11 Apr 2024

Pacific news in brief for April 11

3:11 pm on 11 April 2024
Port Moresby South.

Port Moresby Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

PNG - settlers

Over 5000 illegal settlers at the Bush Wara site in suburban Port Moresby have been given until mid-July to vacate the area.

A month ago, Papua New Guinea's main superannuation fund, Nambawan Super Ltd, gave the settlers 120 days to move on.

If they have not left by mid-July, the people will be forcibly evicted.

The Post-Courier reports the squatters will also be required to dismantle and remove their homes.

The chairman of Nambawan Super Ltd, Reg Monagi, said they have court approval to issue Writs of Possession to illegal squatters at Bush Wara.

He said the land is valued at 90 million kina and the fund is aiming to build new mixed suburbs with housing, industrial and commercial areas.

Tonga - meth

Members of the Tonga Police Drugs Squad seized over 12 kilograms of methamphetamine in an operation on Friday.

A 30-year-old man from Vaini has been arrested and charged.

Then on Monday, police received a report of a suspicious package hidden at a residence.

The Drugs Squad conducted an operation at Fasimoeafi, where they seized over five kilograms of methamphetamine.

Two men have been arrested and charged in connection to it.

Nauru - influenza

Nauru's director of medical services Dr Susannah Nakalevu is warning about complications from type A Influenza on the island.

There have been several patients presenting to outpatients or the emergency department, and hospital laboratory swab tests show type A influenza is persisting.

Nauru Media News said that many children have been affected.

It said people contracting the virus will notice symptoms of headache, fever, coughing, body aches, and loss of appetite, to name a few.

Nauru Hospital reports the virus is causing respiratory, pneumonia and asthma complications in many patients.

Bougainville - tax

The autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville is to change its mining law to tax gold removed from the region.

The Post-Courier reports that President Ishmael Toroama said the amended Bougainville Mining Act will allow the government to earn revenue from a levy on gold leaving Bougainville.

President Toroama told MPs that the Minerals and Energy Department estimates a significant amount of alluvial gold leaves the region without benefiting the government.

The newspaper said the proposed gold levy is part of a broader review of the Act and aims to provide a legal basis for the government to collect revenue from the gold industry.

Pacific - ocean

Pacific Ocean Commissioner Dr Filimon Manoni says he looks forward to the work of the United Nations Ocean Decade.

Manoni will address the opening plenary of the first-ever UN Ocean Decade conference in Barcelona this week.

He said understanding the work his office does on the ocean, the impacts of climate change and plastic pollution, will be helped by the Ocean Decade's work.

The Ocean Decade, launched in 2017 by the UN, provides a convening framework for stakeholders across the world to engage and collaborate outside their traditional communities.

Fiji - maritime

Fiji's Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Pio Tikoduadua says traditional security threats and criminal activities, including drug smuggling and illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, continue to pose challenges to the region.

Tikoduadua made the comments at an opening ceremony for a new maritime security training centre in Fiji this week.

He said the establishment of the new training facility marks a milestone in enhancing maritime security in the Pacific.

Siri Bjune from the United Nations on Drugs and Crime organisation said the training will be done at sea in different environments both day and night.

He said the UN aims to set up a fully equipped training facility.

CNMI - crime

The Northern Marianas Department of Corrections (DOC) is investigating after an inmate was allegedly raped.

Without going into details, DOC Commissioner Anthony Torres said he is investigating the recent claims made by a DOC inmate that she was sexually assaulted by a male inmate while they were both incarcerated.

He said he takes all allegations and investigations related to this claim very seriously.

When asked for additional information, he said he could not comment further on the pending investigation.

PNG - visa

The Papua New Guinea government will soon offer visa-on-arrival for Philippine passport holders.

PNG's Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko announced at a joint press conference with the Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo in Manila recently.

Papua New Guineans travelling to the Philippines currently have access visas on arrival.

The Philippines has a large diaspora in PNG, numbering nearly 30,000 Filipino workers, permanent residents and naturalised PNG citizens.