PM Salwai says appointment of new MSG head must be fair, open and transparent

Fiji trying to force its choice on MSG member s by decree?

Fiji trying to force its choice for MSG Director-General by decree. Photo: MSG Secretariat

Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post have both reported the appointment of the new DG of the MSG, a matter which brings Vanuatu into opposition with the other Melanesian countries. RNZI’s reporting is probably the most objective. RNZI states:

“there are signs of discord within the Melanesian Spearhead Group over the selection of its new director-general. Last week, Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said his country’s Ambassador for Climate Change and Oceans, Amena Yauvoli, had been selected for the role. It’s over four months since the former MSG Director-General Peter Forau resigned. The Solomon Islander cited a lack of budgetary support and declining commitment from member states to the group’s programme. MSG leaders are due to meet for a special meeting next month in Port Vila, where a new director-general was expected to be formally appointed. Ratu Inoke’s announcement came as news to the other MSG members. As far as Vanuatu is concerned, the selection has not been finalised. Its National Council of Ministers met last week and decided to nominate Vanuatu’s ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy, as the new MSG head. Earlier, Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato, confirmed his government had put forward its own candidate, a senior PNG diplomat, but had since decided to withdraw the name. The office of the MSG Chairman, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, said formalities for the director-general’s appointment would be concluded today. Fiji’s government has been unavailable for comment on the matter.”

Another report from RNZI today adds,

“The Vanuatu prime minister, Charlot Salwai, said the selection of the director general is meant to be done by the Leaders’ Summit. He said the constitution of the MSG requires that the selection be a fair, open and transparently competitive process. Mr Salwai says any deviation from this runs the risk of bringing the MSG into disrepute.”

Daily Post today reports Justice Minister Warsal wants provision to be made for provincial councils to have reserved seats for women, as in the two municipalities. He has requested the Australian High Commission to provide funding assistance to enable the legislative changes this would require. Minister Warsal, and his DG Mark Bebe, met with women leaders from the two towns in a conference begun yesterday in Port Vila. Minister Warsal mentioned Australia’s ongoing support of gender equality in Vanuatu. Director of Women’s Affairs, Doresthy Watson, said the aim of the three-day exchange programme for women town councillors is that they should learn from each other of their role as councillors.

Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Odo Tevi, is Chairman of the 2016 UN Substantive Disarmament Commission and he is quoted today in Daily Post saying the UN Commission “is beginning its substantive work in a very challenging international environment. There are growing tensions in many parts of the world.” He speaks of the disagreements and rivalries among States and the “deadly conflicts which continue unabated in various regions.” Nevertheless, Tevi was able to give reasons why he is convinced that the Disarmament Commission will be able to agree on substantive outcomes during the current three-year cycle.

This week’s Vanuatu Times headline is ‘90% of Ni-Vanuatu 2016 hospitality graduates remaining unemployed’, even though a number had jobs before graduating. These are graduates from the Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Training Centre. The cancelled flights because of the runway condition are blamed.