Vanuatu daily news digest | 1 March 2013Posted: March 1, 2013
Vanuatu has had the chance to speak at an international post-2015 development conference in Dili, Timor Leste, looking at the various possibilities – and threats – to development in African, Asian and Pacific countries when new Millennium Development Goals will be necessary. Minister of Finance Charlot Salwai and the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Odo Tevi, attended the conference for Vanuatu together with the Director of Development Planning, Benjamin Shing.
The four provincial elections produced four new presidents yesterday and a clear message of people wanting change. The new Shefa President, Atavi Marata, Vanuatu National Party, in his first council meeting urged his colleagues not to make the same mistakes as the former council members. He was the only councillor to be returned again. Nakau Natuman won the Tafea presidency, coming from UMP and therefore the opposition. Lonsdale Hinge, of NUP, won in Penama and William Fred Tasso of the Graon mo Jastis Pati won Malampa presidency. Almost the entire council seems to be composed of new party members. Councillors are to go through a week-long training course with the department which looks after them.
DG of Health Howard Aru has properly answered many of the testy complaints from his Minister, Don Ken, often broadcast over Radio Vanuatu. Aru just took up the DG post late last year, but the Minister seems to blame him for anything going wrong in Health. Certainly Aru would sound to have been trying his best in the short time in an area he knows well, as listeners to Radio Vanuatu News will have heard. He can hardly be blamed for NCDs being on the rise everywhere, as was pointed out in the radio news, however he is certainly addressing the ministerial complaints as best he can. The Minister would do well to try to communicate directly, and better, with his senior official. Certainly complaints over what is going wrong with the huge Japanese hospital renewal cannot be dealt with as if in talkback through radio news items.
AusAid will be making available some VT 260 million for innovative seed projects for expansion of information and communication technologies under the Prime Minister’s office and Chief Information Officer (who is that?). DG Athy is reported in in today’s Daily Post on the topic and speaks well of the project’s intentions to enhance education and offer participation if the information society. Agreed. However, on the information side of things, an increasing number of places in the country are not even receiving the national radio signal this writer has learned from a former Radio Vanuatu technician. We are falling back into those well remembered times when only Vila and Santo had national radio. Now even Santo has problems. The shortwave seems to be "off" and the Santo FM and MW are dicey too (so northerners are not hearing the excellent Vois Blong North programme). Something has to be done.