Hearing the voice of the people: the 2015 bribery scandal, politics and justice in Vanuatu

The catalyst for political change: The 14 MPs are taken to prison following their convictions in October last year

The catalyst for political change: The 14 MPs are taken to prison after being convicted in October 2015. Photo: TIV

At the recent General Election, the people of Vanuatu demanded an end to business-as-usual in Vanuatu politics, a message acknowledged by new Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, who said this week that “Parliament must hear the voice of the people”. In this article by Miranda Forsyth, we revisit the events of last year and what they might mean for political reform in Vanuatu.

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Video: For all the lovers… of Vanuatu stringband music

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Here’s Mosuakea string band performing in Dunedin, New Zealand to put you in the mood.

Contracts signed for Bauerfield airport runway, Port Vila roads repair; Pentecost election petition; VBTC labour dispute

Port Vila International airport

Port Vila International airport. Photo: Pascal Alick

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Not just Bauerfield: dangers in many Pacific airports, says international aviation body


By Michael Field

An aviation snafu which has seen South Pacific airlines refuse to land at Vanuatu’s main international airport points to serious safety issues across the region, World Bank documents show.

Tonga’s Fuaʻamotu International Airport looks dangerously close to suffering the same fate as Vanuatu’s Bauerfield Airport.

The bank warns international airlines risk legal problems if they knowingly fly into sub-standard airports and most South Pacific airports are in that category.

In a little noticed report, the bank says international airline operators servicing Pacific Island countries were “incurring considerable risk” due to Read the rest of this entry »

New Govt committed to change, announces Cabinet; new Directors-General; bye bye Cyclone Winston

tufala saeklonGood news today: as we reported earlier, Cyclone Winston is slowly moving away from Vanuatu, to everyone’s great relief.

And the other good news is a government committed to change which the public quite clearly wanted. We gave you the details yesterday. Congratulations to Charlot Salwai (new PM) whose party is unwavering over the need for adaptation. And congratulations to those major parties ready to accept and promote change to accommodate a new political environment. The new Cabinet line-up is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Cyclone update: Tatiana to the left of us, Winston to the right

…Here we are, stuck in the middle!

Cyclone Tatiana was named by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology last night and is currently a Category 1 cyclone. Cyclone Winston is a Category 2 cyclone and is currently about 305km east of Efate, travelling south.

Infrared view of Cyclones Tatiana and Winston, taken by the Japan Meteorological Agency's Himawari-8 satellite earlier today. Photo: NOAA

Infrared view of Cyclones Tatiana and Winston, taken by the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Himawari-8 satellite earlier today. Photo: NOAA

Both cyclones are moving away from Vanuatu, and neither is likely to make landfall in Vanuatu. The Vanuatu Meteorological Service has issued a cyclone warning as a precaution, however: Read the rest of this entry »

New Vanuatu PM Salwai says “Parliament must hear the voice of the people”

Vanuatu's new Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai

Vanuatu’s new Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai. Photo: Supplied

Political history was made in Vanuatu this afternoon, some 46 of the 52 MPs voting for Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas to become Prime Minister. The country’s new leader exemplifies the qualities required by the Unity Bloc or Pele Group. He stands out from the crowd and is ready to champion political and parliamentary reform and started on that path with his Re-unification group for Change. He moved away from the traditional francophone parties with which he had been associated at the time of the court judgements which put so many of his former political wantoks in prison where they remain.

In acce
pting the premiership, Charlot Salwai noted that

in voting for him, over two thirds of the Parliament had voted for change. And “Parliament must hear the voice of the people,” he urged.

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