Archive - April 2001

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SOUTH PACIFIC TOURISM UPDATE

ISSUE NO. 15 – 27TH APRIL 2001

INTERNATIONAL UPDATE

New programme to help overseas partners market Seychelles better

The Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority (STMA) will soon launch a training programme that will provide overseas tour operators and travel agents with comprehensive, first hand information to successfully market Seychelles as the preferred long haul destination.

The authority's Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Francis Savy explained that the initiative, to be launched in July, would be a reinforcement of the "smart marketing approach" adopted by STMA. The authority would also arm the partners with the necessary tools in the form of structured modules, which would be delivered in a series of "carefully graded lessons designed to ensure a progressive accumulation of knowledge that can be evaluated at various stages."

Eventually, he said, the effort would give rise to an exclusive club of faithful tour operators and travel agents. The...

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REGIONAL TALKS ON HARMFUL TAX COMPETITION

PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT April 28, 2001

Ministers and officials from seven Pacific Island Forum countries listed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as 'tax havens', met in Suva, Fiji April 24-28, 2001 to discuss the OECD's Harmful Tax Competition Initiative.

The Ministers and officials from Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu were joined by representatives from Australia, New Zealand and the OECD Secretariat.

The OECD Initiative was developed in response to OECD concerns regarding the supposed erosion of their tax bases through mobile financial activities offered by offshore financial centers.

The Initiative has seen OECD nations request 35 jurisdictions, regarded as tax havens, to commit to changes to the operation of their offshore financial centers, which the OECD feels would draw back lost capital to OECD nations.

...

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CHIEFS LOOK AT PROVINCIAL RATHER THAN POLITICAL PARTY VOTE FOR FIJIANS

By Margaret Wise

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 27, 2001 - The Fiji Times/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs wants to abolish the political party system in the election of indigenous Fijian candidates to the national Parliament.

They want the system replaced by the provincial voting system in which candidates compete for a provincial seat to represent a province.

This approach is expected to be recommended to the Constitution Review Commission and formalized by the new government through parliamentary legislation.

This was the general sentiment at the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs) meeting, held in the military camp in Nabua. The views were aired during discussions on Fijian unity.

"Party politics also divides Fijians and at the same time creates ill-feelings between them and other communities," a Great Council of Chiefs source said.

It follows widespread indigenous Fijian unrest last year following the 1999...

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AMERICAN SAMOA U'UNA'I LEGAL SERVICES AWARDED $345,980 FEDERAL

CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE April 27, 2001

GRANT FROM ANA

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega announced today that he recently was advised by the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) office of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that it has awarded $345,980 to the U'una'i Legal Services in American Samoa.

The grant represents the second year funding of a three-year grant period that began in June 2000 and ends in May 2003.

Information obtained from ANA indicate that the U'una'i Legal Services will use the funds to further its goal of providing a direct legal services program with a broad range of civil legal assistance to low income individuals in American Samoa.

"I have no doubt that many of our people qualify to receive the professional services of U'una'i Legal Services and I hope they will take full advantage of it," Congressman Faleomavaega...

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PALAU STUDENTS PUSH FOR PRESERVATION OF ENVIRONMENT

By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (April 28, 2001 - Palau Horizon/PINA Nius Online)---Month-long Earth Day 2001 celebrations began in Palau with a mock congress in which students expressed concerns and submitted proposed measures to the national legislature on how to better take care of the environment.

Pearl Marumoto, chairwoman of the organizing committee, said the congress was led by 20 high school and college students.

Students acted as lawmakers and came up with proposed legislation concerning the environment.

During the weeklong congress, the students drafted bills, which were then submitted to the Olbiil Era Kelelau (OEK), Palau's national legislature.

"The students sit in and act like lawmakers," Marumoto said.

Marumoto said the congress gave students a voice in formulating legislation and honed their decision-making and leadership skills.

She said at least three bills would be submitted by the students, as well as three...

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SECOND NEGOTIATING MEETING:

PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT April 27, 2001

PACIFIC REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENT (PARTA) STARTS MONDAY

The Second Negotiating Meeting for the proposed Pacific Regional Trade Agreement (PARTA) will be held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva April 30 - May 3, 2001.

The Meeting will involve senior trade officials from the 16 Pacific Island Forum Member Countries who will negotiate the proposed final legal texts of the Umbrella Agreement and the Forum Island Country-Free Trade Area (FIC-FTA).

This will include negotiation of the schedules of liberalization, negative lists and rules of origin under the FIC-FTA legal text.

The Umbrella Agreement is a trade and economic cooperation agreement between the Forum Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand. The FIC-FTA will establish a free trade area among the 14 Forum Island Countries, following a transition period of 10 years.

Officials...

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COMMONWEALTH CONCERNED OVER SOLOMONS’ PARLIAMENT EXTENSION

LONDON (April 27, 2001 - CNIS/PINA Nius Online)---Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon has expressed concerns over the Solomon Islands’ move to extend the life of Parliament from four to five years.

Mr. McKinnon reiterated calls by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration (CMAG) at its meeting in London.

The meeting was aimed at maintaining a commitment to the Townsville and Marau peace agreements and to adhere to the proposed plan for parliamentary elections in August.

The Secretary General said the Solomons is being closely monitored by the Commonwealth and the international community.

A postponement of the elections could affect the country's international credibility and the ongoing peace process, he said.

He urged the government to maintain a commitment to the Harare principle.

He said the Commonwealth is ready to assist with preparations for national elections if necessary.

The Solomon Islands...

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NIUE AIR SERVICE PROBLEM CONTINUES INTO SIXTH WEEK

ALOFI, Niue (April 27, 2001 -- Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)---Niue has entered its sixth week without scheduled airline service.

The island's fragile tourist industry is in limbo as a $3 million resort, three motels and three guesthouses remain vacant.

Links with the island have been maintained by a weekly Air Fiji charter flight.

Negotiations are reported to be continuing with Royal Tongan Airlines and Air Rarotonga in a bid to establish scheduled link services to international flights via either Rarotonga or Nuku'alofa.

A direct roundtrip Auckland - Niue flight was terminated in mid-March after financially troubled Royal Tongan Airlines returned a Boeing 737-200 jet it leased.

Royal Tongan aircraft used on domestic routes in Tonga and for Tonga-Niue service also were grounded over certification problems but are now flying again.

Government sources in Niue say if Royal Tongan agrees to a link service it is likely to use a Shorts...

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CHINA FUNDS PROVIDED FOR

PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT April 27, 2001

PACIFIC ISLANDS TRADE OFFICE IN BEIJING

China's Ambassador to Fiji, HE Zhang Junsai, has handed over US$ 20,000 to the Suva-based Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, to help with preparations for a Pacific Islands Trade Office in Beijing.

"We wish to thank the Government of the People's Republic of China for making it possible for the region to have a trade office in Beijing," said the Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Mr. Iosefa Maiava.

"We look forward to enhancing our trade and investment relations with China," Mr. Maiava said.

The funds are part of a US$ 3 million China - South Pacific Cooperation Fund, pledged last year, which is to be disbursed over five years. One million dollars from the Fund will be used to establish and operate the trade office.

The US$ 20,000 received today will be used to meet the cost of...

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WEST PAPUA: THE NEXT EAST TIMOR?

Peace Magazine (Canada) April-June 2001.

Our Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua are still striving to break the imposition of colonial domination and foreign control, following the so-called act of free choice in 1969. It is imperative that West Papua be given the rightful opportunity of a democratic referendum of its indigenous peoples, to exercise at last their right of self-determination.

The United Nations cannot stand by and witness the destruction of the people of West Papua, where already more than half a million have been lost to human rights abuses. We must not in this area witness another catastrophe as occurred in East Timor.

Bernard Dowiyogo, President of Nauru

UN Millennium Summit, September 7, 2000

By David Webster

They¹ve waited years for this.

Thousands of indigenous West Papuans are in the streets, in churches, in sports stadiums, in jungle clearings. They’re raising hundreds of flags carrying the image...

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