The Digest has been missing owing to the events surrounding the 35th anniversary of the Independence of Vanuatu and the sadness of the loss of a truly acknowledged leader, Edward Nipake Natapei.
Marking Independence, PM Kilman, the country’s political leader of only 7 weeks saw political stability as essential. Head of State Baldwin Lonsdale drew on the movement towards gender equality through the Luganville municipal elections to stress the need for all parties to put women as candidates in next year’s national elections.
Mourners in their thousands paid their last respects to Edward Natapei during the week at his Avenue Colardeau home, whilst lying in state at the Tut Blong Pig area of Parliament or at the service at Paton Memorial Church, before the body was flown to Tanna and Futuna for burial. Leaders from within Vanuatu and near and far have acknowledged the exemplary attributes of the truly great leader.
The Supreme Court has handed down judgement against a decision of a former Lands Minister, Steven Kalsakau, to grant a Tassiriki (Port Vila) green space lease to "SPK" at a greatly reduced premium, declaring it was ultra vires. (Daily Post)
The release of traditional customary carved stones, allegedly by a former un-named Cultural Centre Acting Director, has been revoked by the new Director to bring back confidence to the Cultural Centre, Director Abong said. (Daily Post)
Air Vanuatu is expecting to take possession of a new and more cost effective Boeing 737 early next year.
The Port Vila Urban Development Project on what is known as Kalsakau Street, at the back of premises fronting the main street and parallel with the seafront park, will include drainage and toilets, Daily Post reported Friday. The VT 4.1 billion project is funded by Australia, the ADB and the Vanuatu Government.
Today The Independent tells us that ProMedical at Santo faces closure now needing to raise VT 6 million to stay in operations. August is therefore planned as a month of considerable fund raising.
The Independent also reports the Speaker of Parliament claiming those 16 MPs implicated in the bribery case to be heard in the Magistrates’ Court on Friday will be needing compensation of VT 10 million each. Today’s Daily Post gives details of the sections of the Leadership Code Act which clearly deal with bribery.
Daily Post today carries a moving front page photo of President Baldwin Lonsdale mourning the passing of Opposition leader Natapei.
The Nation Mourns is today’s Daily Post headline with a superb photo of the highly respected – and well loved – leader backed by the national flag. "As the news of the passing away of the Opposition Leader hit the local media, political leaders, church leaders, chiefs, women and youth leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and individuals from around Vanuatu, within the region and beyond, began conveying their condolence messages and remarks and statements to his family, the Vanua’aku Party, the Government and the people of Vanuatu," said Post on the passing of Edward Nipake Natapei.
"The death of the former Prime Minister Tuesday morning at Vila Central Hospital at the age of 61 has been termed a ‘big loss’ by his longtime colleague and also former Prime Minister Joe Natuman," added the paper. Natuman said the party and Vanuatu have lost a true leader who has pioneered many development projects for the country.
Natuman called Natapei a role model for everyone, a humble person who did not like corruption and everything that is not good, due in many ways to his upbringing.
He was born in 1954 and in 1984 represented Tafea Outer Islands, thereafter Port Vila. For many years he was Treasurer of the Vanua’aku Pati and Natuman said "The latest major task that he was the main instigator of is the reunification of VP, NUP, MPP and PPP for the political parties to come and work together following too much instability. The initiative has seen a good result from the recent Lganville election."
Friday sees an official programme with the body of Natapei lying in state at the Pig’s Tusk in the Parliament complex. Leaders will pay their last respects during the ceremony starting at 7.15. A service at Paton Memorial Church will follow.
The example of Edward Nipake Natapei will be very much in everyone’s mind as we celebrate 35 years of Independence tomorrow.
Many messages of condolence have reached the Digest and we can simply pass them on to the Natapei family and government.
The Leader of the Opposition, Edward Nipake Natapei, was reported by Radio Vanuatu News at mid-day to have died of an asthmatic attack at 3 o’clock this morning. He was aged 61 and born on Futuna. His wife Leitake was also Futunese. He entered Parliament in 1983. He was elected Prime Minister on 3 separate occasions: 2001 – 2002, 2002 – 2004, and 2008 – 2010. He also occupied various other state and ministerial positions, notably including a long period as Speaker of Parliament. He was Leader of the Opposition at his death and President of the Vanua’aku Party. There is to be a state funeral on Friday 31 July to be followed by burial either on his home island or in Port Vila.
Again two days news in one … And over-shadowing everything, the death, already mentioned in an earlier posting, of Edward Nipake Natapei, Leader of the Opposition.
Daily Post yesterday reported twelve new ni-Vanuatu graduates in medicine from the Havana Medical School in Cuba. Doctor / patient ratio will be greatly assisted by their return from their studies. Pacific developing countries acknowledge great assistance from the Cuban relationship to teach in this field.
Post also yesterday covered the launch of the Port Vila Urban Development project and Sea Front Development. Today details are given of a 1.2 km walkway along the seafront and Fatumauru Bay. It begins at the central market, extends to La Tentation and then resumes on the northern side of the Anchor Inn, ending at Chantilly’s.
Today Radio Vanuatu has Climate Change Minister Laken advising development partners of the needs for early warning systems at all levels. Meteo ministers met last week in Tonga and Laken detailed the three years of establishing a policy for early warnings for every kind of natural threat.
Community based contracting is a new policy for the Public Works Department (PWD), linking with communities for road repair. Public Works Minister Tony Nari, says Radio Vanuatu, launched the system on Ambae. It will really change the way in which work is carried out, he said.
Yesterday Radio Vanuatu was telling us of the need for teachers to upgrade their qualifications to university degree level. The DG of Education Jesse Dick was advising thus in order to meet the significant education needs existing in the country.
NCDs remained high on the Radio Vanuatu news agenda along with other issues of government.
Daily Post today has Speaker Pipite insisting former Speaker Boedoro must apologise following the Opposition’s gentlemanly withdrawal of the motion of no confidence against the Kilman Government. This came about after an appeal by the Speaker to the Court of Appeal in the wake of which Pipite gave a press conference. He claimed the seven days notice of the motion had not been adhered to.
Daily Post today also has former Lands Minister Regenvanu responding to the serious allegation made against him by present Lands Minister Telukluk in the weekend Post. The allegation has been long since closed with the Ombudsman declaring Regenvanu had done no wrong. The matter concerned lands department staff and their cheaply obtained leases and housing from yet another lands minister and a Public Service Commission investigation.
Daily Post today, along with Radio Vanuatu, reports the Australian bi-partisan parliamentary delegation which met with aid implementing agencies and the Vanuatu Government to assess Australia’s aid, especially in the light of the impact of tropical cyclone Pam. The Australian Government has provided an aid package worth 50 million Australian dollars to to assist the Vanuatu recovery.
Dan McGarry contributes an interesting editorial on the need for rules especially in the game of politics in today’s Post.
Very sad news this morning, prior to an important Independence Day anniversary and at a time when the country seems to be in a period of political instability …
Opposition Leader Edward Nipake Natapei died suddenly at home last night at 1 am of an illness. There will be a state funeral tomorrow. It is unclear at what time the message was posted.
There will be further news in due course.
Two days news in one …
Radio Vanuatu News has today has Reserver Bank Governor Athy being rather more prolix on the subject of why the Reserve Bank has rejected the Bank South Pacific’s bid to to purchase Westpac in Vanuatu, but adding nothing new to the discussion first reported yesterday in Post. The considerations were all financial and not influenced by any political party, Athy said, and necessary in the fragile economic conditions post-Pam.
Yesterday Daily Post also had the news of NUP winning the majority of seats by any party in the Luganville Council. Hope got 3, the Greens 2 and GJP and Nagriamel each one. They are able to add today that the name of Mrs Netaf Roinata Rosemary of NUP is being put forward to take the mayoral position.
Daily Post this morning has two new posts created for senior MPs. One is Parliamentary Secretary for Provincial Affairs, the other Parliamentary Secretary for Policy Research, each receiving VT 2.6 m per year, presumably in addition to their pay and/or allowances as sitting MPs. In addition there are cars, housing and other benefits for the holders of the non-advertised positions which go to Messrs Steven Kalsakau and Silas Yatan.
Lands Minister Telukluk claims in Post today that the leases awarded to staff of Lands by Steven Kalsakau when he was Minister were all valid. This claim is made despite Transparency Vanuatu and incoming Lands Minister Regenvanu later deciding differently. They were all properly cancelled after Transparency’s and Regenvanu’s findings.
One hundred new citizens have received their certificates. The awarding ceremony was held at Au Faré at Melcofe says Daily Post.
The Independent gives nearly half a page to former Opposition Leader now DPM Carcasses (called Opposition Leader under his photo) to shoot his mouth off about what he sees as "dirty politics behind the former Natuman Government." He accuses Natuman of disgraceful handling of the Police Mutiny Case, aided and abetted by Public Prosecutor Timakata. "With all due respect to Mr Timakata, the public perception is that he is too closely associated with the former Natuman Government," says Carcasses. All that said, it is only facts which will matter in the Bribery Case coming up in a fortnight for Carcasses and many ministerial colleagues.