Head of State opening Statement of the 14th Joint Pacific ACP – EU Parliamentary Assembly, 19th July 2017, Port Vila
Parliamentary Assembly, 19th July 2017, Port Vila
Parliamentary Assembly, 19th July 2017, Port Vila

It is with great privilege and honor that I wish to address this esteemed Assembly on this day of the opening ceremony of the 14th Regional Meeting of the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Port-Vila.

Please allow me to say “alo mo welkam long Port Vila””!

Many of you have travelled far, leaving your busy schedules to join your pacific colleagues here in Port-Vila, to exchange on issues that are tailored to bring positive impacts to the well-being of our people.  For that, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and once more to join the Speaker of Parliament in welcoming you all to our beautiful shores. 

As you know the Pacific region faces unique challenges in terms of geographic location and size. We are mostly some islands with limited resources and prone to natural catastrophes such as sea level rise, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Despite all these constraints, Honorable Members of Parliament, I believe this forum is essential and timely as it is geared to tackle these challenges.  You will have time to discuss in the coming days, agendas of the utmost importance to the Pacific regions, to the ACP as an institution and as well as to the European Union.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Declaration of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly on Climate change is an important millstone which the ACP-EU Community has embarked on to address the dramatic effects of climate change on our environment last month in St. Julian, Malta.

Despite, the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, this distinguished Assembly has fully reaffirmed its total commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate change. For that, I wish to register, on behalf of the Government and the People of the Republic of Vanuatu, our sincere gratitude, and believer-affirm the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu’s commitment to stand in solidarity with the ACP-EU relationship and the global community to maintain this momentum for further ambitious action.

The upcoming COP 23 is again another opportunity for the Pacific islands countries to showcase solidarity among the Pacific islands towards the full commitment to the work undertaken by the United Nations Conventions on Climate Change.

Distinguished Guests,

Another issue that I wish to make reference to is the ACP-EU relations. The future of the cooperation between our two institutions is at the edge of its term. It’s been 42 years of a long journey, walking side by side in addressing worldwide issues of common interest to our respective people with determination and distinction.

Distinguished Guest,

The lessons learn from this long walk and experience, are and will be the basis of a strong foundation for a better and stronger cooperation and relations between our two institutions. The key strategic pillars that have been identified will form the center of the post 2020 negotiations as they fit the global agenda and meet the needs of our citizens. The ACP Partnership with the European Union is crucial and we must ensure that effective mechanisms are clearly defined to ensure this partnership is solid.

Honorable members’ ladies and gentlemen,

You have a busy schedule ahead of you, and I am not meant to take more of your time but to wish you all a successful deliberation over the coming days. And I believe that working together will set out clear path to addressing issues that are affecting the very existences of our people.

Please take the time to enjoy the warm hospitality of the Vanuatu people during your stay here in Port-Vila.

Once again, on behalf of the Government and the People of the Republic of Vanuatu, may I reiterate to you all our warm greetings and we wish you to enjoy a pleasant stay in our shores and may God’s divine blessings be upon you all.

It is now my singular honor and privilege to officially declare the 14th Regional meeting of the ACP EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, open!

NALYSIS: By Rod Campbell, Asia Pacific Repot NZ

As much of the world watched the G20 last week, another leaders’ summit was on in Fiji.

Fiji will chair the next UN climate conference in November. Pacific leaders gathered in Suva to discuss how they can use this opportunity to call for serious climate action.

This meeting did not attract Australia or New Zealand’s big name journalists or even many Australians at all.

Had they been there at the COP23 Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) talks, Australians might have been surprised at what was and wasn’t talked about in Suva.

There was much discussion on how the Pacific can reduce its own (globally miniscule) emissions. Plenty was also said about how islanders can prepare for climate change with better farming techniques.

On the other hand, almost nothing was said about how the Pacific can get the rest of the world to do something meaningful on climate.

TAI’s Rod Campbell talks to Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Suva. Image: TAI
TAI’s Rod Campbell talks to Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Suva. Image: TAI

This is not an accident.

Emissions ‘declining rapidly’
Australia sent our Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. She boasted to Pacific leaders that our emissions are declining rapidly on a per capita basisand emphasised that Australia had put up $6 millionto fund these talks.

She omitted to say that Australia’s overall emissions are actually increasing and those per capita reductions just reflect that our population is increasing faster than our emissions.

She also didn’t mention that the $6 million for the talks represents nearly 1/10th of the annual budget for climate aid to the Pacific. Or that much of our climate aid isn’t new money, but comes at theexpense of other aid programmes.

Another Australian speaker was from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), there to tell the Pacific how to increase investment in renewable energy. Surprisingly, he didn’t say that renewable investment in Australia has stalled due to policy uncertainty such as the government’s repeated attempts to abolish his own organisation.

When I asked what lessons the Pacific could take from the toxic politics around renewable energy in Australia, the moderator, an official from the Asian Development Bank, refused to let the panel answer the question. He said the session was about looking forward, not backward.

Maybe he just didn’t realise that the Australian government is currently changing legislation to let the CEFC invest in coal, or that in August it will appoint goodness-knows-who to the CEFC board in a near complete turnover.

Or maybe he did know this and just didn’t care. Because it was very clear at these talks that no one is supposed to say anything that might upset Australia and risk a cut to the 2 percent of ourrecord-low aid budget that goes to Pacific climate aid.

Fiji Climate Champion Inia Seruiratu (from left), President of Federated States of Micronesia Peter M. Christian and Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama at the CAPP talks in Suva. Image: TAI
Fiji Climate Champion Inia Seruiratu (from left), President of Federated States of Micronesia Peter M. Christian and Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama at the CAPP talks in Suva. Image: TAI

Uncomfortable truths
The only people who can point out these uncomfortable truths in the Pacific are either very brave, or are Australians with no links to the Federal government. That’s how I found myself on a panel in Suva to talk about fossil fuels with a prominent civil society advocate, Emele Duituturaga, and a diplomat from the Marshall Islands, whose President has called on Australia to end new coal approvals.

It was up to us to discuss the elephants in the room – like Australia’s plans to double coal exports and the $1 billion subsidised loan to Adani that will contribute to this.

Another elephant in the room was the opportunity that Fiji and the Pacific have in chairing the COP23 talks. Putting a moratorium on new coal mines on the agenda will send a powerful message to fossil fuel exporters like Australia.

In addition to Pacific Island countries, a call for no new coal mines could find support from countries that have already restricted new coal development, such as China and Myanmar.

France has gone further with restrictions on all new fossil fuel exploration.

These countries realise that by allowing existing mines to produce, but not replacing them at the end of their economic lives, disruption to the industry is minimised. A moratorium on new mines also keeps coal prices higher, helping the transition to cleaner energy sources.

Putting a moratorium on the agenda for November’s talks could give the Pacific a powerful diplomatic tool to force real climate progress and reduce the influence of the fossil fuel industry.

Helping the Pacific
It’s important to remember that some Pacific countries have populations smaller than Australian suburbs. Imagine a group of under-resourced Australian councils taking on the coal industry on behalf of the rest of the world. They shouldn’t have to.

Public support from Australian local and state governments, unions and other organisations would go a long way to helping the Pacific tackle our coal industry and its supporters in the Federal government.

Australia and our coal has a big influence on people’s lives in the Pacific. It’s about time

Australians started giving not just aid, but giving help. Make a start via the petition atwww.nonewcoalmines.org.au

Rod Campbell is the research director at The Australia Institute. Republished with the permission of TAI.

@R_o_d_C

Rod Campbell with climate activists outside the Suva meeting. Image: TAI

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Despite losing four People’s National Congress (PNC) members to Pangu in open seats in Morobe, incumbent Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has accepted the defeats for his party.

O’Neill said people and leaders must respect the process as voters had spoken through the ballot,reports EMTV News.

The defeats have sent shockwaves through the party.

PNC lost deputy party leader and former Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming to Kobby Bomareo for the Tewae Siassi Open and former Housing Minister Paul Isikiel to Koni Igua in Markham.

Pangu Pati candidate Thomas Pelika also defeated incumbent MP and PNC candidate Benjamin Philip to win the Menyamya Open seat in Morobe, reports The National.

Pelika surged to victory in the 20th elimination after third-placed candidate Jacky Tyotipo was excluded from the race.

Pelika’s victory brings the number of seats won by Pangu in Morobe to four so far.

Party leader Sam Basil retained his Bulolo seat.

Pelika was declared Member-elect for Menyamya at by returning officer Nande Awape at the Menyamya station. He polled 12,125 after collecting 650 votes in the 20th elimination.

He polled 4027 votes ahead of Philip who had 8098.

Loop PNG reports that PNC’s Finschhafen MP Theo Zurenuoc has lost to Rainbo Paita.

Three New Faces Have Now Entered The Political Scene By Winning Their Respective Seats In The 2017 National Election.

PC PNG – Three new faces have now entered the political scene by winning their respective seats in the 2017 National Election.

One is newly elected Namatanai MP Walter Schnaubelt who ousted Mining Minister Byron Chan.

Two are former MPs who made a comeback to national politics.

Petrus Thomas, an independent, was re-elected to Koroba-Kopiago after a 10-year break. Koroba-Kopiago had been left vacant after incumbent Philip Undialu decided to contest the Hela Regional seat.

Koni Iguan, a Pangu Party candidate, reclaimed the seat by beating Housing Minister Paul Isikiel in the Markham Open in Morobe Province.

Other MPs who have been re-elected are Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for Ialibu-Pangia, James Marape (Tari-Pori), Justin Tkatchenko (Moresby South), Allan Marat (Rabaul) and Sam Basil (Bulolo).

This brings the total tally in political party standing to People’s National Congress Party – three, National Alliance – one, Pangu – two, Melanesian Liberal Party – one and independents – one.

Elimination of votes is currently being conducted in Manus where two PNC candidates are leading, Finschhafen where Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc has been struggling but leading against a Pangu tide sweeping through Morobe Province. Elimination is also progressing in Hela Regional, Komo-Margarima Open and East New Britain.

Manus has gone down to the wire as of late yesterday with PNC candidates Job Pomat (Manus Open) and Charlie Benjamin (Regional), leading in the final elimination and winners declared (see page 3).

The country should have a clear picture on the outcome of the election results by this week and which parties are likely to form government based on the numbers game.

The New President of the Republic of Vanuatu: Obed Moses Tallis

DailyPost – By Godwin Ligo 

he new President of the Republic of Vanuatu is Obed Moses Tallis, from Port Vato, West Ambrym in Malampa Province
he new President of the Republic of Vanuatu is Obed Moses Tallis, from Port Vato, West Ambrym in Malampa Province

The new President of the Republic of Vanuatu is Obed Moses Tallis, from Port Vato, West Ambrym in Malampa Province.

His candidature was supported by the Government of Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, and the Coalition partners.

He was elected as the 9th President of the Republic of Vanuatu by the Electoral College at Parliament Chambers yesterday (July 6, 2017) with 39 votes which is just above the required number of 38.

President Tallis has held the position of the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu twice.

First term of office was from 2009 to 2010 and again, from 2013 to 2016 and has been re-elected for another term, at the time of his successful election as the new President.

The 61-year-old President holds a Diploma in Divinity and Mission from Sydney Missionary and Bible College in Australia and another Diploma in Theology in Talua Bible College as well as a graduate of Alan Walker School of Evangelism, Australia.

He attended Tangoa Presbyterian Bible Institute, South Santo from 1977 to 1978 and prior to this, the new Head of State was engaged in the teaching profession in schools around the islands of Vanuatu.

Tallis played a major role in both spiritual and physical life of not only the Presbyterian Church but Vanuatu as a whole, when he occupied the positions of Clerk of the Ambrym Presbytery on his home island, served in missionary work on Erromango, North Ambrym, Luganville town on Santo, and contributed largely too in the education, health and other similar services within and outside the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.

Immediately after his swearing in by Vanuatu’s Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek, President Obed Tallis, addressed the Electoral College and the nation.

He quoted a Bible Scripture in Hebrews 13: 7, and called for one minute silence in remembrance of the late President Baldwin Lonsdale.

The new President also acknowledged past leaders before and after independence.

He went on to acknowledge the members of the Electoral College and thanked them for their deliberations up to his eventual election, with special mention also to the Vanuatu Chief Justice in his role as the Returning

Officer during the four rounds of voting by the Electoral College, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, the President of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs and leaders at all level of communities.

The new President called for unit amongst all leaders at the national, provincial levels and the people of Vanuatu.

President Tallis was joined by the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in a large cake cutting

(cake decorated with the colours of the national flag) as Prime Minister Charlot Salwai congratulated the President Tallis on behalf of the Government and the people and all communities of Vanuatu at large and proposed a toast to the new President.

The customary toast of kava was also

shared with the President by the national leaders, including the Leader of the Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau, who appropriately congratulated the new Head of State, assured him of the support of

working together and wish him well in his important duties and responsibilities to the nation.

A special custom dance from Ambrym was performed inside the Parliamentary arena in honor of one of their own family from their island and the province who was elected to the position of the President of the Republic Vanuatu.

Chief Temas, son of Chief Tofor, of Ambrym, presented a custom leaf namele to the President signifying the new Head of State as a symbol of peace in the nation.

Daily Post will be running a special feature on the election of the new Head of State in the weekend edition.

DailyPost – By Richard M. Nanua, 

Six Indonesians have admitted to murdering their captain, late Xie Dingrong, on the high seas on board a Vanuatu registered fishing vessel after a heated argument with the deceased.

Saepul Manap, Andi Riyadi, Riva Pranga Kliswanrio, Abdulhasan Sidik, Suheri Meivan and Ade Marwadi all admitted to one count each of intentional homicide section 106 (1) (b) under the Penal Code Act.

Section 106 (1) of the Penal Code Act says: “No person shall by any unlawful act or omission intentionally causes the death of another person. Penalty- (b) if the homicide is premeditated, imprisonment for life.

There were no clear information related to the attack but some information adduced before the Supreme Court on the remand order sheet and information sheet has helped the prosecution to secure a conviction.

All six Indonesians admitted murdering their captain a thousand miles south of the American continent when they were fishing.

Information revealed that Tunago No. 61 is an international fishing vessel that is legally registered in Vanuatu and was arrested in Fiji after authorities found the men onboard without captain Dingrong.

Justice Daniel Fatiaki heard that all six were all citizens of Indonesia and none of them could understand and speak English.

But the court was fortunate to have an Indonesian national Chris Tryantino who is currently employed in Vanuatu and he was invited by the defense lawyer Edward Nalyal to assist his countrymen during the court process.

Mr Tryantino managed to translate in Bahasa Indonesia the charge to the men and they admitted killing Mr Dingrong on September 7, 2016 between 9 to 10am by stabbing and beating him to death.

They agreed that they entered his cabin and killed him and he died soon from the conditions sustained from the multiple assault.

Prosecutor, Tristan Karae, said that after the authorities were notified that the ship was arrested in Fiji, Vanuatu’s Attorney General applied for the men to be extradited to Vanuatu to face court.

The men were then escorted from Fiji to Vanuatu and they admitted killing their captain yesterday in Court.

Justice Fatiaki was also told that the Republic of Vanuatu has sought an extradition to deal with the defendants in accordance with the provisions under the Vanuatu Extradition Act of 2002.

Mr Karae said that Chief Magistrate Stephen Felix had issued a warrant of arrest against the defendants on December 2, 2016.

He said that the High Court of Fiji granted the extradition before being escorted to Vanuatu.

While dealing with the case, Mr Karae notified the court of section 1 and 2 of the Penal Code Act CAP 135.{p class=”Default”}Section 1 says; “Offences within Republic{p class=”Default”}”(1) The criminal law of the Republic shall apply to any act done or omitted within its territory.{p class=”Default”}”(2) For the purposes of this Code, the territory of the Republic shall include its territorial waters and the airspace above the territory and waters, and all civil vessels and aircraft registered in the Republic:

“Provided that no person aboard a foreign civil vessel or aircraft may be tried for an offence committed on board such vessel or aircraft within the territory of the Republic if the Public Prosecutor is satisfied that the offence may be dealt with fairly and in a manner not contrary to public policy in the Republic under the foreign law or regulations governing such vessel or aircraft.”{p class=”Default”}Section 2 provides for Offences partly or wholly abroad.{p class=”Default”}”The criminal law of the Republic shall apply –{p class=”Default”}(a) to any offence of which an element has taken place within the territory of the Republic;{p class=”Default”}(b) to any offence against the external security of the Republic or of counterfeiting the current money of the Republic, wherever committed:

Provided that no alien may be tried for an offence against the criminal law of the Republic solely by virtue of this section unless he has been arrested within the territory of the Republic or has been extradited to it’.

Mr Karae agreed with Justice Fatiaki that the charge of intentional homicide warrants a maximum penalty of life imprisonment but will treat the offense premeditated killing within one of the Vanuatu vessel.

The case will resume in August 4, for sentencing.

Roles of online and social media in Pacific tourism

TALEBULA KATE, Fiji Times Online, Monday, July 03, 2017

Update: 5:55PM ONLINE complaints on social media platforms and review sites can have a negative impact on consumers’ evaluations.

Postgraduate students Karishma Sharma and Mani Mate. Picture: SUPPLIED
Postgraduate students Karishma Sharma and Mani Mate. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mani Mate a postgraduate student at the University of the South Pacific (USP) argued this at the recent School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) research colloquium at USP.

The research colloquium brought together various tourism stakeholders to discuss three ongoing postgraduate research projects in this context.

Mr Mate who worked in the hotel industry in the Cook Islands for over ten years in his presentation examined how Aitutaki hotel managers respond to negative online reviews, particularly on TripAdvisor.

Another presenter Karishma Sharma has worked in various positions in hospitality, design, marketing, and customer relations in both Fiji and Australia over the past decade and currently works as teaching assistant at STHM.

Ms Sharma’s research titled “An investigation of social media marketing performance of Fiji’s hotel industry” evaluates the marketing performance of 105 hotels in Fiji on various social media sites, according to the Digital Marketing Framework.

In her presentation, she identified the major problems regarding the social media marketing efforts of hotels, the implications behind these problems and provided recommendations for improvement accordingly.

Tour promotes food tourism, raises awareness on local food

Margaret Wise, Fiji Times Online, Monday, July 03, 2017

Foodies in the courtyard. Picture: SUPPLIED
Foodies in the courtyard. Picture: SUPPLIED

IF niche markets are about making your mark, then The Fiji Orchid’s Farm to Fork tour is well on its way to establishing itself as a business known for covering all its bases.

The tour, which promotes food tourism and touches on the different aspects of Fiji’s food culture, involves a hour-long immersion into the intricacies of growing sugar cane, and the processing of raw sugar through to the making of Fiji rum at the distillery in Lautoka.

This interaction is followed by a practical introduction to another local culinary gem, the coconut.

Those on tour also indulge in a demonstration where coconut milk is extracted from freshly grated coconut which is then used in Fiji rum cocktails that are sampled by the “foodies”.

The most recent foodies on tour was organised by Nourish Magazine of New Zealand in conjunction with Destination Fiji.

Nourish Magazine ran an advertisement looking for interested food lovers who were keen to explore the food culture in Fiji. They got up to 10 participants from all over New Zealand who flew to Fiji for a week-long stay.

The tour also involved a walk through the plantation set up by the staff of The Fiji Orchid at Saweni, lautoka, where they were practising the “farm to fork” theme by planting a variety of vegetables to be harvested and prepared for the meals served in Raymonds Restaurant.

The Fiji Orchid is a small luxury boutique hotel and specialises in small, intimate gatherings of up to 50 guests. Resort director, Jenny Leewai Bourke said she was extremely proud of the achievement of her team.

“You can travel the world over and stay in the most luxurious hotels, but a meal cooked from the heart and with home grown vegetables is one you will never forget,” she said.

We will never abandon you: Bainimarama

TALEBULA KATE, Fiji Times Online, Monday, July 03, 2017

Update: 2:02PM WE will never abandon you, just as we will continue to fight for justice for every single vulnerable person on earth.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama delivers his official address at the opening of the inaugural Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) event. Picture: SUPPLIED
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama delivers his official address at the opening of the inaugural Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) event. Picture: SUPPLIED

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made the   comment while welcoming island neighbors, Kiribati and Tuvalu at the opening the Climate Action Pacific Partnership Event at the Grand Pacific Hotel this morning.

“Of all the vulnerable nations of the world, you are the most vulnerable,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Of all the moral force we can muster to remind the world of its obligations, you have the greatest moral force of all,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said to allow sovereign nations to slip beneath the rising seas altogether to preserve the economies and lifestyles of others would be an act of unparalleled selfishness and injustice.

“And any global citizen who believes in justice has no moral choice other than to side with you in your struggle,” he said.

“On behalf of everyone in this room, I ask you to convey to your people that we rededicate ourselves to that struggle today. We are with you. We are doing everything we can to stand up for you in the great forums of the world.”

Vanuaty Daily Post – By Jonas Cullwick

The Electoral College is meeting at 9 o’clock this morning to elect the eighth person to hold the office of the President of Vanuatu.

A total of 16 candidates including one woman have been confirmed eligible by the Electoral Commission, for the poll by secret ballot.

The law for election of the President of the Republic of Vanuatu requires that at first calling a quorum of three-quarters (3/4) of the Electoral College of 58 members – 52 Members of Parliament and 6 Chairmen of Provincial Councils, is needed.

In the event a quorum is not present, the Electoral College will meet again 48 hours later and may proceed and elect the President if two-thirds (2/3) of the Electoral College is present.

The candidate that receives the vote of two-thirds of the members of the College will be elected President.

The Government currently commands 44 MPs but as has been experienced in the past, support for candidates that come from provinces has always overridden party or government support.

Voting for the last President had to go for seven attempts before the Chief Justice, Vincent Lunabek, had to put his foot down to make the College ignore party or provincial lines and elected Baldwin Lonsdale, President of Vanuatu until his untimely death on the morning of Saturday, June 17 forcing this election today for his successor.

The President’s term of office is five years.

Previous holders of the office of President of Vanuatu have been President Ati George Sokomanu (Shefa Province) who served two terms, President Fred Timakata (Shefa), President Jean-Marie Leye Lenalcau (Tafea), President John Bennett Bani (Penama), President Kalkot Matas-Kelekele (Shefa), President Iolu Abbil (Tafea) and President Baldwin Lonsdale (Torba).

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922