28 Nov 2022

Pacific news in brief for November 28

12:37 pm on 28 November 2022
Jean-Francois Carenco French Overseas minister

Jean-Francois Carenco French Overseas minister Photo: Facebook

French ministers visiting New Caledonia for crunch talks

The French interior and the overseas ministers, Gerald Darmanin and Jean-Francois Carenco, have begun a week-long visit to New Caledonia in an attempt to advance talks about the territory's future.

Last December's controversial referendum saw a majority vote against full sovereignty, but the pro-independence parties refuse to recognise the result as the legitimate outcome of the decolonisation process.

Darmanin's schedule provides for a series of bilateral talks with New Caledonian parties and institutions.

The pro-independence parties have said they will only discuss a timeline for the restoration of New Caledonia's independence.

The anti-independence side wants Paris to draw up a new statute for a New Caledonia within France.

Cruise ship stop-off infuriates Kanak chiefs

A New Caledonian cruise ship, The Soleal, has made a stop-over on an islet deemed forbidden by the Kanak population.

The islet of Kouare is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its nesting ground for the black and brown noddy bird, green sea turtles and dugongs.

The president of the Council of Chiefs of Ouen, Louis Combo, condemned the move, describing it as culturally disrespectful.

"We were not aware at all, that this boat was going to land on the islet, despite the area being under customary protection. We Kanaks we have the customary vision, for me this is an insult against the Kanak people."

The boat was legally allowed to enter the island as there were no red warning flags placed on it.

Police uncover massive drug operation

Fiji Police have uncovered a large marijuana nursery during a raid on a farm in the Navosa region.

Police say they seized close to 4000 marijuana plants and arrested a 41-year-old man.

The large nursery cultured marijuana plants up to 6 feet tall.

Chief Operations Officer, Abdul Khan, believes the plants would have been cultivated during the holiday season.

Samoan Attorney General reviewing several lawsuits against govt

Samoa's Minister of Police and Prisons has confirmed there have been several civil lawsuits filed with the Ministry since the new administration took office.

The Attorney General's office is reviewing and settling most of these cases which are mainly "unlawful dismissals" from the ministry.

Lefay Harry Schuster told Radio Polynesia some of the dismissals were warranted, but not all.

He said the decisions cost the Government money, which comes out of taxpayers' pockets.

Earlier this month, Cabinet approved a settlement of close to $40,000 tala for Police Officer Lefiu Aina Fono, over his unlawful dismissal in 2019.

Tongan volcano survivors learn new skills

As Tongan communities recover from the volcano eruption and subsequent tsunami, a group is learning vital first aid skills to take back to their communities.

New Zealand Red Cross international delegate, Lesley Jacobson, spent two weeks teaching 16 local first aid trainers from four different islands.

Jacobson said community first aid training is all about finding out what has happened recently in the communities, and teaching solutions, which are then taken back to their own communities and passed along.

Panthers drama scoops string of TV awards

Television mini-series, The Panthers, has dominated the New Zealand TV Awards.

It picked up eight accolades including best drama, best Pasifika programme, and best comedy-drama.

The mini-series is based on a true story, it follows the lives of social acitivists, protesting the dawn raids of the 1970s.

Its director Miki Magasiva received the best director award.

Marianas appoint chef de mission for Pacific Games

Nick Gross has been named Chef de Mission for the Northern Mariana Islands at next year's Pacific Games in Solomon Islands.

Gross is director of the the athletics programme for the islands' public schools.

Inside the Games reports one of his first tasks as Chef de Mission was to attend a gathering of team leaders in Solomon Islands, held one year out from the Games.

Northern Marianas Sports association president Jerry Tan says Gross has been an active member of the sports community for more than a decade - serving as an athlete, coach and administrator.