PM addresses business visa issue

There has been significant misuse of multiple-entry business visas to the country, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

Speaking at a recent business breakfast in Port Moresby, he said: “I have also heard your concerns in regards to the issuing of business visas.

“That is why a moratorium was declared for these visas so that we can review these processes and stronger measures put in place to prevent misuse. Stronger internal processes are now in place to police the abuse of multiple-entry business visas.

“The moratorium will now come to an end and multiple-entry business visas will be issued from our embassies, high commissions and consulates around the world.”

O’Neill said Government would expedite this process because it had listened to the business community.

“We know that having multiple-entry visas eases the process of doing business for you,” he said.

“When you raise concerns, we listen, we consult, and we come to a decision that is in the best interests of the country and of our business community.
“We (Government) are ready to work with business to grow our economy.
“Our economy is on track.
“We have turned the corner after challenging times, and our shared future looks bright.

“We are building on the successes of Apec and attracting more foreign investment into Papua New Guinea, and other investments that we have made in infrastructure and the social sector in our country.

“In an uncertain global economy, capital is looking for certainty and stability – and that is what we have to offer in PNG. We need investment in our country that will continue to create jobs and opportunities for our people, and drive growth.

“Foreign investors have done very well in Papua New Guinea, and our Government is focused on seeing that shared success continues.

“In 2019, our Government and our business community will embrace the opportunities before us as we embrace the boom cycle that is underway.”

Australian naval ship visits here

A ROYAL Australian Navy Hydrographic Ship HMAS Melville is visiting Honiara for her crew to conduct outreach activities with the community and host a number of functions from 1 to 5 February. 

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Melville, Lieutenant Commander Dean Battilana, said his crew is looking forward to spending some well-earned time ashore in Honiara following three weeks of survey operations throughout the Southwest Pacific. 

“When the Royal Australian Navy is working in the Southwest Pacific, Solomon Islands is seen as a destination of choice for the respite of our Sailors,”

Lieutenant Commander Battilana said. 

“Solomon Islands have gladly hosted many Australian warships over the years and we are excited to have a chance to visit this wonderful and beautiful country.” 

Australian High Commissioner, Roderick Brazier, welcomed HMAS Melville and her crew. 

“This sophisticated ship contributes significantly to ensuring the safety and efficiency of sea lanes of communication both in Australian territorial waters and throughout the Pacific,” Brazier said. 

“I am particularly pleased to note the role that Australia plays as the Primary Charting Authority for Solomon Islands and the contribution HMAS Melville makes to this vital task. 

“I thank Captain Lieutenant Commander Dean Battilana and his crew for their dedication to the task and for their splendid hospitality during this visit.” 

Ships such as HMAS Melville play a key role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of shipping in Solomon Islands by enabling Australia’s role as Primary Charting Authority. 

Background on HMAS Melville 

The Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Service operates two LEEUWIN Class Hydrographic Ships from Cairns, Australia. HMAS Melville is the second of her class and conducts hydrographic surveys throughout Australian territorial waters. 

She also assists Pacific Island nations to survey their territorial waters when invited to do so. 

Survey tasks generally cover large areas adjacent to coastal areas where water depths are generally between 25 and 200 metres and water clarity is high. 

HMAS Melville can carry up to three survey motor boats that can conduct survey operations in the vicinity of coastal waters in depths between five and 50 metres. 

HMAS Melville and each survey motor boat carry the latest in survey and computerised hydrographic data processing equipment and is fitted with the latest navigation aids. 

HMAS Melville can also be used to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief if required. 

HMAS Melville has a crew of 48 personnel, a length of 71 metres and can travel at a maximum speed of 14 knots. 


WP leaders declare vow to ‘war’ against Indo

ABC: Leaders of the Free West Papua movement have met in the PNG capital Port Moresby to stress their commitment to war against Indonesia.

The group’s chairman Jeffrey Bomanak delivered a statement at a West Papua Freedom Conference, saying the fight wouldn’t end until Indonesia agrees to meet them peacefully to discuss independence for the West Papua region, which includes both West Papua Province and Papua Province.

“This war has been going on a long time, this fight is still here, so the situation we see is that Indonesia is trying its best to avoid the negotiations between OPM and Indonesia,” he said.

“So this war will not end, it will continue, even if Indonesia brings development or money. But this we are talking about are our fundamental rights”.

Papua New Guinea opposition MP and West Papuan independence supporter, Gary Juffa gave his encouragement.

“It is a fight that is right. So what if they [Indonesia] have the biggest army in the world, why do they have a large army anyway? Something like the fifth or sixth largest army, who are they trying to fight?”.

Indonesia maintains that West Papua will remain its territory, with the country’s Defence Minister earlier this week declaring that “they’re not allowed independence”.

Since coming to power, the Indonesian President Joko Widodo has increased funding to the two provinces, focusing on developing infrastructure and improving connectivity. 

– ABC, The Solomon Star News