Vanuatu daily news digest | 3 December 2012

Four backbenchers from the Kilman government have joined the Opposition in support of the motion of no confidence to be debated in the coming days. This gives the Opposition 28 votes to the Government’s 24. The electorate at the last election voted for change, unhappy with the way national affairs were conducted by the previous Government. Change would be guaranteed if the Motion of no confidence passes. On Radio New Zealand International, some coalition backbenchers said the Prime Minister had failed to keep his promise to give them ministerial portfolios.

The Vanuatu Times reports the suspension of VBTC senior journalist Antoine Malsungai following his talkback program on Prime Minister Sato Kilman’s vt13M debt to Government. This matter could determine the legitimacy of Kilman’s candidacy in the last election. Shock, horror! Malsungai has “breached the VBTC’s guidelines”. Shame that the guidelines are not actually available to the public for scrutiny. VBTC, of course, sits inside the Prime Minister’s portfolio, which seems to indicate direct censorship by Kilman of the state-owned media outlet.

The whistlestop visit of the DG of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Lamy gave a chance for Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade Ham Lini to ask for “special and differential treatment for Vanuatu as a Least Developed Country and as a Small Island State.” Lamy said his visit here was a “testament to the importance of all WTO member countries, irrespective of size.”

Radio Vanuatu News says there is a strong possibility Acting Commissioner of Police, Arthur Caulton, will be appointed to the post of Police Commissioner later today. His appointment ends on Wednesday and President Iolu Abbil is required to make a new appointment two days before the current appointment finishes.

In Freswota 5 in Port Vila, a house was burned down and a young man admitted to hospital in critical condition Sunday morning, both daily media have reported. Acting Deputy Police Commissioner John Taleo appealed to the people of Freswota to remain calm and to allow the law to deal with the situation. Police have arrested four suspects.

Nobody in the media yesterday reported the second anniversary of the media and public being thrown out of Parliament, but then we didn’t do a very good job last week reporting on the 35th anniversary of the first Unity Day, either.

Air Vanuatu’s ATR72 will be back in service tomorrow after returning from maintenance overseas. Thanks Air Tahiti for the loan of a replacement aircraft.

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5 Comments on “Vanuatu daily news digest | 3 December 2012”

  1. Peter Wederell says:

    Maybe the media might like to give some information about the procedure of a “no confidence” motion, a timeline when things might happen, what the consequences could be or even a wee opinion. Instead, all we get is regurgitated nonsense. Do I have to use non Vanuatu media to learn anything?

    • Peter, you could do a bit of research yourself, you know. The rules are set out in Chapter 7 of Vanuatu’s Constitution. Parliament also has an excellent library. The rules here are similar to the parliamentary procedures followed by other Commonwealth countries. We haven’t ourselves found our media’s reporting to be lacking in this regard: in any case, the non-Vanuatu media won’t be of much use, as they get most of their news from Vanuatu media websites, including this one. There is also the website of the Parliament of Vanuatu – where you can download the Parliament’s Standing Orders.

  2. "No to WTO" supporter says:

    Re WTO – Pascal Lamy visit: it would be interesting to know what exactly what the “special & differential” treatment entails…
    Have any changes been made to the adhesion package? And what changes? And why was there no meeting at the Chamber of Commerce as during his visit to Samoa ?

    • Lamy’s visit looks to have been a PR stunt for the WTO. And Lini’s ‘request’ is just for domestic consumption. We’ve already acceded to full WTO membership, the time for negotiations has long passed — not that it was a entirely consultative process. To be fair though, the fault for that does not lie with either the WTO or GoV – the private and civil sectors came to the negotiations far too late in the game to make a really useful contribution.

      • Sarah says:

        WTO negotiations are continuing (at the multilateral level) and Lini’s request, as I read it, was to keep that focussed in the current negotiations. Changes to the accession package? What is wrong with the package? Also Lamy met with Chamber on December 1. Not sure if Lamy even met with Samoa Chamber…anyway, Samoa is not a democracy. It is a customary dictatorship – only Matai or chief can be elected to Parliament…. give Vanuatu, my country, a break.

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