Vanuatu To Join INTERPOL
INTERPOL
INTERPOL Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in its 192 member countries to share critical crime-related information. Notices are published by INTERPOL’s General Secretariat at the request of National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and authorized entities, and can be published in any of the Organization’s official languages. Source: INTERPOL HQ

Vanuatu has applied to join the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Ralph Regenvanu, revealed the application was made this week.

“The principle reason is “probity checks” being carried out by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) were proving to be deficient, particularly as concerns people applying to buy Vanuatu citizenship under the Development Support Program (DSP) and people applying to be nominated as Honorary Consuls,” Minister Regenvanu told Daily Post.

“The FIU was able to pick up financial irregularities but not non-financial irregularities, including past or potential criminal behaviour and associations.

“By joining INTERPOL, the FIU and our police will be able to access the international INTERPOL database as part of the probity check process, and for other purposes, which will provide much better information to vet persons concerned.”

In a letter to the INTERPOL Secretariat, Minister Regenvanu stated that the Vanuatu Government is strongly committed to protecting the security of its people and the sovereignty of its borders from the impacts of transnational crime.

The Minister advised that the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) is already a proud member of the Pacific Transnational Crime Network (PTCN), whose aim is to detect, investigate and disrupt transnational crime in the region.

“The Republic of Vanuatu’s acceptance as an INTERPOL member will further strengthen the VPF’s ability to cooperate with international law enforcement agencies in the combined effort to dismantle transnational and organised crime syndicates on a global scale,” Minister Regenvanu stated in the letter, on behalf of the Vanuatu Government to the INTERPOL Secretariat.

He said the Government of Vanuatu willingly assumes all obligations and responsibilities expected from the INTERPOL membership, and formally endorses the VPF to be the responsible body to perform all functions of an Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) within Vanuatu.

“I would therefore greatly appreciate of this application could be supported for consideration by the INTERPOL General Assembly at its earliest convenience,” he concluded.

The NCB would be accommodated within the National Intelligence Unit (NIU) under the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) and will be responsible for all international cooperation, country-level coordination and liaison with other government departments within Vanuatu to fulfill all requirements of a NCB.

“Very briefly, it means that Vanuatu is plugged into a global policing network, which brings benefits and obligations mainly around exchange of information,” said Dr Tess Newton Cain, principal of TNC Pacific Consulting when she was contacted yesterday for her views on the implications, in particular what Vanuatu stands to gain and lose if it becomes a member.

 Dr. Cain, who is an expert in Criminal Law added: “I imagine it would make Vanuatu look better from a Counter Terrorism Financing and Anti Money Laundering point of view. There could be a concern that our police resources get side tracked into dealing with INTERPOL requests”.

She noted that INTERPOL has a training and capacity building arm so Vanuatu may be able to benefit from that.

The INTERPOL Membership Application provides information on the country becoming an Independent State, its Territory and Population, the Government and its capacity to enter International Relations – Vanuatu is a member of 39 International Forums and Intergovernmental organisations.

It affirms that Vanuatu has closely studied and understands the INTERPOL Constitution, regulations and membership requirements under Article 2-7 and 31-33 and it pledges to uphold and respect all provisions of the INTERPOL Constitution, Regulations and Rules, including not limited to INTERPOL Rules on the Processing of Data, in order to effectively contribute to the INTERPOL law enforcement community in combating ordinary law crime.

INTERPOL enables police in its 192 member countries to work together to fight international crime, providing a range of policing expertise and capabilities.

It supports three main crime programmes: Counter-terrorism, Cybercrime, and Organized and emerging crime.

According to the INTERPOL website, Fiji and Nauru have been members since 1971, Papua New Guinea since 1976, Tonga since 1979, Samoa since 2009 and Solomon Islands since 2017.

The Government is on shaky ground with the recent cabinet reshuffling, and talks of more reshuffling.

It is an indicator of political instability and diverts the focus on issues of national interest and development.

Leader of the Opposition MP Ishmael Kalsakau made the statement when he commented on the recent move by four Opposition MPs to defect to the Government side.

“I can confirm that four MPs who were on the Opposition side, decided to make a move to join the Government side,” the Leader of Opposition told Daily Post.

“They are MPs Sato Kilman, Don Ken, Samson Samsen, and Norris Jack. It is their constitutional right.”

MP Kalsakau said the Opposition is not concern about numbers, and it rather focuses on issues about people and development for the economic and social wellbeing of the people.

For this reason, and although the Opposition now has only eight or nine MPs in Parliament, it will focus on issues of national interest.

“If there is dissatisfaction within the Government ranks or coalition partners, then that is an issue for the government to sort itself out, but as far as the Opposition is concern, our focus is on the people and the development and wellbeing of our nation,” said Leader of Opposition, MP Kalsakau.

“Despite being small in numbers, we still maintain the role of the Opposition to ensure that we address national issues for and on behalf of the people, who cannot speak for themselves, and as well as point these out to the government.

“One of the important roles we will step up on, is the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, in which the Opposition holds the position as Chairman. We want to assure the public that the Opposition will tighten up on Parliamentary Accounts and spending.

“The tendency of motions of no confidence is rife from both sides of the House, not just the Opposition.

“I will not be surprise if there is another motion, it will not come from the Opposition but from within the Government itself, and again, maybe because of dissatisfaction within the government ranks and coalition partners, but the Opposition’s current focus is not on numbers.”

Papua New Guinea begins finalizing preparations to host the 21st MSG Leaders’ Summit
Acting Secretary, Ms. Agelavu (4th from right) and DG Amena Yauvoli (3rd from right) with delegation from the MSG Secretariat & officials from the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs
Acting Secretary, Ms. Agelavu (4th from right) and DG Amena Yauvoli (3rd from right) with delegation from the MSG Secretariat & officials from the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs

The Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli is in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 17-19 January to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Rimbink Pato, Acting Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Barbara Age, Commissioner of Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) and other senior Government Officials.

The purpose of the visit is to begin finalizing preparations for the upcoming 21st MSG Leaders’ Summit that will take place from 10-15 February 2018 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The Director General reaffirms the MSG Secretariat’s full commitment to provide the necessary support to assist PNG host a successful Leaders Summit. He also emphasized the significance of the Leaders’ Summit as Papua New Guinea will assume the chairmanship of the MSG and its Constituent Bodies. The Director General informed PNG that the Secretariat is working round the clock to ensure all meeting papers are ready.

The Acting Secretary Ms. Age also emphasized that the priority for PNG at this Leaders’ Summit is focusing on Sustainable Development goals as outlined in the MSG 2038 Prosperity for all Plan. The theme for the Summit will therefore relate to peace and prosperity in the MSG. The PNG Government is undertaking necessary preparations to ensure the Leaders Summit is a success.

The Director General also met with the Acting Police Commissioner Jim Andrews to discuss the proposed Police Commissioners Conference (PCC) and Police Minister Meeting (PMM). The Police Ministers Meeting is convening to consider implementation of mandates relating to security issues, in particular the MSG security Assistance to PNG during the APEC Meeting. It is anticipated that detail discussions are going to take place with recommendations for Leaders endorsement.

Following the consultations, MSG members will be informed of the details of the organization of the 21st Leaders Summit so as to engender full and effective preparations.

Considering the time constraints ahead of the summit, both DG Yauvoli and Acting Secretary Age recognizes the pivotal importance of continuing our collaborations to ensure that all preparations are finalized before the summit and its constituent body meeting kick start.

18 January 2018, Port Moresby, PNG

SourceL http://www.msgsec.info

O’Neill: We must work together, put people first
Prime Minister and Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill
Prime Minister and Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill

Prime Minister and Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill wants an end to individual interest undermining good governance in Southern Highlands and for leaders to work together for the people.
O’Neill said this yesterday after attending the first provincial executive council (PEC) meeting since last year’s elections.

Following the swearing-in of the council, O’Neill commended the new provincial administrator and police commander for maintaining peace and stability.

“After the election, we saw displays of reckless self-interest by some individuals and this undermined stability in the province,” he said.

“With the new provincial executive council, we will see positive changes and development once again in Southern Highlands.

“I call on all public servants to focus on the task of restoring service delivery and to step up efforts to deliver better education, health services and public infrastructure. “Individuals who continue to try to undermine good governance by acts of self-interest, with no regards for welfare of the province, will not be tolerated.

“The people of this province are more important than individual interest, and we will ensure the welfare of the people is taken care of through the new council.”

O’Neill said there were better ways to solve differences than destroying public property in which so much had been invested to improve the livelihoods of the people.

“All leaders must set aside their differences and put the people first, it is because of the people that they were elected,” he said.

“Leadership is not about winning, it is about demonstrating leadership through the right attitude and actions.
“Leadership is about humbleness and serving our people by delivering services that changes lives.”

Source: https://www.thenational.com.pg 

THE use of mercury in small-scale alluvial gold mining is now better understood because of a study in Morobe by the Mineral Resources Authority, Japan’s University of Kyoto and University of Technology’s mining engineering department.

The study involved assessing a machine for the recovery of mercury used in alluvial mining, said the authority in a statement.

It was done at the authority’s small-scale mining branch in Wau and involved the trial of an amalgam retorting machine brought in from Kyoto University.

“The objective was to test-run the Japanese mercury recovery kit, a prototype amalgam retorting machine for the recovery of mercury and critically assess the overall performance, its efficiency and ease of operation of the device,” the statement said.

“From the results obtained, the research team concluded, after careful assessment of the overall performance and efficiency of the mercury recovery kit, that it was an appropriate technology and should be used in Papua New Guinea’s artisanal and small-scale gold-mining industry for mercury and recycling recovery.”

Authority managing director Philip Samar said the study looked at ways to reduce and mitigate the increased use and disposal of mercury into the environment.

It also looked at how to increase alluvial gold production while ensuring the protection of the environment and the wellbeing of alluvial miners in the country.

Source: https://www.thenational.com.pg/

With less than 24 days remaining for The University of the South Pacific (USP) to begin classes, the University’s 2018 admissions have increased by seventeen per cent (17%) compared to last year.

A total of 7,517 prospective students have so far applied for admissions compared to 6,427 students last year.

This increase is reflected in all academic sections of the University, including, Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE), Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE), Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE), the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) and Pacific Center for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD).

 For FALE, new applications have gone up by twenty-one per cent (21%); FBE has an increase of eight per cent (8%); FSTE applications have stepped up by twenty-three per cent (23%), while Pacific TAFE applications have strengthened by twenty-six per cent (26%) compared to last year and PaCE-SD received twenty-one (21) new applications compared to nineteen (19) last year.

“The significant increase in admissions this year is a reflection of the increased reputation of the University, USP’s outstanding facilities and student experience, and excellent employability of our graduates,” said the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra.

Professor Chandra also said that admissions are similarly strong at regional campuses, where the University is offering increasing numbers of in-country programmes.

Professor Chandra further said that the twenty-six percent (26%) increase in admissions in Pacific TAFE reflects its remarkable progress in getting international accreditations of its programmes, its strong links with industry, and the strong employability of its graduates.

According to Professor Chandra, these statistics are provisional as the final situation will only become clear after registration—but the indications are that 2018 will see a higher increase in enrolment than last year’s increase.

The University will continue to enroll new students until 19 January and existing students until 26 January 2018.

 Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018

John Ondawame greatly admired the independence struggle in East Timor, especially its ability to win active support from people in Europe, the United States and Australia. But the exiled former fighter, activist and spokesman for West Papuans also longed for the world to take notice of the plight of his people and to see the shared contours of the two conflicts—two ethnically distinct regions of Indonesia longing to break free. Ondawame did not live to see his dream of West Papua’s independence fulfilled; he died in 2014. But it is more difficult than ever for the Indonesian government to keep the problems of its most restive province out of sight.

Long mismanaged by successive administrations in Jakarta, West Papua is pushing harder to have its case for independence heard. Now possibly a minority in the province after decades of inward migration from other parts of Indonesia, ethnic Papuans increasingly worry that even a plebiscite, if secured, may not result in a decision in favor of independence. Further delays on a vote only add to their worries. For its part, the Indonesian government is unlikely to ever agree to independence for the resource-rich province, which along with Papua forms the western half of the island of New Guinea in eastern Indonesia.

The immense Grasberg mine in the central Papuan highlands is the main reason why. It is estimated to hold the world’s largest supply of gold and its third-largest supply of copper. Freeport-McMoRan, the American mining company that owns and operates the mine, has long been Indonesia’s single largest taxpayer. A deal transferring majority ownership of the Grasberg mine to the state-owned PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium is nearing conclusion. The agreement will extend Freeport-McMoRan’s rights to mine at the site until 2041 and see new phases of underground mining, as Grasberg’s massive open pit is nearly exhausted.

While militarily insignificant, armed pro-Papuan independence guerrillas have responded to the Grasberg deal by stepping up their campaigns in communities around the mine, declaring themselves at war with all the key actors involved with the mine and its protection: the police, military and Freeport. The mine has become a flashpoint against foreign exploitation of West Papuan resources and the Indonesian state’s complicity. For the security forces that have long acted with impunity in West Papua, adding layers of grievance to Papuan discontent, increased violence is more an irritant than a serious threat to Indonesia’s hold over West Papua. And yet, if unrest leads to a security crackdown and the emergence of documented, visual proof of Indonesian state violence against guerrillas or civilians, it could quickly change the dynamic in West Papua.

Consider what happened in East Timor. In 1991, some 250 East Timorese demonstrators were killed by Indonesian troops in what became known as the Santa Cruz massacre. While it was but one of many instances of state violence in East Timor, it was caught on camera by Western journalists. The filming of the Santa Cruz massacre put the Indonesian government under international pressure from which it never fully recovered. It took the fall of Suharto and the capriciousness of his successor for an independence referendum to take place, but Santa Cruz was proof enough to the world at large that Indonesia’s rule in East Timor was toxic and violent. While it is extraordinarily difficult for journalists to gain access to and move freely around West Papua, the tensions around the Grasberg mine have nevertheless made international headlines and could attract more attention.

The dynamics in West Papua suggest something has to give, or there could be an unexpected spark that ignites a process of change.

Of greater concern to the Indonesian government is the increasing effectiveness of the political opposition to Indonesia’s continuing presence in West Papua. The United Liberation Movement for West Papua, or ULMWP, has had some success in welding together the notoriously divided and fractious elements of the independence movement, notably through its attempt to secure membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a body composed of the states of Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Its membership bid failed in part because it was undercut by the Indonesian government’s own unsuccessful membership application, which explicitly aimed to block West Papua. In a determined attempt to demolish the ULMWP’s pro-independence argument that West Papua is ethnically distinctive from the rest of Indonesia, the Indonesian government insisted that there are other substantial Melanesian populations in five of its provinces and that they are suitably incorporated into the nation-state.

Internationalizing the campaign has also delivered some minor successes to West Papuan activists. In September, seven Pacific Island governments addressed the U.N. General Assembly to express their concerns about the Indonesian government’s policy in West Papua. Although the U.N.’s decolonization committee then rejected a petition allegedly signed by 1.8 million Papuans asking for West Papua’s case to be put back on the committee’s agenda, the petition alone attracted media interest. While there has been no significant breakthrough since then, the ability of West Papuan activists to make use of international networks and raise media awareness may be a sign of growing sophistication in their campaign. West Papuans have more prominent backers in the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party and a possible future prime minister, who is a founding member of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua. The group, which includes lawmakers from more than a dozen countries, is committed to “West Papua’s inalienable right to self-determination.”

The Indonesian government finds itself with difficult decisions to make about its handling of an increasingly able political opposition and a population more worried than ever about its very survival as a distinctive ethnic group. The long history of human rights abuses meted out by Indonesian security forces may have destroyed any prospect of restoring trust in the state among Papuans. How to manage a restive population that opposes clearly articulated plans for the extension of divisive mining operations is the kind of question that the Indonesian government has tended to answer in a heavy-handed and unimaginative way.

Despite efforts by President Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, to improve the situation in West Papua, problems there are deeply entrenched. Political life has been poisoned by decades of abuses and local corruption. Policies of economic development have not, by and large, benefited the ethnic Papuan population, either. And the political opposition to Indonesian rule, for all its recent attention, is still too factionalized.

But the dynamics in West Papua suggest something has to give, or there could be an unexpected spark that ignites a process of change. Does Indonesia really want to go into its second half century of control of West Papua so burdened by its past activities and policies that a crisis there becomes inevitable?

Simon Philpott is a senior lecturer in international politics at Newcastle University.

Solomon Islands Western Province: By-Election Set
BY-ELECTION SET DOWN
Gizo-Kolombangara voters to elect new leader this year

 

By EDDIE OSIFELO

CONSTITUENTS of Gizo-Kolombangara in Western Province are expected to go to the polls this year to elect their new leader.

This is necessary after the High Court last November declared the election of Jimson Tanangada in the 2014 national elections null and void.

The court found Mr Tanangada had bribed people to vote for him in the last election.

Minister of Home Affairs Commins Mewa said told the Solomon Star on Tuesday a by-election is definitely set down for this year in the Gizo-Kolombangara constituency.

But he said they are yet to set a date.

“We need $2 million to conduct the by-election,” Mr Mewa said.

“The ministry will submit a $2 million budget to cabinet for approval,” he added.

“If the budget is approved, then preparation for the by-election will take place.”

Losing Gizo-Kolombangara candidate and former prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo lodged a petition against Mr Tanangada after the 2014 elections.

But the battle took three years before Justice Rex Foukoma delivered his ruling on the matter last month.

In his ruling, Justice Foukona blamed the delay on counsels, particularly Mr Lilo’s lawyer, Nuatali Tongarutu.

“This case is inordinately delayed until now because of the negative work attitude of the counsels, in particular counsel for the petitioner, who failed to attend on a number of occasions and fail to comply with direction orders to move the case forward.

“This behavioural attitude is unacceptable and ought not to be repeated again,” Justice Foukona said.

Mr Welcomed earlier welcomed the ruling.

“This is a win for the people of Gizo/Kolombangara,” Mr Lilo told the Solomon Star after court ruling.

“The people have proven themselves by prosecuting this case in a honest way,” he added.

“The witnesses came out freely to support the solicitor who represented them in this case.

“They have proven one thing, and that is my loss is a clean loss.

“Somebody else played dirty,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Mewa said his ministry is also awaiting the outcome of the petition filed against MP for Temotu Vatud, Freda Tuki.

However, he said if Mrs Tuki loses the case, it is unlikely a by-election will be held this year.

Tanagada, who was the former Minister of Home Affairs before the High Court decision, is unlikely to contest the by-election.

A new MP for Gizo-Kolombangara will serve for less than a year.

 

Santo Island, Vanuatu: Dr. Titus Path dies
Late  Dr. Titus Path, By Godwin Ligo
Late Dr. Titus Path, By Godwin Ligo

Dr.Titus Path, of Hog Harbor Village in East Santo, who was the first ni-Vanuatu with an honorary degree of Doctorate in Divinity, has died on Santo, according to information received by Daily Post.

Part of his life was described in a book ‘Some People of Vanuatu’, a 1980 tribute to some of the political, civic and church leaders when Vanuatu gained Independence.

While the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PVC) Office was closed early yesterday morning because of the passing away of the late Dr. Titus Path, the Daily Post was informed that Dr. Titus Path, a long time serving pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, held numerous church positions including that of the principal of the well known Presbyterian Bible College known as Tangoa Bible Collage on the Island of Tangoa in South Santo.

He was once a member of the Condominium Advisory Council and other church and civic positions in the then New Hebrides and later Vanuatu.

According to the Publication ‘Some People of Vanuatu’, Dr. Titus Path was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1975 by the Presbyterian College in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of his outstanding leadership and long service in the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.

His ability as a leader and devotion to public duties has also been recognized by both the British and the French administrations back in the then New Hebrides.

On May 16th 1970, Dr. Titus Path was awarded the decoration of ‘Chevalier dans L’Order National du Merite’ by the then French President General de Gaulle, during the only French President’s visit to the New Hebrides.

In 1980, the late Dr. Titus Path was named as ‘Member of the Order of the British Empire’ (MBE).

He was also described as ‘a man of outstanding ability with humble origin’ from Hog Harbor Village in East Santo, a village with church and political leaders of outstanding abilities as well as lawyers, medical professionals, teachers and national leaders.

The Daily Post could not get information on Dr. Titus Path’s funeral arrangements nor the cause of his death but understands that the late Path was over 91 years old at the time of his death.