Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1086 ( Sunday 26 February 2017 )
1) Calls for Fiji police apology for death in custody
Fiji’s shadow minister for defence is calling on Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho to apologise on behalf of the force for the death of an 18-year-old youth in police custody.
Vikrant Nand was arrested last week for breaching a Domestic Violence Restraining Order and died 48 hours later.
Brigadier General Qiliho had said he’d instructed three department heads to ensure there was a prompt investigation.
But early this week he told the Fiji media that the findings of the post mortem into Vikrant Nand’s death had been passed to the family, and that the Commissioner would make no further comment on the matter.
The Shadow Minister for Defence, Mosese Bulitavu, says the matter needs further attention, and he wants Brigadier General Qiliho to issue a public apology.
Source: Pacific Beat |
2 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-01-25/oscars-tanna-director-says-nomination-for-best-foreign-language-film-a-dream-come-true/1646642
3) Samoa to have faster, cheaper internet as submarine cable project starts in Savai’i
6:42 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2017, Samoa
The Government of Samoa, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank, and the Government of Australia today launched the Savai’i component of the new US$57.4 million submarine cable system, which will deliver affordable high-speed internet access to Samoa.
At a groundbreaking ceremony, officials turned the first sod to mark the start of construction of what a cable landing station for the new 1,300 kilometer system linking the country’s largest islands, Upolu and Savai’i, to the Southern Cross Cable Network in Suva, Fiji, and to the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands via a spur.
“High-speed internet is essential to improving the lives of ordinary Samoan people,” said Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, Samoa’s Minister for Communications & Information Technology, at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“The government of Samoa is working hard to position our nation as a submarine cable hub for the Pacific — we look forward to realising this vision with the private sector, and the support of development partners.”
The project aims to deliver low-cost broadband services to Samoa and strengthen the regulatory and legal environment for information and communications technology. The submarine cable project is expected to deliver Samoa a wide range of improvements to public services, including an e-health patient information system to improve patient care within the Samoan health system, as well as significant benefits to education, business, tourism, agriculture, as well as disaster planning and response. The cable is expected to reach land in Apia and Savai’i in early 2018.
“We all know how vital internet and telecommunications connectivity is to development – enhancing everything from business opportunities, delivery of healthcare and education, disaster resilience and response, and even agriculture,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific. “We are proud to continue working with the government and people of Samoa, and development partners, to expedite the delivery of faster, cheaper connectivity.”
“The outer island of Savai’i will be connected to the Tui-Samoa cable, enabling it to receive high-speed internet for the first time,” said Robert Jauncey, Regional Director of ADB’s South Pacific Subregional Office. “Faster, more affordable broadband should open up new domestic and regional economic opportunities and boost the delivery of public and social services.”
“This new cable will enable fast and efficient connectivity that aims to benefit all Samoans. It has potential to transform the way businesses operate and improve service delivery across all sectors,” said Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sue Langford.
SOURCE: WORLD BANK/ADB/PACNEWS
4) Siumu village in Samoa stops foreign-owned shops
6:37 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2017, Samoa
-One more village in Samoa has moved to ban the establishment of foreign-owned businesses on their customary lands in a bid to protect the business prospects of their future generations.
This time, the district of Siumu, which is made up of four sub-villages, has agreed to the ban. This was confirmed by the Tu’ua of the Village, Tuu’u Fa’ase’e, in a telephone interview with the Samoa Observer.
“The district had a meeting two weeks ago and we all agreed that no foreign-owned business will be allowed to be set up in Siumu,” he said.
“It’s not just the Chinese businesses, this goes for all foreign-owned businesses.”
Tuu’u explained that the decision followed an incident where the village found out after the fact that a Chinese-owned shop was being set up.
“The shop is at Sa’aga one of the sub-villages of Siumu,” he said.
“They are selling Chinese products in their shop so we have informed them about the decision of the district and they agreed that they will slowly remove it.”
Asked if he the decision is not harsh given the rising cost of living, Tuu’u said it is about protecting the future of the village.
“It’s okay for the time being but in the long run and the future of our children it’s not okay,” he said.
“Our children are growing up and they are being well educated. Some of them have scholarships overseas so in the future when they come back and want to build a business of their own, where will they go?
“If we allow foreign businesses now to be set up, our children will not be able to have access to the lands when they grew up because the foreigners have taken them all.
“That’s why the matai and faipule of the district decided that this is the best time to put a stop to it before it becomes a problem in the future.
“Not only will our children not be able to get any space to set up their businesses, but foreign businesses will take all the money.
“So what we want is for the people of not only in Siumu but the district to help each other by building their own businesses and helping each other out.”
Tuu’u went on to say that the local businesses of the district had a meeting on Wednesday with the family at Sa’aga with regards to the business there.
“We had a final meeting and we signed an agreement to uphold the new law and the family has also agreed that they will be removing the Chinese stuff from their business,” he said.
“Nobody object to the issue because they all agreed that this is for the betterment of our children not for us. So everything is good now and that’s what the district has agreed on.”
Siumu’s decision followed the Salelologa Village Council’s decision to ban any new Chinese-owned business being set up on the village’s customary land.
The decision was confirmed by the Mayor of Sapulu, Tuilimu Manuele Paletasala.
“The ban only covers customary land under the guidance of the Village Council of Salelologa.
“But we are also mindful that a lot of the lands in Salelologa is under the government and the ban does not cover those lands.
“But within the whole village of Salelologa (‘a’ai o Salelologa), no Chinese owned business is allowed to be set up any more. We want to encourage our own Samoan people to set their businesses up in Salelologa.” …..PACNEWS
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS
5) Kiribati rejected an investment proposal by a Russian businessman and politician
9:13 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2017, Kiribati
The Kiribati Government has rejected and turned down an investment proposal by a Russian businessman and politician, Anton Bakov, to use three uninhabited islands in Kiribati East – Malden, Starbuck and Millennium Islands – for tourism development.
Cabinet confirmed its decision on the investment proposal by Bakov on Friday last week.
Cabinet also considered recommendations from the Foreign Investment Commission on Bakov’s proposal following due diligence carried out by the Commission on Bakov and on his proposal.
The Commission findings were not positive on Bakov.
The Kiribati Government also rejected Bakov’s demand for sovereign rights over the three islands to reestablish the Romanov Empire as a prerequisite to his investment.
SOURCE: KIRIBATI GOVT/PACNEWS
6) High end tourism best option for economic growth in Palau: ADB
3:45 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2017, Palau
Strong economic growth is masking urgent infrastructure and environmental challenges that threaten the long term sustainability of Palau’s economy, says an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released in Koror.
Private Sector Assessment for Palau: Policies for Sustainable Growth warns that the rapid growth of low-end tourism could damage Palau’s famed natural environment and World Heritage sites, which are pivotal to maintaining tourism as the country’s leading source of revenue. The report, which was produced by ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), was launched by the President of Palau Tommy Remengesau at an event attended by more than 200 government and private sector representatives.
“Figures showing GDP growth of 5.3% in 2014 and 8.2% in 2015 do not capture the risks that increased tourism numbers bring to popular tourist sites,” said Liliana Warid, Private Sector Development Specialist with ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office.“To sustain economic growth and build on the success of earlier business environment reforms, Palau should seek to reduce overall tourist numbers while increasing individual tourist spending.”
The report calls for the creation of a comprehensive national tourism policy and the building of infrastructure that will encourage high-end tourism. It also recommends business laws be amended so an online business registry can be established and a modern business licensing system developed.
Other recommendations in Private Sector Assessment for Palau include further reforms to the finance sector to build the capacity of the National Development Bank of Palau and reducing the financial burden of inefficient state-owned enterprises by having them operate on commercial principles. The report also suggests measures to promote women’s equal access to economic opportunities.
The report builds on a private sector assessment PSDI produced for Palau in 2007, noting the Government of Palau has demonstrated a strong commitment to private sector-led growth in the past decade. The report highlights improved financial regulation, the establishment of a secured transactions framework, and the formation of the Economic Advisory Group comprised of senior government and private sector representatives as particular achievements.
Research for the report was gathered from in-depth consultations with a broad selection of government and private sector representatives.
PSDI is a technical assistance facility cofinanced by ADB and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand. It supports ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. The support of the Australian and New Zealand governments and ADB has enabled PSDI to operate in the region for almost 10 years and assist with more than 280 reforms.
7) PNG Gavman i semim pipal: Gavana Gary Juffa itok
Updated 24 February 2017, 14:46 AEDT
Gavana blong Oro provins long Papua New Guinea i sutim tok long gavman long mekim ol pipal i sem long International communiti bihaen long United Nations i rausim vote blong en long wonem emi no baem fee blong en.
Gary Juffa itok despla pasin i bagarapim nem blong kantri na emi pasin blong sem.
Nau PNG imas baem samting olsem $180,000 Australian dollars sopos emi laik kisim bek despla voting right blong en.
Gavana Juffa itok tu olsem gavman ino wok long baem ol narapla samting olsem Pay blong ol wokman-meri long ol embasi oa gavman ofis blong en long ol narapla kantri.
Despla wankaen heve iwok long kamap tu insaet iet long kantri we gavman ino baem ol kaen samting paua na PNG Power i katim paua igo long national parliament, Government House na sampla narapla government agencies long wonem oli no baem bill.
Long wik igo pinis Foran Minista blong New Zealand tu ibin autim wari blong en olsem PNG ino baem iet ol kampani blong New Zealand em oli bin mekim wok long PNG.ABC
8) Solomon Islands Cassava long Australia
Updated 24 February 2017, 15:06 AEDT
High Commissioner blong Solomon Islands long Australia itok emi hamamas tru long Australia i larim wanpla kampani long Honiara i salim ol Cassava oa tapioka ikam long Australia.
His Excellency Colin Beck i mekim despla toktok long sapotim wok em Solomon Islands gavman i mekim long helpim despla lokal kampani i salim moa long 14,000 kilograms blong yellow cassava ikam long Melbourne, long mun November 2016.
High Commissioner Beck itok, taem emi hamamas long lukim despla wok blong salim tapioka ikam long Australia, emi laikim tu olsem ol pipal imas mekim wok blong planim ol kaen kaikai olsem tapioka olsem wanpla wok bisnis.
Emi tok ol Australian bisnis i laikim bai oli save kisim ol products olgeta taem na ino long wan wan taem tasol.
Solomon Islands, wankaen olsem ol narapla Island kantri long Pacific igat wari long ino isave kamapim ol samting oa products olgeta taem.ABC
9 ) http://www.lnc.nc/article/pays/sante/surpoids-tabac-et-alcool-trio-infernal-de-la-sante-caledonienne
12 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-26/donald-trump-postelection-euphoria-in-russia-begins-to-fade/1653918
13 ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-02-26/oscars-2017-here-are-all-the-nominees-for-the-89th-academy-awards/1653976
14) 143 cases of dengue
Sunday, February 26, 2017-Fijitimes
THE Ministry of Health has recorded 143 cases of dengue fever, just six weeks into this year.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Health yesterday, the Western Division recorded the highest number of cases with 88 people tested positive for dengue fever.
The Northern Division has 30 cases and the Central/Eastern Division has 25 cases.
The ministry is expecting the numbers to increase if members of the public do not strongly adhere to warning and preventative measures put in place by the ministry.
“The Health Ministry is urging the public to take immediate actions to destroy dengue mosquito breeding places. Removing dengue mosquito breeding places will ultimately lead to a decrease in the number of dengue positive cases,” the ministry stated.
“The ministry needs the assistance of the public in its fight against disease spreading mosquitoes.
“The public is also reminded that dengue mosquitoes breed around human dwellings and in man-made receptacles that collect stagnant water such as flower pots, flower pot plates, roof gutters, tins, cans, unused tyres, coconut shells, airconditioning trays (as water collects there), blocked drains and drums.”
The ministry is again requesting members of the public to use mosquito repellents, safe mosquito coils and mosquito nets.
Early symptoms of dengue fever are high fever, nausea, loss of appetite and generalised body pain.
“It is important to cover water stored in drums and other water containing units.
“Any gardening tools such as watering cans and wheelbarrows should be overturned or left empty.”
15) New ABG Vice President
Anthony Kaybing 23/2/17
The ABG Minister for Public Service, Raymond Masono has been appointed as the new Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government following the resignation of Patrick Nisira.
Mr Masono was sworn in as Vice President by Chief Magistrate Bruce Tasikul after being appointed by ABG President Chief Dr John Momis.
The decision to appoint Masono came after the incumbent, Nisira had made his decision to resign the VP’s post and contest the 2017 National General Election.
Mr Masono is from the Carteret’s Island and is a first term MP in the ABG and the Member for the Atolls Constituency and Minister for Public Service.
Prior to his entry into politics Masono had a distinguished career in the Bougainville Public Service and held several senior positions; including Acting Chief Administrator, Deputy Chief Administrator Policy and Director for Panguna Negotiations.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude on behalf of the Atolls people for the President’s confidence in appointing me as his new Vice President,” Masono said.
“I accept this appointment with great humility, for me personally it is a great honour to serve as the Vice President of one of the founding fathers of this nation and I want to assure the President and the people of Bougainville of my undivided loyalty and continued support to the President and ABG,” Masono said.
“I undertake to do my very best to support the President and the government to ensure that ABG’s key objectives on economic recovery, infrastructure development and law and order are realised with limited available resources,” he added.
Masono also paid tribute to his predecessor for his immense contribution to the ABG since he first became a member in 2005 and eventually Vice President in 2010.
Masono wished Nisira well on his aspirations in the National Elections and congratulated him on taking the Bougainville issue to the next level which is the National Parliament of PNG.
Apart from Masono assuming the responsibilities of the Vice President he also retained his ministry as Minister for Public Service.
President Momis also announced a reshuffle in his cabinet, the ABG Finance Minister Albert Punghau has now been appointed the Minister for Implementation of Bougainville Peace Agreement formerly Ministry of Referendum, Peace and Veterans Affairs that was held by the outgoing Vice President, Patrick Nisira.
For the time being President Momis has assumed the role of Minister for Finance and Treasury until such time as he announces a full cabinet reshuffle.Dawnfm.
16) Gov’t urged to pass Anti-Corruption Bill
22 February 2017- Solomon Star.
THE Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) is calling on the Prime Minister and his government to bring the Anti-Corruption Bill before the parliament for its second reading rather than wasting time on strategy.
Speaking to the Solomon Star MMF President Charles Dausabea said the Bill must be brought before parliament and have it passed.
He said MMF saw the Anti-Corruption Strategy “as merely a delay tactic to have the Bill pending until the house dissolved next year”.
“This bill does not need a strategy, it only needs the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government and the other side of the house to relook at it again on the floor of parliament and have it passed,” Mr Dausabea said.
However, he said it is highly likely that most Cabinet ministers did not agree with the Bill.
“The Prime Minister has promised that the Anti-Corruption Bill will be the flagship of the DCC Government but the question is, when will this flag genuinely portrays on the image on this government?” Mr Dausabea asked.
He said this Anti-Corruption Bill might turn out to be like the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act which the Lilo-Government passed in 2014 but never gazetted until today.
“This cunning tactic should not be repeated for this Anti-Corruption Bill once it is passed,” the MMF president said.
He said what the PM needs to do is bring the Anti-Corruption Bill before parliament and sack those within Cabinet who did not support the Bill.
“Many MPs are willing to join the government so remove those who oppose the Bill and replace them with those who support it,” Mr Dausabea said.
The former East Honiara Member of Parliament added that it is time the country is fair and not to delay something that will bring justice and stop corruption in the country.
By AATAI JOHN
17) Government and management interference in Fiji TV reporting alleged
Updated Fri at 10:00am
An opposition party leader in Fiji is convinced that a Fiji TV reporter has been moved away from reporting on politics due to pressure from above.
Professor Biman Prasad of the National Federation Party claims journalist Shanal Sivan has been taken off news reporting after running items about government failings.
He alleges this was because of interference by the chief executive of Fiji TV’s main shareholder Fijian Holdings Limited and ultimately the Fiji government.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-23/government-and-management-interference-in-fiji-tv/8299888
18a ) Journalists strongly protest briefing exclusion
Sunday, February 26, 2017
The White House Correspondents Association has strongly protested against the exclusion of some journalists from a media briefing by Donald Trump’s spokesperson.
Correspondents from the New York Times, CNN, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and other organisations were told they could not attend an off-camera briefing by the press secretary, Sean Spicer.
No reason was given, but Associated Press and Time boycotted the so-called gaggle in protest.
CNN and other media have been reporting that the FBI has refused a White House request for it to refute recent stories saying members of Mr Trump’s team were in frequent contact with Russian intelligence agents during last year’s presidential campaign.
The briefing after Mr Trump’s address to the Conservative Political Action Congress at its annual forum in Maryland, near Washington.
The US President said in a matter of days he would take brand-new action to prevent potential terrorists from entering the country.
Although he did not specify what was coming, White House officials said details of a new immigration ban would be released shortly. The original ban was nullified by a federal court.
Mr Trump told the gathering of conservatives he would not be deterred from his course.
“We are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.”
The president also said construction of the proposed wall on the Mexican border would begin “very soon … way, way, way ahead of schedule”.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly met their Mexican counterparts in Mexico City yesterday — but neither mentioned the wall in a subsequent news conference.
The wall could cost up to $US21.5 billion ($F44.3b), according to Reuters, citing a Department of Homeland Security internal report — much higher than Mr Trump’s estimated price tag of $US12b ($F24.7b).
19) Buying a house, land
Consumer Council Of Fiji
Saturday, February 25, 2017-Fijitimes
Buying a plot of land and building a house on it is a dream for many of us.
While the Housing Authority of Fiji is mandated to provide affordable housing for the working class in Fiji, the demand far exceeds supply by as much as four times.
This leads to home and land buyers searching outside and ending up with private developers who are more likely to charge very high prices.
Land is the only asset that appreciates in value, as evidenced by the ever-increasing real estate prices, so much so that owning a land and home is almost an unattainable dream without Government’s assistance.
Government has in recent years implemented policies that will help more Fijians get a place they can call home.
One such policy is the refund for VAT paid on purchase or construction of the first family home.
This applies to first time home buyers, whether they bought a readymade house or buy land and build.
The VAT Decree 1991 effectuates a tax on spending that is to be borne by the final consumer of goods and services.
It is this law that has a bearing on the final price of an item purchased by the consumer as it is added to the normal price, making it a little higher.
Without Government policy for first home buyers, VAT on purchased land and building materials would be an additional cost, thereby reducing the power or ability of ordinary consumers to own a home for themselves.
If consumers are ready to buy a piece of land to build their first home, it is advisable to be very cautious and thorough.
What should consumers consider when buying or building a home for which they intend to claim VAT refund?
When buying land, it is important to verify whether the seller is charging VAT. If yes, check with the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority if the seller is registered for VAT.
Likewise, for houses built by construction contractors who charge VAT on their services. Consumers need to ensure that they are registered for VAT, or they may not be able to claim refund on the VAT paid.
Again, consumers must buy building materials from traders registered for VAT, as they may not be able to claim for refund if they buy from a trader that is not registered and/or does not declare VAT.
It is equally important to keep original invoices when buying building materials. VAT claims will need to be submitted with original receipts.
Considering receipts fade away, it is better for consumers to take pictures of the receipt on their mobile phones or scan and keep them electronically.
Village dwellers too can claim refund for VAT paid on the construction of their homes, provided they are able to verify:
* Through the confirmation of the turaga ni koro, that the house is completed and that it is the applicant’s first home; and
* Through the confirmation of the Provincial Administrator, that the applicant is indeed a member of the mataqali.
The council has handled several cases where consumers have faced problems while buying properties. For example: Fraudsters taking money promising land, but not delivering.
A popular case is in court against a person who swindled consumers’ money.
The council received 18 complaints worth $65,000 against him.
He is alleged to have taken deposits with the promise of allotting land, which he failed to provide.
The contractor started work without getting the approval of house plan.
Consumers need to be aware of the local authority’s (or municipal council) building codes, and that their plans must be assessed and approved by the authorised engineers or by the rural local authority if they are residing outside municipal council boundaries.
The council received a complaint from a consumer who had arranged for the construction of his house to be financed by Housing Authority for $95,000. When the building was up to the roof, the engineer did not approve because another beam was needed.
Consumer bought a land from the Housing Authority where all arrears to the municipal council was passed to him through unfair contact term in the Sales and Purchase Agreement.
Consumers need to be aware that when buying a property, all the arrears owing for the property will be transferred to the new owners. Hence, the need to be vigilant when signing Sales and Purchase Agreement.
These sorts of issues can turn a sweet dream of owning a home into a nightmare. That is why it is imperative to seek the necessary advice from the appropriate authorities before putting your hard earned money into work that could leave you disappointed and out of pocket.
Aggrieved consumers can call the National Consumer Helpline toll-free number 155 to lodge any complaints against traders and service providers.
* This is a regular contribution from the Consumer Council of Fiji. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for feedback.
20) LALUAI MARKET OPENED
By Aloysius Laukai/
The Laluai market on the border of Wisai and Koianu was officially opened by the European Union Deputy Head of Mission, MARIA CHRISTABELL today.
The Laluai market was built by the member for South Bougainville for THIRTHY THOUSAND KINA and is one of the four markets being built by the member for his people.
The other three markets are one in PIANO, TABAGO and MARAU market on the border of BANA and Torokina.
The EU team were on a week-long tour of Bougainville visiting PPAP cocoa projects on Bougainville.
The projects formerly managed by MOMBI are been managed by the NGO group World Vision.
In here speech, MS CHRISTABEL said there was a need to provide avenues in which mothers can sell their garden produce to sustain their daily living.
She said that she is a great supporter of helping communities that can help themselves by creating jobs for themselves.
The EU team was welcomed by the member for South Bougainville at the LALUAI river and after the market opening went on to see Cocoa projects along the way to Buin.
The team will visit other areas of interest tomorrow before returning to Port Moresby.The team leaders returned to Port Moresby today from Arawa for the funeral service for the late Governor General MICHAEL OGIO who passed away last the weekend. 23/2/17 -Dawnfm
22) Fiji warned of water supply issues
10:20 am on 25 February 2017
The CEO of Fiji ‘s Water Authority says residents along the Suva to Nausori corridor may get restricted access to water if more sources are not added to the system.
Fiji Village online said Opetaia Ravai was looking at solutions needed to meet the increased demand for water supply.
Mr Ravai said people along the Suva Nausori corridor might be restricted to water two hours a day or two days a week, if the authority does not have additional water sources within five years.
He made the statement during a Public Accounts Committee meeting.
Mr Ravai said if the Rewa and Viria rivers are not secured as water sources there would be serious issues.
The Water Authority had presented a report on the problem to the government and the Asian Development Bank in the hope they may fund a project to use the rivers.
Mr Ravai said the population growth along the affected area is at an alarming rate and supply cannot meet demand.
23) Mixed reactions to road repairs
Sunday, February 26, 2017-Fijitimes
THERE have been mixed reactions from bus operators servicing rural areas in Lautoka in terms of road repairs after torrential rain.
Some companies have lauded the swift rehabilitation works carried out by the Fiji Roads Authority, while others have lamented the slow response to requests for repairs.
Bus services to some parts of Lautoka have temporarily ceased because of poor road condition and infrastructure caused by tropical depression which brought with it heavy downpour.
The areas where service has been temporarily stopped include Natabua Back Rd, Vaivai, Badrama, Navula, Wairabetia and Vuda Back Rd.
The company servicing the route, that wished to remain anonymous, said the poor state of roads had resulted in a 20 per cent increase in maintenance costs to vehicles.
A spokesperson for the firm said repeated requests to the FRA for repairs to its service area had not been addressed.
Lautoka General Transport Company Ltd managing director Pyara Singh, however, has hailed the swift response by FRA to areas they serviced.
“I want to thank Transport Minister Parveen Kumar for ensuring that roads we service were fixed very quickly,” he said.
“This includes the Paipai crossing which was washed away. This was fixed overnight.
“Also, the poor condition of Johnson Rd, as soon as we complained, they fixed it.”
A request from this newspaper to the FRA yesterday for details of its road rehabilitation schedule remains unanswered.
24) Former PNGDF commander says country risks becoming failed state
Updated Fri at 9:48am
Former Papua New Guinea defence force commander, General Jerry Singirok, says the country is in danger of becoming a failed state if the problem of gun-related violence is not brought under control.
General Singirok says the government has taken no action on any of its recommendations, and meanwhile gun related incidents are often going unreported.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-23/former-pngdf-commander-says-country-risks-becoming/8299848Bruce Hill
Source: Pacific Beat | Duration: 4min 21sec
25) Ceremonial whales teeth stolen from home of Fiji’s founding father
Updated Fri at 9:54am
In Fiji several men have been arrested after allegedly breaking into the home of the country’s founding father, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and stealing more than 40 ceremonial whales teeth.
Local reports say police have recovered the whales teeth, known as tabua, and six men have been charged with burglary.
The presentation and acceptance of polished whales teeth that have been fastened with a plaited cords is a central feature of many traditional Indigenous Fijian ceremonies.
Sela Rayawa, the registrar at the Fiji Museum says tabua are rare and valulable, but before the alleged robbery he’d never heard of them being targetted by thieves.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-23/ceremonial-whales-teeth-stolen-from-home-of-fijis/8299866Liam Fox
Source: Pacific Beat | Duration: 3min 30sec
26) REFUND SHIPPING GRANTS
Published: 21 February 2017-Solomon Star.
MID work on reclaiming shipping funds from MPs
FORMER Members of Parliament (MP) who have received shipping grants but failed to purchase shipping vessels for their respective constituencies during their term in office must refund the money.
Minister for Infrastructure and Development (MID) Jimmy Lusibaea said his ministry is now working on ways to reclaim shipping grants received by former MPs in the last government, who lost their seats but failed to purchase any vessel.
Mr Lusibaea warned that those failing to refund the money would be answerable to Taskforce Janus.
The North Malaita MP was speaking in parliament in response to questions from South Malaita MP Rick Hou and Rennell Bellona MP Dr Tautai Angikimu’a Kaitu’u regarding the National Transport Initiative Programme.
Mr Lusibaea said so far five constituencies have purchased ships under the programme last year.
They include; North Malaita, Rennell Bellona, Temotu Vatud, East Kwaio and North West Choiseul.
The MID Minister said these funds were used on constituencies that applied for it.
He said some constituencies are waiting for additional funding to complete payment for their vessels while others their ships are on the process of being imported.
However, he said some constituencies have received their shipping grants but still to purchase a ship since the last government.
Mr Lusibaea said details on how these shipping grants are used will be produced in an audit report at due course.
Dr Kaitu’u questioned the Minister about the $1.6million shipping grant which the former Rennell Bellona MP Seth Gukuna received before he lost his seat.
Mr Lusibaea said: “Janus is watching so it is important for all recipients of shipping grants to be transparent and accountable for their transactions.”
By AATAI JOHN
27) Solomon Islands Police ready to be rearmed: RAMSI Special Coordinator
9:10 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2017, Solomon Islands
The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is ready to be rearmed, Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), Quinton Devlin, told Members of Parliament during an outreach programme this week.
Devlin said that, after almost 14 years of training by RAMSI, the RSIPF is now a highly competent force and it is ready to be rearmed.
“Two of the biggest things that I can attest confidently to is that the RSIPF is once more a professional force and the small number of carefully-selected, RAMSI-trained specialist police officers that the Government will entrust to carry police firearms are ready to do so responsibly.”
He said Samoa, Vanuatu, Nauru and other Pacific island countries were now looking to the RSIPF for training and the RSIPF was contributing to a United Nations policing mission in Africa and had supported disaster recovery efforts in the Pacific region. This, he explained, was evidence of how far the local force had come with the support of RAMSI.
“More broadly, history shows that it generally takes most conflict-affected countries a much longer period of time to recuperate, but it has taken Solomon Islands only 13 short years to recover the lost ground and rebuild the nation,” Devlin added.
The RAMSI Special Coordinator thanked the Government and Parliament for increasing the budget allocation to the RSIPF last year. He noted the level of police resourcing had been maintained this year and welcomed a commitment to further supplement the RSIPF’s budget in the months ahead.
He said properly resourcing the RSIPF is critical to ensuring that the police could, in partnership with the community, look after the law and order and national security needs of Solomon Islands, especially as RAMSI transitioned out.
Devlin said RAMSI personnel were going around to churches, businesses, schools, Provincial Governments and market places all over the country alongside RSIPF officers explaining why RAMSI is leaving, sharing RAMSI’s confidence in the RSIPF and Solomon Islands Government, and explaining the Limited RSIPF Rearmament exercise.
RAMSI will withdraw from Solomon Islands at the end of June this year.
28) Project to save the world’s reefs will focus on 50 least vulnerable
Updated Fri at 5:30pm
It’s a problem that people worldwide are scrambling to address – how to stop the widespread death of coral reefs due to climate change and pollution.
With research from the World Resources Institute showing that all coral reefs could be under threat by 2050, one proposal is suggesting conservationists focus their efforts on the reefs least likely to die.
The 50 Reefs project aims to bring scientists together to identify the fifty reefs around the world that are the least vulnerable to climate change.
It’s hoped that by doing this, those areas can then be properly protected and will one day replenish the reefs that have died off.
It’s an initiative by The Ocean Agency, a not-for-profit organisation focused on communicating the need for ocean conservation.
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is The Ocean Agency’s chief scientist and the director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland.
He says that it’s time to focus on the reefs that are most likely to survive to make sure they’ll still be around by the middle of the century.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-24/project-to-save-the-worlds-reefs-will-focus-on-50/8302060
29 ) http://dailypost.vu/news/strengthening-environmental-leadership-and-governance-in-north-efate/article_bf6be953-60a7-56d6-a838-c544cfce87a6.html
30 ) http://dailypost.vu/vanuatu_sports/host-and-dates-announced-for-melanesian-basketball-cup/article_1ff55987-841d-5393-b239-4f7334856514.html
31) Contract for Roos duo
Sunday, February 26, 2017-Fijitimes
TWO members of the Coastline Roos rugby league team have secured contracts in the Cook Islands.
Centre Jiovilisi Naqitawa and halfback Mosese Naliva left the country yesterday with the aim to expose their talents in a foreign land.
The duo have been crucial members of the Roos team for the past years and their absence in this year’s Fiji National Rugby League competition will be missed by their teammates.
Roos manager Soni Vakalolo said the departure of the two players would give them the opportunity to best showcase their talents against some of the top players in the Pacific.
He said these players had worked hard to secure contracts and was hopeful they would deliver the goods required by their new club.
“This is a huge milestone for our players and I believe it is a reward for hard work and commitment,” said Vakalolo.
“These players have also opened the pathway for other boys in the side to work hard and secure overseas contracts.
“The duo will be contracted for one season and their future with their new team will depend on their performance in the Cook Islands.”
Vakalolo said the two boys would be missed for their experience and talents but at the same time opened new windows of opportunity for other players in the training squad to expose their talents in the local competition.
“This is the chance for other players in the team to work hard and convince the selectors for their spots in the team for this year’s competition.”
Other Roos players that have secured overseas contracts are Akei Nainoca, Jiuta Lutumailagi and Josefa Nayato.