Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1092b ( Tuesday 18 April 2017 )


1) MSG immune from suit: Court

6:54 pm GMT+12, 16/04/2017, Vanuatu

The  Vanuatu Supreme Court has dismissed a salary claim by Melanesian Spear Head Group (MSG) Deputy Director General, Molean Kilepak simply because the regional institution is protected by the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act [Cap 143].

MSG and Director General, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli who are both claimants of the Civil Case 345 of 2017, were untouchable by the Vanuatu Supreme Court because Vanuatu as the host country of the MSG Secretariat had signed an agreement with the MSG.

Article 5 of the agreement stated that “1. The Secretariat shall be immune from suit and legal process and its premises, archives and property shall be inviolable”.

Supreme Court Judge, Richard Chetwynd stated in the judgment that the Host Country (Vanuatu) Agreement specifically refers to the 1963 Vienna Convention on diplomatic privileges.

“Unfortunately, the provisions of the Host Country Agreement mean that the Claimant cannot sue either MSG or Mr Yauvoli in Vanuatu. Both MSG and Mr Yauvoli are immune from suit in Vanuatu.”

Chetwynd disagrees to suggestions that that because the appropriate Order under the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act [Cap 143] was only made in 2015 (by Order 35 of 2015) and because the Claimant entered into the employment contract with MSG in 2014 he was not caught by the immunity from suit provision.

“Article 5 of the Host Country Agreement can stand on its own.

“It needs no formal confirmation under the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act.

“The agreement between the Republic of Vanuatu and the MSG was concluded (at the latest) in January 2013 and applies from that date.

“Whether there was an earlier agreement is irrelevant. If there was a later agreement then it would only be relevant to the extent that it revoked any provision of the 2013 agreement.

“In short the 2013 agreement still applies.

“The end result of my finding that both defendants have immunity from suit in Vanuatu is that the Claim cannot possibly succeed and must be and is hereby dismissed.”

Meanwhile the MSG Secretariat has issued a press statement saying the judgement has cleared the institution and Director General Ambassador Amena Yauvoli of wrong doing.

“This landmark judgement is important not only for the MSG but also for other organisations and missions based in Port Vila, in particular on how the Diplomatic Immunities are to be applied in Vanuatu,” said Ambassador Yauvoli.

In the month of February 2017,Molean Kilepak, the former Deputy Director General lodged a legal action against the MSG and the DG. The case was highly publicised locally and regionally, a calculated move that was perceived to be politicising the issue and tarnish the name and reputation of the Organisation and the Director General.


2) Rural New Caledonia still recovering from Cook

4:47 pm GMT+12, 17/04/2017, New Caledonia

Hundreds of households in New Caledonia are still without power, a week after Cyclone Cook crossed the main island.

The category 3 system, which claimed one life, damaged the electricity grid in the middle of Grand Terre when it crossed the mountainous main island with winds of up to 180 kilometres.

Teams have been out over Easter to reconnect homes in the Boulouparis and La Foa areas on the west coast and around Poindimie and Thio on the eastern side of the island.

A former president and now parliamentarian in France, Philippe Gomes, called on the French High Commission to declare a state of natural disaster in the worst hit areas.

Cyclone Cook caused extensive damage to crops prompting the government to call a meeting for tomorrow to finalise plans to assist farmers who face months without income.



3) Obama leaves Tahiti after month-long stay

Former US President Barack Obama has left French Polynesia after a month-long stay.

Mr Obama spent three weeks at a luxury resort on Tetiaroa before travelling around the Society Islands with his wife Michelle.

There was tight security by both bodyguards and police but AFP reports that Mr Obama met locals on island stops.

Travelling on a yacht to Bora Bora, Huahine, Tahaa and Raiatea, they were accompanied by US celebrities Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Springsteen.

He left Tahiti after a brief meeting with French Polynesia’s president Edouard Fritch.18/4/17 RNZI

4) Samoa talks cable connection with Tokelau and Tuvalu
7:06 pm GMT+12, 16/04/2017, Samoa

The Samoan government has initiated negotiations with Tokelau and Tuvalu over the possibility of connecting the three countries by submarine cable.

The discussion was held during the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA) 2017 with Samoa’s delegation being led by the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i.

It was a busy time for regional submarine cable connectivity negotiations, in addition to the announcement of the Manatua Cable consortium between French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa.

But PITA 2017 was even more significant as it saw the strengthening of ties between Samoa, Tokelau and Tuvalu with the commencement of discussions to connect the three countries by submarine cable.

The goal is to look at ways to improve ICT in general for the three countries.

Minister Afamasaga said the discussions are important for Samoa.

“These discussions have been a positive step forward in strengthening Samoa’s ties with our neighboring islands to create a real and tangible regional partnership,” he said.

“It is expected that a standalone Tokelau-Tuvalu submarine cable connecting to Samoa whereby international connectivity will be provided via the Tui-Samoa cable system linking Samoa to Suva Fiji then onwards to USA or NZ/Australia.

“I believe it is the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG) vision to connect all the Polynesian islands in order to create economic and social development for our people”

Part of Samoa’s presentation was to provide a substantive update on the progress of the Tui Samoa cable.

“The government of Samoa is pleased to advise that the Tui-Samoa project is on track, with work already underway at the beach manholes and Cable Landing Stations in both Upolu and Savai’i,” said Afamasaga.

“Another important milestone was the commencement of the marine route survey for the 1,470 km Tui-Samoa Cable with, the survey to be completed by early May 2017.” .


5) Niueans Called On To Preserve Their Mother Tongue

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 04/16/2017 – 14:57

While 1600 Niueans live on island, about 30,000 Niueans live overseas

By Indira Stewart

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 14, 2017) – Niuean leaders are calling for locals and Niueans living abroad to fight for the preservation of the Niuean language.

They have gathered at the Vagahau Niue Conference held in the village of Mutalau this week.

The 2 day conference has brought together speakers from corporate, government and NGO sectors from across the South Pacific with the united aim of helping Niueans sustain and use their language to strengthen their culture and maintain ties with Niue nationals living abroad.

Tifaole Ioane, who is the Chairperson of the Niue Language Commission, said that while colonisation has had its benefits, it also led to the suppression of Vagahau Niue.

She went to primary school in Niue in the 1960’s and recalled how children were forbidden to speak Vagahau Niue in school.

“In my own time, you know, having gone to school here, I can remember having to be punished for speaking Niuean and having to write lines “I must not speak Niuean. I must not speak Niuean…”

Back then, she said, locals were taught that their culture and language were inferior to that of the west and the English language. Now, elders are trying to turn that mentality around.

“The problems that colonisers had left behind you know, they’ve taught us well to look down on our culture, to look down on our language” she said.

“You know, at this late stage, we’re trying to grip onto it and trying to think otherwise. Now we’re learning that there is a lot of value in our own culture.”

Guest speaker, Ina Vakaafi, moved back to Niue from New Zealand with her family when she was seven years old.

She arrived in 1990, just two years after all the outer schools were amalgamated into one primary school in Niue’s capital, Alofi.

She said she was placed in a mono-lingual classroom with other children of expatriates living in Niue, until she could merge into the bilingual classrooms where Vagahau Niue was used in the curriculum.

“I only knew English, I was in a monolingual class and I noticed that I was the only brown kid in there and I asked the teacher ‘Ok, how do I get to that class?’ and she said ‘You need to learn your Vagahu Niue'” she explained

“I found it so hard just trying to get my lunch off my cousin. She spoke vagahau Niue, I only spoke English. So those are some of the things that motivated me to learn quickly.”

While 1600 Niueans live on island, about 30,000 Niueans live overseas.

Dr Robert Early, who is the Head of the Department of Languages at the University of the South Pacific and also spoke at the conference, said that makes it even more challenging to sustain Vagahau Niue.

He had high praises for the locals who he thought were doing a great job in making sure the language is preserved.

“I think the people here have made some absolutely amazing progress in some of the resources that they’ve developed, in their education programmes, their commitment, their language policy environment that they’ve created through the National Language Commission and so on,” he said.

“So there are a lot of really good signs in place for continuing to support the maintenance and even the development and expansion of the Niuean language in Niue itself.”

Ms Vakaafi said Niue youth, both local and abroad, often lack confidence to speak Vagahau Niue because they’re embarrassed they might say something wrong.

She added that it was crucial that Vagahau Niue is passed on and more youth should be encouraged and supported to sustain it.

“We are the custodians of a language that very few people speak, and we should be proud of that. But we need to be sure that we pass it on the best that we can to the next generation.”

Radio New Zealand International

6) Hijacked Tuvalu-Flagged Ship Rescued By Chinese Navy

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 04/16/2017 – 16:22

Tuvalu is one of several pacific Island countries with ship registries which offer flags of convenience for international shipping companies

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 14, 2017) – The bulk carrier, named OS35, was hijacked by pirates last Saturday as it neared the port of Aden, a Yemen city perched off the Horn of Africa.

Indian naval vessels received a distress call and established contact with the captain of the besieged ship.

They co-ordinated with a nearby Chinese warship Yulin whose personnel subsequently boarded the OS35 and rescued all 19 crew members, while the Indians provided air cover.

According to the Maritime Herald, the Chinese searched the ship and confirmed the pirates had escaped.

The hijacking came amid renewed activity in the past month by Somali pirates, following a period of relative calm in the past couple of years.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, in 2011 pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, and took hundreds of hostages.

Tuvalu seafarers have been among those taken hostage in previous Somali pirate attacks, including a group of 11 aboard a German container ship in 2009.

Tuvalu is one of several pacific Island countries with ship registries which offer flags of convenience for international shipping companies.

Radio New Zealand International


7 ),-says-pilger

8) Plenty on the agenda for Marshall Islanders at forum on constitutional changes

A major convention is underway in the Marshall Islands to discuss amendments to the country’s constitution.

A panel of 45 people was selected in February, 33 citizens and 12 traditional leaders.

They’ll be debating several amendments proposed by the Marshalls parliament, the nitijela, including proposals to protect customary land, reserve seats for women in parliament and to offer protection from sexual discrimination in the country’s Bill of Rights.

But Giff Johnson, editor of the Marshall Islands Journal, says there’s one standout issue on the agenda.

Kerri Worthington
Source: Pacific Beat |

9) Illegal recruitment of foreign workers bad for tourism industry
4:58 pm GMT+12, 17/04/2017, Northern Mariana Islands

Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) board chairwoman and T-Galleria/DFS Saipan president Marian Aldan-Pierce said employers bringing in “tourists” to work in the CNMI are harming the tourism industry.

“We want to make sure that when people come in as tourists they are really here as tourists and not working — that’s what we should be concerned about now,” she said in an interview on Friday while she observed the protest action staged by construction workers from China who said they were here on tourist visas and that they had not been paid for three months.

The workers are employees of MCC International, a contractor of Saipan casino investor Imperial Pacific International which is constructing its casino-hotel in Garapan.

While the workers were staging their protest, Aldan-Pierce said she saw CNMI Secretary of Labor Edith Deleon Guerrero talking with some of the workers so Aldan-Pierce asked one of her Chinese-speaking employees to act as Deleon Guerrero’s interpreter.

Aldan-Pierce said if the problem with illegal workers persists, the U.S. government may end the CNMI visa-waiver program for Chinese and Russian tourists.

In the meantime, she said the CNMI government and the local community will continue to assist the workers even though it is now the U.S. government that controls local immigration.

“Unfortunately things like this do happen. But this is not what we want our tiny islands to be known for,” she added.


TOK PISIN( Papua NiuGini ),SOLOMON PIJIN ( Solomon islands) ,BISLAMA- (Vanuatu).

10) Tupela St Johns Ambulance na PNG Fire Service i wokbung long sevim laif

Updated 17 April 2017, 14:18 AEST
John Papik

Igat bikpela tingting i stap nau long mekim Papua New Guinea Fore Sevis na  St Johns Ambulance  long wok bung olsem blong halivim pipol long taim blong travel.

Dispela em bikpela samting ibin kamap long dispela wik we ibin lukim tupela lain ia ibin sainim wanpela tok orait long halivim wanpela narapela long taim igat trabel i kamap.

Chief Executive blong St Johns Ambulance Mollen Molki itok narapela bikpela tingting em long bildim na strongim ol wok bung oa partnership namel long tupela bodi em oli save lukautim emergency sevis long halivim pipol.

Emi tok igat plan istap nau long sampela kain training bai kamap  namel long ol offisas blong tupela bodi na  arapela ol  stake holders em ol bai hap blong dispela wok bung long stap redi long APEC  miting long yar bihain long Port  Moresby.ABC

11) Malaita Provins Gavman hem peim baek evri kaon

Updated 17 April 2017, 14:41 AEST
Sam Seke

Malaita Provincial gavman long Solomon Islands hemi peim baek finis samting olsem 4.6 million dollar kaon blong provins wetem interest.

Malaita Premier Peter Channel Ramohia hem se, foma gavman hem bin borom 1.7 million dollar bifoa gavman blong hem hemi kam in long January 2015.

Hem se kaon ia hem gohet fo inkris wetem bigfala interest gogo gavman blong hem hemi toktok wetem olketa bisnis we provins hem kaon long olketa an olketa i stopem bigfala interest ia.

Premier Ramohia hem se taem gavman blong hem hemi kam in, bank account blong provins hem garem nomoa 400 dollar insaet.

So hem se provincial assembly hem mas borom long olketa praevet bisnis moa nara 150 taosen dollar fo holem miting blong olketa memba for ilektem niu gavman we hem lidim.

Premier Ramohia hem se, stat long January 2015, gavman blong hem hem bin mekem plade waka for peim baek evri kaon blong provins ia wetem interest.

12) Mauriki FC i mekem fes win long sisen ya

By Raymond Nasse/Vanuatu Daily Post

Ifira Black Bird FC oli stap selebretem poen blong Kilifa yestede

Port Vila Football Association (PVFA) premia divisen sekon leg i bin kik off long yestede long Port Vila Stadium.

Hemi festaem bageken we olgeta fan oli bin mekem wei blong olgeta i go blong wajem olgeta premia divisen aksen long 9am kasem 5.15pm.

Fes maj blong dei, Mauriki FC hemi pleiem Siaraga FC.

Maj ia i gat wan poen nomo i kamaot long wan penalty, afta we i lukim Siaraga difens i bin foulem straeka blong Mauriki insaed long box, mo Mauriki midfilda, Pako Rakom, hemi konvetem penalty, mo semtaem handem tim blong hem fes eva win long sisen ya.

Sekon maj blong dei, Ifira Black Bird FC hemi kam blong winim Tupuji Imere FC long wan sko blong 1-0.

Poen blong maj ia i kamaot long long fri kik, afta we full difens blong Tupuji oli stanap blong wajem bol ia i kam insaed long box, be oli mestem marking blong olgeta, afta we Moffat Kilifa hemi stanap hem wan insaed long box, mo hedem bol ia i go insaed long net.

Win blong Ifira ia hemi putum olgeta long fored blong klasem we bambae PVFA hemi jas ofisoli kamaot blong givim klasem long wik ia.

Namba 3 maj blong dei, Mauwia FC mo Tafea FC we oli bin dro long fes leg blong jampionship, oli mit bageken.

Maj ia i lukim Mauwia FC top skora, Niko Apal, hem nao hemi skorem onli poen blong maj ia insaed long namba 2 minit blong fes haf, blong sekiurum upset 1-0 win ia ova long Tafea FC.

Las maj blong dei, Digicel Amicale oli kam blong dro wetem Erakor Golden Star FC long 1-1.

Gibson Daudau hemi openem sko long fes haf, afta we hemi sendem wan kona kik i go daerek insaed long gol, be i lukim Gershom Kalsong, hemi denyem Digicel Amicale wan win, taem we hemi markem ikwalaesa leit insaed long sekon haf.


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15b) South Asian economies to benefit from backlash

World Bank
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

WASHINGTON – Possible protectionism in advanced economies should not deter export-oriented growth in South Asia, a region that could even benefit from the backlash against globalisation, a new World Bank report said on Sunday.

The report also confirms that South Asia remains the fastest-growing region in the world, gradually widening its lead relative to East Asia.

Regional GDP growth is expected to rise from 6.7 per cent in 2016 to 6.8 per cent in 2017, and 7.1 per cent in 2018.

The just released edition of the twice-a-year South Asia Economic Focus explores whether South Asian countries should worry about mounting protectionist pressures.

This report, Globalization Backlash, claims that global integration has been good for economic development and poverty reduction, but finds that the region would be resilient to higher trade barriers in advanced economies.

It would even stand to gain if selective protectionism resulted in trade diversion away from established suppliers.

South Asian economies also stand to gain from the observed recovery in advanced economies, which are their largest export markets.

“Simulations on the impact of hypothetical new trade barriers show that South Asia is not only resilient to a potential rise in protectionism but could possibly even gain from it in some circumstances,” said Annette Dixon, the World Bank South Asia Region vice-president.

“Advanced economies are recovering and could see faster growth that will likely increase demand for South Asian products. The region should seize this opportunity to diversify its exports and enhance its supply response. This could create a substantial number of jobs for new entrants to the labour force.”

Given its weight in the region, India sets the pace for South Asia as a whole.

Its GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 7.2 per cent in 2018, after expanding by a slightly lower than expected 6.8 per cent in 2016, with a temporary disruption from the withdrawal of large denomination bank notes.

Based on tangible improvements in security, Pakistan continues its upward trend and growth is expected to accelerate to over 5 per cent this year.

Nepal and Maldives are bouncing back from economic shocks.

In Bangladesh industrial production reached a record-high recently and growth remains strong.

Analysis of different hypothetical trade scenarios finds that South Asia stands to benefit from the stall of large regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).


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16c) US, allies view options after NKorea missile test

Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

WASHINGTON/PYONGYANG – The United States, its allies and China are working together on a range of responses to North Korea’s latest failed ballistic missile test, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said on Sunday, citing what he called an international consensus to act.

General H.R. McMaster indicated that Trump was not considering military action for now.

“It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully,” he said on ABC’s This Week program. “We are working together with our allies and partners and with the Chinese leadership to develop a range of options. There is an international consensus now, including the Chinese leadership, that this is a situation that just cannot continue.”

The Trump administration is focusing its North Korea strategy on tougher economic sanctions, possibly including an oil embargo, a global ban on its airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang, Reuters reported.


17) Vanuatu Red Cross trains volunteers to help in fight against dengue

Compiled by Fern Napwatt

Red Cross volunteers in training. Photo: Vanuatu Red Cross

Vanuatu Red Cross will train 35 volunteers to help authorities address the dengue outbreak in Vanuatu.

The first training on Safety Operations was conducted on February 7, 2017 on Malekula, Malampa Province.

The Health and WASH Coordinator of Vanuatu Red Cross Society Sandrine Benjimen says the training is still underway and it will be extended to Emae Island where the Dengue Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) will be implemented.

According to the Ministry of Health in Vanuatu, the outbreak of dengue serotype-2 is ongoing with 2,238 cases reported as of April 1, 2017. There were 90 hospitalisations since November 2016.

Benjimen says with the trainings they’ve had, the volunteers are prepared and passionate about reaching out to the communities with dengue awareness.

The Red Cross volunteers have carried out the awareness and mass clean up campaigns in the dengue affected communities on Emae and Malekula.

Benjimen acknowledged the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for the financial and technical support in the Dengue DREF operation.

“We look forward to working with the communities in implementing the dengue DREF activities,” Benjimen added.

Dengue illness is suspected if you have symptoms of: High fever for at least 2 days; Severe headache; Nausea and vomiting; Muscle or joint pains; Pain behind the eyes; and Rash.

Anyone who suspects that they have symptoms of dengue should seek medical advice from their nearest healthcare facility.

The key messages from the VRCS are dengue can be a dangerous disease because in severe cases (symptoms may include intense stomach pain, repeated vomiting, bleeding from the nose or gums) it may even cause death.

The public is advised to eliminate mosquito breeding places by burying all empty tins, bottles, containers like coconut shells or dispose them properly, cover all water containers with lids, change water from flower vases every week, and keep small fish in water tanks and water drums.

Prevent mosquito bites by using mosquito coils and electric vapour mats during the day time, use mosquito nets to protect babies, the elderly and others who take naps during the day.

18) NEC gives green light for K500mil Enga Hospital

April 18, 2017The National

THE National Executive Council (NEC) has given its final go-ahead for the establishment the multi-million Enga Hospital, according to Governor Sir Peter Ipatas.
Last week, Sir Peter addressed representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and a huge crowd at the Wabag Primary School witnessed the opening of educational office buildings. The WHO team was there to announce the donation of a new tuberculosis machine.
The new hospital is expected to cost the Government more than K500 million through a concessional loan arrangement with Exim Bank of China.
This follows Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch’s assurance to Sir Peter in parliament earlier this year that the construction work of the world-class referral hospital would get off the ground this year.
This is similar to the construction of a new hospital in East Sepik.
“Since independence, Enga has never had a provincial hospital,” Sir Peter said.
“Last week, the NEC made the final approval to give the go-ahead for the government of Papua New Guinea and Exim Bank of China to start work at our hospital. This hospital will cost more than K400 million, it will be the most modern hospital in Papua New Guinea.
“So people of Enga, your God is helping you, think about that.”
Sir Peter said without losing focus on education, Enga was looking at health.
“Now that we are focusing on health, we mean business,” the governor said.
“We thank the Department of Health, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
“We have plenty of donors coming to Enga to help us.
“In education and health, I want the people of Enga to know that the province’s long-term vision has been and will be to make Enga the hub of education and health in the country.”


19) ‘Kina-for-Kina’ Program to Support PNG Higher Education In Collaboration With Australia

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 04/16/2017 – 16:19

Australian Government will match contributions that PNG universities put towards improving quality in their institutions

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 16, 2017) – An innovative and collaborative new program, established by the Governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia, will support higher education quality in Papua New Guinea.

Kina-for-Kina (K4K) will see the Australian Government match contributions that Papua New Guinean universities put towards improving quality in their institution.

Three Papua New Guinea universities have been approved to receive grants under the K4K program, with initiatives targeting the improvement of business programs; training for the development of teaching and learning; and a teaching quality assurance systems audit. The University of Natural Resources and Environment, Divine Word University, and the Papua New Guinea University of Technology are the three successful universities. Two applications build on existing partnerships with Australian Universities.

Secretary for Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST), Professor Kavanamur, believes K4K will support more highly skilled teachers and graduates.

“The Government of Papua New Guinea truly appreciates the K4K initiative because it is aimed directly at assisting the areas of education that will lead to good outcomes for students,” Professor Kavanamur said.

Australian High Commission acting-Counsellor (Education), Ms Fuchsia Hepworth complimented DHERST on its commitment to improving the higher education sector.

“We are increasingly seeing educational institutions working together under

various partnership arrangements. This is a reflection of the strong and

close partnership the Australian Government shares with the Government of

Papua New Guinea,” Ms Hepworth said.

PNG Post-Courier


20) Former Top Aide To Fiji PM Moves To Opposition

Submitted by PIR Editor on Sun, 04/16/2017 – 16:13

Tikoduadua: “Fiji’s biggest problem at the moment is not that my opinion does not matter. It is that nobody’s opinion matters, except those of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General,”

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 16, 2017) – A former right hand man to Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, has joined the opposition, complaining of a climate of fear and intolerance of dissent within the governing party.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pio Tikoduadua resigned as a minister in the Fiji First government in May 2015 saying he had an advanced form of cancer and wanted to spend time with his family.

At a press conference on Saturday he announced his health had improved and he would stand as a candidate for the National Federation Party at the next election, which is due next year.

Mr Tikoduadua served as the Aide-de-Camp to Mr Bainimarama when he was military commander and later headed the prime minister’s office during military rule.

He served just eight months as Minister of Infrastructure and Transport and Leader of Government in Parliament after Fiji returned to democratic rule in 2014, resigning in May 2015.

On Saturday he revealed his resignation was not only due to health reasons, referring to his rejection when he had supported a backbench MP who’d voted with the opposition.

“Fiji’s biggest problem at the moment is not that my opinion does not matter. It is that nobody’s opinion matters, except those of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General,” he said.

“No-one else’s views are sought. No concession is made to any person with a different opinion. Nobody else can ever be right and they can never be wrong.”

“This approach is deeply destructive of democracy and national unity. It divides Fiji. It means that we lack a common vision and we operate in a climate of fear and restrictiveness.

“This is no way to run a country. This is no way to solve Fiji’s problems.”

He said he had become convinced the aspirations for democracy and the people had been cast aside.

The website Fiji Village reported Mr Bainimarama had described the comments as “rubbish”.

In a statement the NFP leader Biman Prasad said the party was proud Mr Tikoduadua was joining, saying he was no ordinary politician to have given up his perks and privileges.

“Many Fiji First Party MPs are unhappy with the government’s direction, but they stay silent. On the other hand, Lt-Col Tikoduadua gave up his position in 2015 as a matter of principle.”

Radio New Zealand International

LAND ( Melanesian Affairs )

21a ) Land issues hold up residental project

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

LAND issues are being resolved by the Tavua Town Council and members of a landowning unit for a residential project.

Tavua Town Council CEO Vinesh Naidu said there were still a few issues to discuss with the landowners.

“There are some problems that we are still trying to sort out with the landowners and hopefully we can get those out of the way by this week,” he said.

“We have a meeting with the landowners and officials from the Local Government ministry.”

He said they wanted to begin the residential development as soon as possible. “It’s a very important project for Tavua.

“By having these subdivided lots, our residents can have access to proper living spaces with all of the Government amenities provided.”

The project is part of the economic development plan (EDP) for Tavua.

According to the Local Government Ministry, about 100 residential lots would be established.

The EDP was designed by the ministry to increase the economic viability of the town.

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22) World Bank positive about PNG’s development

April 18, 2017The NationalBusiness

PAPUA New Guinea’s outlook for growth in the medium term is relatively more optimistic, according to the World Bank.
In its East Asia and Pacific Update 2017, the bank noted that the growth would eventuate with the establishment of at least two large petroleum and mineral projects totaling about US$20 billion (K63.5 billion) towards the end of the decade.
According to the update, the Consumer Price Index inflation was expected to edge upward further with the continued depreciation of the currency, coupled with increased demand driven by expenditure associated with the 2017 general election and the cost of organising the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meetings in PNG. Over the next five years, Gross Domestic Product growth is expected to edge toward a trend estimated at 4 per cent. Given the expected low commodity price environment this year (despite gradual increase), domestic revenue generation and foreign currency inflows were expected to remain constrained in the near term.
The bank update says maintaining macroeconomic stability over the election period is a near-term challenge.
“Other domestic near-term challenges include the government’s ability to maintain a prudent fiscal stance and ensure public service delivery (particularly infrastructure) in the face of limited revenue receipts.
“Limited foreign exchange inflows owing to low commodity prices would continue to be a challenge throughout 2017.”

23) Multi-million dollar pearl industry

Monika Singh
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

WITH Fiji pearls gaining popularity in the global market the Ministry of Agriculture is doing its part to raise awareness on the economic importance of the industry and assisting pearl farmers by supplying them with materials.

Last week the EU through the increasing agricultural commodities trade (IACT), implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), gave bags of spat collectors to the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, to be distributed to pearl farmers in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

Deputy secretary Ministry of Fisheries Sanaila Naqali said there were 36 community-based spat farms across the four divisions and five established pearl farms in Fiji.

Mr Naqali said some of the community-based spat farms ranged from 30 to 50 in a village which would mean a couple of hundred farmers.

Spat collectors are hung in the lagoons and are used to collect the juvenile oysters that are later used to grow the pearls.

Mr Naqali said the project would give the farmers a job and economically sustain them.

“It does not end up with the communities, the real effect will be seen in the pearl industry.

“Fiji pearls are now marketed globally and as far as I can say, it needs everyone’s participation to make the industry grow,” said Mr Naqali.

However Mr Naqali said it was important for people to keep the ocean pollution free because oysters needed pristine clear waters for healthy growth.

He said pearl farming was a multi-million industry and for it to be effective efficient spats were important.

In Viti Levu pearl farmers were based along the coastal areas, while there were some on Vanua Levu, Savusavu and Taveuni.

“Our officials from the ministry would be going around these communities to assist them in any way possible and help them in monitoring their spat collections.

“Farmers are buying their own spat collectors which can be expensive so we are going to give them the spat collectors in order to motivate more people to take up pearl farming,” he said.

Over the years Government has invested millions of dollars in the industry and Mr Naqali said Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston had been a blessing in disguise because the ministry received a lot in assistance for the industry.

He said the ministry had also been conducting training for farmers and there were some farmers who had requested the ministry to send in their officers to educate them so that they can start their farms.

24) Focus still on rural areas

Filipe Naigulevu
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

GOVERNMENT will continue to focus on recruiting seasonal workers from rural areas and districts (tikina) for several reasons, says Employment Minister Jone Usamate.

Mr Usamate said this was part of several measures in avoiding problems such as the seasonal workers who were still on the run in Australia.

“In Australia, those who ran away were from the urban areas, they are not used to hard work,” he said.

“So we have to be careful on what we focus on to ensure that we get the right kind of people moving across.

“We are trying to get people there that are used to hard work and getting them to go through a selection process so we get people that actually work.”

Mr Usamate said they also maintained their focus on recruiting seasonal employment from rural areas as they had no or little access to income earning opportunities.

“In the issues of equity, we want to give them those opportunities,” he said.

Mr Usamate said they had also received positive reports of tikina-based teams employed overseas.

“Employers are very happy with these tikina-based teams that have been going,” he said.

“If they are going to deliver what the employers want, the demand for workers from Fiji will rise.”

While Government has also aimed to increase the number of seasonal workers to Australia and New Zealand, Mr Usamate said the demand for workers would depend on the level of performance of seasonal workers sent initially.


25a) Bridge to close for repair works

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

PART of the Labasa Bridge is expected to close in May this year for repair works.

This was confirmed by the Fiji Roads Authority yesterday.

A statement from the authority said the Labasa Bridge was one of the high priority bridges to receive repairs in the 2016 and 2017 financial year.

The authority stated that the scope of works would include beam strengthening and propping of all beams on each pier.

According to FRA, the existing asphaltic surface for the entire carriage way would be removed and new reinforcements and the concrete overlay of 110mm for the whole bridge deck and railings on the downstream side of the bridge would be relocated. The FRA also said repairs would be done to any unforeseen defects that may arise during the course of the repair works.

Half of the bridge will be closed from May 1-10.

According to FRA, the full closure of the bridge would be from May 7 from 2am to 6pm.

25b) Seal repairs start on bridge

Vishaal Kumar
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

THE Fulton Hogan Hiways (FHH) has begun repairing both ends of the Wainibuku Bridge at nine miles.

FHH construction manager Mark Burns said the works were part of the accelerated sealed repair program initiated by the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA).

“The Wainibuku Bridge at nine miles is part of this program initiated by the FRA to improve areas following a spate of tropical depressions in recent months where the condition of the road has become a concern,” Mr Burns said.

“Several sections of the pavement have deteriorated, exposing rather large potholes in the road that pose an immediate risk to motorists. Once work has been completed, motorists that use the bridge daily will be able to drive through without having to swerve to dodge potholes and other defects.”

According to Mr Burns, to ensure the completion of work on the bridge, a temporary speed restriction of 30km/h was in place.

“If you cannot avoid this area, please be patient. The workmen on site are there to carry out important work for the benefit of all those that drive through these sections of Kings Rd,” he said.

Around 20 to 25 workmen are currently carrying out works at the site over the course of 10 to 12 nights.

FHH is working under the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) maintenance program to provide access to the Central, Northern and Eastern divisions.


26) Nautilus Minerals pressing ahead with controversial deep sea mining project in PNG

The planned undersea mining project, Solwara 1, in Papua New Guinea is entering the first underwater testing stage.

Despite being beset by financial problems, Nautilus Minerals is pressing ahead with plans to mine the sea bed off New Ireland and East New Britain starting in 2018.

Nautilus Minerals chief executive Mike Johnston says equipment manufactured in the UK has arrived and submerged trials are about to take place on Motukea Island, near Port Moresby.

He says the equipment has been modified to do less long term damage to the sea floor.

Kerri Worthington

Source: Pacific Beat |

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29) Minister: Watch over EEZ

Alisi Vucago
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

IT is imperative to stay alert and keep a close watch over our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), says Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau.

He said monitoring our territorial waters was imperative to not only monitor illegal fishing, but also other activities including the trafficking of drugs and weapons.

“We need to plan for the future and secure our expansion in fisheries, especially our source of raw materials for canning and value adding as a lot of our people are employed in this sector,” he said.

“Fiji works closely with Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and Pacific Community (SPC) to monitor and assist Pacific by maritime surveillance aircraft from our neighbours,” he said.

“We also have our observers onboard that licensed fishing vessels and these vessels also carry monitoring equipment onboard.”

Mr Koroilavesau said Fiji had licensed 60 offshore fishing vessels mainly for tuna and other migratory species.

“Our total allowable catch (TAC) is 12,000 metric tonnes per year and we have not surpassed that figure,” he said.

“We have been quite strict by standard of all Pacific countries.”

On the other hand, he said there was also a concern for blue boats which fish illegally around the Pacific, but they have not reached as far as Fiji yet.

He added Fiji’s EEZ and monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) are carried out in a partnership with government agencies, regional and subregional organisations that assist in our standing agreements.


30) FJFW marks ten years with Pacific Island show

Alisi Vucago
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

FIJI Fashion Week (FJFW) will mark its 10th year an­n­iversary this year with the first Pacific Island Re­s­ort Show featuring 11 de­­signers from 10 Pacific Island countries, elevati­ng the event to a regional stage on May 25.

The event will feature designers from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, New Caledonia, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and organisers are still awaiting confirmation from New Zealand.

FJFW managing director Ellen Whippy-Knight said the idea was to launch Pacific Island fashion week in Fiji and plans were in progress to hold a similar event on an annual basis in Australia from next year.

“We are focusing on presentation, style, print and on the business of fashion,” she said. “This is the first time to have 11 designers from 10 different countries including Fiji and we didn’t have to struggle to get that. Designers were just waiting to be asked and the response was immediate which just goes to show the timing is absolutely right for what FJFW has been nurturing since 2008.”

Ticket prices range from $5 to $70 and can be purchased at MHCC, Suva.

FJFW will start on May 22 at the Vodafone Arena.


31a) Toea Wisil misfire in Stawell Easter races no cause for alarm for coach Fairweather

Papua New Guinea’s Toea Wisil may have steamed ahead in the heats at Australia’s richest footrace, the Stawell Easter Gift, but she failed to secure a place in the final of the 120m sprint.

Toea Wisil won both the Australian 100m and 200m championship just a couple of weeks ago, and now she’s looking to get her times down to World Championship qualifying standards, ahead of the World Champs in London later in the year.

Her coach Tony Fairweather says while Toea is disappointed at her performance at Stawell, there are still plenty of opportunities on the way for her to make the cut for London.

Kerri Worthington

Source: Pacific Beat |

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31bb) Huge turn out at colourful Easter fun run

Published: 18 April 2017

THOUSANDS of people from different works of life ended their Easter celebration with a colorful Easter fun run yesterday morning in Honiara.

The annual event has attracted children, youths, women, men, leaders, locals expats and visiting friends in and around Honiara.

The route started off at Lawson Tama stadium, up the Kola-Ridge cemetery towards the direction of the Governor General’s residence and down the Kukum market and back to Lawson Tama.

His Excellency Governor General Sir Frank Kabui unveiled the fun run as well as officiated in the prize giving ceremony after the run.

In his brief remarks, Sir Kabui supported the event saying Rotary in Honiara deals with children in the country.

“I understand that Rotary club in Honiara has Rotary Act which deals with our children,’’ he said.

He stressed the event is very important for our children as it will nature them to continue the good work Rotary is doing in the country.

“I think this program is very important for our children as they will be our future Rotarians in the country because rotary work is here to stay.’’

He therefore thanked those who coordinate Rotary work in the country and urges local Solomon Islanders to support Rotary work in the country.

Meanwhile, a representative from the club said all funds received from the community goes back to them.

“In Rotary every single cent we receive from the community goes back to the community.

“Not a single cent goes towards Rotary’s administration in Honiara.

“Our generous companies, Rotarians, friends of Rotary are the once who helped support all the other cost associated to any fundraising Rotary club conducted,’’ he said.

The club also thanked all the individuals, companies, NGOs, stakeholders, business houses  and those made the Easter Fun run on Monday successful.


31c) Capital teams reign

April 18, 2017The NationalSports

THE country’s softball titles stayed in Port Moresby after defending women’s champion, Port Moresby Gold and their men Melonas won their finals at Kalabond, Kokopo, East New Britain yesterday.
Port Moresby Gold successfully defended their crown after seeing off Kokopo 11-8 the women’s final.
Port Moresby victory did not come on a golden plate as hosts pushed them throughout the seven innings of the final.
The reigning champions booked the first grand final berth after easily disposing sister team, Port Moresby Black 19-3 while Kokopo edged out neighbouring ENB Gazelle for a place in the finale.
In the men’s final, Port Moresby Kakanas ensured the title would go to Port Moresby after beating ENB Gazelle 8-4 in their decider.
Port Moresby’s second team and the defending champion, NCD Meros were unlucky this year missing out on the playoffs finishing fourth in the pool stage.
However, sister team Kakanas ensured that they restored some lost pride to bring the title back to the National capital District.
The finals were pitched off by Governor Ereman ToBaining.
In related news, Madang was given the nod to host the national club championships in September while Lae was awarded the Under-23 men’s and women’s championships later this year.

31d) Fiji crashes out of Singapore Sevens as Canada wins first-ever all American final

It is said anything can happen in rugby sevens and fans saw plenty of that in round eight of the Sevens World Series.

Leaders South Africa and second-placed Fiji both crashed out in the Singapore quarter finals with Fiji only managing a share of seventh.

South Africa’s sixth placing nevertheless saw them extend their lead over Fiji with two rounds to play.

Australia’s young guns came up short against arch enemy England to finish fourth.

Meanwhile Canada defeated the USA 26-19 in the first-ever North American final.

Pacific Beat’s sevens specialist Nick Jordan watched all the action.

Kerri Worthington

Source: Pacific Beat |

31e) Civoniceva boost FNRL bid

Paulini Ratulailai
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

FIJI National Rugby League is partnering with Petero Civoniceva in its bid to join the New South Wales Cup competition.

Chief executive officer Timoci Naleba said the aim of their meeting with Petero was to get a Fijian team into the competition.

“There is need in both parties to improve rugby league in Fiji and in order to achieve that, we need a pathway.

“The best way to get Fijians more developed and equipped is through participating in the New South Wales Cup competition.

“When a Fijian team plays, it is not only developing players, but the management improves too.

When local teams see the success in this pathway, then it will motivate them to perform.

“It improves the chances for our local boys too to be in the Fiji Bati — that is what our local players want,” Naleba said.

National Rugby League ambassador Civoniceva said there was a need for FNRL and the New South Wales management to sit down and discuss the potential of the bid.

“We have been working hard for the past two years in trying to put these together but the idea for the bid in partnership with FNRL is a good move for us moving forward. Looking at FNRL partner share in the whole bid, it’s so exciting with its feeding system for or local players to play in the overseas competition and also planned a game here in Suva.

“We’re giving an opportunity for our local players to be exposed to a higher level of the competition and New South Wales competition is certainly can do that,” Civoniceva said.

31f) Money and gold

Elenoa Baselala
Tuesday, April 18, 2017-Fijitimes

FORMER national sevens coach Ben Ryan is coming home this week for the launching of the Fiji 7s Olympic gold commemorative bank note and coin.

Ryan confirmed to this newspaper in Vancouver he would be in the country for the official launch of the note and coin after the Singapore 7s.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has also sent out official invitations for the launch, which will be officiated by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Ryan and Vodafone Fiji 7s captain Osea Kolinisau as guest speakers at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva.

While the national sevens team bowed out of the cup quarter-final of the Singapore 7s on Sunday, a week after winning the Hong Kong 7s, fans have another chance to celebrate the Olympic gold medal win in Rio last year.

Fiji has the most coveted prize in sevens rugby and it will be another three years before other teams have a chance to win it.

Meanwhile, Ryan also known as Ratu Peni Latianara of Serua, will also use this opportunity to finalise the legalities concerning his land given by the people of Serua.

Ryan previously stated that he intended to build a yoga retreat on the land.

However, he hinted that his former sevens manager Ropate Kauvesi will work with him as project manager.

“We will see what we can put together. He will be the big Ratu,” Ryan said.

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