Vanuatu daily news digest | 17 January 2013Posted: January 17, 2013
Vu Anh Quan Saken does not own the Phocea, maybe. French dotcom entrepreneur Steve Rosenblum, founder of Europe’s largest ecommerce website, Pixmania, was the owner as recently as 2011. So says maritime sleuth BJ Skane in today’s Daily Post, who has not been able to find any reference to the vessel being sold since then, despite Rosenblum, his wife and the Phocea having previously been regulars in the social columns of publications like Vogue. The papers the vessel presented in Panama en route to the Pacific showing Vanuatu registration were not in order, and the Vanuatu registration papers seized aboard the Phocea by suspended police investigator Andrew Kalman are forgeries.
Big questions remain. What was “Mr Saken, ℅ Phocea” planning in collusion with certain Vanuatu Government Ministers? If Vu Anh Quan does own Phocea, why did he bother with forging Vanuatu registration documents? Why has Rosenblum not demanded his boat back, or, if he has since sold it, why has he not distanced himself from Vu Anh Quan and his Vanuatu misadventure aboard the Phocea? Phocea was flying the Vanuatu flag on routes linking the illicit drug production centres of the Golden Triangle (Phocea’s stated destination and Vu Anh Quan’s home turf) and South America (where he was promised Vanuatu diplomatic status). Monsieur Rosenblum would surely not wish to be involved in such matters. Nor should Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Sato Kilman. It is time to ask the Australian Federal Police and Interpol to return.
Labour Commissioner Lionel Kaluat says his Department is taking a stronger stand in enforcing the provisions of the Labour (Work Permits) Act. All new applications by foreigners for work permits will be closely scrutinised. Kaluat admits to an “alarming” increase in the number of wholesale and retail shop workers in 2012. We have noted already on this blog the growing numbers of foreign workers employed as builder’s labourers, another occupation that is supposed to be reserved just for ni-Vanuatu. Kaluat also referred to illegal shortcuts to gaining citizenship. Of course, Kaluat needs the full assistance of the rest of the Vanuatu Government, which he calls on to be more accountable and transparent. As Chairman of the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority, he is in a strong position to permit only the kind of investment which will provide Vanuatu’s people with much-needed employment opportunities.
The Malvatumauri will be holding elections this year and has called on village councils in the islands to elect representatives to area councils who will then choose the island councils.
3 February will be the start of the school year, and teachers are being asked to make schoolyards and classrooms ready in preparation. Teachers and other school staff start back at work on 21 January.