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Tuesday, april 30, 2013 cook Islands News

regionalneWS nuti no te pA enuA

Manus Island labelled a ‘disaster’ Four Corners uncovers alarming conditions at PNG refugee camp Br iSBAn e – A doctor who

worked at the immigration centre on manus island says he informed authorities that the facility was inappropriate for children well before they were sent there, but nothing was done about it. ABC’s Four Corners programme gained significant access to the centre and spoke with a number of staff. Among them was Dr John vallentine, who worked at the centre between november and December last year. He says the facility is “too remote” and under-resourced to safely house children and that the health clinic has “very little in the way of paediatric equipment”. Despite this, 30 children are now housed on the island, which is a few hundred kilometres north of the papua new Guinea mainland, near the equator. Dr vallentine says he told his employer, international Health and medical Services (iHmS), of his concerns ive months ago. “the whole time i was there it was just a disaster, medically,” he told Four Corners. “Almost from the day i arrived it was obvious to me that it was not a clinic that would work in its current state. “From early on i was sending lists – both through my health services manager up there and directly to the medical staff of IHMS in Sydney – saying, ‘look,

we desperately need this stuff’. “Stuff being oxygen, antibiotics, bladder catheters, suckers, tracheotomy equipment, anaesthetic agents, sedatives, morphine, ketamine – and these things didn’t arrive. “For the irst time in my life i felt ashamed to be an Australian, up there seeing this squandering of money. “it’s just a remote, silly place to be putting people.” iHmS is paid $2.5 million a month by the Australian government to provide health services to the offshore centres in nauru and manus island. it is responsible for health checks on asylum seekers selected by the Department of immigration for offshore transfer. Dr vallentine says his concerns “turned to alarm” when the children, including an anaphylactic boy and a girl with a history of needing blood transfusions, arrived at the centre. “the thing about children from a medical point of view is that they get sick very quickly,” he said. “you don’t have nearly the same luxury of time to sort things out and the problem, or one of the problems at manus island is its remoteness. “Worst of all, this established 24-hour delay, between calling for a medical evacuation by air and the plane arriving and getting the sick person out, is just too long for kids. So i was wor-

‘For the irst time in my life i felt ashamed to be an Australian. it’s just a remote, silly place to be putting people.’ ried about children being there at all i must say.” the Salvation Army has a $75 million contract with the Australian Government to work with asylum seekers on manus island. major paul moulds was so disturbed by what he had seen that he decided to speak to Four Corners. “i’ve had some hard days and i’ve seen some pretty difficult things in that role, but i don’t think i’ve ever had a harder job as what this called for as we work with asylum seekers on manus and nauru,” he said. “i can say quite honestly the people i work with from government and from the host countries, i don’t think they want to injure asylum seekers. “But Australia has to weigh up the consequences of what it’s doing. it has to think deeply, and i hope there is a really reasoned and logical and intelligent debate about this policy.” Australian Human rights Commission president Gillian triggs has not been to either manus island or nauru. She says the solicitor-general told her she has no jurisdiction

An Australian current afairs report has slammed conditions at the asylum seeker processing camp on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. ABC outside Australia. “this is a curious phenomenon,” trigg told Four Corners. “What is absolutely crystal clear as a matter of international law is that Australia is responsible for the lives and wellbeing and legal rights of these people “And as human rights law is at the core of my job, i would have thought it appropriate that i be invited to go there to make some kind of visit to the people concerned.” Another former manus employee describes the camp as “stressful”, with only a fence between families with children and nearly 200 single men. morale among the men, who have spent ive months in tents,

is low and centre workers describe frequent suicide attempts and self-harm incidents. While some processing has begun in nauru, there is currently no proposal as to how and when asylum seekers’ claims might be assessed on manus island. Workers with irst-hand experience of both nauru and manus island have told Four Corners that much of the distress among those detained in the centres is the unfairness of the system. Although almost 700 asylum seekers have been transferred offshore, thousands of others who arrived over the same period were sent to Australia and

have been released with bridging visas. A spokesperson for the immigration Department said the facilities were adequate, describing them as “comparable with Australian standards”. But in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry last month, the department said conditions were cramped and problematic. it said there was no reliable power supply, limited drinking water, and the conditions for inmates increased the risk of mental health problems. immigration minister Brendan o’Connor is yet to comment on the claims raised in the programme. - ABC

Call for Paciic rugby league competition nuKu’ALoFA – tongan rugby

league coach Charles tonga wants an annual competition, held in new Zealand and played between the Kiwis and pacific island nations, during the State of origin weeks. tonga’s 36-4 win over Samoa in last weekend’s one-off Anzac test was a memorable night for international league and showed there is a need and demand for the Paciic nations to play more ixtures, according to new Zealand’s Sunday news. the game’s attendance easily outshone the nrL’s long-running City versus Country match. it was tonga’s first test in

three years and – after the World Cup at the end of the year – all that’s on the official schedule for the next four years are one-off tests against Samoa. For league to grow worldwide, there needs to be more international fixtures – and judging by how the Samoan and tongan communities in Auckland got behind their teams at the 2011 World Cup – there would certainly be a desire to see their national league teams play in Auckland, the Sunday news says. “We have signed a four-year agreement for tonga versus Samoa to be an annual ixture in

Australia and that’s great for the game,” tonga says. “But it would be wonderful if we could take it to new Zealand too, to have tonga and Samoa playing new Zealand and have bigger crowds. “you can imagine what it would be like to play these games at eden park. it would be fantastic. “this is a great concept,” he adds. “you could also look to include Fiji too, because they’ve got a great team and will have petero Civoniceva and possibly Jarryd Hayne. it would be great to do something at State of origin time, it would build

the game in Auckland and the Paciic islands.” tonga said he received congratulatory messages from around the world after last weekend’s victory and he had also had more nrL players say they now wanted to be involved in the team. “the win has attracted a number of other players who want to come back to play for tonga,” he said. “But i won’t be forgetting that the team we had last week did everything we asked of them. “At the end of the year, other guys might come back. you’re

looking at guys like michael Jennings, tony Williams, and at the Warriors there are a couple of other names. “But i have advised all of the players that i’m looking for consistency – week in, week out. “Also, we want to build a culture of being loyal to the boys who have already put their hands up.” tonga revealed that Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell and utility back ngani Laumape both told him they wanted to play for him last weekend, but, surprisingly, the club blocked that happening. “Konrad and his manager

have assured me that he wants to play for tonga,” he said. “Also, ngani Laumape wanted to play, but the club ruled them out, which was sad, and in the end we had other young talent that stood up and took that opportunity.” tonga will have a camp in the pacific island for a week after the nrL season, then spend a few days in Dubai en route to the World Cup, where they have pool games against Scotland, italy and Cook islands before a potential quarterfinal clash against the Kiwis. - Fairfax NZ News

Few Paciic islanders in sports management AuCKLAnD – in new Zealand,

there are claims that an “old boys’ network” still controls the nation’s sporting codes – and that there is a cultural and race bias that prevents former maori and pacific island sports stars rising to management roles. pasifika and maori players might wear the Silver Fern in healthy numbers but they’re not achieving national honours by serving on governing bodies, a recent massey university research project has found. pacific islanders and maori make up nearly half the players in the All Blacks and Silver Ferns

but their representation across all sports in governance roles is just six per cent, phD candidate ryan Holland says. For his thesis he surveyed 90 national sporting organisations and asked them about their board membership. He also interviewed two groups. The irst was made up of chief executives and chairs of national sport organisations to get the “outsider” view. the second consisted of Maori and Pasiika board members to get the “insider” view. The irst group saw the issue as a lack of experience but didn’t

recognise the cultural reasons of why this might be the case, Holland said. “Most Maori and Pasiika get their irst taste of sport leadership through being players and feel most comfortable when they are active at the grassroots level because of the close connections with their local community.” on the other side of the ledger Maori and Paciic peoples didn’t have many role models or mentors to encourage them. “We celebrate maori and paciika achievement on the ield a lot, but we don’t see that focus

on who’s been a great board member or a great Ceo. “there’s a lot that do contribute at a regional and club level but it’s just about inding the right pathways, inding the right people to mentor them through to the national level.” Holland, who is himself of niuean descent, said the research wasn’t about blaming sports boards for the shortage. “it’s a complex issue and while i didn’t come across any out-and-out racism – race and culture were at the heart of the problem. “there’s a perception that

people of Maori and Paciic descent are naturally physically gifted, but lack discipline. “they can be seen as unsuitable, or not a good it, so there’s deinitely still an old boys’ network operating.” Sports organisation boards and committees should relect the communities they serve, he said. He recommended that Sport nZ drive the charge for more representation He has suggested internships within sports organisations, building programmes that connect maori and pasifika sport

governance with community development and educating boards on the value of diversity and cultural awareness. Maori and Pasiika candidates needed to step up to the plate as well, he said. Holland’s thesis reported that there are 90 national new Zealand sports organisations with a total of 613 board members. of this total only four are of pacific island descent and just 33 are maori. on the gender side of the equation, 463 are men (76 per cent) and 150 are women (24 per cent). - NZH

Tuesday 30 April  
Tuesday 30 April  

News, Sports and Opinion from the Cook Islands News for Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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