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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.

A Motion on Foreign Policy regarding West Papua had been passed in the Vanuatu Parliament

 West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL

    P.O. Box 1571, Port Vila, Republic of Vanuatu, Ph: +678 5616733, Mb: +678 5540090 E-mail:,


20th June 2010.

A Motion on Foreign Policy regarding West Papua 

had been passed in the Vanuatu Parliament.

Yesterday, on 19th of June 2010, during the Parliament Extra ordinary sitting, the head of the Government, Hon. Prime Minister, Eduard Natape MP, and the leader of the Opposition Hon. Maxime Carlot Korman MP jointly sponsor a Motion in Parliament to declare Vanuatu’s Foreign policy regarding West Papua. It was passed with bipartisan support to become a Bill of Parliament. The initial move was made by Independent Member for Port Vila, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu MP. During the 31
st of May ordinary session Hon. Regenvanu tabled a Petition on behalf of the People of Vanuatu [Petition of the People of Vanuatu] calling for clear foreign policy on West Papua. This is a significant development and indeed a historic one. This “Wantok blong yumi” Bill will allow the government to develop specific policies on how to support the independence struggle of West Papua. The following proposals from the Peoples’ Petition could become policy instruments of the Bill:

1.  Sponsor and pass a motion in national Parliament officially declaring that Vanuatu’s foreign policy is to support the achievement of the independence of West Papua;


2. Sponsor a resolution at the 2010 Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Leaders Summit that the independence movement in West Papua be given Observer Status at the MSG;


3. Sponsor a resolution at the 2010 Pacific Island Forum Leaders Summit that the independence movement in West Papua be given Observer Status at the Forum;

4. Sponsor resolutions to the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Leaders Summit, the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit and the United Nations calling for fact-finding missions be sent by each of these bodies to West Papua to investigate alleged violations of the human rights of it’s Melanesian populations;


5. Become the official state sponsor of the case of West Papua in the International Court of Justice seeking a judgment on the legality of the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”;


6.  Sponsor a resolution in the United Nations to put West Papua back on the United Nations’ list of Non-Self-Governing Territories;


7. Create a West Papua Desk in the Department of Foreign Affairs with a budget sufficient to facilitate the Government’s international advocacy efforts in support of West Papua’s independence;


8. Ratify the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to provide Vanuatu with an avenue for additional support to the people of West Papua.

In his address, responding to the bipartisan support for the Motion the Prime Minister, Hon. Edward Natape MP promised that he will sponsor the issue of West Papua to MSG and PIF-meetings. He will propose that the independent movement of West Papua be granted Observer Status with these two regional bodies. The Honorable Prime Minister also stated that his government will proceed to apply for West Papua to be relisted with the UN Decolonization Committee in order for the Territory to be given the due process of Decolonization.

Representatives from the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, Dr. John Otto Ondawame (Vice Chairman) and Mr. Andy Ayamiseba (Vanuatu Mission) were very grateful to the government, the opposition and the people of Vanuatu for this very historic undertaking on the issue calling a clear foreign policy of the Government of Vanuatu in supporting the independence of West Papua. We also express our special thank goes to all members of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association for their endless support in the past seven years urging the Government of Vanuatu to declare its clear foreign policy on independence of West Papua, which calls were ended with a successful story nduring the Extra Ordinary Parliamentary session on 19th June 2010 in Port Vila. 

For the information, please contact Dr. Otto Ondawame (+678 5616733) and Andy Ayamiseba (+678 5540090). 

Vanuatu celebrates top ranking in Happy Planet Index

Vanuatu is proud to announce its achievement of ranking #1 out of over 150 countries worldwide on the Happy Planet Index (HPI), for the second time since the index was first published in 2006.

Two Government ministers, government officials, representatives from the diplomatic corps, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and the general public celebrated Vanuatu's achievement of claiming the top spot in the HPI at the Vanuatu Kaljoral Senta (VKS) in Port Vila yesterday afternoon.

The new HPI rankings were revealed yesterday to compare how well nations are creating human wellbeing using their limited environmental resources.

Vanuatu claimed the top spot, as revealed in the data analysis conducted and produced by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), an independent think tank based in the United Kingdom (UK).

This index rates countries based on their overall well-being and environmental sustainability, marking a significant departure from traditional economic metrics. Surprisingly, while Vanuatu shines at the forefront, European nations find themselves trailing far behind in the rankings.

The HPI turns the old world order on its head by highlighting how rich Western nations are often inefficient at creating wellbeing for their people. Vanuatu has again been ranked in first place for the second time due to its respect-driven cultural values and practices and its commitment to environmental protection and climate action. 

In contrast, the United States of America was placed as the lowest scoring G7 nation at 122nd place, ranking low on both wellbeing and ecological footprint.

The HPI measures ‘efficiency’ using three indicators – wellbeing, life expectancy and ecological footprint. It was created by statistician Nic Marks, who said: “Promoting human happiness doesn’t have to be at odds with creating a sustainable future. The HPI’s mantra is that good lives don’t have to cost the earth, and after 18 years of rankings, this feels more relevant and timely than ever.”

Countries that rank highly on the HPI show that it is possible to live long, happy lives with a much smaller ecological footprint than found in the highest-consuming nations. 

The top 10 countries by HPI score are as follows:

1. Vanuatu
2. Sweden
3. El Salvador
4. Costa Rica
5. Nicaragua
6. Denmark
7. Spain
8. Panama
9. France
10. Chile

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Finance, John Salong, yesterday, the Minister of Health, John Still Tari Qetu, stated that an index is a statistical tool that aggregates various indicators to understand something. There are many indices in the world today, such as the poverty index, corruption index, development index, and price index of items purchased from stores or markets.

These indexes help a country understand its performance when compared to other countries in the world or region,” he said.

“We can see how we perform on these indices and how our position or score changes when indices are published regularly. For a country to be included in such an index, data must be available.

“The United Nations publishes the Human Development Index or HDI, which looks at three standard indicators of health, education, and income. Many countries view the HDI as a good tool to show progress, but almost everything reported for HDI largely depends on access to money, and HDI does not consider environmental quality at all.”

He mentioned that in 2021, Vanuatu was ranked number 140 out of over 150 countries in the world on the HDI. It is one of the worst countries in terms of human development in this index because of low income. In the same year, 2021, Vanuatu was ranked number 2 in the world out of over 150 countries on the Happy Planet Index, or HPI. The HPI ranks countries on their ability to provide happy and long lives for their people in a way that does not destroy the environment.

“The Happy Planet Index is a tool for measuring the sustainability of development in the world,” he said. 

“Many countries follow a development model that tries to grow the economy endlessly, believing that if money or the economy grows, the well-being of the people will increase. But many developments that harm the environment can make the economy grow.

“Western indices like the Human Development Index, which compare the development of countries around the world, look at income, assets or things that need money to buy (like air conditioners, trucks, and mobile phones), and access to services that require money to use (like the main power grid and public water treatment).

The Happy Planet Index is independent of money and measures countries on their ability to transform their natural resources into the well-being of their people. HPI looks at: Life expectancy, which is a standard indicator of health. The development of a country should not compromise the health of its population. The experience of well-being, which is a standard indicator of happiness. The development of a country should not compromise the happiness of its population.”

The Minister further stated that the consumption, which is a standard indicator of the quality of the natural environment, the development of a country should not spoil the natural environment that the population depends on for a long and happy life.

The HPI has been published every 3-4 years since 2006 when Vanuatu was #1 in the world. In 2006, every country in the world was included in the index, and if a country did not have an indicator, they estimated its value with another indicator.

Following the review of the 2006 HPI, many countries complained about the inclusion of other countries that did not collect data on life satisfaction. The HPI released in 2009 and 2012 did not include Vanuatu, and every other Pacific country that was in the 2006 HPI was removed, like Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

In 2010, Vanuatu ran a pilot of "Alternative Indicators of Wellbeing for Melanesia" through Malvatumauri with the partnership of the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (now Vanuatu Bureau of Statistics or VBoS), and a report came out in 2012. 

Following the report of the 2012 pilot study, there were other collections of statistics that took life satisfaction, and HPI asked Vanuatu to submit new data. Vanuatu returned to the HPI in 2016 and took #4 in the world and #1 in the Asia/Pacific region.

“Following Vanuatu's #2 ranking in 2021, we continue to collect well-being data and today, the Happy Planet Index has published again with new rankings for countries around the world. We see Vanuatu in the HPI again through the hard work of everyone at the VBoS on the Melanesian Wellbeing Indicator Project,” Acting Finance Minister Qetu said

Andy Calo, the Chief Statistician at VBoS, said, “Vanuatu is currently the only Pacific Island Country to have the required data needed to calculate an HPI score as a result of our Melanesian Wellbeing Indicator initiative, which has helped to illustrate the valuable contributions our culture and environment make to our collective and individual wellbeing in Vanuatu”.  

While celebrating this accomplishment, Vanuatu’s officials acknowledge that there are areas for improvement. The Government is committed to addressing challenges such as enhancing government stability, reducing violence against women, improving education outcomes, and building an economy that better meets the needs of our growing population.

“We recognise that there is still work to be done to further improve the well-being of our citizens,” stated Mr. Shing. “However, this achievement affirms the importance of our kastoms, culture, leaders, and laws in shaping a sustainable and fulfilling life in Vanuatu.”

Vanuatu remains dedicated to its mission of achieving balanced and sustainable development while preserving its unique cultural heritage and pristine environment. The country looks forward to continuing its journey towards a brighter and more prosperous future for all its citizens.

Prime Minister Manele calls for respect to democracy

PRIME Minister elect for Solomon Islands Honourable Jeremiah Manele gave his first speech outside parliament today reminding Solomon Islanders to respect and uphold the democratic process of electing our Prime Minister.

Mr Manele said past Prime Minister’s elections have been met with the act of violence and destruction which had affected our economy and livelihoods.

However, he said today Solomon Islands must show the world that “we are better than that”.

“We must respect and uphold the democratic process of electing our Prime Minister and set an example for our children and their children,” Mr Manele said.

Mr Manele won as Prime Minister with 31 votes and his contender the Honourable Member of Parliament for Auki Langalanga Matthew Wale 18 votes. A total of 49 votes were cast during the Prime Minister’s Election this morning with one absent.

The Prime Minister elect said Solomon Islands is still on the recovery path after the COVID-19 global pandemic and the 2021 riots.

He said the recent report by the Central Bank on the state of our economy is concerning and calls for a more focus and aggressive approach.

“It is not an easy task, but we will be reaching out to all relevant stakeholders as we progress on our road to recovery,” the Prime Minister elect said.

Mr Manele also outlined the immediate tasks of the Government for National Unity and Transformation. These include the appointment of the members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament oath of allegiance and the election of the speaker and deputy speaker.

The Prime Minister elected added that his Government for National Unity and Transformation has already begun work on its policy and 100 days program which will be unveiled soon.

“There are also a number of legislations that are ready to come before parliament. These include the value added tax bill, space economic zone bill, mineral resources bill, forestry bill and others.

“Cabinet will meet and decide on the priority legislations and policy programs for 2024 which include whether we need to revised the 2024 Budget or not,” Mr Manele said.

Mr Manele is the Honourable Member of Parliament for Hograno Kia Havulei and the first MP from Isabel Province to be elected Prime Minister of Solomon Islands.

“This is indeed a historic moment for my people of Isabel Province to have one of their sons as a Prime Minister of Solomon Islands.

“I will discharge my duties diligently and with integrity. I will at all times put the interest of the people and country above all other interests,” the Prime Minister elect said.

Almighty God, Loving God, Free West Papua

Almighty God, 
Our Redeemer and Saviour of the world, Our Creator and Source of Life, Love and Peace;
We come before you on this special day as we witness another year of commemoration day for the people of West Papua. 

Loving God, 
as we gather here, miles away from our brothers and sisters in the islands of Papua and in particular, West Papua, we confess the sins of humankind, the greed, the violence, the victimization, the power hunger, throughout history. 
As humans, it is difficult for us to forgive those who cause hurt, pain and suffering. But as your children, we humbly ask Your forgiveness upon us all – humankind; for perpetrators of violence and inhumane acts, for perpetrators of prejudice and injustice. 
We also ask Your forgiveness upon each one of us who may not feel directly affected by the situation, but continue to be arrogant, blind and deaf to the injustices in our Pasefika region. Lord have mercy on us, your children. 

Loving God,
as we commemorate this day, with all the history and pain it has brought about, for some it may be a day to remember victory, while to many, a day of pain.
We can only give You thanks and praise for all Your blessings and for helping your people through all the challenges, trials and tribulations they have faced over the years and continue to face today as they strive for self determination.
We give you thanks for those gone before us. 
We give you thanks for the many rich natural resources that West Papua has to offer. And we give you thanks for the people who continue to be resilient, strong and courageous in all they endure. 
We give You thanks for those today who continue to be the prophetic voice in your lands. We give you thanks for the work of the Pacific Conference of Churches, the Pacific Network on Globalization, and many others, known and unknown to us, who through their acts of service, continues to be a pillar of hope to our people of West Papua. 

Loving God, 
You are familiar with suffering and the pain of your children doesn't escape your gaze of compassion.
We ask for you to set people free in West Papua. We pray for the ones who have been oppressed and in fear for so long. We pray for those in power, who are giving the orders for violence out of greed or fear of scarcity, or prejudice.

May your kingdom of justice, peace, joy and forgiveness transform the situation. Bring courage and peace to those in the independence movement. Please bring your healing and your making things right and new.
We make this our humble prayer which we ask and plead in the name of God the Father, Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

[Prayer for The West Papua Annexation Day]

Pereifalo Family Opposes Shutdown of Santo Hydro Power Project

By Doddy Morris 1 hr ago

The Pereifalo family in Santo, on whose land the Hydro Power project was established, voiced their disagreement with the closure of the project last week, stating that it was a crooked practice by those responsible.

On April 26, 2024, the ten landowners of the water sources connecting to the main river, Sarakata River, which powers the Hydro Power project, closed the canal of the Hydro power. They stated that the closure followed discussions with the Government regarding compensation, but no action has been taken.

However, on Tuesday this week, the Pereifalo family provided a statement regarding the issue through one of their family members, Obed Perei, clarifying their disagreement and urging the Government not to compensate them since the Hydro Power Project has not damaged any of their environment.

“We, the Pereifalo family, where the Santo Hydro Power is located, thought that the group of individuals who claimed they are the landowners of the 10 streams that connect to the main river should not close the Hydro power.

“We have been declared as true Custom owners and we are the ones who obtained the green certificate on the land that the Hydro Power is located on. Such practice is referred to as trespassing on our area since the court have not given them any right on our land.

“The purpose of the grouping seeking compensation from the Government is that they only want to take money from the Government,” the Pereifalo family stated.

They go on to state that therefore, the Government should not compensate them, since the Hydro project has not damage any of their environment in their claimed stream and land, unless the court certified that they are the real land owners of the source of water that came out from their land.

“We want to make it clear that the ten streams these individuals are claiming as their water source are miles away from the actual location of the hydro power project.

“Instead of addressing their concerns at the correct site, they have come to the hydro power project's location, which is in a different area, and are demanding its closure while demanding compensation from the government. We view this as a dishonest practice,” they concluded in their statement.

The Pereifalo family is currently in Port Vila to have discussions with the Minister responsible for the Hydro Power project to compensate them.