Minimum wage to rise next month; escaped prisoner dead after shootout

Not a lot of news this weekend, but most important is a Minimum Wage increase next week. Minister Wells required the Commissioner of Labour to call meetings of the Minimum Wages Board and Tripartite Labour Advisory Council (which really took the place of the Minimum Wages Board in 2011) to “ensure the increase takes place on July 19.” This is an increase from Vt 26,000 to Vt 32,000 in the”monthly minimum wage threshold, ” reports Daily Post. The Gov’t budget has made no provision for this for its employees.

Daily Post also has a shootout ending the life of the escaped prisoner, Kilton, as does the Police press release in the matter. Eyewitnesses at the hospital, however, report the corpse badly broken, the face smashed.

The police news of the shootout was carried by Radio Vanuatu last night, but there was no radio bulletin this morning.

Energy Minister Kalsakau promised an enormous drop in the cost of electricity this week at the Matantapua Community, after an amendment to the concession agreement with Unelco is completed by the State Law office, says Daily Post. “The Government and Unelco Vanuatu Limited will carry 90% of the electricity costs which means the consumers across the board will only pay 10% which is a huge reduction,” he said. Unelco did not say anything about this. Nor did Radio Vanuatu in its Friday night bulletin.

Daily Post also has businessman Barak Sope signing Vanuatu to a private Russian satellite network with mining interests, ComNet. What the Vanuatu Daily Digest also reported 5 July: Vanuatu is this morning reported by Radio Vanuatu to be joining a satellite communications network, Pacific ComNet, which will reduce internet costs and the cost of IDD calls. The Republic joins together with Fiji, Tuvalu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, PNG and New Caledonia. All are reported to have signed this week. The project is said to be able to deter illegal fishing.

The Vanuatu Times says the UMP case with the breakaway UMPC group will be heard on Thursday. UMPC includes Charlot Salwai, Steven Kalsakau and Emiliano Buletari.

Radio News last night had a “high technical team of the European Commission” visiting this week to discuss budget support for the Vanuatu Gov’t. The EU Vanuatu chargé d’affaires spoke of this on a courtesy visit to Vanuatu’s EU Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy. The third meeting of the European Commission’s Vanuatu Enhanced Political Dialogue will take place soon (but we were not told what that is) between the Vanuatu Prime Minister and Baroness Ashton.

The Independent‘s front page is given over to Vanuatu Bankers slam dirty money reputation. Well, of course they would, wouldn’t they? There is, however, a much more interesting story concerning fraud investigated by the fraud squad, but no details are given.

The Independent has good news of a bid by land owners to cancel the lease of a Chinese company for the sea cucumber farming project. The Government apparently approved a lease not involving the custom owners.

Other interesting news in The Independent is Vanualava chiefs building their road without Govt help. Govt had decided to remove their heavy equipment.

And then there is Mrs Jenny Ligo again reporting the Vt 12 million PM Kilman owes Govt for rent, previously an issue but never standing in the way of his election in 2008. How come? asks Mrs Ligo quite reasonably.