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Pacific Island links: new Vanuatu deputy PM, Fiji police chief quits, Bishop in PNG and more

Pacific Island links: new Vanuatu deputy PM, Fiji police chief quits, Bishop in PNG and more
Published 11 Nov 2015 

  • Fiji’s Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald has resigned unexpectedly, citing personal reasons but letting slip in an interview with Radio Australia that the Fiji military’s interference with police affairs had an indirect influence on his decision.  
  • The Republic of Fiji Military Forces recently employed three police officers charged for their involvement in the 2013 assault on an escaped prisoner that received a lot of attention after a video of the incident went viral.  
  • RFMF Land Force Commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho has been installed as the acting police commissioner provoking the Fijian opposition party SODELPA to claim that the government continues to act like a military regime.  
  • Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was in PNG last week to open the new Pacific leadership and governance precinct in Port Moresby and visit drought-impacted areas of the highlands, announcing a $9 million assistance package for Pacific communities taking the brunt of the El Niño weather pattern.  
  • She also announced an on-the-ground health project to tackle malaria which will see Australia, PNG and China working together.    
  • Jonathan Pryke provides his analysis on the good, the bad and the unknown in PNG’s 2016 budget, released last week.  
  • Vanuatu’s Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Christopher Emelee, has been appointed deputy prime minister, replacing Moana Carcasses who was sentenced to four years imprisonment for political corruption last month.  
  • In the lead up to COP21 negotiations in Paris, regional organisations are working together to help raise the voice of the Pacific islands through a social media campaign using #4PacIslands.  The campaign will educate online communities about the impacts of climate change as well as the actions that Pacific islanders are undertaking as they adapt to the effects of climate change.  
  • In recognition of the Australian government’s support for drought relief in the Pacific, Julie Bishop was gifted some impressive pigs while in PNG’s highlands last week. 

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