SPC’s new boss, West Papua politicking, Bishop’s new role, Tone deaf in Chimbu and Palau’s security breach.
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No to Sundancer movie
The length to which authorities can go to make life miserable for political foes is, well breath-taking to say the least. This is so true for the former head of the republic of Kiribati Anote Tong who after completing his 10 year term in office last year has been replaced by a new administration which sees no reason why the former leader should be travelling with a diplomatic passport and stripped of all the protocols accorded to national leaders. Even at the premiere of a documentary on Tong’s work on climate change at the international Sundancer film festival in January, the new administration through its newly appointed ambassador at the UN (who also happens to be a former president), wrote to the festival organisers to have the film removed from the silver screen.
Kiribati is overly camera ‘shy’
Still on the northern Pacific atoll, the world didn’t know of the detention in Kiribati of Canadian film maker Matthieu Rytz early this year and the way he sneaked out of the country. He’s the producer of ‘Anote’s Ark,’ a documentary on former president Anote Tong’s fight to champion the plight of his people who are at the frontline of global warming and rising sea level. Rtyz was apparently filming with his crew at an outer island in Kiribati when authorities detained him. The outside world heard nothing of the detention because it took place right about the time the tragic ferry disaster took place in the atoll nation.
Climate Not Ready
From climate ready to climate not so ready is what has happened with the whisper that the American Government’s US$24 million climate change related programme in the region being told to close shop not even one year after it opened. Marching orders came reportedly from none other than the Trump Administration, perpetuating his belief that climate change is a hoax. Headquartered in Suva, Climate Ready was being managed by a global engineering management conglomerate with funding from USAID to assist ten island countries achieve their climate adaptation goals, by helping draft policies and climate funding applications.
More judges please
A booming mining and construction sector is causing a sharp rise in finance related cases in Papua New Guinea. That’s the word from the country’s chief justice Sir Salamo Injia who wants to boost the number of judges on the bench from the current 44 to 80. That’s a jump of about 80 per cent more judges. Sir Salamo if he has his way would also like to split the country’s judiciary into national court, court of appeal and supreme court.
Rich and famous
IS Majuro in the northern Pacific the new playground for the world’s rich and famous? This was the scene at the international airport of the capital of the Marshall Islands one morning in December captured by the island’s veteran photojournalist Giff Johnson. Apart from the regular United Airlines plane that does the island hopping service from Hawaii to Guam, there was also a Japan Airlines aircraft, a 767 private plane as well as a Lear jet. If that was not enough, the early morning display also came with a private seaplane, a helicopter and of course, not to be outdone Air Marshalls’ very own Dornier. The word in town was that the flurry of air machines in Majuro was to do with the presence of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.