In Brief: New roll readies Tonga for elections

Monday 12 May 2014 | Published in Regional


Voters in Tonga will have access to the provisional electoral rolls from Thursday this week as the country prepares for elections on November 27.

New roll readies Tonga for elections

TONGA – Voters in Tonga will have access to the provisional electoral rolls from Thursday this week as the country prepares for elections on November 27. It will be just the second poll under a greater degree of democracy brought in 2008 after years of campaigning by pro-democracy advocates. The Supervisor of Elections, Pita Vuki, says so far they have registered just shy of 50,000 people and this includes about 6000 new voters, mostly people who have reached the voting age in the past four years. He says his staff have been visiting villages all over the country since last year to ensure people are registered and now they will be able to check the details. “The plan is to distribute this provisional roll to our villages through our district town officers and make it available for the people to have a look at it and see if there’s any corrections or names and then we will print the final roll in September.”

Nauru wants in to monetary fund

NEW CALEDONIA –The Pacific island nation of Nauru has lodged an application for entry to the global financial body, the International Monetary Fund. If its application is successful, the Micronesian island with a population of 9500 would become the 189th member state of the IMF. The application must first be endorsed by the IMF’s 24 executive board members. It is then submitted for approval to the IMF’s Board of Governors, the institution’s highest authority, which has one representative per member state. “The application for admission to IMF membership from the Republic of Nauru will be considered in due course,” a statement from the IMF said. South Sudan, which declared its independence in 2011, was the last country to be admitted to the IMF, in April 2012.

Acquisition hurdles for new airport

VANUATU – The spokesperson for the Efate Vaturisu chiefs group in Vanuatu, Levi Tarosa, says the government will not be able to compulsorily acquire land for its controversial airport development by its July 25 deadline. The government has revealed few details about the scheme it has with a Singaporean company to build a new international airport on Efate. But it has indicated it will use the Compulsory Land Acquisition Act to get the land. Tavosa says the Government does not have enough time because it needs to contact all those who have vested interests in the land, including any banks that may hold mortgages over the property. “All the disputing parties have to be served notices of the Government’s intention to acquire the land. So I don’t think they have that much time.”

Another no confidence vote

AMERICAN SAMOA – Farmers in American Samoa have been told to avoid using water to clean out their piggeries in a move to avoid contamination. Almost 100 farmers were schooled last week on environmentally-friendly ‘dry-litter’ piggeries, that use woodchips instead of water to deal with waste, which then provides composting options for use on crops. The chief piggery compliance officer, Antonina Te’o, says wash-down systems can cause land and water pollution and allow waste material to infiltrate the drinking water supply. “To keep a healthy, clean pig-pen, to make sure they are not using water, because of the contamination that we’re having in our water system. Hopefully in the near future that our families are able to drink out of the tap water.”

Fiji man charged with Canada killings

CANADA – A former Fiji national is in Canadian police custody for allegedly stabbing to death two women and injuring another in Calgary, Canada. It is alleged the man, believed to be in his 40s, killed his estranged wife, another woman believed to be the friend of the deceased and caused serious injuries to a third victim on Sunday evening. He previously lived in Nausori, Fiji, before migrating to Canada. The police department said the suspect fled the scene and was located a short time later and arrested. A neighbour described the family as quiet and nice.“They were a beautiful family,” he told the Calgary Sun.