Phocea mega-yacht owner claims to be Vanuatu’s consul in Singapore

The Phocea mega yacht story takes a fantastical and totally unbelievable twist today. The vessel’s owner was discovered by Vanuatu football star Seule Soromon experiencing visa difficulties in Singapore on Monday. Soromon did not know the owner of the four-master, but encountered him at Singapore’s Thai Embassy. Anh Quan Saken (the ship owner) was conveniently bearing a Vanuatu diplomatic case which Seule recognised. The yacht owner is Vanuatu’s ‘consul’ in Singapore and he just happened to be at the Thai embassy in the waiting room at the same time as Soromon (when his ship was just being impounded in Vanuatu) and they thought to take a photo there. The ‘consul’ recognised Soromon’s Tupuji Imere t-shirt, although it was quickly changed for the photo.

Why is the Opposition not speaking out??? Do we have an Opposition?????

Yesterday Radio News reported Government saying it is investigating allegations made against the VNPF presently and says there is no need for public servants to take the matter into their own hands.

A threat to free speech followed. In an email circulated on Monday, the DG of the Prime Minister’s Office, Simeon Athy, indicated certain public servants plan a protest. The Ministry of Finance, Athy says, has issued a directive to investigate the matter to answer the allegations of “monkey business” in the VNPF. He said the government will not entertain use by public servants of the public communications system to talk about a plan against the government. Athy said there is someone handling the matter and public servants should go ahead and do their normal work. He instructed the chief information officer of Government to disable emails and communications of government officers used to talk about this issue. He said the government does not want the same situation as in 1998 (the VNPF riots). The government will address the issues by the correct means, he promises.

In a seemingly related development, the blog that aired the VNPF allegations Talemaot has been deleted from the internet by its author(s). In the interests of keeping a record of this public debate, we have created an archive of all of Talemaot’s content which you can access here.

Government has made no comment on the incident of the sailing ship Phocea, yet. Government media was curiously told there will be no comment whilst the Minister for Foreign Affairs remains overseas. Radio News also reported no comment from the Opposition yet, either, surely extraordinary with elections so near.

Vanuatu cocoa can become a leading world product following a new rating system. It will be direct from the farmer to buyer, reports VBTC. Each farmer would provide his own information concerning quality and the number of hectares he has for cocoa production and this would be recorded in a data base. The process will be cheaper. Vanuatu Agriculture College CEO Peter Napwatt has high hopes for the new system.

A transformation is planned for the Government training centre. Prime Minister Kilman says leadership skills will be upgraded, along with “experience and quality”, the public service not being strong in this regard yet. The centre will become an institute of public administration able to focus on the development of directors general, directors and senior managers. Kilman was opening VIPAM, the Vanuatu Institute of Public Administration.

Barak Sope, having signed Vanuatu to a new Russian satellite and communications agreement, tells Radio News he cannot yet reveal who is behind the project. He says it is privately funded and will be launched by Russia in three years’ time. Sope says differences between Pacific nations were not helping them achieve the best technology.

Three hundred school children from Erakor School planted trees to mark Children’s Day. The young trees were provided by the Forestry Department, forestry officers telling the students of the many ways in which trees help our lives today.