I regret to inform you that Patrick Lawrence passed away in the early hours of Sunday 24th April after a courageous few years of living with Motor Neurons Disease. Patrick was the Treasurer of the KTA for many years and we will always be grateful for the tremendous contribution he made to the Association. He was also a good friend to many of our members and he will be truly missed. Our heart goes out to his family at this sad time. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
His funeral will be held on Monday 9th May. Mass will be at 12noon at Our Lady, Help of Christians
The former ruling party in Kiribati, Boutokaan te Koaua, of BTK, has publicly welcomed its defeat in the presidential election. Read the full story here.
Decentralisation, free education and a lift in copra prices are some of the priorities of the administration of Kiribati’s new president Taneti Maamau. Listen to the full radio interview here.
Kiribati’s Chief Justice Sir John Muria has officially declared Taneti Maamau as the new president of Kiribati. Read the full story here.
President Anote Tong’s recent lecture at LSE is now available to listen here.
By Terema Skrzypek
A summary of the President’s Lecture at The London School of Economics on Thursday 10th December 2015: In The Front Line of Climate Change
On the 10th December, President Anote Tong, gave a lecture at The London School of Economics, which was entitled “In the front line of Climate Change”.
The President explained to everyone that in the next Century, Kiribati will be underwater and the country is already suffering because of the severe weather problems. Earlier this year Cyclone Pam hit and they are not supposed to get cyclones there. Many buildings were terribly damaged and a hospital that was recently completed was destroyed. There has also been a dramatic increase in King tides, which flood the water wells and agricultural land. This has resulted in a lack of fresh water and dying crops, including trees aged around 60-70 years old, which can no longer bare fruit.
President Tong said that he is always being asked what he is going to do and the answer is, he doesn’t know. He said, “At the moment, we are just trying to survive. We don’t have the technical response to address this and we are struggling to find a solution to protect the people. The reality is that we will never get the scale of resources required to save the country”.
The President went on to say that the position he is in now is acceptance of the situation, but he strongly rejects the notion of being climate refugees. The plan is to train the population to the best possible standards, so that when they relocate to another country, they will be able to work there and migrate with dignity. He added that he also hopes that one-day, an I-Kiribati person will become the Prime Minister of Australia or New Zealand.
The President has been busy trying to get his message heard around the world. One of the actions he has taken was to request a moratorium to stop investments in new coalmines. He stressed that if we do not survive, it is because the international community will not come to our assistance. Kiribati will not be the only country to go. We will be one of the first, but others will follow.
The President also revealed another movement that has recently started. A new program has been launched, called “Pacific Rising”, an initiative for surviving climate change. It is designed to help the people of Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Tokelau and Tuvalu “to stop a refugee crisis and save the lives and culture of their people before the full weight of the disaster strikes”.
Unfortunately, Kiribati is not entitled to any help from the Green Climate Fund because it is not an accredited country. His Excellency explained that to get accreditation, you have to qualify for certain requirements, but “Kiribati is a small country, so we don’t qualify”. This has resulted in support going to less needy countries, which President Tong described as “frustrating and ironic”.
The President stressed that Climate Change is an engagement for the young people. However, the public is talking, but not all the Political Leaders seem to be listening. Many Political Leaders are claiming that they need fossil fuels as it provides many jobs and keeps people out of poverty. President Tong questioned whether they thought it was fair to allow people in another part of the world to lose their country in order to keep their people in work. Wouldn’t it be a fairer solution to find their citizens jobs that involves sourcing more environmentally friendly energy? If we all work towards a low carbon economy, we may be able to save the planet.
The President also revealed that Australia and New Zealand seem to be of the opinion that it would be more cost effective if Kiribati goes underwater and they accepted the I-Kiribati people as refugees. The President stated that this needs to be morally reevaluated.
However, it seems that what one Politician finds difficult to do, another finds easy. Fortunately Canada has been listening and has taken strong action on climate change while keeping the Canadian economy strong. We pray that many other countries will follow in Canada’s footsteps.
Another piece of good news is that Fiji has offered to take the I-Kiribati People when they are ready to move.
President Tong concluded his lecture by saying that the climate is screaming for us to take action and hopes that as a global community, we are not waiting until it is too late.
Filmmaker Matthieu Rytz has been shadowing Kiribati President Anote Tong for his forthcoming documentary Anote’s Ark. To find out more and support the documentary, read the full story here.
From Veronica Karea
Hope you are all looking forward to Christmas and the New Year! The KTA are hosting a New Year Party, taking place at:
Alton Scouts Hall
The hall will be open from Thursday 31st December from 2pm until Saturday 2nd January 3pm. So keep the date free and we look forward to seeing you there.
Can everyone attending please bring raffle prizes too!
Ko rabwa ao tekeroai!