The best news today is in a photo on page 1 of Daily Post. Vitamin C is readily available again in the shape of huge mandarins on display at the Central Market. Not from Aniwa as you might have guessed, but Ambae, Santo and Malo.
VBTC is at pains today to indicate the town hall has given no rights to people to collect useful material from the earth-fill site at Etas and Bouffa, on the Teouma River. Earlier in the week there was a newspaper report which indicated people could remove items which were unlikely to be considered health hazards.
USP School of Education has given a closing date for senior secondary teachers to apply for their further education courses: 15 June, 2015. The government has funded the tuition for anglophone and francophone undergraduates. They will need the advance support of their head teachers.
The VPIEF, the Vanuatu Peoples Investment and Equity Fund, new commercial investment centre, will open near the Erakor roundabout tomorrow, Thursday. There are four days of celebration, Radio Vanuatu News advises, which will start with a parade from Saralana Park to the Korman site.
Again a missed day and stories which are not much more than headlines. So here are two days in one.
The government has asked the University of the South Pacific to enable secondary teachers to have further training in their subjects of preference. This is to ensure they have a suitable qualification. USP has responded it will be able to provide an upgrade programme in Education from Semester 2.
The Central Office of Information has advised the government there will be a need to protect children by law from much of the internet offering on-line.
The Port Vila Municipality is laying off staff to save the present huge expense of salaries. From ten million vatu a month, the mayor hopes to reduce personal emoluments to 3.6 million vatu to help the council out of its financial crisis. Port Vila Municipal Council is henceforth allowing salvage of recycled or salvageable material from the Bouffa landfill, but not of food stuff.
The Department of National Development and Tourism is urging the government to enforce the Act which sets building standards. It is said there is special need because of the post-Pam reconstruction.
Parliament meets on Friday for the first extra-ordinary sitting. It will be followed by the first ordinary sitting for the year.
The Patunvanu claim for malicious prosecution was overturned by the Appeal Court. Damages of VT 6 million plus interest have been reduced to half a million vatu with no interest by the Appeal Court
Daily Post yesterday carried important new information concerning the four seats for women in the up-coming Luganville elections. Unlike in Port Vila there will be no voting twice. But still four seats are reserved for women.
Resilience is the key word in the VT 46 billion Japan is providing to Vanuatu to prepare for later disasters and the worst aspects of climate change. 55 billion yen will be provided over three years Japanese PM Shinzo Abe promised Vanuatu PM Natuman in Japan.
Today’s Daily Post has Mele village giving squatters 3 months to harvest their produce and vacate lands they have been occupying. Mele Land Trustees Chairman Chief Dick Namata wants squatters to leave peacefully.
Australia announces an additional 3 billion vatu
to support Vanuatu’s recovery from Tropical Cyclone Pam
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop announced on 23 May that Australia will provide an additional 3 billion vatu (AUD35 million) to support Vanuatu’s long-term recovery from Tropical Cyclone Pam, bringing the Australian Government’s total support for recovery efforts to 4.3 billion vatu (AUD50 million), excluding the contribution of the Australian Defence Force. Ms Bishop made the announcement soon after a meeting with Prime Minister Joe Natuman in the margins of the PALM 7 meeting in Japan.
Cyclone Pam caused severe damage to housing, health centres, schools and other critical infrastructure in affected areas, and to Vanuatu’s key industries of tourism and agriculture. Australia was quick to respond to the disaster, providing an early life-saving package of more than 849.2 million vatu ($10 million), including the deployment of disaster response, medical and search and rescue teams. Australian Defence Force personnel and assets also assisted with the response. Australia provided a further 424.6 vatu ($5 million) to support Vanuatu’s early recovery needs in health, education and food security.
Australia’s 3 billion vatu long-term recovery package, developed in consultation with the Vanuatu Government, addresses critical needs. It will help to support livelihoods, economic recovery and the private sector; repair and rebuild critical public infrastructure; restore health and education facilities; and support gender and disability inclusion. Australia will work in close consultation with the Vanuatu Government, through its Sector Working Groups and within the framework set out in its draft Recovery Plan.
Australia, as a long-term partner and friend of Vanuatu, also continues to work in partnership with the Vanuatu Government to pursue Vanuatu’s development objectives through Australia’s annual 5 billion vatu (AUD60 million) bilateral and regional aid program. This program focuses on the key priority areas of health, education, infrastructure, law and justice, and economic governance. The 3 billion vatu recovery package will complement the work in these sectors to support recovery and improve the lives of all ni-Vanuatu.
Previous Vanuatu governments must have enabled one Kevin Lai, pictured on the front page of Daily Post today, to have honorary Vanuatu citizenship, into which he slipped a year ago, and the positions of Vanuatu Permanent Representative at UN ESCAP and special envoy in Thailand. He had set up a bank in Vanuatu and was accused by the Thai police of milking VT 945 million from Thai, Chinese and Malaysian investors to his bank (with negligible website) here in Vanuatu which was ultimately to have the country’s first eight-story building block opposite the Melanesian Hotel.The bank is already in existence and is called the United Development Bank of the Pacific (UDBP). UFun management is another company with which Kevin Lai has close relations. This was used as a headquarter for Vanuatu politicians visiting Bangkok. The charges involved should be an easy matter to settle, especially since it will be done in Thailand.
Meantime, Daily Post today reports Police raiding a Vanuatu bookmaker with Melbourne underworld links. Offering bets on Australian racing results to Australians overseas is illegal in Australia, but that has not bothered a company called Betjack. Such companies can be fined up to AUD 340,000 a day for so operating, but this has not troubled Betjack which faces huge claims from Australian punters it ignores. There would seem to be a massive ignorance of due diligence on the part of the Australians concerned and the betting company.
Meanwhile the Vanuatu Ombudsman has called for the powers of his office to be be increased to investigate the judiciary. He tells Vanuatu Journalism students that there have been many cases which simply disappeared: were never finished. He also wants the definition of leadership widened to enable the Leadership Code to investigate all senior public servants and political appointees, Post reports today.
The Independent reveals Asco Motors has recalled some 29 vehicles fitted with the faulty airbags which have caused 63 million cars worldwide to be recalled.
There have been various communications problems with the Digest for a few days, but it’s mostly headline news only you’ve missed. But you must still have the news… and so, here goes …
The President of the Australian South Sea Islanders in Sydney, Imelda Davis, says the islander Australians were pleased to be able to assist ni-Vanuatu in the wake of cyclone Pam. She was here to check the unloading of some 5 containers of relief items which came from the Association with Rainbow Warrior.
The ICT Manager of the Department of Lands, William Ganileo, says the new title information system will be opened in a month. It is important title holders check their particulars in the system.
The CIIP agency in China has been re-launched. A government delegation headed by the Minister of Finance, Maki Simelum, went to Shenzen for the purpose. The new need for credibility and sustainability, unlike with the PRV programme, was stressed in presentations.
The VNPF has answered the allegations made against the Board in last weekend’s Post. This one will, as they say, run and run. Most of us cannot know the full story yet.
Urology patients have been receiving wonderful assistance from visiting Australian specialists. And Post says today Prof Dr Ian Frazer, developer of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine will be visiting from 25 May. He will be giving awareness talks at Freshwota School from 8.30 on Tuesday concerning cervical cancer and young women are encouraged to attend.
Prime Minister Joe Natuman is attending the PALM 7 meeting of Pacific leaders in Japan as reported yesterday. During his absence Trade Minister and DPM Ham Lini will be Acting PM. Before his departure PM Natuman paid a tribute to the regional colleagues from MSG countries, Fiji, FLNKS of New Caledonia, PNG and the Solomons, for "lifting the spirits of the people of Vanuatu" in serving the people of this country. Daily Post has an amazing photo of the ministers of government and Vanuatu law and order personnel gathered together with representatives of the island countries outside the MSG Headquarters.
Rainbow Warrior, flagship of Greenpeace, is today distributing 15 tons of relief tools, solar torches, clothing, kitchen utensils, stationery and books to places affected by cyclone Pam, Post reports.
Post also reports a visit from the deputy head of the United Nations to see for himself the development needs and issues of the country. Mr Haoliang Xu felt his visit was at the right time to see for himself the challenging task of recovery following the cyclone.
The weekend Kivhan Music Festival at Saralana raised over VT 350,000 for the relief efforts. Five thousand people enjoyed the charity event.
Paama people are insisting on government removal of the MV Kimbe, the wreck of which lies off Tahji village. The vessel sank 14 years ago and Chief Paul Ulas claims significant damage to the marine and coastal environment. Daily Post carries the story.
Information and Communications Technologies have dominated the media in recent days in Vanuatu. Prime Minister Natuman emphasized at the Warwick Le Lagon event marking Pacific ICT Days 2015 "ICTs are now essentially part of our lives" (Daily Post). Three overseas companies attended the event VBTC News reported.
The Appeal Court is reported in Post to have ordered the Director of Lands to register Takara leases to Green Peak Limited and Costa del Mar Limited after receiving proof of the incorporation of the two companies. The leases are concerned with geothermal exploration.
PM Natuman is attending the Japanese Pacific Islands’ Leaders Meeting (PALM 7). It is on the theme "We are islanders": Commitment to the Pacific from Iwaki, Fukushima: Building a prosperous future together.” PM Natuman is speaking on the recovery operation after cyclone Pam, and the major role of the NDMO in restoration.
Port Vila Municipality is warning kava bar operators to provide better hygiene and toilet facilities points out Post today.