Thursday, March 31, 2011

Test on NCRA government persists

While the NCRA government may have some sigh of relief with the political grasshopping of the past weeks seemingly over, the need to test MPs confidence on it persists.

With the recent reshuffling within the Opposition group, the new Leader of Opposition, Dr. Derek Sikua has put on notice a motion of no confidence to be tabled within seven clear days from the day it was noticed.

Information reaching Prejudiced revealed that the motion was put on notice yesterday for the consideration of the Speaker and the Clerk of Parliament according to the Parliamentary Standing Orders.

If deemed fit for tabling, the motion would be moved by the end of next week, most probably after the  national budget has been passed.

While the government now has the majority of  numbers, the no confidence motion could create a situation whereby political lobbying could be reignited.

After the numerous controversies that the CNRA government has gone through lately, I believe it is now timely that the a no confidence motion is moved to test the position of the poitical administration and to provide an opportunity for MP's concerns to be put out in the public domain.

Friday, March 18, 2011

ABC Asia Pacific News Update

[ABC Asia Pacific News, 17 March 2011] - Vanuatu has been hit by a strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake off its northern coast.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there is no threat of a widespread destructive tsunami, but local tsunamis may be generated from the quake.

The US Geological Service says the tremor struck 77 kilometres north-west of the capital, Port Villa, on Thursday afternoon

The epicentre of the quake was fairly shallow, 26 kilometres deep.


Tonga police tell their boss to quit

Tonga's cabinet is considering a peition from almost half the police force calling for the police commissioner to step down.

Media there says up to 200 police have signed the peition calling for Chris Kelley, a New Zealander, to resign.

They are dissatisfied with recent reforms aimed at increasing accountability and transparency.

Commissioner Kelley says he is not going to quit.

"That issue is not being contemplated," he said.

Police Minister Viliami Latu says it is too early to say if he will consider removing the commissioner.

"The commissioner is doing a good job for Tongan police."

A Cabinet sub-committee is considering the petition and is expected to make a recommendation next week.

Report warns of logging conflict in Solomons

[ABC Asia Pacific News, 17 March 2011] - Conflict may erupt in Solomon Islands because of the impending collapse of the logging industry, a report warns.

The warning has come in a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Insititute, which has been looking at the long-term future of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, known as RAMSI.

The report by Dr Matthew Allen says before RAMSI's withdrawal from the Solomons, it is vital an external security back-up system is in place to deal with any future violence.

At present 70 per cent of export income comes from the logging industry but that income is likely to dry up by 2015. Dr Allen says that situation is likely to create tension and fear.

"This collapse in logging really is going to cause a severe macro-economic shock," he said.

"There's going to a huge loss in employment and there's also going to be a huge decline in government revenue."

Monday, March 14, 2011

OVERSTAYERS NABBED: Solos in detention in Australia

AN unconfirmed number of Solomon Islanders living in Brisbane, Australia are likely to be deported back to the country after they were allegedly caught residing illegally in Brisbane.
Reports reaching the Solomon Star from Brisbane stated that authorities found out the locals were living illegally in Australia during the recent flooding in Brisbane which resulted them being locked up in detention centres.
Most of them were reportedly working on farms in Gatton Shire just an hour drive from downtown Brisbane, in South East Queensland.
It was reported that as a requirement during the devastating floods in Brisbane non- Australian citizens were expected to confirm their ID or passport to get food or water.
That was when authorities found out from some of the local Solomon Islanders that they had overstayed after they tried to get water and food using their passports.
“From what I heard they were given three month visas but they had been living in Australia for more than 10 months,” a student who wanted to remain anonymous told the Solomon Star via email from Brisbane.
The student said he wanted his name withheld because the Solomon Islands community living in the area promised not to release any information to the media regarding the matter.
However, he said it had to be made known so that it would not be repeated again in future and so that the Government could help those involved.
The student said most of the Solomon Islanders who travelled to Australia were brain washed with the earnings one could make working on farms for $18AUD (about $144) an hour for more than 18 hours a day.
“This is big money when converted to Solomon dollar so I think that is why some have decided to reside illegally. Who knows,” the student said.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s assistant secretary to the Pacific John Wasi told the Solomon Star they had received unconfirmed reports of the situation.
“We have received unconfirmed reports regarding the situation but there is still no word from the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia regarding the matter,” he said.
However, a statement from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship through the High Commission office in Honiara could not clearly confirm if there were Solomon Islanders in detention centres.
The statement stated that if people from Solomon Islands were in immigration detention, they would be compliance cases who had overstayed their visas, been found working in breach or had their visas cancelled for character reasons.  
“We do not confirm nationalities in detention that have small numbers as this could potentially identify them, breaching their privacy.
Therefore, these people are removed to a country where they have right of entry or long-term stay, as soon as possible after all outstanding matters with the department are finalised and other removal clearances such as a fit-to-fly health assessments are conducted.
However, for operations reasons the department does not discuss the timing of removals,” the statement said.
[By Ednal Palmer, Solomon Star]

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sign petition in support of free speech

Hi All,

The Vanuatu daily post newspaper's publisher Marc Nei-Jones was bashed severely on Sunday by a group of men led by a Minister who stormed the newspaper's offfice in Vila.

This bashing was condemned by PINA, PACIMA, and many individual journalists throughout the pacific and the world. Please show support for a free media in the Pacific by signing the petition titled "Stop Government Violence Against Journalists in the Pacific Islands" on the following link:

This petition will be delievered to Vanuatu's Prime Minister Sato Kilman when it reaches the target of 1000 signatories.

Thanks for your support for a free speech society/ pacific/ world.

Ednal Palmer
Solomon Star