September 2014

US seeks dismissal as nuke lawsuit gains support

Giff Johnson

WHEN THE MARSHALL ISLANDS FILED LEGAL action in late April against nine nuclear nations at the International Court of Justice and against the United States in federal district court, it simultaneously stunned the world while sparking an outpouring of media reportage and comment. The filings also surprised almost everyone in ...

Bank report identifies political interference in state companies

Samisoni Pareti In Apia, Samoa.
Sat 30 Aug 2014 -

The Asian Development Bank today released a damming report on the poor performance of state owned enterprises in a number of Pacific Island economies, singling out political interference as a major contributing factor.

Fiji Election Office Split Widens

By Samisoni Pareti
Sat 23 Aug 2014 -

Fiji’s Elections Office went ahead with the drawing of electoral candidate numbers today in defiance of its seven-member Electoral Commission.

August 2014

Fiji prepares for first poll under new constitution

Dennis Rounds

The countdown to Fiji’s first General Election under its new Constitution is well underway with the country’s long-established political parties vying to out-maneuver 2006 coup leader, and incumbent Prime Minister, Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama’s new Fiji First Party. Currently registered and in the political race are Bainimarama’s Fiji First Party ...

Fisheries expert hurries off with stern warning

Giff Johnson

Majuro — Glenn Hurry is the first of two important and long-term fisheries management officials to be leaving regional posts over the next six months. Hurry, after four years as executive director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and a previous five years as its chairman, departs ...

Kiribati plans livestock and farms on Fiji property

Kiribati Correspondent

Kiribati President Anote Tong has brushed aside criticism of his government’s decision to buy the Natoavatu Estate land in Fiji at a price of AU$9.3 million. Despite popular belief. Tong says the 5461 acres of freehold land won’t be used to relocate I-Kiribati who have lost their homes due to ...

Emotional fall-out overnuclear test memorial

Nic Maclellan

Even though the last nuclear test in the Pacific was conducted nearly 20 years ago, the commemoration of the atomic era still causes debate in French Polynesia. President Gaston Flosse of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party has caused a storm by proposing to remove a memorial to nuclear testing from a ...

Tokelau meeting approves south Albacore Tuna plan

Samisoni Pareti

Fisheries Ministers in the Pacific have endorsed moves they hope would lead to better management of the south Pacific albacore tuna fisheries both in their 200 miles exclusive economic zones and in the adjacent high seas. First steps were sealed in the remote coral atoll of Atafu in Tokelau last ...

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 ...