Apr 10, 2021 Last Updated 4:12 AM, Apr 8, 2021

WILL the controversy surrounding the appointment of a new director general of the Melanesian Spearhead Group be its coup de grace? The question is being posed as first Vanuatu, and now Papua New Guinea, the former being the host of the MSG secretariat but with the latter are founders of the MSG (together with Solomon Islands) have cried foul at the supposed appointment of Fijian senior diplomat and public economist Amena Yauvoli as DG. A spokesman for Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai told this magazine the ni-Vanuatu leader is not questioning the qualification of Yauvoli, but rather the way he was apparently appointed.

Citing the constitution of the subregional body, PM Salwai insisted that it is the leaders of the MSG that should appoint Peter Forau’s replacement, who tendered his resignation abruptly and left the organisation last November. It was for this reason a special leaders summit was being scheduled to take place in Port Vila on 6 May, and the new Vanuatu Government could not understand why Fiji and supported by the current chair of the MSG, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands, pre-empted the leaders’ decision by announcing Yauvoli’s appointment.

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

TWO years ago the number of Chinese tourists that travel to Palau barely reached 30,000, but by 2015, there were 87,058 visitors from China and the glaring change was that this market have edged out the other markets which have historically held the top spot for years.

It has been said in many Palau forums in the social media how Koror, the capital of Palau looks like “Little Beijing.” Months after months the number of Chinese tourists are increasing while the rest are decreasing. The Chinese presence is not only seen by the growing number of tourists, there have been a lot of Chinese restaurants and hotels going up in the last couple of months.

Although revenues are up as a result of the tourism numbers breaking the 100,000 mark, this development has been a cause of concern for many. Last year, Palau was in uproar when a Chinese flag was placed on a Japanese WWII wreck underwater. Citizens have also complained that Chinese tourists have no concern about the island environment, culture and history.

Chinese investors who are buying or leasing buildings and lands had left some Palauans and residents homeless. Kambes Kesolei, a local journalist said that the Chinese investors also conduct businesses under the guise of a “front business.”

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

THE opening up of the pre-independence tax haven in Vanuatu did not, of itself, bring in the large numbers of Chinese immigrants the country hosts today. As one of Vanuatu’s two colonial masters, the British promoted the tax haven in the Condominium in the ‘Seventies, as it also did in certain Caribbean island colonies with no immediate exportable wealth and an undeveloped education sector. By the mid-nineties, the tax haven was producing 15 per cent of the country’s GDP. But Chinese immigration had not markedly increased at that time. Three Cantonese hong controlled the Chinese coming to Vanuatu and their presence here was often just as an extension of a family business. However, Vanuatu people until independence lived without any citizenship. The coming of a nationality gave a whole new meaning to the tax haven. And Cantonese and other Chinese people - even Singapore businesses - sought the advantages a new tax-free state might bring them. Seeing the possible national and even personal financial benefits, Vanuatu’s politicians quickly entered the industry. Australia not being far away also made a difference. A recent advertisement on Hong Kong television for a migration services company showed a little boy in a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” sequence deciding he wanted to come to Vanuatu when seeing where it lies on the map. The tax haven has jealously guarded....

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

PAPUA New Guinea has seen a series of anti-Chinese protests and riots in recent years, driven by the increasing number of Asian nationals taking over small businesses. The latest anti-Chinese aggression, though less pronounced than the previous incidents, involved attempts by prominent PNG politician, Oro Province Governor Gary Juffa to get rid of illegal Chinese businesses in his provincial capital of Popondetta.

Last February 2016, Juffa visited all shops to check the immigration status of employees as well as the hygiene standards of their restaurants. He has vowed to close down outlets selling products that are “unsavoury, unhealthy ... and breaches consumer laws.” Governor Juffa said the key issue was the sale of unhealthy products and the attitude of shopkeepers.

“A large number of complaints were received from members of the public about a lot of the goods sold that were expired, that were labelled in a foreign language which could not be read or understood by any of my people — which are in breaches of consumer laws that we have,” he said. “Many people were complaining about the substandard quality of the food ... and when they would bring it back they would get into massive arguments with the owners of the shops who refused to refund them, or who treated them in a very condescending manner.”

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.