Jan 21, 2018 Last Updated 10:47 PM, Jan 14, 2018


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.

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Melanesia blues

IS the big boss of the secretariat of the Melanesian Spearhead Group in trouble over his decision to be seconded again to his former employer in Fiji after taking up the Port Vila-based position? Rumours are rife both in Vila and neighbouring Honiara, where the current chair of the MSG sits, that Amena Yauvoli’s work with the COP23 Secretariat in Fiji is tantamount to secondary employment, something that his contract as DG forbids. His boss, the PM of Solomon Islands, supposedly sent him a letter basically stating that he could not hold two jobs and that he needed to give up one.

Bad blood

Still on the MSG … It appears the host of the MSG secretariat is still fuming about the disqualification of its candidate for the top job, so much so that a senior Fijian national’s application for a work permit submitted to Vanuatu immigration by the MSG has been knocked back without any explanation. Looks like the secretariat may have to issue fresh calls of interest for the manager legal position. Vanuatu had put up its long time envoy in Europe as candidate for DG MSG but his application was declared void as it was sent way past the deadline.

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Report cards

SO, two regional NGOs recently failed the test of an independent assessor appointed by international donors. One NGO claims to be the umbrella of all Pacific civil society organisations and claims as much to the international community in order to secure maximum funding. The organisation has not been shy to muscle in on other civil society organisations to claim funding or actually hijack concepts which are marketed to overseas donors as their own intellectual property. The second has been busy in the area of trade and commerce. Both organisations were recently marked down by a regional assessor who was commissioned by a European funder whose outgoing Pacific head was close to the leaders of the NGOs. Incensed that her favourites had not fared well in the reporting process, the Hitler-like donor trashed the reports. So much for good governance.

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Samoan passports

THERE is anger in Samoa after the Prime Minister revoked the diplomatic passport of the outgoing head of state. The PM, who is also responsible for the Immigration portfolio, was apparently well within the law when he cancelled the official passports of the former customary head of the land and the first lady. But the people of Samoa reacted loudly on electronic media condemning the action as disrespectful and not Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan Way). Despite the justifications offered by the PM and his references to international laws and practices, the people remain unconvinced and continue to call for the return of passport privileges to a muchloved couple. 

Unlikely prizes

THERE was much nudging and eyebrow raising at the awards ceremony of a communications company in Fiji last month. The new CEO received an award for Outstanding Leader of the Year while staff members have been abandoning the company due to poor leadership and vindictive management. So dire has the situation become that the once proud company has lost its best managers and highly-skilled technical staff as insiders cosy up to relatives in government. The recent award and the sacking of the CEO’s best friend of over 30 years has forced staff members to reconsider their future in the organisation.

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Missing cash

WHERE is the $515,000 given by Methodist people from Fiji who now live in New Zealand for the construction of a new home for the head of the church? At the recent Methodist Church in Fiji annual conference, New Zealand observers raised the prickly question and received no satisfactory response from the leadership. Even though the church treasurer has stepped down and will shortly return to the ministry, that fact remains that there is only $35,000 of the original amount donated by New Zealand Fijians in the church coffers. And the home which was to have been built at Davuilevu, Nausori, remains but a bundle of drawings on an architect’s table.

University plans

WHERE is the head of the regional institution who wants to build a university before his retirement? The aged cleric has already convinced his board to amend the retirement age to allow him to stay on. And this only after first removing faculty members in his age group. Now the prospective vice-chancellor is believed to be out of the country on sabbatical as he tries to convince funders and church leaders to fund a new university in the Fijian capital, Suva. But word is that church leaders have had enough and are now ready to concentrate on their own educational institutions.

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Our Team

   Managing Director / Publisher

   Netani Rika

   Group Editor-in-Chief

   Samisoni Pareti

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   Hennah Bolaitamana

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   Luisa Kamakorewa


   Design Ilaitia Turagabeci


    Main Correspondents


Priya Chand



Rowan Callick


Nic Maclellan


Davendra Sharma

   Cook Islands

Helen Greig


Taberannang Korauaba

   French Polynesia

Nic Maclellan

   Marshall Islands

Giff Johnson

   New Caledonia

Nic Maclellan

   New Zealand

Dev Nadkarni


Jason Brown


Naea Michael Jackson

   Papua New Guinea

Sam Vulum


Patrick Matbob


Taina Kami-Enoka

   Solomon Islands

Priestly Habru




Tony Wilson


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