integral tournament in the South Pacific region.
The tournament also boasts some of the most unique hospitality options in world golf with the par three fourth hole providing the perfect vantage point to watch the golf, whilst socialising on the beach.
More than just a golf tournament, the Fiji International aims to leave a lasting legacy for golf in the Pacific region, with the PGA of Australia supporting initiatives to introduce and grow the game in Fiji.
SOURCE: PGA AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS