July 2014

PNG lobbies for its SG nominee

Alfred Sasako

It is not new. Nor is it unknown. As a matter of fact, the race for a Melanesian-led economic dominance in the South Pacific has been an on-off, on-again, off again preoccupation of many Melanesian political leaders since the 70s. Then, the island nations that dotted the Pacific Ocean began ...

June 2014

Three Opposition MPs suspended in Nauru

Robert Matau

Police intervention was required twice in Nauru’s parliament as government and opposition MPs clashed over the suspension of three Opposition members last month.

New Caledonia elections reaffirm divisions

Nic Maclellan

Philippe Gomes is a happy man. His anti-independence party Calédonie Ensemble has done well in New Caledonia’s elections, gaining more seats than the conservative Rassemblement-UMP (RUMP) Party that has long dominated New Caledonian politics. In the 11 May vote for three provincial assemblies and national Congress, Calédonie Ensemble (CE) improved ...

May 2014

Samoa’s finance minister resigns

Merita Huch

After several months of debate, secret meetings and petitions, the decision came down to the Samoan Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Faaolatane Liuga for him to heed the calls to resign. In his two hour long response to the Chief Auditor’s report where he attempted to comment on all the ...

Palau seeks direct air links with PNG

Robert Matau

One northern Pacific state has almost secured what has been a remote aviation dream shared by many of its small island neighbours - to get to its larger South Pacific island neighbours at as short a time and distance as possible. Palau is in Air Services Agreement (ASA) negotiations with ...

Marshalls’ Attorney General tackles fraud

Giff Johnson

Three people have now been charged with a combined 142 criminal charges in the Marshall Islands High Court, charges that allege a pharmacy company bribed Ministry of Health officials to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital contracts. The latest round of criminal charges to hit the High Court ...

“A world free of nuclear weapons”

Nic Maclellan*

Pacific governments have endorsed a call for a legally binding agreement to ban nuclear weapons at a major international summit discussing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.

April 2014

Judicial shake-up in Nauru

Robert Matau

Nauru’s Opposition has described the treatment of two of its highest judicial officers in the land as contempt for the rule of law. Opposition leader Mathew Batsiua alleged that the actions of Justice Minister David Adeang in refusing to abide by a court injunction against the deportation of Resident Magistrate ...

French Navy seized Chinese fishing boat

Robert Matau

Sea border dispute between Vanuatu and New Caledonia has resulted in the arrest and conviction of a Chinese boat captain and members of his crew. New Caledonian maritime surveillance authorities claimed the long line vessel was fishing inside its territorial waters and slapped it with a US$5.5m fine.

UN sends mission to New Caledonia

Nic Maclellan

The United Nations has sent a delegation to New Caledonia in the lead up to crucial municipal and provincial elections as supporters and opponents of independence joust over who should have the right to vote. The UN delegation arrived in New Caledonia in March in the midst of the electoral ...

March 2014

Former AG convicted of public corruption

Haidee Eugenio

In yet another “first” for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and buoyed by a multi-year movement to rid the government of corruption, former attorney-general Edward Taylor Buckingham III was found guilty on Feb. 19, 2014 of seven of eight public corruption charges against him.

PM Lilo on a cleanup footing

Alfred Sasako

As his nation prepares for the national general election later this year, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, is a man whose leadership is under siege. And he may not have the time to dust off the rising tempo of criticisms being levelled at his 25-month old leadership. Much ...

Fiji back from the cold?

Rowan Callick

Fiji is coming back in from the cold. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama’s announcement that he would step down as military commander on February 28, then on March 1 provide details of the new party he would lead at the election in September, accelerated a regional move already under way following ...

Bishop announces ODA cuts and reviews

Nic Maclellan

As Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joined members of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) in Suva last month, she highlighted Australia’s new policies for the region, including normalisation of relations with the Bainimarama regime.

Dual citizenship—just a money spinner?

Tony Wilson*

The creation of dual citizenship in Vanuatu through constitutional change has created two fiercely opposing camps in a debate that refuses to die.

At 60, legacy of Bravo still reverberates

Giff Johnson

March 1 is a national holiday in the Marshall Islands marking the day the Bravo hydrogen bomb was exploded at Bikini Atoll, spewing radioactive fallout on islands around the Marshall Islands. This year’s 60th anniversary is being marked in Majuro—and other locations around the world. For most Marshall Islanders, it ...

From Mexico to the Marshalls

Giff Johnson & Suzanne Chutaro

Late in 2012, El Salvadorian fisherman Jose Salvador Alvarenga and his Mexican companion Ezequiel Cordoba left southern Mexico in a 24-foot boat for a day of shark fishing. They didn’t return. On January 29, 2014 Alvarenga and his barnacle-encrusted boat washed into Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands. His 6,000-mile ...

February 2014

New MP Tausi to be the next Speaker?

Robert Matau

Expect a new Speaker for Tuvalu’s parliament when parliament sits either in March or April.

Gov Inos deals with land issues

Haidee V. Eugenio

U.S. President Barack Obama signed on Sept. 18, 2013 a law conveying 3-mile submerged lands to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, only to temporarily withhold the transfer to local control of five offshore lands four months later or on Jan. 15, 2014.

PNG launches first national security policy

Nic Maclellan

The PNG government has chosen a new Commander for the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF)—Colonel Gilbert Toropo, the former Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment.

The Battle for French Polynesia’s Future

Nic Maclellan

In French Polynesia, they’re gearing up for next month’s municipal elections. It’s another round in the long-running battle over its future, between President Gaston Flosse and opposition leader Oscar Manutahi Temaru.

MSG cohesion in doubt?

‘…Vanuatu is forcing the rest of the MSG to take a stand on West Papua—something that is bound to test the integrity of the grouping in the months and years to come. Its boycott of the leaders’ visit to Indonesia, which incidentally has observer status in the MSG grouping—is rooted ...

January 2014

2014: Year of Elections for Melanesia

Samisoni Pareti

2014 What to Expect With the exception of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, all the other countries that make up Melanesia will be going to the polls this year. Fiji, of course, will be the country to watch. After leading his soldiers in a bloodless coup on December 5, 2006, ...

December 2013

World’s oceans to go up about a metre

Christopher Pala

The world’s leading panel of climate change specialists warned in a report issued in September that the world’s oceans will rise on average between half a metre and a metre by the end of the century.

Little hope things will get better

Alfred Sasako

Solomon Islands is a country on the mend—an economy in transition after its four-and-a-half-year brush with civil war early this millennium.