KAVA Potent roots
Kava Roots, Lolovoli, Republic of Vanuatu
Kava Roots, Lolovoli, Republic of Vanuatu

A farmer from Lolovoli on South Ambae impressed both kava drinkers and dealers with his trunk of melomelo 15 years old.

The kava arrived at Saratamata for display during the Yam Festival last week.

Asked how many shells of “fresh harvests” he was going to make out of the trunk, he said over 100 shells.

Asked how potent it would be, he said it would depend on the person who “mixed” it with water.

The farmer said he has more trunks of melomelo on his farm but that “they are less than 15 years old”.

PNG Natoinal Election: You Will Vote

POLLING in the National Capital District will go ahead tomorrow after the sidelining of two election officials implicated in election-related fraud.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said yesterday he has appointed new officers to take charge of polling for the remainder of the National Election.

The highly publicised one-day polling in Port Moresby’s three open and the regional seats was postponed on Tuesday to tomorrow after a strike by polling staff for non-payment of allowances, coupled with the discovery of suspect documents and large sums of money on the NCD election manager and assistant election manager.

Mr Gamato said the changes were made in response to a petition he had received from NCD candidates.

He has appointed veteran officer Alwin Jimmy as NCD election manager and Bale Kavanamur as assistant election manager, replacing Terence Hetinu and Roslyn Tabogani respectively as well as a presiding officer who had money and ballot papers in their possession.

Mr Gamato said it was now a police matter and for the law to decide their fate.

“Because I want to restore confidence and trust so when you appoint new people with integrity and experience, I think they can manage this election together with other returning officers, assistant returning officers and polling officers’ work towards counting,” he said yesterday.

Police also said yesterday they are keen to interview a candidate who they believed may help in their investigations.

In another twist of events, police say that another candidate they want to interview on possible misuse of public funds had not made himself available for questioning since Tuesday.

Police had been investigating the candidate, who is contesting an Open seat in NCD, before the issue of writs following a
formal complaint.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki, who returned from the Highlands region last night, confirmed he has a report on these two candidates and has asked both to turn up at his office this morning for questioning.

In the absence of assurance of return to normalcy from irate candidates, uncertainty remains within the community though whether the election in NCD will proceed tomorrow.

Yam festival to celebrate varieties, not size: Director

Director of Agriculture, Antoine Ravo, says it is a wrong mentality to imagine that a yam festival is about planting the longest or biggest yam.

Snake Yam, Ambae, Republic of Vanuatru
Snake Yam, Ambae, Republic of Vanuatru

Instead he says it is an event to celebrate the abundance of different varieties of yams to contribute towards food security.

As the Minister of Agriculture, Matai Seremaiah points out that there are eight species of yam in the country and over 300 varieties; soft yams and hard yams and they all contribute to food security.

Ambae Bilingual School received the first prize for planting the heaviest wovile of almost 10 kilo on the scale.

A farmer from West Ambae received first prize for the longest yam and the list goes on about the winners of round yam including some which you have never heard their names before.

Perhaps one of the most difficult yams to dig is the “snake yam” which literally looks snake-ish.

A farmer from North East Ambae who did not take part in the Penama Yam Festival was reported to have successfully planted a yam called “tumasi” and could not carry the whole yam home due to its weight so he had to sever only what which his family could prepare for one meal.

Many farmers regretted not taking part in the largest yam festival in the country and they are encouraged to plan ahead to plant their crops for the possibility of taking part in the next yam festival on another island in another province.

PM hails success of RAMSI

PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the significant achievements made by the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands reflect the importance of Pacific diplomacy, solidarity and cooperation.

The Prime Minister made the remarks when the motion for Parliament to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House to consider a joint report by the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI on the 14-year intervention.”

“RAMSI was the first mission under the Biketawa Declaration that tested the cooperative arrangements of the region,” Mr Sogavare said.

“RAMSI has achieved significant results for Solomon Islands and the (Pacific) region. It is in this context that the RAMSI intervention reflects the importance of Pacific diplomacy, solidarity and cooperation.”

Mr Sogavare said these achievements are worthy of the commendation and gratitude of Solomon Islands Parliament because they set the fundamentals of a society on the path to peace and happy co-existence- the very values that were sorely tested during the ethnic crisis.

He said the existence and evolution of RAMSI was based on the spectrum of stabilisation to capacity-building and thereafter withdrawal.

“You will note from the report that RAMSI begun with intervention and stabilisation of law and order from 2003-2004, institutional strengthening from 2004-2005, capacity development from 2006-2008, transition from 2009-2013 and police development and drawdown strategy from 2013-2017.

“These phases provided the impetus for RAMSI to assess its engagement with Solomon Islands and move on with achieving our mutual aims and objectives.”

Mr Sogavare said the outcomes of the reviews carried out during RAMSI’s existence in Solomon Islands were consistent and provided more strength to the partnership between the Solomon Islands Government and the other 15 member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum.

He said these reviews, which include the 2004 Bipartisan Solomon Islands Intervention Taskforce, the 2005 Pacific Islands Forum Eminent Persons Group, the 2007 Pacific Islands Forum Review, the 2009 Foreign Relations Committee Report and the 2014 Independent Report Commissioned by the Solomon Islands Government, provided more strength to the partnership.

The prime minister said there were times that this partnership was tested, but these tests positively shaped this relationship. “We became stronger and more understanding of each other.”

As the RAMSI Operation ‘HelpimFren’ concludes this week, Mr Sogavare said Solomon Islands stands at the crossroads of taking full responsibility for its affairs.

He said the journey ahead will be challenging and requires the solemn responsibility and commitment of every Solomon Islands leader and individual to work together and stand in unison for the good of present and future generations.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the legacy of RAMSI is a testimony of shared goals to ensure Solomon Islands is a safe and secure nation

“The legacy of RAMSI is a testimony to all Solomon Islanders that conflict has no place in our beautiful society.

“The legacy of RAMSI is an affirmation of the importance of providing leadership for the benefit of our future.”

Mr Sogavare also took the opportunity to acknowledge the support rendered by all Solomon Islanders to the work of RAMSI.

He said the success of RAMSI is a result of support by all levels of leadership in the country and every Solomon Islander.

“Your support and partnership is what makes the work of RAMSI successful.

“Our prayers have been answered and God has given us the gift of peace. Let us build on it and sustain it for our future generations.”

The Prime Minister thanked the Governments and people of Australia and New Zealand for the significant financial support they rendered towards the work of RAMSI.

He also thanked all RAMSI participating countries for the men and women they sent to Solomon Islands to serve the common good of the country.

“The men and women you sent under RAMSI have done well and I must say, they have been great ambassadors of peace as you bestowed life to this nation.”

The Prime Minister paid tribute to the six men and women who died while serving under RAMSI .

“I would like to salute and offer my respect to the six fallen RAMSI officers. May the God Almighty continue to comfort their families.”

All other Parliamentarians who spoke on the motion also acknowledged the achievements of RAMSI and thanked all the 15 Pacific Islands Forum member countries for their contributions to the work of the mission.

The motion received the overwhelming support of Parliament and the Speaker,AjilonNasiu adjourned the deliberation on the report on RAMSI at the Committee of the Whole House stage for 24 July 2017.

This is to allow Members of Parliament to participate in the RAMSI farewell celebrations this week.

PM: RAMSI seen as divine intervention
 Christians in the country see the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) as a divine intervention to the country’s call for help.

Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare highlighted this his speech at the ecumenical service hosted by the Solomon Islands Government at the Maranatha Hall yesterday.

The event was to kick off the weeklong RAMSI Farewell celebrations.

“To all Christians in Solomon Islands, RAMSI is a divine intervention. Yes the divine intervention to our call for help is RAMSI,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.

He said God answers prayers and delivers those who call on him in times of trouble and God was the unseen adviser in all the decisions that culminated in the various strategies to restore peace in the country.

He said everybody would agree with him that RAMSI became a household name and the symbol of hope, peace and order for Solomon Islanders.

He said the RAMSI farewell celebrations marked the beginning of a new era for Solomon Islands and as such, it is only fitting that the country begins its celebrations by acknowledging God who is behind the  efforts to restore peace.

Prime Minister said all would agree with him that RAMSI became a household name amongst Solomon Islanders for its accomplishments over almost 14 years of operation in the country.

“We are gathered here today (yesterday) to give thanks in particular for the many achievements that RAMSI has brought to Solomon Islands.

“We give thanks because our children can play freely. We give thanks because we are able to function again as a sovereign country. We give thanks because we can continue to stand together as one people and nation.

“We give thanks because the divisions that created animosity have withered. We give thanks because we are proud to be Solomon Islanders.

“We give thanks because the silent prayers of our people have been answered. We give thanks because we are able to walk together again and show the world that we have overcome our struggles.

“Most of all, we give thanks for RAMSI and acknowledge it as a workable platform and a rebuilt Solomon Islands is testament to that achievement.”

The Prime Minister said RAMSI will remain forever in the history of peace-building as a modal for intervention, adding it is his hope that lessons learned from RAMSI will be used to restore peace to those who need it.

He said because of the success of RAMSI, Solomon Islands is united and ready to stand on its own again, adding that by the grace of God, the country will be able to conquer the challenges ahead and prevail as a nation.

– PM Press Secretariat

Update: 2:02PM STUDENTS have been reminded to respect their parents.

At Saint Mary’s Anglican Primary School in Labasa, students performed drama and dances to end the week-long campaign against drugs.

The students performed a drama that depicted a teenager’s rebellious life as a result of drug abuse.

School teacher Lolo Wise told the students to respect their parents as the Word of God commanded.

She also called on parents to support their children and work with them in achieving a successful future.

 

SERAFINA SILAITOGA, Fiji Times, Thursday, June 29, 2017