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.

O’Neill govt’s new development template

Rowan Callick

Papua New Guinea’s most powerful prime minister since independence, Peter O’Neill—who has won the backing of 104 of the 111 members of parliament—has come under fire in recent weeks, especially in social media, over the government’s aggressive management style.

November 2013

The challenge of making land leases bankable

Bulk of the land within the Pacific Islands is under customary tenure. PNG, as an example, has 97 percent of its total land area under customary title. There are some very good reasons for the above. The property rights to land in most Pacific islands nations have been acquired, protected ...

Just who are they arming themselves against?

Alfred Sasako

Before he was dethroned in November 2012, Prime Minister Danny Philip flagged with Australia the idea that Canberra considers building a refugee processing centre in Solomon Islands. His choice for the facility was Sterling Island in the Shortland Group in the nation’s far north, closer to the Bougainville border.

Voter apathy concerns NZ’s Pacific leaders

Peter Rees

New Zealanders go to the polls next year and political parties will again battle for the sizeable Pacific vote—provided they can get them to the polling booths. Despite Pacific people making up roughly 7% of the country’s population with six Pacific MPs in parliament, engaging them with New Zealand politics ...

October 2013

Challenges for islands law ministers

Davendra Sharma

Law ministers in small islands states face ever-increasing new challenges in delivering appropriate access to justice for victims of crime. But all that is about to change with the Commonwealth Secretariat kicking in support to the region.

Tough times ahead for Bishop

Davendra Sharma

With a new government in Canberra has come an inexperienced foreign affairs minister with minimal exposure to international diplomacy.

U.S. funding stalemate highlights

Giff Johnson

For the first time in nearly 30 years of relations between the Marshall Islands and the United States governments, the two have been unable to reach an agreement on a budget allocation for the new fiscal year, a development that highlights increasing dissatisfaction in President Christopher Loeak’s nearly two-year-old administration ...