Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1068 ( Friday 20 May 2016 )

MELANESIA

1) Solomon Islands To Host 2018 Melanesian Arts Festival
Government committed to properly resource event

By Biriau Wilson Saeni

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 18, 2016) – The Solomon Islands Government will ensure it will successfully host the 2018 Melanesian Arts Festival.

This was highlighted by the Minister of Culture and Tourism Bartholomew Parapolo on Friday during the successful staging of a mini-festival in Honiara.

He said, the Solomon Islands was also successful it is bid to host the Melanesian Arts Festival in 2018.

“The Government is committed to making sure that the hosting of this event is supported through committing the necessary resources.

“Our preparation for the Melanesian Arts Festival in 2018 must take a multi-ministry and multi-sectoral approach.”

He said, the country’s participation at the Guam Festival presents the necessary platform to start promoting the 2018 Melanesian Arts Festival in the Solomon Islands.

“The hosting of the event will also help the Solomon Islands to create our own capacity to host big events of such nature that will attract more tourists to our country.

“As Minister for Culture and Tourism, I would also like to highlight a key initiative that my Ministry taking in order to preserve and protect the uniqueness of our cultures.

“Through the Division of Culture, my Ministry is preparing the Traditional Knowledge and Expression of Cultures Bill.

“This Bill is important once it becomes a Law. It will help protect our traditional knowledge that have been used by our people and preserve the ways of expressing our cultural heritage.”

He said, for the Friday’s event it was important that the delegates were able to share with their own people the cultures and activities that will be on display in Guam.

“It is important that our people share in this experience.”

Solomon Star

2) Vanuatu Foreign Minister Calls For Unity Over West Papua
Leingkon reaffirms West Papuans right to self-determination

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 18, 2016) – Vanuatu Foreign Minister, Bruno Leingkon, has called for unity within countries and people who are in support of West Papua’s right to self determination.

Leingkon was one of the two Vanuatu Government Minister’s including Minister of Lands, Ralph Regenvanu who attended the International Parliamentarians for West Papua meeting in United Kingdom recently.

In his speech Minister Leingkon reaffirmed Vanuatu’s clear stand on its support for the people of West Papua saying “we all want what we all believe in and that is the freedom of West Papua”.

He said Vanuatu condemns all human rights violations in West Papua and says no to violence to fellow Melanesian “brothers and sisters”.

“West Papua, like Vanuatu has the right to ask for genuine self determination,” said Leingkon.

The Foreign Affairs proudly informed his colleagues of about the Vanuatu Government’s unanimous decision to support the application of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders’ Summit scheduled for this month. Leingkon spoke about the first Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Walter Lini who said that “Vanuatu would not be truly independent until all of Melanesia is free”.

“Today we remind us all of this, our stance and belief.

“For it is through this belief and faith that our people and societies know that the day will come when the Morning Star flag will fly high and our West Papuan families will be free in their own free state.”

The meeting was an historic step on the road to freedom for West Papua. It was during the meeting that a new declaration was signed calling for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua.

Representative from countries around the world are part of the meeting including parliamentarians, lawyers and academics, all of whom discussed and affirmed the West Papuan people’s fundamental right to self-determination.

Vanuatu Daily Post

3) Full MSG membership for United Liberation Movement of West Papua justifiable: PM Sogavare
5:23 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2016, Solomon Islands

Granting of full membership status to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMP) in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is justifiable as Indonesia had sought membership of the regional bloc to only protect its own interest other than engage in dialogue about the serious human rights issues in West Papua.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare reiterated this at a press conference in Honiara Monday upon returning from Vanuatu where he had the opportunity to meet with his Vanuatu counterpart Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and a delegation of leaders from the United Liberation Front for West Papua (ULMWP) at the sidelines of the 2023 Pacific Games Bid presentation.

One of the issues discussed in the meeting between the two Melanesian Prime Ministers is motion to be tabled by Prime Minister Salwai at the upcoming MSG Leaders’ summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for granting of full MSG membership to ULMWP for which Prime Minister Sogavare registered his full support.

In the meeting between Prime Minister Sogavare and the ULMWP delegation, the latter party presented a two-point petition for consideration by the MSG Chair for discussion at the upcoming leaders’ summit and these are the elevation of ULMWP’s membership of the MSG and a request to the United Nations for intervention in West Papua to neutralise the ever increasing rate of genocide there.

Sogavare told the Press Conference that Indonesia’s apparent rejection of the resolution reached by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders in Port Moresby in 2015 for the deployment of a fact-finding mission in West Papua as well as the Indonesian President’s refusal to meet with him in his capacity as the MSG Chair to explain the position of the MSG on the issue of West Papua are very strong grounds for elevating the status of ULMP to full membership.

“Indonesia leaves the MSG no alternatives on bringing the West Papuan issues on the table for discussion, except to elevate the status of West Papua from Observer status to full membership, so that the MSG Leaders can be able to discuss the West Papuan issues more strategically,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare is adamant that Indonesia will continue to downplay West Papua human rights issues until a possible United Nations Resolution on West Papua is achieved in the future.

He said as Chair, the MSG will take aboard such matters as priority issues to address.

The Prime Minister said fresh accounts of on-going human rights violations in West Papua are continuing to emerge, however the Indonesian President’s refusal to meet him in Jakarta to convey the MSG’s position on West Papua is a clear indication that Indonesia has other reasons for joining MSG other than discussing West Papua human rights issues.

He said the Indonesian President’s noncommittal attitude warrants the MSG to take the matter up to the next notch-United Nations for intervention.

Prime Minister Sogavare said he is aware that said since the ULMWP was granted an Observer status of the MSG in 2015, the situation in West Papua became tenser, leaving the indigenous people now at the brink of extinction.

Last week, while in Port Vila, Prime Minister Sogavare said Indonesia’s refusal of his request for dialogue gives him all the reason to take this matter back to the MSG, adding that ‘Indonesia has crossed the line so we need to take some tough stance.”.

SOURCE: SIG/PACNEWS

4) PNG to respect Indonesia’s sovereignty over West Papua

8:28 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea will maintain its respect for Indonesia’s sovereignty over West Papua.

The country’s permanent representative to the United Nations Assembly Ambassador Max Rai said.

Speaking to Loop PNG in an interview, he said PNG who share a land boundary with Indonesia have always maintained a peacefully relationship since gaining independence.

“Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Bali some years ago stated that the issue of sovereignty is not questionable.

“We recognise West Papua as part of Indonesia’s sovereign territory.

“I will closely work with the Indonesian delegation in UN to ensure that the West Papua issues are address adequately as far as human rights are concerned,” Ambassador Rai said.

He will soon fly to New York to take up his position.

PNG became a member of the UN after Independence in 1975.

SOURCE: PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

5) PNG Minister Assures Bougainville Of Ongoing Commitment
National government to address social, political, economic issues

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 18, 2016) – Minister for Bougainville Affairs Joe Lera has assured the Autonomous Bougainville Government that his ministry is committed to addressing Bougainville’s social, political and economic issues.

Lera gave the assurance to ABG President Dr John Momis during a meeting.

He wants to work with the Government and ABG to help Bougainville’s preparation to referendum.

Lera said improving a good relationship between the leaders of both governments was crucial for Bougainville to prosper.

Lera plans to focus on:

Improving relations between the Government and ABG leaders and the people;
restructuring the National Coordinating Office of Bougainville Affairs;
educating Government leaders on Bougainville’s political situation;
improving the joint supervisory body and referendum forums; and,

And creating proper communication channel between the two governments.

Lera said as part of educating Government leaders on Bougainville’s political situation, he would table a report during the next parliament session.

He said his ministry would also re-organise the office of NCOBA to make it more responsive to Auptonomous Bougainville Government’s programs.

Lera said a restructure review has been completed and is waiting to be finalised before being processed and implemented.

The National

6) 15 people rescued off the Solomons after 3 weeks adrift-
A group of 15 Papua New Guineans have been taken to the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara after drifting at sea for three weeks. The men, women and children, who are believed to be from New Ireland in PNG, were rescued by a Solomon Islands passenger vessel. The Solomon Islands Police said one of the group member died at sea and was thrown overboard.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304150/15-people-rescued-off-the-solomons-after-3-weeks-adrift

7) Kali: Stop work act illegal

Pacnews
Thursday, May 19, 2016

PORT MORESBY – There will not be any stop work for all public servants of Papua New Guinea today, Department of Personnel Management secretary John Kali advised late on Tuesday.

And police late last night also advised the Post-Courier that they had not sanctioned any stop work or protest in the city, but will put out a statement later today.

An irate Mr Kali also warned that any public servant who was found to join the protest would be disciplined accordingly because there had not been any circular out for such an act.

There are about 160,000 public servants throughout the country and Mr Kali said all departmental heads had been told and instructed to relay the message to all their workers that there would not be any stop work on Thursday.

This was following an email sent out en masse from the coalition of civil society groups, which was circulated throughout PNG.

An email on the subject matter was sent around stating a nationwide shutdown period on Thursday, May 19, 2016 of all business houses, government departments and schools in protest of the current political and economic status of the country.

“This is an illegal stop work. I have given instructions to all the departmental heads to advise that there will not be any stop work (today),” Mr Kali said.

“Anyone that is found to be involved in the protest, I will get the departmental head to provide information and they will be disciplined. We, the public servants, are loyal and dedicated to the Government that we serve and we pledge our allegiance.”

Police also advised the Post-Courier that the planned stop work being circulated was illegal.

8) Pasifika TV brings NZ television content to Vanuatu; PM in New Caledonia for annual talks

Posted: May 19, 2016 Author:  | Filed under: The Daily Digest |

1) TV was mentioned here yesterday. It is an element of the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Ministry’s efforts to provide quality television content to Pacific TV broadcasters. Part of NZ’s Pacific Broadcasting Initiative, Pasifika TV is launching this month all over the Pacific islands region and is something from which TBV could well benefit. There are eight hours a day being supplied including news, documentaries and sports, and Pasifika TV is supporting rebroadcast to island country audiences and promoting more and better local production in the countries receiving the service. Pasifika TV was introduced to local ministers and Vanuatu media professionals on Tuesday night at the New Zealand High Commission in Port Vila. It is being unveiled throughout the region, New Zealand, as High Commissioner Roberts proudly asserts, being a Pacific country. And as media managers and producers agreed on Tuesday night, the Pasifika initiative and contribution would draw viewers to a daily mix of programming that could put aside much of the often dubbed foreign soap operas which fill the air viewing hours of TBV which just does not have the funding to access such quality production as Pasifika TV proposes. Watch TBV for announcements concerning Pasifika TV programming.

2) Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas left Port Vila yesterday morning to attend the annual meeting of the governments of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, this time in Nouméa. This is the meeting at which Vanuatu learns the extent of funding available from its southern neighbour and “cousin brother.” Vanuatu hosted the meeting last year. PM Salwai will also meet with the FLNKS spokesman, Victor Tutugoro and reveal what he has learned from Solomon Islands PM Sogavare’s endorsement of Vanuatu’s policy towards West Papua, that West Papua should become a full member of the MSG. He will have talks with the New Caledonian Custom Senate and Chief of the Vanuatu Community in New Caledonia. (Radio Vanuatu News)

3) Attempts to prevent gaoled UMP President Serge Vohor attending the party’s 25th National Congress at the Lycée Bougainville are to be resolved at the Congress itself the Supreme Court has ruled. Vohor and Tony Wright were taken back by Correctional Service officers after arriving at the Congress venue on May 15. In December last year they were banned from holding public office for ten years as a result of their involvement in the criminal act of bribery. (Daily Post)

4) The Salwai Government wants to see State Owned Enterprises becoming more profitable and returning dividends to the government. The practice has become one of SOEs going back to government to seek assistance, he observes. He encourages SOEs to follow the example given by Ifira Trustees which he understands has good management and continues to pay a dividend to government. (Radio Vanuatu)

5) The Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority is preparing amendments to the VIPA Act which have been foreseen as essential for the continued operations of the Authority but never actually seen the Act modified. This has enabled many investors to arrive and engage in sub-division activities with land, making considerable profits before leaving the country again, the VCCI says. This will be stopped with amended legislation. (Daily Post)

POLYNESIA

9) Calls for Tongan government to collect better info on child poverty

Anecdotal evidence of increasing poverty in Nuku’alofa suggests more children are vulnerable to sexual assault, the director of Tonga’s Women and Children Crisis Centre says.

A doctor is buying breakfast for about 150 school children twice-a-week in Kolomotu’a and more children are appearing on the streets of the capital selling peanuts.

The Centre’s director, Ofa Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, said sexual predators preyed on children in poverty.

“They are more vulnerable and become more susceptible to physical and sexual violence by people who know that this kid is from a poor background, the kid is struggling and if I offer this kid food or money then it will be easy for me to access sexual violation.”

Ofa Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki said the Tongan government needs to collect better data on the plight of the nation’s poor children.18/5/16 RNZI

10) Air Tahiti strikes continue over planned cuts

Staff at Air Tahiti are continuing to strike over plans to cut some flights to outer islands in French Polynesia.

Air Tahiti is facing losses due to a drop in air traffic, meaning possible job losses and pay cuts for some staff.

Flights to the Gambier islands and to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas islands were the latest to be cancelled as a result of the strikes.

Tahiti Pacifique magazine publisher Alex du Prel said the territory’s only domestic airline was reducing flights to cut losses.

“We have 67 island with airports. Some of the outer islands used to get a plane a week and they want to cut it down to a plane every two weeks, or cut by half, because there is not enough traffic to fill the planes and they are having losses.

Some Air Tahiti staff have been striking for the past five days over the cuts.19/5/16 RNZI

11) Constitution change in Samoa a ‘dangerous’ idea

A Samoan academic has warned that it could be a dangerous move to prohibit a religion in Samoa’s constitution.

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has promised the Samoa Council of Churches that he would consider a move to further entrench Christianity in the country’s Constitution.

However the council wants to go further and ban Islam.

Professor Iati Iati from the University of Otago said the pervasiveness of Christianity in Samoa was one of the reasons for the country’s stability, and the faith is fully integrated into the political and cultural structures.

But he said Samoa would be treading down a dangerous path to ban other faiths.

“I think the writers of the Samoa constitution were wise beyond their years and I don’t think the government should be meddling with the constitution. I think it’s pretty good as it is.”19/5/16 RNZI

12) Cooks To Investigate Those Named In Panama Papers

Revenue Division to ensure companies, individuals comply with law

By Rashneel Kumar

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 17, 2016) – The Cook Islands Revenue Management Division (Tax and Customs) will investigate the Cook Islands individuals and companies whose names are revealed in the Panama Papers leak.

Cook Islands is mentioned several times in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) database which contains information on almost 320,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers and the Offshore Leaks investigations.

Cook Islands Revenue Management Division senior tax advisor Philip Eyre said they would investigate the taxpayers who appear in the Panama Papers, to ensure they had complied with taxation laws.

He said those found guilty of fraud could face penalty tax of up to three times of the amount of tax that had not been declared.

“Like all tax administrations, one of Revenue Management’s goals is to achieve voluntary compliance from all taxpayers, which includes the honest disclosure of income from overseas sources,” Eyre said.

“To that end, we will be investigating all taxpayers who appear in the papers to see if compliance has been achieved.”

Eyre said their investigation would identify any potential income from overseas and the extent to which it was taxable in the Cook Islands in the hands of Cook Islands tax residents.

“The Cook Islands complies with international standards on taxation and works hard to provide a transparent taxation system.

“To that end, the government has committed the country to the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) in 2018.

“AEOI requires that data be supplied both in and out of the Cook Islands to ensure that income from foreign sources is being correctly disclosed and declared.

“This is the future of taxation transparency for most if not all countries of the world.”

In a disclaimer, the ICIJ, which released the leaked data, said: “We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.”

The “Panama Papers” is a cache of 11.5 million electronic files containing information on companies and individuals linked to large international law firm Mossack Fonseca, a specialist in offshore companies formed in Panama and other countries.

Several international names including heads of states, sporting personalities and entertainment stars have been linked to the Panama Papers leak.

Cook Islands News

13) Tongan noble has case adjourned again– The assault case against a Tongan noble representative has been adjourned for a second time over legal matters. Lord Tu’iha’ateiho has been charged with assault, unlawful possession of ammunition, killing or maiming an animal, and causing a disturbance in Ha’ateiho. Matangi Tonga reports a confrontation with another person resulted in the initial complaint against Lord Tu’iha’ateiho which led to police executing a search warrant at the noble’s home.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304145/tongan-noble-has-case-adjourned-again

14) Futuna King Stepped Down After Losing Backing Of Clan
Former King of Alo Petelo Sea explains surprise abdication

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 19, 2016) – After abdicating at the weekend, the king of Alo on the French Pacific island of Futuna now says he did so after losing the backing of his clan.

Petelo Sea gave the explanation to the public broadcaster after his surprise move to end his tenure just two years after being installed.

He made his decision known to the customary ministers on Monday and thanked them for their service.

In February, he received François Hollande, who became the first French president to visit Futuna.

On the day, Petelo Sea was also made a Knight of the National Order of Merit.

Futuna has two kingdoms recognised by the French republic.

On neighbouring Wallis, there is one kingdom which last month tried to choose a monarch recognised by all royal families.

Tominiko Halagahu was made the new king but a rival council of chiefs enthroned Patalione Kanimoa two days later to fill a two-year vacancy.

France is yet to recognise one of them.

Radio New Zealand International

15) http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/dialysis-unit-danger-losing-medicare-funding

16)  http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/man-guilty-manslaughter-land-dispute-sentenced-7-years-5k-fine

MICRONESIA

17) More US marines due in Guam in 2021

About 2,500 US Marines are expected to move to a proposed base in Guam in 2021.

The director of the Joint Guam Program Office Forward, Commander Daniel Schaan, says another two and a half thousand Marines will move from Okinawa to Guam by 2026.

The Pacific Daily News says it’s been a decade since the military began discussing plans to build a base in Guam, following the agreement to reduce their presence in Okinawa.

The plan received the green light in 2010, but concerns were voiced that an expansion of 8,600 Marines and 9,000 dependents was too big and quick.

Last September, a revised plan got the go-ahead.

Mr Schaan says it’s realistic the first Marines will move in by 2021.

He says some of the contracts related to the construction of the base could be awarded later this year.

Japan is sharing relocation costs, covering around 3 of the 8 billion US dollars required.19/5/16 RNZI

18) Drought leads to pink-eye epidemic in Marshalls
5:16 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2016, Marshall Islands

An epidemic of conjunctivitis (pink eye) has hit the Marshall Islands, with 290 cases reported in Majuro Atoll last week, and some individuals with pink eye symptoms being banned from boarding international flights.

The Marshall Islands “is experiencing an epidemic of pink eye, which is expected to last several more weeks,” announced Dr. Kennar Briand, the interim secretary of health, on Tuesday. The contagious virus causes eye redness, itching and discharge. It usually lasts about a week.

Health officials linked the outbreak to the five-month drought this north Pacific nation has been experiencing. The severe water shortage — until heavy rains began falling this past week — meant water for hand washing has been scarce for many island residents. Although Briand said there is no known medicine that cures pink eye, doctors routinely issue prescriptions for antibiotic cream. Ministry of Health ran out of the antibiotic ointment several weeks ago. The two local pharmacies in Majuro said they ran out of the medication early last week after dozens of patients sought prescription treatment.

The outbreak has been building since late April, when several outer islands reported an increasing number of cases that health officials said were linked to the extended drought affecting the Marshall Islands.

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine declared a drought disaster in March, and U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed the drought disaster late last month, paving the way for increased American funding for drought relief.

Briand urged people with pink-eye symptoms “not to come to school, church or work until their symptoms are resolved.”

He said the Ministry of Health is monitoring the epidemic and “will notify the public when the epidemic is resolved.”

Briand also urged people not to travel internationally or to outer islands while experiencing conjunctivitis to limit spread. United Airlines has denied boarding to passengers showing symptoms since the epidemic began on the advice of Hawaii state quarantine officials.

Statistics provided by the Ministry of Health showed 63 cases of pink eye identified on May 9. The number dropped to 16 per day this past weekend, with a total of 290 cases identified in a seven-day span.

Dr. Alexander Pinano, who runs the private Majuro Clinic, received an emergency order of pink eye medications Monday this week , he said that within two days he dispensed 50 prescriptions for local residents. “I now have plenty on hand,” he added.

Majuro hospital said they also received a special order over the weekend and expected more supplies later in the week.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWSRegion should be concerned about Nauru, says academic- Canberra could do a lot more to encourage a move back to good governance in Nauru, according to an Australian academic. Stewart Firth, a State, Society and Governance research fellow at the Australian National University, said concerns remain over the Nauru government’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law. Dr Firth said Australia has been silent on various worrying trends in Nauru such as the government dabbling with the judiciary and introducing draconian laws ahead of the upcoming election.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/304143/region-should-be-concerned-about-nauru,-says-academic

TOK PISIN

19) Indonesia Tokman itok ol MSG lida inoken toktok long West Papua

Updated 18 May 2016,
Caroline Tiriman

Advaisa blong Indonesian Gavman long saed blong West Papua i mekim bikpla askim igo long ol lida blong Melanesian Spiahed grup long noken mekim planti toktok tumas long West Papua Indipendans.

Franalbert Joku i mekim despla toktok bihaen long Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare ibin tokaut ken olsem laen blong United Liberation Movement of West Papua imas kamap full memba blong Melanesian Spiahed Grup.

Mr Sogavare ibin go long Vanuatu long wik igo pinis we emi bin tokaut tu olsem em bai askim strong United Nations long painim wanpla rot blong lukluk long ol Human Rights abuses em ol Indonesian Militari na polis isave mekim long ol Indiginis West Papua pipal.

Indonesia ibin kisim nating West Papua long 1960’s aninit long wanpla vout em oli bin kolim “Act of Free Choice” Tasol planti West Papua pipal isave kolim despla olsem “Act of No Choice”.

Franalbert Joku itokim Radio Australia olsem ol pipal blong Wedst Papua i kisim bikpla heve pinis na ol Melanesian lida imas luksave long despla na stap isi.ABC

20) Solomon Island PM itoktok long West Papua na MSG

Updated 19 May 2016,

Sam Seke

Praem Minista blong Solomon Islands hu hemi Chairman tu blong Melanesian Spearhead Group, Manasseh Sogavare hemi mekem samfala strong toktok long saet long West Papua,  an hem stil laek fo diplomat blong Fiji nao fo holem waka blong Director General blong MSG.

Hem se olketa stretem finis isiu blong Director Genral blong MSG an babae olketa mekem formal taem olketa lida i mit long Port Moresby long end blong dispela manis.

Disisin blong Mr Sogavare fo akseptim diplomat blong Fiji, Amena Yauvoli olsem niu MSG Director General hemi bin mekem Vanuatu an PNG ino hapi long hem.

Bat olsem Mr Sogavare hem se, hem bin toktok wetem Praim Minista Charlot Salwai an babae olsem mekem fomol appointment blong Mr Yauvoli long Port Moresby.
Praem Minista Sogavare hemi talem tu olsem, hem sapotim disisin blong Vanuatu gavman fo mekem West Papua hem kmap ful memba blong Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Mr Sogavare hemi tok aot strong tu agensim we Indonesia hemi rijektim samfala disisin blong MSG long saet long West Papua.

Hem se hemi klia olsem Indonesia hemi stap insaet long Melanesian Spearhead Group long interest blong hem seleva.

Praem Minista Sogavare hem se hem konfident babae MSG Summit bae hem akseptim full membaship blong West Papua bikos Vanuatu an FLNKS tufala sapotim.

Bat hem se Papua New Guinea and Fiji tufala mas luksave long hem tu bikos Indonesia hemi feil long part blong hem insaet long MSG.ABC

FRENCH


21) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 19 mai 2016

Mis à jour 19 May 2016, 18:11 AEST

Élodie Largenton

1) Aux Îles Cook, le Premier ministre fait une concession de taille : Henry Puna accepte qu’un comité examine la pétition déposée par les opposants à la pêche à la senne.

(
Cela fait plusieurs semaines que l’opposition fait pression sur le gouvernement pour qu’il accepte de réévaluer l’intérêt de signer un accord de pêche avec l’Union européenne. 4 100 personnes ont signé une pétition dénonçant cet accord, qui doit permettre aux Îles Cook de recevoir plus de 12 millions de dollars en échange d’un permis de pêche quasiment illimité pour les thoniers-senneurs européens, principalement espagnols, pendant quatre ans. Mais le gouvernement a remis en cause la valeur de la pétition, estimant qu’il était peu crédible que plus de la moitié de la population l’ait signée. On devrait être fixé prochainement.
2)  la présidente du Parlement des Îles Fidji, « les femmes aggravent parfois les situations de violence conjugale ». Jiko Luveni affirme que « dans certains cas, les femmes ne répondent pas correctement au comportement de leur mari et que cela entraîne de la violence au sein du foyer ». Des propos dénoncés par plusieurs groupes de défense des droits des femmes, qui demandent à la présidente du Parlement de s’excuser. Mais Jiko Luveni a fait savoir qu’elle ne comptait pas retirer ses propos.
 3) Un bombardier américain s’est écrasé sur un terrain d’aviation de Guam, hier. Le B-52H Stratofortress effectuait une mission d’entraînement quand l’accident s’est produit. Les sept militaires qui étaient à bord sont sains et saufs, annonce l’armée américaine, sans préciser les causes du crash.
4) En Australie, des responsables de la sécurité aux frontières font l’objet d’une enquête. Le ministère de l’Immigration et la police se penchent sur de possibles liens entre des fonctionnaires et des associations de malfaiteurs, des trafiquants de drogue et d’alcool. Des employés du ministère de l’Agriculture seraient aussi concernés. C’est le quotidien The Age qui dévoile cette information, confirmée par les autorités. Le ministère de l’Immigration affirme que « cette affaire n’est pas nouvelle », mais il refuse de dire s’il elle avait déjà été rendue publique.
5) Les Nations unies prévoient de nouvelles distributions d’aide alimentaire en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. La pluie a fait son retour après des mois de sécheresse, mais on estime que 160 000 personnes ont toujours du mal à se nourrir. Ce sont les habitants des Hauts-Plateaux, de la Province Ouest et de la province Baie Milne qui souffrent le plus. Ils recommencent à planter des fruits et légumes, mais en attendant les premières récoltes, ils ont besoin de l’aide d’ONG, des Églises et des autorités. L’Onu a l’intention de leur « distribuer de la nourriture pendant encore deux mois », annonce Roy Trivedy, coordinateur local des Nations unies.
6) L’Onu rend hommage à deux casques bleus fidjiens décédés l’an passé. Isoa Bonawai travaillait pour la mission d’assistance des Nations unies en Irak et Joeli Daveta était engagé au Darfour, dans l’ouest du Soudan. À l’occasion de la Journée mondiale des casques bleus, le secrétaire général de l’Onu, Ban Ki-Moon, a décerné la médaille Dag Hammarskjöld, à titre posthume, à ces deux Fidjiens ainsi qu’aux 126 autres personnes qui ont perdu la vie l’année dernière pendant leur service dans les opérations de maintien de la paix.ABC

PACIFIC

22) Leaders of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to meet in PNG for pivotal summit this month
11:06 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

Leaders from the 79 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States are expected in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 30 May – 01June for the 8th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government.

The Summit will discuss the future of the ACP Group as a revitalised cohesive force advocating the interests of its member states in the international arena.

Discussions will take into consideration recent key international developments, including Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, issues of migration, climate change and the fight against terrorism.

The Papua New Guinea Government has confirmed the advanced state of preparations towards hosting the Summit, which will be chaired by its Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who takes over from the current President-in-Office, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea.

“This is a very important event, taking place at an important time in the history of the ACP Group. The future of the organisation, in terms of where it goes after the expiration of the Cotonou Agreement [the comprehensive agreement between the ACP Group and its main development partner, the European Union] in 2020 is a fundamental issue with flow-on consequences… It’s about legacy creation,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs of PNG, Rimbink Pato.

“Papua New Guinea regards it as a privilege and an honour to welcome representatives from all the ACP States, so that we can address together the challenges that we face as individual members, as a group, and globally, especially in terms of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Under the theme ‘Repositioning the ACP Group to address the challenges of Sustainable Development’, leaders will focus on three main areas, including: Equitable and sustainable development for ACP peoples; Enhancing the role of the ACP Group in global governance for development; and Peace, security and political stability as a prerequisite for development.

The Summit will also receive and deliberate on the Final Report of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), chaired by former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on the future of the Group. Since its formation in 2013, the EPG has held consultations in all six ACP regions with various strata of society, and conducted in-depth research, culminating in a number of recommendations for reform, in order to reorient the ACP Group to deliver more effectively on the development ambitions of its member states.

The 8th Summit coincides with ongoing discussions on the future relationship between the ACP Group of States and the European Union. The decades-long partnership is currently outlined in the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which is due to end in 2020. Formal negotiations for a follow up framework are expected to commence in 2017/2018.

“There is a real opportunity here to make history, in contributing to the global development agenda by enhancing the voice of developing and marginalised countries on the international stage. The ACP Group seeks to enhance its capacity as a hub for South-South and Triangular cooperation, leveraging its large membership and its long experience in international cooperation amongst member states as well as with the European Union,” stated ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick Gomes.

Aside from national leaders, heads of international organisations are also expected to attend. The 8th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government will hold its plenary session on 31st May and 1st June, preceded by a meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 30 May.

SOURCE: ACP PRESS/PACNEWS

23) PM Bainimarama highlights Fiji’s expectations on regional trade deal
10:36 pm GMT+12, 16/05/2016, Thailand

Fiji wants the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus) to have more ‘pluses’ in terms of its developmental aspects than is currently on offer.

This was emphasised by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during his contribution to the climate change and Pacer Plus at the 72nd session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Bangkok.

The Prime Minister said Fiji was well informed about the need for PACER Plus and or any other trade agreement for that matter to be a development agreement.

“This essentially means securing long-term improved market access for goods, services and labour, preserving domestic policy space, especially the right to regulate for development purposes; and ensuring continued commitment to development cooperation from our traditional development partners who will be parties to the PACER Plus agreement,” said Bainimarama.

Bainimarama said it was crucial that Fiji has a PACER Plus that provides binding commitments on labour mobility and development cooperation, together with market access.

“In its current form – despite it being an integral part of the PACER Plus Agreement – this is not legally binding. In addition, although labour mobility has been discussed and provided for in the negotiations, it was relegated to an arrangement which is outside the Agreement and is not legally binding,” he said.

The Prime Minister added that the PACER Plus chapters on Investment and Services, for example, could potentially constrain  our domestic policy space to the extent that we might in future have serious difficulties.

“We are still developing and these developed countries managed to attain the level they enjoy today because governments had a critical role to play in how they shape and implement a policy for development purposes,” he said.

PM Bainimarama said Fiji will continue to negotiate in order to seek a development orientated outcome of PACER Plus.

“We very much believe that it has the potential be a model for how trade agreements can be the instrument of development and resilience building in the Pacific. But right now, there are not enough pluses for us to commit to PACER Plus,” he said.

SOURCE: NEWSWIRE/PACNEWS

24) Small islands lead charge on Paris Agreement approval

5:29 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2016, Germany

From outer space they are tiny and isolated dots on the oceans, green and brown pinpricks on a vast canvas of blue.

But at the global climate talks, the coalition of countries classed as small island states are moral titans, fighting a battle they believe is for survival.

Vulnerable and vocal, 14 of the 16 countries to have ratified the UN’s new global climate pact belong to this 44-strong group, known by the acronym AOSIS, the Alliance of Small Island States.

More are expected to imminently approve the deal, part of a strategy by governments who consider themselves at high risk from global warming to compel leading carbon polluters to go green.

“We are trying to shame people or encourage them, I think we’re hoping we’ll get a critical mass,” says Ronnie Jumeau, climate envoy to the Seychelles, which ratified the deal on 29 April.

Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Seychelles, Somalia, St Kitts, St Lucia, Palestine, Tuvalu have ratified the Paris Agreement.

Approved after two weeks of UN talks in December 2015, the Paris Agreement needs 55 countries covering 55% of emissions to ratify it before it can come into force.

The tiny size of these island states won’t have much say in the greenhouse gas total needed, but they’ll add a valuable boost to country numbers.

And, Jamaica diplomat Clifford Mahlung tells Climate Home from UN talks in Bonn, their presence on the UN roster will be a valuable bargaining chip to compel other, bigger emitters to step forward.

Read more – SOURCE: CLIMATE HOME/PACNEWS

25) Trade negotiation – THE PACER Plus Agreement
does not offer enough “pluses” for Fiji to show its commitment and it will keep negotiating for a development oriented outcome from the agreement. This was revealed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the 72nd session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok which is in progress this week. The statement by Mr Bainimarama was in reply to questions on the benefits Fiji saw from the PACER Plus Agreement.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=354218

WORLD

26) Trump prepares plan to dismantle reform law

Reuters
Thursday, May 19, 2016

NEW YORK – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Tuesday that sweeping financial reforms put in place under President Barack Obama were harming the economy and he would dismantle nearly all of them.

Mr Trump told Reuters in an interview that he would release a plan in about two weeks for overhauling the 2010 financial regulatory law known as Dodd-Frank.

“Dodd-Frank has made it impossible for bankers to function,” the presumptive Republican nominee said. “It makes it very hard for bankers to loan money for people to create jobs, for people with businesses to create jobs. And that has to stop.”

Pressed on the extent of the changes he wanted to make, Mr Trump said, “it will be close to dismantling of Dodd-Frank.”

HEALTH

27) Malnutrition in Vanuatu is a slow acting disaster taking children’s lives
8:48 pm GMT+12, 18/05/2016, Vanuatu

Just over a year ago Cyclone Pam decimated the Pacific Island of Vanuatu.

As the country continues to rebuild, it is now also dealing with the effects of drought driven by El Nino — the dry conditions stunting the growth of crops and availability of food, leading to severe acute malnutrition amongst the islands children.

Official figures provided by Save the Children state that over 78 per cent of children in Vanuatu are malnourished, in what they’re calling a “slow acting disaster”.

“The Pacific has some of the highest rates of child malnutrition in the world, posing a major impediment to development across the region,” said Dr Lisa Bonadonna, head of the GSK-Save the Children partnership.

Vanuatu is the world’s most disaster prone country, and malnutrition is the biggest contributor to child mortality in the region.

To combat the damage of widespread malnutrition, Save The Children and GSK have teamed up and created Emergency Health Units and mobile clinics to provide nutrition support to children in need.

The initiative is apart of a wider program provided by the Australian government under the Humanitarian Partnership Agreement.

“Malnutrition in 2016 is unacceptable. No child’s survival or development should be threatened by a condition that is entirely preventable, Dr Bonadonna said.

“And we need to continue supporting our neighbours in the Pacific long after the El Nino weather pattern has passed.”

Continued support is needed to end malnutrition in the region.

SOURCE: HUFFINGTON POST/PACNEWS

EDUCATION

28) Urban Ni-Vanuatu Youth Not Speaking Indigenous Languages

National statistics office produces ‘infographics’ showing trends

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 19, 2016) – The Vanuatu National Statistics Office has published on their website a series of infographics produced during a recent workshop jointly facilitated with the Secretariat for the Pacific Community Statistics for Development Division in March.

Infographics are visual images that represent information or data and can be more effective in communicating official statistics more broadly.

The VNSO is actively engaged in efforts to improve dissemination and will be producing more innovative infographics in the surveys to come.

The infographic most recently put up on the VNSO Facebook page provides information on average number of languages used by Ni-Vanuatu as collected in the 2012 Pacific Living Conditions Survey.

The graphic looks at an important National Minimum Development Indicator for culture in the Pacific, that of daily use of indigenous language, and points to the clear trend that youth in urban centres are not speaking indigenous languages with as much frequency as their rural counterparts.

Data on indigenous language use is an important proxy measure of traditional knowledge and helps inform national language policies such as vernacular early childhood education.

More infographics produced from within the Vanuatu Statistical System at the workshop are published on the VNSO website at http://www.vnso.gov.vu/.”

Vanuatu Daily Post

29) Hundreds gather at UPNG
11:23 pm GMT+12, 18/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

Hundreds of people have gathered at the University of Papua New Guinea’s main Waigani campus.

Among them are more than 50 Port Moresby Technical College students. They are wholeheartedly supporting the universities’ call for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to submit to the law and go in for questioning.

Addressing the 5,000-plus UPNG students as well as the general public, a Pom Tech representative said they are here not only as students but also as concerned citizens of this country.

He commended UPNG for the initiative, for leading the fight for their country.

Representing the women folk, a concerned mother took to the stage, thanking the students for helping secure a good future for her grandchildren.

Whatever is hidden will be exposed, she said. We are supporting you students in your fight.

A father said: “Respect the cry of the 8 million people of Papua New Guinea. That office belongs to the people of PNG.

“If they want it back, give it back. It doesn’t belong to your mother, father or grandfather,” he said.

People are still entering the main campus.

“This is a black Thursday,” said SRC member Hercules Jim.

A Government delegation is expected to receive the students’ petition this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Transport and Infrastructure Secretary, Roy Mumu, and Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Road Traffic Authority, Nelson Terema, assured residents of the National Capital District that public transport services is operating as normal today.

Authorities held an urgent meeting with the PMV Association and Public Transport Industry representatives, and agreed that there will be no strike by PMV and taxi operators.

Terema security for these operators will be provided.

He warned that if opportunists try to cause damage to PMV buses and taxis, they will be dealt with by rule of law…..PACNEWS

SOURCE: PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

POLITIC

30) Vohor dropped as leader of Vanuatu’s UMP

The Union of Moderate Parties, or UMP, in Vanuatu has elected Jacque Meriago Nauka as its new president.

Mr Nauka has been the vice president of the party for the last 3 years and replaces Serge Vohor, who is one of 14 MPs serving a prison sentence for bribery.

Vohor was president of UMP for 29 years after being elected to parliament in 1987.

About 300 delegates attended to UMP national congress in Port Vila today, including Vohor and another of the jailed MPs, Tony Wright.

Their short release has reportedly sparked some controversy with the director of the prison saying he didn’t know anything about it.19/5/16 RNZI

31) 170506FOUR SENIOR PUBLIC SERVANTS HAVE BEEN RENEWED AND REAPPOINTED AS
SECRETARIES

By Joe Elijah

Four Senior Public Servants have been renewed and reappointed as
Secretaries in their respective Departments.

Under Section 30(3A) of the Bougainville Senior Appointment Act of
2014, the Bougainville Executive Council has renewed the appointments
of Mr Paul Kibori to act in the office of the Chief Secretary and Head
of the Bougainville Public Servants.

Mr Gabriel Pantei to act in the office of the Chief Bougainville
Collector of Tax and Mr James Tanis to act in the office of Secretary
for referendum, Veterans Affairs and Peace.

The three Senior Public Servants appointment took effect from the 12th
May 2016 until the Senior Appointment Committee makes a substantive
appointment to the three positions.

Another Senior Public Servants Mr Sione Nash has also been appointed
to act in the office of Secretary for Community Government, effective
from the 14th April 2016 until the Bougainville Senior Appointment
Committee makes a substantive appointment to the office.

All four Senior Public Servants position were advertised in the
Gazette Number 9 of 2016 and Authorized by the Chairman of the Senior
Appointment Committee Dr Chief John Momis of the 16th May 2016.New Dawn FM.

32) Solomons Government Records Record $21.5 Million Deficit
‘Manageable’ deficit accompanies $24 million drop in public debt

By Ronald Toito’ona

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 19, 2016) – The recently released 2015 Annual Report from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) shows a record deficit of $172 million [US$21.5 million] for the year on the fiscal front.

This was revealed by the Governor Denton Rarawa during the launch event yesterday.

He said the deficit resulted from an increase in government expenditure in the second half of the year as the Government spent its capital budget before year end.

“The fiscal deficit is equivalent to 2% of GDP, and while this is still manageable, the policy space for the Government to continuously run deficits in the medium term is limited,” he said.

Mr Rarawa added the country’s public debt stock now stands at $811 million [US$101 million], down from $1.0 billion [US$125 million] at the end of 2014.

“As a result of prepayment of its domestic debt by the government, the country’s public debt is one of the lowest in the region.”

He further stated that, the Central Bank maintained the exchange rate policy of pegging the SBD against a basket of currencies. This ensured the stability of the SBD against the basket despite volatilities in the global exchange rate market.

“Global exchange rate developments in 2015 were such that commodity exporters gained from the weak SBD against the USD while importers trading in AUD and NZD benefited from the appreciation of the SBD against both currencies.

“In our effort to keep market participants informed, the Central Bank began publishing the exchange rate basket index on it’s website on a daily basis,” the Governor said.

The Governor said, while the country expects importers and exporters to behave rationally we also expect the benefits derived from favourable exchange rate movements to be passed on to consumers through affordable prices for consumables or to farmers through better copra and cocoa prices.

Solomon Star

33) Vanuatu Discusses How To Strengthen Governance

After years of instability; constitutional changes mulled

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 18, 2016) – The Vanuatu government has begun discussing how it might strengthen governance in the country.

Vanuatu has experienced political instability in recent years with 10 changes of prime minister in less than eight years, mostly as a result of votes of no confidence.

The Council of Ministers is meeting this week to consider the political and constitutional amendment bill which may restrict the ease with which no-confidence votes can be used.

MPs have previously spoken of measures to strengthen parties and stopping party hopping.

The Prime Minister Charlot Salwai said any changes would ensure better governance by strengthening the institutions that would hold the government and executive to account.

Radio New Zealand International

34) Nair ready to start new role – Newly appointed Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Robin Nair is ready to take the Ministry through the new Civil Service Reform announced by government. Nair was welcomed to the Ministry and his new post yesterday. Nair says changes are expected in the Ministry to improve the quality of its service delivery.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/40380/nair-ready-to-start-new-role

 RELIGION

35) Pacific Churches Encourages Dialogue With Other Religions
Call comes in wake of Samoa discussion about banning Islam

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 18, 2016) – The Pacific Conference of Churches says dialoguing with other religions was a key resolution at its most recent assembly, in the wake of calls in Samoa to ban Islam.

The Secretary General of the Samoa Council of Churches, Reverend Ma’auga Motu, said the country’s constitution must more clearly recognise Christianity and that Islam should be banned.

He said Islam poses a threat, despite only 0.03 percent of the country professing to be Muslim at the 2001 census.

[PIR editor’s note: On May 17, 2016 RNZI reported that ‘Samoa’s council of churches has welcomed the prime minister’s call to review the religious freedom provisions of the constitution. … Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi recently said the country’s supreme law may be changed to recognise Christian principles and teachings, not just in the preamble. … However the Secretary General of the Samoa Council of Churches, Reverend Ma’auga Motu, said he would go a step further and ban the religion of Islam.’]

But the General Secretary of the PCC, the region’s grouping of Christian denominations, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, argued that the focus needs to be on dialogue.

“To create first that space where everybody can come in and discuss and dialogue,” he said.

“But they have the right to do the decision but before that we have to first look at what our faith, as Christians, is telling us.”

Francois Pihaatae said where he lived in Fiji, there were many Muslims who were peaceful contributors to the country.

Radio New Zealand International

MEDIA

36) Police warn social media users on inappropriate posts – Police have issued a stern warning to all social media users to be careful of what they post. The warning comes following a video posted on a social media of two children who were allegedly intoxicated. Spokesperson, Ana Naisoro says the Fiji Police Force will pay attention to posts where children are seen to be mistreated.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/40420/police-warn-social-media-users-on-inappropriate-posts#sthash.sKtgqdOq.dpuf

BUSINESS

37) Kina records successful 2015

Source:
The National, Thursday May 19th, 2016

By SHIRLEY MAULUDU
KINA Securities has described 2015 as a year of “great success”.
Chairman Sir Rabbie Namaliu told the annual general meeting yesterday in Port Moresby that the two outstanding highlights of the company last year were the acquisition of Maybank and the trading of Kina on the Australian and PNG stock exchange markets.
“2015 was a period of great success and a dramatic change for your company – Kina Securities,” Sir Rabbie said.
“Two major events occurred during the year that fundamentally transformed the company.”
Kina had its first annual general meeting yesterday as a listed entity.
“The first was the acquisition of Maybank PNG which was initiated in May, 2015, and finalised in September last year,” Sir Rabbie said.
“The transaction which saw Kina acquire Maybank for K350million effectively doubled the size of Kina as a banking business and provided us with the opportunity to have a home-grown diversified financial services group.”
He said the acquisition had enhanced Kina’s position as a leading financial service institution.
“It delivered a banking license which was vital for Kina to engage fully in the banking sector by reducing funding cost and enabling us to offer broader products to an expanded and growing customer base,” he said.
“The second transformation event was the flow of Kina on the Australian and Port Moresby Stock Exchange in July last year.
“The float coincided with an initial public offering of Kina stock which saw the company raised more than K200million (about AU$97million) with more than 1500 investors participating in the offering.
“The funds were used in Maybank acquisition.
“The success of the float was a real achievement for Kina and more broadly for PNG.

38) Vanuatu Investment Act Needs Review: Authority CEO
Requirements haven’t changed since 1998, country vulnerable

By Mavuku Tokona

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 19, 2016) – The floodgates on offshore investment in Vanuatu remains open as foreign investors take advantage of the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) requirements which hasn’t been reviewed or modified since 1998.

Acting CEO of VIPA Raymond Vuti explained: “The act that we have now was developed in 1998 and since that time the business environment has changed dramatically and we can say that it is not so strong and it will definitely be needed for the Act to be reviewed.”

According to Mr Vuti efforts to have the Act reviewed in the past have been futile – “Our Act has already been reviewed in 2010, 2011 and 2012 but it has never reached the parliament for discussion and approval.

“We were for the review to be done but what we don’t have a say on is why it wasn’t reviewed and why it wasn’t brought to parliament,” he said.

With an outdated criteria to attain a certificate to invest in the country the number of foreign investors have increased in the last 5 years from 108 in 2011 — 137 last year.

This has also opened a window for false investors who are believed to buy off a mass amount of land and then sell it back to the country in smaller blocks.

Manager of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Alick Berry mentioned that a Draft Sub-Division Policy provided by the government is currently being reviewed to prevent such activities.

“What we are working on now, the government came up with a Draft Sub-Division Policy and they gave that document to us and we are now reviewing it to put some private sector inputs in it because the government have seen a trend of people coming into Vanuatu, pretending to be investors and they buy land and then sub-divide it into blocks and then selling off the pieces of land and then go,” Mr Berry stated.

However Mr Berry further stated that if the VIPA legislation remains unchanged it will only invite more false inventors into the country: “So what they are doing now is making Vanuatu like a play-ground. The VIPA legislation has been going on for far too long now and it has to be reviewed.”

The Draft Sub-Division Policy will be finalized on the 23rd of this month at the VCCI headquarters.

Vanuatu Daily Post

39) PNG Wants To Know Why Fiji Biosecurity Restricting Products
Spirit of Melanesian Spearhead group questioned by Trade Minister

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 19, 2016) – Papua New Guinea has expressed serious concern on Fiji’s continual denial of PNG processed and manufactured products such as the famous Ox & Palm corned beef, Trukai Rice and Snacks from entering the country.

Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru in a letter addressed to his Fijian counterpart Faiyaz Koya, was very critical of the way Fiji authorities treat Papua New Guineans with their products.

“These are the products carried by the passengers entering Fiji for personal consumption.

However, it has been repeatedly brought to my attention that even though these items are declared, they are confiscated by the Fiji biosecurity officials particularly at the airport checkpoints.

“The Ox & Palm corned beef from Papua New Guinea is exported to Australia and Japan in commercial quantities.

Hence, I do not understand why Fiji continues to impose biosecurity restrictions on Papua New Guinea products and would like an explanation on this.”

Mr Maru also demanded an explanation as to why Papua New Guinea is listed on “Fiji Passenger Arrival Card” as a country posing biosecurity threat, including the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

“I understand it is Fiji’s sovereign right and decision to list MSG countries under this category as this brings into question the integrity and spirit of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

As parties to the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement (MSGTA), I would like to see these issues resolved at your level so as not to damage our good trading relations.

As you may have been informed, negotiations on the MSGTA3 has concluded and awaiting Trade Ministers initialing. Papua New Guinea has been very supportive of Fiji and so we look forward to that being reciprocated.”

In terms of actual trade, trade relations are in favour of Fiji as Papua New Guinea imports more from Fiji than what it exports.

Internal trade statistics show that Papua New Guinea exported K4.4 million [US$1.4 million] while importing K48.6 million [US$15 million] with a trade deficit of K44.2 million [US$13.7 million] in 2014.

This has remained quite constant throughout.

Mr Maru was sceptical as to what the underlying issues are in relation to biosecurity restrictions and/or other non-tariff measures that are being imposed by Fiji.

PNG Post-Courier

40) Potential risks to Fiji economy

8:32 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2016, Fiji

Fiji  still faces potential negative impact on the economy should our money transfer operators get affected, says Reserve Bank of Fiji chief manager economics Caroline Waqabaca.

Waqabaca was reacting to the findings of the 2016 International Monetary Fund report on Asia and Pacific Regional Economic Outlook (REO).

The report highlighted the challenge of further derisking by global banks on many small states, especially those relying on remittance income.

Waqabaca said the report showed the doubling in the share of banks that have closed money transfer operator accounts over 2010-14 and the report highlighted the negative impact this had on some countries including Marshall Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga.

“Given the higher reliance on remittances by these countries (over a ¼ of GDP in the case of Tonga) as a source of income for many households, this increasing trend of derisking could affect financial inclusion and intermediation,” said Waqabaca.

“In Fiji, we have already seen the closure of money service business accounts with a few banks, however, these operators have managed to continue banking relationships with other banks, and we have not observed any notable impact on remittance inflows.”

Waqabaca said there would also be higher remittance costs, associated lower remittance inflows and possible shift to unofficial channels to transfer funds, not to mention the negative spillover effects on the economy from weaker growth in affected PICs.

“Going forward, there is need for a more collaborative approach to ensure that actions taken at the national level adequately address gaps in anti money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism risk frameworks while not hindering the flow of remittances to the economy,” she said.

She said it was important to have the right balance between addressing financial stability concerns and supporting growth objectives of enhancing financial inclusion to achieve higher and more inclusive growth, lower unemployment through increased labour participation by women and youths and further reducing poverty and income inequality.

“I am aware that the Asian Development Bank is assisting Pacific countries including Fiji in developing national risk assessment frameworks, which is a positive step.

“While progress on finding solutions on the international front is somewhat slow, it is pleasing that the Fund is already progressing internally on some pilot studies and will raise this issue formally through relevant Article iv reports,” he said.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

41) Fiji Minister Promotes Overseas Seasonal Employment

Opportunities exist for cyclone impacted workers

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 17, 2016) – Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Semi Koroilavesau is currently touring the Lau Group to promote overseas seasonal employment opportunities to those affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Minister Koroilavesau said the devastation of TC Winston reinforces Government’s recruitment focus of overseas seasonal workers from isolated rural and maritime communities.

“Government’s policy intent for recruiting unemployed persons from isolated rural and maritime communities is to alleviate poverty.

The trickle-down effect of overseas seasonal work will add value to rural development through economic activity and enhance agricultural innovation,” he said.

He has called on all interested villagers in the Lau Group to utilise this opportunity and attend the Trade Show organized by Unique Events Fiji and register their interest with the Ministry.

The 2016 Lau Islands Trade Show started yesterday in Matuku and moved to Totoya today.

The Show moves to Moala tomorrow, Lakeba on Thursday and Cicia on Friday.

It ends on Saturday in Vanuabalavu.

Fijilive

42) Vanuatu saves electricity bill and earns revenue from new solar energy project

8:30 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2016, Vanuatu

Vanuatu has saved VT1.4 million (just over US$13,000) in five months electricity bill from the new solar panel system funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In addition, the country made VT900, 000 (US$8,400) revenue from the sale of power since November last year when the solar panel system was commissioned.

Ham Lini, minister responsible for climate change and energy was happy to announce that the UAE renewable energy project has made a lot of difference in the lives of the people of Vanuatu in meeting their energy needs.

He thanked government officials for ‘making this choice of investment.’

“The Government of Vanuatu through the Department of Energy under the Ministry of Climate Change, endorsed the National Energy Road Map (NERM) in 2013 which sets forth the priority projects and programmes for energy development in Vanuatu. One of these priorities is to increase the share of renewable energy in Vanuatu’s energy mix for power generation.”

A number of renewable projects have been implemented in both urban and rural areas with an aim of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Minister Lini said the new solar power system is contributing to Vanuatu’s national energy roadmap targets.

Vanuatu is among five Pacific countries, including Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa and Tuvalu to benefit from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) partnership Fund. The allocation of US$50million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund helped to deploy Renewable Energy Projects, with grant financing from Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).

Vanuatu was allocated US$5 million to construct up to 767 Kilowatt of Grid Connected Solar PV at two locations in Port Vila, at the Ministry of Climate Change Building (with 125kW) and the National Parliament Complex (with 315kW). This translates to approximately 340,000 Litres per annum of imported diesel fuel being saved.

“The UAE supported Grid Connected Solar PV Project has not only contributed towards achieving the targets of our National Energy Road Map. It also provides some income to the Government, offsetting their electricity costs and provides surplus budget which can be used to extend additional services needed to the people of Vanuatu, said Lini.

SOURCE PACNEWS

INFRASTRUCTURE

43) 160516 ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR
By Tom Kathoa

Several roads in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will undergo
construction and repair work……Thanks to the Japanese Government.

A team from the Japanese Government led by Senior Officer, Mr
Michibushinbito arrived in Buka today and were met at the Buka
Airport by ABG Government officials.

This follows reports by a Japanese Volunteer who spent several years
working on some impact projects in the region.

The group has carried such projects in many other countries including
Kenya in Africa and KAINANTU in PAPUA NEW GUINEA.

THEIR AIM IS TO TRANSFER APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY TO THE LOCAL PEOPLE.New Dawn FM.

LAW&ORDER


44) Man charged and bailed for threatening to kill PNG PM

4:50 pm GMT+12, 16/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

The Waigani Committal Court Monday granted bail to a man who was charged with threatening to kill Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Michael Ambrose was granted a K1000 (US$315) bail.

Magistrate Cosmas Bidar added two conditions to his bail, that he remained at his residence in Morata 2 for the duration of the case and that he refrained from interfering with witnesses.

Magistrate Bidar told him that the practice in PNG is that an alleged offender gets charged and arrested first, and later police investigate to substantiate the allegations. Thus, Magistrate Bidar adjourned his case to 16 June for further mention.

Ambrose is alleged to have commented on a post in the Pangia district development’s Facebook page with threats to kill the Prime Minister and Member for Ialibu-Pangia, Peter O’Neil.

On May 8, a complaint was laid with the police and he was charged with threatening under Section 306 of the PNG Criminal Code. He was in police custody until his first court appearance Monday.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

45) Femili PNG Lae centre providing vital support for survivors of family violence– The head of Femili PNG is touring Australia, talking about its specialized work helping survivors of family and sexual violence in Lae, Papua New Guinea’s second-largest city. Denga Illave is a former schoolteacher turned domestic violence counsellor and the Operations Manager of Femili PNG. She says that more and more survivors of gender-based violence are coming forward to their centre in Lae seeking support.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-18/femili-png-lae-centre-providing-vital-support-for/7423916

46) Man charged with conspiracy to defraud
– A man has been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud- influencing a public official contrary to Section 329 (1) of the Crimes Decree 2009. Asaf Ali is alleged to have conspired with another person with the intention of dishonestly influencing Fiji Immigration Officers in the exercise of their duties in the issuance of a passport.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/40417/man-charged-with-conspiracy-to-defraud#sthash.iWuC5lzj.dpuf

47) Juvenile questioned by police for alleged burning of TFL’s Cable Cabinet– Police are questioning a juvenile who is alleged to have set fire to TFL’s Cable Cabinet along Nairai Road in Raiwai on Monday. It has been confirmed to Fijivillage that the fire probably started when a pile of rubbish near the cabinet was set alight. Meanwhile, the General Manager of Telecom Fiji Limited Sanjay Maharaj claims that whoever lit the fire, knew that the cabinet was there.

http://fijivillage.com/news/Juvenile-questioned-by-police-for-alleged-burning-of-TFLs-Cable-Cabinet-sk2r59/

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION

48) PM lobby’s Thai support for building climate resilience – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sought the support of the Thai Government in building climate resilience for vulnerable small island developing states. The request was conveyed by the Prime Minister during talks in Bangkok, Thailand with the Deputy Prime Minister, General Thanasak Patimapragorn.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/40421/pm-lobbys-thai-support-for-building-climate-resilience#sthash.sGsSDNEb.dpuf

49) PM calls on members of UNESCAP for assistance- “Fiji has little or no hope of achieving their Sustainable Development Goals without the urgent assistance of the global community.” That is the message Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama conveyed to members during the 72nd session of the UNESCAP Commission in Bangkok. Bainimarama says they need immediate access to avenues of funding for climate adaptation to build the resilience they must build to survive future events which are stronger homes and stronger infrastructure.

http://fijivillage.com/news/PM-calls-on-members-of-UNESCAP-for-assistance-kr92s5/

MINING,FORESTS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES+

50) 160516 AWARENESS ON COPRA PROCESSING
By Tom Kathoa

Copra farmers in the Central Bougainville region will greatly benefit
from a training workshop being conducted in their area on how best to
prepare their copra before sale.

Titled, the Copra Farmers Awareness Short Training, the course
participants will be encouraged to improve the copra dryers.

This is being done to maintain the quality of the copra sold overseas.

The workshop is being spearheaded by Copra Exporter, Tambolema Trading Company.

Research Officer with New Dawn Station, Mrs. Helen Teviri said she
would be assisted by officers from the Department of Primary Industry
and Kokonas Industries Corporation (KIK).New Dawn FM.

51) Solomon Islands To Import More Cattle From Vanuatu
200-500 head to be brought in to revitalize industry

By Biriau Wilson Saeni

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 18, 2016) – The Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) will import more cattle herds from Vanuatu this year.

This was revealed by the Director of Livestock and Veterinary Services Rarney Keqa in an exclusive interview over the weekend.

Mr. Keqa said the country was supposed to get more cattle last year the country, but to the natural disaster has affected the deal.

“Last year government should have imported more cattle from Vanuatu but due to the effect of the cyclone Pam that hit Vanuatu the arrangement was not possible.”

However this year, he added the county is keen to get more cattle shipment from Vanuatu to Solomon Islands this year as part of an effort to revive the cattle industry in the country.

“We are looking forward to importing some more cattle from Vanuatu to help us with the national cattle rehabilitation program,” he said.

“We are looking at importing a total of 200-500 cattle herds this year,” he added.

He said importing of cattle from Vanuatu is very helpful as a key player in reviving the cattle industry in the country.

He said currently the cattle rehabilitation programme is on schedule and the government is looking forward to expand the cattle project to other parts of the country.

Government several years ago imported hundreds of herds from Vanuatu and had been breeding it at its Tenavatu cattle farm before distributing it.

Already some of the cattle have been distributed to parts of Guadalcanal, Malaita and over the weekend to the Western province.

Solomon Star

52) Aquaculture legislation to enhance locals
– THE new Aquaculture Bill of 2016 should enhance economic prosperity of locals and not lure foreign investors and create confusion. That is the view of the Opposition as they made submissions to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources regarding the Bill. Office representative Peter Waqavonovono, while making the submissions, said on the area of management and development, consultation should be done to determine the area of national interest when most land are owned by landowners.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=354194

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

53) Ministry looks to cater for school drop-outs

Serafina Silaitoga
Thursday, May 19, 2016

THE Ministry of Youth has drawn up strategies to cater for school drop-outs.

Minister for Youth Laisenia Tuitubou said his team had offered training programs to cater for this issue.

“Part of the ministry’s functions is the development of youths all around the country and most of our programs are tailor-made to suit the various needs of youth clubs in order to further your plans,” Mr Tuitubou said.

“Ministry offers training programs to cater for specific youth issues and since most youths have dropped out of formal education, the ministry steps in this regard to provide the necessary push for these youths to realise success.

“I have met a number of youths who, after participating in a few of our agricultural training programs organised by the ministry, have gone on to further their studies at tertiary institutions in the country.”

Mr Tuitubou said the success of the programs drawn up by his ministry had resulted in drop-outs continuing with their education and getting employed.

“Even though you may have dropped out of formal education, education is never ending and you must not let this deter you if you feel you want to learn something new.

“Come forward to us with your training needs and we can facilitate them but please go a step further than our programs if you can.”

He also reminded youths that becoming effective leaders required dedication and commitment in playing their roles well in villages and communities.

“When you know your roles as youths in serving the communities, you will understand it better once you become leaders of your own villages,” he told youth groups in villages of Bua and Cakaudrove.

“Work together as young people because whether you like it or not, you will become leaders of the country which is why I emphasise the importance of hard work in order to become better leaders in the future and useful replacements of your elders.

“Please be organised in your youth groups and also in your clubs’ planned activities because it will be indicative of the level of commitment you place on your youth groups.”Fijitimes

54) New direction for Soqosoqo Vakamarama of Kadavu – Soqosoqo Vakamarama (SSV) of Kadavu, a women’s group, is taking a new approach to empowering its members particularly women in rural and urban areas. The group’s recent launch of their three-year strategic plan provides a new and more systematic direction that will redirect the activities of the SSV Kadavu.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/40416/new-direction-for-soqosoqo-vakamarama-of-kadavu#sthash.G4SpgjSq.dpu

SPORT

55) Hayne hits training ground with Fiji

Amidst all the off-field talk, Jarryd Hayne has finally hit the training paddock with the Fiji sevens team in London.

The 28 year-old former Fiji and Australian rugby league star quit his NFL dream in America this week to chase a spot in Fiji’s Olympic team.

Fiji head coach Ben Ryan will name his final 12 for the World Series finale tomorrow night and insisted Hayne is no guarantee to be included, saying he will base his selections solely on form.

“We’ve only had a day training with Jarryd so it’s a huge learning curve for him and he’s throwing himself into it at the deep end and doing pretty well at the moment but with the competition we have in the squad we’re going to leave selection right until the last.”

Ben Ryan is expected to make at least three changes for this weekend’s World Series finale, with Leone Nakarawa and Josua Tuisova having returned to their clubs in Scotland and France, and Vatemo Ravouvou unlikely to be fit enough for selection.

Semi Kunatani is also unavailable, with Pio Tuwai, Masivesi Dakuwaqa and Viliame Mata all vying for a place in the final line-up alongside Hayne.

Fiji just need to reach the Cup quarter-finals at Twickenham to retain their World Series title.19/5/16 RNZI

56) Pools drawn for HSBC London Sevens finale

10:39 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2016, United Kingdom

World Rugby has announced the pools for the tenth and final round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London, to be played at Twickenham on 21-22 May 2016.

Cup winners Samoa head pool A and face three tough matches against the series’ second-placed side South Africa and north American rivals USA and Canada.

Paris runners-up Fiji face Australia, the hosts England and another of the Team GB sides Wales in pool B.

After impressing on home soil in Paris, France start at Twickenham with matches against Kenya, Scotland and Portugal in pool C.

The pumas of Argentina head pool D and will play group stage matches against New Zealand, Russia and Olympic hosts Brazil.

SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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