Archive - April 1999

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INDIGENOUS FIJIANS TO GET OWNERSHIP OF TRADITIONAL FISHING GROUNDS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 29, 1999 – PACNEWS)---Fiji’s Cabinet has approved the drafting of new legislation which will give indigenous Fijians ownership rights of their customary fishing grounds or qoliqoli.

A Cabinet statement said the decision honors a long-standing request from the Great Council of Chiefs and the recommendation of the Prime Minister and Minister for Fijian Affairs, Sitiveni Rabuka.

Presently the customary fishing rights of Fijians to their qoliqoli are limited to the right of usage. The ownership rights to these areas are vested in the State under the Crown Lands Act. The Fijians customary rights of usage of their qoliqoli are provided under the Fisheries Act.

The Cabinet statement said the draft legislation would be referred to the new Government and Parliament for approval after next month’s general election.

"In taking this decision, Cabinet assures other communities in Fiji that their rights or access to the waters and fisheries...

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VANUATU PUBLISHER CLAIMS HIS PAPER HAS BEEN THREATENED

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (April 29, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The publisher of Vanuatu's only independent newspaper claims he's been assaulted and threatened by associates of Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister Willy Jimmy.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports, the publisher of the Vanuatu Trading Post, Marc Neil-Jones, says that what began as a physical attack on him in a club in Port Vila on Saturday night, has blown up into a major issue concerning freedom of the media in Vanuatu:

"Marc Neil-Jones says he was going to run only a minor story on how an associate of Vanuatu's Deputy Prime Minister Willy Jimmy attacked him with a chair, but that Mr. Jimmy's political advisor had resorted to threats and intimidation to suppress any mention of the Deputy Prime Minister's name.

"The second time he spoke to the editor of the paper, he passed a message on from the Deputy Prime Minister that if Mr. Jimmy’s name was not removed from the story, the place would be...

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FIJI ARMY SAYS IT WILL NOT PROVIDE SECURITY FOR GENERAL ELECTION

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 28, 1999 – PACNEWS)---The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) says it will not be deploying soldiers to provide security during next month’s general election.

A statement from the RFMF said security during elections is the responsibility of the Police force.

The statement also said Fiji’s Police force was capable of maintaining law and order during the election period.

The election, scheduled for May 8-15, will be the first under the new Constitution.

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PRIME MINISTER SAYS NEW STOCK EXCHANGE SHOULD BOOST ECONOMY

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 29, 1999 – PACNEWS)---Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Bill Skate says the country’s new stock exchange will be a valuable source of foreign investment and should boost the economy.

The exchange officially opened yesterday with a handful of companies registering for a trial period before it begins full operations in a few weeks time.

Skate said the exchange would offer foreign investors a new way to invest in the country and take advantage of the low Kina.

"While we are doing all we can to restore the value of the Kina at this point in time, we must take advantage of increased investment attractiveness promoted by a lower Kina," he said.

"There are many companies around the world who would be looking at the increased attractiveness of investing in PNG. Now, with the Port Moresby Stock Exchange, they will be given further reason to bring their investment money to our shores."

The Port Moresby Stock Exchange...

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FIJI WANTS VULNERABILITY INDEX USED FOR DETERMINING AID PROGRAMS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 28, 1999 – PACNEWS)---Fiji has called on multilateral financial institutions, international, regional and bilateral organizations to improve their policies and the effectiveness of their assistance by taking into account the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their work programs.

The call was made by Fiji’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations at the 7th Session of the Commission of Sustainable Development on the Barbados Program of Action on SIDS currently underway in New York.

Rabuka recalled the importance of determining the vulnerability index of SIDS when considering the Barbados Program of Action and noted the substantial amount of work done by the Commonwealth Secretariat in this matter.

"We therefore urge the UN, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the World Bank and others, to coordinate their efforts so that their findings can be operationally applied to the graduation policy of the UN, as...

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NIUE TO EXPLOIT RESOURCES SAYS REVEREND AS NEW ZEALAND REDUCES FUNDING

ALOFI, Niue (April 29, 1999 – PACNEWS)---Reverend Lagi Sepeli, a senior member of the Niuean community in New Zealand, says the small Pacific nation must exploit its own resources or accept reverting back to New Zealand.

Wellington wants to cut the aid program by $5NZD million ($US 2.7 million) by 2003.

Of the 20,000 Niueans, 18,000 currently reside in New Zealand.

In Wellington, Niuean community leader, Reverend Lagi Sepeli said Niue should seriously consider exploiting its own resources.

"I think the answer lies with the government. It should really come up with a program to utilize the natural resources of Niue and be able to sell it outside. I think if Niue comes to the worst situation, the only option is to integrate with New Zealand," Rev. Sepeli said.

New Zealand has been reducing its aid by a quarter of a million dollars every year for the last five years.

Premier Lakatani is in Manila this week to seek support from the Asian...

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CALLS FOR FIJI PM TO NAME THOSE WHO 'MANIPULATED' HIM

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 29, 1999 – Radio Australia)---A calls for Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to name those who, he says, manipulated him during the two military coups of 1987, have been heard.

In an apology to Indian Fijians last weekend, Mr. Rabuka admitted he created fear in the Indo-Fijian community when he carried out the military coups.

He also said he had been manipulated by people who have now deserted him.

Miles Johnson, President of the Fiji Law Society during the coups, says Mr. Rabuka must now name those people if he is to have any credibility:

"If the other people were in fact a bunch of hard-core Fijian chiefs, and you know, that is the general sort of feeling, that's one of the things that's going to influence the Indians. How honest to god any land deals are going to be made."

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA JAILS WITHOUT FUNDS

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 29, 1999 – Post Courier)---The Correctional Institutional Service (CIS) chief says prisoners in jails around the country will not get anything to eat if money is not forthcoming from the Government by the end of May.

CIS Commissioner Ken Serupi said this during NCD Governor Philip Taku's inaugural Safe and Sound parade in Port Moresby yesterday morning.

He said, "By the end of May, I will not feed any more prisoners. After May, I do not know what to do with them.''

Mr. Serupi said he had made his concerns known to finance officials when he discussed the problem with them last week.

He explained that there was a formula for provinces to give funds to CIS, however provinces were telling him that they did not have any money.

Mr Serupi told the officials that funds from the K13 million (US$ 8 million) he received under the 1999 Budget would run out in May.

He warned that the Government must respond as soon...

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SOLOMONS MINISTER LOOKS TO IMPROVE EDUCATION

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 28, 1999 – PACNEWS)---Solomon Islands Education Minister Ronidy Mani and his Secretary, Lucian Kii, are in South Korea to look at the non-formal education sector, in an effort to implement changes to Solomon Islands’ education system.

This follows the completion of a master plan, which is expected to pay more attention to non-formal education and vocational training.

Acting Education Secretary Moffat Behulu admits the country's system has neglected skills training, which could lead to self-employment. Instead, it has concentrated on the formal sector.

The present system, according to Behulu, is too academic and skills obtained under formal training have been under-utilized.

"The idea of treating vocational and formal training more as equals is not new. The master education plan is merely revisiting an idea so popular in the 70's.

Behulu said the present education system is spending less money, time and effort in...

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NAURU’S NEW PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES CABINET

YAREN, Nauru (April 29, 1999 –PACNEWS)---Nauru’s newly-elected President, Rene Harris, has announced his new Cabinet.

President Harris will be responsible for the Public Service, Foreign Affairs, Health, Island Development and Industry, the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust and the Republic of Nauru Finance Corporation.

Kinza Clodumar has been appointed Minister of Finance while Remy Namaduk will be responsible for Education and Internal Affairs.

Anthony Audoa will look after the Justice and Civil Aviation Ministries.

Godfrey Thoma is the Minister for Tourism, Fisheries, Works and Community Services and Aloysius Amwano, is the new Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs.

Harris was elected after a successful no confidence vote in Parliament against Bernard Dowiyogo.

Harris has been a Member of Parliament for Aiwo since 1977. He has been Chairman of the Nauru Phosphate Corporation and Manager of Nauru Pacific Line for many years.

This is...

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