Deputy PM Natuman claims MSG has been bought for “30 pieces of silver”

West Papua's morning star flag. Photo: AK Rockerfeller

West Papua’s morning star flag. Photo: AK Rockefeller

The most interesting news of the day is Daily Post‘s page one coverage of DPM Natuman’s  explanation of PM Salwai’s lonely stand on West Papua at the MSG Summit in Honiara last week. It was also important to hear Natuman speak because of his previous experience and major role in the establishment of the MSG for PNG, Solomons and Vanuatu in the late 1980s, and then his continuing work with the MSG trade agreement. Fiji only joined MSG in the late 1990s. FLNKS membership dates from recent times. However, Natuman insists that PNG and Fiji, having different agendas, meant that PM Salwai was the only country leader fully supporting the admission of ULMWP for full membership. Natuman referred to the FLNKS establishment, like ULMWP’s, as a movement representing a huge number of Melanesian people. Solomons PM Sogavare could not fully take part in the membership discussions because of being Chairman, so it was uniquely Vanuatu’s PM supporting ULMWP. Natuman feels the MSG has been bought, the Biblical 30 pieces of silver were referred to in the original discussion. This was a Coffee and Controversy discussion on Daily Post’s 96 Buzz FM. Job Dalesa, who travelled with the PM to Honiara was also in the studio. Coffee and Controversy is heard at 9am on Tuesdays.

The Constitutional Review Committee did meet yesterday with only 18 of the 27 members present. Today’s meeting sees persons additional to the CRC being called to serve and present their opinions and give of their expertise. The CRC is working towards “producing the report to Parliament by the end of August”, CRC Chairman Ralph Regenvanu told Daily Post. A work plan is being established.

“Youth at Work – Emerging Leaders” is the theme of a workshop in Port Vila bringing together young people out of work. “Young people should be the agents of change in development and leadership in countries,” and this was one of the themes of the workshop as explained by a Solomon Islands representative. SI PM Sogavare requested the South Pacific Commission to set up the programme and workshop to help deal with the increasing problem of what we call SPR in Vanuatu – young people without work.  A New Zealand trainer has been brought in and is developing the curriculum with the help of the Solomon Islanders brought here. (Radio Vanuatu)