Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest Summary # 1124 ( Monday 19 February 2018 )


1) Vanuatu Trade Commissioner appointment declared illegal 

Vanuatu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has declared the appointment of Vanuatu’s Trade Commissioner, Michael Kalmet last year as illegal.

The Minister, Ralph Regenvanu confirmed that the appointment was illegal to the Daily Post Newspaper.

The appointment was reportedly made by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Lengkon.

It caused a public outcry when it emerged that the agreement involved the transaction of around $US60,000.

Mr Regenvanu said neither the Department of Foreign Affairs or his Ministry of Foreign Affairs had receipt of the transaction allegedly reached by two politicians.

According to the newspaper, Mr Lengkon has denied both meeting Mr Kalmet and the existence of any agreement.19/2/18 RNZI

2) Solomons ministry urges public to report corrupt officials

The Solomon Islands Forestry Ministry is urging the public to report corrupt officials.

A statement from the ministry, published in the Solomon Star newspaper, encourages people to report allegations to ministry headquarters so they can be investigated.

The statement followed a report in the paper last week about a landowner in Malaita who said local forestry officials regularly travel to Honiara to ask logging companies for money.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Vaeno Vigulu said people should report the names of those involved to his office rather than go to the media.

Dr Vigulu said the ministry did not tolerate corruption and promised any matters reported would be dealt with promptly.19/2/18 RNZI –

3) French Senate debates New Caledonia electoral law change 16 February 2018 /RNZI

The French Senate has debated the planned change of electoral law for New Caledonia and will vote on it next week.

The change is aimed at accommodating last year’s political agreement between New Caledonia’s pro and anti-independence camps which determines the restricted roll for this year’s independence referendum.

The proposal will then be submitted to the National Assembly for debate in mid-March.

The Senate debate was marked by a New Caledonian member Pierre Frogier challenging the use of the term Caledonian people as distinct from the French people.

He said this terminology played into the hands of the pro-independence side, adding that he wondered why it was so hard for the French state to express its attachment to a New Caledonia as a part of France.

Another Senator Philippe Bas said New Caledonia’s fellow citizens were French citizens. They are citizens of New Caledonia, French citizens and European citizens.

The overseas minister Annick Giradin said the notion of there being a Caledonian people was the result of the notion of there being a Caledonian citizenship.

The new law will allow for the enrolment of an additional 11,000 people, including indigenous Kanaks and others who were born in New Caledonia but had not been registered.

The make-up of the roll has been contentious for many years and although the signatories to the Noumea Accord have reached an agreement, a nationalist movement remains wary of the sincerity of the roll and may yet call for a boycott.

4) Spike in New Caledonia youth crime prompts war of words

A war of words has erupted in New Caledonia over a recent spike in youth crime.

The French High Commissioner Thierry Lataste has accused the anti-independence Caledonian Republicans of playing on fears which he said was unworthy of a country approaching a key decision.

The territory is due to have an independence referendum this year.

It’s seen a series of high profile break-ins and robberies, including the pillaging of a service station by about two dozen camouflaged thieves.

The incident, which was caught on video, prompted the Caledonian Republicans to claim Mr Lataste was no longer qualified to guarantee public safety.

The party leader Sonia Backes said road checkpoints should be set up to the mainly Kanak villages on the east coast where stolen cars were often found.

Mr Lataste said police were on the job around the clock and while commercial buildings were burgled more often, break-ins in private homes had declined.

By comparison, Mr Lataste said violent attacks were a dozen times more frequent in French Guiana.19/2/18 RNZI


TOP medical surgeons at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) have warned of a real danger posed by consuming kwaso (home-brew) following four deaths over the past one and half month of this year .

Speaking to the Solomon Star in an exclusive interview last night Dr Rooney Jagilly, NRH’s Medical Superintendent and Head of the Surgery of Department confirmed the deaths related to kwaso complication.

“Yes, we have recorded few deaths as a result of kwaso consumption over the past month and weeks.

“For some reasons, there is a big number of male patients being seen at the hospital within a short period of time this year. Some of them have died.”

He said, interestingly, compared to last year, within one and half months of this year five cases have been recorded.

“And most of them have been presented to the hospital very late and the patients were in bad shape. Thus, very little could be done to save them.”

He said, these patients have some kwaso consumption as well as history of gastric ulcer inside their stomach.

“So by further consuming kwaso it leads to serious complication inside the stomach and body.”
Most of the cases are from Honiara.

A General Surgeon at the hospital Dr Scott Siota said, the number of people being admitted at the hospital related to kwaso complication is rather alarming.

He explained this is because of the four deaths as a result of serious complication.

“This is worrying for us because its only a start of the year and we are seeing this trend. The latest over the weekend.”Read more =

6) VANUATU is again seeking to recruit our local nurses to work at its hospitals and health centres.

Two officials from the Vanuatu government were reportedly here in Honiara last week to pursue their recruitment drive.

Up to 100 local nurses were reportedly interviewed by the two Ni-Vanuatu consultants.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr Tenneth Dalipanda confirmed he met the two officials, but said he was not aware of how many nurses they wanted to recruit.

Dr Dalipanda said the twoofficials were the chair and human resource manager of the Vanuatu Public Service Commission.

He said individual nurses have the rights to apply and take up overseas jobs but there needs to be some understanding so that their departure does not leave a gap in thelocal workforce.

“We have advised them(Vanuatu) to write to us indicating how many they require and what positions they require so that we prepare and plan to fill the gap,” Dr Dalipanda said.

He said a similar arrangement was also done in 2012 where 20 nurses were recruited and have returned in 2014 after completing their three-year contracts.


7) PNG anti-fraud sqaud says corruption has grown significantly17 February 2018

The head of the Papua New Guinea police anti-fraud squad says corruption has grown significantly in recent years.

Matthew Damaru said with the growth of PNG’s economy, corruption had grown from simple fraud to more elaborate scams.

According to him, anti-fraud detectives are now looking at corruption at the highest level.

However his anti-fraud squad became marginalised by funding constraints.

Mr Damaru said last year the squad had a good year with lots of people arrested and charged, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to jail.

He said he’s hoping the same will happen this year.

“If you can do more of those we can send that deterrent message. Otherwise you know corruption is going to go out of hand.”

“The thing that I fear is that I don’t want the new generation coming up to, when they see corruption, and say ‘this is our culture, this is how we live, this is how we do our business’, that is the last thing we want to see happen,” he said.

“We have hundreds of unsolved cases going back years but we don’t have the capacity to deal with them,” he said.

“The more people we can send to jail the more we can send a message of deterrence. But unfortunately we are unable to always do that because of resource constraints.”

The problem was only getting worse, he explained.

“The more economic activity grows, the more money we have and that creates an incentive for people to want more money for themselves,” he said.

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10) West Papuan MSG bid at a dead end, says Jakarta16 February 2018

Indonesia says the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s bid to be a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead group has reached a dead end.

MSG leaders meeting in Port Moresby this week referred the Movement’s application to the group’s secretariat for processing under new membership guidelines.

The Movement already has observer status at the MSG but the group’s leaders have been divided on whether to allow it full membership.

Indonesia’s government says that the Agreement Establishing the MSG, which was revised in 2015, stipulated that members must respect the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the domestic affairs of states.

It says that based on that, the membership application of the Liberation Movement “will not succeed”.

However, following this week’s summit, Vanuatu’s prime minister Charlot Salwai urged the MSG to stat focused on its founding goal of political independence for all Melanesian peoples.

“This is the raison d’etre for this group, and it must not be diluted in our wider consideration,” Mr Salwai told local media.

“I therefore encourage the MSG to work in collaboration with parties concerned and encourage dialogue between Indonesia and West Papua to progress the issue forward, as this has been the case with France and FLNKS (the body repesenting New Caledonia’s indigenous Kanaks which is a full member of the MSG).”

But Jakarta says that the self-determination choice of West Papuans has been finalised with incorporation into Indonesia in the 1960s, describing the Liberation Movement as a “separatist” group. It has warned MSG member states not to meddle in others’ soveriegn affairs.

According to a spokesman for Indonesia’s embassy in Australia, Sade Bimantara, the Liberation Movement’s bid is at a dead end.

“I don’t think they qualify to be a full member of the MSG,” he said.

“They are not a state, and as opposed to Kanaks, they are not on the C24 (UN) Decolonisation Committee, they are not on the list, West Papua. And also the separatist group does not obtain full support from all the West Papuans.”

Sade Bimantara said West Papuans were politically free under Indonesia’s democratic system.

“Those claiming to represent the West Papuan people, the ULMWP, they do not truly represent the people. They only represent themselves. They have their own narrow political goals, and their narrow self-interest,” he said.

However, the Liberation Movement remained hopeful that the MSG would accept it as a full member. Its chairman Benny Wenda

“I want to send my people a message that this is another positive,” he said of the MSG’s referral of the application for processing.

“Step by step, we are in the right diorcetion, so please pray. We hope that the secretariat will discuss our application very soon.”16/2/18 RNZI

11) Calls for Pacific unity to protect freedom of expression and the media 

Vanuatu-based media representatives have called for a more unified front to repel attacks on freedom of expression and the media in the Pacific.

Last week three senior journalists in Fiji were taken in by police for questioning in relation to their reporting on the outcomes of an industrial strike action.

The week before, the Kiribati government confiscated the equipment of New Zealand journalists seeking to report on the tragic sinking of the MV Butiraoi.

And this year the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting is being held in Nauru which has set prohibitive fees for journalist visas.

But the media director of the Vanuatu Daily Post, Dan McGarry, said what is most worrying is there is no regional solidarity to repel such attacks.

“We need to see solidarity and it generally or at least in the past it always started with organisations like the Pacific Islands News Association, here in Vanuatu the Media Association of Vanuatu. And these organisations have been culpably silent on the topic and this is really, really worrying,” said Dan McGarry

Mr McGarry, together with his newspaper’s publisher Marc Neil-Jones, are also concerned about attacks on freedom of expression of ordinary citizens.

12) Dept starts working on student loan scheme

February 19, 2018The National

By Rebecca Kuku
THE Government plans to introduce a student loan scheme from next year, Minister for Higher Education, Science, Research and Technology Pila Niningi says.
Niningi has instructed Secretary Father Jan Czuba to set up the loan scheme.
“We are looking at implementing the student loan scheme sometime next year – when funds are available,” he said.
“Our aim is to help all our students to be able to afford university and college education, and help ease the financial struggle of parents, especially from rural areas.”
Niningi said they would work with the National Identification Office and banks to roll out the loan scheme for students.
“The loan will be provided by the Government but the money would be parked with banks who will then facilitate the student loans,” he said.
He said there was no “maximum and minimum” to the amount that can be loaned.
“Student loans will cater for the actual fees charged by the university or college,” he said.
“So once a student obtains a student loan, the money will be paid directly into the school’s accounts as the school fees.
“The students can start repaying the loan once they start working.”
Niningi said students should be registered on the National Identification system before they would get a loan to make the repayment process easy.
The fact that some graduates do not get employed as soon as they graduate has also been considered.
“The loan scheme will be structured in a way that a student does not have to start paying as soon as he graduates, but as soon as he or she starts working,” she said.

13) Malaibe says university selects students based on resources

February 19, 2018The National

THE University of PNG has the authority to select candidates for its programmes based on its resource capacity.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Vincent Malaibe clarified this in light of the online selection debate.
“We want to make it clear that the selection is an academic activity and, therefore, it is carried out by the schools of the University of PNG,” he said.
Malaibe told The National UPNG welcomed the electronic process done by a machine as opposed to the previous one carried out by human beings.
“They (Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology) introduced the online selection system so we cooperated. We sent officers there,” he said.
He said UPNG was asked to input two things: The criteria for the programme and the quota.
Malaibe said “no approval was granted for the use of the software itself”.
He said while waiting for the online list, UPNG conducted its selection based on four source documents: The selection criteria for each programme, the quota for each programme, the grade 12 results, and the school leaver form – whether the student had selected UPNG as a choice.
“For checks and balance, we need to do the selection as we have always done manually. So when the list came out of the system, we will compare it with what we have done,” he said.
“When the two lists came, we then discover the abnormalities.”
Malaibe said 126 students were affected. “Most of the students were on both lists. Most of them never applied to UPNG,” he said.
“That’s why you could not select them under manual. If you don’t apply, we respect your right of choice and your expression of interest.”
UPNG then invited DHERST
officers to meet the schools’ deans where an agreement was reached.

14) Early alert system on disasters put in Madang

February 19, 2018The National

Madang now has an early warning system to provide accurate and timely information that can enable quick response to natural disasters.
The early warning system, located at the Madang Airport, comprises devices that can detect wind speed, air temperature, humidity, solar radiation, soil temperature at different depths, soil surface temperature, moisture and rainfall.
Alec Dempster, the environmental monitoring technician from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd in New Zealand who headed the installation work, said the facility was funded by the United Nations Development Programme under its adaption fund.
Dempster said data collected by the facility would be transmitted by satellite to the National Weather Office in Port Moresby.
He said a solar panel providing power to the system would operate for 24 hours to keep it going.
“In New Zealand, we have similar ones that existed over 100 years,” technician Eugeny Fardman said.

15) Solomons ministry urges public to report corrupt officials

The Solomon Islands Forestry Ministry is urging the public to report corrupt officials.

A statement from the ministry, published in the Solomon Star newspaper, encourages people to report allegations to ministry headquarters so they can be investigated.

The statement followed a report in the paper last week about a landowner in Malaita who said local forestry officials regularly travel to Honiara to ask logging companies for money.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Vaeno Vigulu said people should report the names of those involved to his office rather than go to the media.

Dr Vigulu said the ministry did not tolerate corruption and promised any matters reported would be dealt with promptly.

16) Bougainville welcomes new local head of UN 15 February 2018/RNZI 

The new United Nations Resident Coordinator for Papua New Guinea PNG, Gianluca Rampolla, is in Bougainville for discussions on peace building, women in leadership and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Rampolla, who has replaced Roy Trivedy, said the UN has a long history in Bougainville, dating back to the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2001, and he says people can be assured the UN will continue to demonstrate its commitment to the peace process.

The Secretary for Bougainville’s Department of Peace Agreement Implementation, James Tanis, said that without UN support the peace process would not be where it is today.

He said the UN had been Bougainville’s lifeline, filling gaps that other donors are unable to cover.

17) BCL takes Bougainville Govt to court over licence non-renewal

Mining company Bougainville Copper Ltd is taking an arm of the Bougainville government to court.

This came after the autonomous government in the Papua New Guinea region announced late last year a moratorium on mining at Panguna, which had been abandoned in 1989 after the civil war started.

Two companies are vying to re-open Panguna but Bougainville President John Momis said to get the nod, the successful company must first win the trust of the people and BCL is yet to do this.

Meanwhile a mining wardens meeting in central Bougainville in December turned down BCL’s request for its exploration licence to be extended.

But the company is not giving up and secretary Mark Hitchcock says they want the licence restored, hence their application for a judicial review.

“We have taken the regulator , which is the Bougainville Government, as the Department of Mineral and Energy Resources, to court. We are seeking leave to apply for a judical review of that decision, to not renew the exploration licence.”

The Bougainville government is the main shareholder in Bougainville Copper Ltd, with 36%, after it was given the lion’s share of equity by Rio Tinto when that company walked away from involvement in BCL two years ago.

Mr Hitchcock say the ABG leadership has told him that the company has to do what it has to do to protect the interests of all of its shareholders.16/2/18-RNZI



20)Opposition MP in Fiji dies15 February 2018/RNZI

A member of the opposition SODELPA party in Fiji, Ratu Sela Nanovo, has died.

A statement from the opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says Ratu Sela passed away peacefully on Wednesday in Suva.

He was the shadow minister for employment, productivity and industrial relations and Ro Temumu says his death will leave a huge vacuum in the party and the parliamentary caucus.

21) Usamate’s NZ visit aims to boost Fijian RSE worker numbers

15 February 2018 /RNZI

Fiji’s employment minister Jone Usamate is on a visit to New Zealand exploring opportunities for more Fijians to work on the country’s orchards and vineyards.

He was expected to visit seasonal workers and employers in the horticultural areas of Hawkes Bay, Alexandra and Blenheim.

The Fiji government said talanoa sessions were held with the Fijian community in Wellington this week.

The week-long tour included talks with New Zealand’s Minister for Immigration and follows a visit to Australia last week where he also met with seasonal workers.

22) Museum digitization nears completion

Vishaal Kumar
Sunday, February 18, 2018-Fijitimes

Update: 4:50PM IN a bid to have all of its historical and heritage collections backed up, the Fiji Museum will soon have its digitalization process completed.

Fiji Museum Director Sipiriano Nemani said they were working with an organization to get this process completed.

“We are thankful for International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP), a Korean based organization. So ICHCAP have come on board to support us and funding the Museum regarding this,” Mr Nemani said.

Mr Nemani said they were using this digitalization process to create backups for their analog written documents and recordings.

23) Hundreds arrive for 20CCEM

Lice Movono
Sunday, February 18, 2018

Update: 9:00PM IN A first for any Pacific island nation to do so, Fiji will this week host a meeting of educators from the Commonwealth, the first of 500 attendees of which began arriving in Nadi tonight.

The education ministers and their delegations from around the world are here for the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM) meeting to be held from February 19-23 at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau.Read more –

24) Dengue alert

Luke Rawalai
Sunday, February 18, 2018

A SURVEY carried out by the Ministry of Health has revealed that mosquitoes are reproducing at high levels, increasing the risk of the spread of dengue virus in Suva, Lami, Nasinu, Nadi, and Lautoka.

The study, which was carried out in the Central and Western divisions last month, also revealed the high season for dengue fever in Fiji traditionally arrived with the rainy season in November and continued throughout April.Read more –

25) Centre for learning opens up

Shayal Devi
Sunday, February 18, 2018

A JOINT collaboration between the University of the South Pacific (USP) and Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has resulted in the establishment of the Pacific Centre for Flexible and Open Learning for Development (PACFOLD).

COL president and CEO Professor Asha Kanwar said they established similar centres in West Africa, based in Nigeria, and one for Southern Africa based in Botswana.

“This one is meant for the Pacific and we’re hoping there’ll be more awareness about what the centre can offer,” she said.

The centre is based at USP’s Pacific TAFE Statham campus in Suva.

USP deputy vice-chancellor Professor Richard Coll said the centre was first established in 2015 and was facilitated and funded by USP.

“For PACFOLD, 2017 has proven to be an exceptional year, providing facilitation to the development of the Pacific Open Distance Flexible Learning Framework as endorsed by the Pacific heads of education systems,” he said.

The framework is expected to be adopted and included as an annex to the new regional education framework.

Prof Coll said PACFOLD worked on open educational resources at a regional level.

“PACFOLD, through its partners USP and COL, has successfully delivered two cohorts in Pacific flexible skills development and plans to deliver more capacity building online courses.”

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27/28) West Papua Melanesian Spiahed grup

Updated 15 February 2018, 15:51 AEDT
Bethanie Harriman

Dispela muvmen blong West Papua long bruk lusim rul blong Indonesia em i fail gen long aplikesen blongen long kamap full memba blong Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Miting blong ol MSG lida long Port Moresby we Praim Minista Peter O’Neill i chairman longen i tok long oli mas putim dispela apliesen go bek long MSG Secretariat long Vanuatu long oli stretim pastaim sampela samting longen.

United Liberation Movement for West Papua we i makim ol pipol blong West Papua em i wanpela observer long MSG, na Indonesia em i wanpela associate memba blong MSG.

Indonesia gavman ino laikim West Papua i kamap memba blong MSG long wanem oli tok dispela bai interfere long internol afeas blong Indonesia.

Fred Mabrassar em i coordinator blong Free West Papua Campaign long Papua New Guinea, na long aste em i gopas long wanpela grup blong ol PNG mama we i laik go protest long ples ol MSG lida i bung longen – tasol ol polis i stopim ol.

Mr Mambrassar i tok oli laik go tokim ol MSG Lida olsem Melanesian Spearhead Group bai no complete igo inap West Papua i stap insait, na big ailan blong PNG em bai no complete without West Papua.Audio-

29) Australia i helpim ol Pacific meri lidas

Updated 16 February 2018, 16:22 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Gavman blong Australia, aninit long wok lukaut blong Foran Minista Julie Bishop i statim pinis wanpla pilot progrem blong helpim ol savemeri blong Pacific husat i skul long Australia nau i kamap olsem ol lidameri long ol wanwan kantri blong ol.

Oli kolim despla progrem long Women in leadership Initiative na oli bin lonchim long Canberra long mun igo pinis.

Samting olsem 12pla ol meri blong ol kantri olsem Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga na Vanuatu istap long despla progrem.

Bikpla tingting blong despla progrem em blong helpim ol meri long kamap olsem ol lida long wok blong ol na tu long ol wok politik.

Matilda Kapipi emi wanpla sumatin long Australian National University long Canberra na em tu i wanpla long ol despla meri long progrem. Kapipi itok, oli hamamas wantem despla progrem em Australia i statim….Audio –


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31) More strike action announced in French Polynesia

Unions in French Polynesia have announced that they will hold a second general strike this week against planned pension reform.

A union umbrella group has given notice to take action on Thursday in a new bid to force the government to abandon the reform.

Three days ago, an estimated 2,500 people joined a rally outside the territorial assembly as part of a general strike.

The action had only mixed support, with local administrations hardly affected by the stoppage.

Last week, the president Edouard Fritch convened a special government meeting which rebuffed the union demands and decided to uphold the reform plan.

It is now with an assembly commission and expected to be debated in early March.

The plan is to raise the retirement age next year from 60 to 62 and to hike contributions.

Mr Fritch said the reform was needed to avert a catastrophe, adding that there would be a revolution in a couple of years if pensions were no longer paid.19/2/18-RNZI







16 Feb 2018

36)NZ film wins Grand Prize at Tahiti film festival16 February 2018 /RNZI

A New Zealand film has won the Grand Prize at the Pacific Documentary Film Festival in French Polynesia.

The film ‘Making Good Men’ was directed by Fiona Apanui-Kupenga and looks at the challenges of two men, former All Black rugby player Norm Hewitt and actor Manu Bennett.

The jury’s first special prize went to East Timorese and Australian directors for their movie ‘Abdul & Jose’ about the Indonesian occupation.

The public’s prize went to a French production about a chief in Papua New Guinea pleading for the preservation of forests.




38)Fiji Warriors give Queensland Reds a scare-16 February 2018 /RNZI

The Fiji Warriors almost claimed a major scalp after pushing the Queensland Reds all the way in a 17-15 defeat in Brisbane last night.

But the Warriors fought back and managed to level the scores at 10-10 by halftime.Tonga-born Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou scored the first try at Ballymore before a penalty extended the Reds lead to 10-0 in as many minutes.

Ratunaisa Navuma scored to give the Fijians a five point buffer with a quarter of the match remaining.

But the Reds avoided further blushes when Hamish Stewart slotted a sideline conversion after winger Izaia Perese scored in the 75th minute.

The Fiji team were playing the 15-a-side trial match after competing in last weekend’s Brisbane Tens, while the Reds kick off their Super Rugby campaign next weekend.

39) Lautoka hunts for players

Maciu Malo
Sunday, February 18, 2018

LAUTOKA rugby coach Osea Umuumulovo continues to search for talents as he prepares the side for the new rugby season.

The former Fiji under-20 coach was busy identifying talents during the first round of Franchise competition at Nadovu Park yesterday.

Although few teams failed to turn up, it didn’t deter his dream in trying to rebuild the reputation for the Sugar City side.

Umuumulovo said he had been working closely with the club coaches on the capable players to don the maroon jumpers this season.

He said he has few names in his list and would not stop in recruiting standout players from the Franchise competition.

“We have many talented players in Lautoka who have what it takes to bring back the confidence of the fans,” said Umuumulovo,

“We will be able to finalise the final squad on Wednesday and we are using this competition to identify some untapped talents.”

He said he was prepared to face new challenges and would do his best for the betterment of Lautoka rugby.

Umuumulovo said the aim was to improve from its last year’s performance.

“This is a good challenge for me and I’m ready to give my service to help lift the image of rugby in Lautoka.”

Lautoka has produced some fine rugby players such as Viliame Satala, Ifereimi Rawaqa, Taniela Rawaqa, Jo Visei, the Ratudradra brothers (Vili, Eneri and Kitione), the late Seru Rabeni, Mesake Navugona, Metuisela Talebula and Joji Ragamate to name a few.

Meanwhile, Vio, KBL Lions and Lomati who formerly played for the Lautoka club competition have switched to Yasawa Rugby Union competition while Police has rejoined the Maroons after a one year stint with Malolo Rugby Union.