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Ni-Vanuatu at Ok Tedi Gold Mine buys land in PNG

Moli Pakoro, 33, of Malo Island is the only worker from Vanuatu driving a giant crusher at Ok Tedi Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG). He is married to a ‘meri’ from the giant Melanesian country and has four children.

Entrance to Ok Tedi Gold Mine. Photo: Ok Tedi page

His wife is a childhood sweet heart from Kamewa Primary School on Santo where they both went to school. Her PNG parents arrived in Vanuatu to work for Vanuatu Copra and Cocoa Exporters (VCCE) Limited in Santo.

At 18, Pakoro became a seasonal worker under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme in New Zealand. “I supported my wife to graduate from university in PNG,” he recalled.

Asked what his first sight of something in PNG that he had never seen before in public, he replied, “Guns because here in Vanuatu, we don’t see anyone with guns in public.

“But on my first arrival at Jackson Airport, I was not afraid because I was there to meet my girlfriend and her family.”

They had been apart on different countries for a while.

“We had not seen each other for two years so on my arrival I searched the huge colourful crowd for her while she also searched for me,” Pakoro said.

“I turned my head and there she was standing next to me without even knowing that I was next to her. I placed the palm of my hands over her eyes. She knew it was me. We took a plane then landed at an airstrip and took a bus and travelled for a whole day to arrive in her village!

“I trialed for heavy duty and I chose to drive a crusher and did my three months training in Cairns, Australia. I came back and drove a crusher at Ok Tedi Gold Mine.

“I enjoy working on the machine. A giant boulder is loaded on the crusher but it is smashed without any problem into sand. It is deposited into a kind of strainer and with water, gold is separated from waste matter.

“I touched and held gold in my hand. It is heavy. Sometimes it is found from panning in a river.

“At times we go down to my wife’s bubu’s place at Sepik and panned for gold in the river there, pack the grains of gold in small Panadol-like containers and sell the gold at Jayapura in West Papua, on the border of Indonesia.

“In PNG, you can drive through Wewak, Vanimo and Jayapura. You can pay approximately VT10, 000-VT15, 000 by bus and drive through”.

Asked to talk about the minimum wage of Papua New Guineans, Pakoro said, “In PNG, the standard of education is higher than Vanuatu and as the second best salary paying country in the Pacific below Australia, their people are better educated than us here in Vanuatu too.

“For instance, my small ‘tawi’ went as far as Year 6 in Santo but on their return to PNG, he started at year four to meet their standard”.

Pakoro said this explains why in PNG, their people own huge shops and super markets and expand even as far as the United States. This is because they are very well educated to compete in the market place. Their academic education is the key to their economic success.

“Look at my own case. I dropped off at Year 9 at Santo. If you enjoy a cook’s recipe, don’t keep going back to eat at the same restaurant but learn how to cook the same recipe yourself,” he said.

“I have assisted a little girl that my wife and I had adopted and we cared for her until she entered university. She is completing her law course next year to graduate with her Law Degree.

“What a satisfactory feeling knowing that you have contributed to this success story for her to graduate to enter the professional workforce.”

His advice to young Ni-Vanuatu like him is to study to climb up the ladder of success

“I decided I wanted to drive a heavy duty vehicle and travelled to learn how to drive it,” he said. “The pay is good and I studied in Cairns in Australia and came home with my qualification to control this machine. Good pay. No problem.

“Now at 33, I have yet to touch kava or cigarette or ‘lif tabak’. I take beer just to socialise and that’s it. Kava is selfish because after drinking your kava, you return home and eat of the food that your wife and children have eaten. Your family do not drink kava and you spend a lot of money on your kava and that is selfish.

“We all go overseas to work to earn money for our families so please let us earn to save and not spend.

“Know how and when to communicate with your supervisor about any challenges that you or your team face. You must show your concern to stand for your colleagues’ rights”.

His advice to Vanuatu seasonal workers in New Zealand and Australia is for them to save their earnings to invest it by going into business in the national Capital or Provincial Capitals to create employment opportunities for their families and or ‘wantoks’ towards reducing the number of young people leaving to do seasonal works overseas.

“My father-in-law is involved in agriculture so I asked if we could set him up in agriculture and he agreed. I invested in my first 200 hectares of land and went into cocoa farming, pawpaw farming and poultry farming,” he concluded.

Chinese Minister of International Department Liu Jianchao visits Vanuatu for the first time

The Chinese Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Liu Jianchao, is currently in Port Vila for his first visit to Vanuatu.

Despite this being his first time here, he expressed familiarity with the country, noting that his department has maintained close contact with Vanuatu’s political parties over the years, and that he has personally met many Vanuatu officials during their trips to China.

In his speech at the National Convention Centre yesterday, the Minister emphasised China’s commitment to high-quality cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework and the implementation of three global initiatives aimed at promoting world peace, stability, and prosperity.

He invited countries worldwide to join China in its modernisation efforts and share in the resulting opportunities.

Liu acknowledged the geographical distance between China and Vanuatu, but highlighted the strong desire among Chinese people to visit Vanuatu.

“This interest is not only because Vanuatu was ranked the world’s happiest country in 2024 according to the Happy Planet Index but also due to the longstanding friendship between the two peoples,” he said.

He reminded that Chinese people began working and living in Vanuatu as early as the 1920s.

“Over the years, the relationship between the two nations has strengthened under the strategic guidance of their leaders…President Xi Jinping has often emphasized that Vanuatu is a great friend, good partner, and good brother to China in the Pacific Island region, making it a priority in China’s diplomacy with Pacific Island countries,” said Mr. Liu.

He outlined four principles guiding China’s relations with Pacific Island countries:

Mutual Respect and Equality: China respects the sovereignty, independence, culture, traditions, and unity efforts of Pacific Island countries.

Friendship and Common Interests: China prioritises cooperation in areas of importance to Pacific Island countries, such as climate change, economic growth, livelihoods, and social stability. China provides assistance without political strings, impositions, or empty promises, believing in empowering rather than merely aiding.

Mutual Support: China considers itself part of the developing countries’ family. China’s vote in the United Nations Security Council represents the interests of developing nations. Liu called for joint efforts to promote equal, inclusive economic globalization to defend common interests.

Open and Inclusive Cooperation: China and Pacific Island countries share a long history and a common aspiration for development. Their cooperation is natural and independent, free from third-party influences. Pacific Island countries have the right to manage their affairs and choose their partners.

The Minister concluded by acknowledging the differences in political systems, history, culture, and natural environments between China and Pacific Island countries. Despite these differences, he stressed that they belong to a community with a shared future, linked by the vast Pacific Ocean and bonded by deep friendship.

๐‘๐š๐ญ๐ฎ ๐’๐ฎ๐ค๐ฎ๐ง๐š ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐‚๐ž๐ฅ๐ž๐›๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’ ๐“๐จ ๐‡๐จ๐ง๐จ๐ซ ๐•๐ข๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐‹๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ฉ

The Assistant Minister for iTaukei Affairs, Heritage, and Culture, Hon. Sikeli Tuiwailevu, this morning officiated at the soft launch of the Ratu Sukuna Day celebration and announced that it will take place over three days, starting on May 29th and ending on May 31st. 

The theme for this year’s celebration is “๐˜Š๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฃ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜“๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜Š๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜Œ๐˜ฅ๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ” as one of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna’s enduring legacies is strengthening culture through the education system and traditional institutions.

While the main celebration will again be centered in Suva, the Ministry of Education and the Fiji National University will also organize programmes to honour the late Ratu Sir Josefa Lalabalavu Vana'ali'ali Sukuna. 

“We have a series of programmes. On 29 May, we will commence with a Culture and Education Symposium at the Holiday Inn. The Chief Guest will be the Chairperson of the Great Council of Chiefs,” said Hon Tuiwailevu.

This symposium which will be interactive will engage students and youths, educating them on Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna's visionary contributions to education while seeking their views on how his contribution can take the nation forward. 

Thursday the 30th of May will be dedicated to primary and secondary school students and will begin with an assembly at 9 am at Albert Park. The Permanent Secretary for Education Ms Selina Kuruleca will officiate at the event.

Thereafter, the park pavilion will host speech contests, cultural performances by students, and exhibitions showcasing Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna's enduring legacy.

The day will end with a public lecture by Professor Steven Ratuva at FNU Nasinu Campus from 5-8 pm, targeting the youth audience.

There will be a public march from the flea market to Albert Park on May 31st at 9 am. The Honorable Prime Minister will be the Chief Guest and will deliver the national address.

The celebrations will conclude with a state function at 6 pm at the State House while Cultural performances and live music will continue at Albert Park.

“The public is invited to visit the special exhibitions at the Albert Park Pavilion, Fiji Arts Council, and Fiji Museum, the public lecture on 30 May, and the public march and main celebration at Albert Park on 31 May.” 

“Let us all show our support for these celebration events and honor Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna's vision, aspirations, and legacy for Fiji,” the Assistant Minister stated in conclusion.

Ratu Timoci Tavanavanua, the Roko Tui Bau, spoke about the life of the late statesman at the event which was also graced by the presence of the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa, the Turaga na Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Turaga na Tui Kalabu, Ratu Paula Maiwiriwiri and the Assistant Minister for Education Hon Iliesa Vanawalu.

Ratu Sir Josefa Lalabalavu Vana'ali'ali Sukuna was born in 1888, into a chiefly family on the island of Bau. 

He made significant contributions to the history and identity of Fiji. Despite the British prohibition on Indigenous Fijians fighting in World War I, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna joined the French Foreign Legion and was awarded the prestigious Medaille Militaire for his service.

Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna’s dedication to supporting the war efforts during both World Wars I and II connected Fiji to countries around the world such as France and England.

Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna passed away en route to England on the ship Arcadia on 30 May 1958. 

He was buried at the Sau Tabu in Tubou, Lakeba alongside the great leaders of Lau. His legacy lives on through the role he played in the pre-independence years. 

His passing marked the end of an era, but his influence in shaping pre-independence Fiji ensured the nation's existence, making him a crucial figure in Fiji's continuing story.

 #FijiGovernment #GovernmentNews #CoalitionGovernment #FijiNews #TeamFiji

Government Unshaken by Vote-of-No-Confidence Motion: Prime Minister Marape

Port Moresby, May 22, 2024 – Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has affirmed that the Government remains steadfast and undeterred by the Opposition’s vote-of-no-confidence motion.

“We had a full Cabinet today for our National Executive Council meeting and our government business for the two weeks of Parliament starting next Tuesday have been cleared,” Prime Minister Marape stated.

“We are not deterred by any conversations on a vote-of-no-confidence despite all the hype.

“If a vote-of-no-confidence is put up, the Parliament process will deal with it.

“The title or position of prime minister is not my birthright, as I have said many times. If there’s anyone else out there who is better than me, then they can take over. I’m only doing my part in the time that I am here.

“Pangu Pati has support with 59 MPs as of today and another to join and bring this up to 60. Coalition numbers are intact. We won 39 seats at the 2022 elections, which is a record number as far as the history of our elections is concerned. Our numbers are intact and secure as we go into this sitting of Parliament.”

Prime Minister Marape welcomed any challenges from the Opposition or other opposing parties outside of Parliament, emphasising their right to hold the Government accountable as part of the democratic process and freedom of expression.

Prime Minister Marape reiterated earlier statements, saying: “I will present a full report of what this Government has done under my leadership since taking office in May 2019. I will table this report on May 30, 2024, during the Parliament session.”

Addressing the vote-of-no-confidence motion proposed by the Opposition, Prime Minister Marape advised: “My advice to the Opposition is not to repeat the same mistakes from the February sitting of Parliament when the last vote-of-no-confidence motion was filed.

“They brought in a motion with defects on it.

“If they are filing a motion, it must be filed in accordance with the legal and technical requirements.

“These include correct signatures and designations of MPs involved. These are elementary and primary matters but they seem to get it wrong. Since our country’s Independence in 1975, vote-of-no-confidence procedures have been in place and are entertained if done in the proper way.”

Prime Minister Marape added: “This Government under my watch will not avoid any of the challenges from those in the Opposition benches.

“But they must comply with all laws to do with vote-of-no-confidence.

“We’re not ignorant to the requirements of law.

“In fact, be reminded that there are a couple of MPs on that side now who crossed the floor of Parliament and broke laws in 2011, with the intention of forming a new Government.

“In 2024, due process is complied with. I welcome scrutiny and attempts of vote-of-no-confidence, but please follow due process.”

Prime Minister Marape announced that Constitutional Bills the Government will bring to this Parliament sitting include the Declaration of PNG as a Christian country (second and final readings), PNG’s Court Structure Amendments, and Proposed Amendments on vote-of-no-confidence filing attempts and the grace period for Government following an unsuccessful vote-of-no-confidence.

“The National Gold Corporation Bill 2024 will not be brought to Parliament in this sitting but we will allow for further consultations, without removing the goal post of establishing a gold refinery in PNG,” he said.

“The Opposition voted against declaring PNG a Christian country in the first reading in the last sitting of Parliament. I urge them to rethink and support this Bill for the good of the country. Other important bills will also be tabled.”



THE police hierarchy is cracking the whip in a bid to reintroduce positive changes within the Royal PNG Constabulary according to the Chief of Administration Deputy Commissioner Dr Philip Mitna.

The Constabulary's executive management will continue to introduce reforms aimed at improving policing services across the nation, from here onward and into the immediate future.

 Dr Mitna said this yesterday after swapping his former position as Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations to assume the role of Deputy Commissioner Administration. 

The cabinet recently appointed former DCP Administration Joanne Clarkson to a new diplomatic portfolio representing the RPNGC in Australia, appointed Samson Kua as Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations and appointed Dr Mitna as the new DCP and Chief of Administration taking over from Clarkson.

When assuming office, Dr Mitna said "the nation was going through tough economical times and therefore it was imperative for the Constabulary to tighten up on unnecessary expenditure, and redivert funding to purchase essential items such as uniforms, and to fix some of the rundown police stations and barracks infrastructure across the country.

He said the vehicle reflecting exercise spearheaded by Commissioner Manning will continue unabated until most of the hired vehicles currently used for police operations are replaced with a properly funded government fleet across the nation. 

“We have now placed a ban on all unnecessary overtime claims and all Divisional Commanders Provincial Police Commanders and Police Station Commanders will now take more responsibility to ensure that punctuality in the work place and ethical standards are restored and maintained at all times.”

DCP Mitna said our biggest challenge now is to win back public support and trust. 

“The tragic events of black Wednesday on January 10 had 
severed our relationship with the community especially here in Port Moresby city, and therefore it was imperative for the Constabulary to win back public trust and confidence in the hearts and minds of the people, the government and all other stakeholders,” DCP Mitna said.

He said the Internal Affairs directorate will vigorously pursue all outstanding disciplinary cases, identify corrupt police officers and terminate them from the force. 

“We will cleanse this organization to win back the trust and confidence of the people,” DCP Mitna said.

The office of DCP Administration will now reintroduce the police code of ethics contained in the Constabulary Standing Orders (CSO) to stimulate changes in front line policing across the nation, and it will encourage the Divisional Commanders, PPCs and PSCs to drive this ambitious change.

They will have to maintain regular parades and manpower audit, and take stock of their inventory on firearms vehicles, furniture, computers, printers and all other forms of hardware at their disposal. 

He said such audit and inventories are part of the organizational culture enshrined in the CSO and Constabulary's Standard Operations Procedure (SOP) manuals.

He said proper accountability of these vital assets will also help to promote the values of good governance within the Constabulary.

“We will reintroduce the CSO and SOPs, and ensure that ACPs PPCs and PSCs are made to exert and maintain these values down the rank and file,” DCP Mitna said.

“The SOP is the guide that basically spells out the rules of engagement for all members of the Constabulary,” he said.

“Much of the values of
discipline accountability and ethical conduct have eroded considerably over the years because policemen and policewomen opted to be ignorant and irresponsible.

In doing so, we acquired the risk of exposing the organization to all forms of exploitation.

 That will change from here onward,” DCP Mitna said, while emphatically stressing on the importance of reintroducing the SOP. 

He made these remarks in a meeting with some of his senior officers at Police Headquarters yesterday.

PM Rabuka Bids Farewell to Outgoing Secretary- General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna

“When the baton was passed to you two years ago, Forum Leaders entrusted the Secretariat to your capable hands, recognising your extensive experience as a stateman. Your deep understanding of the Forum and its membership assured us all that you were well- equipped to lead”.

These were the sentiments shared by Prime Minister Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka while delivering his heartfelt remarks to the esteemed outgoing Secretary- General, Henry Puna at the Pacific Islands Forum this evening. (16.05.24)

Reflecting on Mr. Puna’s leadership, Prime Minister Rabuka highlighted the important role of Mr. Puna in promoting gender equality, enhancing resilience, forging new partnerships, advancing climate action initiatives, engaging youth in climate negotiations, addressing debt crisis and facilitating trade and economic development across the region. 

“You have demonstrated commitment to advancing the collective welfare and aspirations of Pacific Islands nations, emboldens us to believe in your ongoing advocacy ensuring that our region’s concerns remain steadfastly championed on the global stage.” 

Further expressing confidence in Mr. Puna’s dedication to the region, Prime Minister Rabuka stressed Mr. Puna’s leadership was characterised by a steadfast commitment to advancing regionalism and address pressing issues of Pacific Island nations.

“Under his guidance, the Pacific Island Forum achieved numerous milestones, including strategic endorsements such as the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the Pacific Roadmap for the Economic Development”. 

Concluding his remarks, Prime Minister Rabuka extended his heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Puna and the Cook Islands for their contributions, wishing him success in his future endeavours.

“Secretary General, as you return to your beautiful island of Cook Islands and to your family, you take with you the gratitude of the people of the Pacific. We wish you well in your future endeavours”.

#FijiGovernment #FijiNews #CoalitionGovernment

ULMWP President confirms Government-in-waiting

 The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has held a major internal meeting on the Island of New Guinea to reaffirm the Resolutions of the 2023 Congress.

Approved by ULMWP President Benny Wenda and Prime Minister (PM) Edison Waromi, 12 Cabinet Ministers and seven Regional Executives have been reaffirmed in their existing roles.

With this move, the ULMWP is building capacity on the ground and confirming its status as a government-in-waiting.

President Wenda said the ULMWP is the legitimate representative of West Papuans and is ready to represent West Papua at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

The first ULMWP Congress was held in November 2023 in Jayapura, West Papua.

Attended by over 5,000 West Papuans from all factions and all seven customary regions, the Congress attendees elected Mr. Benny Wenda as ULMWP President and Mr. Edison Waromi as Prime Minister.

The final Congress Resolutions reaffirmed the ULMWP’s existing 2020 Constitution, internal structure, and threefold roadmap of a) MSG full membership b) a UN Human Rights visit to West Papua c) a Self-Determination Referendum.

An internal ULMWP meeting was held on the Island of New Guinea in April 2024, and was attended by the majority of the Executive and Cabinet. All Cabinet Ministers were invited.

President Benny Wenda (centre) formalises Government-in-waiting in PNG. By Len Garae

The ULMWP Executive clarified the results of the 2023 Congress and confirmed the Constitution and Congress Resolutions.

The existing ULMWP roadmap, constitution, and Green State Vision were all reaffirmed.

President Wenda confirmed the current 12 Cabinet Ministers and seven Regional Executives were all also reaffirmed in their existing roles.

They are as follows: 

  1. Department of Foreign Affairs — Dr Jacob Rumbiak, 
  2. Department of Environment & Green State Policy — Ms Fanny Kogoya, 
  3. Department of Home Affairs – Mr. Markus Haluk, 
  4. Department of Justice & Rights of All Beings – Mr. Daniel Radongkir S.Sos,
  5. Department of Political Affairs – Mr. Bazoka Y Logo, 
  6. TABI – Mr. Benny Yanteo, SAIRERI – Mr. Edison Kendi, DOMBERAI – Mr. Markus Yenu, BOMBERAI – Mr. Erick Fimbay, ANIMHA – Mr. Mathias Tambaip, MEE – PAGO – Mr. Habel Nawipa, LA – PAGO – Mr. Herman Kossay, 
  7. Department of Indonesia Affairs – Mr. Jack W, 
  8. Department of Melanesian Affairs — Costantinopel Ruhukael, 
  9. Department of Women and Child affairs – Ms Iche R Morib, 
  10. Department of Social and Cultural Affairs – Mr. Sem Awom, 
  11. Department of Police — Dr Frans F Kapisa, 
  12. Department of Defense -Mr. Manase Tabuni and 
  13. Department of Finance — Ms Esther Game.

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