Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Radio New Zealand International Pacific News, 14 June 2011

Fugitive Fiji former military officer planning to visit NZ at end of month

The former Fiji military officer Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara is planning to visit New Zealand at the end of the month.

Colonel Mara says he holds a six month visa to stay in Australia and plans to travel around meeting pro-democracy groups in different cities to promote the idea of a consolidated front to fight for democracy in Fiji.

In New Zealand Colonel Mara plans to address the opening session of an Auckland-based fledgling pro-democracy group , the Free Fiji Movement.

The new group’s been set up by a former minister in Fiji’s 2006 government, Rajesh Singh.
Another Auckland-based group the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji has criticised the New Zealand government for allowing Colonel Mara to visit.

No damage to MSG by Mara allegations says Vanuatu Prime Minister

The Vanuatu prime minister, Sato Kilman, says he doesn’t think the reputation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has been damaged by allegations of human rights abuses by its chair, Fiji’s interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

A former Fiji military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, says he witnessed Commodore Bainimarama beating women detained at the barracks and asked for police to investigate.

Mr Kilman, who handed the MSG chairmanship to Commodore Bainimarama in March, says he cannot comment on Col Mara’s links to the military.
“I don’t know Col Mara myself, I don’t know what his relationship to both the Commodore and the military as such in Fiji. Therefore I don’t think I can comment on that.”

PNG former Prime Minister calls on leaders to restore public confidence in parliament

A former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea is calling on the country’s leaders to restore public confidence in parliament.

Sir Rabbie Namaliu’s comment accompanies mounting criticism of the government’s performance in the absence of the ailing current Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

The acting Prime Minister, Sam Abal, has yet to replace the two cabinet ministers he sacked despite their claims they were an integral part of government.

Sir Rabbie says parliamentary democracy in PNG is eroded.
“The fact that we have an acting Prime Minister should not really detract parliament from focusing on important pieces of legislation or focusing on matters of national importance. You know I was basically raising the issue so parliament and those in authority can review what’s happened over the past year and restore public confidence in parliament as an institution.”

American Samoa Congressman disagrees with Governor over calls for decolonisation

Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has weighed in on Governor Togiola Tulafono’s statement to the United Nations Committee on Decolonization concerning American Samoa’s relationship with the United States.

For more than ten years now American Samoa has been asking the UN to be removed from the UN’s list of non self governing states, because it is not a colony.

At the most recent meeting of the Special Committee of 24, Governor Togiola said the United States should be persuaded to make decolonisation a priority.

The governor’s statement also lamented the negative effects of federal laws, such as the minimum wage law, that are tailored for states, not small insular areas like American Samoa.

But Congressman, Faleomavaega says some of the governor’s statements are inaccurate:
“To suggest the federal government has not done enough in terms of aiding us in our sense of political development, in my opinion is not true. Our people just rejected a proposed constitution by a vote of 70 per cent and he federal government had nothing to do with that.”
Faleomavaega says he will write to the UN committee to express his views.

Supreme Court of Vanuatu to deliver ruling over election of Sato Kilman as PM

The Supreme Court of Vanuatu is due to hand deliver its ruling on the constitutionality of the election of Sato Kilman as prime minister of Vanuatu tomorrow.

Yesterday, Chief Justice Vincent Lanabek heard 5 witnesses for the opposition leader, Edward Natapei and 4 witnesses for Mr Kilman.

The Court also heard the speaker of parliament, Maxime Carlot Korman and clerk of the parliament, Lino Bulekuli dit Saksak.

Mr Carlot and Mr Saksak both told the court that on 2nd December 2010, there was no election to select Mr Kilman as prime minister.

Mr Carlot told the Court that he only made a declaration that Mr Kilman was prime minister because there was no other nomination for the position.

Vanuatu’s constitution says that parliament shall elect the prime minister by secret ballot.

Yesterday Mr Natapei, through his legal representation, asked the Court to make an order that the election of Mr Kilman was unconstitutional and invalid.

CNMI missing girls case classed abduction

The FBI is classifying the case of two sisters who went missing almost three weeks ago in the Northern Mariana Islands as abduction.

Faloma and Maleina Luhk, aged 9 and 10 respectively, were reportedly last seen near a bus stop in As Teo on May the 25th and the search for them is continuing.

An FBI special agent, Tom Simon, says it’s not known what happened to the Kagman Elementary School students but in order for the FBI to get involved it is necessary to assume that they’ve been abducted.

A tracker dog from Hawaii Civil Defence Agency is expected to join the FBI and CNMI teams in the search either tomorrow or the next day.

A fourth day of scouring almost eight-and-a-half thousand cubic metres at Marpi landfill ended yesterday with no trace of evidence or clues to the girls’ disappearance.

Somare family restricts hospital visits in Singapore to PM

Visits to Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, in a Singapore hospital are being restricted by the Somare family.

The family told the National newspaper the prime minister’s health was most important and they did not wish the PM to be placed in any stressful situation.

Sir Michael is still in intensive care at the Raffles Hospital where he underwent a valve replacement and two open heart operations.

He was said to have overcome a complication he experienced with his lungs.

The family position came to light following reports that sacked politicians Don Polye and William Duma, had flown to Singapore to visit the ailing prime minister.

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