Vanuatu daily news digest | 14 June 2014

A correction to yesterday’s bulletin from a reader who definitely knows. A slight correction for the only story reported Friday, concerning kava. The BfArm is not a company, but the (German) Federal Institute of Drugs and Medical Devices, based in Bonn – part of, so to speak, their equivalent of the Ministry of Health. Kind thanks to our contributor in Australia for this correction.

Further to this item, the scientist Mathias Schmidt, in his report on kava for the Pacific Kava Exporting Countries, pointed out that mere hypotheses and assumptions on the causality of adverse events do not justify suspicion. If the risk (of kava producing ill effects) cannot be clearly corroborated, the withdrawal of marketing authorisations is unlawful. He also pointed out that the German institute had on various occasions implicitly accepted the efficacious qualities of kava. The court doubted that a pattern of liver toxicity could be derived from the data to which it had access. The ruling that the kava ban by European countries was made in the German Administrative Court and was said to be likely to affect bans in America, Australia and New Zealand.Schmidt concluded that "kava is back to the regulatory status of 2001: the ban is lifted." Applications to the WTO for loss of trade earnings, it appears, may be applicable.

Sam Blondel and other key political figures from Torba are in Port Vila meeting with Prime Minister Natuman to effect and announce a regrouping of nationalist parties (NUP, PPP, Iauko Group, MPP) to return to the roadmap set by the founding fathers of our Independence. They will rejoin under an initiative of VP president Natapei and "join all other original independence founders," said Blondel. Daily Post also reported Blondel saying "There comes a time when politiciams have to make hard decisions, but for the good of the nation of Vanuatu and her people, especially for us in Torbe, who are constantly used as ‘political spare tyres’."

A letter to the Editor of Daily Post from the Office of Dinh Van Than, referring to MP Christophe Emelee, says nobody can claim the presidency of the Vanuatu Nasonal Pati until a national congress meets and elects a new president.

Non-payment of wages to nurses is becoming a serious matter. One nurse reported to Daily Post not being paid for six months. Daily Post was able to add that non-payment of wages and salaries to many nurses goes back more than a year.

Shanghai is giving name plates for the Port Vila streets worth VT 8 million to mark the 20th anniversary of sister city status with Shanghai. A high level delegation from the Communist Party visited Port Vila between 7 and 9 June.

At the national Geothermal Energy Workshop, Minister James Bule praised the National Energy roadmap launched in April. He saw the roadmap leading to the achievement of national Millennium Development Goals. He added that "Takara has the potential to be a game changer in terms of energy security and affordability."

A judgement has recently been handed down by the Chief Justice concerning a controversial agricultural lease at the site of the water source in Port Vila, the spring at Freswota. Sam Mahit and family had built several structures in which they were living on the rural land. Ordered to vacate, Mahit required VT 58 million compensation and receiving this, still refused to leave. Subsequently he died. It is not clear how the Government will obtain some VT 29 million ordered by the court against the deceased former lessee.