Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1105 ( Wednesday 21 June 2017 )


1) Vanuatu mourns as condolences pour in

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale has passed away, the government confirmed over the weekend.

According to Vanuatu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Co-operation and External Trade, Mr Lonsdale died on Saturday, and a 10-day national state of mourning has been declared.

Mr Lonsdale, 67, died in Port Vila. Prior to his sudden death, he was rushed to a local hospital after a suspected heart attack.

Mr Lonsdale was elected and sworn in as Vanuatu’s president in 2014.

Under the country’s constitution, the parliament speaker is now the acting president, before a new head of state is elected.

Australian governor-general, Peter Cosgrove, extended condolences to the president’s family, government and the people of Vanuatu after his death.

“Lynne and I recall fondly meeting His Excellency in July 2015 when we visited Vanuatu after the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Pam,” he said.

He served the people of Vanuatu with dignity and humility, and was much loved.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Twitter she was saddened to hear of Mr Lonsdale’s death.

“Condolences to his family, the government and people of Vanuatu,” she said.

Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland also expressed her deep sorrow, saying

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of President Lonsdale, who had been serving the people of Vanuatu since September 2014.

“I extend my deepest condolences to his family and I stand in solidarity with the government and people of Vanuatu as they mourn the death of their dedicated and beloved leader,” she said.

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3) 138 West Papuan Refugees Granted Papua New Guinea Citizenship

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 06/19/2017 – 16:27

More than 10,000 stateless West Papuans thought to be residing in PNG

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 19, 2017) – Papua New Guinea has granted citizenship to 138 West Papuan refugees.

They were joined by four others at the ceremony on Sunday at the Sir John Guise Stadium.

EMTV reports the acting Chief Migration Officer, Solomon Kantha, saying he is proud this government is the first to take steps to see West Papuans get legal status in PNG.

He also says the government did not require the West Papuan refugees to pay the $US3045 dollars fee for citizenship.

There are more than 10,000 West Papuan refugees living in PNG, some of whom have been in the country for more than 30 years.

Radio New Zealand International


4) Samoa’s First ‘Tsunami Ready Community’ Recognized By UNESCO

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 06/19/2017 – 16:41

Savaia on southern coast of Upolu was part of pilot readiness project

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, June 19, 2017) – Savaia village, on the southern coast of Upolu, will be recognized by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) as Samoa’s first Tsunami Ready community at a ceremony on  June 20, 2017 at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), TATTE Building.

The Chief Executive Officer of MNRE and Chair of the Disaster Advisory Committee, Ulu Bismarck Crawley said that “the Tsunami Ready program is critical in identifying gaps in tsunami preparedness and response at the village level and to guide the implementation of tsunami related capacity strengthening programs.

Savaia has been selected as the pilot village for this program as it has already completed the community disaster and climate risk management program and had participated in the IOC’s Exercise Pacific Wave 2017 (PACWAVE17).  This program will be up-scaled to become a multi-hazard readiness recognition program for Samoa”. Samoa is the first Pacific Island Country to implement the program.

To achieve the recognition, Savaia had to meet 10 guidelines covering hazard assessment, tsunami signage, evacuation mapping and planning, education and outreach, and 24hrs x 7days communications and response planning.  The achievements were put into action through a community exercise that was part of the as part of IOC’s PACWAVE17.

The UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready pilot is performance based community recognition program modeled after the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminitration National Weather Service’s successful TsunamiReady® Program.

Approved in 2015 in the Caribbean and globally recognized in 2017, it is being piloted in interested countries of the UNESCO IOC’s Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (PTWS) in 2017 and 2018.  The Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System encompasses 46 countries, covering the Pacific Ocean and its marginal seas spanning more than 20,000 kilometers, and over history, has suffered 75% of the world’s fatal tsunamis.

“Tsunamis wreak havoc locally and can also cross ocean basins with deadly waves that take 15 hours to reach Samoa.  But in the Pacific, 99% of our casualties have been caused by local tsunamis that attack in minutes, and it is for these that tsunami education, awareness, and preparedness beforehand to be Tsunami Ready will save lives,’’ said Dr Laura Kong, Director of the International Tsunami Information Centre (ITIC).

The UNESCO IOC office in Suva and ITIC, a partnership of UNESCO IOC and the US NOAA, are working together to facilitate pilots in the Pacific.  Currently, Mexico and Guatemala in Meso-America, Ecuador in the South East Pacific, and Tonga and Vanuatu in the South West Pacific have indicated interest.

In February 2017, Cedeno, Honduras, a small coastal town known for its seafood, and in May, Ostional, Costa Rica, a small coastal town visited by many tourist to observe endangered sea turtle nesting, were recognized as Tsunami Ready communities.




6) Reparation offered for those affected by Guam’s WWII occupation 20 June 2017

The United States government has begun accepting applications for compensation to Guamanians who suffered under Japanese occupation in World War II.

The payments are part of a bill signed into law by then-President Barack Obama in December, ending a decades-long battle for reparations.

Guam was seized from the US by Japanese forces in 1941, and the island’s population was subjected to so called culture alignment, forced labour, beheadings, rape and torture until the island was recaptured in 1944.

An estimated 10 percent of Guam’s population was killed during the 30-month occupation.

Guam’s delegate to Congress in Washington, Madeleine Bordallo, said the funding has been set aside in the 2017 defence budget for the island, which hosts several bases.

Ms Bordallo said victims and their descendants can claim between US$10,000 and US$25,000, and have until the end of June next year to submit a claim.

7) Outbreak Of Mumps In Marshall Islands Continues To Spread

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 06/19/2017 – 16:44

Health officials says number could be as high as 3,000

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, June 19, 2017) – A mumps outbreak that started in March in Majuro could be slowing based on official data from the Ministry of Health — but health officials warn the true number of cases could be as high as 3,000 even though the confirmed and probable number is listed as 1,033 as of late last week.

And with thousands of islanders from the outer islands, Ebeye and the United States in Majuro for summer church conferences, the opportunity for further spread is increased.

It is the biggest outbreak of mumps in the Marshall Islands in decades and started up following a large outbreak late last year in the American state of Arkansas in an area where about 15,000 Marshall Islanders live. In recent weeks, Hawaii state health authorities are reporting an uptick in mumps cases.

The Ministry of Health has stepped up its health outreach with the churches in Majuro — and is launching an immunization push on several outer islands following delivery of thousands of vaccines to school children in recent weeks.

Last week’s mumps report from the Ministry of Health shows that the number of confirmed and suspected cases dipped below 40 for the past two weeks, for the first time since the end of March when the numbers started climbing. While still high it is a decline since the number in one week peaked at over 140 cases in late April. But health officials suspect the true number of cases is under-reported and there could be two or three times the reported number of cases of mumps.

The ministry’s June 10 outbreak report said 1,033 probable and confirmed cases have been reported in the country, with 844 in Majuro and 193 in Ebeye. More cases are suspected on several outer atolls. “Case reports have dropped at Ministry of Health most likely because the message to the public was to stay home unless complications were noted,” said the report. “Thus the ‘curve’ decrease may be due to under-reporting rather than a true decrease in cases.” The ministry said Ebeye continues to see at least 23 cases a week.

Public Health responded to the outbreak by launching a crash MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine program in local schools that started on April 17 and is continuing. The vaccine program has been conducted in Majuro and Ebeye, as well as some outer islands. A “mass immunization” is being launched for all islands with probable cases of mumps, including Arno, Mejit, Utrik, Ailinglaplap, Namu and Ailuk.

“All Majuro schools exceed the ‘attack rate’ of five per 1,000 students recommended as a threshold for implementing a blanket outbreak dose of MMR vaccine,” said the ministry’s report.

Hawaii is currently experiencing an outbreak of mumps. The Hawaii State Department of Health confirmed seven additional cases last week among Oahu residents with the mumps, bringing the total number of cases this year to 96. The DOH said it expects to see more cases of mumps as the highly-contagious viral disease continues to circulate on Oahu.

Marianas Variety


8) Praem Minista Sogavare hem sore tumas an krae from hem trae fo stopem RAMSI

Updated 20 June 2017, 17:08 AEST
Sam Seke
Praim Minista blong Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare ibin sori tru na i krai long wanem em ibin agensim tingting long askim Regional Assistance Mission long go helpim Solomon Islands.

RAMSI ibin go long Solomon Islands long 2003 fo stretem ethnic conflict wea ibin bagarapem saet long long law and order, waka blong olketa gavman institusin an ikonomi blong kantri.

So long June 30, waka blong RAMSI long Solomon Islands bae hem finis and hem bae livim kantri.

Australlia nao hem lidim disfala regional assistance mission wea 15 fala kantri long Pacific nao i stap insaet.

Long distaem ia, Solomon Islands Gavman wetem RAMSI i garem wanfala komiti long “Farewell RAMSI” radio program long SIBC, an olketa i askem  Praem Minista Sogavare long tingting blong hen long RAMSI.

Taem hem toktok long program ia, Mr Sogavare hem se hem nao wanfala long olketa memba wea barava tok aot strong long 2003 fo RAMSI hem mas no go long Solomon Islands.

Bat Mr Sogavare hem se taem hem lukluk go baek an lukim olketa gudfala waka wea RAMSI hem duim fo bringim peace and steretem kantri, hem se sore tumas long olketa kantri long rijin wea igo fo helpem kantri blong hem. Hem fil sore tumas an krae taem hem to sore.


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10) Bluesky Cook Islands Welcomes New Zealand Commitment To Cable Project

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 06/19/2017 – 16:35

PM English promises $11 million for Manatua submarine cable installation

By Cameron Scott

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, June 16, 2017) – Bluesky Cook Islands country manager Phill Henderson has greeted as “good news”, Tuesday’s announcement by visiting New Zealand prime minister Bill English that New Zealand will contribute $15 million  [US$11 million] dollars to the total cost of constructing the Manatua submarine cable.

Henderson says the news wasn’t entirely unexpected as former Foreign minister Murray McCully indicated on his last official visit to the Cook Islands early this year that New Zealand would be contributing to the cable costs.

However, he says the $15 million will be a welcome contribution to the total cost of the build, which at this stage is unknown. Also unknown is whether a contractor has been chosen to lay the cable.

Henderson says the concept for the Manatua Cable was actually initiated by the Bluesky Group last year, with business case development, high level designs and vendor capability assessments.

While Bluesky did register interest in investing in the Manatua Cable if the opportunity arose, it is no longer part of the development team.

Henderson says the concept for the Manatua Cable was actually initiated by the Bluesky Group last year, with business case development, high level designs and vendor capability assessments and it is pleasing that has now evolved into a regional initiative.

“Bluesky is no longer involved with the current phase of the project, but has registered interest in investing in the Manatua Cable if the opportunity arises.”

Once the cable system is commissioned, it will offer alternative connectivity options for Bluesky to access internet capacity and other services currently only accessible via satellite, Henderson adds.

“As far as we know, the proposed design will connect Rarotonga and Aitutaki only.

However, he says the completion of Rarotonga and Aitutaki’s submarine cable connection will not mean an end to Bluesky’s O3b satellite service.

“Satellite connectivity will remain a requirement to service the Pa Enua and as a backup to the submarine cable system.

“This an important consideration as traditionally with submarine cable failures, outages are measured in terms of weeks, therefore it is important to ensure restoration by satellite is possible.”

Henderson said there had so far been no indication of the price of connectivity for consumers using the Manatua cable, though assumptions were that it should be cheaper.

“The reduced cost will flow on to Bluesky customers as was done when O3b was used for international access. Bluesky is unable to comment on pricing until this indicated by the cable stakeholders.”

Bluesky’s current local infrastructure provided by fixed line xDSL, Fibre and Mobile 4G+ has the capability to immediately take advantage of the higher speeds of the Manatua Cable offering, adds Henderson.

“The submarine cable will enable capacity to exceed the capability of current satellites to deliver, with higher availability and quality.

“The local access infrastructure also needs to be able to support this higher speed and capability and Bluesky continues to invest in the local infrastructure to ensure this, with the recent launch of 4G+, the fastest commercially-available mobile technology.

Henderson says Bluesky also plans to begin a “fibre to the business/home” project in August.

Cook Islands News


11) Longest global coral bleaching event on record ends 20 June 2017

Climate and ocean scientists say the longest global coral bleaching on record, which is coming to an end, has left a trail of destruction, causing major damage to reefs in the Pacific.

The worst-affected reef system is on Jarvis Island in the central Pacific, where 98 percent of coral has died, and there are similarly high numbers for the parts of the Great Barrier reef and Kiritimati Island in Kiribati.

Global coral bleaching occurs when conditions in all three of the world’s ocean basins that contain reefs become toxic to coral which are the foundations of life in tropical marine ecosystems.

The current event, caused by increased ocean temperatures, was announced in 2015.

The US’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s coral reef watch co-ordinator Mark Eakin said the 2015 event was the longest and most widespread on record.

He said he was also expecting it to be the most damaging once the extent of the destruction was fully known.

“And a part of that was because since this was a multi-year event you had a number of areas that bleached more than once during this event and so that return of bleaching so quickly sometimes one year after the next has caused a lot of damage,” he said.

Dr Eakin said they would be monitoring the temperature of the world oceans carefully over the coming months to confirm that the global coral bleaching event had indeed ended while warning that high temperatures could still persist in some areas.

12) Pacific Community Releases App For Identifying Coastal Fish

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 06/19/2017 – 15:29

PacFishID an effort to improve management of fishery resource

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 20, 2017) – A Pacific research organisation has developed a new app for identifying fish in the region, in a bid to improve management of the resource.

The Pacific Community has just released PacFishID, an app which draws on data previously used by fisheries officers, but now opened to a wider digital audience.

The group’s Fisheries Information Officer, Aymeric Desurmont, said the coast had been overlooked because of the focus on policing offshore fisheries.

“Coastal fisheries is very difficult to manage because there are so many species concerned so once again the very first step we think is make sure that you can correctly identify the species and have a management plan that takes into account that these are different species,” he said.

Last year the group released the Tails app, which collects catch data from fisheries and last month was part of a partnership with conservation groups to establish real-time monitoring.

Radio New Zealand International


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15) Distributor donates medical supplies to Health Dept

June 20, 2017The NationalNational

SUPREME Pharma Limited has given 181 boxes of medical supplies, including medicines, to the Department of Health to help ease the shortage of supplies in public hospitals and health centres nationwide.
Supreme Pharma has been a distributor of medical supplies in the country for more than a decade.
Health Secretary Pascoe Kase said medical supplies were being sent to hospitals in Mount Hagen in Western Highlands, Kundiawa in Chimbu, Alotau in Milne Bay, Modilon in Madang and Angau in Lae.
He said the “urgent” shipments will continue until all hospitals have sufficient stock.

He said the Health Department was being assisted in this exercise to meet the medicine shortfalls by major medical supply firms and business partners.


16) Court halts Panguna signing

June 20, 2017The NationalNational

A COURT has issued a restraining order to stop the signing of an agreement between landowners and the Autonomous Bougainville Government regarding the reopening of the Panguna mine.
Justice Ambeng Kandakasi issued the order at the Waigani National Court following an application filed by Philip Miriori, the chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Incorporated (SMLOLI).
He ordered that the parties to the proposed memorandum of agreement for the redevelopment of the Panguna mine were “forthwith restrained from signing the agreement”.
“If in the event the agreement has already been signed, the parties to that agreement and any person wanting to implement it are forthwith restrained from doing so,” Kandakasi said.
The signing of the agreement would have paved the way for the Bougainville Copper Limited to start work on the mine’s reopening.
The agreement was to have been signed last Friday but was cancelled after women from the area protested.
The court also restrained Lawrence Daveona from acting as the chairman of SMLOLI. The matter will return to court on Friday.
Justice Kandakasi said the order would remain in force unless the parties to the agreement could produce evidence that they had obtained the consent of the more than 500 block holders.

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20) Solomon Islands eyes PNG voting system

10:37 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2017, Papua New Guinea

Solomon Islands electoral commissioner Taeasi Sanga will be looking at how the limited preferential voting system is used in Papua New Guinea – with a view of suggesting it for her country.

“This is your second time around to do the limited-preferential-voting,” said Sanga, who is leading the Pacific Islands Forum observer group.

“We’re hoping to adopt this. We’re hoping to have that (LPV) in 2023, that is, if it is passed in parliament.”

Sanga said the Solomon Islands held its election every four years, with the last one being in 2014.

“This is using the first-past-the-post election system,” she said.

“We’re in the process of having it debated in parliament, for the limited preferential voting, but because of the short time we have to do awareness so that people can really know what limited preferential voting is, we won’t be able to do it until after 2019.

“The next election will be in 2018, and that will still be first-past-the-post.

“Coming here (to PNG) is going to be a big eye-opener for me. It (LPV) will lessen the tension we have, especially when we have three choices, unlike the first-past-the-post system where we have only one choice.”.


21) Two wards in Isabel welcomes leader

Published: 20 June 2017

Havulei and Kia wards of Isabel Province have recently played host to their Member of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition Group, Honorable Jeremiah Manele.

Mr Manele and his wife madam Jocelyn Manele have visited the Havulei and Kia wards from the 5th to 10th June 2017, the previous week.

The Opposition Leader’s visit was not the first; he made similar gestures in 2015 and 2016.

What made this recent visit more significant was that he took this opportunity to inform his people of Havulei and Kia wards how the constituency office has disbursed their portion of Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) from last year to this year.

Hon. Manele made similar informative visits to Hograno and Katova wards last year.

Hon. Manele’s own initiative to inform his people of how their RCDF was spent has received widespread praise from his own people and also others who are not part of the constituency.

Many have described Hon. Manele’s approach as being transparent and a clear demonstration of good governance in practice.

Villages that were honored to play host to the Leader of Opposition’s visit included Bolitei, Toelegu, Lilika community high school, Zuto, Baolo, Kolopakisa, Tubi, Zaguto, Kia Groups 1-4 and Babahaero.

Hon. Manele used the visit not only to inform his people about the use of their funds but also to see for himself the progresses made so far in implementing his flagship constituency project, the housing scheme.

Most of the villages have completed their housing projects except for a few who are still in the process of completing theirs.

Hon. Manele was impressed with the overall implementation of the housing projects and he assured his people of Havulei and Kia wards that the project will continue until people decided otherwise.

Hon. Manele also used his recent visit to emphasize to his people that his foremost role as their representative in parliament is being a legislator.

He let the people know that some of the laws that were passed in the last meeting of the parliament included Pacific Games 2013 Act, Child and Family Welfare Act, the Solomon Islands Tertiary Education and skills Authority Act, Land Surveyors Act and few others.

Hon. Manele concluded his visit at Babahaero village and returned to Buala where he paid a courtesy call on the Premier of Isabel Province, honorable James Habu.

Other members of the visiting delegation included Constituency Project Officer Apollos Manegere, Logistics Officer Clement Betea and one of Research Officers in the Opposition Office, Allan Tarohania.Solomon Star

22) O’Neill not sticking to facts: Somare

June 20, 2017The NationalNational

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is not sticking to facts or ignorant of them in claiming that K8 billion were in trust accounts built up from surplus budgets between 2005 and 2010,” Arthur Somare says.
The National Alliance Party election campaign director was responding to claims by O’Neill that the K8 billion had disappeared from the accounts since.
He said that it was impossible that O’Neill was ignorant of the facts because the status of the trust accounts was disclosed by him in his capacity as the treasurer in November 2010, when he presented the 2011 Budget in parliament.
“In the budget, O’Neill had quantified the total amounts that had flowed into the trust accounts in that six-year period as totalling K4.57 billion, with approved expenditures amounting to K3.6 billion,” Somare said.
“The totality of surplus funds never exceeded K5 billion in total so how would it be possible to steal K8 billion.
“O’Neill’s budget papers show beyond any doubt it would have been impossible for such a huge sum of money to have gone missing.
He said it totalled K13 billion which was correct. “Then he went on to claim, according to media reports, that K5 billion was for public service, K3 billion for education and K2 billion on free healthcare,” Somare said.
“In fact, the 2017 budget shows that public administration will only take up K2.7 billion, education K1.16 billion and health K1.2 billion.”

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24) Hundreds march demanding better law and order in PNG’s Madang 20 June 2017

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of the Papua New Guinea city of Madang on Tuesday demanding a greater response to violent protests and safety concerns.

They marched through the town to the local police station, presenting a 1,300-signature petition in response to the assault of a mother and child last week when their vehicle was stopped at a road block.

Road blocks are commonly used as a form of protest, but a community leader, Samuel Roth, said they often spiral into violence.

He said law and order needs to be better enforced to protect citizens and ensure lawful protest, but the government and police had so far done nothing.

Mr Roth said the people want more police and government services in the area.

“There’s some protests that involve violence where people disrupt government services very quickly,” he said. “For law and order, people want a lasting solution to it.”

Samuel Roth said the police commander promised to respond to their concerns in a week.RNZI

25) Solomon Islands PM Admits He Was Initially Wrong About RAMSI Intervention

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 06/19/2017 – 15:19

Sogavare, as an MP, ‘strongly opposed’ regional mission; now thankful for assistance

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, June 19, 2017) – Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has admitted he was wrong to have questioned the initial arrival of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

In an exclusive interview with SIBC’s Moddie Nanau, Mr Sogavare commended RAMSI, for its tremendous contribution to rebuilding the country after the devastating effects of the ethnic conflict almost fourteen years ago.

As RAMSI prepares to leave at the end of the month, Prime Minister Sogavare said it had achieved its mandate.

“It’s all tick, it’s all tick,” he said. “When it comes to the security of this country for example we see the police action plan there already.

“We see the crime prevention plan there, we see the real the cost of running the police force there. So it guides us to how we can continue to sustain the good work of RAMSI when it leaves.”

During the interview, Mr Sogavare recalled that he was one of the few members of Parliament who strongly opposed the mission when it first arrived.

The Prime Minister was quite emotional when he admitted his initial opinion about the mission was wrong.

“I was first of all on the other side of the camp,” he said.

“I was very critical to the coming of RAMSI, questioning a lot of things to the extent of encouraging for us to go to Court and challenge the presence of RAMSI in this country.

“Looking back, oh I said it’s probably God leading in marvelous ways. We can only look back and say Oh thank you. Thank you to our friends.”

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation


26) Advance preparation seen as key to overcoming effects of El Nino
10:34 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2017, Papua New Guinea

Advance preparation is the key to overcoming El Nino when it strikes, according to the head of the  Papua New Guinea National Weather Service (NWS).

Sam Maiha, the chairman of the National Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Committee and director of NWS, speaking at a meeting in Port Moresby  said disaster officers should prepare beforehand in order to tackle hardship when disasters struck.

Maiha said most of the natural disasters that occurred around Papua New Guinea were weather-related and people should be alert to take appropriate action to overcome the situation quickly.

“Right now the time expected for EL Nino to have started has gone past but that doesn’t mean we stay relaxed by knowing that nothing would happen,” he said.

“Just like preparing early for other things in life, preparing to overcome El Nino anytime must be compulsory because as a disaster community, we need to be prepared on how those natural hazards should be addressed.” Maiha said preparation should not be for El Nino only but for floods and volcanoes too.

“Many times we see preparedness in terms of the response which is not a good initiative.

“We need to be prepared before, during and after any disasters.”

He urged disaster coordinators and disaster management officers from each province to make reports early so that funds could be  released sooner than later.

“The treasury and finance departments must be aware beforehand so that they are able to release funds on time,” Maiha said.

“Communication and coordination are very important to address all the related issues of natural disasters in and around the country.”.




28) Pearl farm future

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Confédération International de la Bijouterie (CIBJO), Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie des Diamantes, Perles et Pierres), the World Jewellery Confederations will promote and develop sustainable, community-based pearl farming which is practised in Fiji.

Cibjo has worked with the Fiji Pearl Association to formulate a plan for the development of a national, community-based pearl farming industry that will enhance the effectiveness of locally managed marine areas, integrated coastal management, and land and sea management programs.

President of Cibjo Gaetano Cavalieri said this would also create meaningful employment and income-generating opportunities for communities involved in pearl farming.

“There is one sector of the jewellery industry where both the product and business associated with it is potentially sustainable, and that is cultured pearls,” he said.

“For unlike a mine, which has a finite life span, a pearl farm can continue producing indefinitely, on condition that it is responsibly managed.

“In other words, we have an asset that can be renewed and sustained, which in turn can act as a source of sustainable economic and social opportunity.”

Mr Cavalieri said built into the equation was a very positive element of co-dependency.

“Just as the potential economic and social benefits to the country are dependent upon a viable business model, the business model requires an economic environment in which all stakeholders feel they are benefiting.

“The one goes hand in hand with the other,

“This is all only possible over the long-term if the marine environment is responsibly managed. It is the very epitome of a win-win-win situation” he said.

The Fijian plan proposes the development of community-owned pearl farms, which will become “stewards of the oceans” while providing opportunities for coastal villages, especially for women and young people.Fijitimes

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30) Fiji Hotel And Tourism Association Calls For More Incentives For Hotel Investment

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 06/19/2017 – 16:47

Number of hotel beds not keeping up with number of airline seats

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 20, 2017) – The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association says there is a need for more incentives to encourage investment by new and existing hoteliers to increase room numbers and add further value to their properties.

Association CEO Fantasha Lockington said an article which appeared in this newspaper on June 11 quoting FHTA president Dixon Seeto as saying investment in the tourism sector “seems to have slowed down in recent years” was taken out of context.

In the article, Mr Seeto, was quoted as saying there is a need to ensure that re-fleeting plans by Fiji Airways are matched by the number of hotel beds available for travellers.

Mrs Lockington said the lack of incentives provided to hoteliers made it difficult for them to fund improvements and extensions, and this was what Mr Seeto was referring to when he made the comments.

“Previously available incentives provided under the Hotel Aids Investment Act (HAIA) and the Short Life Investment Program (SLIP) had features that assisted both current and new investors to continue to invest in Fiji,” she said.

“Prior to 2016 there were investment incentives that made it more affordable for existing hotels to improve their product offering through the SLIP, which allowed accelerated depreciation of 55 per cent of the capital cost of the project and duty concessions for imported items to be used in the hotel.

“This incentive was reduced to 25 per cent in 2016 and eliminated in 2017.

“It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult for existing hotels to fund required improvements and extensions and entice new hotel businesses without these incentives.

“The association’s president was highlighting these challenges when he indicated that ‘investment seemed to have slowed’.”

Mrs Lockington said incentives to encourage more investment were also needed because of the perception from international visitors that Fiji was a high-cost destination.

Fiji Times Online.


31) Fijiana set for final battle in France

Maciu Malo
Tuesday, June 20, 2017-Fijitimes

TELECOM Fijiana 7s team is confident of a good outing at the upcoming Clermont 7s tournament to secure its spot in this season’s HSBC World Sevens Women’s Series.

The side departed the country yesterday with three changes from the team that participated in the last tournament.

Flyer and dual international Rejieli Daveua, sprinter Miriama Naiobasali and Alowesi Nakoci missed out because of injury and replacing them are Asinate Savu, Lavenia Tinai and new rep Lavenia Cavuru.

Head coach Iliesa Tanivula said the changes would not affect the players’ morale as all had been looking forward to the last tournament of this season.

The former All Blacks 7s rep said securing its spot in the top four would guarantee the side an automatic qualification to next year’s women’s 7s rugby world cup.

He said that it had been a long season for them but they had managed to remain consistent.

“The girls have had a long season but have managed to remain consistent,” said Tanivula.

“Currently we are fifth on the points table and our aim is to remain in the top 4 in order qualify for the Women’s 7s World Cup next year.”

Fiji Rugby Union CEO John O’Connor challenged the team to perform well and to finish in top 4 of the series to automatically qualify for the Women’s 7s World Cup.

“This should be the target and should be motivational for you to go out there and do your best.”

New Zealand leads the overall points tally with 96 point followed by Canada and Australia at 82 points each. Russia now lies in fourth spot with 58 with Fiji fifth on 54.

Team: 1. Rusila Nagasau, 2. Priscilla Siata, 3. Talica Vodo, 4. Merewai Cumu, 5. Asinate Savu, 6. Vilisi Vakaloloma, 7. Ana Maria Roqica (Captain), 8. Lavena Cavuru, 9. Viniana Riwai, 10. Lavenia Tinai, 11. Tima Ravisa,12. Ana Maria Naimasi

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