Pacific Update

August 2014

Solomon goes to the poll under the weight of mounting debt

Alfred Sasako

As Solomon Islands gears up for its national general election later this year troubling signs of corruption, economic woes and mounting debts are overshadowing preparations. No one really knows the exact date for the election yet, although October 29 has been widely tipped. Discussion on the subject, however, has been ...

Puna back as Cook Islands Prime Minister?

Samisoni Pareti

Pending any successful petition against winning candidates in last month’s general elections in the Cook Islands, incumbent Prime Minister Henry Puna (pictured) and his Cook Islands Party are poised for another term in government. Final election results put Puna’s CIP winning 13 seats in the 24-seat parliament while the Democratic ...

Secret letter at centre of O’Neill AU$30m payments

Sam Vulum

The simmering political tensions created by the attempted arrest of Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill by police over alleged corruption allegations have cooled - at least for the time being. Mounting pressure on the Prime Minister and the government was created by a buildup of anti-government sentiment propagated ...

July 2014

PM O’Neill comes under fire over AU$30 million payout

Sam Vulum

Papua New Guinea is embroiled in political turmoil triggered by the attempted arrest of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill by police on June 17 as part of ongoing anti-corruption investigations into payments to a prominent law firm. The investigations spiraled into political chaos after a secret letter by the Task Force ...

June 2014

Donations to flood victims in Solomons mount

Alfred Sasako

The two-day flash flooding that began on April 2 struck at the heart of Solomon Islands’ administrative and business and commerce power base. It caught authorities napping. If there were any warnings at all, not many people took any notice.

Lack of data affects tuna stock assessments

Foreign fishing nations who benefit immensely from fishing in the Western and Central Pacific region’s US$7.2 billion fishery are not releasing valuable tuna stock data needed to manage and sustain the industry.

Carsasses’ out, Natuman’s in

Tony Wilson

It had all the guile and secrecy of a commando raid. And as much impact. This was the demise of Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses after 14 months in the top job. He entered parliament on May 15 confident he had the numbers to survive his fourth motion of no ...

May 2014

Pacific NGOs up in arms

Robert Matau

Greenpeace’s closure in Suva adds to an already growing concern amongst Non-Government Organisations in the region that their services are not appreciated.

Will Japan stop killing our whales?

Davendra Sharma

A world court slapped a moratorium on Japanese from slaughtering whales in the Antarctic in April but the country’s whale enthusiasts have no plans to stop their hobby in the northwest Pacific.

Greenpeace to operate by ‘remote control’ in the Pacific

Robert Matau

Greenpeace’s closure of its Pacific Office in Fiji last month has ignited fears that the global environmental group no longer considers the region a priority.

Parties to Nauru Agreement loses CEO

Robert Matau

The Pacific is losing one of its most prolific tuna negotiators who has been instrumental in negotiating greater returns for tropical purse seine fishery. Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Chief Executive Officer Dr Transform Aqorau told a PNA meeting in Honiara last month that those series of meeting would be ...

April 2014

Tuila’epa in NZ for treatment

Merita Huch

Days after being airlifted by the New Zealand Government for medical treatment in Auckland, aides of Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuila’epa Lupesoli’ai Sa’ilele Malielegaoi (pictured) were still playing down the extent of his illness. Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister Leilua Tavis Leota says the Prime ...

Pacific’s first flyover roadway

Sam Vulum

The metropolis landscape of Port Moresby is set to transform significantly with the construction of the multi million dollar Kookaburra Flyover Street, the biggest project yet ever to be undertaken this decade in Papua New Guinea and the first in any South Pacific country once completed.

Deadly Lusi claims 11 lives in Vanuatu

Tony Wilson

Vanuatu is still reeling from monster cyclone Lusi that took at least eleven lives and caused millions of dollars in damage to gardens and properties early March. Yet in this rare instance, the cyclonic winds were not the central villain in the plot. Cyclone Lusi was first noticed as a ...

March 2014

MP’s jailing a warning

The jailing of a Papua New Guinea MP, his rival and their supporters in Madang for contempt of court has sounded a warning to politicians and their supporters to strictly abide with the court orders.

Samoan language finally official

Merita Huch

After 51 years of independence, the government of Samoa has just made its mother tongue the official language of the country. Many did not know that since 1962 that the English language had always been Samoa’s official language. It was a decision made to ensure that development matters are dealt ...

Nauru’s new lawman under the microscope

Davendra Sharma

It could be a classic case of jumping from a frying pan into the fire for Nauru as the government fired its two top judicial executives in favour of another Australian with claims of “deceptive conduct”. After months of wrangling as the business executive arm of the government tried to ...

February 2014

Cyclone Ian a blessing: Fonua

Robert Matau

Cyclone Ian could be a blessing in disguise for Ha’apai Island, which has been neglected over the years in terms of development.

MSG meets to seek answers from delegation

Robert Matau

The Melanesian Spearhead Group heads into further talks this month to seek more answers from the MSG mission that failed to meet indigenous West Papuan leaders in West Papua last month.

Solomons faces potential economic rescue

Alfred Sasako

As it edges closer to an election later this year, the Hapi Isles appears to be in an economic turmoil.

January 2014

New speaker for Tuvalu in the new year?

Robert Matau

Expect a new speaker for Tuvalu’s parliament if government has its way in the coming by-election. Tuvalu goes to the poll on January 14 to fill the Namuga seat left vacant by the sick former education, youth and sport minister Dr Falesa Pitoi.

Micronesian leaders tackle climate change, human trafficking

Haidee V. Eugenio

Amid a backdrop of high healthcare costs, eroding coastlines, skyrocketing air transportation costs and what the United States considers either a target destination for or source of human trafficking, nine Micronesian presidents and governors gathered on Saipan from December 4 to 6 for a regional summit that tackled issues of ...

December 2013

Abbott rules out new climate funding

Davendra Sharma

In a blatant disregard for a call by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting this year to lift efforts and funds for climate change, the new Abbott government in Australia ruled out any new commitment at a global symposium on climate change last month.

US marks 4th year of CNMI immigration control

Haidee V. Eugenio

Four years have already gone by since the Nov. 28, 2009 start of a five-year transition period for the implementation of United States immigration law in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). But indications are rife that neither the U.S. nor the CNMI is ready to end the ...

November 2013

West Papuan activists lobbying Pacific leaders

Robert Matau

While they are keenly awaiting the decision on their membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), West Papua activists are travelling the Pacific lobbying countries to support their bid. One such activist is exiled investigative journalist Octovanius Mote, who has just returned to his adopted home in Washington D.C in ...