11 Aug 2022

Pacific news and sport in brief for August 8

9:12 am on 11 August 2022

Papeete hopeful of receiving monkeypox vaccine soon, Backes not backing election with current rolls, and Melanesian Cup revived

Papeete hopeful of receiving monkeypox vaccine soon

French Polynesia's Health Minister Jacques Raynal said the first batch of the Imvanex vaccine is expected in Tahiti soon.

The French Polynesian government placed an order for the vaccine against monkeypox two months ago.

As the new virus keeps spreading mainly in Europe and the US, the World Health Organisation has declared it a global emergency.

In France, almost 2000 monkeypox cases had been recorded by the end of July.

Backes not backing election with current rolls

A New Caledonian member of the French government, Sonia Backes, said the 2024 provincial election cannot go ahead with the existing rolls.

Backes, who is a leading anti-independence politician and president of the Southern Province, was speaking after returning from Paris.

She told the public broadcaster La Premiere a solution will have to be found and an amendment to the French constitution will have to be made.

According to the 1998 Noumea Accord, whose provisions are enshrined in the constitution, voting is restricted to indigenous Kanaks and long-term residents.

About 40,000 French citizens, who immigrated after the rolls were set, are excluded from New Caledonia's provincial elections.

Pro-independence parties have ruled out accepting any change.

Anti-independence parties regard the Noumea Accord provisions as a transitory arrangement while the pro-independence parties view them as irreversible.

Melanesian Cup revived under new name

After a lapse of more than 20 years, the Melanesian Cup for football will be held in Vanuatu from September 17-30.

It is being renamed the MSG Prime Ministers' Cup.

Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will renew their football rivalry at Lawson Tama Stadium.

Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will renew their football rivalry at Lawson Tama Stadium. Photo: SIFF Media

The official draw for the competition was carried out by the chair of the MSG Leaders Group and Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Bob Loughman, in Port Vila last week.

Papua New Guinea, the Vanuatu National football team and its development team are in Pool A, while Fiji, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands are in Pool B.

The Cup is recognised as a FFA Tier 1 tournament, played by two groups with a total of 10 matches in five days.

The Melanesian Cup was first played in 1988 but last occurrred in 2000; Fiji won four of the competitions whle Vanuatu and Solomon Islands have both won it once apiece.

Tahiti cable back on the table

Plans have been revived to include French Polynesia in a new submarine cable between South America and Asia.

Originally proposed in 2016, the new government of Chile is exploring options of routing the cable, dubbed Humboldt, from Valparaiso to Australia and New Zealand.

Three years ago the French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch was in Chile for talks about the cable and also also discussed the project with the French government.

French Polynesia's OPT telecommunications company said the inclusion of Tahiti in the project is back on the table.

It said this would improve links and allow the possible hook-up of islands such as Mangareva or Moruroa, which is France's former nuclear weapons test site.

A link to Antarctica is also being considered.

New Caledonia's only daily to cease printing

New Caledonia's only daily newspaper will stop its print edition at the end of the year.

The publisher of les Nouvelles Caledoniennes has advised its employees of the decision, which is said to have no impact on the journalists as the publication will continue online.

However, the public broadcaster La Premiere said the printing shop Pacifique Rotative is to close, with the loss of 22 jobs.

The paper was founded in 1971 and has been New Caledonia's only daily since 1979.

Ex-head of ministry challenges sacking

The former director-general of Vanuatu's Ministry of Justice, Dorosday Kenneth Watson, is seeking at least $US175,000 in damages after she was sacked.

The trial was held in the Port Vila Supreme Court last week.

Watson's lawyer, Mark Hurley, says it was a straightforward case of unjustified termination.

His client had been dismissed after legally challenging the government's decision to restructure the Ministry of Justice and Community Services.

Hurley told the court his client has paid a high price for her courage, suffering the ignominy of losing her employment.